Consistory – January 2016

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Our new 2016 Consistory met for the first time on January 16 after the annual RRC Leadership Retreat. Above, you can see which care group each is assigned to, and consistory liaisons to ministry teams are listed in each section of this newsletter. Look for more detailed Consistory Communications beginning in February!


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Consistory – December 2015

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Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Celebrate the birth of our Savior with Christmas Eve worship at our Candlelight Services on December 24 at 4pm & 6pm. Childcare will be provided for children second grade and younger.

Results of Our Annual Congregational Meeting

Our annual Congregational Meeting was held on December 6.  The 2016 Budget was approved. We selected new Elders and Deacons. The new Administrative Elder is Megan DeVries; the new Shepherd Elders are Luke Morgan and Jason Vergouwe; and the new Service Deacons are Chad Kleis (1-year term), Emillie Clayton, and Peter Jolliffe. The new office holders will be installed during the January 3, 2016 worship services.

Thank You to the Outgoing Elders and Deacons!

We thank the elders and deacons who have faithfully served our congregation. Outgoing Administrative Elder is Wilma Nelson, who has served more than a few years! Shepherd Elders finishing their terms are Megan DeVries – though she will transition to Administrative Elder, and Karen Bazen. We also say goodbye to Service Deacons Wally Glaza, Laura Jolliffe, and Nate Jennings.

Are you “New” to Rockford Reformed?

Then you’re invited to join the Pastor for lunch! Perhaps you have come to RRC several times to “check us out” or perhaps you already know you want to become a member of our church.  Pastor Paul and his wife, Tammy, will be hosting a lunch in the Fireside Room after the second worship service periodically. The first lunch is December 13. The group will enjoy fellowship together and discuss any questions you have about the church.

Communion Frequency Changing

Beginning in February, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of each month, as a reminder and observance of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We will alternate the traditional serving of Communion with intinction, where the bread is dipped into the cup.

Online Giving is Now Available!

Online giving is an easy way to give if you are on vacation or out of town, or even if you want the convenience, and RRC now has it available. You have the option of setting up recurring donations or making a one-time donation. Check it out!  Look for the Online Giving logo on the church website, rockfordreformedchurch.org.

Staff and Consistory Leadership Workshop Coming Up

On January 16, the Consistory, Staff, Ministry Team Directors, and Ridder Team members will attend a leadership workshop at Lincoln Lake Camp in Gowen. Andrew Bossardet, the RCA Coordinator for Equipping Thriving Congregations, will be the keynote speaker.

Joshua Rupp is our Interim Worship Director

Joshua Rupp began work as our Interim Worship Director in November and plans to continue with us at least through Easter if no permanent Worship Director is found before that time. If you haven’t had an opportunity to meet Josh yet, please stop and say hello to him after the service.


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Consistory – November 2015

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Upcoming Congregational Meeting

Our annual Congregational Meeting is coming up on December 6 at 5:00pm. The Consistory approved the proposed 2016 budget and it will be given to the congregation in the next few weeks.  In addition to voting on that budget, we will select new office bearers. Nominees for Administrative Elder are Megan DeVries and Dan Uthoff. Nominees for Shepherd Elder are Karen Bazen, Megan DeVries, Luke Morgan, Bren Shantz, Sandy Uthoff, Jason Vergouwe, and Tom Wright. Nominees for Service Deacon are Chad Kleis, Emillie Clayton, Peter Jolliffe, and Becki Pilko.  We ask for your prayers about this important meeting.

Worship Director Search Committee Update

The candidate presented at October’s Consistory meeting declined the position, so the search committee has expanded their advertising to a broader pool and begun a new search.  They are already getting a number of résumés and hope to interview up to three people in the future. Members of the search committee are Stephanie Bergman, Tammy Bradford, Brian Fleetham, Luke Morgan, Eric Ringnalda, and Teresa Scholten. Please pray for these people as they continue the process of getting a new director.

Interim Worship Director

Because it may take a few months to find a permanent Worship Director, we are seeking an interim director. Two candidates are being interviewed for this position. Several members of the congregation are leading worship until an interim director is in place.

