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 – October 13, 2017

Click HERE to read the entire October 13, 2017 issue.

A New Christian Ed Opportunity Begins October 22!

A need was felt and a call was answered for an additional Sunday school option. “Oasis” was born out of a desire for teaching and conversation as we face into life’s challenges. Since everyone faces challenges in their personal and work and home and community environments, everyone fits the structure of this class.
Bob Hampton, Russ Ragsdale, and Gail Hutchinson will oversee Oasis, a class that will be interactive and will maintain the purpose of encouraging and supporting single or married adults during the challenges of life. Leaders will begin with the theme “Living Well in the Midst of Change,” reflecting on the book of Philippians. Time will be spent praying together over the needs and blessings shared within the class.
Interested? Of course you are! Plan to join this start-up class right from its inception. Contact Bob Hampton for additional information.

Begins Sunday, October 22 • 9 a.m. • Barclay A

Friday Focus – October 6, 2017

Click HERE to read the entire October 6, 2017 issue.

A Psalm of Praise
by Kathy Schlittenhart

The earth is full of Your glory, Yahweh; it speaks of Your existence,
and it is the visible reflection of Your radiant beauty and holiness.
All that You have made tells the epic story of Your lavish love.
You spoke, the universe was created; You gave the earth light and life.
You formed mankind out of dust, knelt down beside us, blew into our nostrils
the very breath of Your own life – and man became a living soul.
You made each one of us in Your own image and likeness,
so that we would look just like You and be holy like You.
Even when we sinned, You had a predetermined plan to redeem us.
You sent Your Beloved Son as an innocent, perfect sacrifice for our sin.
You told us to look to Him, listen to Him – and live!

You are my very own Father, my beloved Abba. I love You and trust You.
Your compassion and everlasting love are awesome;
You are worthy of worship.
Thank You for adopting me into Your heavenly family.
You are my refuge and my God; it is easy to believe in You.
I abide under the shadow of Your wings,
In the secret place next to Your heart.

Yeshua, You are the eternal Word of God, written on my heart.
You redeemed my soul from slavery to sin and saved me when I asked.
You have forgiven me so I can forgive myself – and others.
I am totally identified with You in Your death, burial and resurrection.
I am born again, a new creation, made righteous, set free, in union with You.
You have given me eternal life and resurrection power to live a supernatural life.
You are my Beloved, my Bridegroom and Friend; I am Yours and You are mine.

Precious Holy Spirit, abiding Companion, personal Counsellor,
You are my Comforter and Teacher, my very breath and life.
You dwell in me, love through me and walk with me through this life.
You make my soul a holy sanctuary and fill my darkness with Your Light.
Spirit of Christ, You change my heart and enable me to do the Father’s will.
Fill me to overflowing with Your love and power; I believe You will – today.

Blessed Trinity, we lift our eyes to meet Your loving gaze;
We raise our hands in adoration and submission to You.
We are ravished by the love we see in Your eyes.
We choose to believe it even though it seems too good to be true.
Oh eternal Lover of our souls, we adore You, we praise You, we glorify You.
All that we have, all that we are, is Yours forever.
We offer our hearts back to You who made us.
We are one with You, and wonder of wonders, You are one with us!

Friday Focus – September 29, 2017

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Cindy Johnson Returns to the Church Office

On the recommendation of the elders, the administrative committee has acted to name Cindy Johnson to a quarter-time position in the area of congregational care, beginning October 1. In addition to her own visits and contacts with the congregation she will be coordinating the work of several volunteers who are keeping in touch with folks facing medical events, personal needs, shut-ins, seniors and more. You can reach Cindy through the church office at 503-538-8381 or on her cell phone at 503-857-3581. Interim Pastor Dick Sartwell said of the appointment, “Those who know Cindy know her caring heart. We’ll all be blessed to have her help during this time of transition.”

Friday Focus – September 22, 2017

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From . . . Dick Sartwell, interim pastor

Your invitation to serve as interim pastor at NFC for the next several months humbles me. I accept that offer with some trepidation because what we have been through in our church has been traumatic for so many of us. We have some serious rebuilding to do in our beloved congregation. While we have been focused on our local situation, many people in the south and southeast of our country and others around the world have faced sudden and tragic natural events like flooding and earthquakes. Those cities and towns most likely to recover from those calamities are those whose citizens work together to help each other rebuild and who use their personal and collective tragedies to rethink how to shape their communities for the future.

Linda and I have been a part of the past of Newberg Friends Church, and that carries rich memories for us. But restoring the past is not the challenge our congregation faces at NFC. Rather, with God’s help we want to discern his vision for the future of our church. Have you sensed with us in recent months the clear evidence of God’s presence and blessing in our worship? To me that is a sign that he has a plan for our future (Jeremiah 29:11). Let’s discover it together!

