Let’s take up two subjects this month: oranges and grazing. I want us to think about those two subjects with respect to ourselves. Now this may be a stretch for some of you, since you’ve probably never thought of yourself as an orange; but grazing, well, that may be a bit more familiar if we’re talking about grazing at a buffet bar.
Here’s what I mean about oranges. Oranges are raised to produce juice. That’s their function. How do you get juice out of an orange? Answer: you squeeze it! That means putting pressure on it. I always alert Confirmation Classes to expect pressure from me; I’m looking to get some juice out of them! Likewise, we should expect God to put some pressure on us in order to get juice from us.
For years my wife has dreaded the week prior to the last Sunday of the month. She knows that is the dreaded “Newsletter Week” for me! That’s the week I get squeezed by God as I write up the articles for the Newsletter. Actually, I enjoy writing most of the articles – they’re a chance to play with words and ideas, trying to find novel and interesting ways to express things. The difficult articles are the Pulpit Schedule and the Pastor’s Column. I can spend days having my soul twisted in knots over them. When I’m done, it’s like Happy Days are here again!
Thanks to Laura Heebner, I’ve had to go back and look over those old columns. She’s the one behind the Pastor’s Ponderings link in the Resources tab on our website. It’s just old Pastor’s Columns. As I was sending them to her, I read a few. What a surprise! Some were really good! I mean, they ministered to me, they informed me, they encouraged me, they built me up. Now, it’s true, some of them stunk and were more than a little obscure, you know, they presented the kind of face only a mother could love.
As I read them, though, I could remember the particular anguish I experienced in writing specific columns. None came easily. It was like a woman giving birth. No, it was God using the circumstances of a deadline to squeeze me and get some orange juice from me. I’m just glad there was some juice to be squeezed out!
Which brings us to the subject of grazing. If we don’t graze there won’t be any juice to be squeezed out of us. By grazing I mean the consistent indiscriminate taking in of material and thinking about it. It’s rolling over in one’s mind all sorts of questions that may have no discernible relation to anything you’re doing. Then, again, it may be something that is very much in line with what you’re doing. You’re just grazing and packing things in your ruminator.
Then, whammo, God brings a situation into your life where pressure is applied and out comes this juice you never knew you had! For instance, the first article that appears under that tab is titled The Making of a Civilized Society. I read a book that Pat talked about, a book she found intriguing. I read it and found it intriguing also. And I pondered the assumptions that lay behind it. But without the pressure of the dreaded “Newsletter Week,” I would never have thought as deeply nor come to those particular conclusions about civilized and barbaric genetic codes.
Now, we need to mix in the key qualifier to all of what I’ve said above. All of the squeezing and grazing must be done within the overarching framework of the Word of God, the Bible. This is part of what it means to say All the Bible for All of Life. We must view life through the lens of Scripture. Every issue of life is addressed in Scripture.
We wish all issues were right on the surface, but such is not always the case. Colossians 3:16 is a strategic verse. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you. That’s grazing just for the joy of grazing, not grazing with some particular end in view. It’s filling yourself up with the Word of God for the love of the Word, not for a particular argument you want to make or a question you want to answer or anything else.
One of the columns posted at Pastor’s Ponderings is titled On Love and Squeegees. Ephesians 5:25 is the text behind the column. While I don’t think that text is mentioned in the article, it was part of my grazing for years. What prompted the column was the question of whether doing something out of duty is wrong. That’s a good question. The squeezing hand of God brought forth some juice from my life about that question because of that good mixture of grazing and squeezing.
Psalm One states the matter as pointedly as you’ll find: How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. Notice it does not say this fellow doesn’t know what wicked sinners and scoffers may be saying or doing, but only that he does not accept them as authoritative. Rather, this man’s delight is in God’s Word, it provides the constant background, the grinder through which he processes all he sees and hears and thinks about.
Verse three describes the outcome: He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season [think of juice coming out of oranges! jhcn] and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.
Here’s the point: we should not avoid pressure situations. We should not try to find ways to avoid responsibility. We should expect God to use all those situations and our faithful carrying out of responsibilities to be occasions for the Holy Spirit to cause the orange juice to flow! Or, to use our image for this year of Gospel Gleanings, to cause our light to shine!
Well, this Pastor’s Column is done. Happy Days are here again! But, it’s my last one as Pastor of Leidy’s Church. I have a feeling I’m going to miss the squeeze. I hope you miss the juice.
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
July Pulpit Schedule
5th – Liberating Truth! – Isaiah 61:1-3; Matthew 16:13-20; 2 Corinthians 3:12-18
We celebrate July 4th, Independence Day, to remember how the members of the thirteen colonies of the United States Congress unanimously signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Originally, this document declared the independence of United States of America from the tyrannical rule of Great Britain, who violated the colonists’ God-given “unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It employed the Bible’s liberating truth to real life matters. We too should live by these biblical precepts by the power of the Holy Spirit.
