Friday, December 6, 2019

Dear Church Family,

Here are a few highlights from an email I received from one of you this week about your experience in reading through the Testimonies:

Thank you for encouraging our church family to begin reading the Testimonies.  I know I’m behind after being gone . . .   But I don’t mind being behind, I’m just SO blessed from the messages I’m reading!!  Since it was ‘warmer’ and sunny out today, I spent almost two hours, bundled up, outside on our back-deck reading.  It’s very quiet and peaceful in the backyard and felt so filled with the Spirit when I came in.

So true!  Please don’t be discouraged if you are behind!  Keep reading and let’s press on as we glean the many instructions and hence blessings that these volumes afford.

 As we were gathered at the table as a family reading through the Testimonies this week, egw-testimonies_9vol-set_largeeach with his own book and highlighting those points that stood out, I heard Jason say something like, oh it’s all so good, I am having to highlight so much!   So thankful for the joy he’s experiencing in this.  Again, these are powerful books worthy of our consideration, regardless of age or circumstance in life.

In the news:

  1. For those who are participating in the Testimonies for the Church reading plan, there will be a gathering tonight at the Kretschmar home to share in a potluck supper at 5:45 p.m. and then a discussion will follow on the themes of volume 1.
  2. This Sabbath will be a special health emphasis weekendhmayer (1) with Dr. Harold Mayer from Southern Adventist University with us. He will speak about weight loss, metabolic efficiency, and God’s plan for a life of wholeness.
  3. Every year the church calls for a special Christmas offering to address a need for improving the house of worship and our outreach to the community. This year it has been voted to try and address some of the still outstanding needs of the Audio / Visual department.   Many months ago, it was brought to the board’s attention some of these remaining needs. It has been determined thus that this year’s offering will be used to address those needs.  Here is a summary of some of those needs as related to me by Brad Robinson who is leader of this ministry: The funds will be used for further programming of the soundboard and for hanging and setting up the spotlights. If there are enough funds we may look at replacing the mobile sound board.
  4. There will be a fellowship lunch this Sabbath with the Meier team hosting.
  5. The School will be participating in the Greene County Christmas parade this Sunday afternoon.
  6. There will be a special dinner provided by the Pathfinders for those 55 and older at the church this Sunday at 6 p.m. Please contact Kirstin Elliott immediately if you are able to come for the dinner.
  7. This Monday, there will be a church business meeting in the church fellowship hall at 6:30 p.m. This is a meeting for everyone to participate in.  One of the items we will be voting on is the church budget for the new year.  I am attaching that for your review. Click here to access it.  A few remarks for your notice regarding the 2020 budget:helloquence-5fNmWej4tAA-unsplash.jpg
    • Some accounts had their 2020 budgets reduced as they haven’t used much in the last year or appear to have ample unused funds still residing in their account. It is important to remember therefore that while demand may be low now, we must be prepared to resume funding in the future so that these ministries may remain strong.
    • Last year we moved funds from the worthy student account to school subsidy at the request of the school but this year they felt that we needed to move things back more like they were before.  This move is merely to help them with their budgeting needs.
    • The school requested a 3% increase in subsidy for 2020 which amounts to a $3400 dollars increase over the course of the year. Rather than simply raise the overall church budget, we elected to reduce our funding of church capital by this amount so that we could keep the budget from increasing even more.
    • While our tithe and giving seem to be still holding strong for which we praise the Lord, we still anticipate the very real possibility that due to the sale of the hospital and retirements and the like, that we may face a decline in our overall giving in the months and years to come.
    • Remember that the school, Community Services, and Church Capital are funded a 100% each month regardless of whether we meet budget. Then what is left is spread between the rest of the accounts.  So if we don’t make budget one month, the ministries of the church aren’t fully funded their budgeted amount.  However, if on another month we have excess, then the difference is made up if possible.
    • Remember that if every member gave 3% or more of their income to church budget each year in offerings, we would easily be able to meet church budget.
    • It has been pointed out to me that some question why the school needs more funds when we receive annually $40,000 in interest from the endowment which was created a couple years ago. It is in part because we are now able to offer a full k-12 program which we are excited to have as it allows our families to keep their youth home and yet still have access to high quality secondary Adventist education.  And the desire for this is clearly evident as we now have 10 students in grades 11 & 12.
  8. There will be a school board meeting this Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the school library.
  9. Note that due to small attendance, the morning prayer meeting class has been canceled and those who attended it are invited to please join the evening prayer meeting at 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday. We have a great group gathering each Wednesday evening and the fellowship and discussion are very meaningful.
  10. Note that there will be a Christmas Orchestra / Choir practice on Friday, Dec. 13 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the church. Music is available at the church office in the black box.  The choir will be singing the Hallelujah Chorus and Star Carol.  Here are the four parts for the Hallelujah part.  Just ignore the first few seconds of the video.  Soprano  Alto  Tenor  Bass
  11. The church board met last night with Elder Rick Greve, our ministerial director for the region. We then had a video conference with pastoral candidate Jared Callaway and his wife Jean and their two children.  After nearly an hour visiting together, we voted unanimously to invite him to serve at Greeneville as part of the pastoral staff at Greeneville to which he later accepted.  We are excited to have them joining our church family and look forward to welcoming Jared and his family in January.  I called him later last night and we prayed together and rejoiced in God’s leading.
  12. Our health ministries leader, Rhoda Kanna, and students from GAA visited the Debusk school today to participate in a health fair and share with the Debusk students principles of healthy living. Here are some pictures from the effort.  As one pointed out, this fits perfectly with the counsel given in Christian Service– p. 30 “We have  an army of youth today who can do much if they are properly directed and encouraged. We want our children to believe the truth. We want them to be blessed of God. We want them to act a part in well-organized plans for helping other youth. Let all be so trained that they may rightly represent the truth, giving the reason of the hope that is within them, and honoring God in any branch of the work where they are qualified to labor.”

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  13. Looking ahead:
    1. Sabbath, Dec 14 @ 5 p.m – Annual School Christmas Program at Church.
    2. Sabbath, Dec 21 @ 10:50 a.m. – Christmas Sabbath service with the orchestra playing.
    3. Tuesday, Jan 7 at 6:30 p.m. – Dinner with the Doctor featuring Doctor Arvo Kanna
    4. Thursday, Jan 9 at 6:30 p.m. – Optimizing Your Brain seminar series begins.
    5. Monday, Feb 9 at 6:30 p.m. – Prophecy Series begins with Pastor Marcus Bates
    6. Friday, April 17 & 18 – Oaks Retreat with Elder Pavel Goia.

Blessings as you prepare for the coming Sabbath!

In His Service,

Pastor Jeremy

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