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News

  • April 18, 2018

    Dear friends,

    Greetings and peace to you the name of Jesus Christ!

    Pastor Doug will be back in the pulpit this Sunday, preaching on the passage from Paul’s letters including Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3. The sermon title is “Bodybuilding in the Body of Christ”.

    Come join us and bring a friend!

    On Saturday, May 19, St. Stephen (more precisely the MPR) will be the site for an opportunity for the community to have some personal medical screenings through Life Line Screening. Do you know how to recognize warning signs of a stroke (i.e., sudden numbness, difficulty speaking, sever dizziness, loss of coordination, sudden loss of vision, sudden intense headache). Protect your health by participating in the health screenings to be held here at SSPC on May 19. You must preregister to participate … no “at the door” registration. All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. In order to register for this event, please call 1-888-653-6441 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle or text the word circle to 797979.

    Our ongoing mission for this month is to support Angel’s Way. Angels Way is a residential maternity home located in Canoga Park. They serve single, pregnant women, 18 years of age and older, regardless of creed, race or national origin, who have chosen to give their babies the ultimate gift….Life! This home is dedicated to creating an environment permeated by Christian values. They provide a program of services to meet the individual needs of the woman experiencing a crisis pregnancy which includes her spiritual, psychological, educational and physical welfare. One of the needs of Angels Way is a BIG supply of disposable diapers. So, we are asking you at St. Stephen to consider supporting this incredible local ministry through the donation of a box of disposable diapers in the following sizes: Newborn, 1, and 2. Any brand and diaper count (box size) will be greatly appreciated. We will be collecting diapers for the entire month of April. Many thanks to all who have brought diapers so far!

    The Heart to Heart Bible study group continues the 10 week study, David, Seeking a Heart Like His, led by Beth Moore. There are only 2 more weeks of this study left, but it’s never too late to learn some of the lessons about David! The group meets each Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the church parlor. All are invited to attend this study and it’s never too late to join!

    Please continue to pray with and for the Session as they seek God’s direction in all that they do!

    The monthly Session meeting will take place this Sunday, April 22 beginning at noon. The meetings are open to the membership.

    Blessings to each of you!

  • April 11, 2018

    Dear friends,

    On Sunday, April 15, we will be blessed to have Rev. Randy Lovejoy in our pulpit while Pastor Doug is away. Randy is currently a staff member of our San Fernando Presbytery as Associate for Congregational Renewal, having served as pastor of Silver Lake Community and Eastern Los Angeles Presbyterian Church. He is enthusiastic, committed and resourceful and is sure to be a blessing for our congregation.

    Thanks and praise once again to John Fluker for arranging to have Nita Whitaker as a guest soloist last week. What a gift she brought to our worship!!

    On Saturday, May 19, St. Stephen (more precisely the ROCK) will be the site for an opportunity for the community to have some personal medical screenings. Life Line Screening, a leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings, will offer their affordable, non-invasive painless health screenings at St. Stephen. Do you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure? Have members of your family suffered from these ailments? Do you have a poor diet? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to consider being screened through the services of Life Line Screening. We are pleased to host this event on May 19, 2018. You must preregister to participate … no “at the door” registration. All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. In order to register for this event and to receive a $10 discount off any package priced above $129, please call 1-888-653-6441 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle or text the word circle to 797979.

    Our ongoing mission for this month is to support Angel’s Way. Angels Way is a residential maternity home located in Canoga Park. They serve single, pregnant women, 18 years of age and older, regardless of creed, race or national origin, who have chosen to give their babies the ultimate gift….Life! This home is dedicated to creating an environment permeated by Christian values. They provide a program of services to meet the individual needs of the woman experiencing a crisis pregnancy which includes her spiritual, psychological, educational and physical welfare.

    One of the current needs of Angels Way is a BIG supply of disposable diapers. So, we are asking you at St. Stephen to consider supporting this incredible local ministry through the donation of a box of disposable diapers in the following sizes: Newborn, 1, and 2. Any brand and diaper count (box size) will be greatly appreciated.. We will be collecting the boxes of diapers for the entire month of April.

    The Heart to Heart Bible study group continues the 10 week study, David, Seeking a Heart Like His, led by Beth Moore. There are only 3 more weeks of this study left, but it’s never too late to learn some of the lessons about David! The group meets each Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the church parlor. All are invited to attend this study and it’s never too late to join!

    Please continue to pray with and for the Session as they seek God’s direction in all that they do!

    Blessings to each of you!

  • April 4, 2018

    Dear friends,

    MANY thanks and praise to John Fluker for enhancing our Easter worship service with the gifts of music and the addition of soloist Allison Sollis. These musical presentations do so much to enrich our service, and we are most blessed and grateful. Thanks be to God!!

    This week, we are honored to have Nita Whitaker as a guest soloist. Nita has sung with some of the most famous voices of our time. She sang the original demos for Whitney Houston’s standards, “I Will Always Love You”, “I Have Nothing” and “I Look to You” working with producer David Foster and Walter Nelson. She has toured with Andrea’ Bocelli as a guest duet artist, as well a featured vocalist on tour with jazz trumpeter Chris Botti. Nita has performed in her own intimate one woman shows, charity galas and corporate events. She has recorded 4 independent records, appeared in movies, television shows and multiple studio recordings. She penned an award-winning memoir entitled: Finding My Voice, started a 501c3 non-profit www.inaworldwithbooks.org, that has given nearly 5500 underserved children new books. She is the mother of two beautiful emerging stars, Skye and Lisi LaFontaine. The best is yet to come! www.nitawhitaker.com

    Welcome to our Church Image

    This Sunday, we are welcoming 5 new members to our church family. There'll be a cake honoring them following worship.

    Welcome to: Carol Kincaid, Nancy Rosen, Allison Schaub, and Terry and Ruth Young!

    On Sunday, April 15, we will have the joy of having Rev. Randy Lovejoy in our pulpit while Pastor Doug is away. Randy is currently a staff member of our San Fernando Presbytery as Associate for Congregational Renewal, having served as pastor of Silver Lake Community and Eastern Los Angeles Presbyterian church. He is a man who is enthusiastic, committed and resourceful who I believe will be a blessing for our congregation.

    Thank you to all who brought coffee and cookies/pastries for our vets last Sunday. They send their thanks!

    Home for Little Angles Image

    Our ongoing mission for this month is to support Angel’s Way. Angels Way is a residential maternity home located in Canoga Park. They serve single, pregnant women, 18 years of age and older, regardless of creed, race or national origin, who have chosen to give their babies the ultimate gift….Life! This home is dedicated to creating an environment permeated by Christian values. They provide a program of services to meet the individual needs of the woman experiencing a crisis pregnancy which includes her spiritual, psychological, educational and physical welfare. One of the current needs of Angels Way is a BIG supply of disposable diapers. So, we are asking you at St. Stephen to consider supporting this incredible local ministry through the donation of a box of disposable diapers in the following sizes: Newborn, 1, and 2. Any brand and diaper count (box size) will be greatly appreciated. Just drop off your donation in the church narthex. We will be collecting the boxes of diapers for the entire month of April.

    The Heart to Heart Bible study group continues the 10 week study, David, Seeking a Heart Like His, led by Beth Moore. The group meets each Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the church parlor. All are invited to attend this study and it’s never too late to join!

    At the February Presbytery meeting our presbytery's consultant Dr. Bob Logan gave some recommendations on how to address the sobering decline of members and worship attendees in the churches of our presbytery. The Presbytery is working on some ways of moving forward with the "strategic direction" that he gave us. If YOU are interested in hearing more about the recommendations and to discuss them and ask questions, and to think through their implications, please come to the meeting here at St. Stephen on Tuesday, April 10 at 2:00 pm. Ken Baker and Randy Lovejoy will be the featured speakers. There are other days and times and locations for these meetings, but this one will be the most convenient for St. Stephen. If this isn’t a convenient time for you and you are interested, please call the church office for additional information.

    Please continue to pray with and for the Session as they seek God’s direction in all that they do!

    Blessings to each of you!

  • March 28, 2018

    CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

    Happy Easter! Our celebration of Christ’s resurrection will affirm “I know that My Redeemer Liveth”. Our scriptures will be from Job 19 and I Corinthians 15. Come celebrate Easter and invite a friend We will enjoy music from Handel’s “Messiah”. AND, we will have a guest soloist, ALLISON SOLIS. Alison was born in Thousand Oaks, CA. and began developing her passion for music at the early age of four years old. She has been performing throughout many venues in the USA as well as overseas ever since.

    Throughout High School she has performed in numerous plays as an actress and singer and has toured with the Grammy winner band CAMILA. She has had the privilege of performing in some of the most prestigious venues such as: The Staples Center, The Forum, The Honda Center, The Microsoft Theater, El Auditorio Nacional (Mexico), Viña de Mar ( Chile ), Luna Park ( Buenos Aires), Paraguay, Ecuador, and Peru just to name a few. Alison Solis is passionate about performing and connecting with the audience! Once again, many thanks to John Fluker for making the arrangements to bring Alison to St. Stephen to share her gifts!

    .

    Next Sunday, April 8 we will officially welcome new members into our church family. We look forward to adding these friends officially to our membership.

    Our mission endeavor for the month of April will be two-fold. Since Sunday is April 1 (no foolin’) we will again collect cans of coffee (regular or decaf) as well as individually wrapped cookies or pastries. These are taken to the Vet Center here in Chatsworth (on Devonshire, one block west of DeSoto). The vets are MOST appreciative for these contributions!

    Our second mission is to support Angel’s Way. Angels Way is a residential maternity home located in Canoga Park. They serve single, pregnant women, 18 years of age and older, regardless of creed, race or national origin, who have chosen to give their babies the ultimate gift….Life! This home is dedicated to creating an environment permeated by Christian values. They provide a program of services to meet the individual needs of the woman experiencing a crisis pregnancy which includes her spiritual, psychological, educational and physical welfare. One of the current needs of Angels Way is a BIG supply of disposable diapers. So, we will be asking all of you at St. Stephen to consider supporting this incredible local ministry through the donation of a box of disposable diapers in the following sizes: Newborn, 1, and 2. Any brand and diaper count (box size) will be greatly appreciated. Just drop off your donation in the church narthex. We will be collecting the boxes of diapers for the entire month of April.

    We have received a thank you note from the Joni Foundation “Wheels for the World”. They are very grateful for our donation of $700 to their program. So, many thanks to all of you who contributed to this cause!

    The Heart to Heart Bible study group continues the 10 week study, David, Seeking a Heart Like His, led by Beth Moore. The group meets each Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the church parlor. All are invited to attend this study and it’s never too late to join!

    Join with the Session in thoughts and prayers as they seek God’s direction in all that they do! Let us give thanks for the provision God has given to us and pray for continued guidance, direction and wisdom.

