Churches are busy places. There are lots of comings and goings. But the church is also a family of brothers and sisters together. It is our spiritual home and the place where we find fellowship, care, love and support. When we arrived here just over a year ago, we were excited to join church family clearly marked out by love as so many seek to serve one other deeply as well as a church faithfully proclaiming the Word of God. Right at the heart of this community of faithfulness and loving care is the office where Denise, Dorothy, and Mary Beth do an amazing job coordinating and ensuring the smooth running of the ministries of the church. Denise, as the office manager has served in the office for 30 years and has done a wonderful job organizing the office, helping the vital ministries of Leidy’s Church succeed. In light of this, it is with great sadness that I write to you today and tell you that this week Denise has announced to me her retirement for this coming May.
This I know will come as a surprise to many of you, as it has to me, and instead of the column I was preparing to write, I wanted instead to take time in this month’s pastor’s column to thank Denise for her many years of faithful service. Both Pastor John and I are immensely grateful to have worked with such a faithful, loyal, hardworking, cheerful and willing co-worker. Denise has been over all these years, along with Dorothy and Mary Beth, the face of the church to the wider community. Often when people call or stop by the office, Denise is the first person they meet. She often immediately drops what she is doing to communicate love, care, and tenderness to the thousands of people who have passed through our doors. It has often been joked that from the front desk, and in chatting over the phone, she has over the years done more pastoral ministry than all the pastors over the years combined.
In addition to greeting people coming into the building, Denise along with the ladies in the office have formed the informational hub of the church for many years. They have sorted through the logistics of the building usage and information each and every day. Denise has served us helping to coordinate Vacation Bible School, Judgment House, iBLAST, Sunday School, Night to Shine, the SLMT Auction, and many more. Simply looking at the church calendar shows the breadth of her service. There is hardly an event on our calendar that she has not played some part in organizing. Beyond the official duties within the office, she has served God’s people with great love and care using her immense gifts in a variety of ways. Whether it is helping in Sunday School classes, nursery care, cleaning in the kitchen, setting up, tearing down, and anything else, she has led by example in the partnering for the kingdom at Leidy’s Church.
In May when after 30 years of wonderful and faithful service the staff, the congregation, and our visitors will miss her warmth, care, efficiency, and sense of humor; we wish her well as she prepares for a well-deserved retirement.
Let’s give thanks to God for all that Denise has brought to the life of our church over so many years of faithful service and let’s pray for Denise and her whole family as she begins this transition into the next exciting chapter of her life, with more time for grandkids and family.
Here is a silly question. How do you get from point A to point B? I guess it all depends on context. If you are trying to get to the airport, I would start on 476. If you are assembling Ikea furniture, grab a screwdriver. What if you are joining a church? That is not always so straightforward. Leidy’s Church is as warm hearted and friendly a group of people as it is possible to imagine. You make visitors feel as though they belong, but it is still often difficult to understand how to take next steps in joining our fellowship.
We are very excited to introduce to you our new Connections Team. The purpose of the team is to help people move from a first-time visitor to long standing veteran partner in the church. This includes intentional times of welcome, fellowship, and follow-up. The Connections Team will also help in less obvious but still vitally important ways. For instance, how do we engage with folks who are “visiting” Leidy’s Church through our livestream? The Connections Team is going to take a long hard look at how we minister to visitors both in person and online. This is an exciting time to be in ministry at Leidy’s Church. There are new visitors every week. If you would like to be a part of reaching out and welcoming new folks and guiding them into the church, we would love for you to join the Connections Team. Please contact the office (or Pastor Jeff) about ways to get plugged in.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
Hello Leidy’s Church! Our family is so grateful for the way you have welcomed us with open arms into your congregation! We are blessed to be able to join you in bringing glory to Jesus. If you are hoping to get to know us better, we would love to chat in person with you on a Sunday, Wednesday, or arrange another date that works. For now, read on to hear more about our lives and the Lord leading us here to Leidy’s.
We both grew up in Christian families, but we lived in two different worlds. My dad was a pastor who moved his family to plant a church in the inner city before I was born. Natalie grew up in Perkasie about two miles away from the farm where my mom grew up. Both of us were homeschooled, and both of us trusted in Christ at a young age (Natalie 4, Zach 7). The Lord impressed on both of our hearts a desire to share the Gospel with others. We both became involved with Child Evangelism Fellowship as teenagers. We continued to work with C.E.F. as young adults.
