MESSENGER MESSENGER - First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
New Castle, PA
Hope in the Lord
The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I consider the sufferings of this present time… not worth comparing with the glory
that is to be revealed in us…for in this hope we are saved. Now the hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes
for what he sees? Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness…the Spirit himself intercedes for us with
groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:18, 24-26)
After the dust settled at the 221st General Assembly in Detroit, Michigan, many Presbyterians I know and love
began groaning. While I can appreciate this concern over what may appear to be people making choices out of
sync with our own, I want to suggest, “The trouble with despair is… it is self-fulfilling.”1 When things don’t
go our way, we have a tendency to lose hope. But for Christians, hope is the very thing needed today to begin
the healing process to live into tomorrow.
Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ fills us with gratitude for the grace of God. Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ
connects us to a suffering Savior. Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ helps us heal in our times of pain. Hope in the
Lord Jesus Christ saves us from ourselves. There’s an old joke that goes something like this:
JOE: “You look downhearted, old man. What are you worried about?”
OLD MAN: “My future.”
JOE: “What makes your future look so hopeless?”
OLD MAN: “My past.”2
Though just a joke, I imagine many of us can relate. We get frustrated with how things happen and refuse to
move on. Yet, as Christians, we should respond to hopelessness tempered with His hope; after all we claim
eternal security in a resurrected Savior! While health concerns, family conflicts, job-related stress or church
politics can get us down, we still have hope in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Placing our Hope in Jesus is not a passive response to life’s trials. There is a
difference between being an optimist and having Hope in the Lord. It takes no
courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope.3
In the coming months, a test for many P.C. (USA) churches will be where we place
our hope. Though you may be tempted to groan, let’s leave that to the Spirit who
intercedes for us in our times of weakness.
July 2014
Volume XXI:
Issue 7
Friends and church family of First Presby, now is not the time to hang our heads and
become hopeless. Now is the time to live into our calling and remain “HIS
LIGHT in the CITY”, modeling our mission after the One who inspired it, and in
whom we find our real Hope.
-Pastor Nathan
Norman Cousins
John Maxwell, Sometimes you win, Sometimes you learn, pg. 93
Jim Abbott, Tim Brown, Imperfect: An Improbable Life, pg. 56
new members
Christmas in July
Christmas angels in July? Yes, they’ll be found
around First Presbyterian Church again in 2014.
The recipients of this year’s Christmas in July gifts
will be the little ones whose mothers participate in
the Alpha Omega Center. And what do babies
need? Diapers; baby wipes; clothing (up to 2 T);
baby food, and infant (hand held) toys. All these
will be welcome to usually young mothers who are
just learning to handle the challenges of
There is also another group of possible recipients
for our giving: women and children who stay in the
City Rescue Mission’s Covenant House. Each
receives a personal towel and washcloth set to be
a permanent possession. So individual sets
consisting of bath towel, had towel and a
washcloth are always needed.
The Christmas in July tree will be in Galbreath
Hall on July 13 for your gift selections; gifts will be
accepted on the 20th and 27th.
So prepare your hearts for sharing the joy of giving
as God has given to you.
2014 Graduates
Listed below are 2014 Graduates of FPC. We
celebrate your success and your hopeful futures.
Dianna Bruce-Shenango High
Maddison Manolis-Shenango High
Kristen Brown-Mercyhurst University
Erin Perry-Kent State University
David Earl-Indiana University of PA
FPC Kitchen-Thank you
The Activities Committee and chair, Judy Kerr
thank everyone who was so gracious to bring
beautiful new items for the FPC Kitchen Shower.
We received 47 dish towels, 46 dish cloths, and 22
New Treasures Surface in the Library
Carolyn Moody
Here are some discoveries waiting for you.
Elephants “holding hands”; naughty soap; the north wind’s
kooky; dragons smoke-all can be found in Read-Aloud Rhymes
for the Very Young, selected by Jack Prelutsky and adding
“Imagination” to our reading treasures.
Ever wish life were simpler,as it is for some of our neighbors? It
is possible to slow down and make faith and family our focal
points, to be Almost Amish. Ask Nancy Sleeth. (This is a
“living” treasure for summer reading.)
Fourteen year-old Emily is the neighborhood secret keeper-for a
small fee. She has some lessons to learn about trust and Little
Secrets. The Tri-Star film rated PG can be a family’s summer
treasure of friendship.