    Blessings to each of you!

    easter

    This year, St. Stephen will participate in an ecumenical service on Good Friday at St. John Eudes Roman Catholic Church (corner of Lassen and Mason) at 7:30pm

  • March 21, 2018

    Dear friends,

    Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, which culminates the following Sunday: Easter! This week, we celebrate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The sermon message will be “The Things That Make for Peace” based on Luke 19:35-44. Why not consider inviting some friends or neighbors to visit us on Palm Sunday and Easter!

    Due to scheduling conflicts, our new members will be officially welcomed into our church family on Sunday, April 8 during worship! We look forward to adding these friends officially to our membership.

    The Heart to Heart Bible study group continues the 10 week study, David, Seeking a Heart Like His, led by Beth Moore. The group meets each Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the church parlor. All are invited to attend this study and it’s never too late to join!

    Something for your calendar: Save the date: May 19, 2018. St. Stephen will be serving as a site for Life Line Screening. This is a leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings. They offer affordable, non-invasive and painless health screenings all of which will take place on that Saturday in the ROCK. Information for making your appointments will be available soon, So, please mark the date on your calendar.

    Did you know we have a web site? Check us out at www.estephen.org. New to our website is the ability to donate via credit and/or debit card through Pay Pal. At the bottom of the home page, there's a PayPal Donate “button”. Simply press on that and it will take you to a page where you can give your information and make your donation. Be sure to include your name and address so our financial secretary will be able to credit you on your statement of giving. You can also use this vehicle to donate to any of our mission projects as well. These funds will be directly deposited into the church checking account. As with all credit card/debit card transactions, there will be a nominal charge to the church.

    Join with the Session in thoughts and prayers as they seek God's direction in all that they do! Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance, direction and wisdom.

    Blessings to each of you!

  • March 14, 2018

    March 14, 2018 Dear friends,

    This Sunday, Pastor Doug will conclude the series of sermons analyzing "The Lord's Prayer". Last week he focused what it means to pray on "Deliver us from evil" This week we focus on the words: "For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, Forever. Amen!"

    The NEW MEMBERS CLASS began last Sunday and will conclude this Sunday at 9 am in the parlor. The new members will meet with session after worship. They will have lunch and share their spiritual journey with session member, and will be officially welcomed into membership during worship on Palm Sunday, March 25.

    The Heart to Heart Bible study group continues the 10 week study, David, Seeking a Heart Like His, led by Beth Moore. The group meets each Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the church parlor. All are invited to attend this study and it's never too late to join!

    Something new! Did you know we have a web site? Check us out at www.estephen.org

    New to our website is the ability to donate via credit and/or debit card through PayPal. At the bottom of every page (in the middle of the footer), there's a PayPal Donate "button". Simply press on that and it will take you to a page where you can give your information and make your donation. Be sure to include your name and address so our financial secretary will be able to credit you on your statement of giving. You can also use this vehicle to donate to any of our mission projects as well. These funds will be directly deposited into the church checking account. As with all credit card/debit card transactions, there will be a nominal charge to the church.

    Join with the Session in thoughts and prayers as they seek God's direction in all that they do! Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance, direction and wisdom.

    Blessings to each of you!

  • March 7, 2018

    Dear friends,

    Pastor Doug is currently preaching a series of sermons on “The Lord’s Prayer”. Last week he focused what it means to pray on “And lead us not into temptation…” On Sunday March 11, the topic will be “Deliver Us from Evil”. This has been a great series and has put a new depth into praying this prayer!

    DON’T FORGET TO RESET YOUR CLOCKS AHEAD THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 am Sunday morning, March 11.

    NEW MEMBERS CLASS SET TO BEGIN! If you’re not a member of St. Stephen, and would like to be, here’s your chance! Pastor Doug will be leading a class beginning this Sunday, March 11. This will be an opportunity to learn what it means to be a Presbyterian, as well as a bit of the history and essence of St. Stephen Presbyterian Church. The class will continue on March 18. The class will begin at 9:00 am for about 45 minutes (until worship begins at 10 am). The group will meet with Session on Sunday, March 18 at noon, and will be officially welcomed into membership during worship on Palm Sunday, March 25. If you’d like to participate in the class (or even if you just want information), please speak with Doug or make a note on the Connection Card. We hope you’ll consider taking this important step on your spiritual journey!

    The Heart to Heart Bible study group continues the new 10 week study, David, Seeking a Heart Like His, led by Beth Moore. The group meets each Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the church parlor. All are invited to attend this study and it’s never too late to join!

    Thanks to all who brought coffee, hot chocolate and individually wrapped cookies or pastries last week. These have been taken to the Veteran’s center here in Chatsworth. They are most appreciative of our support!.

    If you’d like to be a part of our future, take part in one of our ministries or help in some way, talk to an elder in charge of your area of interest. Talk to Doug or anyone on Session! Let’s all work together to become the church God has called us to be.

    Join with the Session in thoughts and prayers as they seek God’s direction in all that they do! Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance, direction and wisdom.

    Blessings to each of you!

    Daylight Savings

  • February 28, 2018

    Dear friends,

    Pastor Doug is currently preaching a series of sermons on “The Lord’s Prayer”. Last week he focused on “As we forgive our debtors”. On Sunday, March 4, the subject will be what it means to pray “And lead us not into temptation”.

    NEW MEMBERS CLASS SET TO BEGIN! If you’re not a member of St. Stephen, and would like to be, here’s your chance! Pastor Doug will be leading a class soon. This will be an opportunity to learn what it means to be a Presbyterian, as well as a bit of the history and essence of St. Stephen Presbyterian Church. The class will be held on two Sundays, March 11 and March 18, starting at 9:00 am for about 45 minutes (until worship begins at 10 am). The group will meet with Session on Sunday, March 18 at noon, and will be officially welcomed into membership during worship on Palm Sunday, March 25. If you’d like to participate in the class (or even if you just want information), please speak with Doug or make a note on the Connection Card. We hope you’ll consider taking this important step on your spiritual journey!

    The Heart to Heart women's Bible study group began a new 12 week study last Tuesday, David, Seeking a Heart Like His, by Beth Moore. The group meets each Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the church parlor. All women are invited to attend this study and it’s not too late to join!

    Since this is the first Sunday of the month, we will be collecting coffee (regular or decaf) and hot chocolate plus individually wrapped cookies and pastries to be taken to the Vet center here in Chatsworth. During the month of February, the mission project was donating to “Wheels for the World”. In all, we collected $665.00. MANY THANKS to all who contributed and enabled this organization to provide wheel chairs to children, brothers and sisters around the world who lack the ability to participate in activities because of their disabilities. THANK YOU!

    If you’d like to be a part of our future, take part in one of our ministries or help in some way, talk to an elder in charge of your area of interest, or maybe you’d like to help start an additional ministry! Talk to Doug or anyone on Session! Let’s all work together to become the church God has called us to be.

    Join with the Session in thoughts and prayers as they seek God’s direction in all that they do! Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance, direction and wisdom.

    Blessings to each of you!

  • February 21, 2018

    Dear friends,

    Pastor Doug is currently preaching a series of sermons on “The Lord’s Prayer”. Last week he focused on “Forgive us our debts/sins/trespasses” On Sunday, February 25, the subject will be what it means to pray “As we Forgive our debtors…”

    Last week, we were again blessed to have special guests providing special music to enhance our worship experience. Thank you to John Fluker for arranging to bring this very gifted trio to us.

    The Heart to Heart women's Bible study group will begin a new 12 week study next Tuesday, David, Seeking a Heart Like His, by Beth Moore. In this examination of the "man after God's own heart", David will delight and disappoint you. You'll want to be just like him at times and nothing like him at others, If you've ever experienced doubts, temptations, losses, family problems, or personal inconsistencies, then this study is for you! Come and explore God's promise that He will never give up on you! The group meets each Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the church parlor. All women are invited to attend this study!

    The focus for our February mission project is “Wheels for the World” which provides the gift of mobility and the hope of the gospel to those affected by disability worldwide. This is a ministry of Joni Erickson and Friends, located in Agoura. People with limited mobility are often excluded from life in their communities because they have no way of moving about. Receiving a wheelchair allows them to become a part of their communities and villages, changing their lives forever. Each custom wheelchair costs just $150 to send! We are not asking anyone to pay for the entire chair, but a financial donation to this cause will go a long way to helping a disabled brother or sister or child. You may write a check payable to SSPC and mark it for “Wheels for the World”. Place it in an envelope (in the chair backs) or simply put it in the offering plate. Thank you for considering this worthwhile cause. Also, if you have a walker or cane that you’re no longer using, and would like to donate, please bring it to church and Bette will see that it gets to this organization. Thank you!

    If you’d like to be a part of our future, take part in one of our ministries or help in some way, talk to an elder in charge of your area of interest, or maybe you’d like to help start an additional ministry! Talk to Doug or anyone on Session! Let’s all work together to become the church God has called us to be.

    The Session appreciates your continued thoughts and prayers as they seek God’s direction in all that they do! Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance, direction and wisdom.

    Blessings to each of you!

  • February 14, 2018

    February 14, 2018

    Dear friends,

    On February 14, we celebrate not only the love we give and receive from those around us, but this year, it is Ash Wednesday as well which marks the beginning of Lent. This begins the 40-day period (not including Sundays) of fasting and repentance leading up to Easter, when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This parallels the 40 days of fasting and prayer in the wilderness by Jesus.

    Lent

    Lent is a time for personal reflection and prayer in acknowledging the sacrifice made by Jesus to atone for our sins. Many people find it is a time to spend in devotional reading, self sacrifice and prayer in preparation for Easter. Last week Doug distributed a list of daily readings that might be used for personal reflection during these first several days of Lent. The Talk Back time after worship for the next few weeks will be a discussion of what the scripture passages teach us.

    Pastor Doug is currently preaching a series of sermons on “The Lord’s Prayer”. Last week he focused on “Thy Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. On Sunday, February 18, the subject will be what it means to pray “Forgive us our debts…”

    It is traditional for the Heart to Heart women's Bible study group to mark the end of each study with a time of fun, fellowship, and food! So we will be holding a potluck dinner on Tuesday, February 20th, at 7:00 PM in The Parlor.

    The following week, (February 27) we will begin our new study, David, Seeking a Heart Like His, by Beth Moore. In this examination of the "man after God's own heart", David will delight and disappoint you. You'll want to be just like him at times and nothing like him at others, If you've ever experienced doubts, temptations, losses, family problems, or personal inconsistencies, then this study is for you! Come and explore God's promise that He will never give up on you! All women are invited to attend this study!

