Friday Focus

Friday Focus is a newsletter for the Newberg Friends Church community distributed weekly through MailChimp. Subscribe here!

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A weekly newsletter for the Newberg Friends Church community
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Prior to July 2017, our newsletter was named Your NFC. All the archived issues remain available, as you can see down the right-hand column!



Friday Focus – September 14, 2018

Click HERE to read the entire September 14, 2018 issue.

This coming Sunday we will welcome Joseph Clair to preach in morning worship. He serves as dean of the George Fox College of Christian Studies, liberal arts, and honors, and as an associate professor of theology. Before joining the George Fox faculty in 2013, he earned his PhD in the religion, ethics, and politics program at Princeton University. He also earned master’s degrees from Fordham and Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College.

His research and teaching interests include Christian thought and ethics and the role of religion in public life. He is the author of Discerning the Good in the Letters and Sermons of Augustine and Reading Augustine: On Education, Formation, Citizenship, and the Lost Purpose of Learning.

Watch a short video of Joseph discussing the importance of reading great books and authors, and why you should read his own favorite great book, The Confessions  by Augustine. On Sunday he will teach from
John 6:56-69.

Friday Focus – September 7, 2018

Click HERE to read the entire September 7, 2018 issue.

from . . . Keith Reeser, pastor

We hope you’ve caught the anticipation building for next Sunday’s worship service on the lawn. Please join us as we consider together a renewed vision for Sunday school.

You might be one who has never missed a Sunday school class. Perhaps you have yet to visit a Sunday school class! Or maybe you’ve tried but never found one to call “your” class. During Sunday’s outdoor service, leaders from every Sunday school class will briefly share the vision for their class, what they plan to study, and for whom the class is designed. Snack on donut holes, sip some coffee, and worship Jesus through singing. And everyone will be given an opportunity to sign up for Sunday school!

Thanks to John Rekow for making our signs! You can see our service begins at 10:30 a.m., as usual.

Friday Focus – August 31, 2018

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from . . . Megan Krober, M. Ed., Ambleside School principal

Ambleside of the Willamette Valley school was founded in Newberg in the fall of 2017 with 27 students and 13 families. It is the first Ambleside school west of Denver. Our school is a member school of Ambleside Schools International (ASI), an organization based on the educational methods of Charlotte Mason, who lived in the early twentieth century. Mason was an author, educator, and thinker who believed that children are created in the image of God, meaning they are limitless in their giftings and capacity to learn.
Through the Ambleside Method, students are trained to think and discuss ideas rather than complete a worksheet or a closed activity such as a fill in the blank or multiple choice. Our students engage mind to mind with great authors, composers, and thinkers from many generations. As they discuss, wrestle, and engage, these works inform them about what the author seeks to communicate, unlike a more traditional approach with the teacher at the center, telling them what to think, say, and do. In addition, all work is generated by the student, creating a truly authentic learning experience.
While students learn from the masters, we also allow time for the one true teacher, the Holy Spirit, to engage. We begin each day together in assembly with a time of quiet reflection; this allows us to start with a calm, reflective, and centered posture. At Ambleside, as much time is given to educating our students’ affections and heart formation as is spent on their academic growth. We are educating for the eulogy, not for the resumé or the next test or quiz. To this end, we believe who students are becoming is equal to what they know.
All of our teachers participate in intensive training provided through ASI and ongoing training throughout the year in which we read and discuss ideas centered around Mason’s method. This is a comprehensive approach to education where all are “twice blessed,” as Charlotte Mason would say, for both the teacher and student grow in tandem.
As a community, we are grateful to be here at Newberg Friends. We are humbled by the warm welcome and the care given to help us settle in. We look forward to seeing many of you around, hopefully at our weekly chapel on Wednesdays from 8 to 8:30 a.m., when we come together for hymns, student recitation, and the opportunity to hear from a guest speaker. This year, our theme is JOY!

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday Focus – August 24, 2018

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NFC women never had it so good! Thanks to the grand efforts of our facelift committee—Jess Ragsdale, Arnie and Barb Mitchell, Phyllis McKinney, Bob Holveck, Carice Tussing, and Holly Miele*—men and women have beautiful remodeled restrooms to visit when nature calls. But just look at this lovely space they created for the women! NFC men will just have to blame our forefathers for designating a smaller footprint for their necessities.
*. . .and the numberless workers who made this possible!

Please note: This project has not yet reached full completion,
so consider this a sneak peek of what is to come.

