After a summer to rest and recharge, this time of the year is full of new beginnings as we prepare to return to the busyness of life. As the summer draws to a close, our children and grandchildren begin a new school year with great anticipation. It’s an opportunity to start anew, with a clean slate and with all the wonderful intentions and plans of both parents and their children who are trying to make it the best school year possible.
If you are connected to social media, you might have noticed that the start of a new school year floods Facebook and Instagram feeds more and more every year. It is very common, and almost obligatory, to post pictures of your children on the first day of school. In these pictures, many are holding a sign for their particular grade. While there is the classic, homemade, no fuss sign that launched the trend, the signs have become more and more creative and intricate over the years. Not surprisingly, Pinterest has thousands of boards of pins with free downloads and ideas for signs. “Want to be that Instagram mom? Try our printable back to school signs” reads one.
When my daughters were in pre-school, we took pictures with homemade signs, but as the years go on, it seems we are lucky to get out of the door on time with teeth brushed and hair combed. This year, we started a new tradition of going to Krispie Kreme for a healthy breakfast of hot and fresh doughnuts before walking to school on their first day. Not quite “mother of the year” just yet.
At church, the Christian Education and Hospitality committees have been working hard to get ready for a new Sunday School year as well. Our enrollment in our children’s classes, particularly in our younger grades, has nearly doubled from last year at this time, which is certainly something to celebrate.
If you have been considering getting more involved in church, Sunday School is a wonderful way to start. Where else do children and adults have the opportunity to build positive friendships while deepening their knowledge and faith in God? Where else can one be blessed with the gifts and devotion of spiritual leaders like Susan Tucker, Pam Cooley, Lea Fischbach, George Lunger, Judy Robbins, Hume Morris, Bill Jewell, Deborah Wade, Jim Jackson, Barry Ensign-George, and Katherine Trentham?
In the spirit of exciting new beginnings and fresh starts, we hope those of all ages will join us on September 11th at 9:30 am in the Fellowship Hall for Rally Day. We will kick of the new year with a barnyard theme based around Psalm 148- “‘All Creatures Great and Small’ Praise God, our Creator.” We will also launch our mission project for the children’s Sunday School classes by supporting Heifer International. A charity almost 70 years old, Heifer International seeks to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for food and income through agricultural training and providing livestock to those in need. The animals gifted provide food, a reliable income and promote self sufficiency. We hope working toward purchasing a goat, cow, sheep or pig will be a fun way to experience the rewards of giving, and promote a culture of good stewardship of our time, talent and treasure.
We hope you will consider sharing your creative energy, imagination and knowledge with us this fall as we mark this new beginning in the life of our church family. With your help, we can make it the best Sunday School
In hope and prayer,
Sunday School Classes:
PreK/K Sunday School Class: Susan Tucker, Pam Cooley and Tara Reck
Grades 1-3: Lea Fischbach and George Lunger
Grades 4-6: Judy Robbins and Hume Morris
Middle School and High School: Bill Jewell (meets at PICNIC restaurant)
Adult Issues Class (Meets in Library)
The Issues Class involves a round table discussion of current events and relating them to our faith. The format varies from week to week. On Current Events Sunday we discuss newspaper articles (usually forwarded to the group before class). On Stew Pot Sunday we discuss matters that we have been "stewing" about the previous week. On occasion we have an interesting speaker or watch and discuss a video. It is a very informal atmosphere. Come every Sunday or once in a blue moon.
Exploring the Faith Class (Meets in the Chapel)
The Exploring the Faith class gathers to pursue a deeper understanding of Christian faith, seeking to live the faith more fully. The class does so by exploring the Bible and Presbyterian statements of the faith. Each week's discussion offers opportunity for questions to be asked, insights to be shared, growing faith to be affirmed. You are invited to come and explore!
Parents Class (Meets in the Meeting Room)
Through book studies and discussion, our newest class for parents of younger children will focus on parenting challenges of the 21st century in the context of our faith. This year, we will be starting with the book “Available Hope: Parenting, Faith and a Terrifying World” by Julie Richardson.
