Seaview Good News
July 30, 2020

Today at 11:00, the bell in Seaview’s tower rang out to celebrate the life of Congressman John Lewis. We joined churches throughout the nation as a way to remember a life well lived. He encouraged people to make good trouble by standing in the face of injustice with a dynamic love that changes the heart of a nation one community at a time. 

Our brother George Breese underwent a surgical procedure this week and is still in the hospital for the recovery process. We respect his privacy and want to blanket him with our prayers.

Our Advisory Council meets this evening at 7:00 in Fellowship Hall. Be advised that the majority of the meeting is open to all members and there is space both at the beginning and the end of the public meeting for comments and questions. The public portion then closes for executive session. There will be seating that is well distanced for any participants beyond the tables where Council members will be seated. Make sure you wear a mask the entire time you are indoors and use the touchless hand sanitizer at the door as you enter.

The Wednesday evening Discipleship Training Group will be coming together again by Zoom starting August 26. The curriculum will use the book The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr and brief videos that will help us to journey in transformation in community the way God does it as Father, Son and Spirit. Want to dance with God? It’s not neatly packaged. It’s messy and filled with hope. Let Pastor Frank know.
 
 

July 25, 2020

There is a longing in us for beauty. We experience it in the bright sunshine illuminating the refreshed lawn and the flowers after a day of soaking rain. We see the vivid colors of a rainbow that stretches out across the sky and want to stop and take it in, maybe even take a picture so we can savor it long after the rainbow disappears. What we are truly longing for is God. 

James Bryan Smith in The Magnificent Story writes: Beauty is meant to lead us to God. Beauty is meant to move us to doxology. Beauty is never the ultimate. It is designed to be penultimate, to lead us to something beyond itself.

There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. At the beginning and the end and all the way along the arc is God. Everywhere we turn, God is waiting for us. Even before we come to Sunday, God is waiting for us, to hear our doxology.
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We are now living in month five since the restrictions of a pandemic sharply pierced the regularity of our gathering. A few weeks ago we celebrated the Lord’s Table, joined as one, yet scattered. Some were in living rooms, others at a table and still others were in the sanctuary of our church home. Terri Thomas wrote that it was a blessing to share the table at home with her sister and her mother and with Richard. It is peculiar as to how the Holy Spirit reveals God’s presence through the live stream of worship. The doors of our church home are open again now. Still we invite you to come however you sense the Spirit is asking you to come, even it if means you stay home and participate by live-stream.

What is the Kingdom of Heaven like as you see it? Is it a destination like a favorite vacation spot? Or is it in the little and big ways we see God’s righteousness slip into our everyday liv es? Jesus told us about his ideas of heaven. And ought to know. He is the King of Heaven. Come hear ore about Jesus’ ideas of heaven tomorrow at 10:30, in person or by livestream on Facebook. It will be available later, too, on our website by clicking the blue box below.

Our youth will begin to meet together again next Sunday evening after a month of hiatus. It is still by Zoom which has its challenges but it is good to be able to sing and laugh and learn together. That’s August 2 at 6:00 PM. Last time we were together we played truth or lie, looking at the lies we so easily believe. We will continue that series with 3 lies that God wants us to confront. They are 1) Other people define your value 2) Performance produces love 3) Humility is for losers.

Also next Sunday at 2:00, Matt Foss, who works in our church office as administrative assistant, will be wed to his fiance, Jessica DeSantis. While weddings are usually very public declarations of mutual love, due to pandemic restrictions, once again, the attendees must be greatly limited and by invitation only. Please remember them in prayer and celebrate with them that God is binding them together in the mysterious power of love.

Summer is reaching the halfway mark. Normally we have folks doing summer music. Don’t let the rules of a world wide crisis stop you from singing. There are creative ways to do this. If you would like to sing or play a song to bring glory to God, just give Paula Dollarhide or Pastor Frank a call or text.

As autumn approaches, schools will be back in session early whether it is in classroom or by remote learning. Our Wednesday evening Discipleship Training Group will be coming together again by Zoom starting August 26. The curriculum will use the book The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr and brief videos that will help us to journey in transformation in community the way God does it as Father, Son and Spirit. Want to dance with God? It’s not neatly packaged. It’s messy and filled with hope. Let Pastor Frank know.