12th – Motivation for Reaching the Unreached – Deuteronomy 8:6-14, 17-20; Romans 10:8-15
Leidy’s Church is currently involved in Gospel Gleanings, a Dollar-A-Day Project to reach the Erukula and Mucherukala Unreached People Group in Andhra Pradesh, India with the Gospel. This is a strategic outreach to the most populous country in the world. India has more unreached people groups than any other country or region of the globe. Today we will consider some pressing reasons why we should be motivated to reach the unreached. We know people without Christ are lost. We know being lost has bad, far-reaching, disastrous ramifications. Things need to change.
19th – A Man of His Own Choosing – Judges 3:7-11, 1 Samuel 17:1-30; Acts 2:22-32
People love to be heroes. Young kids all over the country may be found counting down the seconds to recreate a last-second, game-winning shot. I’ve known an adult or two to do the same thing! That’s just one proof of the fact people love to be heroes. Often when we are watching a movie or reading a book we are tempted to identify with the star of the story and put ourselves into the starring role. Christians may even be tempted to do this when studying the Bible. We must recognize that God has chosen a Redeemer of His own choosing. (Hint: it is not any of us.)
26th – Home Improvement, Part 1 – Proverbs 3:1-6; Psalm 143:7-8; Colossians 3:1-19
The TV is chock full of reality shows and some of the most popular are the so-called “Home Improvement” shows. However, that’s a misnomer! What they really ought to be called is “House Improvement” shows. As everyone knows, a house IS NOT a home. When it comes to reality many homes in America are broken homes, filled with heartache and stress. God, the designer of the family, has strategic advice graciously implanted in the Bible on true HOME improvement! This week we will explore some improvement tips the Lord gives to wives.
August Pulpit Schedule
2nd – Testing Faith Claims – Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 2 Corinthians 13:1-10; 1 John 2:1-11
Life is replete with tests. The tests we encounter in the course of our lives are the means used in the development of our mental intelligence, our physical coordination, and our moral behavior. We can recall how we went through tests either with joy or sadness based on the outcome. The outcomes may carry a heavy price, for success or failure of tests determines the course of our lives. When it comes to our relationship with God, how we stand up to tests of faith impacts us for eternity. Let us be examined by the testing of faith claims.
9th – The Living God Is Not an Idle Idol – 1 Samuel 5:1-12; Acts 17:23-30; Ephesians 1:3-14
From the time of the Fall, mankind has sought to cast God in the image of man. Our culture today teems with obvious evidences of that fact. The rebellious spirit of our day is a direct result. We’re not the first generation or the first culture to battle against the Living God. The Philistines walked that road and it began to consume them. The Bible teaches us that God is a living and active God, not an idol conceived in the mind of man. Man – male and female – is made in the image of God and must turn from idols to serve and follow the living and true God.
16th – Home Improvement, Part 2 – Genesis 2:18-25; Ecclesiastes 4:7-12; Colossians 3:1-19
Three weeks ago we considered how so-called Home Improvement shows on TV are not reality shows about “homes” at all. They are about houses. A house is not a home. We don’t need houses so much as we need homes. Women and men have specific roles to fulfill in homes being homes as intended by God. We’ve learned some of the strategic advice the Bible gives to women about their roles. This week we will scan some pertinent biblical passages to hear what the Lord might have for men. As we’ll see and hear, God speaks clearly and straightforwardly to men.
23rd – Life Lessons – Genesis 24:1; Psalm 40:1-5; Acts 21:15-16
Bill Teate has been in full-time ministry for almost 50 years and he’s been a Christian longer than that. During that time God has worked in his life in some amazing ways! He has a good perspective from which to view life as we live it. Today, it is his goal to look back and see what God has done. There are lessons God has taught Bill. Some were hard lessons; all were good lessons. His desire is for his retrospective purview to help us in our endeavor to follow God’s will for our lives. This will be a good day to gain some perspective as he shares some thoughts with us.
30th – Courage in Transitions – Joshua 1:1-9; Matthew 14:22-33; 2 Corinthians 5:1-15
It has been said that we all like change, but only on our own terms. We have experienced many changes in our lives due to the coronavirus pandemic. The changes faced have altered our schedules, restructured our family life, and reorganized our priorities. When the pandemic restrictions were foisted upon us, we made transitions to cope and comply with those demands. When changes are imposed on us, how we deal with them has major implications on our faith-walk with God. We need God to grant us courage as we go through the transitions of life.
