From the Pastor, William D. Leitch

On the first Sunday in May, we see that the image of the life the risen Christ shares with us is the image of friendship.  We are called to serve as Jesus came to serve.  Friendship captures the love, the joy, the deep mutuality of the relationship into which Christ invites us.  The Greeks believed that true friends are willing to die for each other.  This is the mutual love of Christian community commanded by Christ and enabled by the Spirit.

The second Sunday in May, Easter’s seventh Sunday, is always taken from the long prayer Jesus prays for his followers in John’s gospel on the night before his death, and always includes Jesus’ desire that his followers will be one as he and the Father are one.  This oneness is not mere doctrinal agreement or institutional unity, but mutual abiding, interpenetrating life, mutual love, and joy.  This oneness is the work of the Spirit whom we have received but also await.  Come, Holy Spirit!

On May 20, Pentecost, we celebrate the Spirit, through whom and in whom the people of God are created and re-created.  Pentecost is sometimes called the church’s birthday, but might more appropriately be called its baptism day since the gift of the Spirit is the fullness of baptism.  The Spirit is at work in the most intimate and personal way, praying in us “with sighs too deep for words” when we do not know how to pray.

Also on May 20, Alexis “Lexi” Stredney will affirm her Baptism.  What does this mean?  It means that she is giving her testimony of faith in Jesus as the Son of God and that she understands that she is made new every day because of what Jesus has done for her.  It has given her freedom from the burden of sin and without that burden she is ready to capture the love, the joy, and the deep mutuality of the relationship into which Christ invites us.

Lexi was a bit uneasy in her first catechism class.  I asked her why?  She said, “I am an extrovert who brings shy people out of their “shells” – my word – I was afraid to act for fear that I might interrupt the class.”  I immediately commissioned her as a “junior leader”.  My instructions to Lexi were simply, “You do your thing, but keep the class on topic.”  Lexi did exactly that.  When asked a question she did not understand – and of course the rest of the class did not understand – she responded immediately with her honest “statement of confusion”.  No one else had the courage to express their confusion, but Lexi now gave everyone the permission to ask questions.  Her leadership opened up the discussions and helped us go deeper.  And oh, by the way, it was fun!

We will celebrate Lexi’s Affirmation together, but more importantly, we want to empower Lexi to continue to “do her thing” and serve the Lord.

Pr. Bill

Finance Chairperson Vacancy…If you would be interested in or willing to fill the Finance Chairperson vacancy, please contact Pastor Bill and he can discuss the position with you.

Church Information…Please remember that you can obtain church information from the monthly Lamplighter Newsletter, the Constant Contact emails you receive, on the church website (, on Facebook (, and postings on the church bulletin board.  Church Council Meeting minutes are posted on the bulletin board and sent out via Constant Contact.  We would like to see a better “open rate” when we send information to you via Constant Contact so that we know you are being informed of the activities that are occurring at the church.  If you have any other suggestions on how best to reach out to our parishioners, please see a Council member.

Camp Frederick Wood Cutting Day…Saturday, May 5, is Wood Cutting Day at Camp Frederick from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon at 6996 Millrock Road, Rogers, OH   44455.  Bring out your inner lumberjack and join us for a great day of fellowship, all the while helping the Camp!  Coffee and donuts are provided with lunch at 12:00 noon.  Bring your chainsaw and log splitter.  For any questions, please all the camp office at 330-227-3633.