Touché March 23, 2018

Leadership Down the Line

“Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by God; he directs it to whatever ends he chooses.”                                                                              (Proverbs 21:1 The Message)

At our organizational meeting last week Read more »

Touché March 16, 2018



yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:18)

“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)

Job’s wife told him that Read more »

Touché March 9, 2018


Radical Welcome

“Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”   (Romans 15:7)

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” (1 Peter 4:10)

Inis Westgate brought down Read more »

Touché March 2, 2018


Keep the Faith

“The righteous live by their faith.”  (Habakkuk 2:4b)

I work from home on Fridays.  I write my Touché in the morning and then work on my message for the rest of the day.  Today it is snowing.  It seems like everybody works from home today and the world takes a break to stop, look and listen.  That is what you will hear Habakkuk do this Sunday, as he stops with his questions and says that he is going to head to a watch post and station himself on a tower until he hears a response from God.  He takes a snow day to stop, look and listen.

What he hears from God is the good news of the gospel.  Paul will take Habakkuk’s statement as a basis for understanding justification through faith.  In Romans and Galatians Paul challenges the idea we are made righteous in what we do in following the law, to being righteous through faith in Christ and the work accomplished on the cross.  I am thankful for Paul’s understanding of grace through faith, but today as I look at Habakkuk I hear another word of hope that is a vision for today.  Faith is the belief that God is working God’s purpose out even when we cannot see it or have all our questions answered.  Ultimately it is faith in the picture that comes to Job at the end of his story, when God says I am God and you are not.  It is the picture of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane that says: “Not my will, but your will be done.”

The big questions of: How Long? Why? When?, may remain with us in times when we do not understand, or see clearly how God is working in our lives or in our world, but the vision that we live by faith and not by sight is what carries us through our lives.  In it we trust God’s purpose and providence in our world.

That was Habakkuk’s vision from the tower and that works as a vision for me on this day when the snow invites us all to stop, look and listen.

In Faith,


Touché February 23, 2018


The Beauty and Brutality


“Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?  Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?”  (Habakkuk 1:13)


Last Sunday I stood and baptized my grandson, William Carleton, at Hilary and Tyler’s church in San Diego.  It was Read more »

Touché February 9, 2018

Leadership on the Line

“Following Christ’s resurrection and ascension, God has given the church apostles, prophets, and teachers, deeds of power, gifts of healing, forms of assistance and leadership.”

(From the RCA liturgy)


This Sunday we will see half of our consistory (our leadership board) change.  We will ordain and install three new elders and install two new deacons.  In the greater Christian church the reformed tradition is unique in that we ordain lay people to leadership.  In every other tradition, ordination is reserved for those who are considered clergy.  We all share in ministry, but some are set apart for the work of leadership.  Ministry leadership is too important to leave just to clergy, therefore, “we stand within a tradition where God calls and empowers deacons, elders, and ministers of Word and sacrament.”

Jan Bushey and Scott Westgate will be installed as deacons.  They have both been ordained to the office before and once you are ordained a deacon you are always a deacon.  I will read these words Sunday, but I thought you might like to have them in front of you as you consider their calling: Deacons are set apart for a ministry of mercy, service, and outreach. They gather gifts and offerings, care for them faithfully, and distribute them with wisdom and compassion to persons in need and for purposes that advance God’s kingdom on earth. Deacons visit and comfort the distressed, provide for whatever necessities may arise, and assist the congregation at services of worship.

 Cindy Gerber, Henry Mikhail and Sheryle Silvern will be ordained and installed as elders.  Here is the description for their work: Elders are set apart for a ministry of watchful and responsible care for the welfare and order of the church. They have oversight of all members, including one another, the deacons, and the ministers, equipping everyone to live in harmony with God’s Word. They ensure the Word of God is rightly proclaimed and taught, and the sacraments faithfully administered. Elders assist the minister/s with their good counsel, and serve all Christians with advice, consolation, and encouragement.

On Sunday, you will be asked this question: Do you promise to encourage and pray for them, to labor together in obedience to the gospel for the unity, purity, and peace of the church, the welfare of the whole world, and the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ?