It’s a long stretch of time between Pentecost and the first Sunday of October. Why should that make any difference to us? Because those are two Sundays when Leidy’s Church is mandated by her Constitution to serve the Lord’s Supper. Therefore, it has become the custom to have a Sunday during that long stretch be a Communion Sunday.
Such is still the case in 2020. Having gotten our feet wet with serving communion in the coronavirus setting on Confirmation Sunday, we know it can be done. So, the date for summer communion is August 2nd. Come to worship on that day eager to reaffirm your sheltering in the shadow of the Almighty, that is, in the shadow of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
In the fall of 1991, I entered Mrs. Rush’s 1st grade class. During the year, Mrs. Rush brought in an expert to teach a small unit on spiders. The whole class learned loads of interesting facts. At that time, I learned there are differences between arachnids (spiders and scorpions) and insects. I also learned that while spiders come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, they are all creepy. I just did not like all their strange eyeballs and hairy exteriors. I really did not like the way their legs moved when they walked. In short, as a six-year-old boy in Mrs. Rush’s 1st grade class, I was afraid of spiders.
I was not a particularly fearful or anxious boy and so this newfound phobia of spiders presented little difficulty except for one time of the day. I knew spiders liked undisturbed places to spin their webs, and I had seen spiders in the corners of my room when my mother forced me to confront the growing mounds of messiness. For a few nights after our spider unit, I lay in bed imagining those eight legs slowly crawling up the side of my mattress, and then into bed with me. In those moments I knew I was a goner. I knew that one day a black spider with a red-orange hourglass on its abdomen would come, bite me, and cause an early death.
There was only one thing for me to do when confronted with this certainty of a creepy black widow spider in my room. I would have to sleep facing the wall. In this way I was convinced I might have a chance to wake up, see the oncoming spider threat, and counter it with a mighty crushing blow from a shoe or other spider-destroying implement. Once I came to this conclusion, I found that I was able to sleep peacefully. The fear of spiders, though still present, was not overwhelming.
At least I was able to sleep until I started to think about robbers. To be clear, all six-year-old boys think about robbers and the best way to catch them. I knew that a robber would enter my bedroom through the door (robbers in Peru, Indiana, must have been very polite). The only trouble with a robber entering my bedroom through the door was my being preoccupied by the forthcoming spider invasion. What was I to do? I could either face the wall being prepared for the arachnids but lose any ability to catch a robber red handed, or I could face the door ready to spring on an unsuspecting robber yet die from black widow venom. I was in a difficult spot.
In realty, I was in no real danger from spiders or robbers. There were no black widow spiders lurking in the house, and there were no robbers casing the neighborhood. Being six, I was consumed with fear, and I sought safeguards to remove risk of unpleasantness from my life. I did not realize that I, along with all the spiders and robbers in all of creation, lived within the parameters God has ordained for my life. I did not know that in His book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. [Psalm 139:16]
For the past three months our church, society, and world have wrestled with uncertainty likely far greater than any of us have previously experienced. With the uncertainty, there has been a temptation to respond with the same fear I experienced as a 1st grader learning about spiders. I must not do this. Instead, I must remember that God is sovereign over all things (good and bad). I must remember that God is working all things together for good for those who are called according to His purpose. [Romans 8:28] I must boldly follow Him wherever He leads knowing that I am secure within His hands!
To the Praise of His Glory,
Michael W. Nowling
The Rummage Sale is Happening!
Here are the answers to all your questions about the Rummage Sale. Finally!
- Monday, July 6th, begin set up at 9am
- Tuesday, July 7th, continue set up at 9am
- Wednesday, July 8th, Opening Sale Day, Doors will be open from 9am to 8pm
- Thursday, July 9th, Sale Day, Doors will open from 9am until sold out or 6pm, whichever comes first. Pack up begins at 6pm. Men are welcome to come and lend a helping hand!
It should be noted this Rummage Sale will be a bit different. How? In these ways:
- Only selling clothing, linens, shoes, purses – no household items, toys, etc. This will facilitate spreading out tables to provide some distance for those shopping for essentials.
- Workers will wear masks during sale days and hand sanitizer will be available for everyone, shopper and worker alike.
- Wednesday items will be sold $5 p/bag (provided by us) so no long lines at check out.
- Thursday will be the usual $2 p/bag (supplied by us).
- No food will be sold this time.
Important Note: We are planning to have a regular October Big “R” the week of October 12th, BUT it is the year 2020, so ya never know!
I.L.C. Growth Groups to Resume in September
Now that the pandemic restrictions are being lifted and our governor has announced that all areas of the state are now operating in the GREEN ZONE, we thought it might be good to resume I.L.C. Growth Groups. However, considering the COVID virus limitations, our growth groups have not met since April.
