Quarter Newsletter - June 2016
by Steve Crigger
Welcome to the 8th issue of the Twickenham Newsletter. There is so much going on at this church and other items in the works, it is hard to report it all. This issue will not achieve that goal, but will provide information and insights for several ministry areas within Twickenham where people are serving God, helping others and making a difference in people’s lives. If you see an area where you would like to be a part, email the ministry lead or let me know. We want everyone in this congregation to have opportunities to use their gifts to serve God.
I also want to make sure everyone knows of our next Twickenham trip to Israel. Our trip, led by Dr. Eric Cohu and myself, will cover significant locations in Israel, including the beautiful Sea of Galilee, the area where much of Jesus’ ministry took place. We will visit the Dead Sea and follow the Messiah’s steps in the ancient city of Jerusalem.1
The tour (March 9-18, 2017) will consist of 7 nights stay in some of Israel’s finest hotels and include many historical, archeological, and Biblical sites. If you are interested and would like to learn more, email me.2
Elder's Note: Strategic Resources for Aging Well
Life is a journey. For most of us there are plenty of peaks and valleys, many moments of joy, satisfaction, enlightenment and exhilaration, but also seasons of difficulties and challenges. All of us need preparation for our journey. As an example, most of us at some point in our lives will find ourselves in the role of caregiver to a family member. Some of us will be primary caregivers, others will be part of a caregiver team.
Caring for loved ones is often a blessing and an opportunity to grow in many aspects of our lives, but at times, overwhelming demands may affect a caregiver's physical, spiritual or emotional well-being. It is not uncommon for caregivers to occasionally feel anger, frustration, and then grow anxious or guilty for those feelings.
The Shepherds at Twickenham are planning a series of classes for this fall that provide information, strategies and connections to resources that3
provide assistance to present-day and future caregivers. The classes will address transition to a role of caregiver as a call to ministry, the role of the church, how to get the family on the same page, or what to do if that is not possible. We will talk about coping skills for being effective as a caregiver and taking care of yourself as a priority.
We hope to include experts from the community that will provide advice on the legalities of aging, as well as medical advice from doctors or nurses, and experts who can assist with strategies for coping with difficult behavior patterns from the aging, including people with dementia and other serious illness. We will discuss options beyond independent living, community resources, and managing change well. We are looking for insight to help us understand the special awareness, needs and communication with people as they reach end of life. We will have a class that addresses the importance of and other aspects of grieving. The final class will provide insight from Psalms, Proverbs and other wisdom literature.4
If you have traveled this road as caregiver and would like to share your insights, or if you know of medical, legal or community resources that could assist the class formulation, please contact us. We are also looking for resources that can help us advertise the opportunity to the community and other coordination work.
We ask you to pray for those who are formulating this series of classes, for those who will participate or benefit from the classes and for God to be glorified by this ministry.5
Hacienda of Hope – Restoring Families
The Hacienda of Hope is a place that not only offers behavioral therapy and other services to the children we care for, but we also work together with families in order to be able to reunite them with their children. This is not a simple task. There is so much work that must be done by both sides. But. All of the hard work, sweat, and tears is so worth it when we are able to reunite families once again.
Baby Maía Noemí was brought to the Hacienda in February, two days after she was born, having been abandoned by her mother in the local hospital. Her beauty and calmness enamored us all within hours. At just two days old she had suffered an unimaginable loss, through no fault of her own. However, about a week after she came to us, her mother appeared. The question we had all been pondering–how could a mother do this to her child?–was suddenly answered. She was young, beautiful, scared and lonely. It was a bad decision, she told us. A mistake. Because of the risk of placing Maía6
back with the very woman who had abandoned her, we began to work with her grandparents on the possibility of giving them custody of Maía. In a short period of time we determined that Maía’s grandparents have the resources and the desire to raise their granddaughter, while her mother will continue visiting her and being a part of her life. Although we will miss Maía, we are so grateful that she will be able to grow up with her family.
