Archive for ‘June, 2020’

Weekly E-News, 6-28-2020

  Happy Wednesday, Church! And, Happy Independence Day (in advance).
 
It’s a great thing to celebrate our freedom and independence, isn’t it?
 
When I was thinking about the 4th of July, I was drawn to the New Colossus, which is the title of the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
 
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
 
I think it captures the American Experiment, where all people should be able to come and be free.
 
It also captures the Christian movement. Jesus said similar words in Matthew 25:31-46 (see excerpt below):
 
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’…‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
 
Jesus is telling his followers that when those who have lived their lives excluded from others are given a place at the table, then God is glorified.
 
I think our church is living this out even right now. Nearly every day, somebody is calling the church for help, because they saw the signs in our front yard (no joke). Folks who just want somebody to talk to or pray with. Folks who need food, shelter, transportation, or clothes. Folks who need home repairs or yard maintenance. As far as I know (you can follow up with Liz to be sure), we haven’t turned anyone away who has come our way.
 
We are lifting the torch of freedom to folks who have been enslaved to their circumstances, and with a little assistance from us, they are able to look up and see hope on the horizon. We are serving the “least of these,” and glorifying God in the process.
 
Keep it up, church.
 
Grab a sign and let folks know that you are part of the church who is here to help!
 
I’ll see you in a couple weeks, when I return from vacation.
 
Your Fellow Servant,
Pastor Derek
REMINDERS FROM THE CHURCH OFFICE: Our church’s Safety Plan for Re-Gathering for Worship was included in last week’s Enews and bulk-mailed to all church members. Click here to see the plan and here to see the cover letter. There will be no Zoom Fellowship Hours during the month of July. The July/Aug Spire is set for production on July 15. Please submit your articles and committee news to Kay by Sunday July 12.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help will be hosting a second Red Cross Blood Drive on Wednesday, July 22. Visit redcrossblood.org to find out more about this drive and others in our area.
Rodger and Sandy Shaulis share their support, letting folks know that TCIA is here to help! Get your sign, snap a photo, and share it with us! 

MORE SIGNS ARE GETTING POSTED IN OUR COMMUNITY, AND WORD IS GETTING OUT THAT THE CHURCH IN AURORA IS HERE TO HELP. 

Email Pastor Derek to get your sign. In return, we ask for two things: 

  1. Consider making a $10 donation
  2. Consider taking picture of you and/or your family in front of your sign for us to share

Friends, The Church in Aurora is a strong church with great peopleand one of the things I have loved most about this faith community is that even though we may have differences in our politics or theology, we all have united around helping our community. We dont let our differences hinder our missionso, lets lock arms and continue to stand strong as we commit to serving those who have needs in our community and in the surrounding area.
                                                                                                   — Pastor Derek
 

Because we are The Church in Aurora, we are here to help.

Week 15
COMMUNITY RELIEF FUND UPDATE


154 people in 45 households were served again last week – BUT that number is growing for this week. “I think this means that our HOW CAN WE HELP? signs are working!” says Liz Sutter.  Requests are being received for pastoral counseling and other needs, as well as food assistance. We are BEING THE CHURCH for our community. Liz wants to thank the team of volunteers who have prepared The Escape’s garage so that food distribution preparation and pickup can move back there effective this week. Photos of the new operations will be included in the July 12 Enews. Your contributions of full size toiletry and hygiene products are appreciated and may still be dropped off in the plastic bin outside the church’s glass doors.

The
 Sirna and Sons program continues to help sustain The Community Relief efforts.  Orders for fresh meats, dairy, fruits, veggies and more at competitive prices can be made online and will be placed in your car touch-free at Leighton Elementary School on Thursdays between 9 am and 11 am.  15% of all orders received go to the Aurora Community Relief Fund. You can click here to check out their website and make an online order.

Regathering Plan and E-news, 6-21-2020

Happy Wednesday, friends!

I am so excited to tell you that the Elders (working with the staff, Trustees, and Deacons) have set a tentative date for us to regather in person for worship. Please read the letter and plan below, and watch out for it in your mailboxes at home, too! 

We know that it will not be the same as it always was, but we can at least come and see one another and enjoy worship together. During these times, we have all been taught to be flexible. The Elders and the staff appreciate your patience and your understanding. Even as we begin to gather again, there could be changes and adjustments. We ask for your continued patience and practice of grace. 

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask an Elder or one of the pastors!

I am so looking forward to seeing folks again (though I may need reminded of your names!). 