Our small group ministries typically stop meeting during the summer months due to young people being off from school, family vacations, and others summer activities. However, with the start of the new school year and the hopes of routines returning to families, businesses, and educational institutions, it is recommended that we resume church ministries this September. The official date for Sunday School, women’s ministries, committees, and other church groups is Rally Day, September 13th.
As we consider these proposals, we would like to encourage all I.L.C. Growth Groups to resume regular meetings as well. All growth group facilitators are encouraged to contact their small group members and notify them when they plan to meet this fall and what, if any, preventive steps they want to employ at their first meeting.
If you are not currently a member of a I.L.C. Growth Group and would like to join one this fall, please contact the church office or speak to Pastor Steve and arrangements will be made for you to attend a small group.
Pastor Michael Nowling to be Ordained
Wwaaaaaaayyy back on March 15th, Pastor Michael was scheduled to be ordained to the Christian ministry. Instead, Covid-19 happened and derailed the ordination.
Hallelujah, a new date for Michael’s ordination is set. Unless some other unforeseen catastrophic event intervenes, the Service of Ordination for Michael W. Nowling is set for 5pm on Sunday, July 26th. It will be a public service of worship. The Preacher for the occasion will be our old friend Dr. Anees Zaka. Anees has been a mentor and friend to Michael for a number of years. He will bring a good word from the Word for this special occasion. There will be a light reception in the Fellowship Hall following the service of worship.
The Spiritual Council of Leidy’s Church provided oversight for Pastor Michael leading up to ordination. He submitted to the Elders a 36-page document titled Fathers Instructing Children: An Examination of Biblical Commands for Christian Education with a Select Historical Survey of Reformed Methods. That may sound boring, but it wasn’t. Appended to that already longish paper was Michael’s personal testimony, including an account of his call to Christian pastoral ministry as well as detailed Statement of Faith.
After the Spiritual Council read Michael’s paper and conducted a lengthy examination session with him about the paper and other aspects of his faith, the Elders voted to proceed with the process by having him defend his paper and his call to ministry in an Ecclesiastical Council with more than a dozen local pastors as well as our Elders. That took place on February 15th and lasted for just over two and half hours. As it turned out, the questioning went well beyond the subject of the paper and proved to be a most instructive and helpful meeting. The members of that Ecclesiastical Council, on the motion of Pastor John Muhlfeld of Covenant Presbyterian Church and seconded by Pastor Tim Buczek of Hilltown Baptist Church, voted unanimously to recommend Michael for Ordination. The Spiritual Council received with favor the recommendation of the Council and that brings us, finally(!), to the big event on July 26th.
The entire Leidy’s Church family is invited and heartily encourage to attend Pastor Michael’s ordination service. No, you don’t have to read his paper to attend, nor do you get to ask him any questions. Well, at the reception you may ask him whatever you wish.
Ladies of Leidy’s
The Ladies of Leidy’s have not been able to meet together for awhile, but we continue to “work behind the scenes” to help where help is needed.
Our one BIG AND EXCITING EVENT coming up is our RUMMAGE SALE on July 8th and 9th. The money we make at the Rummage Sale goes a long way to help a lot of people. See the Rummage Sale News Bulletin article to get all the information.
Our next meeting together will be on September 1, 2020 at 7 PM, Lord willing. All our regular members will be welcomed back and some new faces… we would love to see.
Mark it on you calendar and try to come and be a part of our friendly group.
iBLAST: Changes on the Horizon
It might seem too early to talk of iBLAST in July, but the countdown has already begun. It will be here sooner than you think!
We are going to extend the fall semester of iBLAST to 10 weeks. That means it will start Wednesday, September 16th. iBLAST, our ministry to children in first through fifth grade, helps youngsters think more clearly about God and apply the truths of the Scriptures to their lives. Each Wednesday iBLAST runs from 6:00 to 7:30 with a family meal starting at 5:15.
If you would like more information or have questions, please contact the office. If you would like to get to know some of the families of Leidy’s Church by serving at iBLAST, please let Pastor Michael know. He’ll find a place for you!
Youth Fellowship News
Listen for the sizzle sizzle splash. What goes sizzle sizzle splash, you ask? A teenager forgetting sunscreen and diving into the pool for relief!
This summer Leidy’s Church Youth Fellowship will continue the tradition of summer pool parties. Each one will be from 3 to 6 on July 19th, August 2nd, and August 16th. We’re looking forward to a special activity in lieu of a pool party on July 5th. The youth will help set up for a special rummage sale this July.
Pool Parties are open for kids entering 6th through 12th grade. The main dish will be provided. Boys are encouraged to bring a side dish. Girls are encouraged to bring a drink. Everyone is encouraged to bring a modest swimsuit.
