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Valley Church News

P8180815 - Copy
September 5, 2014

"A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good
and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations."
~ Psalm 100

     This Sunday we depart from Paul's letter to the Philippians, and even from the New Testament, and we make our way to Psalm 100. Right from the top, it tells us what it is - a psalm, and what it's for - giving grateful praise. It's a sort of school for praise and thanksgiving, a primer in worship. I encourage you to spend time reading, reflecting on, and even putting Psalm 100 into practice prior to our time together on Sunday morning. (It is also included in its entirety above).

     The photo at the top of the email is from a recent trip the Monroe family took to the Taughannock Falls in Ithaca. I'm always reminded in places like those that the whole earth itself is shouting - making an absolute ruckus - for joy to the Lord!

A Reflection on Leaving Room for Discontent:

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances . . ." ~ Paul, Philippians 4.11b

"Right here is beauty like I have never known,
And I’m carefully placed here, not some cast away,
But I’m weary and aching for my home,
And I’m waiting for my day." ~ Jason Harrod

     This world we live in is a place of tension. Surrounded by beauty, we’re also surrounded by ugliness. Unity, division. Peace, violence. Forgiveness, grudges. We long and ache for something more than what we often see: for beauty, for justice, for love, for rest, for sound work for our hands and for the hands of others - we ache for the shalom of God's reign. We're not alone. So does the apostle Paul. So does God. While Paul calls us to be content with the personal circumstances in which we find ourselves - with what God has given us and where he's carefully placed us, we simultaneously need to be driven by a deep sense of this "divine discontent.”
     Songwriter Jason Harrod uses the words "aching" and "waiting" to describe it in his song "Waiting for My Day." The Irish rock band U2 uses the phrase “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” No matter what words are used, it seems that the experience is fairly universal. We can be personally content, but, when we look around, we find that we want more. We long for something better as we see a myriad injustices flash before our eyes on the evening news. We ache for more as we see those around us suffer through things as seemingly insignificant as petty bickering between friends and as significant as battles with cancer, failing organs, divorces, battles with depression. But we also want more when our breath is taken away by unimaginable beauty. Sometimes we nearly burst with aching for what the beauty points toward. The long and short is this: Paul could say both. Yes, be content. But, also, do not be content. Not until all things are reconciled to God in Christ Jesus. We're all still waiting for our day.

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The Fall Festival is Coming!
     Though it feels like summer again, Valley Church's annual Fall Fest is just around the corner. We will be holding our neighborhood festival on September 21, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., complete with all the usual festivities: games, prizes, cotton candy, ice cream, bounce houses, dunk tanks, and more. Please be prepared to volunteer, and also make sure you begin inviting neighbors, family, and friends.

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Sunday School,
Morning Coffee, and the Service Time:

     As I wrote a few weeks ago, the education and health and renewal teams developed a new plan for Sunday School for this year which was unanimously approved at the last council meeting. This year, children's Sunday School will take place during the service (at the time Children's Church previously happened). The kids will be divided into two classes: 4 year-old through 1st grade and 2nd grade through 5th grade. The students will be dismissed to Sunday School just before the sermon.
     This Sunday, the students will be dismissed to go upstairs where they will be introduced to the new Sunday School and help decorate for the coming year. However, because of profession of faith, Fall Festival, and the 50th anniversary celebrations, we won't have Sunday School on September 14, 21, or 28. The new Sunday School year will begin in earnest on October 5.
     This also means that the service of worship will still start at 10:00 a.m. Coffee will be served starting at 9:15 a.m.


A Thank You and Report from World Renew:

     Thank you for your support of World Renew's ministry.
     Through your gift, World Renew is able to share the love of Christ with those who are in need. In Eastern Uganda, World Renew is leading a food security and income generation project that has reached more than 1800 farmers in 12 rural communities. Asano Christine, a widow and the mother of five children, is one of the people who is benefiting from this ministry. She is a member of a farmers group that received agricultural training from World Renew. Part of this training included establishing a shared garden where they planted tomatoes. The profit from their harvest was enough to buy a cow, with additional funds available for loans to group members.
     Success stories like Asano Christine's would not be possible without the prayer and support of World Renew's supporters. Thank you for sharing Christ's steadfast love, the ultimate source of spiritual security, with those in need.

Sunday Mornings:
Coffee: 9:15 a.m.
Worship Service:
10:00 a.m.

That we might better pray for one another:

     A prayer for the teachers and students who have gone back to school:
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom: Enlighten by your Holy Spirit those who teach and those who learn, that, rejoicing in the knowledge of your truth, they may worship you and serve you from generation to generation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. (From the Collect for Education, from the Book of Common Prayer)

     We continue to pray for the people of western Africa: for healing for those battling Ebola, for freedom from fear and wisdom to prevent infection for those who are healthy, and strength and perseverance for medical workers.
     We pray that God's shalom would break forth in our neighborhoods and around the globe: for those suffering unemployment and poverty in the Southern Tier; for the persecuted minorities and Christians in Iraq; for peace for all the people of Palestine and Israel; and for peace in Russia and Ukraine, and especially those displaced due to the violence there.
     We pray for friends and family: for healing for Ann DeJager's sister, Tonia, as she battle breast cancer; for Jerry's and Claire's daughter Janice and her husband Curtis as they mourn the death of their friend Wilt; for Adam Derzanovich as he recovers from surgery; for David Derzanovich's two brothers-in-law, Tim and Bill, who are also recovering following hospitalizations; for Ruth Giese's neighbors Tom and Anna, who are struggling with health and aging issues.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities:

Check Your Mail Folders:
     This is a friendly reminder for everyone to check their mail folders. As I've put new things into some of your folders, I've noticed that there are some folders that haven't been emptied for some time!

Profession of Faith!:
     On September 14 nine of Valley Church's youth will make profession of faith. Please pray for them as they prepare for this milestone in their journey of faith, and come prepared to celebrate with them a week from Sunday!

2nd Offering:
     On September 14 we will have an opportunity to give a second offering to support the Chenango Forks Schools' Nurses Discretionary Fund.

50th Anniversary:
     Don't forget to mark your calendars for Valley's 50th anniversary celebrations on September 26-28. Also, please remember to let us know of addresses and phone numbers you might know of previous members who have moved away in the contact book in the foyer.

Sunday Morning Ministries for
September 7, 2014:

Frank & Barb Lockwood

Charlie Huizinga and George DeJager

Intercessory Prayer:
Kurt Monroe

Scripture Reader:
Lor Recker-Woodnorth

Jim & Sue Comfort
Church Telephone: 607.648.8224
Pastor Kurt's email:
Church email:
Church website:

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Valley Church
1452 River Road
Binghamton, New York 13901

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