I hope you answer, with gusto-We do!

 TTogether in ministry,


Touché February 2, 2018


Membership Matters

For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.

(Romans 12:4, 5)

Last night our outgoing elders, Shurawl Sibblies and Kurt Knoernschild met with our incoming elders, Cindy Gerber, Henry Mikhail and Sheryle Silvern to help with the transition of leadership.  Read more »

Touché January 26, 2018


Paying Our Part

“The Reformed Church in America is a fellowship of congregations called by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be the very presence of Jesus Christ in the world.

 Our shared task is to equip congregations for ministry—a thousand churches in a million ways doing one thing—following Christ in mission, in a lost and broken world so loved by God.”

                                                                                (Mission Statement-RCA)

Last Sunday at our congregational meeting we talked about belonging to the RCA and the part we pay to be a member of a denomination.  It is not something we think about often because most of our connection is to this congregation, but we are part of a larger body all doing one thing, “following Christ in mission, in a lost and broken world so loved by God.”  Tuesday night Josh Bode (currently a pastor at Woodstock and a leader in our Mid-Hudson Classis) spoke with the deacons about his call to become an RCA missionary in the Middle East.  He will join a ministry that started in Oman in 1893. Long before oil was found there, the RCA was working in the Arab world.  There are many stories like this of being part of the RCA family.

You may not think much about our larger family, but that family impacts us and we impact it.  As the largest congregation in the Mid-Hudson Classis, we are assessed $35,499.62 for 2018.  That is the part we pay to be a part of the larger work of the RCA.  Jan Bushey, one of our new deacons, pointed out that many do not know about our assessment, or recognize the value of being a part of a larger body.  If you get envelopes, the one that reads “denominational responsibility” goes to pay your part of that $35,499.62.  Currently we are assessed at about $120.00 per active member.  If you are an active adult member of Hopewell, we cover the cost of sending your assessment to the denomination.  Designated giving—people returning that assessment envelope with payment–usually accounts for less than $9,000 to cover that cost.  If each of us carried the full freight of the assessment, it would certainly free up more money for mission and the work of HRC.  I hope you will consider a special gift to the church, either in the designated envelope, or with a note on the memo line that reads “for denominational responsibility.” It is a part of being part of a larger family, a family where we have belonged since 1757.

Yours in the Family,




Touché January 19, 2018

Leadership on the Line


“The minister of Word and sacrament does not serve without the elder and neither without the deacon. Together they enable the whole mission of the church. Everything in the church will be done decently and in order when faithful persons are called to office, and responsibly fulfill their charge.”  (From the liturgy of ordination and installation of elders and deacons) Read more »

Touché January 12, 2018


Anne’s Stove for All of Us

“But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.”  (Genesis 19:3)

We have a new stove in the kitchen.  Our old stove caught fire a couple of times during the Turkey Supper and, without pilot lights, was always a little dicey to light.  We purchased this new stove mainly with Memorial Funds that were given in memory of Anne Jackson.  The fellowship account and a gift by one of our two “Turkey Supper Queens”, Beth Thompson, made up the difference.  It will provide years of service as a center of hospitality at Hopewell.

The importance of hospitality is at the center of scripture.  God welcoming us into relationship and the people of God making room for others in sharing good news.  The text above is from the story of Abraham welcoming three visitors and cooking for them.  In Hebrews the writer alludes to this by saying: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some have entertained angels unawares.”

It is fitting this stove honors Anne.  She was a center of hospitality in this place.  She and Les worked tirelessly in making sure Hopewell was a welcoming place for all of us.  She worked on the building, she made curtains for many of the offices including mine, and she always made sure this place was beautiful.  I trust she would be pleased that she has provided a legacy that will cook for the homeless and bless those who will eat at Hopewell.

Les has moved to Florida and we deeply miss Les and Anne and their contribution to Hopewell.  I am recognizing every day all the work they did to keep this place beautiful and in good shape. I wonder about the legacy of Anne as it is picked up by a new generation that will care for this place.  The stove will work for years, but the challenge is to find a new generation who love this place and want to make sure that we are always ready to receive angels unawares who come into this place.