Sunday School Teacher Needed
We are still in need of a second teacher for the middle school and high school classes. Please see Tara Reck or Nina McMahon, chair of the Christian Education Committee, if you are interested in joining the team.
Bread Needed for World Communion Sunday
World Communion Sunday, which will be celebrated on October 4th, reminds us that although we may worship differently and even break different breads, we are all one in Jesus Christ. As a way to visualize this, we will invite the children of our church to bring various kinds of bread from around the world to the communion table during worship. If you are willing to bake bread (or buy from a nearby bakery) made from recipes from Africa, the Caribbean, South America, China, Japan, India, Middle East, Europe, or other parts of the world, please email worship chair, Kathryn Marino, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would use the bread in the service and then would enjoy it as an after worship refreshment. Thanks in advance for your help with this endeavor.
The Fall Brush Arbor Meeting - September 4, 2016
Anchorage Presbyterian Church will worship under the trees on the banks of Goose Creek in the Amphitheatre just off the Anchorage Trail. Worship al fresco, in a spot of simple, natural beauty
which offers an awesome experience.
Service begins at 11:00 a.m. Gather at the church at 10:30 a.m.
Golf carts will be available to transport worshipers to the Amphitheatre.
APC Members Doing Mission in the World
“I Had a Great Summer”
I had a lot of things planned for the summer, but it wasn’t an auspicious start. In June, my wife Susan and I and another couple found ourselves queued up at the airport with 8 giant suitcases – 400 pounds of medical supplies and equipment – and our personal clothing and necessities stuffed in carry-on bags, anxiously awaiting a flight that would many hours later get us to Tanzania, Africa, only to find our first leg of the trip had been cancelled. There followed an overnight drive to Philadelphia stuffed into a Ford Explorer, some issues with cancelled tickets, passport and visa concerns, interminable flights in economy class, a night in Dar-Es-Salaam, a flight in a puddle jumper and a long van ride over awful roads. We eventually arrived at the Igoda Children’s Village in Mufindi, mostly unscathed, but wondered what we had gotten into this time.
Just to get the geography right, Tanzania is on the east coast of Africa. It shares a border with Kenya and is generally known for the great Serengeti animal migration around its northern Kenyan border. The Mufindi district is in the southwest part of Tanzania and the Mufindi orphanage where we were staying is in the mountain region, over 6,000 feet elevation.
Our mission group was Susan and me and 9 other folks -- 4 doctors, 4 students and John Stokes, a member of Susan’s Habitat construction team who is married to one of the doctors. The trip was organized by Dr. Bill Smock, who takes a team of doctors, nurses, and students from the UL Medical School to the orphanage once or twice a year. Dr. Smock and I are on the board of Supplies Over Seas (SOS), hence my connection to this man’s amazing gift of time and talent to the orphanage. The 1100 pounds of medical supplies we carried in came from SOS, for a donation of $50 from each of us.
The primary purpose of the trip was to provide medical services to the orphanage and surrounding medically underserved villages in the Mufindi district. Susan, John and I went along to see if we could provide some practical construction help to the orphanage facilities. We did that, and also worked in the pharmacy one day, which was a bit intimidating. To our knowledge, there were no adverse results from our efforts at dispensing medications.
The orphanage, which has grown over time to become Igoda Children’s Village, got its start in 2005 when a couple of British expats, Geoff and Vicky Fox, formed Foxes Community and Wildlife Conservation Trust, a Tanzanian non-governmental organization (Foxes NGO) with the aim to provide shelter, sustenance, education, and medical care for orphans and foster families in Mufindi, to curtail the spread of HIV/AIDS, to teach life skills and to create hope and opportunities for future generations. It’s a lofty goal, but they go after it with a vengeance. They firmly believe in empowering local leaders, so other than senior management, 100% of their staff is Tanzanian.
The senior management is provided by Jenny Peck and Geoff Knight, an amazing, delightful young American couple with 4 kids of their own. They operate the orphanage and oversee and provide direction to the three branches of their work: Vulnerable Childcare, Healthcare and Education. Their projects reach out into the small villages throughout the entire Mufindi district. In their free time, Geoff sings and picks the banjo while Jenny plays the viola. It’s a joyous place to be in the midst of a heartbreaking reality.
