from Memorial Park EPC - December 2016

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1 d o o G s s s w e e r N p Ex from Memorial Park EPC - December 2016 The Mission of Memorial Park Church is to invite people into a life-changing and ever-growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Blessed to be a Blessing Wednesday, December 7:00 p.m. Contemporary Candlelight Service (Sanctuary) December 24 - Christmas Eve 3:00 p.m. - Contemporary; 5:00 p.m. Family service 7 & 9:00 p.m. - Traditional candlelight services December 25-11:00 a.m. Christmas Day No Nursery or Tru Kids/childcare December 31 - NO Saturday Night Worship January 1-9:15 & 11:00 a.m. New Year s Day On November 20, the leadership and congregation were given the opportunity to honor the eight year ministry of Rev. Paul A. Becker, Jr. at Memorial Park Church. As was previously shared, Pastor Paul recently answered the call to serve as Interim Senior Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Bakerstown. A celebration dinner was held at the Hampton Banquet Center with more than 130 in attendance. Deep love and gratitude were expressed for Paul and Marlene who have given so much of themselves for the family of God at MPC. In addition to his outstanding leadership as Pastor of Administration, Paul fostered many ministries with eternal impact and relationships that will last a lifetime. His care, compassion and team spirit will be greatly missed, but as Paul often reminded us, we are blessed to be a blessing. We were indeed blessed by his presence among us for the last eight years. It's Bakerstown s turn now... Paddle on, Pastor Paul! wh at ' s ahe ad? January 8 Clarinet Sunday January 15 Trombone Sunday January 22 New Life Group Classes Winter session begins February 3 Twilight Night Elder and Emcee Corky Semler (above) led a special time of sharing sweet memories, laughter and how God was glorified through Pastor Paul's ministry at MPC. For more MPC news and happenings, visit p.1

2 From Dean s Desk... Pastor Dean Weaver Lead Pastor It was a cold night and Dan was at the door. He asked to see a pastor saying he needed prayer. It was well past the end of the day and I was ready to go home with a somewhat resigned exhale and taking off my coat, we went back to my office to talk. It did not take long to realize my new friend was drunk. Beyond the whiff of alcohol on his breath, there was the poorly concealed bottom of something tucked into the sleeve of his coat. The story he shared with me was not unique, in fact I have heard it many times before, but it was tragic. I felt for him. One bad decision after another, consequences too awful to share, all broke my heart. With my heart now softened by the Spirits work, I then realized Jesus was born for this man; Jesus died for this man. While Dan s story was filled with brokenness and pain so was mine. In fact if we are honest, even for a moment so are all of us. Jesus did not come for the godly, he came for the lost, the hurting and the wayward that is, he came for all of us. It is easy to look and listen to others and see (and smell) what is obvious, but by God s grace, maybe, just maybe we can remember that it was not so obvious when Jesus was born. He was born for you, me and my friend Dan. As I sat and listened, shared a few encouraging words and prayed, I realized that perhaps I was re-born for Dan and that I was, in some small way and time, to incarnate God s love to him. Not sure what will happen next, but I know that this encounter enabled me to see someone else the way God sees them and that was a gift to me. Loving God and neighbor is a good place to start this Christmas! Blessings of Peace as we celebrate the Prince of Peace, -Pastor Dean Laura Story helps raise $56,000 for EduNations! Thank you to the numerous volunteers who assisted with the Laura Story EduNations Benefit concert! Nearly 500 people attended the amazing evening of music by Laura and her team and heard updates on the work of EduNations in Sierra Leone. Pastor Dean noted we came to a Christmas concert and a worship service broke out. It was a beautiful and powerful evening supporting the work of EduNations. Including the addition of 24 new Student Sponsors, over $56,000 was raised on behalf of the least of these in Sierra Leone that night. Thank you for being a part of a special night that made a difference! Attendees including Siao Mei Shick had the opportunity meet Laura and her band at a "Meet & Greet" before the concert. p.2

