March 2016 Edition
Newsletter of the Pine Hill
Reverend Dr. Charles A. Packer
4160 Middlebelt Rd., West Bloomfield, MI 48323
www.pinehillchurch.org firstname.lastname@example.org 248.626.2737
“Diverse people, united by the Spirit of Christ,
now worshipping and serving together
to offer ourselves to God, each other and the world.”
Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday this past month, and, following the suggestion of one among the congregation, we acknowledged the event by recognizing couples in the church, asking them to disclose the longevity of their marriage, if they were willing. There were some impressive numbers mentioned! Of course, behind each of these unions of varying durations were stories that we could not hear due to the limits of time. But we know that as life is a journey, so surely is marriage and those who stood and shared most clearly had been on amazing journeys together.
Of course, Valentine’s Day also sparks images of myth and legend. One of the earliest inspirations for what Valentine’s Day (beyond celebrating Saint Valentine himself on his feast day, which is in itself an interesting account) is the myth of Cupid and Psyche from Roman tradition. The story takes up about one-fifth of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses and recounts the various trials and tribulations of the fair maiden Psyche and her suitor, the son of Venus, Cupid. In the course of the tale, Psyche ends up, as a result of her initial distrust of Cupid, going on a lengthy journey to unite with him. She endures the wrathful jealousy of Venus and even makes a descent into the underworld where she comes close to the powers of death. Eventually, she and Cupid reunite and are married with many among the gods and goddesses of Rome attending. It is a great triumph of this unlikely pair. The myth has inspired many subsequent reflections, one most notably being the Christian author C. S. Lewis, who presented a re-telling of the story in Till We Have Faces.
While most of us have probably not experienced what Psyche went through to hold on to her great love, many of us have, married or not, endured certain challenges, personal doubts, and losses in the course of the living of our lives. We have had to, to a certain extent, determine what was most important to us and cling to it with faith and hope even in the most dire of circumstances. When we have been tempted to give up and let go, we have struggled to stay firm and keep going.
There are many good reasons to let go of certain things in our lives. But there are also things that God continues to keep before us that beg us to not let go. Lent is that time to figure out what it is that is most important to us and to believe that God will be with us as we pursue these things. Lent gives us the chance to choose what is most vital to our spiritual and personal well-being and to take the opportunity to be led by God in making these our reality.
In Jesus’ parable of the fruitless fig tree in Luke 13:1-9, when the landowner wants to chop down the tree immediately, his gardener implores him to “give it another year” to bear some fruit, to let him get in there and work on cultivating the soil and on giving it nourishment and nurture to fulfill its purpose. Lent is that period of bringing a halt for our need for immediate results that do not get us to our ultimate goal—union with our Lord and with one another. It is that time to let faith and hope bring us through all of the trials and tribulations to have that wonderful experience of re-union at the empty tomb.
Taking the chance on faith with you this Lent,
Rev. Dr. Charles Packer
As I write this Pine Log the weather outside is sunny, windy and 57°, and it’s still February! I think God is giving us a sneak peak at what is to come. Spring will be here before we know it and a time to rejoice!
The committees and boards at Pine Hill continue to be busy as usual. The Deacons now have a new Chairperson, Sue Schreiber, and they are busy planning for all the Lenten Services, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Easter. The Trustees are now figuring out their new budget and find ways to cut costs and make some money. Cindi Hopkins started a new campaign that she would match any donations of bottle returns up to $500. We need more initiatives like this one. The Outreach and Welcoming Committee are working on ways to welcome new visitors and guests and find ways to reach out to the community. The Benevolence Committee met recently and has developed several new initiatives to help those in need. Lauren Fuller has been busy preparing special music for Palm Sunday. I’m sure all the other boards, committees and groups are busy as usual. Pine Hill is always a busy place!
Easter will be upon us before we know it. Easter is a time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Pine Hill Moderator
As the Lenten season reaches its mid-point in the first week of March, Pine Hill Congregational Church will open its doors to Christian communities of West Bloomfield to enjoy soup, bread, fellowship, and worship.