Tanzania in general, and this rural, isolated area in particular, has always struggled with poverty. But HIV/AIDS was a game changer. The prevalence of migratory labor, the cultural norm of polygamy, a vulnerable population of young women desperately seeking a means of survival, and soldiers returning from war provided a perfect breeding ground for the virus, which was made worse by lack of education and a culture of silence and disgrace for those afflicted. Add to that a complete lack of any testing or treatment facilities within 50 kilometers before 2007. The result was mass mortality of adults, creating a crisis of collapse of the family system. The elderly and children were left with few to care for them.
Approximately 44% of the population of area around the Children’s Village (including children) is HIV positive. It was even worse earlier in the pandemic. Put your mind around those numbers for a minute. It was into this breach that the Fox NGO and Jenny and Geoff stepped.
In this short article I cannot began to describe all that they do to provide food, shelter, mentoring, education and health care, not only to the children under their charge, but, to children and adults throughout the entire Mufindi district. I urge you to take a few minutes and visit their website, http://www.mufindiorphans.org. You will see their programs seek to involve whole communities in improving the lives of the vulnerable. It is charitable work at its best.
Briefly, on site they have 6 homes; each houses about 10 kids, aged 1 or 2 up to 17 or 18. The houses separate the kids by age and after about 9 by gender. The houses are situated on the 50 acre site in a manner to resemble, as much as possible, a typical village in the Mufindi district. This is important for they want the orphanage to be fully integrated in the community.
Most all of the children have lost at least one parent to AIDS and the other children come from some abusive family situation. The orphanage provides pre-school and kindergarten education using the Montessori system. The pre-school and kindergarten schools are open to and are attended by children from the surrounding community, and they also provide training for teachers in other preschools. . Older children attend public schools. Only about 5% of Tanzanian children complete secondary education. Jenny and Geoff are working hard to change that, and Fox NGO is building a dormitory on the premises of a public secondary school to house girls, because it is too dangerous for them to travel long treks to school each day on foot. The orphanage also provides vocational training in sewing and basket weaving. A new vocational training building for carpentry and other training programs is under construction now at the Children’s Village.
Dr. Smock and his medical team saw patients at the Children’s Village clinic and other rural village clinics. In total they treated over a 1000 patients during their visit. Many of the folks walked several miles to see the only doctor they will likely see for many months, always dressed in their best clothes. While many of the patients were actually pretty healthy, some suffered from significant medical conditions. The doctors and students put in long hard days to deliver some extraordinary medical care. Dee Wade has often said that one of the most humbling and serving things one can do is to wash someone else’s feet. Well, the students got to wash the feet of several folks with Mossy Foot and they did not blanch, though the feet were terribly disfigured and smelled something awful (Google it, you will see). Dee, you would have been proud of them.
On our last day, Geoff and Jenny reviewed with the doctors the notes on each patient in an effort to ensure that there would be follow up to see that medicine prescribed was taken, and renewed, and to arrange for follow up medical care where both necessary and possible. They are very serious about seeing that follow up care is provided whenever possible. Health and social service workers recruited in each village see to it. Funds that the medical students making the trip are required to raise are allocated to selected cases for additional treatment.
Susan, John and I were able to start and complete some construction projects and leave some advice on others. The rainy season is a terrible challenge for them. We dug a trench to divert water away from the clinic (I like to say we used backhoes - their hoes, our backs) and we constructed steps up the side of a hill, steps up the porch of the clinic and a sidewalk along the kindergarten school to prevent standing water. In all of these, local folks worked right along with us. We were not able to install needed gutters for lack of supplies, but left instructions. Also left some instructions that we hope will alleviate some significant kitchen stove smoke problems.
There is so much more that can be done. For instance, we have pledged to collect 1000 pairs of readers and 1000 pairs of polarized sunglasses (children and adult) to go back with the group who goes next year. Jenny and Geoff asked for help constructing a new playground for the orphanage, and we are in the process of investigating the cost and the logistics of doing that next year as well. There may be opportunities for Anchorage Presbyterian Church to partner with us in the future, whether it be sponsoring the playground, donating to help defray the costs of needed medications or follow up treatment not available in the area. Stay tuned for more information about that possibility.