In 2019, Zach moved into the position of Director for the Bucks and Montgomery area of the ministry. We greatly enjoyed our time serving in children’s ministry together with CEF and growing through the many experiences we had there. At the beginning of 2022, we began to sense that we needed to make a change. We were serving in ministry as the youth director and children’s director at our church, we were serving in ministry with CEF, we had a daughter in October 2021, and I was trying to complete my college degree. Something had to give, so we started to pray and think about what a change could look like. When I heard about the position here at Leidy’s Church, we felt that the opportunity was from the Lord and that it was exactly where God was leading our family.
We are so grateful that I was accepted for this position, that I can serve the Lord and continue in ministry with families, youth, and children, and that I can have time to pursue my degree online with Liberty University. We are also so grateful that Natalie can have more time in this season of life to spend time with Evelyn and take care of our home. Again, thank you for welcoming us and loving us. We already consider Leidy’s Church our home! Thank you.
As I look to the future, I am eager to see how the Lord will work amongst His people at Leidy’s Church and am excited to be a part of all that is going on. Again, if I have not yet met you, I would love to sit down and chat with you about the Lord, life, or really anything at all.
This year Ash Wednesday is February 22, 2023. We will have a service of worship with the Lord’s Supper starting at 7:00. This year, we are joining Wednesday Central to the Ash Wednesday service. This means that you should come hungry. The family dinner starts at 5:45 and is an excellent opportunity for us to have fellowship together as the people of God. After the kids are dismissed for iBLAST, we will begin our service at 7:00.
Heading for Puerto Rico
February finds two waves of SLMT-PR participants headed to Puerto Rico to work at the Haven of Hope. Leidy’s Church involvement with Haven of Hope goes back several decades. The current project is helping prepare a ministry center in Puerto Rico for use as a shelter and rehab site for women caught up on substance abuse or human trafficking.
An exploratory team journeyed to Puerto Rico and its southeastern coast to check out this facility last July. The team deemed it worthy of concerted effort by a much larger team. That team is now assembled and will be flying to the island on successive Saturdays in February.
Doing such work as landscaping, repairing terracotta roofing, dry walling, painting, power washing, electrical work, and other necessary tasks, the team will be hosted by Pastor Hector Torres and his wife Aida. The goal is to make the facility ready for use by this summer if possible.
The first wave of SLMT volunteers will fly out of Philly on Saturday, February 18th. Most of them will return the following Saturday, February 25th. On that same Saturday, the second wave of SLMT volunteers will fly from Philly to San Juan for their tour of work, returning the following Saturday, March 4th.
Here are the team members. Please remember them in your prayers:
- Tony Kapusta
- Jim Kinney
- Christian Lindsay
- Christy Lindsay
- Asher Lindsay
- Claire Lindsay
- Naomi Lindsay
- Brian Radcliff
- Wendy Radcliff
- Clinton Radcliff
- Ben Shafer
- Lydia Shafer
- Ellie Shafer
- Chris Shafer
- Melody Smith
- Phoenix Smith
- Justin Coale
- Emma Coale
- Caleb DiLenge
- Mariah Foote
- Josh Heebner
- Anna Heebner
- Jack Heebner
- Reagan Hostelley
- Michael Kehs
- Aiden Kehs
- Gavin Semrow
- Sam Shafer
Tony Kapusta is the overall Teams Leader for this trip. He will be present and working both weeks. Also present and working both weeks will be Brian Radcliff and Ben Shafer.
Ladies of Leidy’s
Ladies, please join us on Tuesday evening, February 7th at 7:00 pm in room 123. This month our speaker is Pat Niederhaus, who will be sharing about her new book. Come hear her faith journey resulting in this beautiful work of art. During our meeting, we will also be discussing our March Potluck and the upcoming Ladies Tea in May. All ladies are welcome to join us. If you have any questions, please contact BJ Kulp.
