News Posts

Weekly E-News, 9-13-2020

From Pastor Derek….

Stress.
Anxiety.
Fear.

These words capture well the state of mind of many of us in America today. We have witnessed a volatile stock market, record-high unemployment, a global pandemic, increased political tension, as well as more stressful race relations. All of these things work together to generate more economic uncertainty.

Consistently in surveys about stress, Americans – no matter the economic climate or the personal financial situation – have reported that money is the dominant source of stress in their lives.* With the COVID-19 health crisis, many have lost jobs and income. More than 30% of people have reported that they have been negatively affected by the pandemic, including being unable to pay for essentials like electric, gas, food, and rent. Many folks have used up their personal savings or have borrowed money to pay for these essentials.**

Our nation is experiencing what many have described as the “American Nightmare.” Increasing consumer debt, declines in savings, lower income growth, and a volatile stock market are all a part of our economic insecurity. We have lived in a society that tells us “you deserve it now,” whether or not we can afford it or really even need it.

All of us have struggled with these issues at one time or another. They are important issues that we cannot ignore. This is why I will begin a 4-week sermon series starting September 27 entitled Step Up & Stand OutThis series is part of a church-wide emphasis during which we will explore what the Bible teaches us about financial management. We’ll hear advice and stories about what others have learned by working through financial challenges. Each week we will provide some practical tools you can use to assess your financial situation and develop a financial plan with a biblical foundation.

At the conclusion of the emphasis, we will have the opportunity to make personal commitments of our offerings to God through our church in the coming year. We will consecrate these commitments in the worship service Sunday, October 25, 2020. I hope you will join us in the coming weeks as we look at how we can manage our financial resources and truly experience simplicity, generosity, and joy.

In Christ,
Pastor Derek

*Hill, C., 2018. This Is The No. 1 Reason Americans Are So Stressed Out. [online] MarketWatch. Available at: <https://www.marketwatch.com/story/one-big-reason-americans-are-so-stressed-and-unhealthy-2018-10-11> [Accessed 7 September 2020].

**Williams II, R., Shah, A., Tikkanen, R., Schneider, E. and Doty, M., 2020. Do Americans Face Greater Mental Health And Economic Consequences From COVID-19? Comparing The U.S. With Other High-Income Countries. [online] The Commonwealth Fund. Available at: <https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2020/aug/americans-mental-health-and-economic-consequences-COVID19> [Accessed 7 September 2020].

WORSHIP SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK
9 a.m. (Livestreamed) and 11 a.m.

You may link to the “livestream” at 9 a.m. on our website www.tcia.cc (or by clicking here). The recorded service will be available for viewing later in the day by clicking here.WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY is October 4, and a Communion Service will be part of worship on that Sunday.

A second Confirmation Service was held for these three 2020 Confirmands and their families on Saturday, September 12. Pictured left to right are: Abigail Baker, Maggie Baker, and Bennett Winkler. We congratulate them on their dedication and welcome them as Members into our church family.
ANNOUNCEMENTS 
FROM THE CHURCH OFFICE: We received sad news of the passing of church member, Sandy Hall, on September 9. Sandy is the sister of Barb Vero.Dorothy Bell reports that our September blood drive was very successful thanks to your prayerful support. We had 43 units donated which can help up to 129 people. She is grateful to Dana Shively & Lance Bell for keeping us safe & sanitized with their efforts to make everyone feel welcomed & comfortable. Our donors’ covid antibody results should be in their RedCross profile by Sept. 25. The church is hosting an extra blood drive for the Aurora community on Tuesday, Oct. 6 from 1:30-6:30 pm.  Log on to redcrossblood.org using Sponsor Code Aurora to make your lifesaving appointment. This drive is currently 25% full.  Call Dorothy at 330-908-3885 for help making the appointment or doing the Rapid Pass screening.

If your church-related group or committee would like to resume meetings on church property, the Trustees ask that you submit a Property Use Request form that has been updated with Covid 19 Facility Use Guidelines. It is available here or can be picked up in the office. Please use this form to request space for one time usage or for repeat usage.

