The Greater NJ Annual Conference wrapped up yesterday in Wildwood, NJ, with the reading of the appointments, and I return to my appointment at Denville for another year of ministry and mission! Marcia Brands, our Lay Delegate, attended on behalf of DCC and will be presenting a brief “wrap up” in the coming weeks. For me, the most memorable moments at the Conference include: the Service of Ordination, in which newly approved candidates are commissioned for ministry, those who have been serving effectively are ordained for a life of service; the Service of Remembrance in which is celebrated the lives of clergy who have died in the past year, and their hundreds and hundreds of years of leadership/service; and seeing friends/colleagues with whom I have shared 37 years of ministry, leadership, and celebrations.
As I was driving toward home yesterday, up the Garden State Parkway, thinking about returning for another appointment-year, the word “Jubilee” came to mind… because I always associate the biblical idea of Jubilee with the number 7. (It really comes at the end of 7 years in the Bible, but I had a strong feeling about Jubilee, so here you go… at the beginning of year 7!)
As I start year 7 here in ministry with you in the greater Denville area, I am encouraged and filled with gratitude by the many things our laity and staff members do to partner with and share in leadership here at the church….
Janice McCrostiehas taken on important leadership roles with our young people in her time with us, particularly steering our Confirmation process and engaging many people through invitations into the Spirit-life, through spiritual formation retreats and lock-ins, as well as participating in the ASP team. She has also taken on a key role in communicating what happens in our life-together by editing our monthly newsletter, “Glad Tidings”; and has been a wonderful addition to our DCC Preschool. I especially enjoyed being on a team-teaching group with Janice for our “Christianity and Islam” course last fall and winter, opening our minds and hearts to things we might have otherwise not considered! And I look forward to discerning some new paths for ministry here as we pursue a grant from our Greater NJ Annual Conference for ministry with high-schoolers, college and university students, and young adults.
YoungKwang came into our lives at a particularly vulnerable time, as Mike Semancik had to quickly resign to take care of his health. We have all been blessed by his commitment to our music ministries; and are now in the final stages of the process of supporting his application for an R-1 Religious Worker Visa. This will enable him to remain in our congregation learning, growing and blessing us with the depth of his experience in church music and worship leadership. YK’s vision for the future music ministries include developing a second worship service that will be focused on the needs of younger members and their friends, and completely alternative to the more tradition style that we use for our worship now!
Jean Nightingale is an integral part of the staff at DCC. She keeps things humming as our Office Administrator. Among a host of other things, here is the short list: Scheduling dozens of church and community groups; answering calls from people in crisis; fielding questions about the many ministries we facilitate; participating in the organizing of our Annual Auction; providing leadership for our Vacation Bible School; scheduling baptisms, wedding, and funerals; preparing digital media for worship; staying in touch with me when I am attending off-site meetings and Annual Conference responsibilities; and, most of all, juggling all these tasks with a cordial and heart-warming demeanor! I am also continually inspired by our key leadership teams which make DCC strong and vital!
Our Trustees, with Lee Haase as President, take great care in maintaining this property, with its buildings and grounds, doing regularly scheduled upgrades and special projects (like over-hauling Dreisbach Hall this summer and overseeing the work on completing the Photo-Voltaic/Solar Energy project this past spring.)
Our Finance Committee, with David Carnahan as Chair and Lori Rapp as Treasurer, has completely reorganized over the past 2-3 years, and is working efficiently and collaboratively to provide the church with accurate, QuickBooksOnline financial reports, online management of billing and payments, doing payroll management for both the Church and the DCC School for Early Childhood Development, and reporting to the Greater NJ Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
The StaffParish Relations Committee, with Marcia Brands as Chair, works to evaluate and support each of our staff positions, has managed a new process of Clergy Evaluation required by the Bishop this past spring, and acts as a sounding board for improving the working relationships within the congregation. The committee will sponsor a ChurchWide (Survey Monkey) Evaluation coming later in the summer!
Our Christian Education and Sunday School coordinators, Jenn Bridi and Veronica Dengler put together the team of volunteers to share faith with the young people in our congregation.
The United Methodist Women, with Karalee Smith as outgoing President and Glenda Haase as incoming President, is one of the most vital UMW organizations in all of NNJ. Our UMW drives mission education and giving to extraordinary mission projects and deepens the spiritual lives of dozens and dozens of members.
Our ASP Mission work, with Doug Gabel providing year-round leadership, is a bright-shining beacon which provides incredible challenges to hundreds of people to engage their lives in doing good. (Also the heartfelt efforts we support through Heart4People and Sarah Harrs, Christian Drama School under the leadership of Kim Urbanik, Bridges continually inspired by Ted and Travis Dengler, and others church sponsored ministries: Boy Scouts, Brownies, Daisies, Toastmasters and AA!