3 Twilight Night A Starry Preview of Local High School Musicals If you love high school musicals, you won't want to miss Twilight Night at Memorial Park on Friday, February 3, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.. Cast soloists from area high schools will present songs from their upcoming shows and give an exciting sneak peek of what's coming this spring. Admission to the evening concert will be a give-what-you-can donation to North Hills Community Outreach, which provides food and financial help to those most in need in the North Hills communities. We ve received enthusiastic responses from our area high school musical directors to participate in this new venture! says Jim Lueers, Arts Director at Memorial Park Church. Every spring, Pittsburgh area high schools produce fabulous musicals, spending many hours in rehearsal with a wide variety of budgets. This event is an attempt to level the playing field with no costumes or props to just get a scoop on their musical plans. In a highly competitive high school musical market, this event hopes to bring students and musical lovers together to use their gifts for the good of the community. Check out our website at for a list of participating schools and corporate program ad information. The event is called Twilight Night since twilight is when stars first start appearing. All are invited to come enjoy watching the stars come out! ADVENT ACTIVITY: Over 100 families are participating in this year's Advent Activity, Praying through Advent. This family-friendly activity was adapted from an article in the Homefront Monthly Magazine a wonderful resource for families! Check out for ideas on how to bring Christ alive in your home this Advent season. CHRISTMAS PAGEANT: We had 31 tru kids participate in this year's Christmas pageant, giving their time and talents to spread the joy of Jesus. They performed at Hampton Fields and Cumberland Crossing nursing homes by Hannah Gourley, Children's Ministries Coordinator and spread joy to all who watched! We are so proud of their hard work and the dedication they put into their performances! Thank you, parents, for your commitment and help! TRU KIDS GIVING:Year after year the kids and families of tru kids blow us away with their giving spirits! This year we collected 274 Operation Christmas Child Boxes that will bring the joy of Christ to 274 children this year thank you! In addition, Tru kids collected over $500 in offering money this year. As always, the kids vote together on where they want their offerings to go. Their generosity allowed us to support several World Vision projects, as well as Prison Fellowship and the Giving Tree! SUMMER SURGE SAVE THE DATE! It's never too early to start planning and saving for the best week of the summer! Registration starts February 1, 2017 at Session 1 June Session 2 July 9-14 Summer Surge IMPACT July p.3 p.2

4 "What God has Joined Together, Let Man Not Separate Picture the scene with me. The organist is playing "Here Comes the Bride". The wedding attendees all rise. The back doors of the church open and there she stands... the Bride in her perfectly sought after dress, linked arm in arm with her father about to proceed down the aisle and be presented to the Groom. While all eyes are on the radiant Bride, I invariably find myself watching the Groom. There is something magical about these few moments while the distance between the betrothed is closed forever. The Groom is forced to take in the beauty of his soon to be wife as he stands on a stage in front of so many...and yet...does he even see the crowd? I don't believe so. He is overwhelmed by the person walking towards him. She appears more beautiful than he could have imagined and often the tears are impossible to hold back. "As God by creation made two of one, so again by marriage He made one of two." Thomas Adams Marriage is God s design. He knew man needed more than a perfectly created world...he needed a helpmate, a partner, someone designed just for him. For man to be made in God s image, he also needed to be relational. He needed a partner to love sacrificially, to serve wholeheartedly. Marriage is a relationship like no other. It can be a haven of pure joy and satisfaction when done well, but done wrong, it can be one of the loneliest places on earth. Marriage is hard work. We willingly place much time and effort into the engagement period, the wedding planning, the honeymoon, but few couples have a plan for 'marital upkeep'. There are dangerous assumptions that can be rooted in our subconscious: this feeling of love will always be present, true love should come easily, our spouse will make us happy. Let me offer a few other ways of looking at marriage: the feeling of love fades (sometimes very quickly), true love is a choice that at times must supersede our feelings, marriage is hard work and deserves regular tune ups. Memorial Park is excited to start the Re l Engage program in January 2017! This is a high quality study that uses biblical principles to help couples grow closer together. Re l Engage utilizes the testimonies of other couples along with the call to worship and pray together as the basis for growth and change. This study is meant for couples who are doing great and want to continue to invest in their relationship, all the way to those who are on the brink of breaking up...hoping for one last chance to see if God can work a miracle. Great things require work. This is a 16-week program, meeting weekly on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8:30 p.m. There will be a large by Margy Delposen, MPC member group meeting time for testimonies and teaching, followed by closed small groups where facilitating couples will go through the study with the group and encourage sharing in a way that uplifts and stays focused on self, not spouse. On January 18 at 7 p.m. there will be a Re l Engage Preview Night at Memorial Park Church. During this time we will share the details of the program, allow couples to view the workbooks and ask questions regarding the program. The following week will be an Open Group time where couples will divide up into slightly smaller groups and get a feel for what the break out sessions will be like. After this meeting couples will then have to decide if they are willing to make the commitment to attend the following 16 week program. Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate. Matt. 19:6 Are you living together as roommates or soul mates? Is there a chance God wants to take your marriage to an even greater level of intimacy and joy? We will be sharing our story and we look forward to hearing yours as well. God promises to give us more than we could ever ask or imagine. We look forward to that promise playing out through the journey we ll walk together over the next few months. Lastly, please pray for this ministry. We know that this is an area of great need, great attack and great joy. When marriages are strengthened, children are blessed, work places improve, the church grows and God is glorified. Left: Re I Engage Facilitators Margy & Chris Delposen hope to see you in January. p.4 p.2