The best way to thank Les and Anne for their service is to pick up the slack that is left in their absence.  This is a challenge to all of us to find those places that we can make beautiful and welcoming at Hopewell and continue to bless new generations that will come to this place.

In His Service,


Touché January 5, 2018


Reclaiming the Good News

“Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God…” (Mark 1:14b)

The next six weeks we will spend looking at one chapter – the first chapter of Mark.  Mark was efficient in his use of Read more »

Touché December 22


As I have done in the past, below is the Holbrook’s Christmas card.  William Carleton arrived at JFK Tuesday night.  (Oh, that’s right, his parents (Hilary & Tyler) came too.)  He will be in church on Sunday.  I am excited for everybody to meet him.

Touché December 15, 2017


Oh Holy Night

“And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice…”     (Isaiah 30:29)

“We will be at the 7:30 mass on Christmas Eve.  My whole family is coming in and I am so excited.”  Those words were spoken to me at a party last week by one who had just started attending our church.  Raised Roman Catholic, she found a different experience Read more »

Touché December 7, 2017


A Choir From the Wilderness

“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”       (Isaiah 40:3)

The scriptures in Advent remind us that to get to Jesus you go through John.  To get to Christmas you go through the wilderness.  To get to Read more »

Touché December 1, 2017


A Day Away

“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10)

Get thee to a monastery!  A few of us will follow that command this Saturday.  We will be still as we move into the Advent season in anticipation of the coming of Christmas.  We will have a day of silence and reflection on the Psalms of Advent.  I hope all of us will have some time to be still, and know that God is God in this season of great busyness and activity.  The invitation to quiet and contemplation comes in the imperative mode in Psalm 46.  The punctuation the New Revised Standard Version uses is an exclamation point.  It is as if the Psalmist is saying you need this as a command for your mental, emotional and spiritual life.

There is so much in our life that keeps us from reflection and contemplation. It is no wonder the Bible calls us to be still, take stock and know that God is in charge.  The exclamation point comes as well when Jesus calms the sea and says: “Peace, be still!”  The one who created us calls us to calm down and trust.  It was Jesus who spent many days away going to a quiet place to be restored in his relationship with the Father.  If Jesus needed it, we all need it.  Be still, and know that I am God!

I hope you find time to get away this Advent, whether it is in your backyard or a monastery.  Take some time to be still.  It’s not simply a suggestion; it is a command that helps you keep your sanity and your spirituality.

If you would like to join us for the Day Away at Graymoor Friary, you are welcome.  We begin at 9 AM and end at 4 PM.  We meet at the St. Francis Chapel at the top of the hill at 1350 Route 9, Garrison, NY.  Hit reply and let me know if you did not respond on the Connection Card.

May you have a peaceful Advent,


Touché November 24, 2017


A Beautiful Baptism

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

(Acts 2:38-39)

On Sunday, Wesley Joseph will walk the aisles with his daughter Charlotte Rose.  It will be a beautiful baptism at Hopewell.  The discussion about this day started a while ago.  Wes knew that his family from out of town would be here around the Sunday after Thanksgiving and he wanted to see if baptism was possible for that day.  The problem was Read more »

Thanksgiving Touché November 21, 2017


Acting Thanks

“You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.”            (2 Corinthians 9:11-12)

Thanksgiving is the time when families come together.  It is fitting then that the family of God comes together as well. We will worship Read more »

Touché November 17, 2017

Transformed Together


“And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:18


When we first planned these Fifty Days of Transformation, we planned to conclude with a joint service at John Jay High School.  We were denied access to Jay because it was a religious service.  That surprised me because we have worshipped there before.  We did not fight it and that is probably for the better.  The disruption to our worship patterns would have been tough.

However, I do hope the vision of being together “all of us” as Paul writes to the Corinthians is something that happens.  We have planned a brunch in between Gatherings and Foundations. I am hoping that you will make an effort to stay, or an effort to come early so we can be together.

