Missions – March 2015

“To empower poor, widowed, and orphaned Haitians and to spread the message of the Gospel.” This is the mission of the Haiti Foundation Against Poverty (HFAP) and this is why Rockford Reformed Church will be sending a team to Haiti again this summer. From July 14-21, RRC will be working alongside HFAP to help make this mission a reality. We can’t do this, however, without the support of our congregation.
Currently, we have nine people (four of which are RRC members) committed to doing His work in Haiti in July. We would love to have five more, but understand that the decision is not easy and needs to be covered in prayer! If you are interested in going to Haiti, please join us for an informational meeting on Sunday, March 22 after the second service (information will also be available following the first service at the back of the sanctuary). We would love to talk with you about this possibility and answer any questions you might have.
Starting in April, the Missions Committee will begin collecting items needed for this year’s trip. A basket will be placed at the back of the sanctuary for donated items. Right now formula, powdered milk, Pediasure, Ensure, plastic pants for cloth diapers, wipes, sewing material (no scraps less than ¼ yd), white chalk, gallon sized Ziploc bags, and HP printer ink 564 are the needed supplies. Additional items will be added to this list as July draws closer.


Children’s Ministry – March 2015

March is a busy month this year!  Our family movie event, featuring Veggie Tales Noah’s Ark, is Sunday March 15 @ 3 pm. See you in the sanctuary!
We have a challenge going on in Caravan Kids Sunday School to raise money to purchase items through Samaritan’s Purse. The kids seem excited about “digging through their couches.”
The Easter Egg Hunt has been planned for indoors this year! Join us at 9:30am on March 28. Meet in the FLC gym.
And finally, we are looking for a few individuals willing to help with planning and preparations for Vacation Bible School. Planning will begin after spring break. Please let Beth know if your are interested!
Pioneer Clubs:
 Can you believe it’s already time to start working on derby cars? Most of the kids already have their cars cut out. This Wednesday, March 18, we begin painting. We could use some parent help! If you are available to help (rinsing brushes, refilling water jars, helping kids get paint to their tables, etc.), we will be in the Fellowship Hall starting around 6:45 or 7:00pm.
It’s not too late to get a car kit for the Open Round! Contact Laura Jolliffe (connections.rrc@gmail.com) if you are interested! Race day is April 22 at 6:30pm in the gym.


Consistory – March 2015

As part of the new Outreach Committee’s efforts to give Rockford Reformed Church more exposure in the community, they have placed a 1”x2” ad in the local paper, The Rockford Squire. Look for it on the page shared with other local churches.
The green van is requiring more upkeep. The deacons will be keeping an eye on the repair costs and if the costs start to exceed the value, RRC may be on the lookout for a replacement van.
Giving through February was significantly lower compared to the first couple months of prior years. If giving continues at these lower rates throughout the year, we will not be able to meet all of our obligations as identified in the current budget. Although we do not have a regular pastor, members/attendees are encouraged to maintain or increase their normal giving.
Have you heard of the Deacon’s Servant Network (DSN)? It was introduced at RRC in 2002 as a way to lead our congregation into servant ministry. Each month, one of our deacons serves as the main contact to connect people to church resources. It might be you that needs help, or you might find someone else who needs help. When you submit a need to the DSN, the deacon will determine how best to meet the need. It may be through our Helping Hands funds, referral to an existing church ministry or the pastoral staff, or calling upon our DSN volunteers.
Who are the DSN volunteers? You! We are blessed to have a congregation with a wide variety of skills. What skills, abilities, or passions are you willing to use in service of others? Could you be someone we call on to help drive someone to church, to rake an elderly neighbor’s yard, or help with emergency childcare needs?
Over the next few weeks, a survey will be placed in the pews for you to fill out if you wish to volunteer your skills and services. This has been done before, but it was many years ago and the list needs to be updated. If you are unable to volunteer your time, but still wish to help, you can make a donation to the Helping Hands fund. Just be sure to write “helping hands” in the notes section of your check and also on the donation envelope. Thank you!


