One of the Jones’ favorite Christmas movies is “The Muppet Christmas Carol”. Each year we make a point to watch it as a family and laugh as the Muppets faithfully retell Charles Dickens’ famous story. If you haven’t seen it, you are missing out. It is the story of redemption and the hope that comes at Christmas. Ebeneezer Scrooge begins the story as a miserable miserly misanthrope who hates any notion of friendliness, generosity, and especially Christmas. Bah Humbug! Over the course of the story, Ebeneezer comes to terms with himself. He sees the way in which his words and deeds have genuinely hurt people. He sees direct evidence of his lack of human kindness leading to the near starvation of others. In its most distressing part, Scrooge must come to terms that unless he mends his ways, he will end up dead with no friends, family, or any to care for him. Miracle of Christmas miracles, Scrooge repents. As he sees the joy and wonder of Christmas, he changes and becomes as generous as he was miserly, as loving as he was hateful, and as joyous as he was miserable.
In some ways, A Christmas Carol is a helpful description of the Christian life. We all begin, apart from Christ, miserable sinners. Paul describes all people saying REMEMBER THAT YOU WERE AT THAT TIME SEPARATE FROM CHRIST, EXCLUDED FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL, AND STRANGERS TO THE COVENANTS OF PROMISE, HAVING NO HOPE AND WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD. Apart from Christ, we are without hope in the world. If you turn on the news, commentators likely taking every opportunity to explain what is wrong with the world. If we are honest, they don’t ever present any reasonable solution. It is as though the misery continues without any possibility of ending.
The good news of Christmas, the very wonderful amazing outstanding and overwhelming news about Christmas is that the Savior of the world has come. We are no longer to be poor, miserable wretches without hope. Because we know that in Christ our sins are taken away and our future is secure, we can rejoice with all joy. There was a picture of this sort of joy as the Lord Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. People were spreading out cloaks for Him, waving branches, and shouting, “Hosanna!” Jesus was here to save the people and the excitement was infectious. When an official told Him to quiet the crowd. Jesus responded by saying, IF THESE BECOME SILENT, THE STONES WILL CRY OUT!
Because of the coming of Christ, our lives are to be lives of joy filled praise. It does not mean that bad things don’t happen. Instead it means that when bad things happen, we know the King who takes care of us through our joys and our sorrows. Paradoxically, we can still be filled with joy even when we are hurt and hurting. This joy should spread through us to our friends, families, and coworkers.
This Christmas Day, if you haven’t already watched the “The Muppet Christmas Carol”, give it a try. As you watch it, remember that at Christmas, the Lord Jesus came. Remember as the hymn says, “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail the incarnate Deity.” Remember Jesus and be filled with joy that only comes with the knowledge that your sins are forgiven and that you are made whole in Christ. Remember that He is coming again and with that knowledge remain joyful in all circumstances of life remembering Tiny Tim’s final request, “God bless us, everyone.” He has done away with sin in His son who was born today.
The headline sets out the parameters of the Annual Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting of Leidy’s Church. It’s always a good time of fellowship, food, business matters, and voting to adopt a budget for the new year. In 2023, that meeting takes place on the second Saturday of the year, that is, on the 14th of January. Greeting may begin as early as 5:30, though eating will not begin until 6pm. Usually the business meeting happens around 7 or so, and the voting wraps up by 8:30 or thereabouts.
The Annual Report will be gone through line-by-line at this meeting under the thoughtful and expert guidance of Dana Gehman. It is always fascinating to see the many facets of our church budget: from costs for paper to support given to missionaries to how much we spend on utilities.
Childcare will be available for the business part of the evening, though young persons 12 and older are expected to stay in the meeting unless part of the childcare corps.
Mark the date and clear your calendar so you can be present for the feast followed by the figures. It’s 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, 2022.
This Newsletter article should be considered the official notification to all members of Leidy’s Church of the Annual Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting.
