SEPTEMBER 2016

A FAREWELL FROM PASTOR TERESA

Dear Family in Christ,
I attended my final Deacon’s meeting as Interim Pastor of FBC. In this meeting reality set in. So many future plans discussed. Assignments made for future Sundays. Plans made for events that
will take place in October and December. It was clear that it was time to let go and make space for another Pastor.

It was a bitter sweet moment. In two years I’ve come to know and love the folks as First Baptist Church. I have looked forward each Sunday to seeing the faithful gather. Together we have accomplished the difficult work of letting one Pastor move on and prepared the heart of the congregation to receive another Pastoral leader.

The Pulpit Committee has worked diligently and faithfully in their search for your next pastor. It was not an easy road, they faced many challenges and disappointments. In the end they found the individual I believe is called to lead FBC on the next phase of the journey. I am truly excited for you, and Pastor Jon. Thank you, so very much, for the love you have shown me. It was a
healing balm when I needed it most. As I continue to follow the path that unfolds before me you will always have a place in my heart.

May God’s blessings be with you now, and always!

Peace,
Pastor Teresa


GREETINGS FROM THE MINISTER'S DESK

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
- Isaiah 43:18-19

As I'm writing this, I am surrounded by the half-boxed remains of my office. Packing up always puts me in a reflective mood, as I try and decide what to take with me and what can easily be left behind. I'm sure you've all gone through some version of this: heading off to a new school, a new house, and new state, perhaps even a new country. This process asks us to consider some fundamental questions: is this important, and will I ever use this again? In a sense, we are trying to imagine what the future holds in store for us, how our lives will be and what challenges and joys await us.

I'm very excited to begin a new chapter with all of you at First Baptist, Freehold! For those of you who haven't yet had the chance to meet me, perhaps I should offer a brief introduction. I grew up in Connecticut, the son of an American Baptist minister. I hold a BA in Religion and Political Theory from Marlboro College, and an MTS from the Episcopal Divinity school. I've worked as both a pastor and a hospital chaplain, and found both experiences very satisfying. I've also traveled widely, visiting all the of the States (except Alaska, though that is pretty high on my to-do list) and 12 or 13 countries. One of the things that has always fascinated me is why people believe the things that they do, and how they let those beliefs change their loves. Traveling has helped show me the great diversity of ways people of all faiths (and none) have tried to live out their principles and beliefs.

Other than that, I spend as much time as I can outside: hiking, running, kayaking and sailing. I am looking forward to exploring the Freehold area, and discovering all that it has to offer. More than that, though, I am looking forward to getting to know all of you. During one of my conversations with the search committee one of the members said something to the effect of: “we're looking to grow as a church, but also to grow in faith as individuals.” I cannot wait to see the variety of ways in which we will help each other grow as children of God, and members of Christ's church.

I am so excited that you have called me to be your pastor, and I hope to see you all at Homecoming Sunday on September 11th. It will be a time of new beginnings, new friendships, and a chance to see all of the ways in which God is doing a new thing!

Blessings,
Pastor Jon

 

JUNE 2016

FROM THE MINISTER'S DESK

During the month of June, we will be receiving the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering. About the time you receive the Home Caller you will be receiving a letter about this year's offering. This article will share where our gifts made a difference in 2015.

When you take a global view of our world, natural disasters occur every week. If you include disasters of human origin – especially in the past year – the opportunity to respond to people in need is even more frequent. The larger disasters are captured by our news media, and word of these tragedies is brought into our homes. It is difficult to imagine the suffering of those whose lives are forever changed. But many needs of our world – remain uncovered by our news media. However, with our extensive network of international and domestic partners, American Baptists are able to make a difference wherever and whenever disaster strikes.

2015 was a year punctuated by many man-made disasters – think Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Nigeria and South Sudan. These situations have uprooted millions of people. In fact, according to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), at the end of 2014 there were over 60 million people who were refugees, displaced in their own country or seeking asylum. That's the highest number since the end of World War II! Yes, your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing brought relief in many of these situations. Here is where your gifts made a difference in 2015.
 

