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Welcome! Our hope for this blog is to give you insight into the whys of what we do. We value open communication, not only from leadership to the congregation, but from the congregation to leadership as well. To learn more about RRC’s ministry philosophy and how we put it into action, check out our Leadership Principles section.

Consistory – March 2015

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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!

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Adult Ministry – March 2015

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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.

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Youth Ministry – March 2015

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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/

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Outreach – March 2015

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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!

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Worship – March 2015

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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

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Property – March 2015

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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.


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Pastoral Search – March 2015

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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.

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The Cross: A Revelation of Christ’s Character

Submitted by Pam Jacobs • Here is a recap of the Women’s Lenten Morning.

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Frustrated, Incomplete, Disappointed

A message from Luke Morgan to those in the Spiritual Formation: Growing in Christ Sunday School Class:

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Consistory – February 2015

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The recent consistory meeting was the first one where the committee liaisons gave a report. As explained in the last communication, members of the consistory are liaisons for different committees (look under the title of each section of this newsletter to see who they are).
 
One item from the Congregational update on February 8 needs correction. The start date for changing to the one worship service per Sunday is June 14, not June 21, as was stated at the meeting. We will meet at 9:30 a.m. from June 14 through Labor Day and change back to two services on September 13. September 13 will also be the date of the Fall Festival.
 
Apparently, spring cleaning has come early to RRC! The closet by the organ at the front of the sanctuary will be cleaned out and reorganized. Bren Shantz will move to the old Youth Director office in the Family Life Center so that his current office (also at the front of the sanctuary) can be transformed to a storage closet for musical equipment and other items related to the worship ministry. In addition, the worship team is looking at installing 90-inch TV screens in the sanctuary, to use instead of the projector. The current projector is having issues and is very costly to replace. Funds are available for the TV screens. There is still discussion going on as to the best location for the screens and how to mount them so they can be moved out of the way if necessary.
 
The search for a permanent Youth Leader has begun. See the HR Committee section for more info.

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