MARCH, 2014
THE FOURTH GOSPEL
by
Roger P. Howard
SPECIAL WORSHIP
ANNOUNCEMENT
Mar 5: We will gather at 5:00 p.m. for a
light supper of soup, bread, and beverage,
followed, at 5:45 p.m. by an Ash
Wednesday Worship, complete with the
imposition of ashes. This will all be in
Fellowship Hall, and will be complete by
6:15 p.m.
TRY IT OUT!
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
Last month I wrote about the
differences in the gospels, but I needed to
postpone a description of the Gospel of John
until this issue of The Good News. Since it is
now Lent, (starting on the 5th), it seems so
apropos to be thinking about the gospels.
John’s Gospel was written last,
probably sometime between AD 100 and
120. We can say that because of the use of
words and grammar in the Greek language
used, and some of the themes and issues that
John uniquely raises.
The Jesus we see in John is a bit
different from the Synoptics – Matthew,
Mark, and Luke. Here, Jesus seems to
“float” above the earth by about 2 feet. He
certainly is divine; the unclear aspect is
whether or not Jesus was fully human.
On that last statement, let me add
something. Today, people who are not
Christians or are skeptical about the faith,
question whether Jesus was God’s Son –
whether he is divine – part of God himself.
No one, not even atheists question whether
Jesus was a human being or not. We know
from secular, Roman, and Jewish historians
of the period that there was such a man –
Jesus of Nazareth.
In the first century, it was the
reverse. No one questioned whether Jesus
was God or was divine except the Jewish
leaders; what they wondered about was
whether Jesus was really a flesh-and-blood
person, or just a spirit made visible. This is
why The Nicene Creed states so clearly that
Jesus “was fully divine and fully human,”
and was made of “the same substance as
God the Father.” (homousious)
A group of philosophers known as
the “Gnostics,” (who believed in the
“gnosis,” which is a word related to
knowledge and spirit, but NOT physical
beings), believed that Jesus was a spirit, and
indeed everything that was purely spirit was
good, but everything physical was evil.
John’s Gospel has elements of Gnosticism in
it.
More meaningful to us is how John
himself described the purpose of his gospel,
and therefore gives us a “lens” through
which to understand it. In the twentieth
chapter, John writes his purpose: “Now
Jesus did many other signs in the presence
of his disciples, which are not written in this
book. But these are written so that you
may come to believe that Jesus is the
Messiah, the Son of God, and that
through believing you may have life in his
name.” (My emphasis.)
In other words, John writes not for
the purpose of an analytical and scholarly,
orderly historical account of Jesus’ whole
life, but so that we, the readers, will come
to faith. It is evangelism, rather than a
researched history. And, of course, the
writer was not living when Jesus was doing
his earthly ministry.
I like to call John “the Television
Gospel.” Can you picture it?
In the story told in John chapter
three, we have the account of Nicodemus’
encounter with Jesus. At the start of that
story
we
are
told
that
“It was night.” Can you imagine a camera
set on a crane at the end of a dusty street?
Along the street comes a dark figure – we
only see him from the rear, so we can’t see
his face as yet. Then he turns into one
building on the side of the street. (I have in
my mind a western town in the United
States, with false facades on buildings built
for a movie set.) When he enters, the camera
catches up from behind and above, and
enters with him. Then he turns into a room
with a single, unadorned light bulb hanging
from its wire from the ceiling. (I guess this
is more modern that AD 33!) There, sitting
in a Shaker wooden chair is Jesus. Across
from him is another, similar chair, in which
Nicodemus sits facing Jesus. It is then that
we know the secret visitor.
During the discussion that follows,
the camera takes in both men. Nicodemus
asks questions and Jesus answers, but we,
the readers, are the only ones who
understand. Nic is confused with Jesus’
answers about “water and the Spirit,” “wind
and Spirit,” etc. You can see the lack of
understanding on Nic’s face. But we
understand that Jesus is talking about
spiritual rebirth. Slowly, during the
interchange, the camera pans in to Jesus’
face, so that by verse 11, Jesus’ face fills up
the entire screen. He talks for a long time –
12 verses – without Nic interrupting.