In Christ, 
Pastor Derek

FROM DOROTHY BELL….
Hello Church! 
We are hosting another blood drive Monday, July 6 from 1:30-6:30 pm. AS OF TODAY, ALL APPOINTMENT SLOTS HAVE BEEN FILLED. It is likely that cancellations will occur, so keep checking.  An alternative date for Aurora is July 22; its location is not confirmed but will be at The Aurora Inn or in our Fellowship Hall – I will let you know next week. As in May, those who donate will receive temperature checks at the outside North door to Fellowship Hall.  All donors must wear a mask, have a donation appointment, and preferably a Rapid Pass (which I can help you register for if you call me at 330-908-3885).  The only refreshments will be single serve, prepackaged as provided by the Red Cross (no pizza or coffee).  Six feet distancing will be maintained and the Red Cross will be sanitizing equipment and seats between donors.
 
All collected units at this drive will be processed for COVID-19 antibody.  If you succeed in donating a complete unit/pint, your unit will be tested & your results will be available to you in the App or online under your donor login. Here’s the info from the Red Cross:
 
Here’s what you need to know about the COVID-19Antibody testing:

  • The COVID-19 antibody test used by the Red Cross is authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms.
  • The Red Cross is not testing to diagnose an illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. Individuals who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should not present to donate until they are symptom free for 28 days.
  • The blood donation process will not change — donations will be tested using samples obtained at the time of donation. There will be no charge to donors.
  • Due to the anticipated high demand, appointments are highly encouraged.
  • Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days of their donation through the  Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
  • Donors need to have a successful donation to receive the COVID-19 antibody test results. Per standard donation procedure, only successful donations are sent to our laboratory for testing.

Also there is a promotion at this blood drive. Here are the details from the Red Cross:…All donors who come to donate at your July blood drive will automatically be entered for a chance to win an authentic WONDER WOMAN 1984 movie prop replica package. Items include The Golden Lasso and a pair of Gauntlets, identical to WONDER WOMAN’s from the film.* Plus, they get an exclusive WONDER WOMAN 1984 T-shirt when they come to give July 1-8, while supplies last!**
Visit RedCrossBlood.org/WonderWoman1984 for details.
 
Our May drive units were sent to help patients and their grateful families at:

CLEVELAND CLINIC 
UH CLEVELAND MEDICAL CENTER 
ALLIANCE COMMUNITY HOSPITAL 
AULTMAN HOSPITAL 
CHILDRENS HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER-AKRON

 
Thank you for your prayers and support!  Our next blood drive is scheduled for Labor Day on September 7th.  I hope to see your eyes then!
-Dorothy Bell  

Rev. Horak and Kathleen share their picture (and a little humor), showing that we are here to help! 
GET YOUR SIGN!  Show your support and help us get the word out that…The Church in Aurora is here to help! Email Pastor Derek to get your sign. (We were having problems with the link from last week)
In return, we ask for two things: Consider making a $10 donationConsider taking picture of you and/or your family in front of your sign for us to shareFriends, The Church in Aurora is a strong church with great peopleand one of the things I have loved most about this faith community is that even though we may have differences in our politics or theology, we all have united around helping our community. We dont let our differences hinder our missionso, lets lock arms and continue to stand strong as we commit to serving those who have needs in our community and in the surrounding area.
                                                                                                   — Pastor Derek
 
Because we are The Church in Aurora, we are here to help.
COMMUNITY RELIEF FUND UPDATELast week we served 154 people in 45 households! A volunteer team also packed 100+ lunches for Homeless Hookup CLE, which were distributed in Ravenna. Homeless Hookup CLE takes a mobile unit out to local areas to help the homeless population through food, showers, haircuts, hygiene kits, and Narcan distribution.  The founder, Dean Roff, is a northeast Ohio resident and veteran of the U.S. Navy.  To find out more about Homeless Hookup CLE, click here. 
REMINDERS FROM THE CHURCH OFFICE: The July/Aug Spire is set for production on July 15. Please submit your articles and committee news to Kay by Sunday July 12.EMAIL SCAMS CONTINUE TO BE A PROBLEM FOR ALL OF US.  Please note that  if you receive an email solicitation from a church staff member looking for donations, gift cards, etc., it is one of these scams. Please mark the email as spam in your inbox and block the sender.
We will meet online again this Sunday.  Log on for a few minutes to say “hello” to some of your church family. The Zoom meeting begins at 10:45 am and ends at 11:15 am. 
If you need assistance logging into Zoom, please call Pastor Derek at the church office. He will practice with you anytime Monday-Thursday.

To Join the Zoom Meeting, click here: 
https://zoom.us/j/676788260?pwd=NmtuNFIzcGptd3FzdWp6OGNEbC93Zz09

Meeting ID: 676 788 260
Password: 077836

Weekly E-News, 6-14-2020

Happy Wednesday, friends!

This coming Sunday (6/21), I will have preached as many sermons online than I have in person here at The Church in Aurora. I have literally spent 50% of my time, virtually pastoring the church.

I have to tell you, in a million years, that?s not how I would have expected to begin just three months into my tenure. I think when we all come back, I am going to have to relearn all the names of folks in our church!

