Friday Focus – June 15, 2018

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from . . . Dick Sartwell, interim pastor

What a year it’s been! My time of service as your interim pastor comes to a conclusion this week, and I look back with praise to God for the difference this year has made for me and for our church. A year ago many of us were in a state of shock over what had happened to our beloved Newberg Friends Church. In June of last year we were suddenly aware that we had only a couple weeks to reorganize with new clerks, new church officers, and additional members to fill the ranks of standing committees. Additionally, we faced the need to create a budget in a very uncertain future.

A year later we find ourselves with all those officer and committee positions filled by willing volunteers who stepped forward from the very first days. Our financial situation has been clarified and is healthy, thanks to your generous giving. And we are within days of installing our new pastor, Keith Reeser, who comes to us with his family from Chandler, Oklahoma. Praise the Lord!

Here are some specific things I notice as indicators of positive change in our congregation:

  • Together we began the work of clarifying our understanding of God’s vision for our congregation. We started to look outward again! That provided valuable background for the work of our elders and pastoral search committee.
  • We began learning how to “do church” differently with a much smaller professional staff but with revitalized committees doing creative work at shaping our future.
  • We have found new joy and praise in our worship services—and new urgency to be a praying people.
  • We’ve done good work together and individually in moving through some of the hard emotions—grief, anger, sadness—generated by our experience of the last few years.

These observable changes make me aware of what this year has meant to me personally. To be honest, I accepted the opportunity to serve as interim pastor with great reluctance. Linda and I have been a part of the congregation through these years, and I feared it would be hard for me to serve usefully and objectively in a leadership role. I have had my own “baggage” to carry and my own healing to work through. But surprisingly these several months have been a very great blessing to me. Seeing up close how my brothers and sisters in the Lord are seeking to move forward following Jesus with sincerity and humility has helped me find my own way forward on the same path. Thank you, my friends, for helping me find this blessing. We loved you all before, but that love has grown deeper this year. Linda and I now look forward to stepping back into our “normal” roles of retirement and just being part of this vital fellowship with you, eager to discover with you God’s next steps for all of us together.

Friday Focus – June 8, 2018

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Forty years ago Richard Foster and Ron Woodward were key members of the pastoral team here at Newberg Friends Church. During those years Richard nurtured his gift for writing and in particular prepared the manuscript for the book Celebration of Discipline, once named by Christianity Today as one of the ten leading Christian books of the twentieth century. The elders of the church released Richard from his normal responsibilities for a time so he could give full attention to writing that book. Ron Woodward voluntarily picked up the slack during those weeks in order to facilitate Richard’s writing.

This Sunday we have the privilege of hosting both these pastors in our morning worship hour as they reminisce together about their ministry at NFC and share a brief message from Colossians 3. Richard will be in Newberg for a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the publication of his best-selling book, which has blessed and nurtured millions in their faith, showing how God’s grace can take over our lives when we submit to the discipline of the Holy Spirit.

Friday Focus – June 1, 2018

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Celebrating 140 Years of Ministry: A Short Sketch of the Early Years

by Julie Anderson

Newberg Friends Church began June 1, 1878, as Chehalem Monthly Meeting (CMM), due to the godly obedience of a Quaker pioneer-farmer-recorded minister from Iowa: William Hobson.
God called Hobson to the Pacific Northwest for the purpose of evangelistic outreach. Hobson believed God chose the Chehalem Valley as a “garden of the Lord.” He gathered scattered Friends living in the area and encouraged Friends back East to move to Oregon.
CMM first met in Friends homes, then in 1880, the congregation built a meeting house near the present-day Friends Cemetery. CMM completed our current church building (mostly) in 1893, just in time for the first Oregon Yearly Meeting.
A typical Sunday for CMM (renamed Newberg MM in 1886) included First Day School, followed by a service similar to our current open worship, with Spirit-led prayer, testimony, singing, and a spontaneous sermon preached by one of several ministers.
Late in 1878 the young church experienced a period of revival resisted by locals who threatened fire, gave rude stump speeches, and beat on the roof during meeting. Friends were not deterred.
The evangelistic work of John Henry Douglas in the early 1890s resulted in many converts. Membership in meeting increased from 457 in 1890, to 823 by 1893. In 1892, Douglas served six months as the first pastor of Newberg MM, until a permanent pastor could be hired: Thomas C. Brown.
Friends Pacific Academy was opened by CMM in 1885. It became Pacific Academy (currently George Fox University) in 1891.

