—to the Welcome Class and helpers for beautifully decorating the sanctuary for the Christmas season, to all who completed “What I Like Best about Christmas” tags and displayed them in the sanctuary, and to the three or four Friends who helped put away the decorations in early January;
—to the Friends and family members who provided around 25 beautiful memorial poinsettias in the sanctuary during Advent;
—to Stephen Hamilton, Deborah Lilly, and Kathy Simmons for telling the congregation on three December Sundays their personal Advent stories of Christ’s arrival into their lives, and placing ornaments on the parlor tree to symbolize what they said;
—to Brian Lilly, Mary Clark, second pianist Deborah Lilly, French horn accompanist Michele Lilly, the choir’s singers from Winchester and Rural Friends and other local churches, five scripture readers, and all who attended the Christmas Program on December 16 and enjoyed fellowship around Holiday Desserts (facilitated in the sanctuary parlor by the Christian Fellowship Committee) afterward;
—to the many Friends and others who donated to and helped conduct the Angel Tree project that provided Christmas gifts for around 200 area kids during December;
—to all who donated to and helped with the Community Christmas Basket project that provided significant extra food for 350 area families on December 22;
—to all who donated a total of $640 to the Christmas Envelope Offering for Missions, matched with $500 of Best Special Projects funds, to enable Winchester Friends to send $285 each to the local Gas Help Fund, the community food pantry, the wildfire victims’ relief fund at Chico (CA) Friends Meeting, and to Cuba Yearly Meeting’s fund for renovating the Wilmington Friends School at Puerto Padre.
Thank you, kind Friends!
Holiday Dinner Make-Up Date Not Yet Set
The 2018 Thanksgiving-Christmas church family feast was postponed in December due to the ongoing renovation of the meetinghouse dining hall and kitchen, with hopes of a Thanksgiving-Christmas-Mission Accomplished dinner celebration in January. The project is progressing steadily (see details below), but the date of completion is not yet clear enough to allow a celebration date to be set. Thank you for your patience while the work is completed!
Winchester Friends offers a preprinted, numbered offering envelope system (1) to enable the bookkeeper to provide year-end charitable contribution reports to Friends for income tax purposes; (2) to provide a measure of privacy in giving; and (3) to maintain an accountability system for those who handle the church’s offerings each week. For the first half of 2019, the treasurer has prepared “repurposed” envelope sets from previous years’ leftovers, rather than recycling them unused. Those January-June 2019 envelopes are now available at the church. If you don’t currently use envelopes but would like to start, please contact the church office to be assigned a numbered set.
Winchester Friends’ treasurer in early January has prepared annual charitable contribution summaries for individuals’ 2018 tax return purposes. They should be handed to you on a Sunday morning or mailed to you by mid-January. Please contact the church office (584-8276) if you have questions regarding your report, or if you have not received your expected report by January 27.
Friends donated a total of around $250 for tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and several other kinds of vegetables grown last summer in the Compassion Garden beside the church’s parking lot (and in several Friends’ home gardens as well). The proceeds will be sent in January to Heifer International for providing livestock to low-income families in developing countries. Thank you to everyone who shared or donated for produce this year!
At Christmas, Winchester Friends gave small monetary gifts of appreciation to sixteen Friends who regularly apply their skills, time, and energy to staff and nurture the Meeting’s administrative, musical, technical, instructional, and other ministries. Several have expressed their thanks to the Meeting for those gifts, and for the opportunity to serve the Lord tangibly through the work of their church. The pastors especially thank the many individual Friends who have shared such generous gifts with them this Christmas. None of the church’s work would be possible without the stewardship and commitment of the whole faith community towards the vision spelled out at the top of the page — “to make Christ known through meaningful worship, obedient witness, and sacrificial service….” Thank you for your kind gifts and your vital participation in the life of the Meeting!
—The United Society of Friends Women will meet at 1:30 PM on Wednesday January 16 in the church annex.
—In December, Winchester Friends’ USFW gave $750 to the Ohio Valley Gas Help Fund which matches donations to help area residents who struggle to afford adequate heat through the winter months. They also gave $750 to the Community Christmas Basket project that provided extra holiday food for 350 area families, and they spent $475 on gifts for 12 kids in the Angel Tree project that provided gifts for 200 area children. Another $250 was sent to White’s Residential & Family Services near Wabash to provide Christmas gifts for a cottage of kids.
—Friends are welcome in January and February to bring secondhand clothing, household and kitchen items, furniture, electronics, and other sale goods to the meetinghouse annex attic in preparation for the USFW’s Spring rummage sale, usually held sometime in March (depending this year on completion of the dining hall renovation). Proceeds from the rummage sale help to fund the USFW’s many outreach activities (like those listed above) throughout the year. For assistance in transporting your donations to the meetinghouse, please call the church office.
During December, significant progress was made towards the completion of the dining hall/kitchen project. Over many hours, Al Groth installed the vinyl tile floor covering throughout the whole space. Dave Longnecker upgraded and relocated wiring, outlets, and other electrical essentials to allow contractors Shane Hall and Jason Detro to begin replacing old paneling with drywall. Linda Campbell then taped and mudded that drywall in preparation for the upcoming application of paint to all the walls. New cupboards and cabinets are now being installed, with new countertops then to follow. Please continue watching for announcement of the painting party, and come help if you’re able. Thank you to all who have pitched in to help!
to the family members and friends of our Friend Kate Jessup, who died at Winchester’s SVR Hospital on December 14 at age 101.
