The photo here shows the Labyrinth as it appeared when we were almost done with spreading six square yards of mulch last June. An amazing group of people, including many of us from Northminster as well as some friends from TIG, spent lots of time and effort achieving that goal.
In recent years, we’ve had workdays focused totally on the Labyrinth, or sometimes just a few TIG friends did a little weeding; but the vast majority of the weeding, trimming, mulching and weed-prevention treatments were undertaken by Building and Grounds and helpers, along with a few wonderfully faithful “secret gardeners”. Those who worked the most on the Labyrinth on their own - as well as the Memorial Garden - were Curt & Pat Lundy, Peg & Rod Griffard, and Bob Sigler. If you’re also a “secret gardener” we may not know about, we also owe you thanks.
Sadly, we’ve lost Curt, and Bob will soon be moving, but the remaining folks are ready to pass Keeping Our Labyrinth Looking Great: Help Wanted on the mantle to others and take long-deserved rests. Ruth Turner says, “I’ve done what I can for years by carrying gloves and bags in my car for spontaneous spot-weeding, including pulling all those nasty thistles this past week, and am certainly going to continue that, but I really need some help! If we had a cadre of volunteers as we did when the Labyrinth was first installed, each volunteer would only have to weed or trim those bothersome tree ‘shooters’ once or twice from mid-May to midSeptember. It might just entail an hour right after church (keeping gloves and tools in your car makes it easy) or a couple of hours during a weekday, but would make a huge difference in how we present Northminster to the community: thriving, active and involved.”
Let Ruth know if you can help even once and add your name to the sign-up sheet in the hall; if you’re unsure of your schedule, just doing what you can when you can is great, too!
Hunger is not something that happens just in poor communities, it happens all over. Almost 800,000 school-age children receive free and or reduced lunches throughout the state. Did you know that Troy Public schools have just over 1900 students who receive Free or Reduced lunch during the school year? Anywhere from 3% to 30% of students throughout Troy receive food assistance. When school breaks for the summer, these kids will get by with less food. (Taken from Caroline Kondak’s May 13th presentation in worship.)
The Youth of Northminster have joined the Presbytery of Detroit’s Hunger Ministries Program’s Cereal for Summer! campaign. Every box of cereal donated at Northminster from now through Sunday, June 24, will go directly to children in Troy and the Presbytery who face food insecurity this summer.
Fifty percent of the boxes received will go to Morse Elementary School’s Summer Nights program. The other 50% will be shared with the Presbytery’s Hunger Ministries Program that assists 9 food pantries throughout the presbytery.
Let’s help reduce hunger among children with our donations of Cereal for Summer!
Place your donations on the table in the back of the Sanctuary.
The final day to contribute is Sunday, June 24.
You may also make a monetary donation. Check should be payable to Northminster Church with CEREAL in memo line. Thank you!
The Church, Society & Mission Committee was pleased to receive over a dozen applications – along with glowing letters of recommendation – for the Borchardt Memorial Grants. All of the applicants were hardworking students who had stories of very difficult hurdles to overcome, which made it even harder to select the candidates to recommend to Session.
Using a grid rating our choices in order, we were able to agree on one candidate for the $1,200 grant. We have two candidates for half grants of $600, if we receive enough For further information, contact Jim Hoogstra at email@example.com in the next few weeks. Our nominated candidates will be presented for Session approval at their meeting in June, and we look forward to announcing them!
Also, please remember that 40% of the Pentecost Offering is distributed directly by Northminster, which has been approved for adding to the Borchardt Grant Fund this year. In this way, we can ensure that we will minimally be able give one full and one half grant to two deserving teens in foster care who graduate for academic year 2018-2019.
Join TIG at our Annual National Day of Prayer event this year. It will be Thursday May 3, 7:00 pm at the Bharatiya Temple 6850 N. Adams Rd, Troy (enter on South Blvd.). As in years past, there will prayers offered in spoken word, through song and through dance. This year we’re excited to have a Buddhist dance group performing a sword dance, which we’ve not had before. Our hosts and TIG members always provide great snacks for after the program, so we know you’ll enjoy joining us.
One of our TIG affiliate organizations, Troy Area Alliance Against Hate Crimes, is hosting their 2nd annual Unity Forum.
