Cup church is currently involved in a ministry to the village of Fintonia, an isolated village in the northern reaches of Sierra Leone, West Africa. Fintonia is cut off from the rest of the country during the rainy season (three months of the year), and faces may economic, educational, and spiritual challenges. Yet God is at work!

The EPC Presbytery of the Alleghenies has adopted Sierra Leone in an initiative to bring the gospel to completely unreached ‘people groups’. Fintonia is home to several tribes, including the Susu and Fulani people, who are considered to be two unreached tribes. In February 2016, Pastor Scott had the privilege of baptizing, along with in-country pastor Dominic Margai some of the first believers of the Susu people.

Partnering with the Christian educational ministry Edunations, Cup and several other area EPC churches are planting a church staffed with indigenous pastors, and providing funding for children to go to school – most for the first time. In addition, water wells are being drilled close to the school to provide an easy way for girls to bring fresh water for their families; without these wells, most girls would not be allowed to take time from their household chores to receive an education.

Schooling provides an open door to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, and the message of God’s love and care is receiving a warm response in this overwhelmingly Muslim and Secret Society setting. This remarkable partnership of churches is providing an opportunity us to take part in cutting-edge mission work in the 21st century. Pastor Scott took his fifth trip to Sierra Leone in March 2017, and was made an honorary chief in the village on his last visit! He is considered to be the first Anglo to spend the night in the community.

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