Friday Focus – September 15, 2017

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From … Angel R. Diaz, pastor, La Iglesia Evangelica Los Amigos

Hello Friends.

The Hispanic Friends Church of Newberg (Iglesia Evangelica Amigos) thanks the Friends of Newberg Church for all the years we’ve shared. We want to tell you that we deeply want to continue in this relationship until Christ comes. Also the pastoral family thanks you for all the support received in the circumstances of our lives in the month of August when my wife vacationed in Venezuela. First she suffered the death of her sister of 36 years, and then she needed an emergency operation for appendicitis that has delayed her return to the United States. But in the midst of all these adversities, the baby, born prematurely to her sister just before she died, survived and today is in a state of recovery in the home of a family member who is a military nurse. The baby girl has been the gift of God in all this storm.

As a church we want to celebrate the 10 years of financial independence from NFC with a meal in honor of you. Our church men put a new floor on the left side of the chapel. In an attitude of gratitude we wanted to do it, even though the building will be sold. We continue in our plan to clean the entire Friends Center, each family per month. So choose the day* and kind of food you want to celebrate our unity in Christ and in our Faith and Practice.

We also want to share that we started a Hispanic Friends Church in Sherwood with brother Acasio Solis as pastor and with the full support of Sherwood Friends Church. We have services on Sundays at 5 p.m. In McMinnville we have already reached 10 years (5 years as a self-sustaining church). We have also started a community garden in McMinnville that is already reaping its fruits these days.

Friday Focus – September 8, 2017

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from Cindy Johnson . . .

I would like share with you a ministry that means a lot to me: Congregational Care. I am back again as your congregational care coordinator. I am so excited and blessed to be asked to do this again. I didn’t really have to think about it before I said YES. It is a gift the Lord has given me.I love and enjoy working with you. An awesome team has stepped up to help; I will name them at the end.

What does congregational care mean? It is a ministry that involves visiting those who attend NFC or who can no longer make it to church. It includes hospital visits, sitting with family during a time of grief, praying with them, finding ways to show we care.

It means visiting newcomers with a loaf of homemade bread and a “glad you came.” We answer their questions about NFC. Our congregational care may include rides to doctor appointments, a caring note, a birthday greeting.

Prayer shawls, lovingly crocheted and knitted by ladies in our congregation, are given to those who have lost a loved one or who are going through a very tough time. When the recipients put the shawl around their shoulders or on their lap, it serves as a reminder that people are praying for them.

These are the people already involved in this ministry: Steve and Diana Gulley, Sharon Hubbell, Julie Anderson, Howard Harmon, Jo Helsabeck, Merrill Johnson, Kathy Schlittenhart, Ron Woodward, Ron Stansell, Dick Sartwell, and Sara Grant. If you feel drawn to join this ministry, please let me know.

If you have a need, or you might be in the hospital and would like a visit, or someone to pray with, please call me (503-857-3581) or the church (503-538-8381).

I look forward to being involved again with this ministry.

Friday Focus – September 1, 2017

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from Joe Thouvenel . . .
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.”   -Prince Caspian

I am incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to serve and work alongside college-aged young adults for all of my professional career. I was first blessed as an admissions counselor at George Fox, guiding prospective students through the process of deciding on a college and preparing them for what Fox could offer them academically, socially, and spiritually. Then, during my 11 years on staff at Twin Rocks Friends Camp, I supervised and mentored college students from around the country who participated in the camp’s Summer Staff program. Currently, I work with students transitioning from George Fox to the world of work, coaching them to make the most of their knowledge and experiences as they pursue their callings in fields as diverse as engineering, social work, or art.

What has kept me committed to this particular age group? It’s the potential I see for transformational growth as these young women and men transition into adulthood. It’s an exciting time of clarifying values and beliefs, seeking out friendships and connections, new-found purpose, and asking important questions about who they are and where they’re heading in life. Often this time of life is full of a confusing mix of emotions: hopefulness and excitement alongside fear and uncertainty. I find a willingness in young adults to embrace authenticity in newly discovered ways that can lead to deeper connections with one another and with God. I love being a part of that journey.

This Sunday at 10am* we’ll begin talking and praying about how to provide a space for this to occur at Newberg Friends Church in the coming year. I hope students and young adults can encounter a time and place to come together, away from the pressures of everyday life, to share with one another, to listen to each other’s stories, to learn from the stories of those who have gone before them, and to be encouraged through fellowship, scripture, song, and prayer.

Friday Focus – August 25, 2017

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from Marilyn Harmon . . .
Thank you, women of Newberg Friends, for the fun luncheon. All this week I’ve thought about Elizabeth Todd’s question—What can we learn from the Chinese church?

