August Update…

August Greetings…

Hi JCC friends and family,

Hope you’ve all been experiencing a wonderful summer filled with God’s grace and presence in your lives. We want to make you aware of a special happening this coming Sunday on August 26th.

Norishige and Tsuneko Suzuki, who have been an important part of our church family for almost 2 decades, will be leaving us to return to Japan at the end of this month. We hope that you will be able to join us this coming Sunday as we take some time during our lunch hour to express our thanks to the Suzukis and to offer a prayer of blessing over them as they return to life in Japan. While it is sad for us to see them go, we wish to send them off with love and gratitude!

They have some dishes and other household items that they would like to offer to anyone that can use them. Feel free to take home any of their items that you can use…. and whatever you can donate toward those items will go to the church.

Please make note of the remaining events in August:

  • 08.24 JCC Volunteer Team at St. Mary’s Foodbank
  • 08.26 Richard Nakamura preaches / Farewell for   Norishige and Tsuneko Suzuki during our lunch hour following worship. 

Hope to see you on Sunday!

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Tim

JCC July Update…

Summer Greetings!

Hi JCC friends and family! Sorry for the late July update of news and happenings. I think it was my 10 days in Japan that got me off schedule. It’s hard to believe that July 4th has come and gone, and that our kids have been out of school for a month.

I did have a wonderful and productive trip to Japan on 6/19-28. It was a chance for me and Allegra to do some passport / immigration work as well as to renew my Japanese driver’s license. We were able to visit our former church in Isesaki, Gunma where we had pastored for many years and enjoy a potluck and fellowship. They will be celebrating their 30th anniversary as a church this coming Sunday, July 15th so it was fun to hear of their various preparations for that event. Andrea and Sky kept the home fires burning here in Burlington while we were away.

The photo above is of Lake Nojiri, where our family has a cabin. I had a chance to open it up and do some work in preparation for friends who will be staying there during the next couple months. Since we returned to the US, Japan has experienced a couple of typhoons resulting in flooding, landslides and many deaths. Some of you may have been following that news or even have acquaintances that have been affected. We pray for quick relief for the many that have been through this tragedy.

Please make note of the following:

  • 07.15 Pastor Tim preaches
  • 07.22 Richard Nakamura preaches
  • 07.27 Volunteer team @ St. Mary’s Food Bank
  • 07.29 Craig Niiyama preaches

Our text for this coming Sunday is from Psalm 27 – “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation” – I trust that you are experiencing the Lord as your Light and Salvation during these summer days.

Hope to see you all soon!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Tim

P.S. – a couple more photos from our Japan trip  – while visiting the immigration office and police headquarters in Nagano city we had the chance to take an hour to wander around the famous Zenkoji Temple. While the temple has been around and famous since the 7th century (!) it became well-known to outsiders during the 1998 winter Olympics, when NBC was invited to set up their broadcasting headquarters within the temple compound. It was a peaceful and quiet hour as we watched people and took a break.

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All trains in Japan aren’t bullet trains. Here, we rode the little Shinano Railway from Nagano up to Lake Nojiri. This particular car allowed us to “taste the feeling!”

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JCC Update…

Greetings JCC friends and family,

Can you believe it’s already June 1st?! 2018 is flying by. We hope and trust that this note finds all of you looking to Jesus and seeking our true treasure in a deeper relationship with God as we head into the summer months.

Thanks to all who took part in our clean up day last month. And a special thank you goes to Peter and Joyce who once again hosted us at their Hood Canal home for a wonderful day of fellowship and clam digging! Here are a few pics from that outing…

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There are several dates to keep in mind for June but please take special notice of our discussion time set for Saturday morning, June 16th. We will be talking about section three of the book “Claiming Resurrection in the Dying Church” by Anna Olson. Section 3 is titled “A New Country” and will give us a chance to consider both our own history and our future. These have been great times of discussion so we encourage any and all of you to come out and join us. We begin at 9:00 a.m. with coffee and snacks!

In addition to the book we have been having ongoing discussions since the beginning of the year about our old building and various options for moving forward. Please pray for the guidance and unity of the Holy Spirit as we consider these important topics. We need everyone’s input.

JUNE HAPPENINGS

06.03  Sunday Worship – Pastor Tim preaches
06.04  Monday – Homeless Feeding / Lord’s Table
06.10  Sunday Worship – Shun Takano preaches
06.16  Saturday – Final Book Discussion and conversation about the future ministry of JCC.
06.17  Sunday Worship – Pastor Tim preaches
06.19-28 – Pastor Tim is in Japan
06.22  Friday – JCC Volunteer team at St. Mary’s Food Bank (9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
06.24  Sunday – Worship Program to be announced…
06.30  Saturday – Walk for Rice Fundraiser

And again, let’s continue to pray for JCC and for each other – that we may sense God’s powerful leading as we seek to make decisions about our old building and our future ministry here.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Tim

JCC May Newsletter

Greetings JCC friends and family,

It’s hard to believe that April is almost gone. It began with a wonderful Easter celebration together on April 1st. Below is our annual church photo taken after our worship time.