There are many ways to God; “You can be who you want and
do what you want”; or “Christian beliefs are a private matter”
are often Lies That Go Unchallenged. Charles Closon
uncovers such beliefs in this reflection on society in our modern
With a little imagination and Jesus’ kingdom parable about some
early and late workers, youngsters can gain understanding of
God’s great kindness by meeting Sir Abner and the Grape
Pickers (an Arch Book from our Biblical Treasures).
They grow-up and move on-but they are still our “kids;” A
number of poets reflect on those children who no longer live in
our houses, but always in our hearts, writing To My Child. This
“family” reading treasure was compiled by Gary Morris.
You can grab any of these from the display on Galbreath Hall, or
dozens of other worthwhile choices when you dive into our
Sympathy Offered
We offer our Christian Sympathy to Steve, Janice and Mikael
Pridon at the recent passing of Steve’s father John. We pray that
your faith and memories are a source of comfort for you.
Thank You
Thank you for your prayers and concern for me during the
church picnic. I am doing well, and returned home that evening. I
appreciate everyone’s kindness.
Nancy Stewart
Former Pastor, John Ackerman Remembered
(The following is an obituary for former pastor, John Ackerman who served First Presbyterian from 19721982. He passed away on November 22, 2013of lung cancer. He was 80.)
The Rev. John W. Ackerman helped poor kids from north Minneapolis get a chance
at college. He traveled to South Africa to provide spiritual coaching to
congregations. And he worked to unite Minnesota faith communities in the global
movement against climate change.
“He was a man of great passion and caring, and I was very honored to walk with
him and work with him through these years,” said Dan Johnson, executive director
at Christos Center for Spiritual Formation in Lino Lakes. The two co-authored a
book last year, “Staying in Touch: Spiritual Practices for Life Together.” It was
Ackerman’s fourth book.
“John read continually about his passionate interest in the spiritual life, but he also kept up a keen interest in
what was happening in the world, especially when questions of justice were involved,” said his wife of 57
years, Helen Ackerman. He was an “apostle” of Northside Achievement Zone, an educational collaborative.
In 2003, when it began as the Peace Foundation, Ackerman started helping organizations and schools reach
out to families in a geographic “zone” of north Minneapolis. “He believed in this comprehensive approach to
partnering with families on the North Side and wrapping supports around them so that their children had hope
for college,” said Sondra Samuels, executive director. She called the Ackermans anchors in the initiative. “Not
only did they support us financially and were dedicated contributors every year to our work, they would attend
functions on the North Side and came to our events and dinners,” Samuels said.
Ackerman was raised in Little Falls, N.Y. and attended Vermont’s Middlebury College, where he met fellow
student Helen Macbeth Starr. After graduating in 1955, he entered Union Theological Seminary in New York.
In 1956, John and Helen married and went to Scotland for his second year of seminary. Ackerman was
ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1957 and was a pastor in upstate New York; Washington, D.C.; and New
Castle, Pa., before coming to Minneapolis. He worked from 1982 to 1989 at Westminster Church, then at
Bryn Mawr Church until 1997.
Beginning in the late 1980s, he also ran a private practice in spiritual direction, organizing small groups and
working with clergy. He began writing books, too, advancing four-step models and other tools. “Spiritual
Awakening: A Guide to Spiritual Life in Congregations” was published in 1994. Another bestseller, “Listening
to God: Spiritual Formation in the Congregation,” was published in 2001.
Several years ago, he and Helen traveled to southern Africa, where he coached congregations that had relied
heavily on his writings. After his second trip, Ackerman wrote a book in Afrikaans.
In recent years, he and Helen, a scientist, grew concerned about global warming. “Climate change become a
huge passion for John during the last decade of his life,” said friend Vera Snow. “He believed life, as we knew
it, was in jeopardy and saw it as the moral issue of our times.”
He served on the board of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit. And in his last four months, he
and Executive Director Julia Nerbonne created and launched “Be the Spark,” a program that trains faith
leaders how to engage churches in climate issues.
“It was John’s vision that people in congregations all over Minnesota would join in the larger climate justice
movement,” Nerbonne said.
Survivors include children Elizabeth Starr Ackerman and Andrew Starr Ackerman, both of New York City.
2014 Vacation
Bible School friends and old friends
young and not so young...
everyone was blessed.
Thanks to all who attended,
volunteered, provided gifts, prayed
and supported the week-long
tradition. It was FANTASTIC!
New Members Welcomed
First Presbyterian Church welcomed five new members into our
church family on Sunday, June 29th. They include Jack Felton
and his daughter Jonalyn Felton, Ed and Patty Fletcher, and Tom
Each have been attending First Church and are pleased to be
“official” church members now. We welcome them and look
forward to serving with them.