    The focus for our February mission project is “Wheels for the World” which provides the gift of mobility and the hope of the gospel to those affected by disability worldwide. This is a ministry of Joni Erickson and Friends, located in Agoura. People with limited mobility are often excluded from life in their communities because they have no way of moving around.

    Receiving a wheelchair allows them to become a part of their communities and villages, changing their lives forever. Each custom wheelchair costs just $150 to send! We are not asking anyone to pay for the entire chair, but a financial donation to this cause will go a long way to helping a disabled brother or sister or child. You may write a check payable to SSPC and mark it for “Wheels for the World”. Then place it in an envelope (in the chair backs) or simply put it in the offering plate. Thank you for considering this worthwhile cause. Also, if you have a walker or cane that you’re no longer using, and would like to donate, please bring it to church and Bette will see that it gets to this organization. Thank you!

    If you attended the Annual Congregational Meeting last Sunday, in addition to having a terrific lunch, you heard reports from Session members and from Doug on the status of our congregation. While we are in a good place for our ministries, that’s not to say we can’t be better. Is there an area of ministry where you feel you’d like to help or could put your skills and abilities toward. If you’d like to be a part of our future, talk to the elder in charge of your interest, or maybe you’d like to help start an additional ministry! Talk to Doug or anyone on Session! Let’s all work together to become the church God has called us to be.

    The Session appreciates your continued thoughts and prayers as they seek God’s direction in all that they do! Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance and direction and wisdom.

    Blessings to each of you!

  • February 7, 2018

    Dear friends,

    Pastor Doug is currently preaching a series of sermons on “The Lord’s Prayer”. Last week he focused on “Thy Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. On Sunday, February 11, the subject will be what it means to pray “Give us This Day, Our Daily Bread”.

    potluck

    The Session has called for the Annual Congregational Meeting to take place on Sunday February 11. This will be a time to receive the Annual Reports written by your leaders, as well as hearing them speak to the reports and highlight their goals for this next year. The meeting will begin right after worship on Sunday, February 11 with a potluck, followed by the meeting. You do not have to be a member to attend!

    We will address a change in the ByLaws, as well as elect one member to the Nominating Committee for 2018. The change in the ByLaws is a move to reduce the number of congregants serving on the Nominating Committee (changing it from 7 to 4). You may pick up a copy of the changes on the table in the Narthex. Copies of the Annual Report will be available after worship as well.

    The proposed budget for 2018 will be presented and the congregation will vote on the Terms of Call for Pastor Doug. This is an important meeting in the life of St. Stephen, so do plan to attend. For the potluck, please bring a main dish casserole, a side dish or a salad.

    The Tuesday evening Heart to Heart Bible Study continues their weekly meetings learning about 12 women of the Bible. The group meets in the parlor behind the office in the office building at 7:00 pm. All are welcome.

    The focus for our February mission project is “Wheels for the World” which provides the gift of mobility and the hope of the gospel to those affected by disability worldwide. This is a ministry of Joni Erickson and Friends, located in Agoura. People with limited mobility are often excluded from life in their communities because they have no way of moving around. Receiving a wheelchair allows them to attend school and church, therefore becoming a part of their communities and villages, changing their lives forever.

    Each custom wheelchair costs just $150 to send! We are not asking anyone to pay for the entire chair, but a financial donation to this cause will go a long way to helping a disabled brother or sister or child. You may write a check payable to SSPC and mark it for “Wheels for the World”. Then place it in an envelope (in the chair backs) or simply put it in the offering plate. Thank you for considering this worthwhile cause.

    The Session appreciates your continued thoughts and prayers as they seek God’s direction in all that they do! Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance and direction so that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Blessings to each of you!

    meeting

    Sunday, February 11th

    Following the 10am Service

  • January 31, 2018

    Dear friends,

    Here we are folks...it’s February ALREADY! Time flies!!

    Pastor Doug is currently preaching a series of sermons on “The Lord’s Prayer”. Last week he focused on “Thy kingdom come”. On Sunday, the subject will be what it means to pray “Thy Will be Done.” Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship! It’s a great time to share your comments or questions and thoughts about the sermon! So, plan to stay and join the conversation.

    The Tuesday evening Heart to Heart Bible Study continues their weekly meetings learning about 12 women of the Bible. The group meets in the parlor behind the office in the office building at 7:00 pm. All are welcome.

    pastor

    The Session has called for the Annual Congregational Meeting to take place on February 11. This will be a time to receive the Annual Reports written by your leaders, as well as hearing them speak to the reports and highlight their goals for this next year. The meeting will begin right after worship on Sunday, February 11 with a potluck, followed by the meeting. You do not have to be a member to attend!

    We will address a change in the ByLaws, as well as elect one member to the Nominating Committee for 2018. The change in the ByLaws is a move to reduce the number of congregants serving on the Nominating Committee (changing it from 7 to 4). You may pick up a copy of the changes on the table in the Narthex. The proposed budget for 2018 will be presented and the congregation will vote on the Terms of Call for Pastor Doug. This is an important meeting in the life of St. Stephen, so do plan to attend.

    For the potluck, please bring a main dish casserole, a side dish or a salad (sign ups on Sunday!) See you there!Bette Williams, elder of Mission and Outreach, reminds us that this will be the first Sunday of February, so we are accepting donations of coffee (regular or decaf), hot chocolate, and individually wrapped cookies or pastries. These will then be taken to the Chatsworth Veterans Center on Devonshire and Independence (one block west of DeSoto). They are MOST appreciative of our contributions!

    pastor

    The focus for our February mission project is “Wheels for the World” which provides the gift of mobility and the hope of the gospel to those affected by disability worldwide. This is a ministry of Joni Erickson and Friends, located in Agoura. People with limited mobility are tragically often excluded from life in their communities because they have no way of moving around. Receiving a wheelchair allows them to attend school and church, therefore becoming a part of their communities and villages, changing their lives forever. Each custom wheelchair costs just $150 to send! We are not asking anyone to pay for the entire chair, but a financial donation to this cause will go a long way to helping a disabled brother or sister or child. You may write a check payable to SSPC and mark it for “Wheels for the World”. Then place it in an envelope in the chair back or simply put it in the offering plate. Thank you for considering this worthwhile cause.

    Let us pray for all those who are suffering from ailments, disabilities, and frailties, whether physical, financial, or emotional. Our God is an awesome God!!! He can do all things!

    The Session appreciates your thoughts and prayers as they continue to seek God’s guidance in all that they do! Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance and direction so that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Blessings to each of you!

  • January 24, 2018

    Pastor Doug is currently preaching a series of sermons on “The Lord’s Prayer”. Last week he focused on “Hallowed be thy name”. On Sunday, the subject will be “Thy Kingdom Come”. It is an inspiring time to examine the prayer that so often we merely recite the words by rote. How refreshing it is to put a more insightful glance on those words.

    Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship! It’s a great time to share your comments or questions and thoughts about the sermon! So, plan to stay and join the conversation.

    The Tuesday evening Heart to Heart Bible Study continues their weekly meetings leaning about 12 women of the Bible. The group meets in the parlor behind the office in the office building at 7:00 pm. All are welcome and it’s not too late to join!

    Potluck

    The Session has called for the Annual Congregational Meeting to take placed on February 11. This will be a time to read the Annual Reports written by your leaders, as well as hearing them speak to the reports and highlight their goals for this next year. The meeting will begin right after worship on Sunday, February 11 with a potluck, followed by the meeting. You do not have to be a member to attend! We will address a change in the ByLaws, as well as elect one member to the Nominating Committee for 2018. The proposed budget for 2018 will be presented and the congregation will vote on the Terms of Call for Pastor Doug. This is an important meeting in the life of St. Stephen, so do plan to attend. For the potluck, please bring a main dish casserole, a side dish or a salad. See you there!

    Bette Williams, elder of Mission and Outreach, is proposing some new ideas for our outreach to the community this year. On the first Sunday of each month, we will continue to collect donations of coffee (regular or decaf), hot chocolate, and individually wrapped cookies or pastries. These are then taken to the Chatsworth Veterans Center on Devonshire and Independence.

    The focus for our February mission project will be “Wheels for the World” which provides the gift of mobility and hope of the gospel to those affected by disability worldwide. This is a ministry of Joni and Friends, located in Agoura. People with limited mobility are tragically often excluded from life in their communities because they have no way of moving around.

    pastor

    Receiving a wheelchair allows them to attend school and church, therefore becoming a part of their communities and villages, changing their lives forever. Each custom wheelchair costs just $150 to send! We are not asking anyone to pay for the entire chair, but a financial donation to this cause will go a long way to help a disabled brother or sister or child. You may write a check payable to SSPC and mark it for “Wheels for the World”. Then place it in an envelope in the chair back or simply put it in the offering plate. Thank you for considering this worthwhile cause.

    Let us pray for all those who are suffering from ailments, disabilities, and frailties, whether physical, financial, or emotional. Our God is an awesome God!!!

    The Session appreciates your thoughts and prayers as they continue to seek God’s guidance in all things. Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance and direction so that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Blessings to each of you!

  • January 18, 2018

    Dear friends,

    Welcome back, Pastor Doug. And, again, congratulations to you and your bride!

    Next Sunday, January 21, John Fluker has invited a special guest, Jeanne Martin Buckley, to sing “The Lord’s Prayer” as a special presentation. Jeanne is John’s cousin who has recently moved to this area. She is an attorney, with extensive legal experience in a variety of capacities in the courts and communities of California. In addition, she has served on many boards and community councils: from Community Foundations, Santa Rosa Symphony, a Family Service Agency, a county YMCA, and on a County Task Force on Gangs. We welcome Jeanne and thank John Fluker for once again bringing musical gifts to enhance our worship experience!

    Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship! It’s a great time to share your comments or questions and thoughts about the sermon! So, plan to stay and join the conversation.

    The Tuesday evening Heart to Heart Bible Study recently resumed and continues their weekly meetings. The group meets in the parlor behind the office in the office building at 7:00 pm. All are welcome and it’s not too late to join!

    A statement of your contributions from 2017 will be mailed out to you this month for IRS purposes! If you have any questions about the amounts, please call Susan Hoffman in the church office [(818) 360-7460], as she is the only one who is privy to contribution amounts. Susan is in the church office on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

    Jennifer Franson and John Woods will be getting married here at St. Stephen on Saturday, January 27. They are inviting the congregation to join in celebrating their joy. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Jennifer: Jennifer.franson@aol.com no later than Wednesday, January 24. The ceremony is at 12:30 with a reception to follow, including a light lunch. Y’all come!

    There are still a few Offering Envelope Boxes available, if you’d like to have one. They are on the table in the Narthex. Please sign the sheet to indicate the number on the box that you take.

    The Session appreciates your thoughts and prayers as they continue to seek God’s guidance in all things. Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance and direction so that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Blessings to each of you!