Driveway/Porch visits with one of our pastors are still being scheduled. If you’d like either of them to stop by, call 330-562-8266 or email koxford@tcia.cc, and Kay will schedule a visit for you.

Margaret Wise wishes to thank the Prayer Shawl Ministry for their Prayer Squares. Today Margaret received this photo and a message from a long-time friend to whom Margaret had sent the square during a time of need. This friend wanted to share with Margaret that she has carried this square in her purse and how much this small reminder meant to her at the time she received it, as well as today.

Prayer Squares are available in Great Hall during Sunday worship, or you may call the church office to have one mailed.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…Our September 13 Laity Sunday speaker was Liz Sutter.  Liz provided a history of  this year’s “HOW CAN WE HELP?” campaign and how it has evolved from its initial task in mid-March (when we were asked to address the immediate and sudden food needs of families in the Aurora Schools’ Free or Reduced-Price Meal Program) to what the program is doing and providing today. Click here to listen. (To advance the recording, click the arrows in the top right of your screen to reveal the control and volume at the bottom of the screen.)

Weekly E-News, 8-2-2020

In-person worship continues this Sunday, Aug. 9th,  at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11 a.m. More than 200 folks participated in worship this past Sunday, by either attending one of our three services or by tuning in to the Live Stream.

A live streaming of the 9 a.m. worship service will again be broadcast this coming Sunday for those unable to attend in-person worship.

You may link to the 9 a.m. “livestream” on our website www.TCIA.cc . 

 
The church office received the following emailed response from Michelle Settecase on Monday morning this week:

Hello all, as Cheyenne and I sat in service yesterday, it struck me that five of my family members have been baptized at TCIA — both of my parents, myself, Cheyenne and her brother.  While this may not seem all that incredible or special, consider my parents and I were all baptized as adults.  After a lifetime of bouncing around the world and trying to find their relationship with God in their own way, my parents chose TCIA because they felt it was the best place to make the first step. While they worshiped at UCC in Chagrin later on, both remained steadfast in their belief that TCIA is where their true faith journey started. Cheyenne later told me that one day she wants her future children baptized at TCIA. The legacy lives on!       -Michelle
Happy Wednesday, Friends!
 
Well, we did it. We have one in-person Sunday under our belts, and I think it went well. I was surprised to see the number of folks who joined us, both live (96) and online (130)! 

I am grateful for the many, many folks who have worked so hard to make in-person worship meaningful and safe. Specifically, I wanted to point out the Elders, Trustees, Deacons, Bob Messner, Rev. Horak, and Kay Oxford. These folks have worked above and beyond to help make in-person worship possible. 

This past Sunday, I preached from Psalm 122. I shared with you three things from the Psalm that would have been special to the sojourneying Israelites: 1) unity, 2) justice, and 3) peace. 

These are also themes that Jesus taught throughout his life and ministry. Jesus believed these things to be critical practices for those who would follow him. 

So, I thought would good to reflect on some scriptures and questions having to do with the topics. 

UNITY
Read John 17:20-26
Ask: How have you played a role in keeping the unity of the church?When have you acted in such a way that may have compromised the unity of the church? What can you do now to promote unity? 
JUSTICE
Read: Matthew 25:31-46
Ask:What do you understand justice to mean? And, how does your understanding align with what you know about God’s justice?How are you currently participating in the ministry of justice? In what ways could you grow in your understanding and role in justice ministries?
PEACE
Read: Matthew 5:9, Romans 12:28
Ask: What do you understand peace to be mean? And, how does your understanding align with what you know about God’s peace?How have you experienced peace from God? What could you do to become a more effective peacemaker? 
Take these scriptures and questions and use them as devotional material over the next few days. Allow God to speak to you and shape you, as you seek to grow in your faith. 

Blessings,
Pastor Derek

FROM THE FELLOWSHIP COMMITTEE:

As we are now celebrating our gradual reopening, the Fellowship Committee would like your help with a little Welcome Back project.
 
