Director of Christian Education
A teacher of the law came up and tried to trap Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “What do the scriptures say? How do you interpret them?” The man answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ” Luke 10: 25-27
So, what do you do on a quiet August Sunday? Most of us go to church and then spend the rest of the day with family and/or friends enjoying the day, at the beach, at a picnic or just hanging out.
Well, on Sunday, August 3, six of our youth, Jillian Brown, Heather Smith and I met in the church parking lot at 7:15am and traveled north to Avon Lake UCC to the 2nd annual Great Summer Serve. Last year we were in Canton (EOA) so it was only fair to travel to WRA this year. Needless to say, at that hour, there wasn’t a lot of conversation in my car. Worship started at 10:00, so we registered and changed into our Summer Serve T-shirts and found seats. That Sunday was right after the events that happened in Charlottesville, VA. Our speaker that morning was the General Minister of the United Church of Christ, the Reverend John C. Dorhauer. He did not stand behind the pulpit, but walked back and forth on the elevated chancel area addressing everyone in front and behind him. He spoke of his concern for one of his colleagues from the National Setting who was at the worship service the prior Friday evening and was interviewed on TV on Saturday and then quickly pulled from view for her own safety. He spoke of the feelings coming from all sides in that very dangerously escalating confrontation. He spoke of the need for understanding and tolerance. He spoke eloquently of the great commandment that we “love our neighbors as ourselves” and that sometimes that is a difficult thing to do. But that is what we are commanded to do just as Jesus himself did. I was captivated by this message and as I glanced down the row of our group, so were they. Not one of them was yawning or looking around or nodding off. Every pair of eyes was glued to the back and forth wanderings of Rev. Dorhauer.
Avon Lake, the town and the church is in an area of much wealth. All you have to do is drive along the lake and see the houses to understand. The church is quite large and the youth area is what used to be the parsonage. It was gutted and refitted to be a space for youth to hang out, play games and spend quality time. It has the latest electronic equipment and a full kitchen and a finished basement. A deck has been added along with a fire pit and walking path in to the woods behind the building. Nate, the Youth Minister, is a dear friend and was our host. We were joined with youth and leaders from about six other churches.
Games (Rev. Dorhauer joined us) and lunch were provided after fellowship time. Pizza, fruit and beverages. After lunch we were given our assignments for the day. Our group was sent to the home of one of the members of the church, Mrs. Fran Baird, who had had an accident and was not able to get her yard cleaned up in the fall. She had to use a walker. So we loaded our cars with rakes and paper lawn bags and clippers and headed toward her house. Her daughter met us with supplies she had purchased and helped us as we worked. Faith was in charge of trimming bushes, Chris and Will climbed up and down a ladder and cleaned out gutters, Heather tackled the weeds in front of the house, Meghan and Emily worked on cleaning out the window wells and Leigh, Jillian and I raked leaves away from the fence around her property. After leaves and window wells were done, we attacked a very dead grape vine and removed it from the top of the chain link fence. Luckily we discovered, at the original stem, new shoots.
We worked for about two and a half hours, collected about a dozen bags of lawn trash and posed for many photos. Mrs. Baird was thrilled, as was her daughter.
We did not have to be back to the church till 4:00, so on the way, we took a detour and stopped at a park overlooking Lake Erie. Glad we did. Someone wanted to know if that was the ocean and another wanted to know which state we were in. Oh boy! Guess when you ride and don’t pay attention to where you are going, you could end up anywhere. The breeze from the lake was delightful and our young people had to get as close as they could. So, down the steps they went and out onto the brake wall they ventured, but not too far. So fun to watch them doing exactly what we adults wanted to do.
Dinner at the church consisted of a cook-out with many sides and luscious cookies. After dinner, we worshipped together and then headed home. The ride home was full of conversation about the sermon and why we did what we did for Mrs. Baird and laughter. It was a good day.
There was some concern among the youth leaders I am connected with, in that Avon Lake is one of the richest areas along the lake. That was pretty obvious to us. However, not all of Avon Lake is. Mrs. Baird lives in a very neat and modest home on a very small lot. Her neighborhood is filled with homes much like hers. The work we did was very much like what we do in Kentucky for the folks down there. And I guess that what matters is what we did for the people in need from Avon Lake UCC. I feel that our youth were blessed because we had work to do for a lady who couldn’t do it herself. Our youth were able to put a face to whom they were helping. Mrs. Baird was all smiles and insisted on hugging each one of us. That’s the human side to what we do and did that Sunday in August. And Mrs. Baird is certainly one of those neighbors Rev. Dorhauer spoke of that morning.
XOO met for the first time last week. Eight very rambunctious boys and one girl. We need some of the girls to join us. We will be working on science experiments so come on down after Choristers and let’s learn about the Bible and science!
St. John’s Scholarship Recipients
St. John’s has been fortunate to award $14,175 in scholarships to fourteen deserving recent high school graduates and current college students. There are some scholarships which are only to be awarded to someone who fulfills certain requirements. The Swinderman Scholarship can only go to someone who has participated in St. John’s music program. The Low Scholarship is to only be awarded to a person who will be majoring in secondary education. The General Scholarship money is to go only to recent high school graduates. The Paying Forward Scholarship is awarded to an incoming Freshman for “those little extra” expenses that one encounters during the first year in college.
Scholarships are awarded on the bases of Grade Point Average, community service, and with an emphasis on church service. All applications must be complete to be considered.
Three recent Dover High School graduates have been honored. They will all receive money from the General Scholarship Fund. Alicia Gump will be attending Kent State University at Tuscarawas and majoring in Early Childhood Education. Sammy Sickinger will be attending Ohio University and majoring in Health Services and Sciences. A.J. Solvey will attend Baldwin Wallace University and major in Sports Management. A.J. will also receive the Paying Forward Scholarship.
Eleven current college students will receive scholarships. All have earned money from the Henney Fund but some have been awarded other St. John’s scholarships as well. Kimberly Deitrick will be completing her Master of Divinity Degree at the Chicago Theological Seminary next spring and will receive the Kielbassa Scholarship. Marcus Delekta is studying at Stark State College of Technology and majoring in Videogame Design and Development. Nathan McCutcheon attends Ohio Northern University and majors in Chemistry. He will receive the Milliner Scholarship. Jennifer Rufener will graduate next spring with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture. She will receive the Bear Scholarship. Abby Dryden attends The Ohio State University where she majors in Biochemistry. Paul Edwards attends the University of Cincinnati and majors in Sports Administration. Maddie Fickes is a student at the Florida Institute of Technology and majors in Aerospace Engineering. Ashton Hall is a student at Miami University where he majors in Microbiology as a pre-Med student. Ellie Miller attends Stark State College where she majors in Biology. Brooke Steiner attends Kent State University and majors in Nursing. Conner Thomson recently transferred to The College of Wooster where he majors in Biology.
St John’s has been blessed to have generous contributors to the Scholarship Fund, wise and prudent members of the Investment Committee who are able to provide significant gains each year from which to award these scholarships, and, of course, the magnificent students themselves. Thanks be to God. The Scholarship Task Force:
Sue Ferbrache, Beth Showers, Carol Huprich, Marianne Wright, Barb Lengler