Night to Shine
On February 10, Leidy’s Church is hosting Night to Shine. It is an excellent chance for our congregation to reflect on Psalm 139. We are all made in the image of God and bear the mark of our Creator who has ordained the days for us before we are born. Night to Shine is an opportunity for Leidy’s Church to communicate the truth of Psalm 139 to some folks with special needs along with their families. We are booked solid with guests coming (that means there are 150). For each guest we need 4 to 5 volunteers to help with food prep and handling, set up, tear down, being buddies, respite care, and providing other services for the guests. Right now, the biggest needs are for buddies (1 for each guest) and cookie bakers (please no nuts or peanut butter). If you are able to help, go to leidyschurch.nighttoshine.com to register! May the love of Christ expressed by His people dazzle everyone this Night to Shine.
You may have heard rumblings about this before, but here is the official announcement and calling out: the SLMT Auction takes place April 22, 2023. It’s been a few years since we’ve had an SLMT Auction so here are some things you need to know/remember about it.
- It is called SLMT Auction because all the funds raised are used to undergird our Short Length Mission Trips during the course of any given year.
- It is called SLMT Auction because we have a grand auction event with lots of valuable items, good memorabilia, specialized items, and always a unique item or two up for auction. Highest bidder gets the item.
- The Auction includes tables for a Silent Auction as well as a Live Auction overseen by veteran Auctioneer Len Walter.
- The vast majority of the items auctioned off come from members of the congregation. Some items will be from local businesses.
- The live Auction is preceded by a dinner hour with hot roast beef sandwiches, potato salad, hot dogs, sauerkraut, baked beans, and a bevy of desserts.
- Auction donation forms will be distributed to the congregation to make certain your contributions are duly noted and a tax-deduction letter can be issued to you.
- In addition to donating items for the auction proper, you may donate your time and/or services in several ways: help with the set-up or take-down of the Auction; work in the kitchen; serve as a cashier; provide one of the delicious desserts; or numerous other options as well.
- The Auction is open to all, so spread the word and invite friends to come out and join in an evening of spirited bidding, good food, hot deals, and all in support of mission endeavors.
In recent years our SLMT outreach has included trips to Indigenous Reserves in northwest Ontario, building an addition to the office area of Worthwhile Wear; work with itinerant folk in Colombia and Venezuela; helping restore facilities for Haven of Hope in Puerto Rico; and doing a make over for a classic Carriage House for Life Turning Point Ministries in Philly.
Get your thinking cap on and figure out what you want to donate to the 2023 SLMT Auction. It could be a game night; a specialty dinner at your home; a particular piece of sports memorabilia; a vacation opportunity; specialized services such as painting, landscaping, auto detailing, etc.; a memorable tour; a homemade pie; or you name it.
But whatever you do, don’t forget to donate to the SLMT Auction and don’t forget to come and participate in the energizing events of the Auction itself. Raise someone’s bid!
Leidy’s Church Constitution
Like any church, Leidy’s Church has a church government embodied in its constitution. The word “constitution” essentially means a “thing standing firmly in place”, such as a “statue” or “statute” or “law”.
At any church, a constitution provides the means and limits of how its leaders and members can act and make decisions; that is, how a church goes about governing itself. In a sinless world, no government and no constitution would be necessary; as Madison writes in Federalist 51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Clearly, we are not angels. However, the Scriptures give us the basis for a good and right biblical church structure that will ensure the unity and spiritual health of our congregation.
Our Constitution was originally written to allow Leidy’s Church to be able to act in accordance with its biblical mission. In 2018, at the time we rewrote our Statement of Faith, some Spiritual Council and Consistory members also began to voice a need to strengthen and add further clarity to our Constitution. The issues raised were how to enhance the process by which our elders and deacons are selected by the congregation, to reassess the role of elder verses that of deacon, and to align our requirements for church membership with what we do in practice. It is also clear that many congregants don’t completely understand the differing roles of Spiritual Council and Consistory, nor who is serving on each.