New Confirmation Class Forming
When September arrives, so will a new Confirmation Class at Leidy’s Church. This is a two-year class for students entering 8th or 9th grade this fall. It will meet on Sunday mornings during the Sunday school hour. With special permission, some adult persons are allowed to take the course as well, though they will be treated as ordinary students and required to do all the work the younger students do.
Registration forms may be obtained from the church office. Students will receive a leather reference Bible personalized with the student’s name embossed on the outside and inscribed with fine calligraphy on the inside. It will be used much during the course of the course.
The Spiritual Council has contracted with a retired local pastor to head up the course. He has some experience and the class should meet our expectations.
On March 15th, Leidy’s Church suspended all its activities. While we have been able to livestream services, we have not resumed other aspects of ministry like Sunday School. Through the course of the spring and summer we have been working through the logistics of Sunday School.
While we are still ruminating on what a post shelter-in-place Sunday School will look like, our intention is to have Sunday School programs for all ages starting on September 20th.
We recognize that not everyone is comfortable with coming back into large groups (or even small groups). Because of this we are working diligently to put in place helpful guidelines for teachers and students. We also ask that you use discernment in your own understanding of returning to Sunday School. Finally, please respond with charity to those who differ in opinion with you on the risks involved with returning to Sunday School. If you have any specific questions or concerns, please contact the office.
Thank you so much for your prayers as our CMAC bunch has been working through the logistics of Vacation Bible School in the year 2020. There is no need to remind you of all the unusual circumstances of the times.
After much prayer and thought, seeking to figure out the logistics of having approximately 75 kids and another 50 volunteers interact in meaningful ways for VBS, we have decided not to have VBS this summer. While this is not our first choice, we trust that the Lord will continue His good work in the lives of our children despite missing VBS this year.
For those kids desperately seeking VBS as a great way to interact with friends and learn a little more about what the Bible teaches, there is good news. iBLAST will be starting earlier than normal and running for longer than usual. We promise it will bring the fun and learning you have come to love and expect. See the iBlast article for more details.
Mark your calendars: Rally Day is coming on September 13th, 2020! Everyone is invited to join us as we celebrate with the kids at a breakfast and presentation of the Children’s Ministries at Leidy’s Church.
If you are not a child and do not have children, Rally Day is also the start of our academic year for adult Sunday School classes. That means the Rally Day Breakfast is a great way to learn where to get plugged in on a Sunday morning. Rest assured we will observe appropriate distancing folkways. While we are still working on some of the details, you can have peace of mind that if you come hungry, you will leave full!
Doubling Down on the Run – Join In!
COVID-19 has caused a lot of us to shift our focus and change are routines. Our homes are now our offices. Our kitchen tables are now classrooms. People have rediscovered puzzles, reading, and baking bread as pastimes. Still others have rediscovered the simple pleasure of taking a walk or going for a run and challenging themselves to get more steps in their day. All those steps, miles, and kilometers are beneficial for a healthy body, soul, and spirit.
Now there is an opportunity to put those steps, miles, and kilometers to benefit another good cause. Mick and Cathy Sander are missionaries working with Comfort for Africa (CFA). When their missionary work began, Mick and Cathy’s plan was to work in education and a ministry for the deaf in eSwatini, a small country in Africa. However, like us, COVID-19 has caused Mick and Cathy, as well as CFA, to shift focus and change routine. The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to lockdowns and shuttered businesses around the world and southern Africa is no exception. There are many families whose livelihoods have suffered and who face dire circumstances.
During this time, CFA has returned to its roots as a direct relief agency. Partnering with local churches and organizations, CFA workers have been delivering much-needed food parcels or grocery store vouchers to families in eSwatini, Mozambique, and the Republic of South Africa. Mick and Cathy are asking for our support in order to fund this vital work.
How can you help? Your steps, miles, and kilometers can serve ‘double-duty’ through your participation in the ‘Comfort for Africa Virtual Relief Run’!
Here’s how it works.
- To participate, go to https://www.comfortforafrica.org/relief-run-2 and purchase a Relief Run T-Shirt.
- Each adult t-shirt costs $35. Each child size t-shirt costs $15 and shipping is included in the price.
- When your t-shirt arrives, plan your own 5K walk or run. You can participate with family or friend or just plan your own walk. It’s a pretty flexible event.
- If 5K is too far, set your own distance.
- Proceeds from the sale of these shirts will go to CFA’s hunger relief efforts in Southern Africa. The sale of one adult shirt buys a parcel of food necessities to help feed a family for one month!
- Help spread the word about CFA and the work they are doing by posting a picture of you, wearing your t-shirt of course, on social media using the hashtag #ReliefRun2020, and don’t forget to tag Comfort for Africa.
