From the Deacons' Bench

With the coming of May and Spring, we also saw the coming of Rev. Dan Ivins (Br’er Dan) to serve as our new Interim, along with his wife, Libby who is adding to the choir’s Soprano section. We celebrate it all.
Through your generosity, the Deacons have been able to financially assist Lincoln neighbors with transportation costs due to ongoing medical treatments, paying rent, car repair, gift cards for gas and food, and the installation of a propane range.  The disbursement of approximately $1200 was approved. Even with summer coming, neighbors caring for neighbors remains core to our mission.
Also through your generosity, the Deacons were blessed to be able to help support the trip and ministry of Patrice and Karen to L’Orphelinat Notre-Dame de Perpetuel Secours (Haitian orphanage), reminding us that neighbors don't have to live next door.
Along with this outreach, the Deacons are continually looking for ways to serve the spiritual needs of you, the UCoL congregation.  Look for new Pew Cards so you it will be easier to let us know of your (or a neighbor’s needs).
Deacons serving for June will be Mark Benz and Kathy Mikkelsen and the June Special Offering will be going to Haiti Orphanage.


Roberto Dieppa-Diaz, Interim Executive Minister of ABC Puerto Rico, wants to convey their appreciation for all of the prayers and expressions of support they have received from their ABCUSA family since Hurricane Maria devastated their island. They have asked that visits by volunteers to the island be delayed until an assessment is complete and conditions on the ground are in better shape. Specifically, the government needs to make the island safer for visitors by clearing roads, restoring electricity, opening ports and ensuring the supply of gasoline. When the Convention's damage assessment collection is complete, we will receive their report.

The American Baptist Home Mission Societies is coordinating a comprehensive American Baptist response to these hurricanes.  Rebuilding, Restoring and Renewing Puerto Rico will be a multi-year initiative consisting of a fundraising goal of One Million Dollars through One Great Hour of Sharing to provide multi-pronged support to our American Baptist family and others in Puerto Rico.

Ms. Victoria Goff, Director of Disaster Response and Development, is ABHMS' staff lead in developing the coordinated strategy.  Rev. Salvador Orellana, Director of Latino Ministries, will provide logistic and relational support to this important initiative.  Victoria will convene a Task Force comprised of diverse American Baptist partners to design and implement the multi-year strategy. 

ABHMS has faithfully deployed mission staff, disseminated One Great Hour of Sharing funds, mobilized volunteers, and managed resources in the aftermath of natural disasters.  In the words of Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, "Hurricanes Maria and Irma have presented American Baptists an extreme challenge to be the hands and feet of Jesus in ways that exceed past interventions and responses.  We must develop a comprehensive response that fully engages our ABHMS partners in collaborative, strategic and effective ways in Puerto Rico."

Please know that ABHMS remains committed to addressing needs elsewhere caused by recent and ongoing hurricanes and other disasters

Haiti Orphanage

Our two missionaries are back from their trip and will be looking for opportunities to share their experience, and give us a clearer definition of the needs as well as the successes. Stay tuned!

(Please feel free to drop a donation for the orphanage in the offering plate, or send to the church office, made out to the UCOL Deacons Fund with “Haiti” in the memo line)

Pennies From Heaven

For the period of March through May, donations to Pennies From Heaven total $23.50. This brings us to $4,103.50 overall. There was also an additional donation of $65. If you know of places where we can spread God’s love with devotionals, Christian CDs or other resources, please speak to Lorraine Patterson.

Just a reminder that our class is still collecting can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House in Burlington. Keep in mind that any kind of tabs are accepted – from soda cans, vegetable cans, pet food. We plan to be taking the tabs we have collected over the winter to the RMcDH next month and will continue our mission so remember us next time you “pop a can open”!


Graterford Prison Ministry

Greetings from your brothers of the Protestant Church at Graterford:
As “go-betweens” connecting the men of SCI Graterford and our fifteen sister-churches around the northeastern United States, Lenore and I are humbled by your consistent and compassionate sharing of God’s Love in Jesus. The contributions of calendars, devotionals, books and cards (reminder that only white envelopes are allowed in the facility) are steady reminders to our men that they are not forgotten and not without hope and prayerful support. 
The Prayer Requests we send to you from Graterford expand the residents’ confidence as they tread a faithful path while incarcerated. We continue to encourage you to “return the favor” by sending your Prayer Requests to them—it is always important to remember that everyone benefits when others pray for them. You have approximately 250 regular Prayer Partners at the prison ready and willing to pray for you, your families, your churches and beyond. Thank you for each and every slip of paper that bears something for us to put before our Lord in prayer.

UPDATE!:  We will soon be moving to Phoenix! Noooo, not Arizona (but after this winter, I wouldn’t mind)! As many of you are aware, for about 6 years, the state has been constructing a new prison on the Graterford property, just feet beyond its 30-foot wall. After many delays, it now appears we will be moving to the new jail—SCI Phoenix East and Phoenix West—within a month or so. Security issues prevent a “hard date” for this, but it will be coming soon, and will be a major undertaking. The stress that accompanies “the unknown” has been a major factor for our men as there will be many changes, both wanted and unwanted, for them. During this transition, it would be best if we curtailed the calendar donation project—we have a good supply to move over to Phoenix, and more might not be appreciated by the moving crew (!).
What we do need in this uncertain time are your prayers for calm, hope and perseverance. You may have seen in the news that Graterford has suffered 5 suicides since January. These have not been directly due to “the move,” but the unsettled atmosphere in a place that has been uniquely functioning without major incident for almost 90 years, is a factor. In a very short time, SCI Graterford will no longer exist—please pray that SCI Phoenix will indeed “rise from the ashes.”
We will be in touch after we settle “on the other side of the Wall.” Until then, God’s blessings and peace…
- Russ and Lenore  Gates

What are your spiritual, practical gifts?

Service, hospitality, faith, giving, organization, mercy, teaching, prayer, leadership, craftsmanship, evangelism?......We are looking for a few good women and men to serve.

Can you help with our spiritual life, be a witness to Christ and the church, promote missions and assist in our worship? The Board of Deacons and Stewards may ask you to consider how you can join their efforts.

Are you business minded, handy with numbers and a hammer? The Board of Trustees may be a place of service for you.

Are you a teacher, communicator and a person who nurtures – not just children, but all who are growing in their knowledge of God? The Christian Education Board needs a person like you.

Do you know your fellow members well enough to ask them to join our boards and committees as they work to build our church? The Personnel Committee may ask you to serve.

Would you work to support, care for and help our pastors be the best they can be? The Pastoral Relations Committee may offer you the opportunity.

Please consider with prayer and care how you are able to join in service.