Friday, May 12, 2006

Ten and Still Going

Aaron and Nancy Messner celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary yesterday.

Of Travel and a Homily

Today is my last day before leaving for Florida. Tomorrow morning is presbytery and then I take off. Will go by the library and look for a book on CD to listen to. I suppose I should prepare the wedding homily. Usually this comes pretty easy to me. This one is a bit more daunting.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

New Baby!

JD and Kit Little proudly report the birth of a baby girl as of 8:04 this morning. Congratulations! No, ladies, I did not forget the name. Like the Olsens, they too did not have one ready. Is this a new trend?

Helping Babies

I am hoping for a post on your blog seeking help with nursery work. I've been very encouraged to get several responses from my bulletin announcement last Sunday. However, due to summer schedules, new space to staff, and the regular turnover of nursery staff (both because of pregnancies and workers leaving for other reasons), we need at least 20 new workers to fill the summer schedule. Would you be willing to encourage Tenth members in their responsibility to the children of our church? I know that serving in the nursery is only one of those ways - however it is one of the most vital for the overall functioning of the church on Sundays and is dependent on regular volunteer involvement.

I know you like interesting facts to include on your blog. Regarding our high birth rate, the top months of the past 2 years were June '04 and December '05, each with 9 births. We have 44 2005 birthdays on the nursery roster and at least 17 babies already born in 2006. 30-35 volunteers serve each week in the nurseries.

(From Marion: With the example of our senior minister and younger ministers, this pace of new children is likely to continue. If you have never help, please consider Kristen Harnley's request. I think you would be seeing a rotation duty of once every 4-6 weeks, maybe even less. Volunteer help is an ongoing need and whatever time you can give would help. Kristen would discuss with you what would be involved and you would not be thrown in any situation alone, but would have experienced volunteers with you. Contact Kristen at or 610.449.0353).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blogging Company

Please note on the right that three others on the staff are able to post messages: Carroll Wynne, Dot Boersma, and Christiana Fitzpatrick. Dot and Christiana have sent me numbers of good informational items to post, so this allows them to go straight to the blog. As I will be away through most of May, beginning this Saturday, these three will do most of the blogging. If you have items to post, send them to Dot at

I hope to still do some posting, so check in from time to time. Paul Duggan and Joel Garver will keep up the Proverbs devotionals, as they have faithfully done whenever I've needed them.

Strategic Retreat

So as not to give the impression that the staff retreat was merely fun and games, let me report that we spent all afternoon and the morning going through a Vision/Missions/Imperatives paper that Phil has been working on for months as part of the Strategic Planning Initiative. We also considered the implications of the Spiritual Health Survey. As with all the Session meetings, the retreat was marked by vigorous discussion and a good spirit of working together. This was the first time that the pastoral staff was able to discuss together at length how the SPI would affect the ministries they are responsible for. When the lengthy SPI process is done, whatever the final vision and implications that come forth, will be the result of involvement of the congregation, leaders, and staff. I grow more and more excited and confident of the Lord's work in all of this. Two traits about Phil strike me as I observe him through this process: one, is his ability to read, comprehend, and formulate lots of material at a deep and thorough level. The other is his desire to make the process one of true collaboration, submitting everything he produces to the examination of others. The result is a document that is being owned by everyone involved in the process, and which I no doubt will be owned by the congregation.

Of Sports, Stickball, and Shooting

We had a productive and enjoyable pastoral staff retreat, returning this afternoon. Many of us are heading for the Phillies/Mets game tonight, which makes me think of the inspirational idea that came to me at the retreat: a Mercy Sports Minister! Just think of the possibilities for ministering to Philadelphia sports fans who suffer year after year. And with Aaron living near the sports complex, he would be ideal for the position. And as one who always comes in second in golf tournaments, he is already able to empathize with fans.

Aaron did, however, have a good showing in the Urbanites vs the Suburbanites stickball game at the retreat. The Urbanites (Aaron, Phil, Christiana Fitzpatrick) whipped the Suburbanites (Pat Canavan, Carroll, and Jerry McFarland) 15-2.