The words of the great Reformer of the Church, Martin Luther, on being transformed to a closer likeness to Christ because Christ transformed himself into something other than what he was for us, will be read, giving all the chance to become re-created in these forty days.
These Soup Suppers take place at 6:30 pm on Wednesdays during Lent, and the remaining three are as follows:
March 2, 2016 Pine Hill Congregational Church
March 9, 2016 Spirit of Grace Church, Figa Avenue
March 16, 2016 Orchard Lake Community Church (Presbyterian)
You may see Rev. Packer for more information.
Meet our Newest Member
As a pastor, it is a joy to welcome new members into the life of a church community. However, it is a rarity—probably less than 8%--that any of these new members were ever Congregationalist before coming into a Congregational church. Andy Matyus is one such individual.
Born in the small town of Geneva, Ohio, located between Cleveland, Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania, Andy was baptized in the local Congregational church in 1947. A community of around 4,000 people, Geneva has been noted for its Concord grapes grown for jelly and juice. Andy’s parents did move around a bit during his early years. They went first to Tempe, Arizona, where his father had a job with an aircraft manufacturer. Surely Tempe was a bit larger than what he experienced in Geneva. They then moved to San Diego, California—larger still.
Eventually, though, the family returned to Geneva because they enjoyed green in the seasons rather than “California dry mud and occasional wild fires.” Andy went to a small school and then moved along as three high schools merged, graduating from Geneva High School in 1965. He started dating a young woman named Sharon in 1966. They lived fairly close to each other and had known each other through school.
The years 1969-1971 represented an exciting period of Andy’s life, full of activity, accomplishment, and blessing. Following his graduation from high school, Andy had enrolled in what he describes as the “finest university in all of Ohio,” Case Western Reserve University. In 1969, he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree (BBA) from that institution. He then attended the best school in all of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, and received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from there in 1970, just one week before marrying Sharon!
After dating for four years, they were married in the small United Church of Geneva, which was the merger of Congregational and Baptist churches. They moved to the Cleveland, Ohio, area, where after returning from their honeymoon he started in his first job with an accounting firm, Lybrand Ross Brothers and Montgomery, which subsequently became Coopers and Lybrand and is now Price Waterhouse Coopers.
The accomplishments continued and Andy was granted his Ohio Certified Public Accounting Certificate (CPA) in 1971. He stayed with the accounting firm for nearly six years and then became an internal auditor for a company in Cleveland, living in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, and then Hudson, Ohio, until late 1977.
At that point, a new opportunity opened for Andy and Sharon to move to Detroit to become a plant controller. They bought a home in West Bloomfield, where they have lived for 39 years. They have enjoyed the area and discover something new about it almost annually. This process of discovery was encouraged by the start of their family. As Andy puts it, “When you have kids, you find out more about things going on around you.”
Andy and Sharon’s oldest child is Jennifer, born in 1980 and now married to a husband who works as a Senior Director for a software company. They live in the Chicago area and have two children. She manages international compliance calls for Trustwave, a computer security company and travels extensively out of the country. Their sons, Jackson, 7, and Miller, 4, often spend time with their grandparents. Andy and Sharon enjoy traveling to see the boys and sometimes the boys will even stay with them in the summer. They call it “Camp Grandma.” On one fairly recent occasion, they planned an elaborate transportation plan to get the boys to Michigan. Andy and Sharon went to Kalamazoo to get the boys, but then Sharon boarded a train with them and they all met Andy in Ann Arbor—just so the boys could have a train travel adventure!
Their youngest child is Katie, born in 1982 and now married to a Senior Project Engineer. Katie is a Web Content Manager, Ecommerce for The North Face and has been there for seven years. They live in Boulder, Colorado, where she works from home. They recently had a baby girl, Isla, on February 10, 6 lbs., 7 oz. Sharon and Andy look forward to traveling to see the new grandchild soon!
Andy and Sharon are very proud of both of their daughters, who each graduated from Michigan State University. As parents, they always stressed the importance of a career and the education to prepare for it. They wanted their daughters to be able to always rely on their own credentials and abilities. Over the years, they have had many friends, often because of relationships through their children. However, Andy notes that is true that when the kids go off to college, one usually makes different friends.