Sources: William Hobson’s Diaries, Chehalem Monthly Meeting Minutes, Stephen Z. Perisho, A History of the Newberg Monthly Meeting: an Intensified Studies Senior Research Paper submitted to Dr. Lee Nash, 1878-1893 (Newberg, OR : George Fox University, 1983)

Friday Focus – May 18, 2018

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You are invited—no, encouraged—to participate in another way to welcome the Reesers to Newberg. When you have a few spare minutes (we don’t want you to feel rushed), please CLICK HERE to access a fill-in form that will allow you to share your “favorite things” and recommendations with Keith and Tahnee. Only one answer is required to complete the form; all others are optional. CHECK IT OUT! It’s fun. (If you’d rather hand write your suggestions, click HERE for a PDF of the form.)

Friday Focus – May 11, 2018

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The tradition of “Pounding the Preacher” goes back to the nineteenth century, so it’s only reasonable that a church with such wonderful traditions as ours would want to “pound” our new pastor and his family. So please take a minute to consider the “pounding” options below and choose which one fits your life and pocketbook. Triple the blessing and choose all three!
Get started quickly by CLICKING HERE for a shopping guide—or wait until Sunday and pick up a print copy with the options and shopping guide at the welcome center. Don’t miss this opportunity to “pound” the Reesers!
If you skipped over the link above that explains the meaning of “pounding,” click HERE.

Friday Focus – May 4, 2018

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An Introduction to Our Interim Children’s Ministries Coordinator, Lisa Nauman
by Ursa Shaw

On any given Sunday, we have about 25 busy children, ages infant through 5th grade, sharing, laughing, and learning at NFC. Alongside those children, you will see at least ten children’s ministry volunteers teaching and interacting with them. We are SO thankful for these precious children and for our many faithful volunteers!
     With children in our midst, many important tasks and responsibilities present themselves. In children’s ministries we are charged with things like safety procedures, curriculum choices, volunteer coordination, reordering supplies, organizing summer camp details, and forming relationships with our smallest members.
     Last summer, the responsibility for children’s ministries shifted exclusively to volunteers. The Christian education committee was formed in order to help support volunteers in their work. I have been happy to serve on this committee during this time of transition in our church, as we have tried to provide the best possible environment for kids to learn about God.
     This winter, our CE committee began to talk about hopes that we had for the future of NFC’s children’s ministries. We talked about wanting to grow our program, as well as ways we felt we weren’t able to meet some of the basic needs of our children. We watched important matters fall through the cracks. Who cleans the nursery toys? What safety procedures were we overlooking? What about the allergy precautions in our classrooms? Where do we order supplies and curriculum? The list went on.
     One day, I felt God’s specific prompting toward action. I sat down and typed out a proposal for a quarter-time children’s ministries coordinator and presented it to the CE committee. They added their input and encouraged me to take it to the administrative committee. After the AC meeting, the proposal went to the stewards and the elders who discussed it and sent it back to the AC for final approval. The position was created and later offered to Lisa Nauman.
     I am delighted to report that Lisa will be taking on the interim position of NFC’s children’s ministries coordinator! Praise God! Lisa is a long-time NFC member and volunteer. She and her husband, Josh, have two children, Elli and Nate, who are in high school and middle school, respectively. As a teenager, Lisa volunteered as a cadet teacher and grew to love helping children. Subsequently, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from George Fox University. After that, she taught for eight years at Dundee Elementary School before deciding to stay home with her young children. For the last seven years, Lisa has worked as a substitute teacher in the Newberg School District.
     As she steps into this new role, Lisa says, “I hope to create belonging and space for the young kids and families of NFC to get to know each other. I plan to do this through organizing fun events, coordinating summer camp needs, and giving space for intergenerational interactions and relationships.” Lisa will be serving as children’s ministries coordinator in the capacity of ten hours per week on an interim basis. Please join me in welcoming her into her new position! We are so thankful for Lisa and for her love for God and for children.

