In Touch May 29, 2009
Posted on May 29, 2009 by under Touché,

“This Is Church!”

It was a blizzard in February when a guest preacher delivered a smokin’ sermon on judgment and Jesus. Steve Shenkman sat close to the front row and I thought we would never see him again. I knew Steve was not a Christian. I asked him what he thought of the message. He said that it was good for those on the inside, but not very inviting for those on the outside. I did not see Steve at church for a while after that day in February, but this Sunday, three years after that winter, I will baptize Steve in the Fishkill creek. The water will be cold, but on this Pentecost Sunday he is on fire with the Spirit. It is a reminder that God moves in amazing and different ways in bringing people to faith. That is what we celebrate this Sunday as we receive new members and baptize two new Christians and next Sunday as we celebrate confirmation with fifteen young people. This is Church! It is why we do what we do in making Christ known.

Joining Steve in being baptized will be Jenna Argyle. Jenna is the granddaughter of Bernie and Barbara Argyle. As she went through the events following Bernie’s death, she was moved along with many in her family to rediscover the roots of faith in her life. She will be the first woman to be baptized in the creek.

Charlie, Jeanne and Kelly Mack are part of Jenna’s family. Charlie has been a leader in our Community Maintenance Program. Kelly is ready to sing in the choir and Jeanne saw the inspiration for a life connected to God and the church in her father’s memorial service.

Stephanie and Katy Martz have come to Hopewell at a tough time in life. A friend, Leslie McConnell, reached out to them and invited them to come. They found this to be a place of hope and healing on their .
Lance and Donna Portman had their kids, Quincy and Paul, in Bright Beginnings. Lance’s aunt, Phyllis Forde, had a long connection with HRC that they knew about. At the right time, in the right season, they joined in the . They found a loving community of inclusion. They felt at home right away.
Johnny Sim and Eunyoung Park were invited to Hopewell by Percy Gilbert. Johnny was raised a pastor’s son in Korea and Eunyoung was trained as a church musician at Westminster Choir college. They appreciated the messages that were preached. Youngsung, their son, loves HRC because this is where he goes to preschool.
June Nuzzo has found help for her as she has moved through some tough times. She maintained a connection with the church of her youth for a long time, but in this seasons, when HRC was there for her in different ways, she sees that this is her spiritual home and wants to solidify that commitment. Her kids, Shawn and Hunter, sing and grow as a part of our children’s ministry.
Ron Ruvo has seen the impact of HRC on his daughter Sarah, son Tyler and wife Lisa. About a year ago he woke up one Sunday and told Lisa “I think I will go with you to church today.” He has never looked back. It is amazing.
David Bellach was drawn into Hopewell through an invitation from his neighbor (Doug Bean) and the energy of the children. He comes each week with his wife Rochelle, who is Jewish, and both of them have found an acceptance and love at Hopewell that has kept them coming back.
David will not be here on Sunday. He is doing Tres Dias. Ron will be engaged with other ministry as they will be cooking for a crew-sponsored cancer awareness event.
These stories are a reminder to all of us why we do what we do.
I invite you down to the river at about 10 AM for the baptisms. The new members will be joining at both services. The water will be cold, but the feeling will be warm.