Friday, February 03, 2006

Town Hall Meetings

"Town Hall" meetings are being scheduled in the parishes to discuss the Strategic Planning Process. Either Frank Harder or Brian Esterly will give each presentation. In most cases at least one other SPC member will be present. You may attend any of the meetings.

February 5, 12:45 pm in Reception Hall for light lunch followed by meeting in Sanctuary (Parish Two - Frank present).

February 13, 7:30 pm,
Little residence, 224 North Highland Avenue, Lansdowne, PA (Parish Three - Brian present); RSVP to Kit Little 610-394-0288 or Brian Esterly (

February 16, 7:30 pm, Langford residence, 554 Spring Hollow Lane, Media, PA (Parish Five - Brian present); RSVP to Dave Collins 610-872-3776 or

February 17, 7:00 pm, Chapman residence, 242 East Waverly Road, Wyncote, PA (Parish Two - Frank present); RSVP to Tim Peterman 215-745-5287 or

February 23, 7:30 pm, Hill residence, 1007 Chelten Parkway, CherryHill, NJ (Parish Six - Frank present); RSVP to Fred Hill at 856-795-5257.

February 26, 1:30 pm, Stockdale residence, 610 Conshohocken StateRoad, Gladwyne, PA (Parish 4 - Brian present); RSVP to MillieStockdale at 610-642-0310. Lunch will be served - bring a covereddish to share.

March 5, Center City location - details to be confirmed (Parish One -Frank present)


Tomorrow, the IT committee is meeting (I don't know what IT means; it's something about technology.) I am on the agenda the first hour to discuss how we might restructure our administrative operations (and perhaps ministry) in light of the technological changes taking place in the world.

Preaching Workshop

Today is the last day of the preaching workshop. All has gone well. We have about 50 ministers, mostly around this area, though I have a guest from Toronto. (He had the pleasure of being woken up at 12:40 this morning by my building's fire alarm, which had also gone off earlier in the evening at 8:30.) Anyhow, the workshop is a practicum on expository preaching and includes small group sessions in which we present sermon outlines on Bible passages for review.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Harvest Need

This month we have one really challenging prayer need to share.

Our current office building is being sold. We need to find a place to relocate our office in the next 30-60 days. We need space for 10 staff, as well as group meeting space. (We currently have 3,200 sq feet.) We know that we will be paying at least 2 to 3 times more rent somewhere else. The deal we’ve had for the last ten years has ‘sheltered’ us from the reality of the current commercial real estate costs.

We are also open to purchasing a building, if God were to point us in that direction and give us the resources to do so. Cost, accessibility for those coming for help here, and being a reasonable travel distance for the National office staff will all be factors to consider. Whatever way He directs, deposits and/or down-payments, moving costs and re-fitting a new office will be real needs.

Please ask the Lord to provide what we need here. He has always shown His faithfulness --- and we expectantly await Him to lead in this new and exciting opportunity.

We are thankful for your prayers and support in Christ.

John Freeman, Executive Director

Early Arrival

From JT:

We are happy to announce that Blaine Reeve Tartikoff was born at 9:17am on Feb 1, 2006. If you are thinking -- I sure thought that Anne was due in March -- you are right. He was quite a surprise. Anne was visiting her mother in Augusta, GA.... He was delivered an hour before I arrived, though I was on speaker phone encouraging Anne and sharing in the moment. Anne's father, a pediatric anesthesiologist at the hospital was with Anne in my place to comfort her.

Blaine was a little over 4 weeks early, but weighed in at a comfortable 6lbs 10oz (a bit over 19cm long) -- about the size of an average full term baby... Anne is doing well in her recovery. The doctor said she could go home today if she wanted to, though we are both staying as they continue to monitor Blaine.

We are still not quite sure how we will be returning home, and all of our baby supplies are in Philadelphia. Plus -- since we expected to have another month, we have plenty still to do. Please keep Blaine in your thoughts and prayers. We are thankful for his arrival and excited to begin our life together. He apparently was so excited, he wanted to start a month early!