“Personal transformation precedes corporate transformation” is a church renewal truth that has been put into practice these fifty days.  I hope there are patterns or practices that you have developed this fall that are helping you transform your life in faith.  Each of the seven areas, physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, financial, relational, and vocational, included a testimony of transformation.  This Sunday, we will have opportunity to hear your testimony of transformation taking place in your life.

The reminder that closes our Fifty Days is the reminder from the reformation: we are the church reformed and ever reforming.  We are people transformed and ever transforming.  Whether you are eighty and have been in church your whole life or you started coming to church for the first time and are just beginning a walk with Christ, the transformation continues.  I pray that you take these principles and incorporate them into all aspects of your living, so that you continue to be transformed from one degree of glory to another.  This is the Spirit’s work in you.

Keep the transformation growing!

In the Spirit,


Touché November 3, 2017


167 Giving-Transformed in My Financial Health

This Sunday Percy Gilbert will share transformation testimony on financial health.  It will also be the day where we release our 167 Giving statement (attached here).  This is a statement reflecting the vision we have for giving at Hopewell.  The basic premise is that 167 Living leads to 167 Giving.  If we are living our discipleship we will be generously giving our money away.

As we unpack transformation in our personal life, Fifty Days of Transformation follows closely with the main themes of 167 Giving.  Here are the five points we make:

  • 167 Giving starts with God

 “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”    (James 1:17)

  •  167 Giving flows from first fruits

“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”    (Proverbs 3:9-10)

  •  167 Giving sees through God’s abundance not through the eyes of scarcity

“And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”  (2 Corinthians 9:8)

  • 167 Giving is between you and God

“But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you”.  (Matthew 6:2)

  • 167 Giving is forever

“The good leave an inheritance to their children’s children.”   (Proverbs 13:22)

We also celebrate “All Saints Sunday” when we remember those who have died since last All Saints Sunday.  One of those is Florence Paolilli.  Just a few weeks ago we received the blessing that Florence had remembered HRC in her will.  This is a reminder of point five, as well as the call for each of us to live this life faithfully, investing our money in the thing that lasts forever – the kingdom of God.

For All the Saints,






Touché October 27, 2017


500 Years-Celebration and Lament

“Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.”  Martin Luther

With those words and the 95 theses that followed, Luther started a reformation five hundred years ago on All Hallows Eve.  He never intended to start a new church.  He never intended to light a fire that would ignite a movement of over thirty thousand different denominations today.

Our own denomination, the Reformed Church in America, is in danger of fracturing around the understanding of human sexuality and interpretation of scripture.

This Sunday, we will sing Luther’s great hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, at both Gatherings and Foundations.  We will remember our heritage in our prayers and continue with our Fifty Days of Transformation.  You will hear the testimony of a couple who received grace to restore their marriage through a Roman Catholic ministry of marriage reconciliation.  We will acknowledge the five hundred years, but it will be a muted combination of celebration and lament.

In a world and a church that seems more divided than ever, we need to work together at reconciliation of marriages, relationships and religious groups.  It is not the time to lift up our fingers and say “we’re number one” on the road to heaven.  It is a time to extend our hands and say we are on this journey together.  This Thanksgiving we will once again worship with St. Columba, Valley Christian, The Vineyard and Resurrection Episcopal.  That is a cause for celebration.

Would Luther weep or rejoice on the five hundredth anniversary of his request to get people together out of a love for the truth? I am sure it would be a little of both as it will be for us on this Sunday.

Sola De Gloria,


Touché October 20, 2017


Practicing Transformation

“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Philippians 4:8, 9)

You don’t need another sermon.  You don’t need more information.  You do need to practice what’s been preached.  You do need to turn information into action and to reflect on that action. This is the pattern of transformational learning.

We are halfway through our Fifty Days of Transformation.  Chris Mowbray will share transformation testimony this Sunday.  I hope all of us have a testimony to share and have collected some good origami.  Origami is not our goal, transformed lives are.