 

 
July 18, 2020

The world bids “well done good and faithful servant” to a giant of a man. Congressman John Lewis died yesterday at the age of 80 after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. He was a recipient of the Edwin T. Dahlberg  Peace and Justice Award given by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies. Often called the conscience of Congress, he was one of the people who walked peaceably shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama where they were beaten by barbed wire wrapped sticks by state troopers. Serving for three decades from the state of Georgia, he was revered by many. President Jimmy Carter, a native Georgian, writes, “He made an indelible mark on history through his quest to make our nation more just. John never shied away from what he called ‘good trouble’ to lead our nation on the path toward human and civil rights. Everything he did, he did in a spirit of love. All Americans, regardless of race or religion, owe John Lewis a debt of gratitude.”

Our guest musician tomorrow in worship will be Nathan Bryson. We have been blessed to have Nathan to serve many times in Paula’s absence. The focus of our worship will be Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God from Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. In the parable of the Wheat and the Tares, Jesus warns us to take care in how we care for the field. In our judgmental ways we can damage the wheat along with the weeds. Follow us on line through Facebook or find a welcome in our pews, wearing a mask and maintaining safe distance. We are limited to 50 people and encourage our most vulnerable to continue to join us live-streaming. Most are choosing that option to stay home.

We have been extremely grateful to Doctors Larider and Wdlyne Ruffin and their family for providing fine leadership in worship through this pandemic time. As a small gesture of our thankfulness, the flowers will be placed in the chancel tomorrow in their honor. Until more sophisticated equipment was installed by Andy Schaeffer a few weeks ago, it was Larider whose smart phone provided the live feed each Sunday. The Ruffins have also been the backbone of our praise team. Thank you to each of this wonderful family.

We want to say a big thank you to Richard Thomas, who has served as our general treasurer for the last two and a half years. He made his intention known in May that he wished to retire from the position. The Advisory Council has acted as a nominating committee for many years and at the July meeting asked Lisa Harvey if she would consider stepping in as interim treasurer. After prayer, she responded the next day that she would serve. Yesterday, the transfer of responsibilities was made. Much was accomplished while Richard was treasurer including negotiating with a payroll service to do all of the intricate payroll work which also involves all tax reporting. That was huge. Again, thank you Richard and welcome Lisa.

In this past week Amelia Baldares returned to her home near Chicago. It was a late return due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As always, we will miss her, being such a vital part of our church fellowship. We hope she will be able to return as winter approaches. Her address is 498 Buffalo Ave, Calumet City, IL 60409.

George Breese has been patiently waiting for a call to be able to follow through with some diagnostic work. A doctor raised some concerns last week that warrant more testing. In the meantime, we are covering our brother with prayer. Joan Hofmeister has been feeling a bit under the weather but reports back now that she has begun to feel better. We offer the Lord a prayer of thanksgiving for that.  Keep praying for Dolores Wilson who is still in rehab at Our Lady’s Rehabilitation Center in Pleasantville. Many of us have been praying for Pastor Brendon Wilson, Lead Pastor at Fusion Church, who was hospitalized due to an auto accident. Thanks be to God, he is now at home for the rest of the mending journey. We pray for a full recovery.

We want to encourage you to keep adhering to the guidelines issued by our NJ Governor Phil Murphy for safely caring for one another while the pandemic has surged in many places throughout the world. It has been our willingness to wear a mask, keep safe distance, wash our hands and refrain from physical contact that has put NJ ahead of the curve. Someone asked recently, “Would Jesus wear a mask?” He clearly taught us to love our neighbor and that is what we are doing when we protect them by wearing a mask.

Our schedule is greatly reduced during the summer days as well due to the pandemic. Any gathering of people must be carefully done which has left many of us feeling sad that we cannot easily be together. Keep listening as the autumn days approach. Zoom classes, Bible Studies, Discipleship Training and gatherings will return. In the meantime, stay in touch with each other. Know that Pastor Frank is available to meet with you via zoom or a phone call. Call the church office and he will gladly return your call.
 

July 11, 2020

Here we are in what some people call the dog days of summer. It is when the dog star, Sirius, rises and lasts for about two months. For those that have SiriusXM Radio, notice the symbol. It’s a dog. The dog days are noted as the hot and steamy days when many people don’t feel like doing much outdoors. In days past, folks would spend evenings on the front porch, hoping for a summer breeze while sipping iced tea. This year some of us are staying inside, hoping for the reappearance of the Phillies and the Yankees on our TV screens (coming July 27). Others are trying to figure out how we can safely take in a bit of the beach and take a walk without suffocating behind a mask. These days will soon be over. The cool breezes of autumn will blow again with the smell of pumpkin spice. Enjoy what you can of small family barbecues, fishing, summer vegetables and fruit. Even in a pandemic we can find the simple pleasures and give thanks to God for them. In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes 5:18.

