The One Dollar Bill

Take out a one dollar bill and look at it. The one dollar bill you’re looking at first came off the presses in 1957 in its present design. This so-called “paper” money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with red and blue minute silk fibers running through it.

Our first President George Washington is on the front of the bill along with the United States Treasury Seal. On the top of the seal, we see the balanced scales representing justice and equality among all our citizens; in the center is a chevron with 13 stars representing the 13 original colonies; underneath is a key used as a symbol of authority.

dollarbillAs we turn the bill over, we see two circles. Both circles, together, comprise the Great Seal of the United States.

If we look at the left-hand circle, we see a pyramid. Notice the face is lighted and the western side is dark. This symbolizes that our country was “just beginning”: we had just begun to explore the West and we did not yet know what we could do for western civilization.

The pyramid is uncapped, signifying that the work of our nation is not finished. Above, in a capstone not yet in place, we have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity. It was Benjamin Franklin’s belief that one man couldn’t do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything.

The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means, “It (The Eye of Providence) has favored our undertakings”. The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means, “A New Order for the Ages”.

At the base of the pyramid is the Roman numeral MDCCLXXVI, 1776, the year our independence was declared.

“IN GOD WE TRUST” is centered above the ONE dollar denomination of this bill, ever reminding us of the “ONENESS”, the UNITY of all mankind under GOD.

If we look at the right-hand circle, we see the Great Seal of the United States, which adorns every Federal Office Building and National Cemetery in the United States.

Prior to 1945, modified with the Eagle looking to its left toward the arrows, it was the seal of the President of the United States, as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. Since President Harry Truman ordered this change in 1945, the Eagle always looks to the right toward the olive branch. The presidential seal is always visible whenever he speaks, yet very few people know what the symbols mean.

The Founding Fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the American Bald Eagle as the emblem of the nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America. Secondly, he wears no material crown – we had just broken from the King of England and all ties to any form of “nobility”. Also, notice the shield is unsupported – this country now stands on its own.

At the top of the shield (in the full-color version of the Seal), we have a blue field which represents Congress, a unifying factor. The colors are taken from the American flag and officially:

  • the red represents hardiness and valor
  • the white represents purity and innocence
  • the blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice

On the ribbon in the Eagle’s beak we read, “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” meaning, “Out of Many, One”. We see that the eagle holds an olive branch in its right talon and a cluster of arrows in its left. The official meaning is that the olive branch and the arrows “denote the power of peace and of war.”

Above the Eagle, we see thirteen stars, representing the thirteen original colonies. Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch, symbolizing peace, and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows.

Some say that the number 13 is an unlucky number, but think about this:

  • 13 original colonies joined in signing the Declaration of Independence
  • 13 stripes on our flag
  • 13 tiers on the pyramid
  • 13 letters in the Latin ANNUIT COEPTIS
  • 13 letters in E PLURIBUS UNUM
  • 13 stars above the Eagle
  • 13 bars on the shield
  • 13 leaves on the olive branch
  • 13 olive fruits
  • 13 arrows.

All in one dollar bill.

One Great Hour of Sharing 2015

pcusa_special_offeringsAround the world, people lack access to food, clean water, sanitation, education, and opportunity.  Each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) serves to help change the lives of people who are in these challenging situations.  The Offering provides us a way to share God’s love with our neighbors in need.  One Great Hour of Sharing, received in the season of Lent, makes a difference in the world through three impactful programs:

  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
  • Presbyterian Hunger Program
  • Self-Development of People.

Started in 1949, One Great Hour of Sharing is a long-standing ecumenical effort aimed at raising the funds necessary to provide relief and reconstruction for communities in the aftermath of disaster.  What started as an hour-long radio appeal has evolved over the years, varying from eight to 29 participating communions, and has grown to be the most participated-in Offering in the PC(USA).  Today, projects supported by One Great Hour of Sharing are underway in more than 100 countries.

deaconsThe three programs supported by OGHS – Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People – all work in different ways to serve individuals and communities in need.  From initial disaster response to ongoing community development, their work fits together to provide people with safety, sustenance, and hope.

Ambitious goals have been set, with the ultimate aim of making a more significant difference in the world.  For One Great Hour of Sharing, the goal is to raise $13 million annually by the year 2020 – double what was raised in 2013.  Through the collective power of Presbyterians, joined together in mission, we can get there.  And the journey starts now.

Please visit the PC(USA) One Great Hour of Sharing web site for more information and resources.

