Summer Volunteer Opportunities

Summer Special Music ‑ Talk to Rose Helmer if you would like to provide special music for worship this summer.

Knitting for Back to School ‑ We have a bin in the Fellowship Hall of hats for Back to School that need coordinating scarves and mittens.  We invite you to take a hat and knit or crochet a scarf or pair of mittens to match.  Completed items may be dropped off at the church by mid-August.  Donated yarn may be found in the Fellowship Hall closet.  Invite a friend to help!

Brown Bag Lunch ‑ Tuesday and Thursday mornings June 14th ‑ August 25th at Salvation Army.  Contact Barb Thill at 904-5388 to volunteer.

Ruby’s Pantry ‑ Thursday, July 14th, at Grace Christian Church.  Call 923-5292 to volunteer.

“Pets Unleashed” Vacation Bible School ‑ August 19th and 20th.  As we prepare, we need some supplies, including two carpet tubes, several large cardboard boxes, and leftover paint.  Talk to Jen Koenigs if you have supplies you would be willing to donate, or if you would like to help.

Christian Education Update

Happy Spring!!  It is a beautiful spring day as I sit here writing this (almost summer weather) and I can’t help but think of how quickly the weather can change.  Just earlier in the week we were taking walks with heavy jackets, hats, and gloves, and now my children are running around in shorts and tank tops.  It reminds me of the way God works in our lives when we give it over to Him and have faith.  Just that quickly, we can feel a sense of peace and acceptance that is not found anywhere else.

With May comes the wrap-up of our Sunday School classes and Children’s Church until the fall.  This is not meant to discourage you from joining one of the classes offered, but to encourage you to come and see what you may be missing out on.  We are all learning so many things in our classes with more to learn every time we meet.  I have learned a lot from not only attending the adult class, but also from teaching our little ones every other month.  We would like everyone to feel comfortable in coming to Sunday School, so please let us know if there is another class you would like to see offered.

On a side note, summer is almost here, which also means that VBS will be upon us soon.  We are planning on having it in August again on a Friday night and Saturday afternoon, but still looking at dates.  If you would like to help out with this, please let me know as we will be having an information meeting coming soon.

Jen Koenigs

One Great Hour of Sharing: “Where you go I will go…”

By the grace of God, we are given the opportunity to share our gifts and resources with our brothers and sisters in need around the world. All of us have the power to give back to God from that which God has given us, creating a more just world for all of God’s children.  Through our gifts, we participate in many ministries that serve the hungry, the poor, the distressed, the refugee.

When faced with forced relocation due to famine and political strife, Ruth said to Naomi, “Where you go I will go…” (Ruth 1:16).  The solidarity at the heart of their story also stands at the heart of the ministries of One Great Hour of Sharing.

Like Ruth and Naomi, refugees today are confronted with dire situations in their homes, and are forced by the necessity of survival to leave their communities in order to seek safety and security.  The United Nations estimates over 60 million people across the world are refugees or displaced persons: higher than it has been since World War II and is expected to increase as violence continues in the Middle East and parts of Africa.

The One Great Hour of Sharing offering reaches across the globe: sometimes providing solidarity to those who have experienced loss due to disasters in our communities and congregations, and at other times it says tangibly “you are not forgotten” to our sisters and brothers on the other side of the world. Through our gifts, we can help ensure that all of God’s children have what they need. Together, we accompany the refugee and stand in solidarity with the distressed, bringing about the world as God intended.

Thank you for prayerfully considering your gift to OGHS.

Hadath Baptist Church Update

Exciting things are happening with our brothers and sisters at Hadath Baptist Church in Beirut, Lebanon ‑ including a new name: Resurrection Church Beirut!  Their ministry focus for 2016 is “Holy Families”, strengthening marriages and building up families.  200 Life Group leaders attended training to launch this ministry.

In January, the church rented space from a nearby school to have a joint worship service; the worship space at RCB’s building isn’t big enough to accommodate everyone at once.

The church continues to minister to refugees of the wars in Iraq and Syria.  One of the church members who has had an outreach ministry in Naba’a (a neighborhood in Beirut with a large number of refugees) has planted a church in the refugee community.  Lebanon, with a population of about 4.5 million, is hosting an estimated 1.2 million Syrian refugees, in addition to many Iraqi and Palestinian refugees, and has the highest number of refugees per capita in the world.  This places a tremendous strain on Lebanon’s infrastructure, which is still recovering from its own civil war and more recent war with Israel.  Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters at Resurrection Church Beirut as they reach out in Christ’s love to those in need around them.

To get regular updates about what is going on at RCB, follow them on Facebook by typing “Resurrection Church – RCB” in your search box and clicking “Like”.

The Beginning Years of Memorial Baptist Church

The first decade of Memorial Baptist Church saw a lot of changes.  The first meeting place was at the Labor Temple in Fond du Lac from May 8, 1955 to December 4, 1955.  The first home for the church was built on the corner of Western and Peters Avenues and was used from December 11, 1955, to March 30, 1958.  Groundbreaking for the new church building on the corner of Forest and Peters Avenue took place on October 6, 1957.  The new building was dedicated on October 5, 1958 and a new era began for the pioneers of Memorial Baptist Church.

It wasn’t just the location that changed.  Various pastors also came and went throughout the initial decade.  The first pastor, Reverend C.C. Cunningham, served from September 1955 to December 30, 1956.  He left saying that the church was now ready for full-time ministry.  Reverend C. Ivor Johnson served as interim pastor from January-March 1957, until Reverend John H. Ashley was hired.  Pastor Ashley served from May 5, 1957 to February 26, 1961.  Several interim pastors served until Reverend Carl Kingsley began on September 17, 1961.  He stayed until February 21, 1965 and then a number of guest pastors filled in until Reverend Owen Stuart was hired on May 1, 1966.  He stayed until July 1, 1973.