Tomorrow is our second Sunday since opening the doors for worship. Last week we had only 17 people, which was good. As many of you know, we are not yet out of the woods when it comes to Covid-19. New Jersey has done well with flattening the curve. As a church we are taking precautions, using masks, maintaining good distance, and providing hand sanitizers. We are wanting it to be safe for all. And to accommodate those who are more vulnerable as well as those who live at a distance, we will continue to live-stream the full service. We encourage you to remain at home if you have any concerns.

We will be observing the Lord’s Table tomorrow. For in person worshipers, communicants will be invited to the front of the sanctuary while masked where they will be served a piece of bread pulled from the loaf by a gloved deacon and dropped into their hand. They will then be served a cup of grape juice by another gloved deacon and asked to return to their seats where we will commune as directed by the pastor. Those at home watching are asked to have bread and cup ready to share with the rest of the congregation. 

We have had several prayer concerns this week. Amelia Baldares was in the hospital for a few days with an issue. Terri Thomas also noted some concerns about herself. Joan Hofmeister has developed a cough but appears to be improving. Marguerite Heaton-Colella has been dealing with an eye problem. Karen Flexer asks for prayer for a long time friend, Ed Moore. Helen Lewis’ sister Dolores Wilson is still in Our Lady’s Center for Rehabilitation in Pleasantville. Barbara Glass’  husband, Harold, is coming along slowly. We want to encourage you to use our Seaview Prayer Page on Facebook. It is a great way to have access to our network of intercessors. And you don’t have to to have that gift to be a part, just one whop will read and then take a moment to lift that concern to the Lord. You can be given access to Seaview’s Prayer Page by simply asking for it. It is a private group to keep details confidential. 

Looking for a good movie? “A Mile in His Shoes” tells the story of a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome who is discovered by a professional baseball manager while waiting for AAA on a breakdown near a rural farm. This kid can pitch with power. And his faith inspires the manager to rekindle his own lost friendship with God. It’s available on Amazon Prime Video.

 

July 4, 2020

Today, the United States of America celebrates 244 years as a nation. Formed by 13 original states, the nation has grown, but not without struggle. The country came through a civil war that threatened to destroy the union. The scars exist to this day. The United States has often advocated for liberty and justice for all in places across the globe. Now we struggle with the strife of a pandemic and continued social unrest. Yet hope is summed up in the short but stirring address given by the nation’s 16th president. Read it again here, and be inspired to live your life for the ideals for which many have died.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.        
 – A. Lincoln. Gettysburg, PA, November 19, 1863


We are pleased to be able to open the doors of our church home tomorrow to those who feel safe to come and gather at 10:30. Though it sounds strange, we want to encourage people to remain secure in your own homes if you sense that you would be placing yourself or others in danger. The full service will continue to be live-streamed. We have taken precautions and have hand sanitizer in touch free dispensers on the walls in Fellowship Hall. Wear a mask and be prepared to be seated by ushers who will escort you to properly arranged seating, front to back. We regret that you will not be able to choose where you sit. As the worship service concludes after the postlude, you will be released back to front (wedding style) and asked to exit immediately to the parking area where you may talk together as long as you wish.. Restrooms will be open for use with a sign (you flip it as you enter and change it back as you leave) allowing one person at a time. A full set of instructions is available in printed bulletins or on our website by clicking here.

We wish to thank all of you who have contributed to the ministry of Seaview over the last three months of our services being closed to in person worship. Because of your faithfulness, we remain solvent and able to pay all of our salaries and other bills. You may contribute by going to our home page and clicking on the button on the middle of the page labeled “Give Now.”

Our Advisory Council will meet on Thursday evening at 7:00 using Zoom. Anyone may be part of the public portion of the meeting which is most of it. To be admitted to the meeting, you will need to download the Zoom app on you computer or device and sign up for a free account. It’s quite simple after you get the hang of it.  For help with this, please contact Pastor Frank who will be glad to assist you. Ask him for the link that will get you into the meeting. It will be received in advance by email.

With the summer now in full bloom, many of our regular classes and gatherings are on summer break. That includes our Sunday evening youth meetings as well as Wednesday evening Discipleship and Prayer. Watch Seaview Good News for announcements for resuming as a new fall season approaches.

As the United States celebrates it’s birth, we wish to conclude this issue of Seaview Good News by directing you to the concert that was live-streamed from Washington National Cathedral this morning. That beautiful sanctuary remains closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Normally presented to a full house, the cathedral staff has put together a presentation that will lift your heart in glory to God without whose guidance, no nation can prosper.

Go to this link: 

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=584572068872174