It was work that brought Andy and Sharon to West Bloomfield, and while in the Detroit area, he has indeed held a variety of positions in the areas of controllership or auditing. Andy first retired on October 4, 2013, from Ally Financial, where he worked for nearly seven years. It was there that he became friends with Bill Fodor, and they would regularly carpool together to the Renaissance Center.
This first retirement occurred the week before Andy’s 66th birthday. He had three months off and then in January 2014, a friend called and invited him to work for him part-time. This new employer was once an assistant who Andy had hired nearly twenty years previously. What started out as part-time work became 40 hours a week until finally, on March 31, 2015, Andy retired officially.
That does not mean that Andy is not keeping busy! Between projects around the house, doing tax returns for the family, and some traveling with Sharon it is true, as Andy says, “When you are retired, you are still active…You don’t know what you are doing, but the time is filled.” His status is formally an “inactive CPA,” but there is not much that is “inactive” in his life.
Andy has now returned, with Sharon, to his roots as a Congregationalist, invited for the first time by the Fodors to a meal during the Lenten season to Pine Hill Congregational Church. He brings, along with Sharon, a wealth of experience, knowledge, and perspective, particularly with regard to accounting and finance. Pine Hill is also making sure that he is not “inactive” as he is a new Trustee and serving along with Dave Schreiber as auditor.
Recently, Andy and Sharon returned to Geneva, Ohio, for his 50th class reunion. Andy remarked how much older everyone else looked. In truth, age matters so much less than keeping active and engaged, which Andy, who is known to, on warm weather days, bicycle to the church and around the area, most certainly does. We are grateful he wants to be active among us! Welcome, Andy.
Many of you might remember when we started the Tree of Life that is proudly displayed on the far wall in the fellowship hall. The Tree of Life began as a way to help finance our new addition, many years ago, and is a way to honor a family member or family event, like a child or grandchild’s birth or baptism, a confirmation, a wedding, or to remember a loved one. Well, it’s time to add some new engraved leaves to this beautiful display. For $100.00 (includes engraving and is tax deductible) you can purchase a leaf.
Stop and take a look at the Tree of Life next time you are in the fellowship hall and think of at least one person or new event that you would like to celebrate. An information brochure is being designed and will be ready soon. For more information see Peggy Jenkins.
Palm Sunday Cheering, Crying, and Clarifying
The waving of palm branches for this unusual king entering the gates of Jerusalem was an occasion for cheering, crying, and clarifying Jesus’ identity and goals. So it will be the chance for us to clarify who we are as worshippers of Jesus on Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016, with the waving of palm branches and their distribution during the worship service that day.
Right before the official start of spring, don’t miss out on setting your clocks forward one hour before Sunday, March 13, 2016. We know you won’t want to lose the chance to be at church on time!
Join the men of Pine Hill for dinner and fellowship on Tuesday, March 8th at 6:30 pm. The Men’s Group meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm. All men are invited, and we hope to see you at the meeting.
The Lenten season avails us with many opportunities for fellowship and worship here at Pine Hill. We began on Ash Wednesday with a soup supper provided by the Deacons followed by a worship service. At this service, attendees were invited to place their “burdens” in a burning bowl to be incinerated at a later date.
Next up, Pine Hill is hosting a Community Soup Supper on March 2. There is always a huge turnout for this event, as there are multiple area churches involved. Please help us prepare for our guests (and ourselves) by signing up to bring a crock-pot full of your favorite soup. Of course, we look forward to your participation in the meal and worship.
On Palm Sunday, you can expect to join us in a processional as part of our worship service. A pot luck vegetarian meal and Communion Service awaits us on Maundy Thursday, March 24. We hope you will bring your favorite dish and join us. We always appreciate the generosity of our members as we share in the fellowship of food and worship. Easter plans are still underway, as we prepare for the joyous occasion of the Resurrection. We will publish information as it is finalized.