The topic this year is “Interrupting Bias” which will provide resources and suggestions from many other groups about how to respond to words or acts of bias. It’s April 26th, 6-8 PM at the Troy Community Center. Admission, child-care and food tastings are all free!
The Session appreciates the information gathered through the recent Conversations Survey. As of this writing, Holy Cow! Consulting informs us that 64 people have taken this assessment. We appreciate each of you who took the time to complete the survey and share your insights with us.
The next steps include the Session receiving the compiled report from Holy Cow!, and the Consultant’s interpretation of that report. This is scheduled for April 9, 2018. Once the leaders have opportunity to reflect and discuss the findings, we will be sharing information with the congregation.
Again, thank you for participating in the Conversations Survey. We look forward to discussing the future direction and ministry of Northminster with you all over the next months.
from Jim Hoogstra
May is Foster Care Month in Michigan. Since 2015, Judith Borchardt Grants have been given by Northminster to graduating foster care youth who are continuing their post-secondary education. The grants are named after Judy Borchardt, former pastor at Northminster, whose bequest provided seed money for the grants. Less than 20 % of foster youth in Michigan go on to attend college. For those who do, tuition stipends are often available. But what about those things like cell phones, transportation, toiletries, and clothing that are often provided by parents? It is difficult for these youth who are transitioning out of foster care to provide these things for themselves.
This is where the Borchardt grants come in. They provide $1200, basically $100 a month, to help take care of these necessary expenses. Recently, we have received many more applications for grants than we can provide with our limited resources. This year, Session has designated the 40% of Pentecost offerings that can stay with the local congregation to go towards stretching the Borchardt grants that we can provide.
Some of you might remember Justin Black, a recipient of a Borchardt Grant in 2016, from when he joined us in worship to accept the grant. His update on how his life has changed is featured below.
Borchardt Grant Recipient Justin Black Shares His Success
from Jim Hoogstra
In his grant application, Justin talked about being homeless in elementary school and then having several different living situations while in foster care during high school. When he made his grant application, he had lived in a group home for foster youth for 2 years. He spoke of his motivation to "get my life back together and take education seriously."
Justin has now traveled to 12 countries and attended Kyung Hee University for six weeks in South Korea. He is a Resident Assistant and a Study Abroad Alumni Ambassador.
Justin has a 3.41 GPA, majoring in Public Relations, minoring in Journalism, Race & Ethnic Relations, and has earned the following Awards:
“2017 has truly been the best year of my life. I am grateful to have each and every one of you be a part of my journey. I have accomplished more than I could imagine and I know God has even bigger plans for me in the future. From traveling the world to excelling in the classroom, you all have been a part of my success this year! THANK YOU!!!!!”
He has a lot planned for this year, and plans to graduate in 2020 with a degree in Public Relations. To read about his future plans and read the full update he sent, click HERE or see our Mission bulletin board.
Join us on Pentecost: The Day of Wind and Fire.
We will celebrate the gift of God’s Spirit with the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Everyone is invited to wear red as a sign of the Spirit in our midst!
Each year on Pentecost Sunday, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the church. The Holy Spirit remains with us connecting us with the church of the past, continuing to inspire the church of today, and pointing us to the church of the future. Since 1998, PCUSA has marked this celebration by receiving the Pentecost Offering which nurtures the faith of those who are the church to come — children, youth, and young adults.
The proceeds from the Pentecost Offering are used in the following efforts:
As we come to give thanks for the gift of God’s Spirit, let us prayerfully consider our gift to the Pentecost Offering.
Did you ever wonder why some people put their loose change in the offering plate on the first Sunday of each month? Perhaps you’ve been following suit for months or years, but never thought about what is the purpose.
The loose coin collection is used to add to the Deacons’ Fund, which is intended to help our members for a one-time financial need. For instance, those funds could have been to pay for the costs of a weekend retreat for an individual who couldn’t otherwise attend, and perhaps lots more examples we’ll never know about. We’ll never know because the request and granting of money is all done through the Pastor alone – no one else is given that confidential information!
So please remember that the small change you toss into our offering plate may provide someone just the hand-up they need in challenging times. And thank you to all who give to help make that happen.