We have received information Sunday mornings, in our small groups and in personal devotions, but this information in and of itself is not transforming.  When we take that information and put it into practice, that is where transformation happens. This is a process outlined in the Ridder Church Renewal.  It requires three key elements: Information-Practice-Reflection.  It is what Paul is talking about in Philippians 4.  It is not enough to simply think about what is true, just, and pure. His final call is to put that into practice.  As we put into practice what we are learning, we reflect on the outcome of how that change is taking place.

The Fifty Days process captures this beautifully as each week we are invited to write down a goal that we will live into for the next three months, and have the opportunity to share how that is going with our group.  I pray that you are seeing transformation in key areas of your life.  Keep learning, keep practicing, keep reflecting.

It’s morphing time,


Guest Touche from Randy Prentiss

Hello friends! Greetings from Randy Prentiss!

I am thankful to Taylor for giving me this opportunity to write. I feel like the apostle Paul, as I say …

To the saints at Hopewell, I think of you with joy and fondness, when I remember my time with you, the joys and journeys we shared together, and the work I have seen God doing in you and through you all! To God be the glory!

For those who don’t know me, I had the joy of being on staff at Hopewell from 2001 to 2012. I currently work at the Taconic Retreat Center, near Red Hook.

Can I tell you about a struggle I’ve had? For years I experienced obstacles as I tried to be transformed and become more like Jesus. I struggled to overcome particular issues that I could not break through, even though I had asked God for help.

I’ve discovered that I was not alone. While at Hopewell I came upon the work of Peter and Geri Scazzero. While co-leading a successful church in Queens, NY, Pete and Geri saw that particular issues in their lives threatened the health of their family and their ministry. This launched them on a journey to discover what they now call EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY SPIRITUALITY. See This journey saved their marriage and their ministry. It has helped other believers as well.

“Emotional health and spiritual maturity are inseparable.” Peter Scazzero

Because I have seen the benefit of their work, I have invited two of their trained coaches to lead a one day retreat at Taconic Retreat Center. This retreat is a perfect complement to the 50 Days of Transformation you are currently doing at HRC. On October 22, Taylor will be preaching on Transformed in my Emotional Health. That very weekend we are having this retreat about emotional health and discipleship, at Taconic. Well, that’s interesting!!
I invite any and all of you to attend this one day retreat.


This retreat takes discipleship beyond head knowledge into Christ-like transformation. By integrating scripture, spiritual practices and self-knowledge, participants will discover healthy practices for discipleship that equip them to love God, themselves and others.

DATE: OCTOBER 21, 9:30am – 5:00 pm
PRICE: $95 includes lunch and materials.

People don’t need more to do; people need a healthier spirituality.

I have read their materials, and find myself working through them again. They offer helpful insights, practices, and wisdom. They have an approach to discipleship that is unique and genuinely effective. While not being fluff, this is not going to overwhelm you. The guidance they offer will help you to understand yourself, and has the potential to lead you into greater personal and spiritual freedom.

I invite and encourage any of you who are able, to attend this one day retreat. I invite you to invite friends. We are giving discounts to groups of 5 or more.

I hope to see you soon. If you have any questions, please email me at, or call me at 914-629-8943.

Yours in Christ,

Touché October 6, 2017

 From Stressed to Blessed

“He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:3)

Working with Rick Warren through these Fifty Days of Transformation, I recognize his genius.  He is simple, straightforward and practical.  He takes what we have heard before and gives clear application to life.  He does that this week as we talk about physical transformation applying the truths of a most beloved Psalm 23 to address our addictions to hurry, food, alcohol or any other coping mechanism taking us away from God.

John Ortberg in his book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, tells the story of speaking with a spiritual director.  He asked, “What do I need to do to be spiritually healthy?”  After a long pause the director said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”  After a long pause Ortberg says he wrote that down and said, “That’s a good one.  Now what else is there?” He states, “I had many things to do, and this was a long-distance conversation, so I was anxious to cram as many units of spiritual wisdom into the least amount of time possible.”  Another long pause.  “There is nothing else,” the director said.  That conversation was transformative for him.