While current guidelines prohibit us from physically gathering together all at one time, we thought we could do it virtually, with a welcome back slide show of all our church families which we will assemble and share for everyone’s enjoyment in a future Enews.
 
To make this happen, we need for you to send us a recent picture of you and your family together (doing something fun while social distancing or waving hello). Send your pictures to: 
abcole71@icloud.com before August 17.

Also, please note that by submitting a picture you are also giving us permission to post this on The Church in Aurora’s Facebook page as well.
 
THANK YOU!!

ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM THE CHURCH OFFICE: 
The Sept-Nov “Our Daily Breads” have arrived.  You may pick up a copy from the black dropbox outside the glass doors or when you attend worship on Sunday.  If you’d like a copy mailed to you, please email (koxford@tcia.cc) or call the office (330-562-8266).

A volunteer is still needed to help with the August 11 Red Cross Blood Drive. Tasks will include taking the temperature of donors and sanitizing the chairs. A protective mask and gloves will be provided. Please call the office 330-562-8266 if you are available to help. AS OF TODAY, ALL APPOINTMENTS FOR THIS DRIVE HAVE BEEN TAKEN; BUT YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO  CONTINUE CHECKING THE RED CROSS WEBSITE FOR CANCELLATIONS (www.redcrossblood.org) .

Have you scheduled your driveway visit with one of our pastors?  If you’d like either of them to stop by, call 330-562-8266 or email koxford@tcia.cc, and Kay will schedule a visit for you.

There will be no Fall Rummage Sale this year. 

COMMUNITY RELIEF FUND UPDATE WEEK 20
Last week we served 154 people in 45 households.

Thank you Womens Guild for helping the program with backpack donations! It’s been less than one day since the word went out, and already 6 donations have been received!!  You can continue to donate through August 16.

We are also needing donations of other school supplies including new (or like new) calculators (TI 34 TI 30X, TI 84 graphing calculator, TI 34II, and TI 30XIIS).  A complete list of items needed is here.  On two Saturdays, Aug 8 and 15, a school bus will be parked at the Aurora Howard Hanna building to accept school supply donations, but you can also leave them in the plastic bin outside the glass doors.

As a reminder:  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 9 am – 10 am on Thursdays.  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.
Are you blessed with extra garden produce? We can use it!  A basket has been placed outside The Escape garage door. (You can’t miss it.) Just place your vegetables there anytime it’s convenient for you….zucchinis, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers…even one or two are helpful.
Email Pastor Derek to get your lawn sign or . 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
 WE ARE THE CHURCH IN AURORA,
AND WE ARE HERE TO HELP. 

Weekly E-News, 7-19-2020

Happy Thursday, friends! 

Yes. I know. It’s Thursday and not Wednesday. This is the result of me being gone for a couple weeks. I can’t effectively manage my time when I return! Sorry for getting this out a day late!

When I was growing up, we moved a lot…like over 20 times! My consistent, safe place was my grandma and grandpa’s (affectionately referred to as “Papaw” and “Mammy”). They had a beautiful home outside of a small burg called Port Washington, Ohio. The home was/is in “the holler,” as Papaw says. At Mammy and Papaw’s home, we were able to run and play freely. We would find new ways to roll down hills, wade into the creek, and experiment with many of the old “quality merchandise” that was around outside. But, some of the most fond memories I have of Mammy and Papaw’s home were from sitting on the front porch.

We would spend hours on the front porch talking.  Neighbors and other nearby family members would just stop, grab a seat and chat. As a young child and teenager, I seemed to be more interested in what the adults were talking about than what I could get into with my brothers. I’d listen as the adults would talk about religion, politics, work woes, and so on. Relationships seemed to grow through these porch talks. 

That got me thinking about us. This is supposed to be time in our relationship (with new pastor and church) when we are building and growing our relationships. COVID has hindered our ability to learn about each other and even keep the connection we did have pre-COVID. 