Members also came and went, due to moving out of town and other life changes, but through it all a fellowship of believers grew together and went about the business of doing church in the 1950’s and 1960’s.   Continue reading “The Beginning Years of Memorial Baptist Church”

America for Christ Offering

God’s desire for each of us is to become more like Christ.  We become more like Christ by first growing in our knowledge of Him.  The deeper our knowledge of Christ, the deeper our understanding of Him, and the more like Him we become.  Among other reasons, we are to know and understand Christ so that we will be secure in the faith.  The America for Christ Offering 2016 theme “Discipleship: Becoming More Like Christ” reminds us that, as American Baptists, we embody the love of our Lord in word and deed.

The Apostle Paul reiterates this truth in Ephesians 2:10: “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”  God is continuously working on us, bringing us up in maturity, shaping our hearts and growing our faith.  We see that pointed out in Samuel, who “continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with the people” (I Samuel 2:26).  And we hear it in the exhortation of Peter, who concluded, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).  In Hebrews 6:1 we read the command: “Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ.”

The America for Christ Offering 2016 reminds us that service is a way of life for Christ’s church.  Extending the hope, love and compassion of our Lord to our neighbors and communities is a powerful demonstration that we have been transformed.  We are reinvigorated by this year’s theme to come alongside people as they journey through life.  Please join in giving generously to this year’s America for Christ Offering 2016.  Thank you!

60 Steps of Faith

60 steps of faith 2.001What is a step of faith?  Whenever we make a specific response to a sense of God’s calling.

We do this all the time.  Our opportunity is to be intentional:

  • Listening for “God-nudges” calling us to act.
  • Looking for “God moments”, seeing God at work around us.
  • Stepping out in faith by responding to those nudges in those moments.

What could it look like?

  • Changing a pattern in our lives
  • Stepping outside our normal routine or comfort area (for a purpose!)
  • Taking time to get to know someone new God brings into our lives
  • A specific act of kindness or generosity to someone
  • Slowing down or saying no to something to spend more time on what is really important
  • Taking a risk in faith
  • Forgiving someone (maybe even ourselves!) as God has forgiven us
  • Looking for and acting on an opportunity to serve in some small or large way
  • Inviting someone to a mission, small group or worship experience at Memorial
  • Sharing a story of a time or specific way God made a difference in our lives
  • Choosing not to speak or act at a time when our response wouldn’t honor God
  • Inviting God to take control of a part of our lives we’ve held back
  • Giving or rededicating our lives to Christ
  • What does it look like for you?

Just One Step a Week – Try two on the first week of the month.  (Yes, we know that would mean 64 steps of faith… aim high!)

Share the Journey, Share Your Stories!  Using the “leaves” on the entryway table, write a word or sentence about the step of faith you took this past week, and place it in the offering plate or directly on our tree of faith in the front of the sanctuary.  Watch the visible sign of God’s life in us take root as the leaves fill our tree in the coming year!

How Memorial Baptist Church Began

“Baptist Group Organizes New Church in City: Site for Edifice Is Sought; 62 Members Sign Charter at Sabbath Meeting” reads the title and byline of the article from the Fond du Lac Reporter dated August 29, 1955.  In May of 1955, a group of members of the First Baptist Church of Fond du Lac, began a discussion to split off from First Baptist and start their own church due to disagreements with some of the church leadership.

During the summer of 1955, the group began exploring the process of how to start a new church. The New Baptist Church, as it was originally called, was officially incorporated on August 28, 1955, and the members signed the Charter for the new church.  A decision was later made to hold the Charter open until December for more members to sign.  In the end, approximately 124 people signed the Charter.  The name of the church was changed on September 22, 1955, to Memorial Baptist, which was to represent the memories of all those who went before in faith and so to encourage those in the future to continue in the faith.  Reverend C.C. Cunningham was hired as the new interim pastor.

On October 2, 1955, the ground-breaking for the new church building on the corner of Western and Peters Avenue took place. The church was designed to be an open-concept ranch style house.  Church members helped with the construction and provisions for the new church.  Founder’s Day, the official celebration of the beginning of Memorial Baptist Church, took place on December 11, 1955.  The church continued to grow and in May 1957, hired their first full-time pastor. Plans began for building a new, bigger church at our present location on the corner of Forest and Peters Avenue.

Thomas and Kathy Bonde, 60th Anniversary Planning Team

Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering

The roots of the Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering (RMMO) go back to the mid-1930s, when American Baptist congregations received a Communion Fellowship Offering on the first Sunday of each month to support retired ministers, missionaries, their widowed spouses, and elderly clergy within their churches.  In 1977 American Baptist Churches USA launched the RMMO to continue this time-honored tradition of expressing thankfulness.

This year’s RMMO theme is The Grace of Giving.  Through the simple yet profound act of giving, American Baptist churches can share in an act of grace that reminds the ministers, missionaries, and widowed spouses who served so faithfully, helped us grow in our faith, stood by us in the face of adversity, and rejoiced with us in moments of triumph, that they are remembered with love and gratitude.  It provides emergency assistance in times of need and a thank you check at the end of each year.

We pray that giving to RMMO will continue to serve as a joyous tradition for ABC congregations and that you will be greatly enriched this season by The Grace of Giving.  There can be no talk of grace without first speaking about God.  Even when it appears to come through human “hands,” grace always flows from God and God alone is able to manifest it in human experience.  The totality of God’s grace is found in the gift of Jesus Christ and his sacrificial act of love on the Cross — this is God’s grace in action giving to us what we could never give to ourselves.

Be blessed and be a blessing!  Thanks!

“But since you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8:7)