    Shannon Barry

  • January 10, 2018

    Dear friends,

    First, our congratulations to Pastor Doug and his new bride, Beth!!! We all wish you much love, joy and happiness in this new adventure called marriage! And, we welcome Beth and daughters Aurora and Julia to our St. Stephen Family!

    Many of you responded to the recent letter inviting you to participate in a group gift to Beth and Doug on the occasion of their marriage. A total of just over $800 was received and given to them in the form of gift cards. Thank you to the many who participated!

    The Tuesday evening Heart to Heart Bible Study resumed on January 9 and will continue their weekly meetings. The group meets in the parlor behind the office in the office building at 7:00 pm. All are welcome and it’s not too late to join!

    pastor

    Each January, we receive a “bill” from our Presbytery. This is our Per Capita Apportionment. The amount assessed to each Presbyterian Church across the nation is based on the membership. The combined total for this year (based on our membership at the close of 2016) is $2,508. This represents a “head tax” if you will. The funds go to General Assembly ($7.73), the Synod ($2.85), and the Presbytery ($27.42), totaling $38.00 per member. These funds are used by these agencies for administrative costs as well as for mission endeavors. For the last several years, we have asked that our members pay their own per capita, so that it does not impact our church spending. If you wish to pay your Per Capita, you may use one of the pew envelopes in the chair backs, or if you have a box of numbered envelopes, there should be a specific envelope marked “Per Capita” included therein. Or, if you’d prefer, you may just put your check in the offering plate, and mark if “Per Capita”. Thank you!

    A statement of your contributions from 2017 will be mailed out to you this month for IRS purposes! If you have any questions about the amounts, please call Susan Hoffman in the church office [(818) 360-7460], as she is the only one who is privy to contribution amounts. Susan is in the church office on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

    The Session appreciates your thoughts and prayers as they continue to seek God’s guidance in all things. Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance and direction so that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Blessings to each of you!

    Shannon Barry

  • January 4, 2018

    Dear friends,

    Happy New Year to each of you. We wish for you a healthy, happy, and blessed new year.

    Our Pastor, Doug, will not be in our pulpit this week, since he will have just been married on Saturday, January 6. Congratulations Doug and Beth! We wish you many happy years together! In our pulpit this week, will be Rev. Tina Hamous. Welcome back, Tina! Doug will begin a new, ten week, sermon series January 14 based on Matthew 6:9 -15 (The Lord’s Prayer).

    Heart to Heart will not be meeting this week, but will resume the Tuesday evening Bible Study on January 9. The group meets in the parlor behind the office in the office building at 7:00 pm. All are welcome and it’s not too late to join!

    Since this will be the first Sunday of the month, we again ask for cans of coffee (regular or decaf), perhaps even individual packages of hot chocolate mix, and individually wrapped cookies, pastries, or similar snacks. These are donated to the Veteran’s center (on Devonshire at Independence Street). These treats are greatly appreciated by our Vets, and are a small token of our appreciation for their service to our country!

    Each January, we receive a “bill” from our Presbytery. This is our Per Capita Apportionment. The amount assessed to each Presbyterian Church across the nation is based on the membership. The combined total for this year (based on our membership at the close of 2016) is $2,508. This represents a “head tax” if you will. The funds go to General Assembly ($7.73), the Synod ($2.85), and the Presbytery ($27.42), totaling $38.00 per member. These funds are used by these agencies for administrative costs as well as for mission endeavors. For the last several years, we have asked that our members pay their own per capita, so that it does not impact our church spending. If you wish to pay your Per Capita, you may use one of the pew envelopes in the chair backs, or if you have a box of numbered envelopes, there should be a specific envelope marked “Per Capita” included therein. Or, if you’d prefer, you may just put your check in the offering plate, and mark if “Per Capita”. Thank you!

    A statement of your contributions from 2017 will be mailed out to you in this month for IRS purposes! If you have any questions about the amounts, please call Susan Hoffman in the church office, as she is the only one who is privy to contribution amounts. Susan is in the church office on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

    The Session appreciates your thoughts and prayers as they continue to seek God’s guidance in all things. Let us give thanks for the provision God has given and pray for continued guidance and direction through this new year that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    May 2018 be a happy, healthy and joyous year for you and yours.

  • December 27, 2017

    Dear friends,

    Fast away the old year passes! It’s almost time for the new year! New beginnings…new tax laws, new resolutions (or not!), new calendars, and new hopes and goals and dreams!

    Join with the pastor and others in the congregation for a “Talk Back” time following the service each Sunday. Grab some refreshments and then be a part of a deeper discussion of the sermon and God’s Word!

    Last Sunday, it was great to have John Fluker back on the piano. Plus, we had the continued blessing of Joe Diblasi playing the acoustic guitar for the hymns and special music offerings. And, last week, we had very special music presented by Michael Mayo. Michael is a Jazz vocalist with many accomplishments and performances in renowned venues, with well known other stars in the musical field. Michael’s performance last week was outstanding and well received by our congregation! MANY thanks to John Fluker for arranging to have these stellar musical gifts each week. And, welcome back, John, from your tour with the Akira Takimoto Ministries in Japan.

    Heart to Heart will not be meeting this week or next, but will resume the Tuesday evening Bible Study on January 9.

    It’s not too late to submit a pledge for your contributions for 2018. Pledge cards and envelopes are on the table in the narthex. Alongside the pledge cards are boxes of Offering Envelopes available, should you desire to use them next year. Pick up a box if you’d like, but please note the number on the envelopes on the sign up sheet.

    A statement of your contributions from 2017 will be mailed out to you in January for IRS purposes! Please remember that in order to have your contributions included in your statement of giving for 2017, the amount MUST be received in 2017 –that means by December 31! Anything received after that (January, 2018) will be recorded on your 2018 statement.

    Sunday, December 31 is the last day to receive the Joy Offering (envelopes available in the chair backs). Receipts from this offering are divided between assistance to retired church workers – pastors and missionaries - through the Board of Pensions, and support for racially ethnic colleges across the United States.

    Did you know? Our worship service is recorded each week and is available on a DVD. So, if you’ve missed a Sunday and would like to hear the sermon, please see Jay in the sound booth!

    The Session appreciates your thoughts and prayers as they continue to seek God’s guidance in all things. And, as this year draws to a close, we give thanks for the provision God has provided. Let us pray for continued guidance through the next year that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    May 2018 be a happy, healthy and joyous year for you and yours.

    pastor

  • December 20, 2017

    Dear friends,

    This will be the Fourth Sunday in Advent and we’ll light the fourth Advent candle: Love. We’ll also light the Christ Candle as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child.

    Join with the pastor and others in the congregation for a “Talk Back” time following the service each Sunday. Grab some refreshments and then be a part of a deeper discussion of the sermon and God’s Word!

    Reminder that on Sunday, December 24, we will have our usual Sunday morning worship at 10 am with special music, as we welcome John Fluker back from his tour in Japan with the Akira Akira Takimoto Ministries. We will NOT be having a Christmas Eve service this year.

    Heart to Heart will not be meeting this week or next, but will resume the Tuesday evening Bible Study on January 9. The group meets at 7:00 pm in the church parlor (behind the church office). All ladies are welcome and it’s not too late to join!

    Thank you for all who participated in the Angel Tree project, providing gifts to residents at the Chatsworth Park Health Center. The gifts were warmly received by the residents and greatly appreciated. Thank you, St. Stephen, for your generosity and giving hearts!

    pastor

    The operation of the church is similar in some sense to that of a business – there are fixed expenses, salaries, utilities, taxes, repairs, etc. The reality of today at SSPC is that we are operating at a deficit each month and are being helped with loans from the presbytery. A pledge can help the finance committee project how we can best use the income resources we will have. Please consider making this commitment. Can you give without making a pledge? Of course, any and all contributions are welcomed and appreciated. Pledge cards will be available on the table in the narthex. If you’d like to make a financial commitment to St. Stephen, you may pick up a card and envelope and place it in the offering plate or mail it in. Thank you for prayerfully considering this commitment.

    Many in our congregation use numbered offering envelopes supplied by the church. Others use the “pew envelopes” in the chair backs each week. Either way is just fine and your contributions are recorded by our Financial Secretary. If you would like to have a box of offering envelopes for 2018, you may pick one up from the table in the narthex, and please make a note of the envelope # on the signup sheet next to the boxes.

    And, speaking of offering, many people find December is the perfect time to catch up on their pledge or simply make an additional contribution to the church. We welcome any and all donations. A statement of your contributions will be mailed out to you in January for IRS purposes! Please remember that in order to have your contributions included in your statement of giving for 2017, the amount MUST be received in 2017 – that means by December 31. Anything received after that (January, 2018) will be recorded on your 2018 statement.

    On Sunday, December 24, we will again receive the Christmas Joy Offering. This is a traditional offering of the PCUSA (since the 1930s). All contributions received will be distributed equally to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and to Presbyterian-related racial ethnic schools and colleges. The Assistance Program provides critical financial support to church workers and their families. Presbyterian-related schools and colleges provide education and leadership development while nurturing racial and ethnic heritage.

    Did you know? Our worship service is recorded each week and is available on a DVD. So, if you’ve missed a Sunday and would like to hear the sermon, please see Jay in the sound booth!

    The Session appreciates your thoughts and prayers as they continue to seek God’s guidance in all things. And, as this year draws to a close, we give thanks for the provision God has provided. Let us pray for continued guidance through the next year that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Merry Christmas to all!

    Shannon Barry

  • December 13, 2017

    Dear friends,

    WOW! What a wonderful treat last Sunday to have three very talented musicians share their musical gifts with us. Paulina Aguirre, Grammy Nominee and Winner shared her testimony and sang a solo, “Mary Did You Know” in addition to singing along with the Worship Team. Along with Paulina, was our guest pianist Steven Goomas, accomplished composer, writer, arranger and publisher of music of all genrẻs. Plus! We had Joe DiBlasi, an accomplished composer and guitarist in various styles. Joe played his acoustical guitar accompanying all the music and will return for the next two Sundays! Paulina and Joe will return this next Sunday, December 12/17. Paulina’s husband, renowned platinum producer, Pablo Aguirre will be the pianist.

    It was truly a blessing to have these artists as a part of our worship and we give thanks that they will return in the next two weeks. Many thanks to John Fluker for arranging this special presentation while he is in Japan. John will be back by December 23. This week is sure to be another blessed musical presentation, so plan to be there and tell all your neighbors about this wonderful opportunity. And, bring a friend that they, too, might enjoy and be blessed during this Advent season!

    This will be the Third Sunday in Advent and we’ll light the third Advent candle: the candle of Joy! As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we remember that Jesus is our Hope, our Peace and provides JOY in our daily lives.

