Amber Congregational Church - To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose.

The ShoreLight – September 2019
Amber Congregational Church Newsletter

Loving relationships that are committed to God, accountable to each other, involved in Christ’s transforming work in our world.  

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Covenant Renewal Sunday  -  September 15, 2019
Confession and Renewal

This is our 6 Annual observance of the practice of renewing our covenant to God and to each other. We began this after a year of monthly meetings discussing the need for both personal and corporate revitalization.  It was then that we drafted our three point Purpose Statement which reads:

“Loving relationships that are committed to God, accountable to each other,involved in Christ’s transforming work in our world.” 

This year we are emphasizing confession as a part of our renewal practice.  The Scripture teaches us that confession is not just a one-time only responsibility but that repentance is to be a daily way of life.    Our Biblical text for the day is 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.  There is a three point aspect to this passage which aligns with our purpose statement as it calls us to “live in order to please God,” to maintain “brotherly love,” and to lead lives that “win the respect of outsiders.”    Do join us in our Worship on this Sunday as we confess our need of Christ, renew our commitments to God and others, and celebrate the Lord’s Table together.  Music is always a part of our renewal practices and we will certainly be singing together “To Be God’s People.”

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Annual Church Retreat  -  September 28, 2019
Discipleship and Reconciliation  

This is our 16 Annual Retreat.  We started these as a means of encouraging our Sunday School teachers as the school year began but they quickly turned into a time of spiritual focus for the whole congregation. It is our practice to invite in a special speaker to both instruct and lead our times of discussion.   This year our guest speaker will be Sarah Derck.  Sarah serves as Chair and Assistant Professor of Old Testament in the Department of Biblical Studies, Theology, and Philosophy at Houghton College.  She is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene.  She has served as both a college chaplain and an associate pastor in an urban church plant in Manchester, England.  Her particular areas of research and teaching interest include Wisdom literature, biblical women, and preaching from the Old Testament.  Her topic for the day will be “Discipleship and Reconciliation.”  

The retreat will be held at our church on Saturday, September 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m..  Light refreshments and lunch will be provided.  A sign-up sheet is on the literature table in the Kish Room.  Feel free to invite others from outside the church family as well but do register them on the sheet.  The cost for the day is $25.00.  If you have other questions please contact Cheryl Curtis (315-882-8359 or crsadodge@email.com).  


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The Church as a Safe Place 
Points of Emphasis for Discussion

It cannot be denied that the culture of our day increasingly finds itself divided on practically every issue.  This is evident politically, socially, and morally. In our current culture, every sentence someone utters could threaten someone else’s existing belief. In the public arena a clear definition of what is true is no longer accepted, preventing us from holding civil conversations. Even within the Christian denominations there are opposing sides debating many of these same issues from differing biblical and theological perspectives.  It is a confusing time for many both within and without the church.  We at the Amber Congregational Church desire to provide a safe place for all people, regardless of their identity or belief, to question, to discuss, to wrestle with the complexities of divisive issues. We seek to do so in an environment that respects everyone. 

Although we are not necessarily planning to hold any public forums on any specific topics, we do want to encourage open and free conversations between individuals and small groups.  We hope all discussions can be approached with respect and without fear or prejudice, putting aside personal preferences in order to clearly hear and learn from others with a different perspective.   We believe we can engage in this kind of dialogue because we live in the reality of Christ’s love.  We feel secure in his love and can therefore freely offer that love to others without fear (1 John 4:15-21).  We desire to be a safe place for all people because of our understanding that the role of the church is to not legally dictate truth but to focus people’s trust on God’s Word.  It is this love of the truth that has brothers and sisters walking with each other to assist and clarify our beliefs.  We can then aid each other in faithfully living them out to the glory of God as each individual  “works out his/her own salvation” under the authority of Christ.   (Philippians 2:12-13, Galatians 6:1-8, 1 John 4:18)
The following six points are what we believe should be the foundation of all discussions pertaining to how people see themselves and how they should determine their moral, social and political views. 