The calendar may say spring, but my weather app says 39 degrees outside, feels like 30. Don't worry. By the time May 6 is here, we can count on sunny skies and perfect walking weather. I promise! Please join the Northminster team in support of Church World Service and its work with the hungry and homeless wherever there is a need. The money we raise in our CROP Walk will help those affected by war and natural disasters, and refugees and the dispossessed all over the world as well as locally. Part of the proceeds will be shared with the Clawson Community Food Bank and Troy People Concerned. There's nothing quite like the feeling of joining with friends to do good work in the world.
We will walk on Sunday, May 6, beginning from Trinity Lutheran Church on 14 Mile Road in Clawson. Sign in is at noon and we start walking at 1:00. It's a pretty painless walk, about 3 miles around a big block starting on 14 Mile, around to Main Street, up Normandy, and then back across Crooks to end at the church. Activities are planned for after the walk, including food from Little Caesar's and Chicken Shack, or try one of the many places to eat in Clawson. So far our team consists of the Leight family, the Wright family, Martha Babcock, Joey and Christa Gainor, Bea and Ken Smits, Becky and Gary Pocisk, and Jamie and Susie Love. It's already a great group and there are still a couple envelopes available. It would be wonderful to have to ask for more.
Register to participate online at crophungerwalk.org/troymi/npctroymi and get a pledge envelope from Susan Love. Even if you can't walk, you can still take part by sponsoring a walker. All pledges must be turned in prior to the walk. We can take checks (made out to CWS/CROP) or cash, but the easiest way to donate is through our team web link or button below. The more walkers we have, the more money we can raise for CWS and the more fun it is for all of us. Direct your questions to Susan Love (248.346.5185 or firstname.lastname@example.org). CROP Walk has been a favorite Northminster mission for over 25 years now, and at each walk we try to do better than the one before. Make your donation and watch the poster in the hall to follow our progress. This is going to be another great year!
Join TIG at our “Planning Retreat” on March 25, 2-5 pm at Central Woodward Church to review our recent year of programming and explore plans and the direction of TIG in the future. All members or supporters are welcome; please rsvp if you will be coming to Ruth Turner at email@example.com
The InterFaith Leadership Council/IFLC adult immersion-study series Exploring Religious Landscapes, is continuing the spring series “Communicating Our Heart’s Desires: Prayer Across Faith Traditions”. Since the first one has already passed, the remaining programs cost $20 apiece. They are Islamic Prayer, Thur. April 26, 6:00-8:30 pm @ Muslim Unity Center, 1830 Square Lake Rd., and Bloom. Hills; Prayer in Sikh Tradition, Thur. May 17, 6:00-8:30 pm @ Grudwara Sahib Singh Sabha of Michigan, 3310 S. Canton Rd., Canton; Communities in Conversation: Comparing and Contrasting Prayer in Faith Traditions, Wed. June 13 7:00-9:00 pm @Congregation Beth Shalom. 1461 Lincoln St, Oak Park (panel of leaders in the above faiths as well as Judaism), and group discussion).
Registration can be done online https://wufoo.com/forms/r382hxo1chu942 or mail note indicating which workshops you’ll attend and check to: IFLC of Metro-Detroit, 10821 Capital St. Oak Park 48237. You can also pay at the door, but please let Wendy know via email at wendy.IFLC@gmail.com if you plan to attend so proper quantities of food can be prepared.
From our Affiliate Partners:
The InterFaith Leadership Council/IFLC adult immersion-study series, Exploring Religious Landscapes, is continuing the spring series “Communicating Our Heart’s Desires: Prayer Across Faith Traditions”. The remaining programs cost $20 apiece. They are: Islamic Prayer, Thursday, April 26, 6:00-8:30 pm at Muslim Unity Center, 1830 Square Lake Rd., Bloomfield Hills; Prayer in Sikh Tradition, Thursday, May 17, 6:00-8:30 pm at Grudwara Sahib Singh Sabha of Michigan, 3310 S. Canton Rd., Canton; Communities in Conversation: Comparing and Contrasting Prayer in Faith Traditions, Wednesday, June 13, 7:00-9:00 pm at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1461 Lincoln St, Oak Park (panel of leaders in the above faiths as well as Judaism plus group discussion).
Registration can be done online: https://wufoo.com/forms/r382hxo1chu942 or mail note indicating which workshops you’ll attend and check to: IFLC of Metro-Detroit, 10821 Capital St. Oak Park 48237. You can also pay at the door, but please let Wendy know via email at mailto:wendy.IFLC@gmail.com if you plan to attend so proper quantities of food can be prepared.