Quote heard last night spoken by our Senior Minister: "I would take Pat's last card and shoot him."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Concert at Deerfield (NJ) Presbyterian Church

Friday, May 12, at 7.30pm is the last recital in our current series at Deerfield Presbyterian Church, and we are delighted to welcome back Kangho Lee, 'cello, accompanied by his wife, Minyoung Lee in a program of music by Brahms, Bruch, Prokofiev and David Popper. There is no admission charge—a freewill offering will be received. For more information and directions, visit

PCA Papers

Phil wants this link on our website. Meanwhile I will post on my blogsite. It provides all of our denomination's position papers on theological and other issues Click here.

Overtures to General Assembly

There are now 21 overtures that have been sent to the 34th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, which will meet in Atlanta, Ga., June 20-23, 2006. To read them, click here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Missions House Request

For months, Tenth's Missions House has been undergoing renovations and is coming to the wire for its Open House scheduled May 20. Bob Lang sent in this request for help to meet the dealine:

We are coming down the home stretch on work to be done at the Missions House. Would you please post on your blog our need for volunteers this Thursday evening and Saturday? The work will mostly be sanding and painting. Details are below.

My name is Bob Lang and I will be in charge of the work projects scheduled for this Thursday and Saturday. These projects will mostly be prep of and painting for the following:
Back porch, Garage door and trim, Front porch trim (side railings and around door), Front porch floor, Front railing, Living room ceiling (possibly)

Would you please respond ASAP and let me know whether you have any of the following:
Tarps, Ladders (if so, what size?), Paint brushes, Sand paper and sanding blocks, scrapers, Orbital sander(s), extension cords, Electric drill (and, if you have them) sanding attachments

Finally, would you let me know if and when you can come and whether you can recruit other helpers? With enough of us, we can make fairly quick work of this. I will be there beginning at 5 PM on Thursday and again at 8 AM on Saturday. Thanks for your prompt response.
H: (610) 876-8554
M: (610) 745-0248

Gloucester County Members

Tenth members who are interested in what's going on with the Gloucester County church
planting effort are invited to attend a Bible study at the home of Steve and Susan Carter on May 18 at 7:30 PM. This will be the regular monthly study of the New Jersey PCA Church Planting Committee and others who may become part of the core group for the new church. Having the meeting at Carters' home in May can provide an opportunity for Tenth members to hear about the vision for a PCA church in Gloucester County, to begin to consider becoming part of the core group and to pray for God's blessing. Anyone who would like more information may
call Steve Carter at 856-223-0121.

CCA and Latin Exam

The National Latin Exam is given (surprise! surprise!) nationally. Each exam consists of four sections--Latin I, Latin II, Latin Prose, Latin Poetry--and each section has forty multiple choice questions. These relate to Latin grammar, ancient culture and mythology, reading comprehension (short passages are provided and questions put concerning these passages).
Two Latin IV students (and, by the way, we've never had Latin IV before) scored magna cum laude--"with great praise." May I add, our English teacher, Linda Boice (for the second year in a row) chose to take the Latin II exam--she too scored magna cum laude. It "made her day." Well, we're proud as can be of Mrs. Boice! We're also proud of these two seniors! They will be duly honored, come Awards Assembly.

Norman Campbell (Latin Instructor)

12 Days to Go

12 days to Jean's wedding. So what do you think was showing all weekend on the movie channel - Father of the Bride! She and Lucas chose Colossians 3:12-15 to be read. My homily will be based on the passage: "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful."

I'll have to spend time on this. Usually my homily is ten minutes long, but considering this will be my last chance to speak while my daughter still bears my last name...


Presbytery meets this Saturday morning at Tenth. Here is the agenda:

Calling to order
Worship; sacrament of the Lord's Supper - TE Ed Gross, preaching
Team Reports
--Leadership Development - TE Bill Krispin
----Credentials Sub-Team - TE Chris O'Brien
--Shepherding - TE Steve Smallman
--Church Health - TE Steve Huber
--Church Planting - TE John Julien
----Treasurer’s Report - RE Ron Ferner

Report of stated clerk - TE Frank Moser
Report of Thanks Committee
Reports of commissions and special committees
--Commission to install TE Suler Acosta
--Commission to install TE David Goneau
--Commission for closing of Redeemer Church
--Commission for particularization of Renewal Church
--Commission to install TE Bob Willetts

New business

Pastoral Staff Retreat

The pastoral staff takes off tomorrow for a 2-day retreat at Cape May. This is an annual retreat. Our focus will be on issues rising out of the Strategic Planning Initiative. We will drive down Tuesday morning and return Wednesday afternoon, then regroup in the evening at the ballpark to watch the Phillies battle the Mets.