You are on page 1of 8

The Family Times

January 2009

The Family of God Lutheran Church

4770 Route 202
From Pastor Kelly Buckingham, PA 18912
phone: 215.794.5973
Email: <>
Well, it has been a year since I started as pastor at Family of
God. One year ago, we hardly knew each other; I was the new pas- Our Mission:
tor, and you were the new congregation. We are still getting to Hearing, Speaking, and
know one another, but I believe we have built a strong foundation Doing God’s Word.
for future ministry together. I look forward to all the ways God will
use us.
But before we look forward, it is sometimes helpful to look back Our Core Values:
and reflect on what we have learned; to think about where we have Faith, Love, Family,
experienced God, and where God may have seemed to be absent. In Prayer
this article, I take the opportunity to share some of my reflections; I
would love to have you share yours.
Where have I seen God active in the last year? I have seen God
very active in so many ways there are too many to list. So, rather STAFF MEMBERS
Pastor…………………...Rev. Bernard Kelly
than list them all, I have chosen some representative samples. First, Interim Dir.
let me share where I have seen God active in unexpected blessings Of Ensembles……… .….Michael Hillegas
Dir. Of Youth Ministry...Scott Nugent
by individuals: when I watched a brother comfort his sibling during Admin. Assistant……….Suzanne Fernandez
the opening activities of Sunday School; as I have listened to so Family Times Editors…..Michele Koch and
Katie Lekich
many of the prayers written and offered by our worship assistants;
when individuals have shared God-sightings, and their own insights
on discipleship, I have known God was present. When I have seen
Congregational Officers
adults go well above and beyond to make others feel welcome; the President………………...Jane Ellen Nugent
times when I have seen people pray with and for others have been Vice President…………..Glenn Gracey
Secretary………………...Brett Hauber
countless acts of kindness and generosity. I have seen a commit- Treasurer………………..Ken Canham
ment to our mission that is quite humbling. I have witnessed an ac- Financial Secretary……..Dave Robertson

tive care and concern for others that is so touching, people reaching
out to support others in times of distress just because they care. I
Council-Committee Liaison Assignments
have been personally touched by many acts of kindness, some Christian Ed…………….Nancy Routhier
large, some small, all important. All for the sake of Christ. God is Evangelization……… ….Maury Drum
Finance…………………..Brett Hauber
present at Family of God. Men’s Ministry………….Terry Andree
But there are also so many times when I have seen us work as a Mutual/Staff Support…...Jane Ellen Nugent
Parish Life………………Karen Skillman
family and glorify God. I am not just thinking about our corporate and Terry Andree
worship and our Sunday School, although certainly here, too, but I Property…………………Glenn Gracey
Outreach Ministry……...Nancy Routhier
can think of so many times when we have made a communal wit- Stewardship……………..Dawn Irwin
ness for Christ. Certainly the Soup & Sandwich ministry comes to Women’s Ministry……...Jane Ellen Nugent
Worship and Music…….Amy Fell
mind. One person brings bologna and bread. Others gather to Youth……………………Karen Skillman
The Family Times

(continued from previous page)