As such, last June, Spiritual Council appointed a task force to begin assessing the current Constitution to ensure it comports with the Scriptures to promote congregational unity and spiritual health. The task force included our pastors, and elders Dana Gehman, Ken Merritt, Jeff Schatz, and Dave Reich. That work has now been completed and a draft revision to the Constitution has been given to the entire Spiritual Council for review at our February 7 meeting. Once that is done, the revised Constitution will be sent to Consistory for review and approval. The final step would be to then ask for Congregational approval. To accomplish the latter, we plan to hold several Q&A sessions and to not only make the proposed revision available, but also to provide a summary document enumerating the significant changes. We feel that these changes will help provide clarity, accountability, and care across the whole of the church.
Replacing the Irreplaceable
Though we continue to be saddened by Pastor Steve’s retirement and recognize his immense ability to give counsel and pastoral care to our flock, we also recognize the need to determine how to meet the needs of the congregation in his absence. Temporarily, Pastor Michael is overseeing pastoral care along with Dave Reich and the newly created Pastoral Care Team. However, Spiritual Council has begun the process of evaluating the needs of the church and seeking the Lord’s provision for how best to meet the needs of the God’s people. Please continue to pray for wisdom and discernment as they meet and wrestle with big questions in the life of the church. We will update you as more information is available.
Denise’s retirement after 30 years of wonderful ministry also makes us sad. Though normal in the life of any church, we recognize Denise’s incredible gifts as she artfully steered the church logistically over many years, and we understand just how difficult impossible it will be to replace her. Fortunately, she has announced her retirement to be effective in May. This enables us to try to find someone quickly and have a period of training alongside Denise. Starting Monday January 30, we will begin the search. Anyone who is interested, please contact the church office.
Wednesday Central has started for the spring, so don’t miss out! Wednesday Central is focusing on some of the relationships that fill our lives. This semester we are looking at practical relationships at work, home, and church. Each week we are blessed with an outstanding meal put together by an amazing “Kitchen Krew.” Similar to last semester, each night has a time of teaching, question and answer, and discussion with prayer. This semester we have added a time of singing, various counseling scenarios to think about as a group, and a new room layout to help us as we build one another up in the Lord. Wednesday Central truly is a wonderful time to hear from God’s Word and to learn how to apply the Scriptures to your life.
Along with Wednesday Central, iBLAST has started its spring semester. This year the kids are looking at the wisdom of God. This means that this Wednesday the whole family is invited to come to Wednesday Central. There will be childcare for kids until 1st grade, iBlast for grades 1 through 5, and other activities for Youth Fellowship teens. Dinner starts at 5:45, and the programs start at 6:30. You can register at leidyschurch.org/Wednesday.
Calling Youth Fellowship
School, life, and everything else can be awfully overwhelming sometimes. It’s why as a youth group we like to take a little time to get away and retreat. In just a few days (Feb. 3-6) we will go to Refreshing Mountain to spend some extra time in God’s Word building fellowship and worshipping the God who has made us and redeemed us. If you are a youth and are interested in going, it is not too late to sign up. Please contact Pastor Zach as quickly as possible.
If you are not going, please pray for the youth and the leaders. Pray for safety as they travel. Pray for relationships to form and grow. Pray for God to open the hearts and minds of the youth of church. Pray that we would return refreshed and eager to follow the Lamb wherever He leads.
Mission Month Begins Early
Ordinarily March is Mission Month at Leidy’s Church. In 2023, however, Mission Month will begin on the last Sunday of February. Read on and you’ll understand why such is the case.
Mission Month is when all adult SS classes and all those who do not ordinarily attend Sunday School are invited and encouraged to be in the Fellowship Hall for a different mission presentation each Sunday. This provides an opportunity to meet, greet, be informed about, ask questions of, and generally become familiar with some of the missions and missionaries supported by Leidy’s Church.
Here’s the line-up for 2023:
- February 26th features Joshua and Charline Jacobs. They are serving in France. Joshua is a native Buck-Mont fellow, but his wife (they were wed last summer!) is a native French woman. A graduate of Westminster Seminary, Joshua is serving Mission to the World, the mission agency of the Presbyterian Church in America. They are working with church development and church planting in France, a notoriously difficult mission field. They are eager to tell you about their labors in France – and their life as newly weds.
- March 5th has our old friend and son of the Congregation Denny Barger coming by to catch us up on the latest from Dreams Alive, the mission team he and his wife Sue head up from their plantation in New Jersey. Working for several decades in various portions of the Middle East, Denny has a vast network of mission connections that he utilizes to bring hope and help to this devastated part of the world. During the middle part of February he will be in Jordan and surrounding countries as part of a medical mission. So, he’ll be brimful of fresh accounts of what’s really happening in that part of the world.