The Hacienda of Hope is a place that cares for children that come from broken families. However, it is also a place that helps put these broken families back together. With a little hard work, a lot of love, and the grace of God, we have been able to place 7 children back with their families in the last six months. We have seen how their time at the Hacienda and God’s love has forever impacted their lives. It is exciting to work with the families once the children have been returned to their homes and watch God move mountains many thought would never budge.7
Coach Cohu & Israel Football
In just a few short days, I’ll be leaving to spend the summer in Israel, and I can’t help but think about the first time I went to the Holy Land 12 years ago. Excited and nervous, and certainly not knowing what to expect, I had the experience of a lifetime. I vowed that, God permitting, I would go again. Little did I know that I would indeed go back many times, and that I would one day be working full-time with the Israeli Football League! It’s amazing what God has in store for our lives.
This summer I’ll be coaching football in Israel, training their National Team for competition in Italy in early September. Though we have much preparation on the gridiron over the next several weeks, the most exciting part will be spending time with my family in Israel and continuing to develop relationships with Israelis.
Most people who know me certainly know that I’m a Zionist. What might not be as well understood is8
that my reasons for this are not political in nature. It is not politics, but my faith in God, His Son and His Word, that has led me to Israel.
Just as I believe that the prophecies of Jesus’ birth, ministry, and resurrection had to be fulfilled, I also believe that those passages concerning His return must and will be realized. My work is an effort to honor the host of passages that deal with God’s re-gathering of the Jewish people to their homeland in the Last Days for His redemptive purposes. Paul references those prophesies and promises in Romans 10-11, teaching us that God is not done and His Word has NOT failed. His plan WILL BE accomplished.
Many people ask me questions regarding my actual job. We will be conducting the training camps in Modi’in twice weekly. Most of the players have full-time jobs so we schedule practices around work schedules. Also, I’ll be teaching at the Wingate Institute (Israel’s “sports college”), preparing coaches for the upcoming season. It’s a great opportunity to build relationships with many Israelis9
and work with their organizations and institutions. In addition, and most importantly, I’ll be able to interact with growing congregations throughout the country as I continue to allow God to open doors.10
God’s word reminds us of the importance of taking care of widows, the fatherless, the weak, and those outside our normal circle. Jesus talks about the importance of taking care of children and humbling ourselves like a little child to enter the kingdom of God. This summer we highlight three wonderful opportunities show God’s love to widows and children in need within our local community.
Widow Lawn Care: Tracy Pollard leads the Widow Lawn Care ministry based on contacts he receives through CASA. Tracy says, “The main goal of the Widow Lawn Care ministry is to glorify God through service and honor to widows. We develop relationships with our widows and minister to them through prayer and support for their needs. We need some more good men. CASA has received calls from many more widows that are not yet being served.” Tracy and his team have huge hearts for serving others and giving glory to God. Lawn mowers and supplies are furnished, and you have the11
flexibility to either after work one afternoon or on the weekend at your convenience.
This ministry helps these widows maintain their independence and dignity and reminds them of God’s commitment to care for them through His people. These ladies are so grateful for the service they receive, but especially for the prayers and the smiles. Contact Tracy Pollard at 256-698-8078 or email her if you can help serve with the Widow Lawn Care even one time this summer.
Christian Summer Camp: The Christian Summer Camp is off to a great start! This camp is part of the Huntsville Inner City Learning Center (HICLC) ministry and our seventh annual camp started June 6th with 37 excited boys and girls. Over the next seven weeks our campers will participate in fun activities like gardening, choir, tennis, crafts, swimming and weekly field trips. They will sharpen their academic skills through regular reading, language arts and math sessions. And they will learn from daily Bible classes where our camp12
theme, “God’s Plan for Us” will come to life through the stories of Old and New Testament characters. Our campers will also learn to say all of the books of the Bible, so if you have a chance to visit with them, just ask them to do so and you may be surprised at how quickly they learn!