Ryia Reports

We've received word from Ryia in Central Asia:

Well, I arrived safely and am finally situated in my new apartment. If you were worried about me, a single woman, living alone, Don't be! I have several thousand six legged roommates: Ah, cockroaches. I think the poison that we spread is working though because every day I sweep up several new carcasses that I don't remember killing.

I'm excited because I met a girl who is working on an AIDS project here and I'm hoping that I'll get to see what she is doing with that project. Also on the public health horizon, I learned how my center makes artificial limbs. It's pretty cool, although weird to see all the random legs that are scattered around the building.

It looks like I will have around 80 students at the vocational center for English classes. They range in age from 13 to 50, in ability, intermediate to advanced. I use the term intermediate loosely as my Russian is better than their English (that's a bad sign). Yesterday I had class-crashers from a low form, who didn't speak any English but insisted that they did. It escalated into a huge fight with them yelling and involved all the teachers on the floor. I tried to say, hey if I have to tell you this in Russian you really can't be in a conversation class, but it didn't work, maybe I said something else. It will be interesting to see what they do today.

It's Visa time of the year. Almost none of the international workers here (including me) have visas past the end of march. The whole community is very disheartened. It is always difficult to wait to see who gets to continue with their work and who is forced to return home. Remember to think of everyone who is forced to trust for knowing what work they will be allowed to do each and every year.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Encountering The Millennium

Sent in by reporter Jonathan Olsen:

Last night Russell McFarland (son of Ruling Elder George McFaland) personally encountered The Millennium; that is, The Millennium of points. Russell became only the 7th male basketball player in Delaware County Christian School history to score 1,000 points. Following a scoreless first quarter fro Russell, he himself doubled DC’s point total by going on a 9-0 run and scoring point # 1,000 (he was in The Zone). The game was immediately stopped, and as the ball he scored point # 1,000 with was being secured, the crowd was going wild, confetti was being thrown, special signs were being raised, and smiles on the faces of all the McFarlands were as big as the gymnasium.

Congratulations Russell!

Educating Our Children – Where and By Whom?

byFaith's current debate/discussion: In the March/April 2006 issue of byFaith there will be a discussion on the education of our children. The article will be based largely on an interview/discussion with three experts. One believes that public schools are the best educational choice for Christian families. One is an advocate of home schools. And the other believes the most responsible choice is Christian schools.

As Reformed Presbyterians, as the parents of covenant children, as those who are to be in the world but not of it—where do you believe our children should go to school? And how should we relate to others who have come to a different conviction? In this discussion, we are asking for comments before the article is published. To submit your comments, click here.

Hymns and Music Sites

From byFaith news:

Ever wonder what a hymn tune sounds like? For worship planning, personal devotions and other occasions, you will find "Tunes to Hymns of the Trinity Hymnal" a rich and helpful source. The hymns can be accessed by hymn title, author of lyrics, composer of tunes, hymn number, tune name, or Scripture reference. Hymns are played by MIDI or piano. Click here.

Another site with a resource of hymns and music (with organ format) is "A 21st Century Puritan." Click here.

PCA Pastor Seeking Stem Cell Matching Donor

TE Toby Yelverton, PCA pastor of two churches in Vaiden, Mississippi, was diagnosed in the fall of 2004 with acute promyelocytic leukemia. His wife, Elaine, died May 3, 2003 after a long struggle with cancer. He has been undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy. His doctor now feels that he needs a stem cell transplant and they are in the process of finding a suitable donor. His family has been tested and none have been found suitable donors, so the search for a matching donor has been widened. You can read more about Toby and how you can be tested to see if you are a match. To read more, go to and type in "tobyyelverton" in the first "site name" box.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Snethen-CCA Connection

Dear Marion,

I sat at yesterday's memorial service for Sherry Snethen, and as I listened to the warm words about her life and her vibrant witness for the Lord, I thought about all that she and Elmer have done over many years to help and encourage the work of City Center Academy. Elmer served on the board of trustees of the school for a good number of years, and Sherry was so supportive, running several art auctions to raise funds for the school. They have helped in many other ways as well. I was sitting behind eleven of our boys, all members of the CCA basketball team, and one dear girl who is a faithful team supporter. The kids had decided on their own to attend the service because their coach is Sherry and Elmer's son Aaron.