Mission Notes for 2023
As we begin a new calendar year, the Mission Committee thought you might like to know of mission opportunities to be aware of in the coming months. Here’s a few items of interest:
- There are two mission crews heading to Puerto Rico inFebruary. They will be looking for financial and prayer support. If you would like to be a supporter, contact the church office and a team member will be in touch with you.
- We do have a Missions email list for persons who would like to receive the updates we receive from our various missionaries and missions we support. If you would like to be on that list, let the church office know and give them your email address.
- Mission Month will take place during March. The line-up is just about set. But plan on being in the Fellowship Hall during Sunday School to hear each one who will be presenting their mission/ministry to us. Yes, one of the weeks will be a report-back from the folk who went to Puerto Rico.
- We’re looking forward to the return of the SLMT Auction this year. The date is Saturday, April 22nd.
- Gospel Gleanings monies collected a couple of years ago continue to be used for gospel work among the Erukula people group in India and to help provide training and support for Christians in Chad and Niger to take the gospel to unreached people groups in their lands. These efforts will benefit from our prayers.
- In This Time of Need monies continue to support Pastor Dagoberto and Pastor Jesus in Colombia and Venezuela respectively. Prayers and financial support are appreciated.
- There are many opportunities for volunteer work with ministries in the local area. North Care Women’s Center, MorningStar Ministries, Life Turning Point Philly, and others. The work can be for an hour or two in an evening or something more. Speak with a Mission Committee member for info if you have an interest.
- Finally, you might use the Mission section of the Annual Report as a way of remembering missions and missionaries to keep in your prayers.
Wednesday Central & iBLAST
Wednesday Central is starting January 11 and everyone should come! This time of food and fellowship begins at 5:45 with a family meal. After that the night is divided into three sections. Teaching which lasts roughly from 6:30 to 7:00, question and answer which runs from 7:00 to 7:30, and discussion and prayer in small groups which lasts from 7:30 to 8:00. This makes Wednesday Central the perfect opportunity to be shaped and formed by the Word of God as it is taught, discussed, and prayed. Please go to leidyschurch.org/Wednesday to get registered.
Kids in first through fifth grade are invited to participate in iBLAST. It runs the same time and weeks as Wednesday Central and is a fun filled way to learn about God, His Word, and His people. This semester we are going to look at the wisdom of God. For kids who are younger than 1st grade, there is a childcare each week starting at 6:30.
We are really excited for Wednesday Central to start and eager to see how the Lord uses it in the lives of His people. However, we also need help. If you are able to help by serving some of the smallest among us in providing childcare or alongside the kitchen crew, please go to Leidyschurch.org/Wednesday to sign up to help!
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Ted Brunner at the death of his mother. May God be with them at this difficult time.
We welcomed new members in December. Make sure to greet them and make them feel welcome.
- Dan & Linda Vaughn
- Jeff & Sarah Iannotti
- Sarah Allebach
- Mark & Sara Hiley
- Charlie & Carol Kretschner
- Lu Gillis
Ladies of Leidy’s Joke Night
All the ladies of the church are invited to gather up their favorite clean jokes and join us for our monthly Ladies of Leidy’s meeting. After our normal business meeting we will start out our year with laughing together. We will be meeting on Tuesday, January 3rd at 7 pm in Room 123. Come join the fun! All ladies are welcome to attend.
Chili Cook Off
Hello, present and potentially future chili champs and those who enter just for fun . . . this is a pre-announcement to the official announcement that Leidy’s will be hosting a Chili Cook-off on January 21, 2023. Get it on your calendars now. . . it will be to support the Night to Shine event that is taking place on February 10 also at Leidy’s . . . get that on your calendars also!
There will be three categories this year, beef, chicken and mystery. With 10 spots in each one to enter. Sign up genius will go out after thanksgiving.
- 10 points for chili name (we will get this prior to the event for ballots)
- 10 points for chili appearance
- 10 points for chili taste
- $25 entry fee, gets you to try all the other chilis and unlimited house chili . . . there will be prizes for the top three in each chili category and top three prizes for chili name.