We are so grateful for all of our volunteers who show Jesus to our campers each day by providing meals, reading with them, or sharing a hug. If you would like to join us, please come and read with a camper on Mondays from 2:30 - 3:00 at the HICLC building or Wednesdays from 5:00 - 5:30 at the Twickenham church building. You will be encouraged to see how the power of the Lord’s hope is changing lives for these inner city kids. Contact Lauribeth White for more details.
Meals on Wheels: Cindy Thomason leads our Meals on Wheels team to deliver hot and nutritious lunch meals to seniors age 60 or over, who are unable to cook for themselves or have no one available to cook for them, and who are primarily homebound. Cindy prepares a monthly calendar to ensure our team13
covers each weekday of the month. You can pick your day to serve from available days, such as the 3rd Wednesday you first go to the Senior Center on Drake Avenue by 11:00 to pick up two insulated bags with the hot meals and cold milk and fruit items. Then you drive to Presbyterian Towers apartments, near Costco on Country Club Drive and deliver meals to the 8-12 senior men and women on our list. A cart is available at the Presbyterian Towers to hold the bags while you deliver the food within the building. You then return the insulated bags and list back to the Senior Center and you are finished.
These are the mechanics of service, but the real joys are the shared smiles and hugs, the wisdom and perspective of these seniors and the prayers of thanks and blessings for our time together. Cindy and her team bring passion and enthusiasm to brighten the day of these seniors. Meals on Wheels is the ideal ministry to take your children or a co-worker or friend along with you. Contact Cindy Thomason via email or the church office if you are interested in participating with Meals on Wheels.14
We are blessed by each of these ministries, and we strive to learn new and better ways to reach out to others with the good news of Jesus. We are fully reliant on the Spirit’s leading in our outreach and service. Please share your passions and ideas for reaching others. You will encourage us all and bring glory to God!15
Can you handle a hard saying? Maybe it’ll help if you know it’s not original with me. Truth is, I can’t remember where I heard it. But it is very direct. The rough edges have not been smoothed over by some public relations consultant. It has teeth. I mean, if you don’t like to be punched in the nose, spiritually speaking, then maybe you should just move along. But if you are up for it, here goes . . .
Jesus didn’t die on a cross just so we could sip coffee with a few friends and enjoy a sing-along on Sunday mornings.
In other words, your Christian faith and mine is not just a one-day-a-week activity. “Church” isn’t an item on our calendars or a location on our phone maps. It is a way of life, 24/7/365. Does that mean attending Sunday church is unimportant? Of course not. The Bible (Hebrews 10:25), tradition and common sense all testify that if we want to grow in our faith, spending time with other believers in16
study, prayer and praise is essential.
But Sunday church is to the Christian life what the kick-off is to an Iron Bowl. It’s the first pitch. The tip-off. The green flag at Talladega. It sends us off to “run the race marked out for us,” (Hebrews 12:1), the rest of the week. Which means we are not spectators in the stands (or cushy seats in the sanctuary), but active participants in the contest.
One of the clearest indications that we are meant for more than just a pleasant Sunday morning sit-n-get or meet-n-greet, is the abundance of scriptures that teach about spiritual gifts. Passages like Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4, all describe an array of talents, aptitudes or abilities specially given to each Christian by the Spirit of God.
That includes you. God has given you some spiritual gift that infuses your life with divine purpose. You have a God-given knack and he wants you to use it serving others. What’s more, God has given each of your brothers and sisters a gift as well – and he17
wants them to use their gifts to serve you! Imagine what might happen in our church, in our community if all of us shared our gifts with extravagant generosity! Beginning Sunday, June 26, we’re going to begin a new sermon series titled, Gifted: Graced to Work. We’ll discover what the Bible teaches about these spiritual gifts and how they can transform a Sunday-only-faith into a seven-day-a-week lifestyle.
I hope you’ll make a special effort to be here – and bring a friend. Who knows what gifts lie hidden in the hearts of people you already know?18