Last Friday a number of us were at the Christian Street YMCA after school, cheering on the team as they played The School for the Deaf. I watched the two teams play hard, doing what these boys love to do. The kids were African American, and almost all the adults present, except for 3 loyal fathers, were white. In our urban environment these are at risk young men, yet here they were, in a wholesome activity, being mentored by caring adults. And the adult not present, coach Aaron Snethen, coping with the fresh loss of his dear mom, is the second generation in this family to reach out to and help in a tangible way young men who know when they are loved and who responded by supporting him with their presence and with their own quiet affection.

And we won for coach Aaron last week, 76-56!

Workshop Training

I won't be available much of today or the week. The Workshop on Biblical Exposition runs from Wednesday through Friday. Training for the workshop leaders begins today and is held in my study. Kent Hughes is leading the training. You may remember he is the pastor of College Church in Wheaton and spoke at Phil's installation service.

Service Requests

We had a glorious memorial service yesterday for Sherry Snethen. There is something about a funeral/memorial service that makes familiar hymns and scripture passages have an extra impact. I want "For All the Saints" and "Blessing and Honor and Glory and Power" sung at my service. What hymns and scripture do you want at yours?

Casting Needs

We have filled the guitar-playing role of "Chris," but have a new casting need:

1. MALE ACTOR, MIDDLE-AGED TO SENIOR to portray the role of "Alexander," an aging corporate executive near death, bitterly estranged from his Christian son.

2. MALE ACTOR, ANY AGE STARTING AT 20 to play the role of "David," the son, willing to do anything, including risk his ministry and friendships, in order to save his father.

Both positions are considered "BACK-UP" which allows the primary performer time off from the stress of a full season. Back-up roles are a terrific way to learn what mereBreath is all about without the stress of a full commitment. Further details on how mereBreath operates and what the volunteer commitment entails can be found in the previous postings below.

Thanks!-Bryan GlassDirector
mereBreath Drama Ministry

Monday, January 30, 2006

Housing Need

Housing is needed for this Wednesday and Thursday nights for a Preaching Workshop attendee. Please contact Pat Russell at if you can help.

Memorial Service

Here is the order of service for Sherry Snethen's memorial service today at 2:00. (Street parking available with placard. Instructions on the back.)

Invocation...Phil Ryken
Hymn...A Mighty Fortress is Our God
Scripture...Lin Crowe
Solo...Be Not Afraid...Ruth Floyd
Memories...Arlita Winston, Carroll Wynne, Elmer & Aaron Snethen
Prayer...Marion Clark
Hymn...Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Homily...Phil Ryken
Hymn...Alive in Christ (Boice/Jones hymn)
Solo...It is Well with My Soul...Ruth Floyd

Sermon Feedback

Here again is opportunity to give feedback on yesterday's sermons.

I was struck by the common conclusion in both sermons as expressed by Aaron's remark, "All we need is Jesus." Another way of saying it is that what we must have is Jesus alone. As Phil pointed out in his message, if we depended upon our performance for God's favor, we must despair. Who among us can feel comfortable when it comes time to show God what we have done with our minas? No matter how much any of us may do, how can it measure up to what is expected? Thank God for the work that Christ has done for us. What did you learn yesterday?

Skeel on Discipline

Check the "Proverb a Day" devotion today. Elder David Skeel posted today's devotion about discipline.