Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. I Corinthians 12: 27
May 22, 2020
In reflection on the on-line annual report and meeting, I am grateful for all your dedication and love for the ministry at Oakridge Presbyterian Church. We bring a variety of gifts to the ministry which reflects God’s diversity in the body of Christ. All those who contribute to the ongoing ministry of OPC are part of something much bigger than themselves. Whatever you do – it does not matter how significant or insignificant you may think it is – these all contribute to the building up and sustaining of the ministry of Christ and they all count to advancing the Kingdom of God in the world! Now in this time of the pandemic, many of our congregants and our staff are making connections on a regular basis with other congregants. This has been good and is so needed at this time of social isolation!
I wish to thank our Clerk of Session, Bob Shirley for his commitment to the ministry of Christ at Oakridge. He has been diligent in preparing and sending information to the session; preparing communication to the congregation when needed (such as the on-line annual report and meeting), and other communication needed from time to time. I especially appreciate Bob’s support for the church and for me. I am thankful for Bob’s faithfulness and joy as he seeks to do his best as a servant of Christ in this busy position of clerk.
I also wish to thank the session for praying and discerning the issues which come before it. This is not an easy position to be in especially when difficult decisions need to be made. We are thankful for their willingness to serve the church in this way. They are dedicated servants of the Lord. This is a time of transition as we say goodbye to session members who have finished their term, and we say hello to several new ones as they have agreed to serve for new terms.
We have wonderful Staff members who are called to serve in Christ’s ministry at Oakridge Presbyterian Church. The Staff enjoy one another and work together for common goals. At this time of the pandemic, they have been working hard at being creative in communicating with the congregation. They have been using the gift of on-line technology and are having success making connections on a regular basis with those in their ministry.
I have been blessed by many in our congregation. I am thankful for your prayers and support – it is so much appreciated and needed. My wife Jackie has been a wonderful support for me. We are literally partners now in presenting the on-line services, but in a much bigger way - partners in life, in faith and in the ministry of Christ.
Thank you for being the body of Christ! Stay close to the Lord, as he is the one to lead and guide us along the way.
God Bless you.
Summary on the On-line Annual Meeting Process
A note from Bob Shirley, OPC’s Clerk of Session:
The 2020 Annual meeting – moved on-line this year because of the Covid-19 crisis – has now been completed. No motion received even a single dissenting vote, so all motions will be recorded as carried. Kevin Ahn, Brock Childerhose, Janet Donkervoort, Nancy Dool Kontio, Gord Miller, Bob Shirley, Ben Song, and Diane Staines have been elected by the congregation and will take their seats at the session table. We now have our full complement of 19 ruling elders. Ruth McCallum has been elected to another six-year term as Trustee of OPC – we now have our full complement of six Trustees. The other Trustees are Marg Hyde, Mark Jones, Lori Martin, Nancy Martin, and Bob Shirley. With God’s grace we will get safely through this pandemic and be able to hold the 2021 annual meeting in the sanctuary as usual.
Jim & Jackie Miller celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on May 21st.
Here’s what happening this Sunday…
Paul talks about the spiritual battle against evil and tells us to put on body armor of God’s righteousness. In Matthew 23, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they may look righteous on the outside, but on the inside their hearts are dirty. True righteousness comes from Jesus’ love in our hearts. We fight evil with righteousness.
As a Youth Ministry, we are meeting together on Zoom weekly on Wednesday Evening from 6:30-8:30 pm. This keeps the routine of our regular youth group nights. Through Zoom, we get to see each other, play some games, and have a lesson. This week we talked about productivity and what expectations are fair to put on ourselves and others in this stressful time of isolation and uncertainty.
You can find our weekly YouTube videos on the OPC channel (www.youtube.com/oakridgepresbyterianchurch) with our Sunday morning lessons. These are approximately 10-15 minutes and give us a chance to connect over a common topic. This week we will be studying Acts chapter 2 and seeing that Doing big things starts with small steps.
Every Sunday morning at 11:30 we will be Zooming together to connect, support one another, and study the book of Acts. We are studying one chapter a week and this Sunday we will be studying Acts 4. If you would like to connect, contact Jeff to get the Zoom link.
We know that graduation looks different this year than it has ever before. If you have or know of a youth or Young Adult who is graduating from grade 8, 12, or Post-Secondary education, please contact Jeff Hopkins so we can acknowledge and celebrate our grads!
Last week for the first time I saw an oriole in my backyard. A friend told me last year if you put out a half orange they may come – they love to eat oranges! I have been more intentional about feeding the birds and now I am seeing so many varieties of birds. I doubt I would have seen them without the “stay home” directive. At first it seems to be just what was needed a chance to catch up or put the house in order. Or perhaps it is a moment to breathe and slow down. But as it drags it may seem more like a kind of exile.
As I thought about the pros and cons of exile I was reminded of the prophet Jeremiah who wrote a letter to God’s people when they were in exile. It is not the same as what we are going through, but there is some wisdom to be heard. In chapter 29 Jeremiah tells the exiles they are to live well, to live at their best where they have been planted.
They did not live at their best in Jerusalem, but there in exile, away from their dysfunctional society, they have a chance to start over and to live well as the people of God – “blessed to be a blessing”- to seek peace and prosperity for the city, not to be a grievous burden, selfish and self-pitying, but to pray for prosperity for all.
They have seventy years to learn how to live better, to develop better relationships with people, to learn how to worship better, to develop a better relationship with the LORD. To settle in and enjoy the life they are given. They are to build good solid homes instead of wasting their time pining for Jerusalem; put in gardens and become a productive part of the economy; learn about irrigation and how to cultivate fruit and vegetables in this climate; engage with the people in intimate and responsible relationships; their task as a person of faith is to develop trust and conversation, love and understanding. Become part of this place on God’s terms – pray for shalom.
Exile is traumatic and terrifying; one’s worth and significance seem diminished or gone; the place and the people are unfamiliar; there is no feeling of safety and security; isn’t that how we experience it first? But exile is also a chance for a new reality, one where change can occur, for good.
We may not know our future, but God is already there. He goes before us. I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, ….
The thought that runs through my mind is this: how can we thrive, rather than just survive, as we transition to a new normal? Do you have thoughts about this? I would really like to hear them. Email or write or call. 519-471-2290 x225 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In faith, Wilma
Another way to give to OPC:
For those who are unable to mail or drop off their envelopes we do have e-transfer available. Please note: your bank may charge you a fee. The email address is:
Use the comment section of the e-transfer (and also with PayPal donations) to indicate your Envelope # and where you would like the funds to be directed Eg. Current Account, Presbyterian Sharing, Capital Account, Legacy Fund as a Memorial Donation.
OPC uses ‘auto-deposit’ for e-transfers so you will not require a security question however you will need to R check the box that acknowledges e-transfers.
The staff is still working hard and wants to support you. Please call 519-471-2290 and our extensions are listed below.