    Join with the pastor and others in the congregation for a “Talk Back” time following the service each Sunday. Grab some refreshments and then be a part of a deeper discussion of the sermon and God’s Word!

    For your calendar, Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year. Session has decided that we will have our usual Sunday morning worship on the 24th, lighting the 4th Advent Candle and also the Christ Candle. We will NOT be having a Christmas Eve service this year.

    Heart to Heart will be celebrating its annual Christmas dinner this Tuesday, Dec. 19th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at Rosie's Bar-B-Que located at 8930 Corbin Avenue in Northridge. The Bible study will resume its regular schedule again after the holidays on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in the church parlor.

    Please return all Angel Tree (wrapped) gifts to the church sanctuary by Tuesday, Dec. 19th.

    pastor

    Several people have asked about the pledge cards which were in the narthex a few weeks ago. There will be pledge cards available in the bulletins on Sunday. Why pledge you may ask? If you are already giving financially to the church, what difference will a pledge make? For one thing, it is a commitment on your part to support the church.

    A pledge to your church is a promise to support the ministry and programs of St. Stephen! It is not a binding agreement! It just helps the leaders in the planning of our ministries.

    The operation of the church is similar in some sense to that of a business – there are fixed expenses, salaries, utilities, taxes, repairs, etc. The reality of today at SSPC is that we are operating at a deficit each month and are being helped with loans from the presbytery. A pledge can help the finance committee project how we can best use the income resources we will have. Please consider making this commitment. Can you give without making a pledge? Of course, and any and all contributions are welcomed and appreciated. A pledge will make our projections a little more accurate.

    Many in our congregation use numbered offering envelopes supplied by the church. Others use the “pew envelopes” in the chair backs each week. Either way is just fine and your contributions are recorded by our Financial Secretary. If you would like to have a box of offering envelopes for 2018, they will be available in the narthex following the service the next few Sundays.

    And, speaking of offering, many people find December is the perfect time to catch up on their pledge or simply make an additional contribution to the church. We welcome any and all donations and there will be a statement of your contributions mailed out to you in January for IRS purposes! So, it’s a win-win for everyone (except the IRS!) Just remember that in order to have your contributions included in your statement of giving for 2017, the amount MUST be received in 2017 –that means by December 31. Anything received after that (January, 2018) will be attributed to your 2018 statement.

    pastor

    On Sunday, December 17 and 24, we will receive the Christmas Joy Offering. This is a traditional offering of the PCUSA (since the 1930s). All contributions received will be distributed equally to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and to Presbyterian-related racial ethnic schools and colleges. The Assistance Program provides critical financial support to church workers and their families. Presbyterian-related schools and colleges provide education and leadership development while nurturing racial and ethnic heritage.

    Did you know? Our worship service is recorded each week and is available on a DVD. So, if you’ve missed a Sunday and would like to hear the sermon, please see Jay in the sound booth!

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God’s guidance in all things. And, pray for guidance from God that we may discern what He has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Christmas Blessings to you all!

    Shannon Barry

  • December 6, 2017

    Dear friends,

    This will be the Second Sunday in Advent and we’ll light the second candle: the candle of peace!

    As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we remember that Jesus is our hope and our peace. Join with the pastor and others in the congregation for a “Talk Back” time following the service each Sunday. Grab some refreshments and then be a part of a deeper discussion of the sermon and God’s Word!

    For your calendar, Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year. Session has decided that we will have our usual Sunday morning worship on the 24th, lighting the 4th Advent Candle and also the Christ Candle. We will NOT be having a Christmas Eve service this year.

    The Heart-to-Heart women's Bible study group continues their study, Twelve Women of the Bible, on Tuesday. They meet Tuesdays at 7:00 pm in the parlor behind the church office. All women are welcome to attend! And, it’s NOT too late to join.

    pastor

    John Fluker is away this week and next, traveling to Japan with Akira Takimoto Ministries, bringing Christmas celebrations and God’s Word to Japan! While John is away, he has made special arrangements to have guest soloists, accompanists and a guitarist give musical presentations to enrich our worship! On Sunday, December 10 we will have Paulina Aguirre who will sing and lead in singing the congregational songs and a solo on both Sundays (12/10 and 12/17). Paulina is a Latin Grammy winner, has been nominated 5 times for a Grammy award and has won several additional awards. She is a songwriter, singer and Musical Director for 2 Disney Projects, among other additional accomplishments with other artists. She is married to renowned platinum producer Pablo Aguirre who will be the pianist on December 17. (Steve Goomas will be the pianist on December 10.) And Joe Diblasi will play the acoustic guitar during the next three Sunday worship services. MANY thanks to John Fluker for arranging to have these star talents enhance our worship with their musical abilities.

    Paulina Aguirre

    On Sunday, December 17 and 24, we will receive the Christmas Joy Offering. This is a traditional offering of the PCUSA and the contributions received will go toward supporting retired pastors, missionaries, and church workers, as well as to Presbyterian-related racial/ethnic schools and colleges.

    pastor

    And, speaking of offering, many people find December is the perfect time to catch up on their pledge or simply make an additional contribution to the church. We welcome any and all donations and there will be a statement of your contributions mailed out to you in January for IRS purposes! So, it’s a win-win for everyone (except the IRS!)

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God’s guidance in all things. And, pray for guidance from God that we may discern what He has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Blessings to you all!

    Shannon Barry

  • November 29, 2017

    Dear friends,

    Let’s see: we’ve had a day of Thanksgiving, a “black Friday”, a “black weekend”, a “cyber Monday”, and now on to Advent and Christmas. But actually, these are all days that the Lord hath made…let us rejoice and be glad for each day that God has given us!

    The Heart-to-Heart women's Bible study group continues their study, Twelve Women of the Bible, on Tuesday. They meet Tuesdays at 7:00 pm in the parlor behind the church office. All women are welcome to attend! And, it’s NOT too late to join.

    Session has voted to call for a Congregational Meeting to be held immediately following worship on Sunday, December 3. The purpose of the meeting is to elect new elders who have agreed to serve: Jay Clifford and Gloria Ellis (for one additional year) and Jennifer Franson and Greg Myers (for a three year term). Below, you’ll find a brief bio of each of these soon-to-be-elected elders. You don’t need to be a member to sit in on the Congregational Meeting.

    potluck

    A reminder: there will be a potluck following the Congregational Meeting. Please plan to stay and join in the fellowship.

    John Fluker will be with us this week, but then will be gone most of the Sundays in December. John travels every year with the Akira Takimoto Ministries, bringing Christmas celebrations to Japan! While John is away, he has made special arrangements to have guest soloists, accompanists and guitar musical presentations to enrich our worship! We are in for a special treat with these musicians and we thank John for making these arrangements!

    Thank you, thank you St. Stephen congregation for your generous support of our missions and outreach projects during the last six months. Through your support, we have been able to help many in the name of the Lord. Our last project of the year is the Angel Tree. We will be supplying Christmas gifts to twenty of the residents at the Chatsworth Park Health Care Center. these are residents who do not normally receive a Christmas gift.

    We already have twenty throw blankets and even some slippers that have been donated for this cause. Would you please consider wrapping one of the blankets along with your own small gift or two? If so, please take a star from the Angel Tree in the sanctuary. Don’t forget to also pick up one of the throw blankets from the narthex. Some suggested gifts include: socks, t-shirts, small box of candy, hand cream, and a small knick knack for a dresser. Please return the wrapped gifts no later than Tuesday, December 19. Thank you!

    And, since this is the first Sunday of the month, we will be receiving coffee (regular or decaf) and individually wrapped cookies or pastries. These are taken to the Veteran’s Center on Devonshire, (just west of McDonald’s), and all contributions are greatly appreciated by our Vets!

    pastor

    Don’t forget your help is needed as we decorate the sanctuary this Saturday, December 2 beginning at 9 AM. Please come and help – there’ll be coffee and donuts. Many hands make for light work – so the more the merrier!

    Our sympathy to Pastor Doug and his siblings on the death of his brother-in-law last Sunday. Our thoughts and prayers are with him!

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God’s guidance in all things. And, pray for guidance from God that we may discern what He has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    In His Service,

    Shannon Barry

  • November 22, 2017

    Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ!

    Happy Thanksgiving one and all. Hope you will have a blessed day with family and friends! Let us give thanks for the many blessings we have.

    Pastor Doug will be back with us this Sunday. Join with the pastor and others in the congregation for a “Talk Back” time following the service. It’ll be an opportunity to be part of a deeper discussion of the sermon and God’s Word.

    Stewardship

    For the last two weeks, we’ve been talking about stewardship. Some will ask “How much should I give?” There is no “should”. The amount is not dictated by the church or by anyone. It is up to you to determine what you are able to give, and again, it is a confidential issue. Your systematic giving enables the church to perform its mission in loving, serving, and helping others, as well as meeting our financial commitment and paying our bills. Whether you “tithe” or not is certainly up to you. One way to look at it is to determine how much you feel you can or would like to give, determine what percentage you are committing to the church. Then, each year, perhaps make it a goal to increase that percentage by half a percent or more! The ultimate goal would be a tithe, according to scripture.

    There are pledge cards and envelopes on the table in the Narthex. Please pray about how you can financially support our church and consider making a pledge.

    The Heart-to-Heart women's Bible study group resumes their study, Twelve Women of the Bible, on Tuesdays. They meet Tuesdays at 7:00 pm in the parlor behind the church office. All women are welcome to attend! And, it’s NOT too late to join.

    Session has voted to call for a Congregational Meeting to be held immediately following worship on Sunday, December 3. The purpose of the meeting is to elect new elders who have agreed to serve: Jay Clifford and Gloria Ellis (for one additional year) and Jennifer Franson and Greg Myers (for a three year term).

    And, following the brief Congregational Meeting there will be a fellowship potluck. Sign ups continue on Sunday for salads or side dishes. The entrẻes for the meal will be ham and turkey. plan to stay for a delicious lunch and enjoy the fellowship and getting to know others in the congregation.

    pastor

    Your help is needed to decorate the sanctuary be on Saturday, Dec 2 at 9 AM. Many hands make for light work! Donuts and coffee will be provided. It shouldn’t take too long, but we will be putting up a few garlands and a Christmas tree, plus the Angel Tree. We should be finished before noon! Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated!

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God’s guidance in all things. And, pray for guidance from God that we may discern what He has in store for us … that we may become the church He called us to be!

    Have a blessed and safe Holiday weekend!

    Shannon Barry

  • November 15, 2017

    Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ!

