Saturday, March 27, 2021

April 2021 newsletter

 House-to-House

 Family of Hope House Church                       April 2021

A Parable For Good Friday and Easter

I first saw the short film “Parable," when I showed it many years ago when I taught Bible courses at Eastern Mennonite High School. It was produced by the Lutheran Council of New York and was widely viewed at the Protestant Pavilion at the New York World's Fair in1964. 

Directed by Rolf Forsberg, the film was highly controversial at first in that the Christ-figure in it is introduced as a silent, white-robed and chalk-faced clown riding a donkey, quietly trailing an elaborate and noisy circus procession coming into town. This Christ is then shown moving among the abused members of the circus crew, where he reaches out to them and rescues many of them in the oppressed state they are in under the rule of Magnus, the circus director and a puppeteer who strings up human beings as living marionettes and in other ways literally controls their lives. 

The Christ figure in the Parable (Clarence Mitchell) is then cruelly murdered by Magnus after his circus enterprise is totally disrupted by his workers finding freedom from the domination under which they lived. In the end, a repentant Magnus smears his own face with white paint and rides the clown's donkey behind the circus parade as it leaves town. 

Here's a link if you want to view this sometime over Good Friday and Easter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHIIlv1NiPc                                         - Harvey Yoder

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE CONTINUE TO MEET ONLINE from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.

“DEAR FAMILY OF HOPE MEMBERS, I want to take a moment to express my thanks for the money you gave me for the purchase of my car. I am deeply touched by your kindness and generosity. Thank you so much.”                                                                       - Emily Vandevander

LEWIS AND MARY ELLEN OVERHOLT plan to be in Florida the first three weeks of April. Pray for safe travels and a blessed time with family members.

WE INVITE YOUR SUGGESTIONS for Bible books or themes for our future Bible studies. For April we will continue to list texts from the Narrative Lectionary readings, but Bible study leaders are free to choose any other texts or themes they wish until the group decides otherwise. 

SHOULD WE START HAVING IN-PERSON church gatherings once or twice a month after we are all immunized?

April Lectionary Texts

4  Easter Sunday Luke 24:1-12   Psalm 118:17, 21-24
11 Second Sunday of Easter Luke 24:13-35  Psalm 30
18 Third Sunday of Easter Acts 6:1—7:2a, 44-60  Luke 23:33-34a, 46
25 Fourth Sunday of Easter Acts 8:26-39  Luke 24:44-47

April Services, 4-5:30 pm 

4  Location: on line 
Worship and sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Easter Celebration of Readings and Songs: Kent Palmer
11 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson 
Bible Study: Dick Dumas
18 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Guy Vlasits
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder
24 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Kent Palmer
Bible Study: Elly Nelson

Monday, March 1, 2021

March 2021 newsletter

House-to-House
Family of Hope House Church                         March 2021

Then Lent Came

we gave up foolish things for Lent
 a bag of sugar, 
  a pound of butter
we gave up the easy 
  and found it hard
 our soft underbellies glistening
  like pride
then Lent came   like an earthquake
  and gave up foolishness for us
 took hammer and nails, took
    excuses, took away normal,
  took away soft living
good Lent, brave Lent
 slapping us with sacrifice
  rejecting our burnt offerings
demanding the fasting of doing justice
 loving mercy
  walking humbly with 
a God we dare to say we worship
 Lent broke us apart
      let us bleed
and dared us, double-dared us,
 to ask God why he had forsaken us

Lois A. Saylor
copyright 2020

Notes, Prayers and Praises
WE CONTINUE TO MEET ONLINE from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.
THE CHURCH HAS AGREED TO use $2000 of our surplus fund from 2020 to apply for an Everence Good Samaritan Matching Grant to help Lois Rivers-Wenger’s niece at Heritage Haven replace her ailing vehicle. Lewis Overholt is working at finding a eplacement.