The Monthly Meeting for Business held on December 9 approved a 2019 budget totaling $146,938, about $100 (.1%) higher than 2018’s budget. The new budget anticipates using $19,150 of existing reserves for college scholarships, trustees’ contingencies, conferences/trainings, and Christian education activities. The remaining $127,788 is to be raised through Friends’ contributions of tithes and offerings through the year (average $10,649 per month or $2457 per week). The 2019 budget includes approximately $85-90 per adult member to fund Friends United Meeting missions activities. Thanks to everyone for your faithful stewardship and for investing to release ministry into the world through Winchester Friends!
In three weeks of December 2018, the Pantry provided food to 302 Randolph County households. (The Pantry closed from December 21 through January 2.) For comparison, 363 households (1259 persons) were served in November 2018, and 320 a year ago in December 2017. The Pantry board thanks the many Friends who tangibly expressed God’s love in our community by generously giving time, effort, food, and money to help staff and resource the Pantry in 2018!
With assets bequeathed by deceased Friends Inez Howe, Mildred Fisher, and others, the Winchester Friends Scholarship Committee provides financial awards to help with the higher education expenses of members and active participants in the Meeting whose academic work is preparation for a life of ministry for Christ’s Kingdom, regardless of the field of study or future occupational intent.
The Scholarship Committee tailors awards to individual students based upon: their financial need; their demonstrated commitment to Christ, to the fellowship of the Meeting, and to serving others; and their understanding of education as preparation for a life lived fully for God. Copies of the Scholarship Fund policy are available from the church office. Students must reapply for each year they wish to be assisted. The Committee welcomes those applying for a Howe-Fisher scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year to obtain an application from the church office soon, complete it, and return it by March 1, 2019. It is important to submit your application on time, especially if your college has a matching funds program.
to grandmother Sheryl Fidler on the January 3 birth of grandson Kade Edward Fidler to parents Beth and Thor!
At their November meeting, the Missions & Social Concerns Committee had a lengthy discussion to discern God’s leading to a social concern upon which to concentrate in January to June 2019. Many (if not all) of the concerns mentioned are cultural “hot potatoes” at present. Committee members expressed some unease at dealing with a controversial topic, and at focusing on just one issue when there are so many crying for a careful spiritual response. One member suggested the group needed to go back a few years and ask the “jelly bracelet question” — What Would Jesus Do? (from Charles Sheldon’s In His Steps) — about each of the issues discussed. By the end of the meeting, the committee members agreed to read that book and ponder that question this winter, then revisit the social concern question starting in January’s meeting. Stay tuned……..
The following policy was adopted in 2007-2008 to help Friends understand how decisions regarding possible service cancellations will be made during Indiana’s unpredictable winter months:
2) In cases of lower-level (Orange or Yellow / Levels Two or One) travel restrictions, the decision to cancel services will be made (usually via phone consultation) by the Monthly Meeting Clerk, the M&O clerk, the pastors, and other clerks or Meeting officers available to be polled. They will try to make their decision early enough to prevent unnecessary travel, but late enough to allow an accurate assessment of what actual weather and road conditions will be at the time of the planned services.
3) Anytime the decision has been made to cancel services, Friends will be notified by a combination of e-mail, phone calls, and announcement on local radio stations (Winchester’s WZZY 98.3 and Indiana Public Radio). If you have not been notified of service changes by e-mail, phone, or radio announcement, you may assume that services will be held as usual. If in doubt, Friends are welcome to phone the church or parsonage for the latest information.
4) If services are held during inclement weather, every reasonable effort will be made to have the meetinghouse entryways, sidewalks, and parking lot in usable shape. The Meeting’s leaders assume that Friends will attend if possible, but that individuals will exercise good judgment as to whether they can safely travel to the church, and that they will exercise due caution while walking to and from the building. Those who are not confident of their footing and balance are encouraged to remain safe at home, praying with and for those who are gathering for worship.
for people struggling against substance abuse and addiction, and for the people working to help them
The Lord’s Table, Not Ellen’s
The very best “face time” is around an old maple table of mine that now sits in the dining room of the parsonage. That table began as a tree in a north woods and stood there far longer than it has been a table. I first saw it in a furniture store in Minot, North Dakota, in 1967. I was convinced that it should stand in a dining room on Tangley Rd at Minot AFB where Dale and I lived at the time. That was the last time it stood in a dining room in my home — it has always shared a spot in the living room with whatever other furniture had to be moved when it was needed as a table. Its drop-leaf feature allowed me to keep it in several homes through 30 years. (That same feature requires anyone sitting at this table to fight with its legs.) When Ron and Pam arrived in Winchester almost 20 years ago with a waterbed and little else, I quickly decided that the maple table had a new home. As you may have guessed, I have had a 50-year (and 50-pound) relationship with this table. It has been the bearer of many good meals and the center of many good conversations. But blessings even greater than those come from being face to face with people around this old table. On Wednesday evenings we gather around that table to pray for members of our Meeting, our community, and for many other concerns. And oh yes, we have Prayer Soup or Intercession Salad. There always seems to be room for more people around “Ellen’s Table.” Perhaps you should come and see.