Suddenly, at the end of verse 21, the
scene fades to black, and we go to “a
commercial.” When we come back from the
4 minute interruption! - we find ourselves in
another scene! Where did Nicodemus go?
We’re not told. How did Jesus get from the
meeting with Nicodemus to the Judean
countryside with his disciples? We are not
told.
To John, those details of the
historical account are not interesting. He
simply wants us to understand Jesus’
message about being born from above/again,
rather than an exact history lesson. And we,
the readers from a long time later,
understand. We want to shake Nicodemus
and say, “Don’t you get it? You have to let
the Holy Spirit into your heart!
Remember, John is the gospel writer
to include the story of Thomas, which ends
with Jesus’ words, “Blessed are those who
have not seen and yet believe!” Those
believers are we, the readers. We understand
the interaction between Jesus and
Nicodemus, even if he doesn’t understand.
And that is the purpose of John’s Gospel
from the beginning, right? That’s what he
told us in John 20: 30-31.
So, you can see, (I hope), why John,
for me, is the Television Gospel. The
program was made for us, not for the
participants – the actors. We are the ones
John wants to have faith – and in having that
faith, inherit eternal life – Easter!
In this Lenten season, let us read the
Scripture, perhaps John’s Gospel, and
understand, and believe! It will bring us to
Easter, Resurrection, and Eternal Life!
Just a reminder…
Daylight saving time begins
March 9. Remember to turn
your clocks forward one hour
Saturday evening.
FEBRUARY
SESSION HIGHLIGHTS
On February 11th, eleven elders and
Pastor Howard met for the regular monthly
Session meeting. Also present was Cindy
Zwergel, representing the Board of Deacons.
It was with regret that the Session
accepted the resignation of Doug Braendle
as an elder.
Congregational membership at the
end of January was 299. We were saddened
by the death of Virginia Walpusk. During
January the weekly worship attendance
averaged 125 as compared to 123 in 2013.
Church school attendance averaged 32
people weekly as compared to 44 in 2013.
Our envelope giving for the month of
January totaled $25,845.00. This was below
the budgeted amount of $36,371.00.
January
ACTUAL
Income $ 33,114.87
Expenses $ 39,295.39
Excess/ $ (6,180.52)
BUDGET
$ 41,034.00
$ 45,037.00
$ (4,003.00)
(Shortfall)
Much business was accomplished at
the February Session meeting. Karen Keller
was elected Clerk of Session and Rob
Hamsher became Treasurer. Bob Hribal was
elected President and Debbie Prostko
became Vice President of the Corporation.
The following chairpersons of committees
were elected:
Christian Education –Martha Smith
Communications – Barb Ploy
Finance – Rob Hamsher
Membership – Ann Mizer
Memorial Gifts – Karen Keller
Mission and Stewardship –
Pete McGuire
Personnel – Doug Busch
Property Maintenance –
Rob Hamsher
Worship, Music, and the Arts –
Susanne Udvari
Rob Hamsher will chair the
Nominating Committee and Martha Smith
will be the
other Elder on the committee.
Session approved an Ash Wednesday
Soup supper and Service on March 5th
beginning at 5 p.m. and a Family Night
dinner and Seder on Palm Sunday starting at
4 p. m.
The Women’s Retreat dates were
changed from spring to October 11th due to
a conflict with the speaker. Vacation Bible
School will be held June 22 – 26th from 68:30 p. m.
Session approved the purchase of
CO detectors for the boiler rooms and the
small kitchen. Rob Hamsher is inspecting
the church and grounds using guidelines
from a Safe Church course found on-line.
The inspection will be used to update our
facilities and hopefully save us money on
insurance in the future.
The Parents Night Out run by the
YMCA has been a success, so nights will be
scheduled for March, April and May. An
exercise class that combines yoga and
Pilates is also being conducted in the YCC
building.
There was a report made on a
meeting of representatives of the Session,
the Board of Deacons, the Personnel
Committee, the Implementation Planning
Team, the pastor, the Associate Minister to
Presbytery and consultant Dan Paul. This
meeting was to clarify misinformation given
to the congregation in the Rose of Sharon
report at the Annual Meeting, look for ways
forward in our 10-year Strategic Plan, to
assign tasks to those present in moving us
past the current plateau, and to plan future
meetings: in particular, a meeting with the
IPT, the Rose of Sharon team co-leaders,
and the Associate Minister to Presbytery.