Friday Focus – April 27, 2018

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Keith Reeser Accepts Call to Pastor NFC!

April 24, 2018

To the Newberg Friends Church congregation:

We (Keith, Tahnee, Malachi, and Josiah) want to start off by saying thank you to Newberg Friends Church for allowing us to candidate with the church. Tahnee and I have really appreciated our face-to-face conversations and hearing from so many people in the church and community of Newberg.

We would like to formally accept the call to serve as your pastor starting July 1, 2018!

As discussed with the elders and search committee regarding the ministry position presented to us through email, we would like to accept!

In everything we do we want Jesus to receive all of the glory. We anticipate many great and exciting moments in ministry together. We are very humbled that the Lord has orchestrated such a plan as this, using us to be a part of the kingdom work in Newberg. We pray this new journey will be encouraging and refreshing for the church moving forward. We anticipate seeing the gospel move in the community in new and fresh ways, and this brings us joy.

Lastly, we thank you, Newberg Friends Church, for being so encouraging and friendly. We feel overwhelmed with the many meals, wonderful housing in our visits, and kind words of affirmation. What stands out most to us though is that you have relied on Jesus through tough seasons. You have shown deep commitment in following scripture and seeking to be a light to the community. We cannot wait to join you in this journey and come alongside your great kingdom work.

We can’t wait for July 1!
Praise Jesus!

Keith Reeser

Friday Focus – April 20,2018

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NFC elders and a pastoral search committee worked together closely since last November. Our first contact with Keith Reeser came in February, shortly after his leading that his work at Chandler Friends (Oklahoma) was drawing to an end. The Reesers became aware of the Newberg Friends pastoral opening a few days after his resignation at Chandler. Keith has special interests in family ministries, children and youth.

Friday Focus – April 13, 2018

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An Invitation to
Discern Together

Announcing a Called Business Meeting
on Sunday, April 22

by Ron Stansell, clerk of elders

Many of us met Keith and Tahnee Reeser when they came in late March. Last weekend Keith returned for further acquaintance with our community and to preach in our Sunday worship service. This week the elders of Newberg Friends forwarded to the congregation a recommendation that we extend a pastoral call to Keith, a recorded Friends minister in Evangelical Friends Church-Mid America Yearly Meeting. He and Tahnee, have two sons, Malachi (age 8) and Josiah (age 6). The pastoral call will be considered at a called meeting on Sunday, April 22, at 6 p.m. All NFC members and attenders are welcome to come and hear from the elders and the pastoral search committee regarding their process and conclusions.

We appreciate the diligent work of the search committee who met regularly to pray and consider several applicants. Following NWYM’s Faith and Practice, the search committee’s recommendation went to the elders, who prayerfully probed and evaluated how Keith’s giftedness fits NFC’s needs for this time and place in God’s design.

Keith and Tahnee are both gifted in personal relationships and have had special concerns for family and intergenerational ministries. Keith is a graduate of Barclay College, a Friends school dedicated to the preparation of young people for ministry and missions, especially among evangelical Friends. Keith has served in youth ministry, family ministry, and preaching and teaching in general pastoral work. He has most recently served at Chandler Friends Church in Oklahoma. His “adventure of a life-time” is seeing people led to Jesus and watching them grow in the power of the Spirit.

Beginning in February, Keith has participated in long-distance Skype conversations and answered many questions with individual elders and search committee members. During his two visits to Newberg, he met people informally at an intergenerational social, visited Sunday school classes briefly, braved “Q&A” with two large adult groups, met leaders at George Fox University, shared meals and coffee with a variety of other leaders, and spent time in the NFC office.

It’s an awesome and important step to consider who might partner with our congregation as we move ahead into what we believe will be an exciting future. Newberg Friends Church has existed since 1878—that makes us 140 years old! We have a history of seeing unbelievers come to Jesus, discipling youth and families, and witnessing to the world as the “mother church” of Northwest Yearly Meeting through ministry in South America, Evangelical Friends Mission, and more recently our own NFC missionaries.

Thank you to so many who have prayed for our pastoral search. We believe God will be pleased to see us deeply revived, moved to new evangelism in unique and fresh ways in the future.