Minutes of MVFCC General Board Meeting of December 9, 2018

Attendees: Marcie Labo, Wilma Reeves, Kerri Serna, Beverly Madlung,  Jeanne Frank and Nona Carter The meeting was called to order by Moderator Marcie Labo at 11:42 a.m. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as written. No Pastor’s or Worship reports. Diaconate Report: Wilma reported that we have lost four members which will mean the existing members will need to serve more often. Elders Report: The Elders will hold their annual dinner on January 17, 2019. Financial Secretary’s Report: Written report presented - no changes. Treasurer’s Report: Written report received - positive balance. Outreach Report: We are currently collecting Christmas gifts for three families from Lincoln Elementary.
Jeanne needs to know how much each member spent. Old Business: We are still waiting for a permit and an appointment date for resolution of the gas/furnace issue. A slate of candidates for Board positions has been prepared and will be presented for voting at the Congregational Meeting scheduled for December 16, 2018. New Business: We received a letter from Circle of Hope requesting reconsideration of our proposed notice to have them vacate. After some discussion, the Board agreed to renew the Covenant agreement with them. It will include the additional contributions they proposed, which are acceptable to MVFCC. After months of efforts to resolve the inability to pay by the Marshallese Church, the Board agreed that it is time to terminate the Covenant Agreement. It was moved by Kerri and seconded by Jeanne that the Agreement be terminated effective January 13, 2019. The motion carried. Marcie will write and deliver the letter to Ben Bress. Debbie is preparing the proposed budget for 2019. It will be presented to the congregation on January 20, 2019. The Board approved the giving of Christmas gifts to Rita, Iris and the Colemans. Our next meeting will be held on January 13, 2019. We adjourned with a prayer by Marcie at 12:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted by Nona Carter

Minutes of MVFCC Congregational Meeting of December 16, 2018
The meeting was called to order by Moderator Marcie Labo. The primary purpose of the meeting was to conduct the election of General Board Officers for 2019 and to approve the slate of Volunteer Positions.  Due to the small membership of the congregation, all current members of the Board agreed to remain in their positions.  Also, the chairpersons of the volunteer positions agreed to serve another term.  Diaconate members Ardys Adams, Cece Henderson and Ted Henderson will no longer serve and Lady Seilheimer was added to the list. Jeanne Frank offered a motion to approve the slate of candidates; the motion was seconded by Larry Labo.  The motion carried.  A copy of the slate of candidates will be attached to the file copy of the minutes. Marcie also mentioned that a schedule for sharing the pastoral duties between the Millers and Steve Coleman has been developed.  Details of the agreement will be shared with the congregation at the meeting that will be held January 20, 2018.  Jeanne Frank thanked all who participated in the gift giving to the families from Lincoln Elementary.  She reminded everyone of the need for them to let her know how much was spent.

 The meeting was adjourned. Respectfully submitted by Nona Carter

Check the bulletin board for updated information about our congregation and the Disciples of Christ organization.

What's Happening at MVFCC:


Long before Starbucks offered 80,000 different ways to order a beverage, Burger King urged us to “have it your way.” The primary product in a consumer culture is choice. And the primary question it invites consumers to ask is “What’s in it for me?” But is there any place for that sort of question in the church? The church prides itself on being a self-sacrificing body, modeled on Christ’s self-giving love. “What’s in it for me?” runs counter to everything we believe in. Or does it? I’d like to suggest that there is a secret value in urging people to ask us that question. And a not-so-secret value in the church answering it. After all, Jesus did. Jesus gave people a reason to follow him, answering the inherent question: What’s in it for me? He met people’s deepest needs through his hands on healing. When calling disciples, he said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men and women!” Notice he didn’t say, “Follow me so I can use you to take care of my business.” He put it in their language and answered from their perspective. I was often unnerved, as a pastor, when someone wanted to do or be something that we didn’t already have a place for in the church. How could I fit them into our structure? How could I keep the church running? How could we get our needs met if they wouldn’t do what we needed? After all, we had trustees and church council to fill; we needed people to collect and count the offering; we needed Sunday school teachers; we had to find people to do missions, outreach and participate in Bible study. I started with what the church needed, not what they needed or wanted to give. I started with what’s in it for us, not what’s in it for them. Turns out that’s not a recipe for longevity or sustainability. It’s not what engages most people. Yes, slots got filled, gifts were matched with needs and the church functioned fairly well for years. But not everyone who came stayed. We were left with what we started with: structures to be filled. But those structures aren’t necessarily designed to answer people’s deepest needs, fulfill their dreams, or empower them in the journey to be fully human. Now I would want people to ask me, “What’s in it for me?” It’s an honest question that deserves an honest answer. The secret value in their posing the question is they might actually find their own unique reason for being part of the church. They might find their answer for being connected to Christ. The not so secret value in our answering it is we get to check if we are actually serving people or asking them to serve us. In other words, if we are there to help them fulfill their lives, or just our structures.

Winter Solstice

O God, you give the winter’s cold,
as well as summer’s joyous rays.
You warmly in your  love enfold,
and keep us through life’s wintry days.
—Samuel Longfellow

"A Caring, Welcoming Community of Faith"

The Mount Vernon First Christian Church gathers together as a community of faith, declaring Jesus our Christ, the one who reconciles us with God and with each other. We provide a place of traditional worship in a forthright, supportive, and open atmosphere. We are a congregation committed to serving local and global outreach ministries. 


A prayer for new beginnings
In his book Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth, Walter Brueggemann writes in an Epiphany poem:
... this is a time to be born.
So we turn to you, God of our life
God of all our years,
God of our beginning....
We dare pray that you will do for us
and among us and through us
what is needful for our newness.
Give us the power to be receptive,
to take the newness you give ....
There is a time to be born, and it is now.    
We sense the pangs and groans of your newness.
Come here now in the name of Jesus. Amen.
How fitting that the Epiphany season and the new year coincide! Epiphany reveals a new King, the beginning of his ministry, his new disciples, his first healings, his “new teaching — with authority” (Mark 1:27). We, too, experience newness, now and year-round. But newness can be tough. So we trust that God, who “makes all things new” while banishing “mourning and crying and pain”  walks with us in this new year — and always.

News From the Pews                                                    Happy New Year to all our friends and neighbors, far and near. We thank everyone for sharing their time and talents with our community of faith in 2018, and we look forward to another great year at MVFCC.  There will be some changes in our Pastor care this year. Steve and Lela Coleman will serve the congregation for six months of the year, and Revs Jack & Liz Miller will be our Associate Pastors for the other six months. Please be patient as we work through the scheduling challenges. Be assured that we will have wonderful Pastor care the whole year long, and wonderful sermons each Sunday.  Join us on Sunday, January 6, for the dedication of our newest little ones: Wren Morgan and Gracie Hankins. We welcome them into our church family and look forward to watching them grow.  Thank you to everyone who purchased Christmas gifts for Lincoln families. They were so grateful for our thoughtful generosity.   This is the last year Lincoln will house students, and we have enjoyed our long-term relationship with them.   Our building has experienced some heating problems and Larry Labo has worked hard to get everything repaired and operating at full speed again. A new gas regulator will be installed on the alley side to help the flow of natural gas to all the furnaces. If you would like to contribute to the costs involved, please designate your donation during offering on Sunday.    Thank you to everyone who helped make this Christmas season a truly blessed event.  Without your continued support, both financial and spiritual, we could not continue to serve our community and region.  May you all have a wonderful new year, filled with promise and peace.  

Look who Santa greeted at the store in December:


Mount Vernon First Christian Church - Disciples of Christ