PLUS if you participate in this event let the Leidy’s Church office know. The Missions Committee will MATCH every donation. So, instead of your steps providing one parcel of food necessities for one month, you will be providing these vital items to someone for two months. In other words your steps, miles, and kilometers will be doing more than double-duty when you support this worthwhile ministry.
An Open Letter to Leidy’s Church
Dear Leidy’s Church Family:
My wife, Pat, and I, arrived at Leidy’s Church in a state of transition from the warm, engaging Midwest [think Chicago Bears] to the cold, heartless East Coast. At least, that’s what we saw in our minds. How wrong were we!
Our first Sunday here was September 23, 1984. Pastor Armand Weller was in Lancaster for a weekend conference and I was present as a possible interim preacher. For the next three Sundays – Sept. 30, Oct. 7, and Oct. 14 – Armand preached. But he had taken a position with Jesus Focus Ministries, so we began the interim preaching on Oct. 21, 1984.
At that time John was a doctoral student at Princeton Seminary studying Patristics. Pat was mother for three young children and a part time worker for the Gallup Organization. We would load up the kids and come over each Sunday morning in the station wagon the church had leased for Armand, that he no longer used. Worked for us! Each Sunday a different family would host us for lunch. It was great! We got to know lots and lots of folk that way. We still remember and appreciate some specific meals and treasure friendships that began then.
Eventually, we began to come over on Saturday morning and then Friday evening. We stayed in the parsonage. Much better than seminary housing. We enjoyed all of the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in Souderton in 1984. We were shocked Christmas Eve when a big bag of gifts showed up on the doorstep – yep, one of the famous Golden Circle Golden Deed gifts. On Christmas morning we watched as two cock pheasants fought in the middle of Cherry Lane. We were a much more rural congregation then!
We officially became the Pastoral Family on July 1, 1985. The rest is history, as they say. In the succeeding years we went from three kids to six kids to, for now, six grandkids. We transitioned from fairly skinny to pleasantly plump or husky, as John prefers to think of it. We went from a family in transition to a settled, stable family with roots that grew deeper each year. Leidy’s Church and Souderton became our home. For those roots and stability we give thanks to God and to you.
We have been blessed to walk through some of the deepest, darkest of times with you, to bound through days of sunshine and plenty, and to walk with measured step in all the normal times. We think as a pastoral family and as a church family we can each say God has been faithful to us, He has kept us, and He has provided more plentifully than we could have imagined in 1985.
Now we’re in transition again. No longer will we be the pastoral family, rather we will be a family who is part of the broader Leidy’s Church family. Those roots that grew over the years cannot be uprooted. We simply want to say Thank You for allowing us into your lives and providing for us with unbounded generosity.
With love, lasting affection, and great gratitude,
John & Pat Niederhaus
Blood Drive: Need is Urgent
The Red Cross Mobile Blood Unit will be at Leidy’s Church on Friday, July 31st. Donors may arrange appointments between 2 and 7 pm. Because of the extraordinary conditions in recent months, the need for donors is extreme. Though restrictions have eased somewhat since the April Blood Drive, ample precautions will be in place, these include:
- No donors accepted who have traveled to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Iran, Italy, or South Korea in the previous 28 days.
- No donors accepted who have had contact with a person who has or is suspected to have the virus.
- Pre-donation temperature screening for all donors.
- Enhanced disinfecting, donor beds sanitized between each donor, and other measures.
- Social distancing will include separated drive set up to allow as much distance as possible between donors.
- Staff wellness and protection procedures in place.
There are several ways for you to secure an appointment to give blood. The quickest and easiest way is to go directly to www.redcrossblood.org and in the “Find a Blood Drive” box type in leidyschurch. [no spaces, no apostrophe] Click on the link and you’ll be able to see what times are still available. Choose the time that best fits your schedule. You may get a call from someone from the Fellowship Committee to see if you would like to give blood. The church office also will take calls from folk who want to register to give blood but haven’t received a call and don’t want to go to the website.
If you go to the Red Cross site, you’ll find there are several options for giving blood. The one most folk select is just the regular blood donation. One of the other options is called Power Red. A Power Red donation collects the red cells but returns most of the plasma and platelets to the donor. These donors must meet specific eligibility requirements and have type A Neg, B Neg, or O blood. The final option is to donate Platelets. This type of donation collects the platelets and some plasma and returns the red cells and most of the plasma back to the donor. The donation takes approximately one and-a-half to two and-a-half hours. Again, the bulk of folk choose to make a simple, regular blood donation.
Thanks in advance for your participation.
Consistory Nominations – Congregational Meeting Scheduled
The Consistory of Leidy’s Church has called for a meeting of the congregation on Sunday, August 9th. Taking place immediately after the service of worship, the purpose of the meeting is to elect Consistorymen for the term of 2021-2023. This article serves as official notification of the meeting.