assemble the sandwiches. Others still pack them all up and take them
to St. Mary’s in Philadelphia to feed the homeless. Aid-for-Friends is
another group miracle. A group of folks get together (sometimes in
their own kitchens) and they prepare simple, healthy meals. We stick
them in the freezer in the boiler room. Then miraculously, off they
go to feed those who can no longer prepare their own meals. Cer-
tainly Workcamp and VBS fall into the category of sharing God in a
communal way. In order to make sure these ministries happen, per-
sons work throughout the year and then in one or two big weeks, it
all comes to fruition and lives are touched for the sake of Jesus. We
must also remember the scores of persons who gather in our home
each week to battle the evil of addiction: the seventy-something man
Family of God so tired of his wife’s alcoholism; the thirty-something mother of two
Lutheran Church who has been sober now for five years but every day remains a
struggle; the 20-something couple who committed to “beat speed”
Our Mission... together. All these folks and more gather in God’s house here in
Hearing, Speaking, Buckingham, because we invite them in for the sake of Jesus. God is
And Doing God’s Word active at Family of God.
But, there are also times when God has seemed absent in our work
Our Core Values... together. Times when we have been uncharitable with others. Times
Faith, Love, when we have allowed the failings or faults of others to diminish our
Family, and Prayer relationship. Sometimes, this is most obvious when we say things
that are hurtful. More often than not, however, I observe this when
Our Vision we are not direct with each other. When Leroy complains to Morris
for Mission... about something that Penelope does. Or when Martha criticizes Jas-
We believe God is calling us per to the pastor, without telling Jasper to his face. There is certainly
to be a church where: nothing wrong with sharing our challenges with each other, and
• Vital, vibrant worship in- seeking support, as long as we can also be direct in our conflicts and
spires people to live out their disagreements. Sadly, I have seen this with children, youth and
faith. adults. I know I have done this, too. God is not glorified in this. God
• People work together to meet has seemed shut out to me when fear rules our hearts. When we feel
community needs in the called to mission, but can only see the risks and so we don’t move
name of Jesus Christ. forward, God is not glorified here. Finally, I don’t believe God is
• People of all ages are glorified when we allow ourselves to be complacent. Over and over I
spiritually nurtured and grow have used the image of the church being a rescue boat, sent out to
in the Word. help the ones who are drowning. Certainly, we have been able to
• Youth are encouraged, help those who “swim to our boat,” but I think we need to be more
supported, challenged and proactive in rowing out to where others are. Our God is not a com-
appreciated. placent God. Our God is an active, missional, on-the-move God.
• People joyfully invite others Having said all this, there is no value in sitting with our chin in
to know the Lord and His our hands and lamenting that we are not perfect. Only Christ is.
church. There is no value in comparing ourselves to other congregations, or
• People are open to the to our own past. There is value, however, in actively deciding to
stirrings of the Holy Spirit. move forward to do more of the things that share God’s presence and
January 2009

(continued from previous page)

less of the things that don’t. Years ago, I decided to change counsel-
ors. I had been seeing one man for many years, but we both felt we
had gone about as far as we could. So, on a recommendation from a
close and faithful friend, I engaged Rev. Paul Brownback as my spiri-
tual guide. In our first encounter, I went into his office, introduced
myself, and sat down. He asked, “So, what do you want to talk 55+/- Gang
about?” I responded with a twenty minute summary of all that I had
learned in my previous years of counseling: my relationship with my
The 55+/- Gang will meet
parents; my relationship with Karen and Josh, and my siblings; my
on Wednesday, January 7th at
shattered hopes and dreams; my frustrations and my hurts. When I
11:30 at the church. We will be
finally took a breath, he said, “If you want to come here each week
serving hot dogs, sauerkraut,
and talk about how you got to where you are, I am not interested in
mashed potatoes, dessert, coffee
that conversation. But, if you would like to talk about how given all
and tea at a cost of $2.50 per
that, you can go forward as a Godly man, I would like to be a part of
person. Following lunch we
that.” I was awestruck.
will play board games, so please
I want to be a part of a God-bearing future with Family of God. I
feel free to bring along your fa-
want us to recognize and celebrate our successes, and acknowledge
vorite game. For more informa-
and mourn our failures. But I want us to move forward being a place
tion call Karen Papandrea at
where people experience the transformative presence and power of
God in Christ Jesus. Won’t you join me?

Worship Services in January

January 4

January 11

January 18
Prayer Chain
The Family of God Prayer
January 25 Chain invites your requests.
Praying for one another is a vi-
tal ministry of care and support.
To add a name or concern,
please contact Nancy Routhier
Time for Children every Sunday at both services. at 215.672.7919 or
Invite friends and neighbors to worship with you at Family of God!
The Family Times

Thank you....