    This next Sunday, we will have Rev. Ken Baker preaching. Ken is the Executive Presbyter for the San Fernando Presbytery. His message will be “Having One Tongue and Two Ears Should Tell You Something!” Welcome Ken!

    pastor

    For the last two weeks, we’ve been talking about stewardship which leads to a conversation about tithing. What is Tithing? It is making a voluntary, systematic contribution of financial support to your church. The Old Testament Guideline for giving was a “tithe” or one tenth of your income. We give out of love and gratitude for all that God gives us. For many, a regular plan for giving can help enrich life as we offer ourselves in service and devotion to God. It strengthens our faith and makes us more aware of other’s needs as we experience the joy of sharing with others in Christ. Systematic giving enables the church to plan for expenses, carry out programs, and help those in need.

    References to tithing are found in both the Old and New Testaments! And, while there are no absolute rules in the church today, it is the principle of returning to God a portion of what He has given us that encourages us to tithe.

    There are pledge cards and envelopes on the table in the Narthex. Please pray about how you can financially support our church and consider making a pledge. Remember that all contributions are confidential, known only to you and God and our Financial Secretary who records your contributions. A quarterly and year end statement of giving is given to each donor.

    The Heart-to-Heart women's Bible study group continues their study, Twelve Women of the Bible, on Tuesdays. They meet Tuesdays at 7:00 pm in the parlor behind the church office. All women are welcome to attend! And, it’s NOT too late to join.

    Thanks to all who have brought food items that were taken to FISH for distribution to local families. I’m sure the Thanksgiving baskets will be warmly received by many in our community!

    A local church is collecting warm clothing, jackets and blankets for distribution to some of the homeless. If you have some warm clothing that is still in good condition, you may bring it to the church on Sunday and Donna Wickes will see to it that they are delivered.

    meeting

    Session met last Sunday, and among other discussion items, voted to call for a Congregational Meeting to be held immediately following worship on Sunday, December 3. The purpose of the meeting is to elect new elders who have agreed to serve: Jay Clifford and Gloria Ellis (for one additional year) and Jennifer Franson and Greg Myers (for a three year term).

    And, following the brief Congregational Meeting there will be a fellowship potluck. Sign ups will begin this Sunday (November 19) for salads or side dishes. The entrẻs for the meal will be ham and turkey. Plan to stay for a delicious lunch!

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God’s guidance in all things. And, pray for guidance from God that we may discern what He has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Grace and Peace and Blessings to each one of you!

    Shannon Barry

  • November 8, 2017

    Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ!

    As we approach the time of Thanksgiving, let us pause for a moment and REALLY thank God for the many blessings He has given us! So many times, we take these blessings for granted and assume that we’ve earned all that we have and that it’s rightfully ours. The reality is that all that we have is a gift to us as a result of God’s grace and love. Thanks be to God!!

    What is a steward? One definition is that a steward is a person who manages the affairs of a household or an estate for the owner. In the Christian sense, a steward is the manager of the affairs of God on earth! Everything we have is given to us by God and it is up to us to use these abilities and talents and gifts to serve God. We serve out of love and gratitude for these gifts, knowing it’s not how much we have, but what we DO with what we have! And that can refer to finances, as well as our health, our talents (gifts) and our faith.

    Stewardship

    The stewardship of our own personal property is an ongoing process. The Bible teaches that we are to give regularly and systematically in proportion to the gifts which we are given. Giving money to the church is a symbolic act of offering ourselves in service to God. The reward of the use of these gifts is the joy we feel in serving God.

    As you may be aware, it takes money to operate the church – to pay salaries and the bills we all face. There is a long list of items which must be paid to keep our doors open. It will help the Stewardship & Finance Committee in their planning for next year if there is a sense of what our income will be. Please consider praying about and making a financial commitment to St. Stephen for 2018. Pledge cards are available on the table in the narthex. Should you wish to make a pledge please pray about it, and then return your card in the envelope provided either by mail or in the offering plate. Thank you!

    Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship! It’s a great time to share your comments or questions and thoughts about the sermon! So, plan to stay and join the conversation.

    The Heart-to-Heart women's Bible study group continues their study, Twelve Women of the Bible, on Tuesdays. They meet Tuesdays at 7:00 pm in the parlor behind the church office. All women are welcome to attend! And, it’s NOT too late to join.

    Thanks to all who brought coffee and individually wrapped goodies last Sunday. The Veterans are most appreciative of this kindness and the “Thank you card” was well received! Also, during the first two weeks of November, (11/5 and 11/12) we are collecting food items to help our local food pantry (FISH) fill Thanksgiving baskets for local families! Here’s a list of suggested items needed for the baskets:

    Thanksgiving

    Chicken stock; stuffing mix; canned cranberry sauce; canned turkey gravy or gravy packets; instant mashed potatoes; canned vegetables (like green beans, corn and peas); cooking oil; brownie mix; cake mix; canned frosting; bagged cookies; fruit juice (small boxes or large bottles). Extra large baskets that can hold a turkey and all the trimmings and cash or grocery store gift cards to purchase the turkeys would be a welcome addition to these items. No perishable items, please!

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God’s guidance in all things. And, pray for guidance from God that we may discern what He has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Grace and Peace and Blessings to each one of you!

    Shannon Barry

  • November 1, 2017

    Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ!

    Last Sunday was a very special day here at SSPC. We had the pleasure of hearing

    Florence LaRue share her gift of music and her faith testimony. Thank you, John Fluker for arranging that opportunity.

    And, thanks to all those who brought food and shared the fellowship at the potluck last Sunday. Once again, the food was outstanding and the fellowship even better. Over dessert, there was a brief stewardship presentation about our financial needs. It was noted that we fall short of meeting our monthly bills and Presbytery is loaning us the money to meet our needs.

    Pledge cards were available (and additional cards are on the table in the narthex). Should you wish to make a pledge for 2018, please pray about it, and then return your card in the envelope provided. Thank you!

    The sermon this week is focused on Solus Christus – “Christ Alone”.

    During the month of October the sermons were about the key truths that motivated Martin Luther to post his 95 Theses on the cathedral door. This is viewed as the basis for the Reformation!

    pastor

    Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship! It’s a great time to share your comments or questions and thoughts about the sermon! So, plan to stay and join the conversation.

    Many thanks to all who filled the Operation Shoe Boxes! We were able to take about 28 boxes to the collection site! Children from all over the world will be able to receive the joy packed in these boxes, and for many it will be an opening door to knowing Jesus Christ.

    The Heart-to-Heart women's Bible study group continues their study, Twelve Women of the Bible, on Tuesdays. They will resume meeting this Tuesday at 7:00 pm in the parlor behind the church office. All women are welcome to attend! And, it’s NOT too late to join.

    As this is the first Sunday of the month, we will again be collecting coffee and individually wrapped cookies, Danish, and candies! Many signed the “Thank you” card in the narthex last Sunday. So, if you didn’t you might add your signature as a way of thanking our Vets for their service to our country!

    Also, during the first two weeks of November, (11/5 and 11/12) we will be collecting food items to help our local food pantry (FISH) fill Thanksgiving baskets for local families! Here’s a list of items needed for the baskets:

    Chicken stock; stuffing mix; canned cranberry sauce; canned turkey gravy or gravy packets; instant mashed potatoes; canned vegetables (like green beans, corn and peas); cooking oil; brownie mix; cake mix; canned frosting; bagged cookies; fruit juice (small boxes or large bottles). Extra large baskets that can hold a turkey and all the trimmings and cash or grocery store gift cards to purchase the turkeys would be a welcome addition to these items. No perishable items, please!

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God’s guidance in all things. And, pray for guidance from God that we may discern what He has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Grace and Peace and Blessings to each one of you.

    daylight savings time ends

    See you in church! - That’s at 10 am every Sunday! And, bring a friend!

    AND DON’T FORGET TO SET YOUR CLOCKS BACK SATURDAY NIGHT

    as Daylight Savings Time ends!

    Shannon Barry

  • October 25, 2017

    Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ!

    pastor

    On Sunday, October 29, we have the very special opportunity to hear Florence LaRue sharing her talent and gift of music and testimony during our worship! Florence was one of the original members of the legendary 5th Dimension and is a six-time GRAMMY winning star. Come and enjoy her ministry! And, as always, invite a friend!

    Also, on October 29, we will be having a potluck, beginning about 11:45. We hope you’ll stay to enjoy such things as main dish casseroles, side dishes, or salads and dessert. Do plan to stay to share a meal and fellowship with others in the congregation! There will be a brief stewardship presentation following the meal.

    During the month of October we are preparing ourselves for October 31, 2017 -- not Halloween, but Reformation Day! That is the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed a paper to the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany -- a paper listing 95 Theses which he wanted to debate about the Catholic Church. That event 500 years ago is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

    There were five key truths that motivated the Reformation, and our current sermon series have been focused on them.

    reformation

    • There were five key truths that motivated the Reformation, and our current sermon series have been focused on them.
    • October 1 was Sola Scriptura -- "scripture alone." (1st week in October)
    • October 8 was Sola Fide -- "faith alone." (2nd week)
    • October 15 was Sola Gratia -- "grace alone." 3rd week)
    • October 29 will be Solus Christus -- "Christ alone." (This week)
    • November 5 will be Soli Deo Gloria -- "glory to God alone."
    • Be sure to join us as we explore the Reformed faith.

    Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship! It’s a great time to share your comments or questions and thoughts about the sermon! So, plan to stay and join the conversation.

    For October, our mission focus has been Operation Shoe Box aka Operation Christmas Child. Several boxes have been taken, but many still need to be returned. The filled boxes will be taken to the distribution center on November 1, so please get them to the office by then. And, remember to include a $9.00 check (for shipping) payable to Samaritan’s Purse. Once again, thanks to all who have participated. We hope you’ve found joy in giving so that others around the world can receive these with an open heart, and an open door to knowing Jesus Christ.

    The Heart-to-Heart women's Bible study group continues their study, Twelve Women of the Bible, on Tuesdays. BUT, They will NOT meet this next Tuesday evening because it’s Halloween. All women are welcome to attend! And, it’s NOT too late to join.

    On November 5, the first Sunday in November, we will again be collecting coffee and individually wrapped cookies (and candies!). There’ll be a “Thank you” card in the narthex next week for all to sign as a way of thanking our Vets for their service to our country!

    Also, during the first two weeks of November, (11/5 and 11/12) we will be collecting food items to help our local food pantry (FISH) fill Thanksgiving baskets for local families! Here’s a list of items needed for the baskets:

    Chicken stock; stuffing mix; canned cranberry sauce; canned turkey gravy or gravy packets; instant mashed potatoes; canned vegetables (like green beans, corn and peas); cooking oil; brownie mix; cake mix; canned frosting; bagged cookies; fruit juice (small boxes or large bottles). Extra large baskets that can hold a turkey and all the trimmings and cash or grocery store gift cards to purchase the turkeys. No perishable items, please!

