The ShoreLight - Amber Church Newsletter
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
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.
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 - Rich
Music Director - Lois