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Women’s Ministry Newsletter - Cathy Blanchard, Women's Ministry Director

August 2019

WOMEN’S MINISTRY AUGUST NEWSLETTER

By Cathy Blanchard, Women’s Ministry Director

Recently, I had the privilege of sitting at the bedside of an elderly man who had passed just shortly before I arrived. His niece was there and we sat together until the man’s son arrived, and she left shortly thereafter. I had only met the patient once before, and at that time, he was unaware that I was even there. As I had not been able to contact the son on that one visit, I knew very little about the patient, so was grateful that the niece had sat with me and shared memories until the son arrived. When the man’s son arrived, he was too emotional over his father’s death to be able to say much. But what he said several times was, “He was a good man. He was such a good man.” After the niece left, this gentleman’s son also had to leave to go back home to pick up some necessary papers, and I offered to sit with his father’s body until he could return. He gratefully took me up on my offer, so I had about 30 minutes to sit alone with this man who had been “such a good man.” As I sat quietly at the bedside, I read aloud a Psalm and then fell to contemplating that mystery of death and of heaven. His family had told me that he had lost his hearing, his sight, and the ability to walk as his body aged and then became diseased. But he had retained his love for his family, and his son and niece obviously loved him dearly. In death, he appeared to be at peace. His son had told me that until he was no longer able to, his father had been active in his church, and as I looked at his face, I could picture this kind man greeting friends and visitors coming in to the church, welcoming all and leading them to their seats. And now, with only a short time having passed since his death, this greeter, this welcomer, was being welcomed into heaven. And I thought about what those blind eyes were now seeing, and what those deaf ears were now hearing. I looked at his thin legs outlined under a light blanket, and wondered if those once useless and crippled legs were now running to the Father, leaping in praise, and kneeling in adoration. His old, worn-out body was still here before me, but his spirit was now in the very presence of God, surrounded by and filled with a love that we cannot begin to comprehend here on earth. Death was not a destroyer of this man, but rather the gateway into his heavenly home. And all I could do was shake my head in wonder and praise God for His eternal love and care.

Isaiah 40:28-31 –

“Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall,

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary,

They will walk and not be faint.”

May we all look forward with hope and assurance to the day when we too will soar on wings like eagles, straight to the Father who loves us with a love we will only fully know when we, too, are welcomed into our heavenly home. And until that day, may we hold fast to the words God gives us in Isiah 41:10 –

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right

Hand.”

The next Women’s Bible Study will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 10:00 AM at -the home of Mary Potter. Please contact the pastor if directions are needed.

And don’t forget that next Saturday, 8/24/19, our church will be hosting the award-winning Christian Gospel group, Sunday Drive, at 6 PM. Following the concert, we will invite our guests to a meal in the fellowship hall with the group.


July 2019

Warm weather is finally here, and although I personally enjoy the winter, I was ready for a change of season. One thing I’ve been enjoying is watching our 2 beagles play outside in the backyard. They love sniffing any scents they pick up, and sometimes they just seem to go crazy running back and forth at the fence, noses to the ground and tails wagging. I don’t know who or what they’re seeing, but I know they are excited. As I was watching from the window the other day, I found myself thinking about another beagle we had for many years before he died last year. His name was Reggie and we had gotten him from the Humane Society when he was 2 years old. He was a sweet, affectionate dog and I learned so much from him. Someone once asked if I believe God speaks to us in any way but through the Bible. That person was taken aback when I replied, “Oh yes! Some of the greatest lessons God has ever taught me have come through caring for our dog.” And it was true; I learned so much from Reggie. He learned our morning routine well; he knew exactly what to expect. He knew that after breakfast, my husband was going to take him for a walk, and he would eagerly watch for him to stand up and take his dishes over to the sink, knowing that my husband would soon reach over for the leash, and his morning adventure would begin. He couldn’t wait for the door to open so that he could run out and greet the squirrels! But before breakfast, he also knew that my husband would walk to the front door, open it and go outside to get the morning paper. And at that time, Reggie never attempted to go out with him. He knew it wasn’t time. He would simply sit calmly right in front of the closed door, not whining or jumping. He just sat there, staring at the door just inches from his face. And as I watched that every morning, I saw such a wonderful picture of faith. In the Bible, in the book of Hebrews, it says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” When the door shut behind my husband when he went out to get the paper, Reggie could no longer see him. All he could see was his side of the door. But he trusted that on the other side of the door was my husband, and that soon he would see what was, at that moment, hidden from him. To me, that is a picture of the faith we so desperately need when we face the tragedies and hardships that life brings. Whether it is the death of a loved one, the pain of a failed relationship, or the loss of security as we have known it, we can find our greatest hope and strength through our faith. Faith that God is with us, even when we can’t see Him; faith that someday we’ll see our loved ones again, or that the grief and hardship that is so devastating now will become bearable, and the thoughts that now bring us pain will give way to memories that bring us joy. Waiting in faith is not always easy, but it yields the blessed fruit of peace and strength. May you be blessed today.