World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation
The Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit will be hosting this year’s World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation on Sunday, March 6, 2016, at 4:00 pm. According to the website of the sponsoring organization, “The mission of the World Sabbath is to teach our diverse population in Metro Detroit that the work of building a community of justice, equality, respect and peace is a cause that we all share—all of us, no matter what our faith tradition might be.”
Programs continue to include clergy and children of a number of faith traditions, leading the event with prayer, song, and the visual arts.
For the first year, Gail Katz, a resident of West Bloomfield and a long-time member of Temple Israel as well as an active participant in the WISDOM educational resource group, has been the Chairperson of the planning committee for this experience. If you would like to attend, please speak with Dr. Packer.
- Rev. Dr. Charles Packer and others who made contributions assisting with water distribution in Flint.
- Worship Service music - thank you Irene, Peggy, Lauren, and the choir for sharing your talents with us. Also, thanks to David Musselwhite for his solo, “I Need Thee Every Hour.”
- Special thanks to Molly for the many ways she fills in for the needs of our church, and specifically for making coffee every week.
- We are thankful for the letters to the congregation from Will Rodriguez as he continues to serve our country. As Will's training intensifies
in preparation for the Crucible and then graduation in April, letters from home are really appreciated.
(To learn more about recruit training at Parris Island visit: http://www.mcrdpi.marines.mil/RecruitTraining/
William Rodriguez’s address:
3rd BN, Mike Co, PLT 3028
P.O. Box 16355
MCRD Parris Island
- Ash Wednesday - a meaningful service and the many hands that provided delicious food and a strong feeling of community.
- Pat and Danielle Henzie are expecting their first child in August - Good wishes for a healthy pregnancy and baby, and Danielle is
beginning her residency at St Joseph Hospital in Pontiac.
- A new granddaughter for Sharon and Andy Matyus, Isla, born Feb. 10, 2016.
- The birth of Leslie Lind's great nieces, Natalie and Lilyanne, born Feb. 13, 2016.
- A Valentine's Day Celebration of Marriage, announced by those present:
Jerry and Lynne Amster (44 years); Gerd and Molly Hartung (48 years); Mike and Jan Henzie (37 years); Steve and Cindi Hopkins (43 years); Odell and Marvis Johnson (38 years); Clinton and Linda Koupus (11 years, married at Pine Hill); Andy and Sharon Matyus (46 years); Gary and Gayanne Milbourne (52 years); Tom and Caren Peltier (30
years, married at Pine Hill); Dave and Sue Schreiber (39 years); John and Nitsa Stoddard (56 years); Alan and Irene Steyman (24 years); David and Suzi Veighey (48 years, married at Pine Hill); John and Renee Zimmerman (48 years); Ted Wade - married to his wife (50 years)
- Jerry Amster announced that his grandson has recovered from his concussion and has returned to work.
- Mary Ann reported that her daughter is better. She shared that she appreciates her connection to this Pine Hill community.
- Ted reminded us that Pine Hill is more than a congregation - we are a family.
- We were happy to welcome back old friends, Mary Souder and Nancy Scherr to share in our worship service.
- Nancy Chaltron is home from the hospital and you can write to her at: Nancy Chaltron
c/o Barb Fabinak,
385 Tanglewood Lane
Bay Village, OH 44140
- 64 degrees on Sunday, Feb. 28th
- Joyce's friend, Sandy, whose treatment is going well and Kevin's friend, Stephanie, who has a new job - prayers that all goes well
- The many extra hands we had as we set up for the Community Soup Supper.
Maundy Thursday Meal MOVES US From Table to Garden
When Jesus broke bread with his disciples at the Last Supper and then took them into the Garden of Gethsemane with him, it was arguably a major moment in their lives and ministry.
As Jesus “checked the consciences” of his disciples, so may we have the chance to consider our own commitment to following our Lord on Maundy Thursday, March 24, 2016, with a sacred meal at 6:30 pm, including the lighting of candles and then followed by participation in the Lord’s Supper in the sanctuary and the spending of time in the Garden of Gethsemane before the close of that fateful evening.
More information about this event will be forthcoming. You may consult with Pastor if you would like to know more.