That meeting is scheduled for February 20th.
A letter will be composed by the Clerk of
Session and the pastor to the congregation to
clarify and report on the proceedings.
Respectfully submitted,
Karen Keller
Clerk of Session
__________________
The Easter Memorial Flowers
insert is currently in your church
bulletin until March 30. The cost
per flower is $8.00 for potted
lilies, tulips or hyacinths. Please
make sure that your orders are
received in the church office by
Monday, March 31, 2014.
The
Mission of
the Month
for March is
the Pocket
Change
Ministry for
Deep
Springs International, a water purification
project in Haiti. This project was initiated
and is still operated by Michael Ritter who
grew up in Sharon Church. Clean water
has always been in short supply in Haiti
and the situation became even more
critical after the 2010 earthquake. Almost
10% of Haitian children die before their 5th
birthday and preventable diseases like
diarrhea and cholera are the main causes.
Since 2006, Deep Springs International
has provided a solution to the water crisis
in Haiti with the goal of sustainability.
Using
a
simple
and
affordable
chlorination
system
called,
THE
BUCKET OF LIFE, they empower poor
families to treat their own water at home.
They also hire local people to deliver the
product and educate the consumers on
how to use this system.
On, Sunday, March 2,
2014,
our
Sharon
children will be on a
BIG MISSION to help
the children in Haiti.
Please help them by
saving up your pocket change and
bringing it to church on Sunday, March 2,
2014. If you are absent that day, there will
be buckets in the narthex and in the
Sunday School classes through the month
of March.
Our GOAL IS TO COLLECT $340.00
through our Pocket Change Ministry!
This amount of money will provide clean
water for 10 families for 3 years!
Sharon’s small children want to make a
BIG CHANGE for the lives of the Haitian
children. Please help them to fill our
BUCKETS Of LIFE to provide clean
water for the families in Haiti!
________________
Jalilia Britt Shai, The Church Mouse
This month, someone was kind enough
to share an interesting article about a long-time
church member who passed away last year, Tom
Horstein. I slightly re-arranged certain parts and
shortened a couple of areas.
The original article was found on Feb 3
in the Beaver County Times, written by Gino
Piroli:
“One thing’s for certain: I’ll miss
hearing my old friend refer to me as ‘the kid’”.
Tom Hornstein’s family originally came
to this area in 1905; both his grandfather
Thomas and father Frank served as funeral
directors.
He told me of those early days when the
funeral directors' hearses were used as
ambulances. He was with his dad providing
service with their hearse during two tragedies in
the county:
March 17, 1941, Baden train wreck — a
suspected sabotage — that killed four and
injured 113; Dec. 22,1942, landslide on
Aliquippa-Ambridge boulevard that killed 22
people and injured three.
After World War II, Tom operated the
Woodlawn Cemetery arm of the family business.
He left to become the general manager of the
Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh, where many
of Pittsburgh's great personalities are buried.
Upon Hornstein's death, Arthur Zeigler,
president of the Pittsburgh History & Landmark
Foundation, said "he was a superb head of
Pittsburgh's most historic cemetery."
The Post Gazette described him as the
retired general manager whose idea
"launched a first of its kind association for the
purpose of saving and restoring the historic
cemetery's structures and serene and scenic
grounds."
In an election in 1955, voters made the
choice of going from a second-class to a firstclass township. Five commissioners, were now
to be chosen, and to fill those openings two
township residents were selected by the Beaver
County courts.
The Republican chosen was Hornstein,
age 28, a successful businessman, and I was the
Democrat, a 29-year-old "mill hunky pipe fitter"
— a term I'm very proud of.
I was inexperienced in that type of
activity and credit Hornstein for helping me
mature and giving me confidence in dealing with
the public. I was rather youthful looking and
often needed an ID card to prove my age, and at
the
township
meetings
one
veteran
commissioner, in answer to citizens' complaints,
would point to me and say "don't worry, me and
this kid will take care of it."
The name stuck with Hornstein and to
the day he died always called me "the kid;" in a
recent card from his wife, Kate, she even used
the term.