Transformation is a process of body, mind and spirit.  This week we focus on the body – doing those things that bring health to the body and restoration to our souls.  It aligns with the week that Steve Dambra, Mark Mast, Warren Jee and I will all be running the Hartford Marathon.  I have run Hartford one time before and, because of an injury, I had not trained well.  I thought I could do it without the work and, while I finished, at about the half way point my body crashed and I cramped and struggled through the second half.  This time I have put in the work and I am not injured.  I pray it pays off, but I know that at a certain point the will needs to carry my body.  I am asking for prayers at 11 AM next Saturday, October 14, because I anticipate that is when I will be operating on will.

Is there a place in your physical well-being that you need to think differently?  Our core verse from transformation comes from Romans 12:2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  If we are to act differently, we need to think differently. It could be in eating habits, in exercise habits, or in habits of rest and relaxation.  Your small group will help you think about those things this week as you look at “Six Reasons Your Health Matters to God.”

I set a goal to run this marathon and I needed to think differently to allow my body to get in shape and work through the tough times of training.  What is the goal you will set this week for work with your body?

Peace, Taylor

By the way- Mark Mast (our former Pastor of Outreach) will be pushing his son Kyle and raising funds for Mitochondria concerns. (Kyle and Courtney have a Mito condition.)  He has a goal for running four Marathons (Hartford, Amsterdam, Chicago, and New York).  You can give support to them here. (


Touché September 29, 2017


The First Day of the Rest of Your Life


“Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  (Romans 12:2)

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  I wanted that patch sewn onto my blue jeans when I was in high school.  I never got around to it, don’t know where the patch went, but I still like the saying.  As we embark this Sunday on Fifty Days of Transformation I pray that each of us moves into this season with that patch in mind.  It does not matter whether we are eight or eighty, God can still work new things in our lives.  I remember my favorite toast at a fiftieth wedding anniversary.  The aged groom raised his glass and said: “Here’s to a great start on a great marriage.”  Raise a glass for transformation.

We begin this Saturday with a 24 hour prayer vigil.  People will be praying for you round the clock.  Some of those folks will include fasting as part of that vigil.  On Sunday, we all begin the journey with fifty days of devotions, seven weeks in small groups and each Sunday a large group gathering focused on the theme for that week.  Here is the outline of themes for the next seven weeks:

October 1- Transformed in My Spiritual Health

October 8- Transformed in My Physical Health

October 15- Transformed in My Mental Health

October 22- Transformed in My Emotional Health

October 29- Transformed in My Relational Health

November 5- Transformed in My Financial Health

November 12- Transformed in My Vocational Health

November 19-Celebration Sunday

Each week will include a transformation testimony from a person on the journey, and we will conclude with a celebration on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Thanks to the team headed by Janine Dolan and including: Ofelia Napolitano (prayer coordinator), Alan Willeford (publicity coordinator), Linda Smith (Gatherings coordinator), Wes Joseph (small groups and Foundations coordinator.)  Our youth and children are working through these themes as well thanks to Karen Shogren, Warren Jee and Sharon Batt.

Each week we will have the opportunity of transforming a piece of paper into an origami creation.  Cyndy Warren is doing this for worship and others will be helping you do this at a table in the fellowship.

Let the journey begin and here’s to the first day of the rest of your life.


Touché September 22, 2017

It’s Morphing Time

“The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.” (Romans 8:29, The Message)

Our Faithwalking Retreat in Holmes is sold out for the weekend.  I will be Read more »

Touché September 15, 2017


Freedom Sunday 

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18) 

 There’s been a lot of talk this summer Read more »

Touché September 8, 2017


Together in One Place

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.”  (Acts 2:1)

The start of the story of the early church begins when they are together in one place and the Spirit comes with tongues of fire.  The start of our ministry year begins this Sunday when we are all together in one place.  We will Read more »

Touché August 31, 2017

Help for Houston

“I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. “ (Psalm 69:2)

The devastating pictures from Houston are before us. Read more »

Touché August 11, 2017

Is Work Enough?

“What do people get for all their toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?”  Ecclesiastes 2 v 22

I am looking forward to sharing with you this Sunday. We will be praying for Karen and all the volunteers leading VBS this week and continuing in Ecclesiastes, looking at ‘When Work is Not Enough’.