Good Friday Service in Waterford at Central United Methodist Church
Dr. Packer will be one of the invited speakers for the annual Good Friday Community Service at 12:00 pm at Central United Methodist Church in Waterford on M-59. Come to the cross that day, where Christ meets all cares and concerns of the present day and all time.
Continue to Take Chances on Easter Sunday!
Easter Worship at Pine Hill Congregational Church on Sunday, March 27, 2016, will celebrate all of the chances that we have taken during Lent to draw near to our Lord! Our faith is truly one that “re-cycles” and continues to bear fruit for Christ’s kingdom, so join us for the music and message on this important day. Christ’s life carries on in us!
Another class for the curious - about Congregationalism, that is—will be held for four Sunday evenings in April at 7:00 pm for anyone who would like to have the history and background of Pine Hill come to life. This is a great way to get to know more about the Congregational Way and this particular community, as well as those who are a part of it. Please talk to Dr. Packer if you are interested or have questions.
Jazz Concert Brings together Michigan and Maine Musicians
Jazz artists Jeff Karoub and Putnam Smith will be presenting their music for Pine Hill Congregational Church and area residents on Saturday evening, April 2, 2016, at 7:00 pm. Karoub, a resident of Dearborn, Michigan, has appeared in numerous venues throughout the state and elsewhere and Smith is in Michigan all the way from Maine to partner with Karoub for several performances. There is no charge, but a free-will offering will be taken. Refreshments will be provided.
Exploring Religious Landscapes Sessions Begin in March
The first in a series of four educational evenings of food, education, and sharing among religious traditions for adults will occur at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, from 6-9 pm. Jewish texts and faith practices will be explained. The cost is $75 for four sessions between March and June and there is a price per evening to attend selectively. Please visit with Dr. Packer if you would like to know more.
Congregationalists Descend on Detroit in June 2016!
For the first time in over 20 years, the Southeastern Michigan Association of Congregational Churches will be the hosts for the Annual Meeting and Conference of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, June 25-28, 2016.
Leslie Lind, Rev. Charles Packer, and Rev. Dave and Sue Welcome have represented Pine Hill at planning sessions of the Host Committee and been involved in many aspects of its organization. All Southeastern Michigan churches will be asked to give of some time at the meeting and contribute financially to the work of the Host Committee, as well as to provide hospitality and transportation to visitors to Pine Hill for Sunday morning worship on June 26, 2016.
Correspondence from William Rodriguez
Dear Pine Hill Congregation,
I’m doing well at boot camp and my
Platoon won initial drill so we got a
I miss you all very much and can’t wait to come home and see you all and enjoy a beautiful service by the wonderful Pastor as well as hear the choir sing. Send pictures when you can. I enjoy seeing how you all are doing well.
Your prayers help me so much and I pray that I will be home and…give you all hugs and enjoy some peace—not be so rushed into everything…Here, I have to get dressed in a single minute and we do that 10 or 12 times because the count isn’t made, but it’s not so bad…
I appreciate all you do. Please wish me the best of luck.
(William Rodriguez is currently at Marine boot camp on Parris Island in South Carolina.)
We are in to March and will begin thinking about a busy summer with Summer Impressions soon!
A quick update on the Gifts/Challenges from everyone that we hope will help with our budget deficit - -
- Cash received to date - $1135
- Bottle & Can drive - Collected and matched - $650
- An Epiphany gift discovered last Sunday - a roll of 100 stamps - worth $49. Thanks to the giver.
Total should be just over $1,800 - a good start to finding the $14,500 that we need.
Thanks to all who support Pine Hill both with money and with time! You are the best.
THANKS, Cindi Hopkins
The Southeast Association of CCC has now successfully completed another remarkable week assisting St. Bernard Project in rebuilding New Orleans. This is our 9th year (10 years since Katrina) and the consensus is to go again in 2017; it is always the third or fourth week in February so look at your calendar's now and plan to go and make a difference!
During Lent in the month of March, a noisy can collection will be taken to assist with our part of hosting the Annual Meeting and Conference of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches. Please bring your loose change to church and “make beautiful noise!”