In the coming months a small group will be working with The Rev. Dr. Tanya Bennett, who will provide leadership, and YoungKwang who has provided the vision, to launch an alternative worship service for Advent and Christmas that will meet more of the spiritual needs of the youth and young adults in both the Church and the community. We will also be applying for grant-money from our Greater NJ Annual Conference “New Disciples” Young Clergy Initiative which seeks to increase the number of young clergy in the United Methodist Church by helping youth and young adults discern what vocation God may be calling them into. These funds will provide high school summer internships, college and year-long seminary residencies, as well as program funding for training initiatives.
In the coming months I would also would like to pass the torch for eNabling the Future, 3D Prosthetic Hand-printing and building to an individual or group of enthusiastic young middle-school and high-school students, or retiree so that we continue to engage this amazing life-changing, global effort.
In many ways, the main-line Church in America, including the United Methodist Church, is a group of “overwhelming underdogs”, as Yogi Berra said of the ’93 Mets baseball team. We are often out-paced by non-denominational congregations meeting in storefronts, movie theatres, high school gym-atoriums, and brand-new mini-mall structures. But there is a critical mass here at DCC to engage the work of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, which is in great need of healing and wholeness; and I am deeply appreciative of the dreams we dream and the work we accomplish!
I will remain deeply committed, along with you, to our mission and purpose: “To be an enthusiastic community of God’s love in action… Empowered by the Holy Spirit and guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ, we seek to share this love in response to human needs, hurts, and hopes”.
Deep peace pure blue of the summer skies to you. -Pastor Ed
Dear Sister and Brothers at DCC…
Ian and Sally Boa, our dear friends from Stirling, Scotland, will arrive for a few weeks visit with us as the month of June wraps up. Rev. Ian Boa, a clergyperson in the United Free Church of Scotland will be preaching in our worship at the end of June. He has recently been Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland. (It’s a big deal and an indication of deep regard by colleagues of his leadership within the denomination).
We also commission our Appalachian Service Project team on the last Sunday of June and pray them off on July 1. This is our 26th year in a row for this energizing mission-work.
I will be pleased to participate in the opening festivities at the community-wide Joey Bella Festivities/Fundraiser on July 3rd.
Also this summer, Gabriele will be enjoying some whirl-wind family-heritage vacationing in Germany with our oldest grandchild, Dylan. We will travel to Gabriele’s hometown in Obereichenbach, Bavaria, and then continue to visit with family and friends all over the country. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Neuschwanstein Castle, Nurnburg, the Black Forest, Cologne, up to northern Germany for a visit to more family and a quick junket into Holland.
When we are away, my dear friend and a welcome guest-preacher, the Rev. Dr. Tanya Linn Bennett, is looking forward to preaching and leading worship for the 2 weeks!
There is something else going on in July that is extremely important in our life-together. With the support of our Staff-Parish Relations Committee, we have an opportunity to help our Music Ministries Director, YoungKwang Jun, secure an R1 Immigration Visa, so that he will able to expand his role among us. YK finishes his Masters of Ministry degree at Drew University School of Theology by the end of 2017, and will need a change of status on his immigration visa in order to remain with us here in the United States. Attaining this R1 (Religious Worker) visa will assure that he will be able to remain here and be employed in Church Music Ministries.
In the coming weeks, YK will be submitting all of the necessary documentation for his R1 application, and I would like to issue an invitation to everyone at DCC to offer a bit of financial support for this process. The cost for the Immigration attorney is over $3,000. YK’s parents are helping him reach ½ the goal, and I hope we will be able to help raise the other half.
If you would like to contribute to this unique opportunity to assure that YK will be able to stay with us on the ministries staff after December 2017, please talk with me. I look on this as an extremely important step for us to help assure that YK, who feels called to deepen his commitment and strengthen his calling as a Church Music ministries director in the United Methodist Church here in the United States, will stay here in this congregation he has come to love. I have full confidence that your DCC generosity in the form of gifts of $25, $50, $100 dollars or more will add up to full support and we will very quickly raise the full financial support that is needed. Thank you in advance for your generous show of support for YoungKwang. I know that you agree he has been an incredible blessing to us already!
By the end of July, we will be in full VBS mode, in preparation for a week of fun, music, learning, and fellowship (August 7-11). This year the theme is: “Maker Fun Factory: Created by God, Built for a Purpose”. There is still a need for support staff for the week, and we can also use more teacher support! I hope you will begin praying now for a week of Bible-learning, great singing, community-building!!!
In the month of August, you can look forward to the Trustees accomplishing some beautiful renovation/upgrading work in Dreisbach Hall…
For now, let’s enjoy the summer… with vacations, swim team events on the lakes in town, special worship opportunities, and time for the kids to unwind from a busy school year.
Deep peace blazing orange of the setting summer sun to you… Pastor Ed