The ShoreLight - Amber Church Newsletter
A Culture of Believing Prayer &
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)
(2019) Cathy Smith, Sherry Persad, Deb O’Brien.
(2020) Carl Barber, Mark Henderson, Sally Wilson.
Board of Trustees (3 year terms)
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) -
Christian Education Director (2019) - Sue Ellen Harris
Outreach Director (2020) -
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
Treasurer - Gail
Financial Secretary - Faith
Ministerial Relations Chairman - Mike
Samaritan Fund Committee (2 year terms)
(2017) Jim Frary, Matt Henderson (appointed from the
(2018) Faith Stopyro (elected by congregation), Sally Wilson, Cheryl
Curtis (appointed from
the Elders and Trustees)
(2019) Jim Frary, Matt Henderson (appointed from the
(permanent members) - Rick Chaffee, Cathy Smith
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
Sunday School Superintendents - Lois
Chaffee, Gail Frary (appointed by
Historian - Sally
Wilson (appointed by Education Director)
Librarian- Cheryl Curtis (appointed by Education Director)
Appointed Positions by the Trustees (indefinite term)
Janitor - Andy
Music Director - Lois