One personal lesson I learned in China: God doesn’t need us, but if we’re blessed and lucky, he uses us. God works out his plan of loving and calling his own. His Holy Spirit can call the seeking without any human interference, but sometimes we’re lucky enough to be used. Many Chinese Christians told stories of hearing the Holy Spirit when they were not in contact with a church. I think that is true in America too. God calls people to himself.

God loves our child-like dependence on him. In our weakness, he can show himself strong. Most of my Chinese friends have not had a lifetime of learning from the Word. Sunday school was forbidden, so children of church members sat with their parents through the long adult services. But, today these grown children love scripture and read it daily. In email to me they share newly learned scripture passages. They love reading the Bible and know the power of scripture in their daily life. New Christians devour the Word; Bible study groups encourage each other through daily sharing.

The Chinese church shows great love and passion in their worship and seeking to know God better. The Holy Spirit drives them to share the good news with joy and enthusiasm to the unsaved. I wonder why we sometimes hesitate – perhaps because of cultural conditioning or more likely the lies of Satan. But the Chinese enthusiastically share their faith, though it often means they will be persecuted, rejected by family and friends, or lose out on a job promotion. They fervently pray for their loved ones who do not know Jesus. When students head home for the holidays, they ask us to pray for chances to share with their loved ones. They share the good news with strangers in McDonalds or on the bus. The college campuses have groups that go to other campuses or public parks and share what God has done for them.

So, the Holy Spirit of God is at work. Our cultures are different, but God is the same. If we could all see the Christian army being raised around the world we would all be encouraged. It doesn’t make the American news, but God is calling his own and we are part of it.

Pray for Tiffany and Daisy as they prepare to go to China in the next month.
Shang Di Zhu Fu Ni (God bless you)

Friday Focus – August 18, 2017

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—from Ron Stansell, clerk of elders

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18). I continue to believe that injunction can be completed, even when circumstances are difficult. Let me share some of my thankfulness and at the same time bring the Newberg Friends Church congregation up to date.

  • An administrative committee has been formed of congregational clerks, clerks or a representative of standing committees, and our administrator. This includes a member from the newly formed Christian education committee. While elders are charged with the spiritual care and nurture of God’s people and spiritual outreach, our administrative committee will work in partnership with the elders to care for business, office personnel, property, and financial concerns brought to them from the various committees
  • Sherry Macy’s work has been partially redefined and she will continue to help us as office administrator and with publications. Denise Lyman continues as bookkeeper, record keeping. Interim pastor Steve Fawver has been helpful in recent weeks in transition consultation and personnel contacts.
  • NFC elders are recommending a ¼ time visitation coordinator position to begin very soon. The NFC administrative committee will consider this. A congregational care committee of volunteers for visitation has been active for several weeks already.
  • REAL: a place for women to study God’s word—has been approved as a Newberg Friends ministry to begin September 7, following the format of Women’s Bible Fellowship, open to all women of the community and with childcare provided.
  • Finality on a Covenant of Separation between Newberg Friends and the Newberg Emerging Friends Church is close. The plan is to seek separate approval by both congregations for an orderly and respectful moving forward in ministry.
  • NFC elders and a worship planning group continue to secure pulpit supply and participants in worship. We have been blessed! This will likely continue through October.
  • NFC elders are actively evaluating possibilities for an interim pastor to serve until June 30. By that time we hope to have extended a pastoral call for long-term pastoral leadership.

A few weeks ago, I counted reasons for “why I’m smiling,” and several people asked if I was still smiling. Now you can ask me, “what are you thankful for today?” And I will have some answers for you! Pray for the leaders of Newberg Friends Church and for those God is calling to minister with us.

NOTE: In future issues of Friday Focus you will see similar reports from presiding and committee clerks in an effort to keep you informed of our ongoing rebuilding progress.

Friday Focus – August 11, 2017

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89 Days

If you started reading Matthew and Acts shortly after the Cell Rule of Optina was introduced in Your NFC on May 19, you might be nearing the end of John and Revelation. I started on May 1 and finished 89 days later* on July 27 (*admitting some catch-up was required along the way). Crossing the finish line left me speechless (it happens)—reading John 21 in tandem with Revelation 21-22 after 89 days of “witnessing” Jesus’ life (times 4) interwoven with the early church and the horrors and beauty of Revelation. I’ve never experienced Bible reading in such a meaningful way. It’s impossible to overestimate the value of reading God’s word every day.

Some of you long-timers remember when we read through the whole Bible chronologically with “Bible Readers Unanimous.” That was a monumental commitment, especially adding the monthly gatherings to talk over what we’d read. Reading the New Testament in 89 days will seem like a breeze by comparison. See how I did that? You have until September 1 to choose your translation, then we can all start together. Download and print the reading chart (it’s in the public domain) and mark your calendar. Try to imagine with me the powerful impact an entire church reading scripture together will have on us.

Sherry Macy