1. Created in the Image of God – The first thing to be stated with regard to human identity is that all people are made in the image of God.  The Creator designed and made us and as a result we are all people of sacred, eternal value.  We are this to God and consequently we should recognize both our own value and that of all others.  The fact that all of us are sinners by condition and by choice does not change this basic truth about us although it does color our ability to accurately understand both ourselves and our world.   (Genesis 1:26-28) 

2. Loved and Redeemed by Christ – We are Christ’s and should be raised to know that who we are primarily and relationally is found in our identity as those loved and redeemed by Jesus.  His love and grace is demonstrated in His death and resurrection for every one of us. This assures each person that they can find the ultimate joy, peace and wholeness that God intended for each one to experience.  We cannot earn this redemption but it must be accepted by each person individually.  Relationship with God through Christ is where true human identity resides.   (2 Corinthians 5:15-21, 1 John 4:9-10)

3. Sinners and Servants of God – Each person stands before God as a sinner and a servant.  We are not the masters of our souls, our selves, or our place in the world.  We belong to another, to God, and we are not gods ourselves.  Our attempt to put ourselves first is evidence of our own sinfulness.  Before we are able to correctly and adequately identity ourselves in the world we must understand and acknowledge our place as subordinate to our Lord; we are servants before the Master.   (Matthew 10:24-25, Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 17:1-10)

4. Obedient Subjects of God’s Order – As people who belong to God by creation and bought by Christ in redemption, we are not in the place of authority.  The standards and morals by which we are to live are not those of our own making.  Our best hope for the sustained joy of life is found in obedience to the moral standards set by our wise and loving Creator.  God has revealed His moral and ethical expectations for humankind in Scripture.   (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

5. Morality and Ethics Determined by Behavior – Morality and ethics are not defined by identity but by behavior.  This is true in the areas of work, speech, appetite, and social interactions, just as it is in all areas of human sexuality.  All of us are born with self-centered sinful perspectives and all express these in their behaviors.  Moral ethics does not seek to change the heart, something only God can do through Christ, but rather morality seeks to declare what is right and wrong behavior in the social community.   (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 4:17-32)

6. Support and Accountability in the Community – The church is God’s designed support and accountability community to enable each individual to live faithfully and for God’s glory.  Here is where each person is to find and experience his/her full place in life and relationships, with God, with others and with oneself.  The church should not seek to be the world’s policeman but neither must we accept the flip-flopping moral standards of our sinful culture and society.  At all times we must remember that the church’s first responsibility is to demonstrate to everyone the affirming love God has for all people.  (John 3:16-21, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
 

 Amber Congregational Church Church Officers (2019)


Board of Elders   (3 year terms)
     term expiring 2020 - Carl Barber, Mark Henderson, Sally Wilson
     term expiring 2021 - James Frary
     term expiring 2022 - Cathy Smith, Sherry Persad, Deb O’Brien

Board of Trustees   (3 year terms)
    term expiring 2020 - David Heath, Jack Seymour, Matt Henderson,
                                      Chuck Harris
    term expiring 2021 - Mike Curtis, Teal Trendowski
    term expiring 2022 - Cheryl Curtis, Jeff Southard, Terry Wheeler

Ministry Directors   (3 year terms)
     Outreach Director (2020) - Cathy Smith
     Worship Director (2021) - Nancy Barber
     Christian Education Director (2022) - Sue Ellen Harris

Nominating Committee  (2 year terms)
     term expiring 2020 - Deb O’Brien, Teal Trendowski, Cindy Casler
     term expiring 2021 - David Angelo, Mark Henderson (Chairperson)

Other Officers  (1 year terms expiring 2020)
    Clerk - Cheryl Curtis
    Treasurer - Gail Frary
    Financial Secretary - Faith Stopyro
    Assistant to the Treasurer and Finacial Secretary - Jenn Schultz
    Ministerial Relations Chairman - Mike Curtis

Samaritan Fund Committee  (2 year terms)
     term expiring 2020 - Sally Wilson, Cheryl Curtis
                                       (appointed from the Elders and Trustees)
     term expiring 2021 - Faith Stopyro  (elected by congregation), 
                                       Jim Frary, Matt Henderson 
                                       (appointed from the Elders and Trustees)
     permanent members - Rick Chaffee, Cathy Smith 
                                        (Minister and Outreach Director)

Other 1 Year Appointed Positions (1 year terms expiring in 2020)
    Overseer of Greeters - Deb O’Brien  (appointed by the Worship Director)
    Overseer of Acolytes and Nursery – Nancy Barber 
                                                                  (appointed by the Worship Director)
    Librarian – Cheryl Curtis  (appointed by the Education Director)
    Historian – Sally Wilson  (appointed by the Clerk)

Appointed Positions by the Trustees  (indefinite term)
    Janitor - Rich McVicar
    Music Director - Lois Chaffee
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