Ridder Renewal

In October, Pastor Paul attended the first of a series of conferences for the Ridder Renewal program for effective leadership. One element of the program is to have 4-6 people from the congregation make up a small team to learn the process of developing effective leaders and to communicate and coach the process to the Consistory and others in the congregation. This smaller team will be put together over the next couple months. If anyone has suggestions of people for the team, please contact Pastor Paul.


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Consistory – October 2015

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We thank all the members of the Worship Director Search Committee for their long and diligent work in finding a candidate. The candidate was presented at the Consistory meeting and was approved for a full-time position with benefits for a one-year period. Members of the search committee are Stephanie Bergman, Tammy Bradford, Brian Fleetham, Luke Morgan, Eric Ringnalda, and Teresa Scholten.

RRC’s Annual Congregational Meeting is coming up on December 6 at 5 p.m. We will discuss and vote on the 2016 proposed budget and select new office bearers. The Consistory approved the final slate of nominees. Nominees for Administrative Elder are Megan DeVries and Dan Uthoff. Nominees for Shepherd Elder are Karen Bazen, Megan DeVries, Luke Morgan, Bren Shantz, Sandy Uthoff, Jason Vergouwe, and Tom Wright. Nominees for Service Deacon are Chad Kleis, Emillie Clayton, Peter Jolliffe, and Becki Pilko. We ask for your prayers about this important meeting.

The Consistory would like to draw attention to the church’s financial position at this time, especially in light of the new Worship Director coming on board soon and the budget that will be presented at the upcoming Congregational Meeting. Currently, we have about three months of reserve funds on hand, the amount recommended for healthy churches. This is similar to how a household is run, with 3-6 months of reserve funds available in case of emergencies. Total receipts (giving) for the 2015 fiscal year is below what was budgeted for the year and we have been depleting our reserve fund to cover expenses. In September alone, we dipped into the reserve funds for about $20,000. Each year, we as a congregation approve the budget and are aware of what money we are committing to give to the ministries and missions of our church, and the deacons rely on what is budgeted to come in. We ask that you prayerfully evaluate your level of giving for God’s ministry to be carried out in our church and community, through us at Rockford Reformed Church.


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Consistory – September 2015

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bp newsletterYou missed a fun party! August 26 and 27 featured two very different block parties. We had an end-of-summer block party for the Hillview neighborhood and served about 90 hotdogs plus the extras. A number of children came alone. Rachel DeKuiper identified a need for homework kits. We made 50 kits available to these children, so they would have the needed tools to do their homework. Volunteers helped with set-up, food, games, face painting, and more. It was a very rewarding experience. Please pray for open hearts for these families as we again invite them to Pioneer Clubs and adult Bible study on Wednesday evenings.
 
On August 27, Ken & Wilma Nelson held a repeat block party in the Rollingwood neighborhood. This area has had a significant turnover in residents in the past couple of years; many moved away because they were upgrading to larger homes as their families grow. The party provided an opportunity for old and new neighbors to connect. Adults were able to visit, while children enjoyed supervised bouncing in the Bounce House. This was a treat for everyone. One comment was “your yearly get-togethers are the only time I visit with my neighbors farther down the block.” Again volunteers helped with many tasks including just visiting with folks. Many expressed their appreciation for what RRC did to support the good time. People willingly provided email addresses so they can be in the loop for future activities such as the neighborhood garage sale their neighborhood held this spring. They are planning for a Christmas coffee for the women in early December. Pray that these everyday activities will continue to prompt questions and that Ken & Wilma will make deeper connections that reflect our Lord’s love. 
 
Thank you again to the 20 plus volunteers that made these events possible!
 