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God’s guidance in all things. Pray for peace around the world, for comfort and hope for those seeking to rebuild their lives following the tragic fires and damages from the hurricanes and earthquakes! And, pray for guidance from God that we may discern what He has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Grace and Peace and Blessings to each one of you.

    See you in church! - That’s at 10 am every Sunday! And, bring a friend!

  • October 16, 2017

    Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ!

    pastor

    Mark Sunday, October 29 on your calendar! John Fluker has invited Florence LaRue to share her talent and gift of music and testimony during our worship! Florence was one of the original members of the legendary 5th Dimension and is a six-time GRAMMY winning star. Her accomplishments and activities are legion and St. Stephen is honored to have her share her talents with us. Come and enjoy her ministry! And, as always, invite a friend!

    Also, on October 29, we will be having a potluck, beginning about 11:45. Sign up to bring your choice: main dish casserole, side dish, or salad. Dessert will be provided. Our potluck last month was a great success with a wonderful a variety of food and offered a great fellowship time. So, plan to join us again as we get to know one another and share a meal. There will also be a brief stewardship presentation following the meal. Do plan to stay for this special time!

    During the month of October we are preparing ourselves for October 31, 2017 -- not Halloween, but Reformation Day! That is the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed a paper to the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany -- a paper listing 95 Theses which he wanted to debate about with the Catholic Church. That event 500 years ago is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

    During October Pastor Doug will build his sermons around "Five Solas" -- five key truths that motivated the Reformation.

    • October 1 was Sola Scriptura -- "scripture alone." (1st week in October)
    • October 8 will be Sola Fide -- "faith alone." (2nd week in October)
    • October 15 will be Sola Gratia -- "grace alone." (Last Week)
    • October 22 will be Solus Christus -- "Christ alone."
    • October 29 will be Soli Deo Gloria -- "glory to God alone."

    Be sure to join us as we explore the Reformed faith.

    Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship! It’s a great time to share your comments or questions and thoughts about the sermon! So, plan to stay and join the conversation.

    pastor

    For October, our mission focus will be Operation Shoe Box aka Operation Christmas Child.

    We still have some shoe-boxes available, so if you haven't yet picked up one or two if you'd like to participate. Please remember to include a $9.00 check (for shipping) payable to Samaritan's Purse and return to the church office by Sunday, October 29!

    What can go into the boxes? Special toys (like stuffed animals); clothing items: sox, shorts, or shirts; playing cards, school supplies; paint sets (water colors) and glue sticks; tool kits (NO saws or pocketknives); scissors, glow sticks, wet wipes, lip balm or lipstick (NO lip gloss), personal care items (toothbrushes, combs, brushes, compact mirrors), plastic toys like spiders, bugs, and snakes. NONE of the following items are permitted: candy, toothpaste, war related items (toy guns, knives or military figures), food or chocolates, seeds, fruit rolls or other fruit snacks, drink mixes, liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers.

    We hope you'll find joy in shopping and filling the shoe boxes, knowing that the recipients will receive these items with an open heart and an open door to knowing Jesus Christ.

    The Heart-to-Heart women's Bible study group began their new study. Twelve Women of the Bible, on Tuesday, Oct 3rd and will continue for eleven more weeks. This is a small group Bible study, led by Lysa Terkeurst, Elisa Morgan, Jeanne Stevens and other leaders and looks at the spiritual lessons learned from twelve biblical women and what they mean for our lives today. Meetings are held on Tuesdays from 7:00PM to 9:00PM in the parlor next to the church office. All women are welcome to attend! And it's NOT too late to join!

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God's guidance in all things. Pray for discernment of what God has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Blessings to each one of you and See you in church! - That's at 10 am every Sunday!

    Shannon Barry

  • October 11, 2017

    pastor

    Mark Sunday, October 29 on your calendar! John Fluker has invited Florence LaRue to share her talent and gift of music and testimony during our worship! Florence was one of the original members of the legendary 5th Dimension and is a six-time GRAMMY winning star. In addition she has been active in a number of volunteer organizations, served as author, creator, speaker, entertainer, and executive producer of a wide variety of philanthropic functions. Her accomplishments and activities are legion and St. Stephen is honored to have her share her talents with us. Come and enjoy her ministry!

    Also, on October 29, we will be having a potluck, beginning about 11:45. Rather than assign food contributions, you may sign up to bring your choice: main dish casserole, side dish, or salad. Dessert will be provided. Our potluck last month was a great success with a wonderful a variety of food and offered a great fellowship time. So, plan to join us again as we get to know one another and share a meal. There will also be a brief stewardship presentation following the meal. Do plan to stay for this special time!

    During the month of October we are preparing ourselves for October 31, 2017 -- not Halloween, but Reformation Day! That is the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed a paper to the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany -- a paper listing 95 Theses which he wanted to debate about the Catholic Church. That event 500 years ago is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

    During October Pastor Doug will build his sermons around "Five Solas" -- five key truths that motivated the Reformation.

    • October 1 was Sola Scriptura -- "scripture alone." (1st week in October)
    • October 8 will be Sola Fide -- "faith alone." (Last Sunday)
    • October 15 will be Sola Gratia -- "grace alone." (THIS WEEK)
    • October 22 will be Solus Christus -- "Christ alone."
    • October 29 will be Soli Deo Gloria -- "glory to God alone."

    Be sure to join us as we explore the Reformed faith.

    Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship! It's a great time to share your comments or questions and thoughts about the sermon! So, plan to stay and join the conversation.

    For October, our mission focus will be Operation Shoe Box aka Operation Christmas Child. The amazing gift of a simple shoe-box gift begins with you and results in evangelism and discipleship. After being collected, shoe-boxes are inspected and readied for shipment by volunteers and a Gospel booklet from Samaritan's Purse is included. Then, trained pastors and community leaders host events to distribute the shoe-boxes, which are used to bless children in need in more than 100 countries around the world. As a result of what they learn in the gospel booklet, boys and girls can grow in Christ and share with friends and family.

    pastor

    Often parents, siblings, and friends also accept Christ and become active members in the local church. Families are reached, churches grow, new churches are started, and communities are transformed! If you'd like to participate, please pick up a box or two (you have to figure out how to fold it!), go shopping for appropriate items, include a $9.00 check (for shipping) payable to Samaritan's Purse and return to the church office by Sunday, October 29!

    What can go into the boxes? Special toys (like stuffed animals); clothing items: sox, shorts, or shirts; playing cards, school supplies; paint sets (water colors) and glue sticks; tool kits (NO saws or pocketknives); scissors, glow sticks, wet wipes, lip balm or lipstick (NO lip gloss), personal care items (toothbrushes, combs, brushes, compact mirrors), plastic toys like spiders, bugs, and snakes. NONE of the following items are permitted: candy, toothpaste, war related items (toy guns, knives or military figures), food or chocolates, seeds, fruit rolls or other fruit snacks, drink mixes, liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers.

    We hope you'll find joy in shopping and filling the shoe boxes, knowing that the recipients will receive these items with an open heart and an open door to knowing Jesus Christ.

    The Heart-to-Heart women's Bible study group began their new study, Twelve Women of the Bible, on Tuesday, Oct. 3rd and will continue for eleven more weeks. This is a small group Bible study, led by Lysa Terkeurst, Elisa Morgan, Jeanne Stevens and other leaders and looks at the spiritual lessons learned from twelve biblical women and what they mean for our lives today. Meetings are held on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in the parlor next to the church office. All women are welcome to attend! And, it's NOT too late to join.

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God's guidance in all things. Pray for discernment of what God has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Blessings to each one of you and See you in church! - That's at 10 am every Sunday!

    Shannon Barry

  • October 4, 2017

    During the month of October we will be preparing ourselves for October 31, 2017 -- not Halloween, but Reformation Day! That is the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed a paper to the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany -- a paper listing 95 Theses which he wanted to debate about the Catholic Church. That event 500 years ago is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

    During October Pastor Doug will build his sermons around "Five Solas" -- five key truths that motivated the Reformation.

    • October 1 was Sola Scriptura -- "scripture alone." (last Sunday)
    • October 8 will be Sola Fide -- "faith alone." THIS WEEK!
    • October 15 will be Sola Gratia -- "grace alone."
    • October 22 will be Solus Christus -- "Christ alone."
    • October 29 will be Soli Deo Gloria -- "glory to God alone."

    Be sure to join us as we explore the Reformed faith.

    Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship! It's a great time to share your comments or questions and thoughts about the sermon! So, plan to stay and join the conversation.

    Thanks to those who brought coffee for the vets last Sunday (though I neglected to mention it in the newsletter!)

    pastor

    For October, our mission focus will be Operation Shoe Box aka Operation Christmas Child.

    The amazing gift of a simple shoebox gift begins with you and results in evangelism and discipleship. After being collected, shoe-boxes are inspected and readied for shipment by volunteers and a Gospel booklet from Samaritan's Purse is included.

    Then trained pastors and community leaders host events to distribute the shoe-boxes, which are used to bless children in need in more than 100 countries around the world. As a result of what they learn in the gospel booklet, boys and girls can grow in Christ and share with friends and family. Often parents, siblings, and friends also accept Christ and become active members in the local church. Families are reached, churches grow, new churches are started, and communities are transformed! If you'd like to participate, please pick up a box or two (you have to figure out how to fold it!), go shopping for appropriate items, include a $9.00 check (for shipping) and return to the church office by Sunday, October 29!

    What can go into the boxes? Special toys (like stuffed animals); clothing items: sox, shorts, or shirts; playing cards, school supplies; paint sets (water colors) and glue sticks; tool kits (NO saws or pocketknives); scissors, glow sticks, wet wipes, lip balm or lipstick (NO lip gloss), personal care items (toothbrushes, combs, brushes, compact mirrors), plastic toys like spiders, bugs, and snakes. NONE of the following items are permitted: candy, toothpaste, war related items (toy guns, knives or military figures), food or chocolates, seeds, fruit rolls or other fruit snacks, drink mixes, liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers.

    We hope you'll find joy in shopping and filling the shoe boxes, knowing that the recipients will receive these items with an open heart and an open door to knowing Jesus Christ.

    The Heart-to-Heart women's Bible study group began their new study, Twelve Women of the Bible, last Tuesday, Oct. 3rd and will continue for eleven more weeks. This is a small group Bible study, led by Lysa Terkeurst, Elisa Morgan, Jeanne Stevens and other leaders and looks at the spiritual lessons learned from twelve biblical women and what they mean for our lives today. Meetings are held on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in the parlor next to the church office. All women are welcome to attend! And, it's NOT too late to join. (PS, they will NOT be meeting this week [October 10], but will resume on Tuesday, October 17.

    Please continue to pray with and for the session especially as they meet on Sunday, October 8, as they seek God's guidance in all things. Pray for discernment of what God has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Blessings to each one of you and See you in church! - That's at 10 am every Sunday!