- March 12th is a particularly special day as we’ll be hearing from the SLMT-PR Teams that will have just returned from their excursion to Puerto Rico with the Haven of Hope. We don’t know who all will be speaking or what they will be doing, but we know it will be informative and interactive. The expectation is that some older folk and some younger folk and some in-between folk will tell us what happened in that Caribbean island paradise while they were down there. They will want you to hear their stories.
- March 19th has Tom Davey with Pomegranate Ministries visiting us for the first time in about 12 years. Tom has completed the Arab Bible which he translated from the original languages into the Arab language and digitalized it so that it is available for folk to download and use whether they are in an open or closed country. And extraordinarily interesting fellow, Tom has been all over the world and in about every sort of predicament one can imagine. A master story teller, an inveterate punster, and a fervent follower of Jesus, he will keep us on our toes and fill us in on important developments in the Arab world.
- March 26th finds Kevin & Maria Noyes making their way to Souderton from York, PA. They both serve with the collegiate ministry DiscipleMakers. Working on the campus of Gettysburg College and Penn State York, they have a vital ministry to students who are being challenged on how they will live and what they will believe. We’ve known the Noyeses for a number of years and are always glad to hear the informative and encouraging accounts of ministry on secular college campuses. In the midst of much discouraging news, they always have accounts of the working of the Lord Jesus that reminds the Holy Spirit is still active and powerful. Don’t miss their presentation.
Present: Tim Leidy, Shaun Permar, Michael Nowling, John DiLenge, Tony Jones, Jim Kinney, Aaron Vogelzang, Brian Shoemaker, Dana Gehman, Dave Reich, Jeff Pike, Ed Schmidt, Kendall Musselman, Jeff Schatz, Zach Darrow
Guest: Tyler Mann
Jeff Schatz called the meeting to order at 7:50 p.m. Jeff Pike shared a devotion highlighting the important of clear governance of the church and the role elders and deacons play in the leading of God’s people. Clear distinctions in biblical governance are necessary for ensuring the church is a holy church ruled by God’s Word and not a church ruled by opinion.
The minutes of the December 7th meeting were reviewed. Brian Shoemaker moved to accept them and it was seconded by Dave Reich.
Dana Gehman delivered the financial report. While it was significantly improved from December, the church ended the year with a negative (-$5,179.00) available fund balance. He explained that among a variety of causes, the church experienced a 9% decrease in giving in 2022 as well as months without rental income from the HUB. He stressed that Consistory needs to be cautious as money is spent in the coming weeks and months. John DiLenge moved to accept the financial report, Kendall Musselman seconded, and it was received.
John DiLenge gave a report from Spiritual Council to Consistory which helped to clarify responsibilities between the two bodies in order to promote health and clarity in the church. The Primary responsibilities of Consistory will be the upkeep of the buildings, the execution of the budget, and the care for people through benevolence. Michael Nowling described the Word of God shaping every aspect of the life of the church and the necessary move of the teams from Consistory to Spiritual council.
Tyler Mann entered the meeting to discuss ongoing issues with the property. It was noted that we lost our snow removal for 2023. Thankfully, Jeff Schatz and Kendall Musselman have contracted with a new vendor. Tyler Mann and Michael Nowling highlighted various areas of the building (wicking, mechanical issues, landscaping, and general maintenance) which need to be addressed. Consistory was tasked with finding a workable solution (given that we seem to have exhausted those previously explored) to the wicking in the coming weeks and months.
Brian Shoemaker and Ed Schmidt spoke about the benevolence distributions in 2022 and reminded Consistory of how requests for assistance are handled through the office.
Jeff Schatz closed the meeting at 9:45 p.m.
New City Catechism
Question 27: Are all people, just as they were lost through Adam, saved through Christ?
No, only those who are elected by God and united to Christ by faith. Nevertheless God in his mercy demonstrates common grace even to those who are elect, by restraining the effects of sin and enabling works of culture for human well-being.