Pine Hill will again participate in the CROP Walk! On May 1st. We are excited to join North Congregational, as well as other Farmington and West Bloomfield churches, in this important outreach to end hunger. There are many ways to help—walking, collecting pledges, handing out water, cheerleading, and outright contributing.
Linda has facilitated Pine Hill’s assistance with Blessings in a Backpack, a West Bloomfield initiative that brings food and supplies on a weekly basis to children and families who are in need. The backpacks are packed every Wednesday at Abbot Middle School at 12:30 pm. Six meals are taken home for the weekend. Right now, we are participating as able on Wednesdays, primarily through Linda.
Temple Shir Shalom, represented by Ken and Diane Jacobs, have committed to taking bagels that have been donated by a bagel company at 14-Mile and Middlebelt on Wednesdays to I Am My Brother’s Keeper. They have asked for our assistance, with the commitment to pick up the bagels and deliver them in the morning. Sue Welcome is helping with this in March and an announcement will soon be made to see if others can be involved in this effort.
Epiphany “Wish List”
Thanks to everyone who contributed to January's Epiphany gift blessing. Several have asked about contributing toward other items on the list that were not covered. The following are those things that are still on the wish list for 2016. Please bring these items to the office if you choose to contribute. Again, we are very grateful for all who have and who want to assist the church in this way.
The Church Office
· Electric stapler
· Staples for electric stapler
· Staples Gift Certificate
Board of the Deacons
· Donation to purchase Christmas decorations/lights
· Donation to purchase replacement candle wicks for lighters
· Donation to purchase candle oil
· Donation to purchase general sanctuary/worship supplies
Outreach and Welcoming Committee
· Donations toward advertisement
· Donation to fund outreach supplies
Board of the Trustees
· Office 2010 or 2013—can be a hand-me-down if you are using your own copy—full blown or student edition—really need Word and Excel
· Color toners for the Koycera 3051 cs copier—need magenta, cyan and yellow (black toner included in copier maintenance)
· Plants for church landscaping in the sprin
Social Action - Gift card to Gordon Food Service
Board of Christian Education - Donation toward Rally Day
“Spring Fling” and Egg Hunt at Drake Park
Pine Hill Congregational Church will be a sponsor for the annual “Spring Fling” and Egg Hunt event for children of different ages at Drake Sports Park on Friday night, March 18, 2016, starting at 6:30 pm. Members of the Outreach and Welcoming Committee will be present to distribute information to hundreds of families attending the fun evening, but we could use help if you are available. You may speak with Linda Kuopus or Rev. Packer for more details.
2 Dave Schreiber
4 Leslie Lind
6 Lucas Munro
9 Michelle Carson
18 Lucille Richards
18 Mike Salhaney
23 Alex Shanburn
30 Odell Johnson
1 Bible Study @ Sunrise N 3:30 pm
2 Lenten Soup and Bread Dinner 6:30 pm
3 Choir Rehearsal 7:30 pm
6 Worship/SS/Fellowship 10:00 am
6 Board of Deacons Meeting 11:30 am
7 Board of Trustees Meeting 7:00 pm
8 Bible Study @ Sunrise N 3:30 pm
8 Men’s Groups Dinner 6:30 pm
9 Lenten Soup Supper 6:30 pm
10 7:30 pm Choir Rehersal
13 Time Change - Spring Forward
13 Worship/SS/Fellowship 10:00 am
15 Bible Study @ Sunrise N 3:30 pm
16 Lenten Soup Supper 6:30 pm
17 Choir Rehearsal 7:30 pm
18 Egg Hunt - Drake Sports Park 6:30 pm
20 Palm Sunday - Worship/SS/Fellowship 10:00 am
20 Coordinating Board Meeting 11:30 am
21 Congregational Ministers 10:00 am
24 Maundy Thursday-Meal & Worship 6:30 pm
25 Good Friday Worship - Waterford 12:00 pm
27 Easter Sunday - Worship/SS 10:00 am
29 Bible Study @ Sunrise N 3:30 pm
31 Choir Rehearsal 7:30 pm