Prayer Ministry Teams began serving September 13. Prayer teams will be available after each worship service to pray for any person who has a concern, need, praise, or just wants to pray with someone. Anyone interested in being part of a prayer team should plan to participate in the Wednesday night class, The Ministry of Loving, Listening, and Praying
 
Nomination letters for Administrative Elder, Shepherd Elders, and Service Deacons will be going out soon to those who have been nominated. There will be two informational meetings; one on Sunday, September 27 and another on Sunday, October 4, both at 10 a.m. These meetings give the nominees a chance to find out what is involved in serving as an office holder in our church. The consistory asks for prayers for all the nominees leading up to our congregational meeting on December 6.
 
Pastor Paul presented his goals for RRC for the 2015-2016 program year at the last consistory meeting. Some of the goals include strengthening the adult ministries to result in more discipleship and greater spiritual depth; preaching biblical sermons that develop and release vision, values, discipleship, and outreach; asking all directors to integrate meaningful prayer into meetings; equipping ministry leaders in core leadership, pastoral, and prayer skills; and identifying and removing barriers to the unchurched and newcomers. Please pray for Pastor Paul, the consistory, and staff as we work on these goals.
 
New Signage and Renumbering of Rooms: In an effort to make the church more welcoming for visitors and for everyone to find rooms easier, more signs have been ordered and the rooms have been renumbered. The children’s area has been made more secure by making one entrance in that area – the one on the northwest side of the church – an emergency exit only and limiting access coming from the lobby area.

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Consistory – August 2015

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The Consistory met on August 11 and we would like to share some items from the meeting with you, the members of the congregation.
 
Nomination forms are out now for you to nominate your choices for Elder, Deacon, and Administrative Board members. Prayerfully consider whom to nominate, complete your form, and drop it in the box provided at the back of the sanctuary next week.
 
The Consistory approved participating in Ridder Church Renewal. Ridder is a process for personal and congregational transformation. This 5-year process is divided into two modules, each 2½ years in length. A congregation commits to the first module (which, for us, begins in October) with the option to continue on to the second. The focus is on developing leadership and personal discipleship within the church, and leads to a renewed culture in a church, improving discernment, communication, and removing obstacles to growth and barriers to living out the church’s mission and vision. The core values are Integrity, Courage, Authenticity, and Love. A Ridder Committee, consisting of 4-6 people from the congregation plus the pastor, is trained in core values and skills, and then in turn trains the Consistory and Staff in these principles. The principles are then transferred into the congregation through teaching and training events. Ridder is a joint effort by Western Theological Seminary and both the RCA and CRC denominations.
 
Worship Director search update: Hoping to have a new worship leader in place by October, the Worship Director Search Team has recently expanded its search for applicants. Continue to pray that the person with the desired set of skills and the right fit for leading our church’s worship teams will be found soon.
 
Prayer Ministry Teams will begin this Fall. Prayer ministry teams made up of two or three people will be available after each worship service to pray for any person who desires prayer for any concern or need, whether physical, spiritual, or relational. Training for anyone interested in being part of a prayer team will be held this fall. Contact Pastor Paul if you are interested. 
 
Block Parties: The purpose of a Block Party is for the church to connect with our community and show God’s love to our neighbors. The RCA has a Block Party trailer that we are using to host two Block Parties this month. The first one is in the nearby Hillview Apartments on August 26 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., hosted by Ryan and Rachel DeKuiper. The second party is at 192 Rollingwood on August 27 at 5:30 p.m. and hosted by Ken and Wilma Nelson. Both places are in need of help with grilling, activities, and mingling with the neighbors. If you can help out, please see one of the host couples.

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Consistory – July 2015

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(Note: Consistory does not meet in July, so there is no news)
 
Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
 
James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
 
This summer is a time of change for Rockford Reformed Church. Do you like change? Sometimes change can be a little scary and makes us feel uncertain. Change can present challenges to our way of thinking and our behavior. It takes us out of our “comfort zone”, but can lead to blessings we never even dreamed of as well. God wants us to change. He wants us to change so our humanity becomes weaker and our Godliness becomes stronger. At the same time, His truths do not change. He is to be depended on and can be trusted. In our changing world, aren’t you glad that God is unchanging and faithful to us?

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Consistory – June 2015

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Our Summer Worship time is 9:30 a.m. The new schedule will run through September 6, Labor Day weekend. Be sure to help spread the word to your neighbors and friends.

