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

Thankful?  For This?
 
   I have to admit that Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Yes, I know that the idealistic American story of the Pilgrims and the Indians is told from the Pilgrim side and not that of the Native Americans but that realization doesn’t take the spiritual luster away for me.  I have often joked with anyone from Canada about their early Thanksgiving Day and chided them for merely stealing our holiday and preempting it by a month each calendar year.  But that too was deflated a couple weeks ago when I read a short article in Time magazine about the Canadian Thanksgiving and the fact that it became a national holiday in the 1860’s as an expression of thanks that they were not Americans, divided and fighting over slavery.  They were apparently the recipients of a number of truly grateful American transfers on the Underground Railroad. Well, that didn’t make me lose my love for the holiday but I guess I will have to stop making fun of the Canadians. 

   But do we really have a lot to be thankful for this year?  Or must we do so only by way of comparison?  I am thankful that I don’t live in a tropical area where hurricanes are frequent.  I am thankful that I don’t live in California where forest fires are a common and annual event.  I am thankful that I don’t like country music and so I wasn’t at the concert in Las Vegas where the crazed sniper gunned down so many innocent people assembled for that open-air event.  I am thankful that my home is not in an area where flood waters have been unseasonably high and damage and loss of income has been significant.  I am thankful that I am not an orange grove farmer in Florida or a wine vineyard owner in California.  I am so thankful that I am not an actress who had to work for Harvey Weinstein. 

   The list of tragedies and losses these past few months are incredible. And they are not just these big news stories, they also include the deaths of loved ones in our church family, most recently Donna Sundwall’s cousin and Kathy Trendowski’s sister.  Some have been given news of advancing diseases with little hope of further effective treatment.  Sally Wilson and Loren Torrance fall into this category.  And what of the emotional pain and feeling of abandonment that is associated with broken marriages.  This has touched several in our church family recently.  What are these folk thankful for this year?  And is our thankfulness only related to not being in someone else’s shoes? 

   So many of the psalms cry out to God in the midst of trouble and pain and suffering.  Psalm 13 says, “How long, O LORD?  Will you forget me forever?”  This is the reality of life for so many.  And for those of us who aren’t presently under the knife of suffering there is the ever-present awareness that life for many in our world is full of despair.  How can we even enjoy a thanksgiving meal when we know that there are so many hungry in the world?  How can we celebrate freedom when so many are deprived of basic human rights?  How can any of us be thankful and be a citizen in this world?

   The psalmist David does not give in to despair in Psalm 13, instead he cries out his longing knowing that God sees and hears.  After a particularly personal time of physical and emotional suffering he writes in Psalm 38, “All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.”  And because of this he is able to affirm what seems like an unrealistic leap of faith, he makes the decision to trust God no matter what.  “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5). 

   This is akin to the decision Habakkuk made in the face of his upside down world, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).  I am also reminded of the Apostle Peter who responded to Jesus when so many others turned away because his teaching seemed to them to make no sense in light of the real world.  Peter, who also didn’t have full understanding, said, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).  That is our thanksgiving assurance too.  Let’s determine to say and live it together in Jesus name.  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 - Rich McVicar
Music Director - Lois Chaffee

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