JCC Easter Photo 2018

2018.04.01 Easter Diaper Drive Photo - 1,398! (1)

On that day we also held a special 1-day diaper drive for a donation to the Food Bank @ St. Mary’s… as they are always in need of diapers. We were able to gather 1,398 diapers that day. The donation was MUCH appreciated by the Food Bank. Thanks Sue for spearheading this effort…. and for all of you that donated diapers!

Here are a few details and dates to keep in mind for the month of May! Please take special notice of our church retreat planned for Saturday, May 19th, at Hood Canal (Peter & Joyce’s place).

MAY HAPPENINGS

05.06  Sunday Worship – Pastor Tim preaches
05.12  Saturday – Church Cleaning Day (9:00 a.m. start)
05.13  Sunday Worship – Shun Takano preaches
05.19  Saturday – Church Retreat at Hood Canal
05.20  Sunday Worship – Pastor Tim preaches
05.25  Friday – JCC Volunteer team at St. Mary’s Food Bank (9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
05.27  Sunday Worship – Pastor Tim preaches

Let’s continue to pray and support each other as we seek to be the hands and feet of Christ. Pray too for the many needy and homeless around our church, and that God may help us to know how to reach out to them in wisdom and love.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Tim

Easter Celebration!

Easter Celebration Tomorrow!
Greetings JCC family and friends! We trust that you’ve had a thoughtful and meaningful Holy Week. We want to invite all of you to our Easter celebration tomorrow morning.
9:00 Breakfast together
10:00 Easter Worship
11:00 Fellowship
Following worship there will be an all-church photo, coffee, tea, more goodies, and something for the children!

April Schedule:

April 1    Easter Worship (Pastor Tim preaches)
April 2    Homeless Feeding / Lord’s Table (MON, 7:30 p.m.)
April 8    Worship (Shun Takano preaches)
April 14  Discussion on solution for old building (SAT, 9:00 a.m.)
April 15  Worship (Pastor Tim preaches)
April 22  Worship (Richard Nakamura preaches)
April 27  Foodbank @ St. Mary’s Outreach (FRI, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
April 29  Worship (Craig Niiyama preaches)

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow!

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Tim

JCC News – (March 6, 2018)

As we’re moving through the 6 weeks of Lent and preparing for Easter we’ve been considering several themes of the season during our worship services:

  • Walking with Jesus toward Jerusalem…
  • Praying, fasting, and giving
  • Staying connected to the true vine – Jesus

My prayer is that each of us at JCC will be able to take some extra time during this season to consider our personal relationship with Christ. A deepening of that bond leads toward new relationships with others as well.

Important All-Church Discussion about our Old Building

We want to invite everyone to an important gathering this coming Saturday, March 10,  beginning at 9:00 a.m. As most of you are aware, our fellowship hall / older building next to the sanctuary is in disrepair and we are in need of making some important decisions soon. The Fire Department has required us to make certain repairs but even these are only temporary in nature and we must decide soon how we will proceed for the future. Many options are being considered. Please pray…. that God will be directing us to the right decision. And then come…. so that your voice will be heard and your wisdom shared! We look forward to seeing you there!

Easter Celebration

This year Easter falls on April 1st, and we’re planning to have our annual Easter breakfast, worship, and fellowship time. We’ll send out more details later but please put the date on your calendar and plan to join us for this wonderful celebration of the resurrection!

March Schedule at a Glance

March   4 – Pastor Tim preaches
March 10 – All-Church Discussion on our Old Building
March 11 – Shun Takano preaches
March 18 – Pastor Tim preaches
March 23 – JCC Volunteer Team @ St. Mary’s Food Bank
March 25 – Richard Nakamura preaches
April  1    – Easter Worship!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Tim

Looking ahead to 2018!

I’ve always found it interesting that we wish each other a MERRY Christmas…. while always wishing each other a HAPPY New Year. I suppose MERRY and HAPPY are not all that different and we probably don’t need to overthink the clear distinction we always make…. outside of the fact that it’s just our “custom” to do so.

While I don’t mind either of those words my prayer for each of us at JCC is for great JOY and PEACE for the coming year. Both of these words represent a profound emotional and spiritual centeredness and reality that aren’t necessarily connected to our circumstances. In other words, whether the coming year be one of smooth sailing or exceptionally stormy seas…. we can move forward with the confidence that God has always promised to go with us. Wow! Are you feeling it?

Our final worship of 2017 happens on the 31st, this coming Sunday. Come join us as we look at Paul’s words to the believers in Philippi, to “live a life that is worthy of the gospel!” (spoiler alert: we will look at three excellent hints that will help us move into the new year.)  Hope to see you there as we join our hearts together in praise and gratitude for a wonderful 2017 – and look forward together to 2018.

Advent Greetings!

Our theme in worship during this year’s Advent Season has been   “LIGHT OF THE WORLD” and we’ve enjoyed considering this theme from various scripture passages:
  • Advent 1 – Dec. 3, “LIGHT OF THE WORLD – As foretold by the prophets”
  • Advent 2 – Dec. 10, “LIGHT OF THE WORLD – He will reign forever”
  • Advent 3 – Dec. 17, “LIGHT OF THE WORLD – As seen by the shepherds”
  • Advent 4 / Christmas Worship – Dec. 24, “LIGHT OF THE WORLD – Coming to all people!”