It looks like we are going to be practicing social distancing for some time. That doesn’t mean we can’t be growing in our relationships with each other. So, Kevin and I are offering front-porch (or outside) pastoral visits. You don’t have to entertain us, and we won’t overstay our welcome. We’re thinking 30 minutes or less. We’ll bring a chair and mask. We won’t be able to shake hands or hug, but we will love talking with you during our visit. 

If you would like for one of us to come visit, call the church office (330.562.8266) or email the office (koxford@tcia.cc) and schedule a time. 

We miss you all and we look forward to seeing you soon!

In Christ,
Pastor Derek
FROM THE CHURCH OFFICE: 

It’s been 20 weeks since we’ve worshiped together!  Pastor Derek and Rev. Horak have missed meeting and greeting you.  So,  while we can be outside enjoying the beautiful NE Ohio summer weather, they are available for “driveway” visits.   If you’d like either of them to stop by, call (330-562-8266) or email the church office (koxford@tcia.cc), and Kay will schedule this visit for you.

“OUTREACH BUDDIES” needed…
Are you available to make weekly phone calls to “check in and chat” with an Aurora community member who is unable to leave their house during this pandemic?  Our Community Outreach team has identified a few individuals who need this ministry from our church. If you are available, then Liz Sutter asks that you call her (216-570-6394).  

Anna Maria of Aurora asks that we let you know they are looking to hire a Visitation/Hospitality Aid. For more information on this position and how to apply, click here.

 There will be no Fall Rummage Sale this year.
 
For more information about our regathering plan, click here to read the full document.
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: 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 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.
                                                                                                   — Pastor Derek
 Because we are The Church in Aurora, we are here to help.

VOA’s Food Pantry is in need of salad dressings, BBQ sauces, crackers, juice, and boxed scalloped potatoes. Drop off your donations at 1063 N Aurora Rd, Aurora, OH 44202
Week 18
COMMUNITY RELIEF FUND UPDATE
The Community Relief Fund workers have had a very busy week. A BIG THANKS goes out to the residents of Walden who held a food drive in support of our efforts.

We are now looking for donations of all school supplies including backpacks. Donations may be dropped off in the plastic bin outside the church’s glass doors.

As a reminder:  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. If you use the promo code “FLASH20” at checkout you will receive 20% off your orders for the rest of July.


ATTN PARENTS:  Would your family like to help “spread some cheer” to the families we are serving? The plain brown paper bags can be decorated with your child’s artwork. Please let me know if you’d like to have some bags to decorate and I will drop them off.                                                                                                                               —  Liz Sutter
At The Escape:  47 empty bags are ready to be filled with Week 17’s items that include frozen chicken breasts, blueberries, milk, eggs, bread, and more. 
Volunteers were busy at the church this week. One team unloaded and sorted the donated items from Walden.  Another team assembled 100 bagged lunches for Homeless HookUp Cleveland.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE AUGUST 11 BLOOD DRIVE FROM DOROTHY BELL.

Weekly E-News, 7-12-2020

Click here to read about all our high school graduates and the plans they are making as they continue their education.

FROM THE MEMORIALS COMMITTEE:
We are pleased to announce the following class of 2020 High School Students who have been awarded the Barkett Memorial Scholarship:
 Luke Calder
Emily Hanna
Baleigh Groth
Tatum Miller
Katelyn Stover
Ben Sutter
 
This year
Adelyne and Gray Lange Memorial Scholarship recipient is Ben Sutter.
 
Congratulations to all our graduates for receiving the scholarships this year and on finishing this chapter of your lives.
  The Church in Aurora will be keeping you all in our prayers, as you set off on your next adventure in life. You will always have a home here at The Church In Aurora.
Laura Holman our Acting Moderator, Carol Bowman our Church Librarian, and Tom Siewiorek one of our Mission Directors contributed to the July/August Spire. Click here to read their reports.
WHILE PASTOR DEREK IS AWAY ON VACATION, REED FULLER OFFERS US THESE REFLECTIVE THOUGHTS….