March Lenten Lectionary Texts
7  Third Sunday in Lent Luke 15:1-32   Psalm 119:167-176
14 Fourth Sunday in Lent Luke 16:19-31  Psalm 41:1-3
21 Fifth Sunday in Lent Luke 18:31—19:10  Psalm 84:1-4, 10-12
28 Palm Sunday Luke 19:29-44   Luke 23:1-25  Psalm 118:19-23
Maundy Thursday (April 1)  Luke 22:1-27   Psalm 34:8-10
Good Friday (April 2)  Luke 23:32-47   Psalm 31:5-13

March Services, 4-5:30 pm 
7  Location: on line 
Worship and sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder
14 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Kent Palmer 
Bible Study: Dick Dumas
21 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Lewis Overholt
Bible Study: Elly Nelson
28 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder

Friday, February 5, 2021

February 2021 newsletter

House-to-House 
Family of Hope House Church                     February 2021

Narrative Lectionary Resources

We will be using the Narrative Lectionary Texts on a trial basis during Lent, with the understanding that the designated Bible Study leaders may use any, all or none of those particular scriptures in their study, but members will be encouraged to follow them in their personal reading.

The scriptures are arranged in a nine-month sequence to help people see the narrative arc of Scripture, a story that has coherence and which moves and develops over time. From September into Advent, the texts begin with the early chapters of Genesis, move through the stories of Israel’s early history, the exodus, the kings, prophets, exile and return. Each Sunday, a short companion Gospel reading is identified, and which may be expanded if wished. 

From Advent through Easter there is a sustained reading from one of the Gospels. From Easter to Pentecost the texts are chosen from Acts and Paul’s letters. During the summer there is flexibility, with a variety of Biblical series available from Old and New Testaments.

RESOURCES

Worship resources (suggested hymns, anthems, “prayer of the day”) for each Sunday: https://www.workingpreacher.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/narrative_lectionary_worship_2020-21_rev1.pdf 
Commentary on the current Sunday’s readings: www.narrativelectionary.org
Facebook group page for sharing resources (must submit request to join this group): www.facebook.com/groups/NarrativeLectionary

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE CONTINUE TO MEET ONLINE from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.

MINUTES OF OUR ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING are posted on our house church blog at http://familyofhopehousechurch.blogspot.com/ Our total giving goal for 2021 remains at $16,800. You can set up an automatic transfer payment if you have a Park View Credit Union account.

WE WELCOME YOUR INPUT on how to invest the $2000 surplus from last year's budget, which could be used for a Samaritan Grant for a local need and for which Everence would provide a matching amount.

February Lenten Lectionary Texts

17 (Ash Wednesday) Luke 9:51-62  Psalm 5

21 (First Sunday in Lent) Luke 10:25-42  Psalm 15

28 (Second Sunday in Lent) Luke 13:1-17, 31-35  Psalm 122

February Services, 4-5:30 pm 

7  Location: on line 
Worship and sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Bible Study: Roy Hange (text Luke 1:18-29)

14 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson 
Bible Study and personal story: Kent Palmer

21 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Lewis Overholt
Bible Study: Dick Dumas

28 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Elly Nelson

Friday, January 29, 2021

Family of Hope Annual Business Meeting January 24, 2021

5:30 pm Jan 24, 2021, via Zoom

Present: Dick Dumas, Guy Vlasits, Harvey and Alma Jean Yoder, James and Ruth Stauffer, Susan Campbell,Lewis and Mary Ellen Overholt, Lois Rivera-Wenger, Kent Palmer, Paul Swarr, David Weaver

1. Review and approval of minutes of last year’s meeting.

2. Much appreciation was expressed for Kent setting up Zoom meetings.

3. Review of 2020 FOH Income and Expenses report, noting that our total receipts were $13,985.96, up by nearly $4000, partly due to getting an Everence Matching grant to help someone get a better vehicle. We have a bank balance of $3023.48 after our budgeted giving to Virginia Conference and MCUSA, along with other institutions and agencies.

4. Discussion of whether we should contribute $2000 of that surplus to some needy cause, whether for something like MCC or for a local need. Susan suggested giving to something for which we could get an Everence Matching Fund grant. 

