In the month of May, we in the United States of America celebrate Memorial Day. This national holiday was put in place to remember the dedication, courage and sacrifice of the men and women of the Armed Forces who have died in service to our nation.
One can trace the use of memorials, whether days, stones or ceremonies back to the Old Testament. A famous example of a memorial celebration in the Bible can be found in Joshua 4:2-9. God commands the Israelite leader Joshua to set up a memorial to mark the event of the Ark of the Covenant crossing the Jordan River, to remind future generations of what had happened there:
“Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.” — Joshua 4:2-9
In this case, God wanted the Israelites to remember his deliverance. The stone memorial served as a physical reminder of a shaping event in their history. Sometimes the memorial took the form not of a physical monument, but a shared activity, as in the case of the Israelite’s celebration of Passover and their liberation from slavery in Egypt. Communion can be seen as a memorial to remind us of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Growing up Memorial Day held little importance to me, and I would guess for many of you. It was seen as little more than an opportunity to fire up the grill, take a day off from work or simply as the start of our summer break from school. As we have grown and matured I hope that has changed for the majority of us. Today, I see Memorial Day for what it was meant to be; a day to remember the sacrifice, loss and love of so many people for the family and country that they loved.
Even so, it is difficult for many of us to reconcile this holiday with our Christian faith; especially, in the Friends tradition with our focus on peace and pacifism. Today the idea of dying for one’s country or serving a government of men is difficult for some to accept. When Paul wrote in Galatian 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” he didn’t mean that men stop being men or Jews stop being Jews. God makes us one in Christ, but that oneness does not mean we can no longer recognize tribes, tongues, nations, and peoples in heaven. If you don't have to renounce being an American in heaven, you shouldn't have to pretend you aren't one now.
Memorial Day is not about celebrating America’s military victories, or how great our country is in comparison to another. The men and women who have given their lives in conflict have done so, because they believed in the ideal. They believed that not just Americans but people all over the world deserved the opportunity to live in a free country; a country where they can worship the God of their choosing, where they are all equal before the law and where life is valued.
I would pray that during the month of May, when we take a break from packing for vacation, prepping the grill or watching the kids play baseball, that we would take a few moments to remember those who have given everything in the hopes of securing for us or others those freedoms that we take for granted.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
-Matt Bishop, Pastor
May Mission Emphasis: Goodrich family in Northern Iraq
The following is taken from a recent newsletter by Paul and Andrea Goodrich prior to their visit to the US. “Since November, ladies on the team have been facilitating a fitness class for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. We get to build relationships, sweat, laugh, and help them embrace exercise as a means to cope with stress. One woman says she feels peace and rest from her troubles, another says she yells at her kids less! Pray for these women.”
“We love making visits to those who invite us to their homes. Recently, 3 sisters insisted we visit their mother who had been in the hospital. We described to her about Jesus’ healing ministry and asked if we could pray for her. She gladly accepted and we prayed a simple prayer in Arabic. After saying “Amen”, she insisted that we pray more! I had gently placed my hand on her forehead, but she pressed it against her forehead and would not let go. We prayed and she began to cry. She said that the pain was almost gone…so we asked Him for complete healing for her heart, body and spirit. Pray for more opportunities to follow up with this family who has now tasted His goodness and power.”
“In a refugee settlement nearby, we have been privileged to be part of food and hygiene kit distributions for 1,400 families there. This has been a great way to be a blessing. During follow up visits, there have been opportunities to pray for healing and many have expressed a hunger for the Word! Pray that we may communicate God’s love and care for the recipients and that there would be more opportunities with the spiritually hungry.”
We are so thankful for the way you support us, care about us and love on us. Paul, Andrea, Lenora, Lydia, and Baby Goodrich
Capital Improvement Fund
A new line item for the church budget was approved at the April Monthly Meeting. Several improvements such as floor coverings, plaster, painting and others are necessary for our church building. Several thousand dollars are needed for these repairs and upgrades. Stewardship and Trustees would gratefully accept any donations to the Capital Improvement Fund in order to complete these recommended improvements. Any checks should be made out to the church with “Capital Improvement Fund” on the memo line.
Library Ledge – Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is coming. Give Mom a rest with a good book from our library. We have new books in our library and more coming. –Kristy Albright
Garrett Nichols, son of Brad and Marci Nichols will graduate from West Marshall High School on May 22nd at 2:00 p.m. Garrett has been accepted to the ISU College of Engineering for this fall. His goal is to become an Ag Engineer. He has been involved in Student Council, National Honor Society, baseball, cross county, basketball, trap shooting, Mid-Iowa Youth Beef Team, 4H and FFA throughout his high school years. Garrett will be recognized during Morning Worship on Sunday, May 15th.
We also want to congratulate Wesley Hammers, son of Paul Hammers, graduating from Iowa State University, and Daniel Martin, son of Mike and Charlene Martin, graduating from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, both in May.