Around the World: Situations Calling for Response

Burundi Landslide Relief
El Salvador Flood Relief
Republic of Georgia – Flood Relief
Hungary – Refugee Relief
India – Flood Relief
Island of Dominica – Flood Relief
Lebanon – Refugee Relief
Mozambique – Refugee Relief & Cyclone Relief
Nepal – Earthquake Relief
Nicaragua – Drought Relief
Serbia – Refugee Relief
South Sudan – Civil War Relief
Thailand – Earthquake Relief
Ukraine – Civil Conflict Relief
Vanuatu Islands – Cyclone Relief
 

Here at Home: Situations Calling for Response

California – Fire Relief, New Vintage Church, Santa Rosa
Massachusetts – Winter Storm Relief, First Baptist Church, Plymouth
Massachusetts – Building Repair, Oceanwood Camp
Massachusetts – Fire Relief, Grotonwood
Michigan – Roof Repairs, University Baptist Church, East Lansing
Nebraska – Vandalization Relief, First Baptist Church, Hastings
New York – Flood Relief
Pennsylvania – Disaster Preparedness, Pughtown Baptist Church
Washington – Flood & Mudslide Relief, First Baptist Church, Hoquiam
Wisconsin – Storm Relief, Milwaukee Christian Center
Wyoming – Flood Relief, Lusk
 

Pastor Teresa

MAY 2016

FROM THE MINISTER'S DESK

One Great Hour of Sharing

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
– The Rev.Martin Luther King, Jr.

This offering began sixty-seven years ago in response to the devastation of World War II. In March 1949, a national broadcast on a Saturday evening asked Americans to give generously the next morning to their churches. A remarkable assembly of national leaders and celebrities gave their efforts to the broadcast, and more than 75,000 churches responded the next day.

Today, One Great Hour of Sharing serves people in over 80 countries around the world. Sponsored by nine Christian U.S. denominations and Church World Service, One Great Hour of Sharing makes sure we can respond to needs as soon as they happen and that tens of thousands of people receive support for ongoing relief, rehabilitation and development.

The World Relief Committee of the American Baptist Board of General Ministries reviews each development request for funding from the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering received from American Baptists. Gifts reach the ministries and people in need through a network of regional and international partnerships with the following:

  • American Baptist Foreign Mission Society
  • American Baptist Home Mission Societies
  • Baptist World Aid – the compassionate arm of the Baptist World Alliance, supporting three areas of ministry: relief, development and support of national partners.
  • Church World Service – Founded in 1946, Church World Service is a relief development and refugee assistance ministry supported by 36 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations in the United States. Working in partnership with indigenous organizations in more than 80 countries, CWS works to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world.

Here at First Baptist Church of Freehold we will begin collecting this offering in June. In preparation for that collection, information will be shared about the many places and peoples who have been helped through One Great Hour of Sharing gifts. Giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering is one way each of us can answer the question, "What are you doing for others?"

Peace,
Pastor Teresa
 

 

APRIL 2016

FROM THE MINISTER'S DESK

In the 13th chapter of John's gospel Jesus shares these words with his disciples:

"Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will Look for me; and as I said to the Jews, so I now say to you. 'Where I am going you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Jesus knew his time on earth was coming to an end. He understood how painful the following days would be for his followers. He knew their hearts would break, they would be afraid, I supposed he even knew they would run and hide. In these final moments of clam before the storm he gives them a new commandment, "As I have loved you, you also should love one another."

His actions that evening, humbly washing each of their dusty, dirty feet showed them the kind of love he meant. Love ground in service. Love overflowing with humility. Love that saw the needs of the other.

Over the course of the next several days Jesus continued to show how he loved them, and us. He was willing to put it all on the line. What Jesus did wasn't just for those he liked, those who were 'good enough', those who managed to keep the law, or those who hadn't sinned. God's love, shown through Jesus on the cross, is for everyone.

And that's the kind of love we are to have for one another. That's how everyone will know that we are his disciples, through love that is marked.

If the layers are peeled away and the initial warm welcome has passed, is this the kind of love people will see in us? Will they see people who love God? Will they see people who are willing to sacrifice for others? Will they see people who are willing to forgive others?

In the afterglow of Easter let us not forget that we have a high calling to live and love as Jesus showed us. We are the body of Christ, we have chosen to follow the way of the Cross, and that means we have chosen to love one another. May that be what everyone sees when they encounter the folks of First Baptist Church!

Pastor Teresa

March 2016

FROM THE MINISTER'S DESK

Every day is Easter

When Thomas touched the wounds
and set himself free,
it was Easter day.

When Peter's three "yes's" to Jesus
finished his three denials,
it was Easter day.

When Mary ready to embalm the dead
ran in fear from the empty tomb,
it was Easter day.

When the disciples looked from afar
at a breakfast of fish on the beach,
it was Easter day.

When Emmaus became synonymous with welcome
and the breaking of bread with strangers,
it was Easter day.

When Paul was blinded by the light
and recognized the voice niggling in his head,
it was Easter day.

When the hungry are fed at the table,
the same table as the rich,
it is Easter day.

When weapons are beaten to ploughshares
and peace is a word to be shouted,
it is Easter day.

When the stranger is welcomed in community
and the lonely are restored to relationship,
it is Easter day…

Written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Mucky Paws.