Friday Focus – August 17, 2018

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“But when you pray” is a simple statement that implies we are people of prayer. It also implies we are in a growing relationship with the Lord. Our prayer can’t be monitored or forced upon others, so we ask that you take on the privilege of prayer, not the burden, in going to the throne of God and making your requests known to him. We want you to be led to pray, to have joy and excitement about the ministry happening here. We humbly want our prayers to prompt others to know Jesus better and grow closer to him. God loves when his children pray. He hears our requests.

Would you consider joining in a season of prayer as a church body? Beginning on Saturday, September 1, and for the following 30 days we will send you an email each morning that will encourage and guide your prayer for specific ministries/people at NFC. If you would like to join us on this journey please click here to sign up. Let’s join together in prayer!

“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:5-6

Friday Focus – August 10, 2018

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A year ago many NFCers scrambled to fill sudden vacancies in committees and church-wide positions, some taking on roles once filled by a team of pastors and staff. It was a sight to behold from my vantage in the church office! And it still humbles me to continue receiving a salary while so many others show their love for God and his church by joyfully offering their time and effort on a volunteer basis without grumble or murmur (that I ever hear).

A year ago I quickly realized I could not keep the office open nine hours a day, five days a week, assisting visitors, answering the phone, and still keep up with my other assignments. First, we reduced the office hours, an obvious solution! And then three angels stepped up to lend a hand: Susan Hampton, Carolyn Stansell, Cathie Jo Sturdevant (shown clockwise from upper left)! You can’t see their wings, but I see them every Monday (Susan), Wednesday (Carolyn), and Thursday (Cathie Jo), when they show up to accomplish the regular tasks I’ve moved from my plate to theirs. What a blessing they have been, not only to me but to our church’s rebuilding process this past year!

Friday Focus – August 3, 2018

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The administrative committee is pleased to announce that Kati Voth, a long-time member of NFC, has accepted the position as our bookkeeper. She is excited to share her gifts for organization, detail, and accuracy in this role, recently held by Janelle Nordyke. Kati will be in the office Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings to attend to the myriad details that keep the church’s finances humming along. When you see her, we hope you’ll stop and say “Hi!” and thank her for joining our office staff.

Friday Focus – July 27, 2018

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from … Dick Sartwell, NFC Yearly Meeting Representative

The 126th annual sessions of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends (NWYM) were the same as usual – and wonderfully different. By tradition, our Willamette Valley treated Friends gathered from throughout the state and from Washington and Idaho to some of the hottest days of summer. The fellowship was warm as well. And there were the typical opportunities for worship through beautiful music and inspiring speakers. As normal, yearly meeting boards presented helpful workshops to equip attenders with information and practical suggestions to take back to their local congregations. The schedule included the typical four-hour morning sessions for worship in the context of business. But that is where significant change from recent years occurred. The strong contention of recent years was gone.

With strong and clear unity Friends reached consensus on the following matters of business:

  • James Le Shana was named the new general superintendent of NWYM. Jim grew up in Newberg and pastored for several years in California. In recent years he has served as a vice president at Barclay College in Kansas and will conclude his work there this fall. He will be in place in the headquarters by mid-October, and in the meantime Retha McCutchen will supervise the office staff.
  • A major change recommended by the Board of Global Outreach was approved. NWYM and Evangelical Friends Mission (EFM), a cooperative organization of several evangelical yearly meetings, have worked together for many years. With approval of the recommendation, governance and policy matters will be handled by EFM. Our yearly meeting board will focus on missionary recruitment and ongoing support of those missionaries, developing specific support teams for each field. A chief benefit of this change is to reduce administrative cost.
  • A proposal from the George Fox Board of Trustees to change nine items in their bylaws received immediate approval for seven of the items. The remaining two items had to do with numerical representation of Friends on the board, effectively reducing the required percentage of Friends, but maintaining the right of NWYM to approve or disapprove all trustees. Those two items, because of their significance to the governance of the institution will receive further discussion at the mid-year board meetings of NWYM.
  • Joy Brown Lujan was recorded as a minister. She currently serves as pastor at Whitney Friends in Boise, Idaho.
  • Phil Smith was approved as NWYM recording clerk (and therefore will step down as one of NFC’s YM representatives).
  • The Administrative Council (AC) reported on the status of congregations leaving NWYM. Ten congregations have made a decision to leave. One of those congregations has gone independent for reasons unrelated to recent controversy over matters related to human sexuality. Four congregations are leaving to join the new Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends (SCYM). The remaining congregations have assumed the status of independent churches. Additionally the AC reported on their decision to provide for sharing invested funds from the Ministry Fund and the appraised value of the headquarters building. The amount to be shared is based on a complex formula built on a ten-year record of attendance and contributions to NWYM from each congregation. The only congregations leaving NWYM who will share in funds are those who actually join the new yearly meeting. Independent congregations are not eligible for participation in the distribution. Based on the formula used, SCYM will receive approximately a 9 percent distribution. No operating funds have been or will be included in the distribution.
  • The loss of ten congregations (out of 51) predictably requires a smaller budget for NWYM. The proposed budget of $617, 283 was approved. The corollary of a reduced budget is that the number of permanent office staff in the headquarters has been reduced. Interim superintendent Retha McCutchen announced that a volunteer has indicated willingness to challenge 100 persons from across the yearly meeting to make $1,000 pledges to supplement the budget. In a spontaneous act, one person pledged $1,000 on the spot; several others immediately responded with similar pledges. It seemed like tangible evidence of a new and positive direction for NWYM.