Romans 5:17: For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Commentary – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Common grace is the term applied to those general blessings which God imparts to all men and women indiscriminately as He pleases, not only to His own people, but to all men and women, according to His own will. Or, again, common grace means those general operations of the Holy Spirit in which, without renewing the heart, He exercises a moral influence whereby sin is restrained, order is maintained in social life, and civil righteousness is promoted. That is the general definition. The Holy Spirit has been operative in this world from the very beginning and He has had His influence and His effect upon men and women who are not saved and who have gone to perdition. While they were in this life and world they came under these general, non-saving operations of the Holy Spirit. . . . It is not a saving influence, nor is it a redemptive influence, but it is a part of God’s purpose. . . . If the Holy Spirit were not operative in men and women in this general way, human beings, as a result of the Fall and of sin, would have festered away into oblivion long ago. . . . Next to science, an interest in the things of the mind, literature, architecture, sculpture, painting, and music. Now, there can be no question at all but that cultivation of the arts is good. It is not redemptive, but it improves people, it makes them live better lives. Now, where do all these things come from? How do you explain men like Shakespeare or Michelangelo? The answer from the Scripture is that all these people had their gifts and were able to exercise them as the result of the operation of common grace, this general influence of the Holy Spirit.
This particular catechism answer strikes a very helpful balance. On the one hand, we learn that not all human beings will be saved. This is taught so clearly in the Bible in so many places that it’s impossible to list all the texts. But let me call your attention to two.
In John 6, Jesus says, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (v. 39). Jesus is talking about coming for a very specific number of people that he’s been given, and he’s going to raise them up on the last day. Not everyone will be raised up on the last day.
Romans 8:28-30 teaches a similar thing. Paul says in verse 30: “Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Notice, it’s the same number all through. He doesn’t say some of those he called, he justified, as if there were this many called and this many justified. No. All—and only—those he called, he justified. All—and only—those he justified he glorified. It’s a definite number. Not all people will be saved.
On the other hand, this catechism answer talks about common grace. Richard Mouw defines that in his book on this subject: “Is there a non-saving grace that is at work in the broader reaches of human cultural interaction, a grace that expedites a desire on God’s part to bestow certain blessings on all human beings— elect and non-elect alike, blessings that provide the basis for Christians to cooperate with and learn from non-Christians?”
And the Bible’s answer, in places like Romans 1 and 2, is yes. Though not all people are going to be saved, God still gives his gifts of wisdom and insight across the face of the whole human race. Through art and through science and through good government and in other ways, God is making this world a far better place than it would be if only Christians had those gifts. And so, again, here’s that very helpful balance that we should strike. On the one hand, no, not everyone is to be saved. No, not everyone has the saving grace of Jesus Christ in their lives. But on the other hand, we must appreciate the common grace that God gives across the whole human race. We must see that God is helping us and helping in the world through many people who do not believe. We need to appreciate those. We must be grateful for them, and we must respect them. That’s the balance that we must strike.
Birthdays & Anniversaries
1 – Chloe Olszyk
2 – Jerry Kulp, Lori Pluda, Makenna Murphy
3 – Carly Camuso, Andrew Leidy, Nancy VanDerbeek
4 – Cheyenne Kehs
5 – Sarah Im
6 – Shaun Permar
7 – Jim Foote, Delton Plank, Miriam Weigner, Herb Wolgemuth
8 – Dennis Gruver
10 – Seth Brunner
11 – Joy Myers
13 – Jack Parry
14 – Zach Darrow
15 – Beth Harbon, Pearl Walter
16 – Ed Hall
17 – Karen Alderfer, Reagan Hostelley
18 – Shawnee Kehs, Lorraine Shoemaker
19 – John Leidy
20 – Owen Permar, Collin Radcliff
21 – Dylan Camuso, Corbin Hostelley, Shannon Kehs
22 – Tom Kraus
24 – Ted Brunner, Jane Leidy, Mika Pike
26 – Mabel Eisenhauer
27 – Sherry Moyer, Levi Smith
28 – Robert Frank
1 –Byron & Dottie Rimmer
3 – Stan & Joan Radcliff
15 – Peter & Bonnie Smith
16 – Harvey & Lorraine Shoemaker
26 – Phil & Renee Shafer