For your gifts to Silver Springs-

Martin Luther School! Your
donations have given the chil-
dren at Silver Springs the op-
portunity to share the magic of

For your coat donations and to

Karen Skillman for delivering
the coats along with the soup Sunday School Scoop
and sandwiches to St. Mary's in
Philadelphia. Happy New Year to all of you! December was a wonderful month
at Family of God with First Holy Communion for all of our 5th grad-
To the members of our Property ers, the Christmas Pageant, and especially the wonderful Christmas
Committee for putting up the Eve services. We hope that this Christmas season brought you the
Christmas tree and to all who magic of the birth of Jesus.
helped decorate the tree and the We are excited to begin January 2009 with our 5th Rotation for 3
church. year olds through 6th graders: “Teach Us To Pray”. Did you know
that there is no wrong way to pray? Did you know that there is no
To the Property Committee and wrong place to pray? We’ll learn all about one of our most precious
their helpers for our clean-up gifts from God: our ability to talk directly to Him and Jesus through
day. prayer. Be sure to join us for Sunday School as often as you can at
To the wreath maker for donat-
ing two wreaths for our front Calendar of Events for January 2009
doors. January 4th 9:15 to 10:15 – Week 1 “Teach Us To Pray”
January 11th 9:15 to 10:15 – Week 2
To Glenn Gracey and his crew January 18th 9:15 to 10:15 – Week 3
at Gracey Plastering for paint- January 25th – No Sunday School (One Service &
ing the hallways of the church. Congregational Meeting)

To Scott Nugent for the two

new wireless microphones and Looking Ahead… We will begin February with our 6th
rechargeable batteries.
Rotation “Life In Bible Times”
To Joan Gracey and Parish life
Please do your part and sign up to help out as either a teacher or
for coordinating Advent Family
an assistant for one of the rotations. If you would like to be a part of
this wonderful ministry please contact Joella Grube (215) 230-4555 or Marilyn Boucher (215) 489-2764 or sign up on the bulletin board in the back
of the Narthex.
January 2009

We Welcome the following

New Members who joined in 2008:
Rev. Bernard and Karen Kelly, Barbara Kelly, The McCabe Family
(Tim, Kathy, Emily and Kaila), Caroline Wagner, Dennis Casile,
Susan Lyle, Joan Whitworth, Irene Kennedy, The Bawduniak Family
(Michael, Karen, Zachary and Nathan), The Kistler Family (Chris,
Liz, Meghan and Stefanie), The Klokner Family (Jim, Laine, Julian,
Gus and Eva) and The Hofer Family (Barry, Lynn, Rae, Alec and

2009 Annual Meeting

January 25th at 10:45 a.m.
Family of God's 2009 Annual Meeting has been set for January 25th,
2009. Please mark your calendars and join us for this important
event. There will be a single worship service at 9:00 a.m. followed
by brunch and the meeting at 10:45 a.m. Please bring a brunch item
to share. Drinks will be provided. Sign up on the bulletin board in
the narthex. See you there!

Church Staff Says Thanks! Dear Friends,

to Family of God for the Christmas Gifts
Karen and I want to thank you
Our church staff would like to express our sincere appreciation to the for the VERY generous gift you
congregation for the wonderful Christmas gifts. We are blessed to presented to us at the Advent
serve such a caring and supportive congregation. Family Night. We were truly
touched by your kindness, your
support and of course, your gen-
erosity. 2008 has been a diffi-
cult year for us financially and
your gift helped to make our
holidays even more joyous.
Each and every one of you, and
Family of God as whole, bring
blessing upon blessing into our
lives. We are so very grateful.
May God bless you all. Again,
thank you.
The Family Times