5. Reviewed congregational expense items, and discussed whether to continue to list items such as personal retreats or congregational retreats, since we have’t used either for some years. Local expenses were again far below budget, with only $50 used for a special speaker, for example. Did not set up a special category for an annual $200 for Faith in Action, but will again take that from the Discretionary Fund. It was agreed that we hold $2000 of what we have in our bank account for awhile to make sure we would have enough to help with any need by one of our members until we get more in the FOH account. Harvey agreed to check with Everence and report back about local giving where they would match the amount. Agreed to keep the same budget with the same items and numbers for 2021.

6. Discussed what kinds of Bible studies we would do this year. Dick Dumas misses using the lectionary, and Kent wondered about using the alternative Narrative Lectionry that Park View Church is using.  Lewis expressed appreciation for the sharing of our stories, and he and Mary Ellen prefer book studies over the use of lectionary texts. Jim likes a mixture of the two, as does Guy Vlasits. Alma Jean prefers book studies, and Susan would like just going through the Bible, chapter by chapter. Harvey agreed to come up with a proposal that would take all of these suggestions into account. 

7. Adjournment at 5:25 p.m.

Lois Rivers-Wenger, acting secretary

Sunday, January 3, 2021

January 2021 newsletter

 House-to-House

 Family of Hope House Church                      January 2021

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE CONTINUE TO MEET ONLINE from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.

CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR those suffering from COVID and other traumas during this difficult time.

JANUARY BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to James Stauffer 1/8, Susan Campbell 1/17,  Becky Morlan 1/28, and Dick Dumas 1/30!

WE WILL HAVE OUR ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING Sunday January 24. We will approve our church giving plan for 2021 and discuss the kinds of Bible studies we would like to do in the coming year. 

January Bible Studies 

We continue with members of our congregation leading us in scripture-based reflections on how Christ became a lifelong part of their lives.  

January Services, 4-5:30 pm 

3  Location: on line 
Worship, sharing, scripture and life story: Lois Rivera-Wenger
10 Location: on line 
Worship, sharing, scripture and life story: Harvey Yoder
17 Location: on line 
Worship, sharing, scripture and life story: Elly Nelson
24 Location: on line 
Worship, sharing and annual business meeting ℅ Harvey Yoder and
Susan Campbell
31 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Scripture and Life Story: Guy Vlasits

Saturday, November 28, 2020

December 2020 newsletter

 House-to-House

 Family of Hope House Church                 December 2020

Strangers Meeting Around Mangers     

Years ago I read an article by Eddy Hall entitled “A Second Look at the Christmas Crèche.”  He says he used to be bothered by all of the historical inaccuracies portrayed in typical Christmas manger scenes, the ones that have Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus surrounded by shepherds, angels, and wise men, along with assorted sheep, camels and donkeys, all gathered at the stable at the same time and place.

It is obvious from the texts, of course, that the angels return to heaven immediately after announcing the birth of the Messiah, and the wise men in Matthew’s account are led by a star to a house where they bring Mary and Joseph their gifts, not to a manger, suggesting this was some time after the stable birth.

“I’ve long assumed that it was just pure sloppiness,” Hall writes, “Caught up in the less than accurate traditions that surround Christmas, people just didn’t care how the story really happened.”

But Hall has come to believe the Christmas crèche is meant to convey something deeper, that the main focus of these manger scenes is to show how this promised Child brings us all together, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, insider and outsider, shepherds and scholars, not because of any appeal they have for each other, but because of their common reverence for Immanuel, God with us. Even God’s non-human creatures are included in this great celebration of good news.

This unlikely coming together, he says, is the Incarnation story in a nutshell.

                                                                                         - Harvey Yoder

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE CONTINUE TO MEET ONLINE Sundays from 4-5:30. For a phone connection (audio only) dial 646-876-9923. For video click on  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967. Problems? Call 574-606-8917.

PRAY FOR NEAL NELSON who has tested positive for COVID-19 at Envoy Nursing Home and for Elly as she deals with the distress this creates.

DECEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to to Karen Campbell 12/26/69!