The Spiritual Council nominates men to serve as Elders. Elders are elected for life and serve thenceforward on the Spiritual Council. Some Elders also serve from time to time on the Consistory, usually six during any given year, though the number may vary a bit. They may not serve more than two consecutive three-year terms as Elders-on-Consistory.
The Consistory nominates men to serve as Deacons. Deacons are elected for three-year terms and may not serve more than two such terms consecutively. Working with the Spiritual Council, the Consistory seeks to maintain a more or less equal distribution of 6 Deacons with 6 Elders on Consistory in any given year.
These men are being nominated this year:
- John DiLenge currently serving as an Elder-on Consistory, is being nominated to serve a second consecutive term on Consistory. John, wife Tara, and their four children have been active in Leidy’s Church for many years and in many ways. John has taught the 8th grade Sunday school class most recently. He also is a board member of Love Cradle.
- Jim Kinney is being nominated to serve another term as Deacon. He and wife Angela are the parents of three children. They are all actively involved in Small Group ministry, Sunday school, and other activities. Jim went through the Confirmation curriculum as an adult the past two years. He is employed as an accountant.
- Tim Leidy also is being nominated to serve a second term as Deacon. As his name suggests, he is a lifelong member of Leidy’s Church. With his wife Rachel, he is parenting two lively preschoolers. Tim has headed up the Property Committee the past three years and, more recently, has developed skills to run our audio board. He works as a pathologist.
- Aaron Vogelzang is the newbie Deacon nomination this year. He has some roots in Delaware County, but his family relocated to New England early into his adolescence. He met his wife Alisha at Gordon College, and now they are parents of four children. Active in a small group, the Vogelzang family is assimilating! Aaron works with a software company.
Judgement House Service Projects
Where You Can Help
Leidy’s Church is not doing Judgement House in 2020. However, it is not too early to begin preparing some infrastructure for the 2021 dramatic gospel presentation.
Toward that end, there are two service projects planned for July and August.
- From July 27-29 we will be cleaning and organizing a few spaces around the church property to house various props for Judgement House.
- In August we will be constructing and storing a new set for hell.
If you would like to help or have questions, please contact the church office or Pastor Michael.
On Wednesday evening, June 10th, the Consistory of Leidy’s Church met live and in-person! It was such a welcome change that no one took note of weather conditions. Notes were taken of the meeting, however, and below are some of the notable notes:
- David’s return to his camp at Ziklag and the devastation wrought by the Amalekites in the absence of him and his men served as the focus for devotional thoughts by Pete Martindell. David had a really bad day, and we’ve had some really bad days. We ought to do what David did: strengthen our hearts in God by reflecting on the reality that God is Master and Sovereign over all. We need to trust Him in our anguish even as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. He will hold us fast.
- Penn Builders will be doing some digging on certain parts of the building’s foundation on June 20th to seek explanations and solutions for the wicking problem.
- The Property Committee has contracted with Scott Rittenhouse to replace the badly deteriorated window frames at the HUB. Work to be done in late July/early August.
- Received a report on Nominations to serve on Consistory. Aaron Vogelzang will be nominated to serve an initial three-year term as Deacon. Jim Kinney and Tim Leidy will be nominated to serve second three-year terms as Deacons. August 9th following the service of worship a Congregational Meeting will be held for the purpose of electing Consistorymen.
- Received a report from Spiritual Council that John DiLenge will be nominated to serve a three-year term as Elder-on-Consistory.
- The Pulpit Committee continues it work. The Committee has developed additional resources to identify distinctives of our congregation that might set it apart from other congregations. Some initial interviews continue to occur.
- Received a report on how the various administrative tasks associated with the pastoral office are to be delegated to various staff members, Committees, and volunteers.
- A preaching schedule has been established for July, August, and September. The roster of preachers includes Pastor Steve, Pastor Michael, Denny Barger, Bill Teate, and Armand Weller. Each is well-known to the congregation and appreciated for their messages.
- Our application to host a Night to Shine in 2021 is now approved. It will happen on February 12th.
- Suddenly five capaciously loaded pizzas appeared, accompanied by liquid forms of refreshment. A going-off-Consistory treat citing the Pastor’s retirement as an excuse.
- Confirmed that Grace Community Church will use our sanctuary on Sunday evenings from 5 to 7 or so for her weekly worship. Ordinarily meeting at Penn View School, they have not been able to do so since mid-March and may not be able to do so before school begins. Grace Community will sanitize before and after each of their services. We are glad to be able to facilitate the worship needs of a sister congregation.
- Our official re-opening for worship on the 7th of June seemed to go well. The spring Rummage Sale usually taking place in May is tentatively slated for July 8 and 9.
