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

School is underway and with it the ongoing challenges of providing for our 40 students, each with a mouth to feed, and bodies to clothe. This gets very expensive! Please consider donations to help feed and clothe these children. Food is an ever present need.

(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

 You have heard a lot over the last few weeks about “WAITING”. For one thing, waiting for the Lord’s return in all His glory. Warnings have been posted throughout God’s word about being ready and to be found being busy doing His work. 

I’m so glad to be able to report that “Pennies From Heaven” continues to be busy during our waiting time – sharing in the ministry that Jesus spoke so strongly about in Matthew 25: 31-46…. “I was sick and you looked after me; I was in prison and you came to visit me (or not) …. whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for Me (or didn’t do for me).

We just purchased wonderful cards of encouragement for the Chaplain at Porter Hospital/Nursing Home. He will use these cards in his ministry of caring for the sick! 

Chaplain Russ Gates is always so delighted when I let him know that we have funds for them to purchase books, etc. to hand out to the inmates he visits at the prison where he has been blessed to serve God. So he is looking forward to finding some much needed items to help in feeding their souls. 

We are now up to $4,070.00 in our wonderful outreach project. We have only $154.00 left to reach the fifth mile. I think if we continue to be busy saving our pennies that 2018 will find us waiting at the 5th mile marker with cheers of success!

Please – let me know of any needs where we can help in the continued work of planting God’s word.

Please keep “flipping those tabs” to help the Ronald McDonald House!  

 Lorraine Patterson

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.

God's Ministry when done through earthly means, costs money.

Some of us can’t begin to imagine giving ten percent of our earnings to the church. But many have chosen to do just that. Why Do You Tithe? This question was posed to a number of people in the church family......make no mistake – these folks are just like you, with the same financial commitments......here are a few responses: 

“That's something the Lord God wants us to do that we have done for probably 50 years or so, and it is good for our Church and for us to keep on doing it.......if we were having some tough times it seemed that something always came along to help us make it, (even if it was just good advice...or a new tenant), and I've always believed that using envelopes is the best way of keeping track of it. It also makes me feel good...it's one area where I'm sure I'm not letting God down......”

“I tithe because I want to live BEING a person who trusts God. I believe God’s promise to supply all my needs. I believe that to do less than give a full tithe robs God. A full tithe communicates not only my trust, but also my thanksgiving. I believe that because I have been blessed I now have the responsibility to financially, and otherwise, further the ministry that is God’s church. I tithe because I want to be blessed and to be a blessing. ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouses, that there may be food in My house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough room for it’. Malachi 3:10
I encourage you to take God’s invitation seriously. Keep putting Him to the test over the course of a year and see what happens in your life because of it!”

“We tithe because we believe that is what the Bible tells us to do. God doesn't want us to get so involved in our money that we worship it instead of Him. He also wants us to understand that all we have came from him in the first place. It's His anyway. He's just letting us use it, hopefully in a responsible way.
We started many years ago tithing on our take-home pay, then on our gross pay. We now tithe on our gross pay to the church and do other donations beside. We say this only to encourage others. It's important that this is between you and God.
Sometimes it is hard to give that much back when we see the ways we could use it for ourselves, but we are so blessed with what we have. You might think you can't get by if you tithe. That was a concern of ours, but we have never gone without food, shelter, or clothing. At some point in your life, you have to decide to trust God. This is only one area and maybe the easiest.
There are so many in this world who are barely surviving. How can we who have so much keep it for ourselves? God gives us this prosperity as a test, and sometimes it feels like a burden. It's all a part of the free choice that we've been given. What will we do with what we've been given?”

“We try to make the commitment of tithing just because it is the right thing to do.
The ministry of our Church is an important and vital part of our lives. We have learned that when we make our Church giving number one priority, perhaps not all our “wants” are granted but definitely all are “needs” are met.”