This year’s Minutes for Mission:

Minute for Mission #1 – Community of the Beloved
The Community of the Beloved helps those struggling with food insecurity in Asheville, North Carolina.
http://www.pcusa.org/get/resources/resource/34319/

Minute for Mission #2 – New Orleans Delta
Projects in New Orleans prove that we can do more when we work together – just ask the partnership of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Presbyterian Hunger Program and Self-Development of People. This minute for mission highlights the work these ministry areas are doing together in New Orleans, Louisiana.
http://www.pcusa.org/get/resources/resource/34318/

Minute for Mission #3 – Survivor Art Camp
Self-Development of People and Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind are learning the value of working together to “see” a much brighter future.
http://www.pcusa.org/get/resources/resource/34321/

Minute for Mission #4 – The Waters of Hope
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance partners with water projects to bring a community together after disastrous drought.
http://www.pcusa.org/get/resources/resource/34320/

We Got Stuff!

You might know everything YOUR church offers … but we wanted to make sure because there are a lot of things to learn, participate in and live by in our church!

sunday_schoolTo start off each week, why not come to Sunday School? We offer a class for every age, so take a moment to find out what class would best suit your needs and join in. Sometimes, complacency keeps all of us from being the follower that Jesus asks of each and every person.

Worship service can complete your morning: feed your mind, spirit and sometimes … even your belly as we fellowship with one another.

calendarCheck out the calendar for other activities which might appeal to you and your family. This includes mission work, community service and opportunities for your talents that God as so freely given to all of us.

We also offer counseling and personal support services; call or make an appointment to meet Pastor Mark at the office or in your home. Session members would also be glad to talk or visit with you. You may contact the Clerk of Session for Session members’ names and telephone numbers.

socialmediaCheck out our Facebook Page! And don’t forget that we also use other social networks such as Instagram, WordPress and Twitter too. We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about we can improve the sites and we’d strongly encourage you to share your thoughts, photos and news with us. After all, this is YOUR church and our social media aims to serve YOU.

Don’t forget our stocked library – but pardon the clutter which we hope to soon straighten – and check out some of our books. We have other resources in Fellowship Hall display for many community programs and cancer support/education.

environmentalPerhaps you’ve been hoping to be more environmentally friendly – you can purchase a cloth shopping bag ($10) and support the PW projects.

There are magnifying pages to help your reading: use them during church or take them home if you’d like.

2015 may bring unexpected changes for many of us. Being part of our caring church family and using the gifts available all around us will hopefully be your best Blessing of the New Year.

Pastor’s Thoughts: Arise! Shine! Your Light Has Come!

pastors_thoughts“Arise! Shine! Your light has come!” was the cry of the prophet Isaiah to a people who had lost their sense of purpose.

These were a people in exile in a distant land with strange customs and they were far from the land of their fathers. Then comes Isaiah’s revelation, a revelation to let his people know that they had not been abandoned, that the Lord had not forgotten them, and that the people who lived in slavery would once again be restored

The fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy would find its complete expression in the coming of the Christ. In him, the Wise men discover the lasting light of eternal hope in all its brightness. The revelation of Jesus to those seeking Gentiles is the epiphany of the waiting world struggling in the darkness – Arise! Shine! Your light has come!

There is a darkness that consumes many people and many areas of our world today and cries from many hearts can be heard everywhere. The darkness of our times, like that of ages past gathers a foothold in the sins of greed, lust, power, an abandonment of the faith and a host of others. Even while the physical suns rises and sets each day, in many areas the light of God’s Son has dimmed and in some place gone totally out.

Like the Israelites of long ago, people of this day stagger through a frightening darkness that suffocates our lives. In Isaiah 21:11 we hear “Watchman, what is left of the night” and with people long ago we look for the dawn of hope. In that other time, the watchman on the wall turned his eyes to the east and cried out that the night was passing and that the dawn was rising. Surely it would reveal a new day.

Who are the watchmen of our time? Who is shouting into the darkness of our day to Arise and Shine? Who are the bearers of the good news who declare that the Son of Righteousness has risen?

Are not we, who are the followers of Jesus, the watchmen, the modern disciples and the bearers of the good news? And, since we are the disciples, how do we make this good news known to our darkened world?

It must begin with we who are believers in Christ recognizing that we are not the source of the light that scatters the darkness of sin, but we are called to reflect the light which is generated by the Christ who is the light of the world. Each of us must be brave enough to reflect Christ’s light and join with others so that together we reflect the glory of God.

Just as an outdoor light draws the attention of night insects, so the light shining into the dark night of someone’s life draws that person’s attention and presence. That is especially true if, at the source of the light, the person finds comfort and acceptance, healing and love.

If you and I make a resolution this year to reach out to others in need, no matter how small or great, we will send out a light that will attract them to the light of the world.

Arise! Shine! Your light has come and the glory of the Lord has shined upon you! Now let us go and be someone’s epiphany today!

Pastor Mark

New Year’s Resolutions

resolutionsA New Year’s resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to one or more lasting personal goals, projects or the reforming of a habit.

However, it can be difficult to find USEFUL information that might help you actually achieve your resolution.

A good resource on many different topics is the US government’s web site – visit USA.gov and then type in “New Year’s Resolutions” in the search bar.