- Pastor Michael reported he is working on Hell this summer. He referred to the Judgement House set which is pivotal for that outreach event. It needs some significant upgrading.
- Updated Shepherding lists have been distributed by Pastor Steve.
- Start-up of Sunday School was discussed. It was decided Rally Day, Sept. 13th, would be the date to reconvene children’s and adult Sunday School, all things being as they are.
- Other Committee reports and items of business were discussed, but nothing especially noteworthy, just business as usual.
Following a time of intercessory prayer for spoken concerns, the meeting was adjourned by the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer at 9:42.
The Second Helvetic Confession
At the heart of Christian faith is the doctrine of justification by faith alone. This month we finish up the chapter of the Second Helvetic that treats of that vital doctrine.
Chapter 15: of the True Justification of the Faithful
4) We Are Justified by Faith Alone. But because we receive this justification, not through any works, but through faith in the mercy of God and in Christ, we therefore teach and believe with the apostle that sinful man is justified by faith alone in Christ, not by the law or any works. For the apostle says: “We hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Also: “If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. . . . And to one who does not work but believes in him who justified the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.” And again: “By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast,” etc. Therefore, because faith receives Christ our righteousness and attributes everything to the grace of God in Christ, on that account justification is attributed to faith, chiefly because of Christ and not therefore because it is our work. For it is the gift of God.
We Receive Christ by Faith. Moreover, the Lord abundantly shows that we receive Christ by faith, in John 6, where he puts eating for believing and believing for eating. For as we receive food by eating, so we participate in Christ by believing. 5) Justification Is Not Attributed Partly to Christ or to Faith, Partly to Us. Therefore, we do not share in the benefit of justification partly because of the grace of God or Christ, and partly because of ourselves, our love, works, or merit, but we attribute it wholly to the grace of god in Christ through faith. For our love and our works could not please God if performed by unrighteous men. Therefore, it is necessary for us to be righteous before we may love and do good works. We are made truly righteous, as we have said, by faith in Christ purely by the grace of God, who does not impute to us our sins, but the righteousness of Christ, or rather, he imputes faith in Christ to us for righteousness. Moreover, the apostle very clearly derives love from faith when he says: “The aim of our command is love that issues from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.”
6) James Compared with Paul. Wherefore, in this matter, we are not speaking of a fictitious, empty, lazy, and dead faith, but of a living, quickening faith. It is and is called a living faith because it apprehends Christ who is life and makes alive, and shows that it is alive by living works. And so James does not contradict anything in this doctrine of ours. For he speaks of an empty, dead, faith of which some boasted but who did not have Christ living in them by faith. James said that works justify, yet without contradicting the apostle (otherwise he would have to be rejected) but showing that Abraham proved his living and justifying faith by works. This all the pious do, but they trust in Christ alone and not in their own works. For again the apostle said: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not reject the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose,” etc.
Update from the Pulpit Committee
As we reported before, the Covid-19 shutdown moved the Pulpit Committee to meeting virtually. It’s good to be able to say we have returned to our weekly face-to-face meetings, but we also have embraced the technology of virtual meetings which allows us to meet as a committee with candidates no matter where any particular candidate may reside.
You’re probably wondering where we are in the process. We have received over sixty applications. Additionally, we have reached out to some job-seekers that have placed their resumés on-line but may not have seen our posting. We have watched numerous sermons on-line and have held virtual interviews with several candidates.
While we have seen many men with a true calling to serve in the ministry, the man that has been called to our church has not been revealed to us yet. We have no doubt that God will bring him to us in His good timing.
We ask that the congregation continue to pray. Specifically, you can pray for:
- Discernment – in our reviews of resumes, viewing of sermons, and discussions with candidates.
- Patience – in not rushing to fill the position, but to seek God’s will and His timing.
- Preparation – for our future pastor’s heart to hear the call on his life to serve our congregation.
- Blessing – for those who will be stepping in to preach and provide other support to us during this time of transition.
Please reach out to any member of the Pulpit Committee if you have any questions.
- Sherman Focht Jim Foote Dana Gehman, Chairman
- Tim Leidy Peter Martindell Jill Ott
- Deb Schatz Joe Sciacca Alisha Vogelzang
- Dave Reich, ex officio as Consistory President
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Larry Anders and family at the death of his father, and to family and friends at the death of Bea Schnable. May God be with them at this time.
We rejoice with Peter and Bambi Martindell at the dedication of their daughter, Sylvia Ann. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
We rejoice with Vanessa Martindell, Riley Peck, Jaedyn Rittenhouse, Sam Shafer, and Will Shafer as they were baptized into the Christian faith. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Congratulations to Aiden and Rachel (Rittenhouse) LeFever who were united in Christian marriage. May God be with them as they begin their life together in Him.