Adult Ministry – March 2015

First of all, “Thank you!” to all of the women who planned the Women’s Lenten Breakfast on March 7! It was a blessing to be able to participate in this type of event. As we focused on the character of Christ in this period of Lent, we could – and can – appreciate more the gift of salvation and grow in love for the Giver for so lavish a gift.
On April 18, the Ladies Day will be another opportunity for women to gather for a time of fellowship and fun, anchored with speaker Ruth Hansen. It is half a day on a Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. and going through lunch (12:30 p.m.), so forget the chores at home and plan on attending. Don’t forget to invite a couple friends, as this is a community event.
Ruth Hansen, Linda Van Houten’s mother, will be speaking about “Refreshing your Heart, Mind, and Spirit” as well as “Thriving in the Lord” – two speaking/discussion sessions. Some of the fun breakout sessions are: Freezer Meals (Audrey Shantz & Trisha VanStensel), Painting on Canvas (Karen Halbersma), Candle Making (Kimberly Tuttle), Essential Oils (Laura Aulbach), and Relax & Refresh (Beth Jennings, Rachel DeKuiper, & Megan DeVries). Lori VerMerris may still need discussion facilitators and a pianist, so please contact her if you can help out. Click here to register online.
The Saturday Series is for “the guys” (both big and small), and meets the first and third Saturdays of the month. Men and their sons share the time in the Family Life Center from 7-8:30 a.m., eating a hearty breakfast and then having a stimulating discussion and growing in Christ. They may meet through the summer but haven’t made any specific plans yet. Usually 6-8 men have attended on a given weekend. The 5 boys who have come usually play in the gym while the men meet. The discussion topics have been about cultural and familial messages relating to masculinity, looking specifically at men’s roles in the church, some time talking about discipleship, and an in-depth study of Galatians. Upcoming studies likely will be 1 and 2 Thessalonians and/or 1 and 2 Corinthians. If you haven’t come out for this yet, the invitation is always open. If you have any questions, see Bren Shantz.
Don’t forget the Church Library and the Puzzle Room! As winter is not quite over, you can enjoy a good book or a challenging puzzle on these cold nights. The library is for anyone who attends RRC, not members only. You are asked to sign the materials out – don’t just take them, as that is the only way Melanie Matthews, the librarian, keeps track of what is out and for how long. Please return the items within a couple of weeks so others can enjoy them as well. Book categories are: Christian Living, Teen, Children, Bible, Bible Reference, Non-fiction, Fiction, Biography, and Marriage.
New fiction to the library:
  • The Third Target, by Joel C. Rosenberg
  • Twisted Innocence, by Terri Blackstock
  • Where Truth Lies, by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan – book 2 in the Return to the Canadian West series
  • Movie: Noah’s Ark – Veggie Tales
The puzzle room is the brainchild of Bill Stadt. All the puzzles are contained in the room across from the library and operates similarly to “give a penny/get a penny” you see at the stores. People contribute and people use – no sign ins or outs – no inventory – no church money involved – just an opportunity for a fun challenge when you open each box.


Youth Ministry – March 2015

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (Romans 8:28-29).
“Good Luck!” is a phrase commonly heard in times of uncertainty. This phrase is meant to comfort someone as they face a challenge, a test, a transition. Romans 8:28-29 reminds us that our future is not based on luck, but on God’s will, plan, and purpose. What a refreshing thought. We don’t have to wonder about our future, our great God holds it in his hand.
March Calendar:
22:  High School Open Youth Room Night
29:  Due date for HS Chicago Trip – $25
April Calendar:
1:  MS Early Bird due for Summer Trip – $275
5:  No High School Youth Group – Happy Easter
8:  No Middle School Youth Group – Happy Spring Break
12:  High School Open Youth Room Night
19:  HS Early Bird due for Summer Trip – $350
19:  Middle School Fundraiser Dinner
Parent’s Tip:
With all the craziness and fear based news these past several weeks, this article was a helpful reminder for me to keep my eyes focused on the one who is in control of all things. May this be a comfort to you and for your family: http://wearethatfamily.com/2015/02/raising-kids-age-anything-goes-sex-terror-religious-persecution/


Outreach – March 2015

The March 6-7 Organic Outreach Conference was AMAZING! For 2 days, designated team members participated in a local conference put on by pastor and author Kevin Harney. It was so inspiring that the team purchased copies of Harney’s book, Organic Outreach For Churches, for each member of consistory, as well as the Outreach Team. It is highly recommended reading for leaders and individuals who wish to infuse evangelistic passion into every aspect of their personal life and the life of the church. Please check out Kevin’s website (kevingharney.com) for a variety of free tools and a glimpse at his thought provoking books.
Harney challenges churches with 3 questions that serve as building blocks to help cultivate church culture that invites evangelistic passion:
  1. Does your church believe, honor, and follow the teachings of the bible?
  2. Does your church love people and long for them to know Jesus?
  3. Are the people in your church willing to sacrifice to the point that they will willingly embrace change?
Careful contemplation and response will reveal the desire to value and embrace the Good News of Jesus in the community and world. Harney’s questions and other key concepts will be utilized during the upcoming Adult Sunday School Spiritual Formation Workshop: Knowing and Showing Christ. This workshop will serve as a springboard to renew our minds and ignite passion to reach out to others! Please prayerfully consider attending this 6-session workshop between services March 22–May 3 in the Fireside Room. See you there!


Worship – March 2015

Benefit Concert: On Saturday, March 28, we will be hosting a free concert in the Sanctuary from 7-9pm to benefit Praise in the Park. Admission is free. A love offering will be taken, with 100% of all donations going to Praise in the Park to help fund the 2015 season (for tax purposes, donations are not deductible). Featured bands: Carpenter’s Cross, Perfect Shelter


Property – March 2015

The property ministry team is spending a special gift donation for multimedia that actually encompasses a few other things, including a security system (monitor and remote lock), some computers, TV’s and DVD’s, and a multimedia system for our theater. We have spent about half of the fund, and the rest seems to be earmarked for enhancements.

With the change in weather, we hope to begin cleaning up outside and getting some spring things done. Each new season brings new jobs to do around the church. There are a few small roof leaks to look into, and some summer repairs that need to be scheduled.

We had a sewer backup a few weeks ago that affected the entire “historic building” (not the FLC). The backup seemed to be within our own building, but we’re not sure what it was. Everything was cleaned and taken care of. We will monitor this in months and years to come.

We may require saving money for a new van soon, as the “green meanie” is making some bad rattles and breaks.

There have been some computer network changes and hiccups, and we have taken care of most of those. A few more enhancements are yet to be completed.

There has been some mention of a decorating enhancement committee. That would be great to see something come together if there are interested members.

If anyone sees a facilities issue or has a concern, please be sure to let staff or myself (Tom Cruttenden) know so that we can take care of it.


Pastoral Search – March 2015

The search committee is continuing to interview candidates and review candidate profiles. We ask for prayers of discernment and the leading of the Holy Spirit for both the committee and the candidates.