- $15 per person to judge (blue ballot) and all you can eat house chili (12 and up)
- $10 per person all you can eat house chili (you ain’t judging, just eating)
- $5 per 11 and under to judge (yellow ballot) all you can eat (the yellow ballots don’t count, but the kids don’t know that)
There is max cap of $50 per family (more is allowed if you so desire)
There will be chicken nuggets and applesauce to help make it a family event . . .
for those who will enter and win, I salute you,
for those who are will enter and lose . . . life’s hard get a helmet
for those who read this and don’t enter…we can still be friends for a donation of your choosing… just kidding . . .
Night to Shine
We are excited to once again be an official host church for this year’s Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation on Friday, February 10th, from 6 to 9 pm. Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. On one night, hundreds of churches of different denominations from all over the world will come together to celebrate people with special needs! To find out how you can be a part of this worldwide movement, visit leidyschurch.nighttoshine.com or contact the church office.
We need volunteers before, during, and after the event, so there are many ways you can help. Before the event, we need people to help assemble flowers, set up for the fairy godmother dress/suit event on January 13 and 14th, participate in the Chili-Cookoff fundraiser on January 21st, and bake cookies for our guests to enjoy. The day of, we need set up/décor workers. That evening we need guest and volunteer check in help, red carpet greeters, guest buddies, parking lot attendants, security personnel, and food service people to name a few. You can sign up at the website or contact the church office.
Donations are needed and appreciated, and there are many ways you can do so! You can use a 2nd mile envelope and indicate NTS on the memo line. Or, for $25 you can sponsor a guest and put your name on a star ornament which will be sent home with a guest at the end of the night. Corporate sponsorships also welcome, with special recognition given to any business which donates to our NTS.
If you have questions, seek out Tony Kapusta or Denise Kulp who are part of the NTS planning team at Leidy’s Church.
The meeting began at 8:02 with only Ken Merritt being absent.
Pastor Tony gave a devotion from Philippians 1 and the partnership with joy that surrounds gospel life and ministry. As he reflected on the past year in anticipation for the next, he presented a picture where the whole of the congregation is joined together in partnership.
After the traditional Pizza Break to honor the outgoing Consistorymen (Pastor Steve, Ken Merritt, and Peter Martindell), the minutes were reviewed from the November 9th meeting and approved with a typographical correction. Then Pastor Steve and Pastor Michael submitted reports.
Dana Gehman submitted the financial report. He noted that the offering in November was the lowest of the year which resulted in a Total Fund Balance of -$7,026. He noted that while December has been the highest giving month historically, we all need to exercise caution in expenditures. We reviewed some of the insurance expenses with Dana, Pastor Tony, and Pastor Michael exploring alternatives for healthcare. We also explored the possibility of making changes to our building usage. He then circulated copies of the proposed 2023 budget. The overall budget compared to 2022 will represent a 2.37% decrease.
Pastor Tony went over the new teams of Consistory outlining their responsibilities and the representatives from consistory. Consistorymen were encouraged to consider who would serve well on the various teams. Pastor Tony was to flesh out details of each team within the coming weeks with individual meetings with the Consistorymen.
The meeting ended at 10:52 with a reminder of the forthcoming Christmas programs and communion schedule.
New City Catechism
Question 26: What else does Christ’s death redeem?
Christ’s death is the beginning of the redemption and renewal of every part of fallen creation, as he powerfully directs all things for his own glory and creation’s good.
Colossians 1:19-20: For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Commentary – John Bunyan
Jesus is a Redeemer, that is his name; he came into the world on this very business, to redeem his people, to redeem them from all iniquity (Titus 2:14), from this present evil world, from our vain conversations. He hath shed his precious blood to purchase us, we are bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20). We are none of our own, we are his, the purchase of his blood; and we may be confident that he dearly loves us, for he dearly bought us; and if he had not dearly loved us, he would never have given himself for us (Gal. 2:20). That was the highest testimony of his love; he loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood (Rev. 1:5). He will redeem us from the wrath to come.
