July is here, and many of us are on a summer routine. A different time of schedule. No school, longer days and time for vacation, but the reality is that the ministry of Jesus Christ continues through the summer months at the Presbyterian Church at Woodbury. The Vision Committee put in place by the Congregation at our annual congregational meeting is working on long range plans during July and August. They have been wrestling with questions about our ministry, our gifts and our history. The Vision Committee needs your help!
Beginning on Sunday, July 7th, we are placing a timeline on the wall in the Chapel. There will be post-it notes near the timeline. We ask you to think of the defining moments in this congregation within your memory. Please add events to the time line that you believe are important to the life of the church. Events that were positive in the life of the church and events that were negative in the life of the church. We are seeking to review our history: who we have been, who we are and who is God calling us to be moving through our 300th Anniversary. Please add as many events to the timeline as you believe are important.
The Vision Committee has been seeking to discern how we will serve Jesus Christ beyond our 300th Anniversary. At the conclusion of each meeting, we have prayed Thomas Merton’s prayer for discernment. Please pray this prayer with the Vision Committee:
Prayer by Thomas Merton
O Lord God, I have no idea where I am going, I do not see the road ahead of me, I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, And that fact that I think I am following Your will Does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe That the desire to please You Does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire In all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything Apart from that desire to please You. And I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road, Though I may k now nothing about it.
Therefore, I will trust You always Though I may seem to be lost And in the shadow of death. I will not fear, For You are ever with me, And You will never leave me To make my journey alone. Amen
One of the Organizations our Mission Task Force supports is the Boys and Girls Club of Gloucester County. The Boys and Girls Club have two facilities for Glassboro area and Paulsboro area youth and teens. These facilities offer after-school programs, summer camp programs, holiday parties, outdoor activities, and more; all in a safe and supervised location. Their mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive caring, responsible citizens., The Boys and Girls Clubs of Gloucester County provides; a safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals, life-enhancing programs and character development experiences, and hope and opportunity. Programs provided include: Summer Camps, Field Trips, Hands On Training through Multimedia, Character and Leadership, Education and Career, Health and Life Skills, Art, and Sports, Fitness and Recreation Programs. For more information check out their website at
Believe it or not, we are fast approaching our church’s 300th Anniversary in 2021. Our committee has been meeting and plans are being formulated. We have chosen our theme. The words can be found in the old hymn “Take My Life”. By Frances Havergal. These words are timeless and the committee felt that they have much to say for both the past and the future. We plan a yearlong celebration to begin in January 2021, culminating in some special events in October 2021. If you have an interest in becoming involved, please listen and look for announcements of upcoming meetings. All are welcome!
TAKE MY LIFE
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord , to thee take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love; take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee, swift and beautiful for thee.
Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee, filled with messages from thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold; take my intellect and use every power as thou shalt choose, every power as thou shalt choose
Take my will and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne, it shall be thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store; take myself and I will be ever, only, all for thee, ever, only, all for thee.
The Presbytery of West Jersey has been asked to participate in a pilot program for the Presbyterian Church USA during the next two years. The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury will be involved in the Vital Congregations Initiative! The purpose is to work alongside mid council leadership, and leaders of existing congregations, in a process that seeks to help assess, discern and live into transformative actions that increase vitality. Through intentional spiritual practices and relational connections, this two-year process takes us deeper into following Jesus Christ, making disciples and being the vital community of Christ throughout particular communities and the world.
The leadership team hopes that this is the beginning of intentional, authentic relationships between the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Mission Agency, presbyteries and local churches to:
Come together as the people of God
Pray: re-turn to faithfulness in God
Inspire openness to the Holy Spirit’s transformation/change
Honestly assess, discern and act
Resource, equip and support leaders and pastors
Practice missional evangelism and faithful discipleship
Equip vital congregations, develop a praxis of sustainability & ongoing assessment
Capture congregational stories and develop new measurements of vitality
Over the next two years, we will seek God’s will as a congregation and ask the Holy Spirit to make our life together more vital as disciples of Jesus Christ. There will be vitality themed worship services, Bible studies and assessments of our ministry as the body of Christ. BUT…all of this begins in a season of prayer and worship. I would ask that you be in prayer for your church family and the church officers over the next three months. Focusing upon Isaiah 43:19 – “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
…of our sanctuary and chapel are complete. The sanctuary has had water damage repaired, cracks patched, and walls, woodwork and pews painted. New LED lamps were installed in the recessed lights and dimmer switches added. The chapel is now air conditioned with 3 Fujitsu systems which can barely be seen or heard, but provide a comfortable space for fellowship and meetings. They blend in on the wall under the windows. Our final major project is the organ repair which should be completed in the next few weeks.
Okay, I know it was really chilly for a few weeks, and it rained, 13 Fridays in a row, and the pollen count is now being measured like snow accumulation; but look around – springtime is a blessing. It is green and lush; the flowers and flowering trees have been spectacular and we all get to exercise more just by cutting the grass twice a week.
When I got to thinking about springtime for our church, I came to realize that we truly do start a new season in many ways and in the process we get the opportunity to count our many blessings; as we look back and then look ahead. To start with the church itself is having a rebirth; the repairs and painting of the Sanctuary are almost complete; we have a great new air conditioning system in the Chapel and our opportunities for expanding our ministry increases.
Our officers rotate through this month and so we give thanks for the blessing for those who have served two terms and now go into a “temporary” retirement. Elders Jan Anastasi and Linda Blackwell; Trustees Karen DeLabar and Jean Hills; Deacon Andy Tighe and Youth Deacons, Larry Diehlman, Becca Brown, and Colin Witherspoon.
But, this ushers in the blessing of new officers. Elders – Lori Wadding and Donna Gabler; Trustee – Bernie Carlson and Youth Deacons – Laken Franchetti, Eric Campo Jr. and Meg Witherspoon.
We had three new members join this past Sunday and we anticipate more in the coming months; and we have a Youth Confirmation class about to join our family at Pentecost. We will be honoring the teachers for the past year and looking ahead to a new season in the Fall.
Spring is in the air and it refreshes our spirit; just as the Holy Spirit refreshes our commitment to Christ. Look around, take notice for you can feel the change, you can feel the energy and it is uplifting and a true blessing. Thanks be to God