5 Season of Change by Janey Mather, Elder My good friend Mary Lou is a quilter. I watch her pore over pieces of fabric to create a masterpiece that is in her mind before it is in her hands. And that masterpiece is more often given to someone else to use, whether it be a hanging work of art or a blanket for a yet-to-be-born baby. Pieces move deftly in and out of Mary Lou s hands, and the ones she doesn t choose for a current task are as precious as the ones that are deemed just right for the project at hand. New faces at MPC are popping up everywhere, and a few of those newcomers were introduced in the last issue of Good News. More recently, we welcomed Mark Louis as our new Housekeeping Coordinator. Mark (pictured below) will be working the daylight shifts on Tuesday through Saturday and will be in charge of the day cleaning and set ups for the numerous activities at the church, as well as providing leadership to our part-time custodial staff. Mark recently retired from his longtime job with the Post Gazette. Be sure to introduce yourself to Mark when you see him. We have also added part-time custodians Dylan Booth, David Butler and Seth Delposen. Additionally, a few longtime familiar faces on staff have tendered their resignations to move in different directions. Madeline Stitt began her tenure at MPC as a part-time Receptionist in She has been the friendly 'voice' of Memorial Park and as queen facility scheduler, has maintained the chaos and kept the overlapping of events to a minimum! Madeline is looking forward to enjoying her official retirement with husband Russ and visiting her three children David (CO), Nikki (MO) and Danni (Erie, PA) as often as they can. Jaime Dean began her service to Memorial Park as a Children's Ministries assistant in When her son Mason was born, she took a few years off, and returned in 2007 as our New Life Groups Director. Her role expanded in recent years when she began our Community Care for Military ministry (CCM). Jaime will continue to lead this growing outreach as a volunteer, while she and daughter Abbey pursue a business opportunity that is also an offspring of her passion for our military. Her new coffee truck, By the Wayside, was inspired to support veterans and agencies in which CCM has partnered with, and to help bridge the military/civilian gap. Watch for them around town this spring and grab a cup of joe! Pastors thanked and prayed for Cheryl, Madeline and Jaime at the recent staff Christmas party. Cheryl Montanile will also be leaving us after twelve years of service. Cheryl was originally hired as our part-time Membership Director in 2004 and transitioned to full-time status in As our Membership and Communications Director, Cheryl has welcomed hundreds of new members to our church family and used her skills to help transition MPC to modern media practices. This past summer, Cheryl and husband John spent several weeks visiting a few of our National Parks in the west. In her words, What began as a time of rest and rejuvenation, ended up being more about renewal and redirection. God planted a seed for them to begin a new adventure and have since sold their home and bought a fifth wheel RV. They plan to travel, work and serve wherever the Lord leads them. How grateful we are for the many years of service these women have given to MPC! Although they will be deeply missed, we wish them well in their new endeavors. Other changes include several folks going from fulltime to part-time status, including Missions Director, Don Creasy, Admin. Assistant Margie Mihalic and Evening Building Supervisor, Bill Schmitt. In addition, the part-time Women s Assistant position held by Rosemarie Dunne since 2014, has been eliminated. We are grateful that these faithful employees will remain an important part of their various ministries at Memorial Park. As these changes are occurring, deacons, elders, teachers, and volunteers are behind the scenes in places of elected leadership and chosen servanthood. Though change is inevitable, what never changes is our mission to bring others to a life-changing and ever-growing relationship with the Lord. There is always room for more hands to do kingdom work. Whether you are a long-time member of the congregation/ staff or a newbie, we remain a part of the same heavenly family. Masterpieces in God s eyes are we! (Information on open staff positions will be posted in the weekly bulletin.) p.5 p.2