Would you like to The Intern’s Corner

Buy/Order or Support…
Bulletin Board From Don Gleiter, Intern

Check out the bulletin board First, I would like to wish everyone all the blessings of the Christ-
in the back hallway across from mas season. This month, since you should have time to do some
the bathrooms. The idea of this reading over the holidays, I decided to give everybody my Christmas
bulletin board is to allow mem- present to you via the newsletter. The following is the text of a tem-
bers of FOG to complete out- ple talk I delivered Dec. 7 on our understanding of communion as it
side fundraising, for example, relates to our new ministry of communion for the homebound. Many
girl scout cookies, wrapping of you may have been there to hear the temple talk, but didn’t really
paper, pizza orders, and even catch everything I said, or would like to think about it some more.
Lutheran Charities Bike ride And for those who were not there, this will be something new.
sponsors. The idea is to limit We use several different terms to describe the sacrament of bread
the face-to-face selling on Sun- and wine that unites us with the presence of the body and blood of
day mornings but also allow for Christ. The traditional term we use for this sacrament is the Lord’s
these important fundraisers to Supper, which emphasizes the nourishment of faith that each of us
have a place at FOG. Any receives during the meal of the risen Lord with His church. It is a
member who is selling some- supper which each of us eats, and which nourishes each of us indi-
thing can place an order sheet vidually.
on the bulletin board. And any- Another term we use is the Eucharist, which comes from the Greek
one wanting to purchase or sup- word eukaristos, which means grateful. When we refer to this sacra-
port that organization can sim- ment as the Eucharist, we are moving beyond the perspective of indi-
ply place their order on the vidual nourishment, and emphasizing the joyful thanksgiving of all
form. the people of God for the wonders of creation and redemption that we
celebrate through this sacrament.
A third way we describe this sacrament is to call it Holy Commun-
ion, which comes from the Greek word koinonia, which means com-
munity. When we say Holy Communion, we are lifting up the holy
community, which is the body of Christ into which each of us is in-
corporated through faith.
Each time we gather together as a community of believers to cele-
brate Holy Communion, there are some members of our community
who are not with us. Some choose not to join us, for one reason or
another, but there are others who are unable due to disease or infir-
mity to join us at the table. It is these homebound members that our
new ministry is designed to serve.
Members of our congregation who have been called to this minis-
try, and who have been properly trained, will be authorized to distrib-
ute the consecrated bread and wine from our table following Sunday
services. This is part of the Lutheran concept of the priesthood of all
believers, which tells us we are all empowered to minister to each
Only a called and ordained pastor can consecrate the bread and
wine, but authorized lay members of the congregation can assist in
January 2009

(continued from previous page)

the distribution, both here in our sanctuary, and also outside the
church, in the homes of our homebound members.
The practice of lay homebound communion was encouraged by
the predecessors to the ELCA, the American Lutheran Church and
the Lutheran Church in America, back in 1978. This practice was
reaffirmed in 1997 when the ELCA adopted a resolution titled “The
Use of the Means of Grace”, which says, in part: “As an extension of
the Sunday worship, the servers of Communion take the elements to
those unable to attend.”
This extension of our shared communion, to those unable to at-
tend, is a reaching out to those who would otherwise be excluded and
denied the life-giving creative and redemptive action of God that
flows from the heart of the Trinity through this sacrament. This
reaching out to others in our community binds us together as one, for
as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:17: “Because there is one bread, we
who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”
So I just wanted you all to know that our new ministry of lay
home communion for the homebound is not some crazy idea
dreamed up by your wacky intern. It is an ancient tradition in our
church, practiced since at least the second century, when the deacons
of the congregation would carry bread and wine from the assembly’s
table to share with the ill and imprisoned. We ask all members of the
congregation to consider joining us in the re-establishment of this
ancient tradition. All who participate will be blessed, both those who
give and those who receive.

Family of God Website

Although it is still under con-
struction, consider making
your home page. Then you can
easily watch it develop, be in-
formed as soon as things are
added, be encouraged to add
your own ministry content and
read the Daily Devotion. If you
are not sure how to do this, con-
tact Pastor Kelly or Ken Gish at
Martin Luther King Holiday Service Event
Monday, January 19th

In addition to the church service planned here at FOG, we will have the opportunity to send a group of in-
terested participants to Cradles to Crayons to sort items. Cradles to Crayons, located in Horsham, is a new
nonprofit organization that collects and distributes gently used and new items for youth ages 0 to 16. Items
are given to families and individuals within Bucks, Chester, Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Chester coun-
ties through the 115 different agencies Cradles to Crayons works together with. We will work in the
warehouse from 1 until 3 p.m. It takes approximately 30-40 minutes to get there. We would like volun-
teers and volunteer drivers. We would love to make this an intergenerational activity. If you are under 18,
you must have a specific form completed by a parent or guardian. See the sign-up board in the narthex for

If you are unable to attend to work, please consider going through your attic or basement or closets and
bringing to church your gently used kids clothing, toys or craft items to church by January 18th. You can
look online at for pictures or more specific information. They collect the fol-
lowing: clothing sizes 0-16, shoes, books, new arts and crafts, new school supplies, baby supplies, equip-
ment and toys. Contact Lisa Pitts if you have any questions.

Happy New Year!


Sunday School Scoop • 2009 Annual Meeting Info
MLK Service Event • The Intern’s Corner
For even more news visit our website at