Amber Congregational Church - Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The ShoreLight - Amber Church Newsletter
June 2017


A Culture of Believing Prayer & Intercession
 
   The theme at our Conference’s Annual Meeting this past summer was on creating churches which have in their very atmosphere and culture the reality of prayer.  I went to the meeting with minimal expectation as I have usually been disappointed with books and speakers that address the topic of prayer.  It almost always seems to me that prayer gets approached as a tool, a means of securing something from God.  Sometimes the presentation comes off in a rather perfunctory manner, do this and that will be the result.  This always seems artificial if not downright manipulative and is certainly unbiblical.  Our prayers, no matter how earnest, never should be seen as obligating God to do as we say.  I object to that kind of prayer.  Also, at its best, the presentation of intercessory prayer usually leaves me feeling guilty.  Some of this may be the legitimate guilt of failing to reserve sufficient time for prayer.  But other guilt floods in because there are so many needy people and my mind overloads with both a sense that I am responsible to aid them on my knees coupled with a burnout lack of compassion when I neglect anyone.

   So it was with a bit of reserve that I headed off to Annual Meeting this past July.  I don’t know that I had any specific expectations for the gathering but    I wasn’t really anticipating any real take-aways from the speakers. I went really to reconnect with brothers and sisters who shared my spiritual and pastoral journey with me.  I was not disappointed in that regard. 

   But the speakers were good.  I did listen and sought to gain an application from what I heard.  And although I did find some of the suggestions for church prayer to be outside both my preference and my practice I did appreciate the goal, which to put in my own words was to create churches that are on a natural and conversational relationship with Jesus.  Prayer is to me the human expression and response to the God who loves us and speaks his truth to us personally in a day-to-day manner through the Scriptures.  Prayer is my side of a God conversation.  And certainly I want to maintain this personal relational communication with God, and to have our church be known as a community where God is known and is present in the everyday lives of its people.  I don’t want to be seen as anti-prayer.

   On the final day I was challenged to bring home with me some way of encouraging us as a church family to live out that “culture of believing prayer and intercession.”  (This phrase, by the way, is one of the “Seven Guiding Values” of our Conference.)  What can I do to aid all of you in your respective life of prayer and our corporate life of prayer?  After some thoughtful prayer and pondering I decided to make the practice of praying the Psalms a regular part of our Sunday Worship.  I have already begun that practice as those of you who are in Worship each Sunday have no doubt realized.  In doing this I am following the suggestion of Eugene Peterson who wrote about praying the psalms that “If we are willfully ignorant of the Psalms, we are not thereby excluded from praying, but we will have to hack our way through formidable country by trial and error and with inferior tools.  If we dismiss the Psalms, preferring a more up-to-date and less demanding school of prayer, we will not be without grace, but we will miss the center where Christ worked in his praying.  Christ prayed the Psalms” (Eugene Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer, p. 4).

   In order to work our way through the Psalms I have drafted an outline that assigns a particular Psalm with every day of the year.  There are 150 psalms and with some division of the longer ones I have a system that gets us through the Psalms twice in a year.  Coupling this with our Church Prayer Reminder, which lists all the members of the Amber Church on a two month schedule of prayer, and I have begun to pray a psalm for all of you as your name corresponds with the Psalm for that day.  In Worship each Sunday I am endeavoring to demonstrate that kind of prayer.

   But I also want to make this available to each of you for use in your own private prayer time.  So I have printed up copies of this “Praying the Psalms Daily” booklet and they are now available on the church literature tables.  Pick one up along with the Amber Church Prayer Reminder and the monthly Prayer Insert and join me in praying for one another. 

   See you in Worship.  
                                    Rick


 Amber Congregational Church Church Officers (2017)

Board of Elders  (3 year terms)

(2018) James Frary.
(2019) Cathy Smith, Sherry Persad, Deb O’Brien.
(2020) Carl Barber, Mark Henderson, Sally Wilson.
 
Board of Trustees  (3 year terms)

(2018) Mike Curtis, Teal Trendowski.
(2019) Cheryl Curtis, Jeff Southard, Terry Wheeler.
(2020) David Heath, Jack Seymour, Matt Henderson.

Ministry Directors   (3 year terms)

Worship Director (2018) - Nancy Barber
Christian Education Director (2019) - Sue Ellen Harris
Outreach Director (2020) - Cathy Smith
 
Nominating Committee  (2 year terms)

(2018) Deb O’Brien, Teal Trendowski, Cindy Casler.
(2019) David Angelo, Mark Henderson (Chairperson).

Other Officers  (1 year terms)

Clerk - Cheryl Curtis
Treasurer - Gail Frary
Financial Secretary - Faith Stopyro
Ministerial Relations Chairman - Mike Curtis
 
Samaritan Fund Committee  (2 year terms)

(2017) Jim Frary, Matt Henderson (appointed from the Elders and
     Trustees)
(2018) Faith Stopyro (elected by congregation), Sally Wilson, Cheryl
     Curtis (appointed from the Elders and Trustees)
(2019) Jim Frary, Matt Henderson (appointed from the Elders and
     Trustees)
(permanent members) - Rick Chaffee, Cathy Smith (Minister and
     Outreach Director)
 
Other Appointed Positions(1 year terms)

Overseer of Greeters - Deb O’Brien (appointed by Worship Director)
Overseer of Acolytes and Nursery – Nancy Barber (appointed by
     Worship Director)
Sunday School Superintendents - Lois Chaffee, Gail Frary (appointed by
     Education Director)
Historian - Sally Wilson (appointed by Education Director)
Librarian- Cheryl Curtis (appointed by Education Director)
 
Appointed Positions by the Trustees  (indefinite term)

Janitor - Andy McVicar
Music Director - Lois Chaffee

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