    Shannon Barry

  • September 27, 2017

    Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ!

    If you missed the potluck last Sunday, (and celebration of Doug's birthday), you missed a great time! Great food! Marvelous fellowship! Super opportunity to get to know others in the congregation … and did I mention great food! Thanks to all who participated!

    This from Doug…Thank you all for the wonderful birthday luncheon last week! During the month of October we will be preparing ourselves for October 31, 2017 -- not Halloween, but Reformation Day! That is the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed a paper to the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany -- a paper listing 95 Theses which he wanted to debate about the Catholic Church. That event 500 years ago is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. During October the sermons will be built around "Five Solas" -- five key truths that motivated the Reformation.

    The 5 Solas

    • October 1 will be Sola Scriptura -- "scripture alone."
    • October 8 will be Sola Fide -- "faith alone."
    • October 15 will be Sola Gratia -- "grace alone."
    • October 22 will be Solus Christus -- "Christ alone."
    • October 29 will be Soli Deo Gloria -- "glory to God alone."

    Be sure to join us as we explore the Reformed faith.

    This Sunday we will celebrate World Communion. This is an annual occasion on the first Sunday in October where churches of all Christian faiths around the world join in celebrating the Lord's Supper. Come join us!

    Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship! It's a great time to share your comments and thoughts about the sermon! So, plan to stay and join the conversation.

    Many thanks to all who brought school supplies for Canoga Park Elementary School. The teachers, staff, and mostly the children really appreciate your generosity!

    For October, our focus will be Operation Shoe Box aka Operation Christmas Child. More on this next week!

    Starting Tuesday, October 3, the Heart to Heart weekly Bible Study will begin a new series “Twelve Women of the Bible: Life changing Stories for Women Today”. In this twelve session small group Bible study, Lysa Terkeurst, Eliza Morgan, Jeanne Stevens and other leaders look at the spiritual lessons learned from twelve biblical women and what they mean for your life today. The group meets in the in the church “ space” (in the office building). All ladies are welcome to join! The study goes from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God's guidance in all things. Pray for discernment of what God has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    Blessings to each one of you and See you in church! - That's at 10 am every Sunday!

    Shannon Barry

    Several folks asked for a copy of the poem included in last Sunday's sermon. For years I've seen this poem published widely, but usually with the statement “Author Unknown.” I decided it was time for me to find out who really wrote it. A number of sources say that it was written in 1960 by a woman named Grace L. Naessens, but I discovered that the first printing of the poem was likely in May, 1952 in a journal called The Lutheran Messenger. The author is listed there as Ione Eitemiller.

    Doug

    "I Didn't Have Time"

    I got up early one morning
    And rushed right into the day;
    I had so much to accomplish
    That I didn't have time to pray.

    Problems just tumbled about me,
    And heavier came each task.
    "Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered,
    He answered, "You didn't ask."

    I wanted to see joy and beauty
    But the day toiled on, grey and bleak,
    I wondered why God didn't show me,
    He said, "But you didn't seek."

    I tried to come into God's presence;
    I used all my keys at the lock,
    God gently and lovingly chided
    "My child, you didn't knock."

    I woke up early this morning
    And paused before entering the day,
    I had so much to accomplish
    That I had to take time to pray.

    -- Ione Eitemiller (1921-2006)

  • September 20, 2017

    Greetings in the name of Christ! I hope you are having a blessed week!

    Potluck

    Just a reminder that we're having a POTLUCK on Sunday, September 24 right after worship! We will be celebrating Pastor Doug's birthday, as well as spending some time in fellowship with one another! What can you bring? Well, I'm glad you asked! If your last name begins with A-L, please bring a salad (green, Caesar, fruit, cole slaw, jello, whatever – your choice!). If your last name begins M-Z, please bring a side dish (roasted potatoes, green beans, baked beans, veggies, again-your choice). Each dish should serve approximately 10-12. We will be enjoying BBQ tri-tip, and dessert will be provided (birthday cake perhaps?). Do plan to come and enjoy great food and fellowship, and help Doug celebrate!

    Session would also like to work on building our Children's Church program. Currently, Eileen Elgin teaches Children's Church. However, she is not available every Sunday. Therefore, we are in need of additional volunteers to help teach on an alternating basis. All curriculum and supplies are provided, so preparation is minimal. Does this sound like something that the Lord is leading YOU to do? If so, please contact Bette Williams.

    Our “Sermon Talk Back” time with Pastor Doug will be held once again right after worship (and prior to the potluck!) Come join in this conversation with Doug and others about your thoughts on the sermon!

    Our mission focus this month is to help a local elementary school (Canoga Park Elementary School) with supplies that teachers and classrooms will need. There's a long list of items on the chart on the table in the narthex. Canoga Park Elementary is deemed to be a Title I school, which means that they do receive extra funding, but that doesn't begin to cover the costs of supplying the classrooms with needed items. So, check out the list, and see if you can help by purchasing and bringing a few of these items. The teachers, staff, and mostly the children really appreciate your generosity!

    The ladies of Heart-to-Heart will be holding a potluck next week on Tuesday, September 26th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. All ladies are invited to attend. Please contact Bette Williams for the location and/or more information. Starting Tuesday, October 3, they will begin a new series “Twelve Women of the Bible: Life changing Stories for Women Today”. In this twelve session small group Bible study, Lysa Terkeurst, Eliza Morgan, Jeanne Stevens and other leaders look at the spiritual lessons learned from twelve biblical women and what they mean for your life today. The group meets in the in the church parlor (in the office building). All ladies are welcome to join! The study goes from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God's guidance in all things. Pray for discernment of what God has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    And, let's continue to pray for all those in the recovery and rebuild stages following the recent hurricanes and earthquakes!

    Blessings to each one of you and See you in church! - That's at 10 am every Sunday!

  • September 13, 2017

    Greetings in the name of Christ! I hope you are having a blessed week!

    The Session met last Sunday, and among other items brought forth the idea of having a potluck on Sunday, September 24 right after worship! We will be celebrating Pastor Doug's birthday, as well as spending some time in fellowship with one another! What can you bring? Well, I'm glad you asked! If your last name begins with A-L, please bring a salad (green, Caesar, fruit, Cole Slaw, jello, whatever – your choice!). If your last name begins M-Z, please bring a side dish (roasted potatoes, green beans, baked beans, veggies, again-your choice). Each dish should serve approximately 10-12. In a cost-cutting effort, if you could bring your own table service (plates and silverware) that would be helpful. We will of course have paper plates and plastic table ware on hand) We will be enjoying BBQ tri-tip and dessert will be provided (birthday cake perhaps?). Do plan to come and enjoy great food and fellowship, and help Doug celebrate! There will be sign-up sheets on the round tables following worship!

    Session would also like to work on building our Children's Church program. Currently, Eileen Elgin teaches Children's Church. However, she is not available every Sunday. Therefore, we are in need of additional volunteers to help teach on an alternating basis. All curriculum and supplies are provided, so preparation is minimal. Does this sound like something that the Lord is leading YOU to do? If so, please contact Bette Williams.

    pastor

    Last Sunday, Pastor Doug invited the congregation to have coffee and then join him in a round table discussion – sort of a talk-back to the sermon. Did it touch you in any way? How did it impact you? Did it make you wonder about how your relationship with God affects your daily life? Doug would like to have these round table discussions each week, so please plan to join in – right after worship for 20-30 minutes (or longer if necessary).

    Our mission focus this month is to help a local elementary school (Canoga Park Elementary School) with supplies that teachers and classrooms will need. There's a long list of items on the chart on the table in the narthex. Canoga Park Elementary is deemed to be a Title I school, which means that they do receive extra funding, but that doesn't begin to cover the costs of supplying the classrooms with needed items. So, check out the list, and see if you can help by purchasing and bringing a few of these items. The teachers, staff, and mostly the children really appreciate your generosity!

    pastor

    Our women's Heart to Heart Bible Study continues each Tuesday, with a study entitled “Discerning the Voice of God” using material written by Priscilla Shirer. The group meets in the in the church parlor (in the office building!) All ladies are welcome to join! The study begins at 7:00 pm.

    John Fluker has written an article for the UK magazine Voice Council on vocal styling. He encourages you to read the article and perhaps it may stir your interest in singing in church and/or on the worship team. Here is the link for the article: www.voicecouncil.com. If this interests you or you'd like more information, please talk to John Fluker.

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God's guidance in all things. Pray for discernment of what God has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    And, let us continue to be in prayer for all those affected by the recent hurricanes as they dig out from the devastation left behind! And, also, for those in the possible path of oncoming “Jose”!

    Blessings to each one of you and See you in church! - That's at 10 am every Sunday!

    Shannon Barry

  • September 6, 2017

    Well, summer is behind us and we can get to the business of fall and the many activities that it brings and hopefully, some cooler weather!

    pastor

    Our mission focus this month is to help a local elementary school (Canoga Park Elementary School) with supplies that teachers and classrooms will need: White and colored copy paper (not construction paper), glue sticks, boxes of tissues, and Clorox Wipes. Teachers' lists include: spiral notebooks, composition books, 2 pocket folders, colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, sheet protectors (heavy duty is best), thick and thin tipped marker sets (washable and permanent), Sharpies (black and colored sets), write on labels, dry erase markers, and reward stickers. Also board and card games, flash cards, bingo sets (with sight word and math facts), puzzles (new or in good condition – with no pieces missing please!) Yes, this is a long list of requests, but any assistance we can give will help!

    Our women's Heart to Heart Bible Study continues each Tuesday, with a study entitled “Discerning the Voice of God” using material written by Priscilla Shirer. The group meets in the in the church parlor (in the office building!) All ladies are welcome to join The study begins at 7:00 pm.

    Every Sunday morning after worship we have a coffee time, and usually there are some light refreshments available (thank you Jan Clifford!) Greg Myers makes the coffee every week (Thank you Greg!), but it would be greatly appreciated if there could be a team who would be willing to clean up each week (i.e., emptying the coffee pots and grounds, storing them in the pantry, putting away the cups, etc, and any foods that remain). This could be a team of several who would work on a rotating basis – like perhaps once each month. Does this sound like something YOU could volunteer for? Please talk to Greg Myers or Shannon Barry. Thanks for your help!

    Please continue to pray with and for the session as they seek God's guidance in all things. The session will be meeting this Sunday afternoon along with members from the Administrative Commission from the Presbytery. Pray for discernment of what God has in store for us … that we may become the church He has called us to be!

    And, let us continue to be in prayer for those affected by Hurricane Harvey as the people in Texas dig out from the devastation left behind, and now for those affected by Hurricane Irma on that path of destruction!

    Blessings to each one of you and See you in church - That's at 10 am every Sunday!

    Shannon Barry

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