6 The Communications Team by Charlene Cave, Deacon This team of deacons (Charlene Cave, Deb Gallo, Paul Roth, Russ Stitt and Jim Stoof) oversees a variety of service needs. Podcasts ever wonder how the Sunday sermons get on the Memorial Park Church (MPC) website? Well, each Sunday afternoon, two team members alternate uploading the recording to the MPC website. So, please visit the Podcasts & Resources page on the website and listen to a missed or special sermon. Our Daily Bread the entire team monitors the racks to make sure the devotionals are fully stocked for members and visitors. Prayer Chain Two other team members alternate monitoring the MPC phone line and the MPC Internet link for prayer requests. These requests are then ed to a group of devoted Prayer Warriors. We believe strongly in prayer. Whenever in need, we hope that you reach out for support through the Prayer Chain. WOMEN'S MINISTRIES God of Wonder Many MPC women journeyed through a study this fall called Wonder Struck. We were challenged to pray for wonder and keep our eyes and our hearts open to how the Lord would reveal Himself in the day. Oh, did He show up! I believe the Lord enters into each of our days personally and creatively, in ways only we would know. And when we are awake and looking for Him, what a marvel it is to find Him in our midst! He s in the daily, normal stuff of our week, and He cares about each moment of it. The wonder of the Lord was so apparent at the anual Christmas Spree, Coffee, and Tea. The many, many women who helped us welcome the community was wonder-full! Marilyn McManus is a walking wonder herself, pouring hours and hours into preparations for the event months in advance. How grateful we are to her and all who dedicated time to make the Spree such a blessing to so many! Nearly 1200 people filtered through our church that first weekend in November. Their attendance, along with vendor tithes, will help support many different outreach opportunities this year. As I write this, we are preparing for one such opportunity! Our WM Leadership Team (Think Tank) was invited to join Living Ministries to throw a Christmas party for homeless women on the North Side on December 18. What a chance to share the love of Christ! Spree funds will purchase gifts for all of the women who come as well as provide good food and fun for the party. by Michele Holmes, Women's Ministries Director The wonder of the Lord came down as we compiled an Advent devotional with writings from our church family. I hope you and your family are experiencing God s wonder as you use it! We witnessed His wonder at our Women to Women Christmas brunch, as we celebrated all that He has taught us this past semester. And His wonder was all around as we assembled 80 care bags to be handed out at the care centers for trafficked women through Living in Liberty - that's four times more than what we were hoping for! God has shone His wonder time and again these past few months. He shows up in the smile of a friend, in the generosity of a neighbor, in birds gathering at my feeder in the snow. He also shows up in the midst of our Broken Hallelujahs, as Pastor Dean preached this Advent. He makes Himself known in the midst of our mess and tells us He is enough, that He will provide, that we are safe in Him. I pray that your Christmas will be full of wonder, and that regardless of the circumstances in your life, you would know how close the Lord really is, and that you would feel His joy. I also pray that you would join us this winter for new studies and new opportunities to gather with MPC women. Merry Christmas, church family! p.6 p.2