Tom lived in Moon Township and was a
strong supporter of the B.F. Jones Library.
A few years ago there was an obituary
published for Gino Piroli — a relative of mine
— that caused some confusion among my
friends and acquaintances. I got a phone call at
home and when I answered there was a long
pause. It was Hornstein calling to extend
sympathies ...
but instead expressed relief that I was still alive!
I'll miss him, especially hearing him ask,
"Hey kid, what's happening in Aliquippa?"
CONCERNS
THOSE SERVING IN THE ARMED
SERVICES
Donnie and Brett (brothers of Holly Henry)
CONTINUING PRAYER CONCERNS
Concerns: Caleb James Painter (Lori’s
grandson), Evan Harrenstein (Thanet
Kisow), Esther Schermerhorn (Ron’s
mother), Lois Neely (Melissa Bigelow’s
grandmother), Lois Ehrin (Dave Gordon’s
sister), Jack Vochinski (Linda Kepka), John
Doutt (Kathy Hamsher’s cousin), Finn
Roessler (2 yr. old with cancer) Carol
Musgrave, Margaret Shell (Karen Fedin’s
mother), Henry Moore (Janet McGuire’s
brother-in-law), Lillian Lins (Laverne
Petrie’s step-mother), Carl, Nancy (Kathryn
Roth), Kenneth (Miriam Wolf), David (The
Ruths nephew), Eric and Steven (Barbara
Ploy), Michele (Pam Charles), Mary
Godfrey and Sue (friend and sister of Joe
Sharkey), Debbie Sherwood (friend of Pam
Wieland), Ralph Hogsett and June Hamsher
(Kathy Hamsher’s father and sister-in-law)),
Eliza Mazeka and Jordan (child with brain
tumor – and friend of the Shaffers), Gabby
Chew (friend of Michele DeBrucky), Sean
Roche (friend of Stacy Betts’ family), Kitty
and Dorothy (friend and sister of Gladys
Sanderbeck) John Hudak (friend of Lee
Ann’s), Jessica Baer (friend of Joe Tuttle),
Jill Dunlap, Calvin Dixon, and Johnnie
Hubler (Mike’s nephew), Norman Alvord
and Gretchen, (friends of Horst Endress),
Allegra Frank (friend of Carol Musgrave),
Chris, Ed and Nita Collaratti (relative, friend
and neighbor of Al Zalucky), Leonard
Bozinski (friend of Nicole Zalucky), Carl
Lemmons (uncle of Gail Zalucky), Mimi
Cain and her father Bud (daughter-in-law to
Tom and Barbara Cain), Janet and Michele,
(Joanne
Hagar’s
friends),
Debbie
McCutchen, Glenn Jackel, Valerie Bell (The
Waltschott’s daughter, Jan’s brother, and
their pastor in Florida), J. P. LaDue (co-
worker of Thanet Kisow), Shirley Lintner
(Bob’s mother), Peg Thompson (former
member), Christina Schuliger (Wayne and
Jane’s granddaughter), Ed Balchon and Bob
Moore, (friends of Bruce Thompson), Doug
Arndt (friend of Myra Tokar), Ann (Nancy
Handerhan’s
aunt),
Gwen
Soergel
(bagpiper’s sister), Sharon Sorgel, Rev. Ed
Bowen, Norman Stout (Jan Gorr’s father),
Peg Behling (former member), Enos Abel
(friend of the Campbells), Fred, Andy, Bob
Simon, Glenn, Matt Gress (cousin, friends
and brother of the Camersons), Paul Wasko
(friends of George Hollis), Jennifer Smith
(Lorraine Keith’s granddaughter), Duane
Sprott (friend of Lorraine Keith), Rhonda
(Jane Skelton’s sister), Frank Behm (brother
of Roger Behm), Martha Van Beers (Dick
Shirra’s aunt), Pauline Christian (Sally
Shirra’s cousin), Bob Stump (Lori
Meredith’s brother-in-law),
Kenneth
Bowden (Grace’s son),
Tim (Janet
Loadman’s nephew), Darla Johnson (Betty
Stewart’s
daughter),
Michael
Ritter
(working in Haiti). (2/18/14).
by
Lee Ann Heinlein
______________
Christian walk in the community of the
faithful.