This website (supported by your taxes) is a credible site for information on health, disaster preparedness, grants, governmental programs and officials.

They also list the most popular resolutions and any agencies and support groups that will be useful.

The following are the most popular resolutions. Click on the links to check out helpful information from USA.gov:

Operation Christmas Child

operation_christmas_childThe children’s Sunday School and the Christian Education committee are collecting donations for Operation Christmas Child throughout the year.

The donation box will be in the Friendship Hall and we will be collecting a different item each month:

  • January: toothbrushes
  • February: toothpaste
  • March: washcloths
  • April: bars of mild soap
  • May: combs
  • June: paperback books
  • July: pens and pencils
  • August: crayons and markers
  • September: small stuffed animals and dolls
  • October: small cars and trucks

In November, the boxes will be shipped to children all over the world.

2015 Church Envelopes

envelopeYour 2015 church envelopes are on the table in Friendship Hall and ready for your pick-up.

PLEASE destroy all old/unused envelopes; in many cases you will have a new number which will be used in the computer for recording of your contributions.

Please read the instruction sheet enclosed in the box. This discusses the Initial Offering and Per Capita envelopes which are also enclosed.

Remember too that we are a connectional church and part of the larger body of the Presbyterian Church USA. We are encouraged to support the mission of the church through our per capita apportionment. Please assist our Church both local and national in fulfilling her obligation.

If you do not find a box with your name, please contact the church office.

Are We Ready For Christmas?

Are you ready for Christmas? That’s a question you will probably be asked a hundred times from now until Christmas Eve. I think it’s a good question. We, as members of a Christian community can take it in its purest sense: “Are we ready for the coming of Christ?”

After all, Christ’s coming is at the center of our celebration, and Christ’s coming is the determining factor in how we live our lives, not only his first coming which we celebrate yearly, but his second coming.

That is Peter’s message in 2 Peter 3:8-15, and in these verses he makes three observations about Christ’s coming that will ready US for the Advent season.

God’s watch keeps a different time. God doesn’t operate according to our time. God made time and stands outside it. That’s why a thousand years is as one day and one day is as a thousand years.

Our children used to ask, and now our grandchildren ask, “How long ’til Christmas?” I remember, as a child, it seemed like a thousand years between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But God works according to His watch, not ours! When Jesus arrived in a stable, the timing caught many people who were looking for the Messiah off guard. In believing, the first thing that we must remember is that God’s time is not our time! God made time and stands outside of it. That is why we are told “a thousand years is as a day and a day is as a thousand years”.

pastors_thoughts

“How long till Christmas?” When Jesus arrived in a stable, the timing even caught those looking for the Messiah off guard. If Jesus had arrived when the Sennacherib had surrounded Jerusalem or when Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city and the people cried for a deliverer, God’s timing might be more easily understood.

But God runs on a different time. The advent of Jesus occurred at the precise time God decided, because God’s watch keeps the best time of all. His second coming will be according to that same timing, Not when we expect it, or when we think it is appropriate, but when God’s watch signals the hour, Jesus will come again.

Many of us, myself included, want Christmas to hurry up, we all know that officially, at least, it will not be here until December 25. Our tendency is impatience. From government bureaucracy to church committees, from the checkout line at Sam’s Club to the traffic on 28, we are an impatient people.

But God is a God of patience. Many people would like to see Christ’s second coming today. God waits, giving us the opportunity to respond to his love. Even in the life of Jesus’ life, God displayed patience. He allowed Jesus to be born as a baby, and waited thirty years for him to become the man we know as Christ.

Peter warns us that the second coming will catch many people off guard, “like a thief in the night”. Over the next weeks we will sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” but when he comes his arrival will still be unexpected.

As we ready for the calendar to signal the beginning of Advent on November 30th, transforming our Sanctuary and church with the trees, flowers and decorations of the year, gathering around the Table of the Lord to welcome the presence of Jesus into our lives and hear the question again and again “are you ready for Christmas?”

Take that question to a fuller meaning and let us ask ourselves “are we ready for the coming of Christ?”

Blessings,

Mark

Friendly Fellowship News

Another great year was concluded with a Christmas Dinner at Cabin Green’s on Saturday November 22nd. Nineteen members and friends were in attendance. We reminisced about Christmas past, plans for the upcoming season as well as the ongoing jockeying of the Trivial Pursuit girls vs boys monthly games.

We look forward to more fellowship in 2015 and our service to Him.

We usually meet the on last Saturday evening of the month at 6:00pm for a Tureen Dinner, fun and games. Please consider joining us. All are welcome, where “fun” knows no age-limit!

Year End Reports

ATTENTION: Treasurers and Secretaries of All Church Organizations!  

It’s that time of the year again when we begin to think of Year End Reports. Please begin to prepare and balance all your records for the 2014 year. 

Secretaries can submit their written report by email (or hard-copy) to the church office by January 11th.

Please mark your email appropriately for the Year End Report.