Careful readers will notice that this Top Ten looks very much like last week’s Top Ten! For the most part, it is! There are a few reasons for that, but the main one is that I don’t have any new announcements to share this week. With the exception of this one…
Because you have been faithful in your support of our ministries, not just during this COVID crisis but always, we are able to keep meeting our commitments to our world missions partners. That includes our giving to support mission work in Hungary, Ecuador, Japan, Spain and Rwanda. And this week we received a request from Ephaste, our International Child Care Ministries leader in Rwanda which we were able to meet.
Ephaste let us know that the people of Gahanda are experiencing some challenges obtaining food. Food pantries and programs like Food Link, which we have been assisting the Salvation Army to provide locally, are not available in Gahanda. The people there largely meet their needs through subsistence farming.
Ephaste told us it would be very helpful and encouraging if we could provide chickens and goats to the sponsored families in Gahanda, and he told us what that would cost. We had the finances in our mission budget and immediately sent a check so that every sponsored child family (over 150 families!) would receive 2 chickens and a goat. This will be an immense help to our friends in Gahanda. And it’s possible because you have been generous in your support of our church and our mission budget. Thank you!
And now… the announcements…
- Young Adults Are Meeting – Pastor Daniel is meeting with a group of young adults (20-something) every week by Zoom. If you’d like to join them you can contact Pastor Daniel for more information at email@example.com.
- Lord’s Prayer Study Group – Pastor Gloria is hosting a study on the Lord’s Prayer on Wednesday nights. Pastor Gloria is lead pastor at our Arbor House location, but this study is open to anyone whether or not you are a part of that congregation. For more information on how to get connected to this Zoom group contact Pastor Gloria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Looking For a Reason to Be Outside? – Mark Logan, our Director of Operations, does a great job keeping our facilities in good shape. It’s getting to be time to attend to some landscaping work, and if you’d like to help his team with that write to him at email@example.com and let him know you’re available.
- The Prayer Walk is Open – I spoke with someone last week who told me he’s been out on the prayer walk behind our church. I was glad to hear it! It might be a little soggy in places, so be careful where you step, but the prayer walk is open. If you go, just be sure to practice safe social distancing – thank you!
- Kid’s Facebook Page – We have a Facebook page dedicated to children. You can check it out on Facebook and if you have any needs or suggestions related to children we’d love to hear them – you can email our Children’s Ministry Director, Leah, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Northgate Calling Team – We have developed a calling team in response to this crisis, which is trying to contact as many Northgaters as possible, just to say hello, offer prayer and let people know that we care and we are here for you. If you’d like to be part of the team contact Pastor Marsha at email@example.com.
- Need Prayer? – If you have a prayer request that you’d like to pass on to the Northgate pastoral staff or the Northgate community, but don’t remember how to do that, here’s an easy and memorable solution. Use our new email address designed for exactly that purpose. Send prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course you can use all the other methods you’ve used in the past as well – they’ll still work. The main thing is, let us know how we can pray for you! Thanks!
- Thank You to All Healthcare Workers! – We always appreciate those who serve by helping us when we are sick or injured or struggling, whether it is physically or emotionally. This week we expressed our thanks to health care workers by delivering bags of mints to ten different locations in Batavia and Genesee County. These “encourage-mints” were our small way of saying “thank you!” And thank you to Traci Wells for delivering all those bags of mints!
- Do you have an idea for how we can bless our healthcare workers? Let me know at email@example.com.
- Opportunities to Give to Others – These opportunities to serve are continuing:
- Blood Drives! – We continue to support the American Red Cross efforts to collect much needed blood. The next blood drive will be Thursday June 4 from 2 to 6pm at the South Campus (350 Bank St.). Appointments are a must and can be scheduled through the Red Cross at redcrossblood.org. Thanks for helping save lives!
- Food Drives Continue As Well! – We’re also continuing to collect food for the Salvation Army Food Pantry, which has seen a greatly increased amount of traffic since all this began. You can drop food off at the North Campus (8160 Bank St. Rd.) on Mondays from 10-4pm. Volunteers will get the food from your trunk or back seat so you won’t have to get out of the car. Thanks for helping feed local people who are struggling because they’ve lost their job or hit financial hardship.
- Art Supplies For Migrant Children – Arbor House (our service that meets at the South Campus – 350 Bank St.) is collecting art supplies for the children of migrant workers in our area. This is a need that was brought to the attention of the Arbor House staff and has come about as a result of the schools being closed and schooling being done at home. If you want to help you can drop off art supplies at the parsonage next to the church – just drop them at the front door and we’ll see that they get distributed to those who can use them.
- Stay Connected! – There are many ways to stay connected as a church until we can regather. There are Bible study groups happening on Monday nights and Thursday nights (write firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on those) and prayer meetings happening on Monday morning (email@example.com) and Wednesdays at noon (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our worship services are on Facebook at 6pm on Saturday and 9:30 on Sunday and accessible after that on Facebook and our website (northgatefmc.com/media/sermons). Our Northgate Care Team is working very hard to make sure people are cared for and if you have a need or concern that you want some help with you can contact them through Pastor Marsha (email@example.com.). We may be physically separated, but we do not have to be relationally separated! Let us know how we can minister to you!
One More Thing – I want you to know that we are proactively planning for the day when we will be able to regather as a church at our North and Arbor House locations. We want to be sure we are ready when that time comes, and that we are doing all we can to provide a safe and healthy environment. For example, we are installing touchless sinks and soap dispensers, buying hand sanitizer stations and thoroughly cleaning the building. Beyond that we are looking at how our services may need to change and what else we can do to act responsibly as a church. The surveys we sent out were a big help to us – thank you for responding to them! And please know that your staff takes this ministry seriously and we love you deeply and we are hard at work preparing for when we get the “green light” to welcome you back to the building. In the meantime, let’s continue to be the church wherever we are! Blessings!
You Can Count on This – John 7:38-39 – “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (Read John 7:25-52)
The Holy Spirit is sometimes called the ‘forgotten member of the Trinity’. What is meant by this is that we talk about God the Father and we talk about Jesus our Savior, but how often do we talk about the Holy Spirit! And yet Jesus made it clear that the Holy Spirit is invaluable to us as we seek to follow Jesus and glorify God. Read John 14-17 to learn more about that. Or join us in a Zoom Bible study on Thursday nights where we are learning about the Holy Spirit every week! If you want to do that, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll get you the Zoom information you’ll need. Blessings!
When you’re not sure what you can count on in the world around you, know this: You can count on God keeping his word. So read what God has to say in scripture! And count on it.