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January 2010

January 2010

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Published by Tony F

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Published by: Tony F on Jan 14, 2010
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01/13/2010

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On the Journey with your Mid-Atlantic District Executive Minister . . .
 
Dear Friends,I'm getting around the district now, learningwhere our 62 churches are, being able to visualizetheir settings. While some are in rural settings, sur-rounded by farm or woodlands and few houses, morethan I realized are in the midst of neighborhoods, atown, more densely populated areas. And the truth of the matter is, in our time, in our district areas, noplace is that rural anymore, population is growingeverywhere. I visualize the hundreds and thousandsof families and people around ourchurches, people who are strugglingwith the effects of the recession, de-pression and illness, family problems,the search for meaning . . . I rememberthe haunting refrain of a song I onceheard,
People Need the Lord 
.
They do.
 I see our churches set in the midst of these growing, sometimes burgeoningcommunities, and I wonder why ourchurches aren't connecting with thesescores of people who need the Lord,connecting people with the Lord.Membership and average worship at-tendance are trending down in most of our churches -- not all, but many, while all around there are peoplewho need the Lord.I know it's not that our pastors aren't dedi-cated, hard working and caring, because they are, andif anything they work too hard and care too much forothers and too little for themselves. I know it's notthat the members of our churches are hardhearted orinsensitive to people's needs, my heart is humbled bythe loving, devoted members of our churches that Imeet most every day. I know one problem is that wewait for people to come to church rather than reachout to them. Another problem is that when people docome, too often they don't experience the quality of welcome and hospitality that would connect themwith us and the Lord. Or have we bought into theidea that the Church of the Brethren is bound to dieand so we might as well just hunker down and holdon for as long as we can? I don't accept that. Weknow the Lord, and
 people need the Lord 
. I believeevery church should be growing spiritually and nu-merically; it seems to me the two must go hand-in-hand, that we can't be growing spiritually, goingdeeper in the Lord, without being moved to reach outto people around us who don't know the Lord.Church extension and evangelism are centralin our district mission and values. Wehave two upcoming opportunities towork on connecting with our neighborswho need the Lord. This coming Sat-urday, January 16 from 8:00 a.m. -12:30 p.m. our church extension andevangelism ministry team has invitedformer Brethren in Christ Bishop, nowExecutive Director of the Center forLeadership Impact, Craig Sider, tomeet with the leaders of our northernVirginia area churches -- the pastorsand five leaders from each congrega-tion, and district leadership to facilitateconversation about and planning forchurch extension and evangelism in those congrega-tions and area. That's a place to begin, and then theidea is to extend that conversation and planningacross the district in the months ahead.Then, on March 6 at Manassas, March 13 at Denton,and March 20 at Bush Creek, from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.,Fred Bernhard will be holding regional trainings onBiblical Hospitality and Outreach. The Oakland con-gregation in rural west central Ohio which Fred pas-tored until his retirement increased its average wor-ship attendance by 19% and Sunday school atten-dance by 36% in the first three months they began
JANUARY 2010
 February 10
ETHICSTRAINING
 Mid-Atlantic District Office10am-12noon
 For those who missed it in
 2009
 
2
 
ANNUAL FORMS DUE
FORM A and FORM B
from each congregationwere due on December 31, 2009. Please besure these are completed and returned to Elgin.
STATISTICAL FORMS
are due back to Elgin byFebruary 1, 2010.
CONGREGATIONAL OUTREACH REPORT FORMS2009/2010
were due on December 7, 2009.To date, 42 forms have been returned out of the62 Mid-Atlantic District congregations.
Easton
 
Pastor 
Flower
 
Hill
 
Pastor
 
Friendship
 
Pastor
 
Sharpsburg
 
Pastor
 
Westminster
 
Pastor
 
Woodbridge
 
Pastor
 
CONGREGATION OPENINGS
Continued from Page 1
...applying the principles Fred willbe sharing, growth that has continued at a comparablerate. Considering our attendance trends and all thepeople around us who need the Lord, I'll be disap-pointed if every pastor and a good representation fromevery congregation doesn't attend one of these work-shops. It just may be the help and encouragementyour congregation needs. The workshop brochure isavailable on the district website, and all you need todo to register is phone the district office at least aweek before the workshop you plan to attend to giveus the count coming from your congregation so wecan have adequate food available for a continentalbreakfast and light lunch.People need the Lord; we know the Lord. Itseems to me a situation pregnant with promise. Pleasepray for these events, for their fruitfulness, and furthersupport them with your presence and by encouragingthe participation of others.See you there!
DEAR PASTORS:
I have an important request: Please check on the forms listed in the box below and assure that anyoutstanding reports are promptly submitted. These reports really are important and are used inmaking contacts and in planning district and denominational ministry, mission, program and budg-ets. It would be helpful for district office staff to have your current information so needed informationdoes not have to be tracked down.Thank you in advance for your assistance! ~Gene
 
3
 
The Music Matrix: Basics for Pastors
 
Leader: Jonathan Shively
January 31-February 1, 2010
The Winter Retreat for Pastors, Licensed Ministers and Persons inTraining for Ministry will be held at Shepherd’s Spring inSharpsburg, MD.If you have not yet registered, please contact theMid-Atlantic District Office at 410.635.8790.
The Annual Winter Retreat is sponsored by theContinuing Education Task TeamMid-Atlantic District
Mid‐Atlantic District Jr. High
 
“A Slave to Chocolate”
 
January 22‐23, 2010
at 
Union Bridge COB
Ever wonder where the chocolate of your favorite candy bar comes from? How it is made andproduced? Come to this FREE, fun and exciting Lock‐In to find out more and to sample deliciousfair trade chocolate. This event will be led by Barb Dickason.
The event begins at 7:30 pm Friday and ends at 10:00 am SaturdayRSVP or questions: Jan Fischer Bachman703-574-2544 or janfb@cox.net
F I N A L C A L L

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