Ministry Opportunities in June

Sunday, June 9: The men provided a wonderful tea for the ladies in May. This month, we ladies will have the opportunity to reciprocate by providing them with a special meal after church. Let’s serve them with the care and love with which they served us.

Tuesday, June 11: There will be a ladies Bible study at the home of Mary Potter, a long-time member of Sugar Creek Baptist Church who is no longer able to get out like she used to. Since she can’t come to us, we’re going to her😊 The Bible study will be at 10:30 A.M. I know Mary will enjoy seeing whoever can come. For address information, contact either Cathy Blanchard or Pastor Steve Blanchard. I look forward to seeing you there.

Saturday, June 15: There will be a women’s ministry meeting at the church in the fellowship hall. This will be a great time to share how God is working in your life, and, as we read in Hebrews 10:24 & 25 – “let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…let us encourage one another.” 2019

May 2019  A few years ago, we had a vacation near the ocean. One morning, while sitting on the beach, my attention was caught by the sight of 3 women stepping onto the sand. They appeared to be 2 middle-aged daughters helping their elderly, white-haired, slow-moving mother down to the water. They walked on either side of her, supporting her as she walked on the uneven sand. I expected them to stop at the chairs they had already placed well back from the water. But their mother had other plans. She wanted to get into the ocean. I held my breath as the first wave gently hit her and was relieved to see that with her daughters’ help, she was still standing. She was loving the water. With every wave, she jumped and laughed, and to my surprise, kept heading out into deeper water. Whereas on the sand, it was difficult for her to even walk, with the buoyancy of the water holding her up, she was able to jump and move with the ease of a child. I continued watching as the waves came up and broke upon and around the 3 women in the water. Most of the waves were small and gentle and it was a joy watching the women play. But then I noticed a larger wave forming and heading in to land. I was really worried for the woman, because I didn’t think she would be strong enough to keep from being pushed under the water, and I wasn’t sure the middle-aged daughters would be strong enough to hold her up in that situation. But then I witnessed a wonderful thing happen. There were 2 teenagers playing in the water near them; I suspect they were grandchildren, but I hadn’t noticed them before. As that wave grew larger and seemed to gather speed and force, I suddenly saw the 2 teenagers swim over to the 3 women. Before that wave could reach the old woman, the 2 daughters and the 2 teenagers joined hands, surrounding the older woman, pressing close to her. As the wave broke over them, the group were pushed this way and that, but came up still standing and still guarding their precious treasure. I looked to the old woman to see how she would react to the sudden onslaught of water. I was gratefully surprised and delighted to see her throw back her head and laugh, jumping in pleasure even more than before.

I found myself thinking about this memory recently, and it made me think of you. One of the things I quickly have come to love about the women of our church is the way you care about each other. I have seen you do it through your heartfelt prayers you offer for those you know are hurting and going through a time where they need extra support. I’ve felt it when I hear of someone who sends a card or makes a phone call to check on someone they are concerned for. I’ve watched the hugs, the circle of prayer, the thoughtful words and actions of women who are serving in love. I’ve seen it in acts of kindness and service that went far beyond duty or expectations. And I just wanted to thank you for all of this. Jesus said, “By this, all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Surely I am watching disciples love one another.

Upcoming Events

Our Ladies Tea – Saturday, May 18, at 10:00 A.M. - At the church. We will be served by the men, and I have had a sample of at least part of what we’re going to have, and it is delicious! We’ll have our tea (or coffee, etc), some tasty treats, and a short devotional. I’m looking forward to a wonderful time of fellowship and hope you all can come. It will be well worth it😊 And if you have some friends or neighbors that you would like to invite, feel free to do that. My sweet husband, your sweet pastor, has asked that we let him have an approximate idea of how many ladies might be coming. We will have a sign-up sheet on the table in the foyer. If you have any special ideas for what we do during this time, I’d love to hear them.

June 2, 2:30 P.M. – Our church will provide a church service at Brandywine Golden Living Center in Greenfield. For many residents, the only church service they have an opportunity to attend is when a church is willing to come and provide it. It is amazing how many look forward to that every week. If this is a ministry you feel God nudging you toward, come join those who will be going from our church.

Sunday, June 16, is Father’s Day. Since the men are going to do something special for us ladies, it would be nice if we would reciprocate by doing something special for them. I don’t know yet if they have thought about what they would like to do – probably not a pretty tea party, I’m guessing! But this will be another opportunity for us to serve and show our love, as Jesus modeled for us. When I know more, I’ll let you know.

Ladies, I am new to this position and would love some help. Any suggestions for ministry opportunities, study/learning materials, or other ideas will be gratefully received. The hardest thing is finding a good time to meet to do these things, but I am very open to suggestions. I love to spend time with you, so let’s see what we can do😊

The Women's Tea was held in honor of Mother's Day. It was served by the men of the church. The tea featured several different types of tea and coffee, plus a buffet table filled with English tea bread, cinnamon rolls, fruit, and cheesy egg puffs.

The ladies who attended told stories from their childhood. Women's Ministry leader Cathy Blanchard shared memories based on the various tea cups and mementos that she had brought from home that reminded her of the promises of the Bible.