Above: New members, Ed
& Patty Fletcher and
Jonalyn & Jack Felton
pause for a photo after
worship on Sunday, June
Left: New member, Tom
Rohan enjoys a brief
conversation with
Deacon, Calvin Shannon.
Our order is on its way to Heifer
International! The 12 participants in our
“Read to Feed” challenge and their
generous sponsors raised a total of $852,
purchasing one pig, one sheep, and two
shares in a second, six rabbits, eight flocks
of chickens and six ducks, two hives of
bees, about 150 tree seedlings, and a biogas stove. What a miracle these will be for
families around the globe who struggle in
lives of dire poverty.
Recognition is due to the readers: Cole
Hutchison, Claire Loudon, Will Loudon,
Naomi Savage, Dru Show, Caliann Snyder,
Lydia Ubry, Madeline Ubry, Tyrone
Williams, Tyshia Williams, Teri Perry, and
Carolyn Moody. You can check out the
library doorway (room 116) to learn more
about the importance of every gift, and who
worked for each.
God’s blessings rest on those who gave and
those who will receive.
Lisa Lee,
Les Perry,
and Don &
this year’s
service at
High School.
The FPC children enjoy each other’s company as they
prepare to sing on Sunday morning.
Contemplating Heaven
“When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation, and take me
home-what joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow in humble adoration
and there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!”
This is the last verse of the much beloved Hymn, How Great Thou Art.
This is often sung at funerals, does it make you think of Heaven? Unlike some
of our more sentimentalized hymns this one depicts correct Biblical allusions.
Reread it and ask yourself what it suggests concerning: 1-When/How to get
there, 2-Who we see and 3-What we will do while there?
During Sundays in August I will be leading a sermon series in which
we will reflect on our ideas of Heaven and compare them with what the Bible
says. My hope is that this series will help us to accurately assess what the Bible
says about our eternal home. We may find that our everyday asides about
Heaven need re-considered, in light of what Holy Scripture says or does not
say about…
To prepare for week one, “Heaven: Where is it?” I encourage you to read:
2Kings 2, Isaiah 65, Acts 1, Revelation 21.
-Pastor Nathan
THE 109th NEW
JUY 19-25, 2014
For more details call the
Conference Office 724-9469770 or visit the website at
Women’s Bible Study Serves
On June 17, several ladies from the Women’s Bible Study group went to pack
boxes at the Eastbrook Mission Barn. Under the direction of Nelson Thayer,
pastor of Eastbrook United Methodist Church, we packed school and disaster
relief supplies. Our four hours also included a tour of the facility, lunch, laughs
and lively conversation. A big thank you goes out to Irene Fergus , Joanna
Kalacinski, Bonnie Barnes, Bonnie Clutter, Carol Herbert, Delores Klamer,
Roseann Lucas, Debbie McMillin, Patty Mitcham, Nancy Myers, Laurie
Seminara and Karen Tinstman,
His Hands July 23-25
His Hands is a local youth mission project that seeks to serve those in
Lawrence County who need assistance and to demonstrate to our youth
how to walk in the footsteps of Christ by serving others.
July 23-25 His Hands Ministry will be working all over Lawrence County!
Serving The Lord by serving others. There will be churches from all over
the county coming together to help rebuild homes and share the love of
The group will begin and end each day here at First Presbyterian Church.
(8 AM and 3 PM) See Brett if you are interested in working with this
group on these projects or would like to be of some other assistance.
Dianna Bruce
Rose Vasquez
Jay Bruce
Zachary Ford
Heather Earl Wilkinson
Melvin Meeder
Tom Rohan
David Earl
Laura Ford
Janet Krisuk
Randy Kunselman
Andy Jackson
Abby Hutchison
Ian Jackson
Kyle Pullium
Marjorie Goodpastor
Peg Wallace
Pat Margraf
Bill Burdett
Tyrone Williams
Brett Householder
Tim Sentgeorge
Mark Pearson
Sally Knecht
Karl Shoup, Jr.
Kim Rodgers
His Light in the City
First Presbyterian Church
125 North Jefferson Street
New Castle, PA 16101
This Year FPC will head to PNC Park on Friday,
August 8th to watch the Pirates take on the
Padres. It is a T-Shirt Friday (The first 25,000
guest to enter the gates will receive FREE
shirts.)There is also a Block Party that evening.
Game time is 7:05.