Come and join us for the final Advent and Christmas worship this Sunday!

OTHER NEWS… 

  • We had a great Church Clean-Up Day on 11/25 and raked a LOT of leaves!
  • Our discussion / Q&A session about the future of our congregation (#3)  was held on Saturday, December 2nd.  We had a wonderful time as we went through section 1 of the book, “Claiming Resurrection in the Dying Church” by Anna B. Olson and discussed how many thoughts and ideas from the book resonated with us and our church as well.
  • Our final Homeless Feeding / Lord’s Table outreach of the year was held on December 4th. We were able to  distribute gift bags of toothbrushes & socks.
  • We were able to send Christmas cards to two congregations in the Fukushima area of Japan – the Kawatani Church and the Sakata Gyosei Church. May these cards be a wonderful encouragement to congregations that are still struggling with the effects of the 2011.3.11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters. Please remember these congregations in your prayers.
  • facilities team has been formed and is being led by Gene Hanson. We have immediate issues for our older building that need remedy… as well as the need for a long-term solution as to how to proceed. We would appreciate your prayers for God’s guidance as we make decisions on what to do with our old building and the timing of those steps.

We hope to see you on Sunday for our Christmas worship! And please plan to stay after the service and join us for our Christmas Potluck!

Advent Peace,

Pastor Tim

JCC NEWS – (11/24/2017)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, it’s a day after Thanksgiving and I trust you’ve had a wonderful day – and continuing weekend – with family and friends. God has truly blessed us as a congregation!

Recent Highlights…

  • I (Pastor Tim) was able to make a brief but productive trip back to Japan between Oct. 23rd and Nov. 3rd. I was able to accompany one of our Bible Camp directors – from Michigan – as he visited our camp in Japan (Akagi Bible Camp). It was also a blessing to visit and speak at two of the churches where Andrea and I had served most recently, Isesaki and Shibukawa, both congregations in Gunma. Finally, I was able to participate in a gathering of all of our Asia Church leaders that took place on Nov. 1-3 in Tokyo.
  • What a blessing it was for me to be part of a JCC wedding! Bi-lan’s daughter Ai-Li was married to Reid on November 11th at a standing-room-only ceremony at the church, followed by a magnificent dinner party and dance at the Sunset Club. Our prayers and blessings continue for the happy couple.
  • JCC has continued to serve monthly (3rd Saturday) as a volunteer team at the St. Mary’s Food Bank. Thanks to all who have participated and please continue to contact Bi-Lan (our coordinator) directly if you would like to be involved. Next opportunity – Saturday, December 16th.
  • Over the past few weeks we’ve been gathering donations for those who are suffering and in need in Puerto Rico. Please consider a gift – along with our prayers. Collection will conclude at the end of November.
  • It was so fun to be together after worship on Nov. 19th for a wonderful Thanksgiving Potluck! Thank you to ALL who provided such a stunning and delicious array of food. (The Johnson family got to enjoy it twice as Larry put together special “obento” for my gang back in Mount Vernon!)
Upcoming Events…
  • While this is pretty late notice, we hope you’ve noticed the announcements in the weekly bulletin about our Church Clean-Up Day – TOMORROW!!11/25 from 9:00 a.m. for a couple of hours. Come with your work gloves and tools to join the fun as we clean up the yard and a few other areas.
  • Our next discussion / Q&A session about the future of our congregation is scheduled for next Saturday, December 2ndWe hope you’ll join us!  We agreed to use the book, “Claiming Resurrection in the Dying Church” by Anna B. Olson as one of the tools for our discussion.  We are to read the first section which is entitled “Get Up!” by our meeting.  It’s easy reading and we have a few copies of the book being passed around.
  • Here’s the most recent word concerning our Homeless Feeding / Lord’s Table outreach for December: We will be distributing gift bags at our next Homeless Feeding/Lord’s Table on December 4th. Toothbrushes & socks have been purchased, but if you’d like to make other toiletry donations including cash so we can purchase more items, please let Peter or Sue know.  We could also use your help in assembling these bags following next Sunday’s service (Dec. 3rd).
  • If you’re with us for worship, be sure to sign the Christmas cards that we are sending to two congregations in the Fukushima area of Japan – the Kawatani Church and the Sakata GyoseiChurch. (Howard is preparing those cards). May these cards be a wonderful encouragement to congregations that are still struggling with the effects of the 2011.3.11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters.
As we look forward to the start of Advent…. and a new church year… we also look forward to seeing you, exchanging hugs, loving words, and the peace that only comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. See you soon at JCC!

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Tim

(scroll down for a few pics from my recent trip to Japan….)

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The Japan Alps off in the distance as we crossed Shiga Heights from Gunma into Nagano.

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With Dave Nesburg, director of Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp in Michigan.

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Beautiful Lake Nojiri, where our family has vacationed each summer for many years.

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Tim & Dave at Shibukawa Church

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With the Isesaki Church…

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A trip up the Tokyo Sky Tree!