In summary, the contention of recent years and the loss of congregations has been a sad time in NWYM for all involved, producing much grief. But the reorganization announced in January 2017 seems to have clarified and resolved much that separated us. The result for NWYM is new unity around renewed vision to share the good news of Jesus in our communities. Friends left these 126th sessions with great optimism and looking forward to the future.

Friday Focus – July 20, 2018

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from … Keith Reeser, with Cindy Johnson

“To be known…”
Within each of us is a wealth of experience and knowledge, whether or not we can recognize our own personal value. God chooses to know each of us. He knows our imperfections, yet he chooses to love and pursue us anyway (1 Corinthians 8:3 and Galatians 4:9). Do you see the beauty in this truth? God wants relationship with us!
From the earliest moments of creation God was already displaying his love toward mankind. We are simply vessels put on display for all to see how God cares for us. He wants us to remember we are all in this together, in fellowship as a community.
At NFC we look for reminders of God’s love for each person. Cindy remembers when her husband, John, became critically ill with an e-coli infection. The doctor saw little hope for recovery, but Cindy told him a lot of people were praying for John—people from NFC, his GFU colleagues, family from all over, neighbors, people who didn’t know them but heard about their situation. Through those next difficult months as John’s health slowly improved, faithful warriors continued to pray. This happened quite a few years ago, and we are all glad to see that John has completely recovered. He is a constant reminder of answered prayer and God’s work in his life.
Through this example may we be reminded that praying has no age requirement. We all need to be praying for each other and sharing our requests with the church prayer teams.
Here is a task, better yet a challenge, that each of us would take on the ministry of praying for those the Lord puts on our heart throughout the week. Consider writing a card with the simple acknowledgment you are praying for them, that God brought them to your mind and you wanted to lift them up to the God who hears and cares for his children. Picture this—people sharing cards of affirmation and prayers after the service. How would it be for God’s people to hear prayer requests and then respond to the congregation of the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord? Well, friends, we are already seeing glimpses of this, so let me encourage you to continue growing this spiritual muscle!

Friday Focus – July 13, 2018

Click HERE to read the entire July 13, 2018 issue.

. . . from Keith Reeser and Lisa Nauman

“Do you know? Have you not seen? Are you in the loop?”
While each of these questions can bring about a reaction, they can also inspire within us a desire to know who we are as a church and where we are headed. Too easily we might assume everyone knows what we are up to and how to join in. We want you to be in the loop, to feel part of what God is doing among us.

Here’s a question you might be asking: Why are children in the whole service on Sunday morning worship? These summer months are the perfect time to emphasize a partnership with our families, to involve our kids in the church of today rather than think of them only as the church of the future. We want our children to know they are loved, welcome, and needed. Each week we will invite the young ones to come to the front where an adult will share the verse of the week and give each one a pouch containing theme-related crafts, activities, and a copy of our verse. At the close of the service, children can find one of the “lights,” adults prepared to hear the children recite their verse and show off their sermon notes. We want to hear how God speaks in and through our children.
You might also ask: What are other ways we seek to be more intentional? In the weeks and months ahead we hope everyone will see and hear God moving and working in and through us as a congregation. In this season of our church story we want to intentionally focus our attention toward Jesus and becoming equipped for the kingdom work he has assigned to this congregation. As you pray for our church, would you pray we can display God in each of our ministries here? Would you pray that our children would be excited about the services? Pray our youth continue to grow closer to each other; pray they invite friends to attend morning worship and youth activities and see how Jesus is working in and through them.