What?s been particularly challenging is that with all of us encouraged to stay home and be safe, we have lost a sense of community. We?ve missed out on seeing our friends & family. We?ve missed out on seeing familiar faces in familiar places. We?ve missed out on getting to know folks. I know I have.

This time ? as a new pastor ? is supposed to be filled with getting to know folks; building relationships, earning trust/respect. Instead, we?ve been spending time alone at home or with just a few folks outside of our family circles.

Our news cycles have been filled with updated number and new information or new data about this global health crisis. If it?s not the global health crisis, then it?s been a national (and now international) movement protesting racial injustice in our country and across the world. And, let?s not forget that we are in the middle of an election year!

There is so much stuff creating so much anxiety. I have found that when we are anxious, we are primed to be less willing to seek understanding and way too willing to seek to be understood. We are living in some of the most anxious and divisive times in history.

Everything these days is politicized, demonized, and scrutinized. Most folks in our time have created an identity around what they stand against?that is to say, we form our identities based on polarizing issues.

Even the Church is guilty of this. We divide over theology, politics, or what color of carpet to choose!

Jesus knew this would happen. I have a hunch that is why he prayed this: ?Protect them, Father, by the power of your name ? the name you gave me ? so that they may be one as we are one?I pray?that all may be one?that they may be one as we are one?so that they may be brought to complete unity.? (vv 12, 20,21, 22, 23).

Because unity is the Christian witness?not division.

Most churches around are mostly homogeneous in theology. They all believe the same thing. They are unified by their doctrine.

Our church is unique. We are not homogeneous in theology. We have a diversity of theology at The Church in Aurora. You would think that this would make the work of unity challenging?and I?m sure it does at times.

The thing that unites us here transcends political parties or theological positions. The unifying factor at The Church in Aurora is grace. It?s literally written into our code: ?the members of this church shall have the undisturbed right to follow the word of God according to the dictates of their own consciences.?

This means that we give space for disagreements. It means that we practice grace.

We understand that we don?t have to agree on all things. We don?t have to vote the same or interpret the bible the same. And, we understand that we don?t have to divorce over our differences. We can celebrate them.

During these divided times, The Church in Aurora is uniquely positioned to witness to the community and the world that there is a divine presence equipping and empowering all Christ followers to rise above partisan politics and dogmatic doctrine, in order to live together in peace ? united by our collective desire to practice grace toward all people.

As we seek to live united, let me encourage us with the words of St. Paul from his letter to the Ephesian Church: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:2-6)

In Christ, 
Pastor Derek

We wanted to share something that we are super excited about – a church-wide How Can We Help? Campaign.
 
Through this time of the public health crisis created by the Coronavirus, many folks have lost jobs and have seen a reduction in income. Our church has stepped up, and we will continue to step up to the challenge of meeting needs and helping people in our communities.
We’re asking for your help:
 
Help us get the word out. We have these simple yard signs with our church name, phone number, and one question: How Can We Help? For a $10 donation (which helps cover the cost of the sign), you can place one of these signs in your yard and let folks know we’re here to help! SIGN UP HERE TO GET A SIGN!Do you have a special skill or interest you?re willing to share with folks in need? Can you act as a financial coach? Or, maybe you can offer yourself to repair a vehicle or a home. Perhaps you are an attorney who can help somebody navigate the estate process of their loved one who recently passed. Or, maybe, you’re a good listener, and you’d be willing to sit and listen to folks who want to tell their story. Let us know if you?d be willing to lend us your skill, talent, or interest. Volunteer. Contact Liz Sutter and offer yourself to pack bags, distribute food, or make deliveries.Donate to the Community Relief Fund. You can send a check in or donate online. Just write a memo, letting us know you?re donating to the Community Relief Fund. 
Friends, The Church in Aurora is a strong church with great people; and one of the things I have loved most about this faith community is that even though we may have differences in our politics or theology, we all have united around helping our community. We don’t let our differences hinder our mission, so, let’s lock arms and continue to stand strong as we commit to serving those who have needs in our community and in the surrounding area.
 
Because, here at The Church in Aurora, we?re here to help.
OUTREACH UPDATE
 FOR OUR SENIOR-AGE FRIENDS:
The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) has launched a no-cost phone check-in program for seniors in the state to ensure their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. The free service, called Staying Connected, allows Ohio residents aged 60 or older to register to receive a call from a representative at the ODA every day during an hour of their choosing. To register, seniors must have a landline or mobile phone.
Those registered can provide the phone number of an alternate contact, as well, in case they do not answer. If both the registered senior and the alternate contact fail to answer the call, ODA will work with local, non-emergency officials, primarily Sheriff?s offices, to ensure the senior?s safety.
The service is available from 7 AM to 6 PM seven days a week. Those interested in registering can do so by calling 1-833-ODA-CHAT, or 1-833-632-2428 or by visiting the ODA?s website here.