Once we left the village, some students went to climb Kilimanjaro, but we visited two photo safari camps so Susan could commune with the animals. I sat on the deck of our tent in the mornings and evenings and listened to the birds and hippos and enjoyed one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I have ever been.
A great trip.
I got back in Louisville just in time to go on a drive/camping/bike trip to Washington, DC with 8 neat Cabbage Patch kids. The kids were mostly middle schoolers, about 13 or 14 years old. We started out by driving to the New River Gorge in West Virginia and taking a walking tour on the bridge via a gangway under the bridge pavement. The bridge is the third largest arch bridge in the US and is 862’ above the river. I tried not to look down. Once a year they close the bridge to all motor traffic and people spend the day bungee jumping and parachuting off the bridge. They must be nuts.
We then drove to Cumberland, Maryland and from there biked about 100 miles (25 miles a day) toward Washington. We slept in tents, hard on an old man’s back. We biked down the Cumberland and Ohio Canal right-of-way. The right-of-way is well maintained and is pretty much flat to downhill the entire way, the perfect trail for young kids and old men. We took the kids into DC Thursday evening and toured many of the monuments until well past my bed time and on Friday toured some of the Smithsonian museums and other landmarks. The kids had a great time and so did the adults (except for sleeping on the ground). These are great kids, they get along with each other, are responsible, attentive, and take direction, but at the end of the day they are also just kids who know how to have fun when given the opportunity. Oh, and did I mention that I got back from that trip just in time to go to Canada on a 10 day fishing trip?
I had a great summer.
Skating Party for Anchorage Covenant Churches
Anchorage Presbyterian Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and
Epiphany Catholic Church
Sunday, September 25
9851 LaGrange Road
Cost of Admission is a donation to Eastern Area Community Ministries. Their current wish list includes: diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, etc, jelly or canned fruit. Please no green beans or corn.
(Boxes will be marked and provided on site for collection of items).
Come join the fun and skate for door prizes! All middle and high schoolers are invited to meet at 5 pm at El Tarasco before the skating party. We will meet the youth from St Lukes, with whom we plan to partner with throughout the year. After eating at El Tarasco, we will walk over to Champs to skate. We thank Champ’s for providing an opportunity for us to participate in an interdenominational event and serve our community!
From our Church Family: Kelsey Doughten, Jane Jenkins, Rich Revell, Donna Stinson-Logan, Brian Rublein, Dotty Hockenbury, Carlene Clay, Mary Dan Haney, Herb & Mary Bell, Lindy Estep, Sue & Dick Pollock, Starr Kaiser, Nicki St. Ledger, Judy Pearsall
Extended Family and Friends:
Frances Harryman (mother of John Harryman), Judy Farmer (Mary Jo Davis’ sister), Bill and Celia Haynes (friends of Mary Witherspoon), Erik Wolf (friend of Terry & Nina McMahon), Bellewood Children, Presbyterian Missionaries Worldwide
Active Military: Erin Jewell Brown, Hunter Wagner, Michael Gaar, David McGarvey, Tyler Ross, Alexander Vestal
The people of Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, Sudan, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq
1 Judy Curry
5 Glen Bayne
6 Robert Kaebnick & Joyce Walker
7 Shirley Woodward
9 Valerie Holcomb
13 Anne Durham & Skye Tarr
14 Tucker Edwards
17 Marsh Biven & Ben Williams
18 Cindy Albright-Parrish, Sheir Metheny & Matt Trentham
19 Ryan Galloway & Steven Kaebnick
20 Dotty Hockenbury & Linda Reichenbecher
21 Ronnie Hays Galloway & Sue Russell
22 Dee Hoge
25 Collin Hockenbury, Todd Hockenbury & George Robertson
27 Susan Tucker
29 Ryn Smedley
30 Annie Trentham
September 11 Judy Long
September 18 Pat Welsh
September 25 Kathy Marino
EACM Need of the week
September 11 Pancake mix & syrup
September 18 Detergent & toiletries
September 25 Cereal/instant oatmeal