Blood Drive and Bake Sale

Ben Derringer Replenishment Blood Drive to help with community blood supply from which Ben is using. Please donate in his honor. All proceeds from the Bake Sale will be given to the family to help defer travel costs to UPMC Shadyside for his treatments.


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2014 Vision Letter

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

-- Psalm 121:1

Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

--Galatians 6:9

 

Dear CUP Evangelical Presbyterian family and friends,

Have you ever taken the time when you have been on a long hike to stop and take a look at the view? There are numerous trails in Brady’s Run Park that are breath-taking in more than one sense: I’m out of breath from the exertion of climbing them, but when I get to the top, I’m breathless from the view that awaits me!

This Summer marked my 10th anniversary with you as Teaching Elder/Pastor, and it seems appropriate to take a few moments to ‘look at the view’ of where we’ve come from. For example, let’s take a look at what we’ve done with the three challenges I placed in last year’s congregational meeting cover letter:

‘First, there is a greater need than ever before to share the good news with our neighbors and our children.’

We were blessed during 2013 to have a very successful Vacation Bible School, and while we faced the significant challenge of saying good-bye to our former Children’s and Youth Director Nathan (and Kylee) Bryant, we have been greatly encouraged by the addition of Matt (and Kate) Ulrich on the CUP staff. Joel Cunniff stepped in as our Interim Shine Ministry Director, and this Fall saw the largest number of kids – 46! that this ministry has ever experienced. It was not unusual for our kitchen crew to feed 100 people on a given Wednesday night.  I have heard the following comments about our children’s ministry:

This is the one place my son feels he can truly be himself.’  ‘This is the finest ministry to children I know of in our community.’ ‘We would put everything else on hold in order to be a part of Shine.’

We have much more work to do, but there are several families who are experiencing the life-changing love of Jesus Christ at CUP that receive it nowhere else.

‘Second, we have an opportunity to play a crucial role in bringing the good news to people who have never heard it half a world away.’ 

This year our congregation chose to give over and above their regular financial offerings to provide funding for 26 children to attend school in the isolated village of Fintonia in Northern Sierra Leone.  We are a part of an initiative involving other area EPC churches that are bringing about the first schooling and sharing of the gospel through pastors that this community has EVER received. In addition, Fintonia is positioned to provide a gospel witness to entire TRIBES – the Fula and the Susa – who have never had a church in their midst.  Currently 180 children are receiving an education, and 60-80 children and adults are coming to hear about Jesus Christ each Sunday from Pastors Dominic and Ruth. That a church our size has this kind of role to play in the Great Commission of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20) is awe-inspiring.

‘Third, we are a part of a Denomination that is growing and transforming before our eyes.’

As I’ve mentioned to you before, when we joined the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in April 2009, we were the first church in Beaver County to be a part of this family, and it was not unusual to drive 7 or 8 hours to be a part of a Presbytery meeting. Since then, dozens of churches in our region have joined the EPC, and we are a part of a new Presbytery of the Alleghenies, and will host a meeting that will likely have close to 200 attendees on February 21-22.  We have found faithful, intelligent, gracious partners for retreats, mission work, and ideas for reaching our communities.  For the first time in this year’s budget, we will be giving not only to EPC missionaries, but the to the local work of our Presbytery as well.

So – for the coming year – what’s next?

In a nutshell: To persevere, maintain, and develop the same work that we are currently doing.

Eugene Peterson, a Presbyterian pastor, distinguishes between at ‘Tourist’ of the Christian faith and a ‘Pilgrim.’  He writes,  ‘In our sound-byte, short cut world, it is not difficult to get a person interested in the message of the gospel; it is terrifically difficult to sustain the interest. . . when the package loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap. There is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.’

Friends, we are intentionally on a journey with our lives, going someplace, going to God, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. As we pray, worship, cry, sing, give, and learn together,  and take the time to let the Lord permeate our memories, our hopes, our motives, and our values, we will be changed – for good.

In the end, of course, nothing we do provides us with salvation: it has all been given to us by the costly work of Jesus on the cross (Romans 6:23). Yet as we respond to God’s mercy with gratitude and openness to others as he has encouraged us to do, we’ll find a joy, even in the midst of suffering, that will last longer than a day, or a year – but for eternity.

Blessings,

Pastor Scott


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April 2nd CUP Church COVID-19 Update

April 2nd CUP Church COVID-19 Update (Click link to download pdf)

April 2, 2020

Dear Cup family and friends,

In a Zoom (computer with video and audio) meeting on March 31, our Session has made the following decisions regarding our worship life together as a congregation during the month of April:

First, worship services will continue to be online only through the month of April. We will be filming for the first time in our own sanctuary for the April 5 service. Following this effort, we’ll decide if we can continue with these services at ‘home,’ or if we should go back to ‘borrowing’ Pathway church’s setting. Thank you for the positive and grateful feedback you have provided on the first two services! We are learning a great deal, and while the time and effort have been extensive in these early days, we plan on continuing to provide hope-filled, biblically sound worship services in this way for as long as is necessary.

Second, we have decided to not offer ‘virtual’ communion as a part of the service April 5.

In these extraordinary times, the EPC national office has granted permission for congregations to celebrate the Lord’s Supper through an internet service. In other words, I would lead some type of sacramental prayer over the Lord’s table (either through a previously taped service or a ‘Live’ feed jointly watched at a particular time), and bread and juice that households set aside for this purpose could be taken as if they had been consecrated in a traditional worship service. For various reasons, including a lack of availability of internet services for some to ‘we have enough unusual things to deal with for now,’ we have decided to not include communion in this week’s worship as we normally would the first week of the month. We will revisit this decision as needed at our next scheduled Session meeting April 21.

Third, Easter flowers have been ordered and will be available for pickup the weekend of April 12. I have talked with Nancy Hinzman, and we are hoping to have the flowers here and used as a part of the online Easter service, but we’re not sure that will be possible. While nursing homes are not accepting Easter flowers at this time, there may be others who would be blessed by receiving these flowers if you are not able to pick yours up. Please contact Nancy or leave a message at the church office if you are not planning on picking up your flowers.

Fourth, the church office will be closed much of the week, but we are continuing to provide food assistance as needed. Jenn Cox, Joel and myself are working from home as much as possible, but come in periodically as needed, especially in getting ready for the worship service. The church is in the process of receiving a ‘deep clean’ from Marty Cunniff. The deacons have purchased a number of Aldi gift cards to supplement the food cupboard since so many people are currently out of work. We have donated 25 of these to the Blackhawk schools to supplement their food program, but still have quite a few for those in need that don’t have school aged children. Please contact John Myers or the church office to arrange a pick up time. We don’t want to see anyone going hungry!

Fifth, please share your prayer requests, and keep our church, our community, our country, and our world in your prayers. All of us have been reminded of our frailty and our need for the Lord in these challenging days. While anxiety and fear are natural responses, the Lord is still very much alive and at work, and his love, mercy, and ability remain as true as always. The EPC has called for a day of prayer and fasting on Good Friday, April 10, but it is appropriate for us to call on God every day.

Let us continue to be in contact with our church family, our neighbors, and others the Lord brings to mind so that we can lift each other up.

Let me finish with these wonderful words from 1 Peter 5:6-11:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

 

Blessings,

Pastor Scott