7 Just Around the Corner! by Jan Moreth, Preschool Director At 12:01 a.m. on Friday, January 20, 2017, online registration will open for the Memorial Park Christian Preschool. To register your child, simply visit and click on the Preschool button. You can even pay your registration fee from the comfort of your home. If preferred, you may print a hard copy of the form from that same page. Please remember that many programs will fill within the first 24 hours... so don t delay! Mrs. Harn s morning class anticipates a very important birth! On the form, you ll choose from the following: Current Preschool family; Returning Preschool family (if you ve had a child registered with us in the past but not currently); MPC family; or Community family. Please indicate both a first and second choice for each child. A separate form must be completed for each child being registered, but only one registration fee per family is required. Some classes require a teacher recommendation and those will be marked as such. Contact Jan Moreth, Preschool Director, at with any questions or to request a tour. It is our pleasure to introduce you to the heart of the preschool ministry! On Sunday, January 8, there will be sharing from a preschool parent at the 9:15 and 11:00 a.m. services. We look forward to including your family in our preschool community! My First 90 Days by Ryan Pietryga, Middle School Director Words cannot adequately capture the joy and satisfaction I have experienced serving as your Middle School Director over the past three months. I have felt nothing but welcome and excitement from fellow staff members, congregants, students and their families, making the transition into this chapter of life a smooth one. I have the privilege to be involved in many facets of Family and Student Ministry, which has given me the opportunity to get know many students and their families. Most of my time is spent preparing for Student Impact Wednesdays (our evening program for middle schoolers.) So far, this has been my favorite part of working in Student Ministries at MPC. We play crazy games, worship, listen to teaching from God s Word and meet in small groups. I get to plan much of the curriculum and activities and I love watching the kids have a blast, while also being attentive to teachings and actually grasping what we are talking about! I especially enjoy teaching from God s Word and relating it to the students and their current circumstances. I have learned two important lessons from leading Wednesday nights: 1. Kids want to learn and they actually remember things. 2. Never, ever, leave pool noodles unattended when around middle school kids (story for another article!) I ve also been helping Martha Daniel and the Family Ministries team with Breakout, a weekly program for 4 th and 5 th graders. Students come to eat pizza, play games and engage in Bible study led by Martha and myself. Breakout gives me a chance to get know the students before they become big bad middle schoolers and officially join Student Impact. Breakout serves as a perfect bridge for students transitioning from Tru Kids to Student Impact. I m excited to continue investing in this ministry by helping kids understand who Jesus is and how they can grow and live out their faith. I couldn't have asked for a better first 90 days! I am constantly thanking the Lord for providing this opportunity and am excited to see what He has in store for the next 90 days! Middle School Director Ryan Pietryga 'just chillin' with Lydia Becker and others at Student Impact. p.7 p.2

8 Volunteers are recruited to help with the shopping, inventorying and delivery of the gifts. Shopping is definitely a ministry of the Giving Tree, notes Kathy Fenton, co-leader. Our volunteers are faithful and caring and do their best to find special gifts. It's a major endeavor that involves the whole church. Key volunteers include the entire Deacon Board, Nancy Lee Cochran and Kathy Fenton as co-leaders, Susie Broms and Myrna Perry. by Nancy Lee Cochran, MPC Member More than 1,000 individuals and families were blessed this month by the Giving Tree, a major outreach effort by our Deacons. Nancy Lee Cochran, a former Deacon and Elder at Memorial Park Church, was the founder of the Giving Tree 28 years ago. "Christmas can be a lonely time of the year for individuals with few friends or resources. It's a wonderful time to remember and to bless others, sharing the love of Jesus and the story of the great gift that God gave to each of us by sending us His Son." For many of the recipients of the Giving Tree, the gift provided through the generosity of Memorial Park Church is often the brightest, nicest, most creative gift they will receive. And each gift is a demonstration of our caring and our desire to encourage the recipient. More than 100 MPC volunteers are involved in the Giving Tree operation. Planning begins in September with contacts to caregivers to learn the wish list of recipients. Items are then posted on a snowflake on one of four trees located throughout the church. Donors select a snowflake, shop for the gift and return it in early December. The 2016 Giving Tree serves individuals and families of Memorial Park who are nominated by pastors, staff and volunteers; Preschool families; children of MPC missionaries; homebound members and friends; Special Friends; Veterans and active duty military members. Also served are Allegheny Youth Development (through New Hope EPC), Family Guidance, Fourth Presbyterian Church (an EPC congregation in Friendship), Kane Hospital (through Presents for Patients), Mosaic Community Church of the North Side, college students served by New City Church and LaRoche College students (through the MPC/Coalition for Christian Outreach partnership). We also support children who have one or both parents incarcerated and are referred through Prison Fellowship, homeless veterans served by Shepherd s Heart Fellowship, and homeless families whose children are taught at Urban Pathways Charter School. Infants whose mothers are served by Women's Choice Network receive gifts, as do EduNations teachers and staff in Sierra Leone. In Acts 20:35, Jesus shared with us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. We believe Him and we are grateful to demonstrate our love through the Giving Tree. Thank you, Memorial Park, for your caring, your sharing and your extreme generosity! Financial Update Financial Status as of 11/30/2016 Actual Budget Difference YTD Revenues $ 1, $ 1,145,148 $ (60,708) unfavorable to budget YTD Expenses $ 1, $ 1,246,984 $ (75,671) favorable to budget YTD Net Total $ (86,873) $ (101,836) $ (14,963) favorable to budget p.8 p.2

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