Will you be gone for some Sundays this summer? If so, you are encouraged to send your donation envelopes to the church. Financial gifts generally decline over the summer while people are on vacation or at cottages, and it would be helpful to have a steady amount of money coming in to meet financial obligations that occur year-round.

After Service Socials will be held after the 9:30 a.m. services throughout the summer. It is easy to host – keep it simple with some cookies, coffee, and juice drink. There are several weeks still available for families or groups in the congregation to take a turn at hosting the social. Costs will be reimbursed from church funds (so keep your receipts). If you are interested in hosting, please contact Laura Jolliffe.

VBS is coming up quickly! Each evening from July 26 – 29, 6-8 p.m., kids from age 3 through having completed the 5th grade are invited to learn about conquering challenges with God’s Mighty Power. If you are able to help out during some or all of those evenings, please contact Beth Jennings or sign up via the e-mail link in recent e-Beacons.

Relief Donations are still being received for Nepal. Nepal, India, and Tibet were devastated by recent earthquakes. You can help bring aid to this area of the world with prayer and financial giving. RCA Global Mission is teaming with World Vision to bring relief. Giving can be done by donating online directly to the RCA (https://www.rca.org/news/rca-responds-nepal-earthquake), or by placing a clearly marked envelope in the offering plate any Sunday until the end of June.


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Consistory – May 2015

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Everyone is invited to the Installation Service for Rev. Dr. Paul Bradford on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. at our church. It is a Classis Worship Service and 30-35 people from Classis will attend, as well as special guests. A reception will follow the service. Childcare will be provided. Dr. Bradford will preach his first worship service as our new Pastor on June 7.

May 31 is also Graduation Sunday, when we celebrate our high school and college graduates. A cake reception will take place between the services. Watch for a booklet featuring information on the graduates.

Bren Shantz will be recognized on May 31 for his time as Worship Leader. His last day as regular leader is June 7. We are grateful for his heart for God and talents in leading us in worship each week the last few years and in keeping our focus on God in our corporate worship. You may personally thank Bren at the cake reception between services.

The next Congregational Update is June 7. We will give updates on the search for a youth director and a worship leader.

Our Summer Worship Schedule moves to one service at 9:30 a.m. on June 14. The new schedule will run through September 6, Labor Day weekend. The change in schedule will be communicated in the local community and on our church website in the future.

Summer Socials will be held after the 9:30 a.m. services throughout the summer. Different ministry teams of the church will take turns hosting them. This is a good time for fellowship.

RCA “One-Sunday” Pentecost Offering on May 24, 2015: As we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the RCA is receiving a “One-Sunday” Pentecost offering. The offering will be for local Church Planting. The deacons will take the offering at the same time as the regular one and request donations be inside a clearly marked envelope.

RCA Request for Nepal Relief Giving: Nepal, India, and Tibet have been devastated by recent earthquakes and more than 8,000 are dead. You can help bring aid to this area of the world with prayer and financial giving. RCA Global Mission is teaming with World Vision to bring relief. Giving can be done by donating online directly to the RCA (https://www.rca.org/news/rca-responds-nepal-earthquake), or by placing a clearly marked envelope in the offering plate any Sunday until the end of June. Information will also be in your mailboxes.


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Consistory – April 2015

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Youth Director Update – The Human Resources Committee is conducting first-round interviews for the youth director position throughout the month of April. We have several qualified candidates with different backgrounds and experience levels. Please pray for the Committee as they go through this process and ask that God grant them wisdom and discernment.
 
Please be in prayer for all the leadership positions that need to be filled – Pastor, Youth Director, and Worship Leader (Bren Shantz has resigned from that position effective June 7).
 
The Outreach Team is making efforts to reach into our community. For more information, please see the Outreach Team section in the newsletter.
 
June 14 is the date our summer worship schedule moves to one service at 9:30 a.m. We will continue with the new schedule through September 6, Labor Day weekend. The change in the schedule will be communicated in the local community and on our church website in the future.

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