WE WELCOME YOUR INPUT on Bible passages to study in the coming year. Esther? Favorite Psalms? One of the New Testament letters? One of the Prophets? One of the books of the Law? Give us your ideas.

December Bible Studies 

Various members of our congregation will lead us in scripture-based reflections on how Christ became born in them and became a lifelong part of their own stories. The fourth Sunday in December will be a service of scriptures and recorded Christmas carols and chorales.

December Services, 4-5:30 pm 

6  Location: on line 

Worship, sharing, scripture and life stories: Lewis and Mary Ellen Overholt

13 Location: on line 

Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder

Bible Study and interview with James and Ruth Stauffer ℅ Harvey Yoder

20 Location: on line 

Worship and Sharing  Lois Rivera-Wenger

Bible Study and life story: Dick Dumas

27 Location: on line 

A Christmas service of worship, sharing and scripture reading, with recordings of sacred music and carols: ℅ Kent Palmer

Saturday, October 31, 2020

November 2020 newsletter

 House-to-House

 Family of Hope House Church                 November 2020

An Election Reflection        - Harvey Yoder

We’re hearing a lot about how all-important this US presidential race is, as though the very survival of civilization rested on the outcome.

     I agree that the choices offered  are important, and that how (or whether) to exercise the one vote each of us has deserves a lot of prayerful thought. The following is an attempt to put things in a larger perspective, to look at the bigger historical picture and not just that of our own small corner of the globe.

     First, the United States is only one of 230 nations in the world, and represents less than 5% of the world's people--even though it currently controls the majority of the world's wealth and military might. From a biblical perspective, all nations are of minor consequence in comparison to God’s worldwide, eternal kingdom. As world citizens, we need to think less of governments simply ruling us and more about urging all of them to rule in more just and in less violent ways.

     Second, we need to remind ourselves that a US president is the chief presider and leader of only one of three branches of a federal government, and that the judicial and legislative branches are equally important. This three-part federal system, in turn, shares power with 50 states and commonwealths, each made up of county and municipal governments, and each responsible to the people being governed.

     In other words, we are electing administrator of one branch of one part of a democracy made up of citizens, not choosing a monarch or dictator over a kingdom of mere subjects. Each president's four-year term is less than 2% of this nation's relatively brief history, one that represents only 5% of the total span of civilization as we know it.

     Finally, we (US Americans) are not a “chosen people” whose culture and way of life is superior to everyone else’s. Take our national language, for example. Our one official tongue is English, mostly the language of white Caucasians. While English is popular worldwide as a second language, it is still only one of nearly 7000 spoken around the world. There is no superior race, language or nationality.

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE CONTINUE TO MEET ONLINE Sundays from 4-5:30. For a phone connection (audio only) dial 646-876-9923. For video click on  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967. Problems? Call 574-606-8917.

PRAY FOR KENT PALMER, who is to have some reparative surgery done at the UVA Medical Center November 18.

NOVEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Neal Nelson 11/2, Paul Swarr 11/10 and Guy Vlasits 11/21. Neal and Elly Nelson’s anniversary is November 26! Let’s send cards to Neal Nelson, 512 Houston St, Staunton, VA 24401 and Paul Swarr at VMRC, 1401 Virginia Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA 22802.

November Study “Building on Solid Rock”

1   Matthew 7:13-23

8   Matthew 7:24-29 

15 Matthew 5-7 summary

22 Leader’s choice

29 Leader’s choice

November Services, 4-5:30 pm 

1  Location: on line 

Worship and Sharing Lewis Overholt

Bible Study Harvey Yoder

8 Location: on line 

Worship and Sharing Harvey Yoder

Bible Study Roy Hange

15 Location: on line 

Worship and Sharing  Kent Palmer

Bible Study: Wrap up of Sermon on the Mount Study c/o Harvey Yoder

22 Location: on line 

Worship and Sharing  Lois Rivera-Wenger

Bible Study Elly Nelson

29 Location: on line 

Worship and Sharing  James Stauffer

Bible Study Dick Dumas