Sometimes when I look at what is happening in this world and the sin of this world, I reflect on the world in which Jesus lived and died. He proclaimed the coming of the Reign of God…. (click here to continue)
A message from the Elders:

The Elders are excited that we’ll be gathering soon as a church community on Sunday August 2nd. We’ve been working these past months to ensure our reopening is a positive experience and that the safety of our members is the number one priority. In an effort to ensure we have adequate room and safe social distancing we will provide three 30-35-minute Sunday services; 9:00 AM in the church sanctuary, 10:00 in the great hall, and 11:00 AM in the church sanctuary. Masks will be required. For your safety the worship areas will be thoroughly sanitized following each service. For those not yet ready to attend church in person, the on-line option will continue to be available.  

As a church we’ve been very judicious with our spending during these trying times. That being said, there have been some staffing changes made at the church. Due to the impact COVID-19 is having on our Church services and workload on various staff positions, the Elders Committee has made the very difficult decision to eliminate the Financial Assistant position effective June 29, 2019. We’ve also “furloughed” or temporarily laid off the positions of Music Director, Children’s Choir Director, Youth Choir & Handbell Director, Nursery Workers, Assistant Youth Leader, and Custodial Assistant. The furloughs went into effect Monday June 29th and are only temporary.

The void of Sunday worship will soon be filled. We are so looking forward to the morning of August 2nd!

FROM THE CHURCH OFFICE: 

There will be no Fall Rummage Sale this year.


Our church’s Safety Plan for Re-Gathering for Worship was included in the last Enews and bulk-mailed to all church members. Click here to see the plan.


Mail sent to the church office should be addressed to:  146 S. Chillicothe Road  Aurora, OH 44202  If you include the former P.O. Box # the post office will not deliver it and will return it to you.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE AUGUST 11 BLOOD DRIVE FROM DOROTHY BELL.

                            JULY TRUSTEE REPORT
 

A member family has donated to the church a mist sprayer sanitizing machine and sanitizing solution. Another member family has donated sanitizing solution and masks to be used when sanitizing. What a blessing this is for our church. This has given the Trustees the opportunity to develop a sanitizing program for the planned reopening of the church for Sunday services in August. The Sanctuary, Fellowship Hall, the Great Hall, and the bathrooms will be sanitized before the three planned services. There will be hand sanitizing stations placed throughout the church. Firm guidelines have been established and sent to us to follow as we reconvene for church services. Having the church sanitized is a part of those guidelines. The Trustees thank the member families for their generous donations that have helped make this possible. God willing we look forward to seeing you in our beautiful church in August.

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: 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.
Week 17
COMMUNITY RELIEF FUND UPDATE
We will be serving 164 people in 47 households again this week – Requests are being received for pastoral counseling and other needs, as well as food assistance. Your contributions of full size toiletry, all infant-adult size diapers, 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. If you use the promo code “FLASH20” at checkout you will receive 20% off your orders for the rest of July.

ATTN PARENTS:  Would your family like to help “spread some cheer” to the families we are serving? The plain brown paper bags can be decorated with your child’s artwork. Please let me know if you’d like to have some bags to decorate and I will drop them off.                                                                                                                                 Liz Sutter

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

Weekly E-News, 5-31-2020

A link to the June SPIRE is here. In it you will find reflections on prayer from Reed Fuller, a monthly report from our Acting Moderator- Laura Holman, committee reports, and other church activity and member news. It begins with a reprint of Pastor Derek’s May 20 Enews article on being strong and courageous.

Last week the Elders and Pastors sent out a brief survey to our membership asking for your help as they develop a plan that would allow us to meet for in-person worship. You should have received it in your email inbox on Thursday. If you did not, please let the church office know (koxford@tcia.cc), and it will be re-sent.

Finally, as a reminder- any mail being sent to the church should be addressed to 146 S. Chillicothe Rd. Aurora, OH 44202 . Please do not include the former post office box # (The P.O. box is printed in the address on the 2020 giving envelopes.)