Many pictures have been taken of the Grand Canyon. But none of them can really do it justice. The Grand Canyon is just one of those things best experienced in person. You can see it on people’s faces as they walk up to the rim and look out over the Canyon for the first time. They can’t help but be immediately struck by its immensity and unique beauty. It is a truly awe-inspiring sight.
Yet even there, standing at the rim, looking out over the Canyon, you won’t get a full experience of the place. It’s when you actually go down into the Canyon that you begin to see that it is bigger and deeper, more glorious in fact, that you initially saw. The view of the Grand Canyon at the rim is just the beginning of the even grander view that you will experience once you travel into the Canyon.
So it is with the gospel. As we first step up to the gospel, we see a most beautiful and awe-inspiring sight—the salvation of sinners. More specifically, that God through Jesus Christ has graciously acted to save a sinful people unto himself. These people are redeemed from sin and made a new creation and are adopted forever into the family of God.
It’s an amazing, beautiful, incredible message. And, at the same time, it is just the beginning of God’s saving, redeeming, and renewing work. As we head deeper into the gospel, a fuller and even more glorious picture emerges. We see that God’s saving of sinners was always intended to open up into a deeper, wider, all-encompassing saving of the whole creation.
The saving of sinners is at the heart of the gospel. It is the fountainhead. And from this fountainhead flows a mighty river, one full of redemptive, healing power for every square inch of the cosmos.
How is this possible? Through “his blood, shed on the cross” (Col. 1:20). Creation was in bondage due to the fall of man, locked behind the gates of hell. But then God moves toward us and, using the cross of Jesus Christ, smashed down those gates! Through God’s gracious efforts, a people and indeed a whole creation are freed. They are now in the kingdom of the Son, a place of complete redemption and total renewal.
All of this does two things for us.
- It gives us hope about the future. All around us we see evidence of the fall in things like unjust social systems and moral cultural decline and terrible suffering and death. The gospel message in its fullest form tells us not to despair but to have a sure and certain hope that one day all such things will be wiped away and replaced with peace and harmony, with the “healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2).
This hope, however, is mixed with a warning. For the fallen creation includes many who are still opposed to God, who continue to reject his rule and the One he sent to rule, Jesus. The redeeming work of the gospel means that all things, including those who oppose the Lord, will eventually be brought to heel. The question every person faces now is whether that redeeming work will be experienced with joyful awe or with the painful gnashing of teeth.
- It gives us motivation in the present. The creation has not been abandoned by God. Instead, through Jesus, it has been reclaimed by him and will eventually be made brand new. It will be a creation characterized by harmony and peace, rightly related to God and humanity. The church today is an early outpost of this new creation and a primary means toward bringing about this new creation.
This means then that the church is not a passive bystander to the world. Nor is it an imperiled passenger in the world, only biding its time until it is recused off of the sinking creation. Instead, the church is a divinely commissioned community of people whose faith efforts in the world even now matter, insofar as they proclaim and embody the redeeming and renewing power of the gospel.
Birthdays & Anniversaries
1 – Nicole Peck
2 – Michael Nowling
3 – Chelsea McDonald
4 – Jack Heebner
5 – Darlene Leidy
6 – Dave Doran
7 – Paul Kraus, Jill Ott
8 – Randy Godshall, Lewis Stretch
9 – Will Jones, Beth Kulp
10 – Charlotte Kehs, Wendy Radcliff
11 – Sophie Jones
12 – Connie Merritt, Renee Shafer
13 – Ben Divens, Brian Lafty, Sr., Dianne Nase
14 – Julia Kulp, Dottie Rimmer
15 – Rod Harbon, Jacqualyn Hillegass, Henry Niederhaus
24 – Mark Kostishion, Janie Inyang, Ed Schmidt
25 – Steve Swartz
26 – Annabelle Martindell
27 – Claire Nowling, Nicholas Sciacca
28 – Val Hager, John Rittenhouse
29 – Arlin Moyer
10 – Rich & Juliana Kapusta
11 – Jim & Pat Eakins
12 – Ted & Wanda Brunner
13 – Henry & Pearl Walter
14 – Kendall & Mary Beth Musselman
15 – Jim & Genie Smedberg