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Valley News
February 23, 2019
"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
~ Luke 6.35-36
     As we focus on the life and teachings of Jesus during this season of Epiphany, we will continue reading through what is known as the Sermon on the Plain tomorrow morning. I encourage you to read and reflect on all of the lessons for tomorrow, which are:
  • Genesis 45.3-11, 15
  • Psalm 37
  • 1 Corinthians 15.35-50
  • Luke 6.27-38
"All in Good Time"

     You will find Jennifer's reflections on the seventh Sunday after Epiphany and the week to follow below.
 
Seventh Sunday After Epiphany
February 24, 2019

 
The oft-quoted “Golden Rule” is contained in this week’s passage from the gospel of Luke: “Do to others as you would have others do to you.” It sounds very nice, neat, and tidy, like something we all probably learned in preschool, until we realize that that this “rule” is contained within a lot of other messy, difficult, and hard-to-swallow commands from Jesus like “Love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who abuse you. . . Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Imagine being Joseph, abused by his brothers and sold into slavery, coming face-to-face with them again and forgiving them. Imagine taking the advice of the Psalmist seriously: “Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.” It sounds almost impossible, yet Jesus promises that, if we can bravely forgive, love, and do good, that we will receive an abundance of forgiveness, love, and goodness in return.

     This Week: This season of the year is sometimes called “Shrovetide” -- the time that comes at the end of Epiphany and right before the season of Lent (which this year begins on March 6th,  Ash Wednesday). It’s not too soon to begin thinking about what spiritual disciplines you might like to adopt during this penitential season. Is there anything from which you will fast? Are there any new practices you will take up? There will be more information about Lent in the coming weeks, but for now, begin praying about how you might best use the season to prepare for our remembrance and celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. The following prayer, from the Book of Common Prayer, is the collect for this seventh Sunday after Epiphany and might be a welcome companion over the next week: O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: mercifully accept our prayers, and because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without you, grant us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Updates on Haiti and the Zuiderveens:
     This is the most recent update from the Zuiderveens:
     Dear friends,
     Thank you for your prayers and encouragement! We have all successfully arrived in Grand Rapids and are doing well as we wait for the protests to subside. There have been signs of improvement today (banks, schools, and markets opening), and we are hearing encouraging reports from our staff in Port-au-Prince. At this point, I am planning on returning this Sunday and Jess, Hudson, and Otto will come later next week. Thanks for your ongoing prayers!
     Cody

     For more on the way the crisis is impacting Haitians and workers from the CRC, please see
here.

 
Stories from Uganda (World Renew):
     To read the latest edition of Stories from Uganda from the World Renew team in Uganda (including Edward Okiror), please see here.
Upcoming Events and Opportunities:
 
Second Offering Opportunity:
     We will have an opportunity to give a second offering to support the work of World Renew this Sunday, February 24.
 
Change for Life - Life Choices Center Bottles:
     Bottles that you can fill with change, bills, or a check to support the work of Life Choices center are available in the foyer. When you take a bottle, please sign the sheet and be prepared to bring the bottle back later in March. For more information please see here.

Council Meeting:
     The council will meet at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27.
 
Birthday Open House for Charlie Huizinga:
     All are invited to join the Huizinga family in celebrating Charlie’s 80th birthday at an Open House on Saturday, March 16 at Valley Church from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Be sure to check out the invitation posted in bulletin board in the lobby of the church, and give Florence Doller a heads up if you plan on attending. Thanks!
 
Natalie Doller Cru Trip Support:
     Natalie Doller will be traveling to Panama City Beach, FL over her spring break March 16 to 23 to help those affected by Hurricane Michael through Cru (the US ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ). Prayers for Natalie and her group from University at Buffalo would be appreciated! Those interested in assisting with financial support, can make donations online at give.cru.org/1993334. Checks (made payable to Natalie Doller) can be passed along to Marcus or Florence. Thank you for your support.
 
A Festival of Welsh Hymns:
     Sunday, February 24 at 4:00pm, Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church, 44 Main Street, Binghamton, will hold a “Festival of Welsh Hymns,” featuring the Trinity Choir, brass, tympani, and Organist Timothy Smith. There is no admission charge. A free will offering will be received. For more information, please see here.
Resources and Opportunities from the CRC:

From Back to God Ministries International:
     A Lent Devotional Series - Lent is a season to focus on the hope of Jesus Christ. Receive a free Today devotional email series to help you refresh, refocus, and renew your faith during Lent. Or download the ebook! Subscribe at TodayDevotional.com/Lent.
 
     Tip:  Looking at mementos often sparks storytelling. Create a “family faith box” in which you collect mementos of your faith journey together. It could include baptism outfits, church bulletins from significant events, photos, wedding vows, and more. Have fun at family gatherings looking at the mementos and sharing stories of God’s faithfulness. (Faith Formation Ministries; crcna.org/FaithFormation)
Valley Church

Gathered as God's family and sent into the world as agents of God's mission of renewal.

 
This Sunday ~ the Seventh Sunday after Epiphany:
 
Worship Service at 10:00 a.m.

Children pre-K through 5th grade will go to Sunday School following confession and assurance of pardon.

There will not be faith formation class this Sunday evening.
That we might better pray for one another and God's world:
 
     We pray for healing, recovery, and strength for Jan Vermaat, Luci Huizinga, Ann de Jager, Doris Pitcher, Jerry Krempel (at Elizabeth Church Manor), Daryl Whitacre, Frank Lockwood, Peter DeYoung, Beth Blake, Amy Beardsley, Lily Beardsley, and Sarah Peterson.
     We also continue to pray for the situation in Haiti (see column to the left for more information).
     We continue to pray for peace and hope for those in our church family who have loved ones struggling with mental health issues.

 
We pray for friends
and family of Valley members:
     we ask for continued healing for Leslie Vermaat's father; for Lor Recker-Woodnorth's mother who is in her last days and for Lor and her siblings and the extended family; for peace for the family of Becky's young co-worker who recently passed away following an overdose; for healing for Mike Flynn's mother and for peace as she awaits her liver transplant; for healing for David Derzanovich's brother-in-law Tim; for healing for the Monroes' nephew Joshua; for healing for the de Jager's grand-nephew Cole as he continues his treatments for cancer; for Martheen Griffioen as she battles cancer; for healing for Jim and Becky Stocum's friend Eric who is battling brain cancer; for strength and healing for Alistair Krempel.
Sunday Morning Ministries
for February 24, 2019:

 
Greeter: Judy Zwierzynski

Ushers: George de Jager and Charlie Huizinga

Congregational Prayer: Florence Doller

Scripture Readers:
1st Lesson (Genesis 45.3-11, 15): Trent Nelson
2nd Lesson (1 Corinthians 15.35-38, 42-50): Ana Monroe
3rd Lesson (Luke 6.27-38): Al Vos

Nursery: Melanie Nelson
Church Telephone: 607.648.8224

Church email: valleychurchny@gmail.com

Church website: valleychurchny.org