As I’ve been preparing, Read more »

Touché August 4, 2017


The Wisdom after Wisdom

“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

I grew a beard so I could preach from Ecclesiastes.  I spent a week in the wilderness away from Read more »

Touché July 14, 2017


Your Money and Your Life

“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10)

I didn’t get out of town fast enough.  Next week Read more »

Touché July 7, 2017


Girl Power

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”  (Proverbs 31:30-31)

Biblical feminism are not two words we often Read more »

Touche June 30, 2017

Re: The Moment of Meeting
…..rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.  (Proverbs 8:31)
This picture reflects the focus of our week– delighting in the human race in the face of William Carleton.   See you Sunday when Proverbs 8 opens us up to God’s original blessing.

Read more »

Touché June 23, 2017

Water is Thicker than Blood

“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is Read more »

Touché June 16, 2017


 Now We Thank God for Sheryle

“I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3)

Sung to the tune of Now Thank We All Our God: Read more »

Touché June 9, 2017


With One Voice

“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”  (Psalm 92:5)

Kate Valdivia will do great things for worship and music in the kingdom of God.  She has been our Director of Music Ministry for three years and I have been in awe of her grasp of music, liturgy and worship.  She will conclude Read more »

Touché June 2, 2017


From Africa to Odyssey

“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, “Acts 2:17

This Pentecost Sunday we will celebrate a special needs ministry in Zambia.  We will also be raising funds for a special needs ministry in the USA.  The promise Read more »

Touché May 26, 2017


Tattoo You

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

We have some beautiful tattoos on the women joining the church this Sunday. That is a good thing. One is a reflection of her profession as a veterinarian, another is Read more »

Touché May 19, 2017


The Ridder Run

“And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”                                      (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Pray for our Ridder Church Renewal Team as we meet for the last time in retreat with Read more »

Touche May 12, 2017

Will Our Children Have Faith?

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.” (2 Timothy 1:5)

It is my pleasure to introduce our new Children’s Ministry Director, Karen Shogren. Our searchteam headed by Denise Hayes and Kim Scoralick, including Matt and Lauren Fitzgerald, Shireen Gilbert, Kurt Knoernschild and Stephanie Reynolds presented Karen to consistory as the candidate they felt could best lead our Children’s ministry in this next season. Consistory approved their recommendation on Tuesday night. We will celebrate Sheryle Silvern’s ministry on June 19. She will be finished on June 30 and Karen will take over July 1. The month of June
they will be working together to make sure of a smooth transition.

Karen comes with incredible credentials. She has been a teacher in our Sunday school since 2001. She has volunteered at VBS for many years. She has been a leader in youth ministry and youth missions throughout her time at Hopewell. She has been a confirmation mentor five times. She is a Kids Hope mentor and a Stephen Minister. She plays in our Bell Choir. She has been a member of Hopewell since 2000. It was in her time here that Jesus became more than just a name to her. She was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and was faithful in attendance in her
upbringing, that faith became personal through worship, ChristCare, missions and more, when she came to HRC.

She is currently getting a Masters in Social Work and is working with middle school kids in her internship. She has a Master of Science in Elementary Education and is a certified New York state teacher. She has organized and implemented a children’s summer camp at Taconic Retreat Center. She is a nature educator for elementary school kids, a soccer coach and club organizer. Her family has paddled the Boundary Waters Wilderness area when her kids were in diapers. (I added that to her resume, most impressive to me.)

She comes with a great resume, a great spirit and great energy, but her success in this ministry is built around our families. She needs the support, encouragement and faith formation that comes from the family. The Apostle Paul picks up on this when he speaks of the young disciple Timothy. This is my text for Mother’s Day and a biblical reminder that our children have faith  as their parents have faith.

Maybe that is the last piece on Karen’s resume that was not listed. I told my wife that Karen had applied and Cathy said “she has an awesome kid.” Cathy teaches her daughter, Miriam, in 11 A.P. English. That is what I hope is listed on the resume of HRC, “awesome kids of faith.