Sunday
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Leader: Sara Kobak
Faith Lessons: Fire on the Mountain
(Meeting dates for this group are April 6, 13,
and 27, 2014
Sara’s Home
ADULT EDUCATION FOR
MARCH
March 2 to April 13
100 Essential Scriptures
Pastor Howard
Room 202
Bernie, Can you insert the GROUPS logo
here in this spot?
Thanks, Lee Ann
SMALL GROUPS
Why Not Join!
The primary emphasis of Small
Groups is relationship building, but the
relationship building is done within the
context of faith and Biblical direction.
Small Groups are not so much about right
and wrong answers as about thinking
through what the Bible says to us about how
Christ would have us live out our lives
individually and in community. Spiritual
transformation occurs when Biblical truths
interact with our lives and cause us to grow
and change into people attempting to live as
God would guide, no easy challenge, but
made more comfortable within the
community of others who are also struggling
and growing. Come share your life in Christ
with others who are looking to live out their
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Leader: Gladys Sanderbeck and
Ann Mizer
Essential Christianity: Practical Steps for
Spiritual Growth
March 2 through April 6
Room 100
Monday
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Leaders: Pam Charles and
Donna Kovatch
Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed—A
Study of David
Library
Thursday
9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Leader: Carol Lowden and
Lee Ann Heinlein
Praying the Psalms of Lent
March 13 through April 17
Gifts of the Heart Mission
Project for the Sunday School
The Sunday School will be creating
Gifts of the Heart School Kits as their
mission over the next several months. Gifts
of the Heart is sponsored by Presbyterian
Disaster Assistance and the One Great Hour
of Sharing. These groups have need of these
and other kits when a disaster hits. In
addition to school kits there are hygiene kits,
baby kits, and cleaning kits. Our children
will help other children to go to school with
the supplies they need. The kits may be
used right here in the United States or
abroad.
Each kit is to contain 1 pair of
rounded tip scissors, three 70 count spiral
notebooks, one 12” ruler, 1 hand held pencil
sharpener, 6 new pencils with erasers, 1
large eraser, 1 box of 24 crayons, and 1
cloth bag that is 12”x 14” to 14” x 17” in
size, with cloth handles.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
June 22 to June 26, 2014
6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
WEIRD ANIMALS: WHERE
JESUS’ LOVE IS ONE OF A
KIND
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR A
GRAND TIME WITH OUR ANNUAL
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY
The doors leading into the church in
Fellowship Hall that are located near the
Moon School’s tennis courts and the doors
at the bottom of the stairs in front of the
Pastor’s Office will not be open on the days
there is snow. All other entrances will be
open. It takes quite a lot of time and work to
clear the many walks around the church and
these entrances get little use. When the
walks are clear they will be open.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL.
VBS Director: Chira Cratsley
______________________________
____
“Well Done, Good and ‘Faithful
Servant”
Matthew 25:21
I'd like to thank the 6 Deacons who
are part of the class of 2014. Over the last
three years, these people have given
countless hours of their time to serve both
our church, and the local community.
Five of the members, Joan Hubler, Mike
Hubler, Lorna Phillips, Carra Wheat, and I
will be leaving, so I would particularly like
to thank them for their service. Tim
Barrett was also a member of the class of
2014, but has agreed to return, so I would
like to thank him for his service for the last
three years, and wish him well as he
continues as a Deacon.
Your help is needed! Won’t you
consider signing up to be a Sharon
Ambassador for a week (or several or a
month). All that is involved is a short visit
during your time to any one of our
members in the Sewickley Hospital. You
should call the church office to see if
anyone is in the hospital; next, choose a
day to pay them a short visit to let them
know the congregation is thinking of
them.
______________
Greg Wheat
________________
Harry Kammerer sends a special thank you
to Pastor Howard and Sharon Members:
Dear Sharon Church Members,
Thank you to Roger for his guidance
and care upon the passing of my mother,
Jeanne K. Stefl. Also, thank you to all
members who visited and sent cards.
Your kindness and thoughtfulness
has made a difficult time easier for our
family.
Sincerely,
Harry S. Kammerer
Sharon Ambassadors – 2014
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