AND Officer Vickie at the Aurora Police Department asks that we share the following information with you regarding Aurora’s Residential Lock Box Program….

As of today, the Community Relief Fund has provided over 1350 bags of food and supplies to local households! Last Friday we served 149 people from 43 households.


FROM THE CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE…

Rebecca Bliss – Kyla Errington – Reed Fuller
Audrey Gray – Kathleen Horak – Kim Jones – Daryl Koning
Justine Kwaszek – June Lucal – Laura Monroe
April Nenadal – Brent Nenadal – Lisa Perez – Mindy Rogge
Amy Rumskey – Bethany Schmittal – Kelly Sedlak
Mike Sedlak – Dana Shively – Danielle Sprague
Rita Suchanek – Josh Sutter – Alyssa Swiatek
Katie Trook – Josh Williams – Kimberly Williams
Audrey Winkler – Carrie Yasenosky

Weekly E-news, 6-7-2020

One of my favorite devotionals is from a study I led a couple of times: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. The devotion lays out two devotions (morning & evening). It provides a scripture passage, a devotional thought, and a prayer. I was going through the devotional recently, because I am leading this study with some of the staff members. I’d like to share one with you that echoes my sermon last week and gives a glimpse into my sermon this coming Sunday. 

—–

Reading: Mark 10:41-44

Devotional: 
Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom. The disciples kept thinking of the worldly model of power over people rather than Jesus’ model of power under – to serve. 

“It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life. 

Jesus asks, ‘Do you love me?’ We ask, ‘Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your kingdom?’ (Mt. 20:21) Ever since the snake said, ‘The day you eat of this tree your eyes will be open and you will be like gods, knowing good from evil,’ (Gen. 3:5) we have been tempted to replace love with power.

Jesus lived that temptation in the most agonizing way from the desert to the cross. The long painful history of the church is the history of people ever and again tempted to choose power over love, control over the cross, being a leader over being led.” – Henri Nouwen

Question to Consider:
What might be one way you can let go of power and control and, in love, choose to serve someone today?

Prayer:
Father, you know how much I struggle with trying to love some of the difficult people in my life. I find it easier, like the disciples, to exercise control and have power over people. Fill me with your power so that I can choose to serve, in love, the people I encounter this day. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 1


I hope this has filled your soul and nurtured your spirit as it did mine!

In Christ,
Pastor Derek

1 Scazzero, Peter (2014). Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day: A 40-day journey with the Daily Office. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Pages 146-148

As of today, over 1200 bags of food and supplies have been provided to local households!  This Friday marks the 12th week of the program, and 44 households will be served!  This outreach could not have happened without your continued support — your donations of money as well as toiletry items. 

The Sirna and Sons program also helps sustain this program. They offer fresh meats, dairy, fruits, veggies, and more at competitive prices placed in your car touch-free.  Orders can be made weekly with no commitment.  And here’s the best part: 15% of all orders received go to the Aurora Community Relief Fund . You may click here to check out their website and make an online order.  Then all you have to do is pull up to the Leighton Elementary School parking lot on Thursdays 9 – 11:00 am and say your name – your groceries will be put into your car and you drive away!  You can order until 8:00 pm on Tuesdays for pick up the same week.  Any questions?  Call Liz Sutter at 216-570-6394. 
A BIG THANKS is due those of you who are sewing the much-needed masks. The masks are being given to Officer Vickie at the Aurora Police Department. She tells us they can use all we are able to provide. 
The Church in Aurora is looking to hire a part-time Director of Communications. We know that having a strong online presence is important to any organization, and we think we need to enlist some help in this area.

If you are passionate about getting the word out and you’d love to be part of an organization that wants to make a difference, then this position may be a good fit for you.

It does require some:technical savvyrelevant education & experience (marketing, PR, communication, etc.)If you, or someone you know, would be interested in this position you may click here to view the full job description. Resumes should be sent to dhickman@tcia.cc.
Do you or someone you know play guitar? 

We are looking at the possibility of developing an alternative worship style (once we can return safely). To do this, we need folks who can play guitar (preferable) and sing. 

If this is something you would like to help with, email Pastor Derek (dhickman@tcia.cc). 
We will meet online again this Sunday.  Log on for a few minutes to say “hello” to some of your church family. The Zoom meeting begins at 10:45 am and ends at 11:15 am. 
If you need assistance logging into Zoom, please call Pastor Derek at the church office. He will practice with you anytime Monday-Thursday.

To Join the Zoom Meeting, click here: 
https://zoom.us/j/676788260?pwd=NmtuNFIzcGptd3FzdWp6OGNEbC93Zz09

Meeting ID: 676 788 260
Password: 077836