DEEPER Summer Plans
Beginning on Wednesday, June 1st we will offer a summer program of DEEPER. Meals will continue at 6:15 pm followed by one adult class, and activities for the children and youth. A nursery will be provided. Ministry and Counsel is planning the summer session. Matt Bishop will lead the adult class which will meet in the sanctuary. Each Wednesday a different topic will be shared so it won’t matter if you missed the week before or not. Here’s what will be different: you get to pick the topic. Each Wednesday will be on a different topic and it won’t matter if you missed the week before. Submit your topics to Matt Bishop. Some already have been submitted: If God created everything why did he create AIDS, cancer, other diseases? What is the rapture? Who gets raptured? Will rapture hurt, or is it like a roller coaster? Does God hear and answer prayers of an unsaved person? Will we know each other in heaven? What does the Bible really say about same sex attraction, transgender and everything else in the news? A great opportunity for discussion and digging into how we apply the Bible to the world we live in today. Plan to join us for DEEPER this summer!
Young Friends Camps – June 2016
Little Fry K-2nd** Cost: $235
(Adult & Child)
$110 for additional youth
Jr/Sr High Camp 7th-12th**
Young Adult Weekender
Details & prices will be available soon
**Grade just completed
Early bird discount of $25 if registered before May 13th. On-line registration is available NOW at iaym.org/events
Please let Jo Macy or our Pastor, Matt Bishop,
know if you plan to attend camp by May 13th.
USFWI/Quaker Men International
The USFWI/QMI 2016 Triennial Conference will be held at the Marriott Hotel, 1200 Collins Road NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Thursday, July 7th thru Sunday, July 10. Conference registration is $375 per person prior to May 14th. Registration includes all meals. The hotel is $105 per night. Daily registration is also available. You may register online at www.usfwi.org and also see the full conference schedule, with guest speakers, prayer meetings, Bible studies, tours, and mission workshops.
Ladies of Liberty USFW will meet at Kay Feltz’s home on Thursday, May 19th at 7:00 p.m. Members will be sharing about the books on next year’s reading course list.
Memorial Observance, May 29th
During Morning Worship on Sunday, May 29th there will be a short observance of those veterans who have given their lives in the service of our country. Please give names of those service men or women to Pastor Matt or email them to the church.
Deep Sea Discovery VBS
At Deep Sea Discovery, kids dive into God’s Word to see how He has been with His people every step of the way. Hands-on service projects and sea science will help kids experience a VBS adventure like no other! Mark your calendars and plan to join us the evenings of July 17-21. The closing program will be held July 22nd. Dive in and grow in God’s Word with us this summer! Josie Evertsen and Dani Juncker will be co-directors for our VBS and will be seeking lots of volunteers soon.
Youth Mission Trip - July 24- 29, 2016
Please keep the 9 youth and 3 adults from BLFC who will be going to South Dakota this summer on the youth mission trip.
Your Recipes Needed!!!
Bangor Liberty Friends Church
Building through 2016 and Beyond
Please submit through e-mail or give (hand delivered or placed in church box) written/typed copies of several of your best home-cooked recipes for the 2016 Edition of the Bangor Liberty Friends Church Cookbook to:
Karen Hammers, Leah Higgins or Mollee Patten or e-mail to Karen Hammers at: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Appetizers & Beverages
*Breads & Breakfast
*Candies & Snacks
*Cookies & Bars
*Desserts & Pies
*Meats & Meat Casseroles
*Soups, Salads, & Dressings
*Vegetables & Side Dishes
Remember In Prayer
John Lane’s Family
Mac & Berny McDonald, Co-Directors
of Mesquakie Friends Church at Tama, IA as they
build relationships throughout the community; for
physical & spiritual strength, energy & endurance;
for God’s guidance & direction; for protection
against spiritual warfare, for financial support.
Youth Mission Trip, July 24-29, 2016
Vacation Bible School, July 17-21, 2016
Planning for the 100th Anniversary Celebration of
our church building, October 1, 2016
HOC MEAL REPORT
On April 28, BLFC provided a filling meal of roast beef and potato gravy on biscuits, green beans with bacon, mixed fruit cup, leftover pasta salad, raw carrots with ranch dressing, celery with peanut butter, chocolate cake, maple and bacon cookie bars and Hy-Vee pies along with drinks to 55 guests.
Thanks to: Kris & Amber, Bob & Veronica, Blake & Alicia, Ann & Brent, Neil & Peg, James & Sharon, Bill & Rosalee who donated food or funds; Betty, Vi, Darla, Neil, Peg, Ann N who helped in the kitchen along with a new friend and helper, originally from Laos. Our next meal night is Thursday, May 26.
Thanks to all of the men and women who have been helping with the removal of a number of items, old paneling and the suspended ceilings from the back sanctuary room, the old office and the west entryway in preparation for the restoration of the plaster walls and ceilings. This work is one of several projects being done to ready our for the 100th anniversary celebration of our Church building.