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 March  2015

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From Our I-Pastor
BIrthdays and stuff 




If you would like to see a recent Presbyterian Church service come to The Knolls on Tuesday, March 10 and Tuesday March 24.  The service will be shown in the Assisted Living dining room at 10:00 A.M. and anyone wishing to join us is welcome! 

Becky Quay





Deadline for the APRIL  2015
newsletter is 
March 20
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From Our Interim Pastor



Five Practices of Fruitful Living: Our Lenten Journey

Rev. Hart Edmonds, Interim Pastor


As I write this article for the March newsletter, I have learned that 72 members and friends of OPC have received their copy of the Lenten Study Guide "Five Practices of Fruitful Living." That's cause for celebration!   Imagine how the life of this church can be impacted by such spiritual reading, prayer, and conversation with others in the church.  God is up to something here at OPC I firmly believe.  Do you also have that same feeling?

God's Spirit is moving in the life of this community! On Day 1 of this Lenten Study is the scripture verse: "I am the vine, you are the branches." -John 15:5   By that promise, Jesus is saying to us that we are connected to him and to each other in ways that make a difference in our relationships and connection to the wider world. 

There is a prayer that ends on Day 1 of "Five Practices of Fruitful Living" that is memorable: "Lord, lead me to the rediscovery of wonder, awe, peace, joy, life.  Help me to find myself, my true self, in following you."  In this Lenten Season, I am hopeful that you will find that prayer being answered.



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Lent to Holy Week Worship Schedule

During the Season of Lent, the worship themes are drawn from our Lenten

Study Guide: "Five Practices of Fruitful Living"


March 1, Sunday   

"The Practice of Passionate Worship"                                                   Communion Sunday

Texts:   Psalm 84; Isaiah 40; 28-31; Matthew 22: 34-40


March 8, Sunday

"The Practice of Intentional Faith Development"   

Texts:  Hebrews 10: 24-25; Acts 2: 37-47


March 15, Sunday  

 "The Practice of Risk-Taking Mission & Service"

Guest Preacher: Rev. Tyler Pettigrew, Executive Director of   "Our Daily Bread" in Cincinnati, a ministry to the poor and homeless in Over the Rhine.  Rev. Pettigrew is a young Presbyterian pastor and member of the Presbytery of Cincinnati.           


March 22, Sunday 

"The Practice of Extravagant Generosity" 

"Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity"   

Luke 6:38 The Message Bible


March 29,  Holy Week: Passion/Palm Sunday


April 2 , Thursday  

Maundy Thursday at The Knolls 

Light Dinner followed by Worship


April 5, Sunday   

Easter Sunday


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Dan Anderson-Little


(This article continues a series of reflections on the pioneering ministry of Rev. Henry Little, who served Oxford Presbyterian Church in the 1830s.  Dan is a 6th generation Presbyterian pastor and descendant of Rev. Henry Little. Dan's articles are offered as a way of thinking about how OPC can draw upon the risk-taking leadership of Henry Little.)


"There was a time in the history of our country when the Lord's day was sacredly observed, but in an evil hour its sanctity was lost; and men began to think and occasionally converse about their worldly affairs....When things came to this, it was only necessary for the children to arrive to middle age, and they were seen in their counting rooms, and shops, upon their traveling the public roads, and even joining the mirthful pleasure parity."


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Last fall, Session approved a job description for an interim associate pastor position for our church thus allowing a search process to begin. The associate pastor would report to Pastor Hart as Head of Staff and have major responsibilities in Christian Education and pastoral care.  This is not a co-pastorate.

Over the next few months, a search committee considered several candidates; however, none of them were a good match.

In January, the committee learned that Cheryl Edmonds, Hart's wife, was going to be available later in the year.  Cheryl, a graduate of Miami, is an ordained Presbyterian minister and has served congregations in several states.  Until recently, she was pastor of the Grace Community Presbyterian Church in Maineville, OH.

After discussing her candidacy among ourselves and with Presbytery, we decided to explore the option of hiring her.

We put Cheryl through our typical multi-step interview process.   We were pleased with her skills and gifts and felt that she was a good match with what we were seeking.  The committee recommended to Session that we hire Cheryl Edmonds as the interim associate pastor.  In our church polity, Session can hire an interim pastor but not a pastor to be permanently installed. 

In mid-February, Session unanimously approved the committee's recommendation and the terms of the call.  The Presbytery Committee on Ministry subsequently approved the selection.  Cheryl is scheduled to begin work in April.

It should be stated that Cheryl cannot become the next installed pastor of this church. 

Session feels that we are in capable hands as we enter this new phase in the life of our Church.  We are thankful that we now have another capable set of hands to help.


Thank you,


Members of the search committee:

Jenny Bailer, John Curry, Mary Jo McFadden, Mary Shinn and Robert Smith 



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As of publication date, more than fifty people are participating in the Lenten Study Series, "Forty Days of Fruitful Living!" The Interim Transition Team is grateful to Tip and Janet Ziegler, Jenn and Scott Walter, Mary Hay and Joy Russell, Bill and Susan King, and Carol Burkhalter and Joe Foltz for coordinating the five groups.  Some of the groups have met and are excited about the fellowship, open dialogue and discussion of the five practices of fruitful living.  God's spirit is at work among us!  If you haven't signed up for a session, drop in to one...you can join any time.  See the flyers or call the office for times and locations (523-6364).  Also see the OPC website for an alternate study option if you can't make it to a group www.oxfordpresbychurch.org.

Watch this next month for new bulletin boards in the Ruder Hallway, outside the Molyneaux, for a time line and updates on Interim Journey activities.  If you haven't checked out the "Heart Cards" yet, please see what we would like to do if "we were not afraid!"  They are posted in the Molyneaux and a list of comments is available in the office or from Pat Gifford (gifforp@miamioh.edu).

The Interim Transition Team

Carol Burkhalter, Pat Gifford, Mary Jo McFadden, Diane Young, Janet Ziegler 

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K-1 busy with their recent Meals on Wheels project-making Valentines. (Thanks Sarah for this adorable picture)




Lenten Materials for children and teens are available in the Molyneaux. 



The sub sale was a huge success.  The unofficial total was $892!  This fundraiser in one of several to raise money for the Youth Mission Trip to Atlanta June 21 to 27.  With 12 teens and 3 chaperones traveling, $10,000 is needed for the trip.  The youth send a big thank you to all who donated or purchases a sub.


Upcoming Youth Events

March 15-Spaghetti Dinner

April 19-Talent Show and Silent Auction

(see more details on these fun raising fundraising events in the newsletter)



If you have questions about the Christian Education Program please contact any member of the CE Committee, Lynn Cronk, Sarah Miller, Dick Munson, Katie Saylor, Mary Shinn, Leanne Staley, Jennifer Walter and Diane Young.   









  Keep these friends in your prayers


Robbie Wells, John Reller, Stacey Winn, Betty Barnhart, Evelyn Black, Denny Carlson, Cathy Fey, Marilyn Rettig, Sarah Soika


Lord in Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayers



With a deep sorrow in our hearts we ask you to remember Jean Hitsman, her son Tyler and family and friends as they grieve the death of her husband Brian.  Brian fought cancer with a courageous love for his family and his life.

A service was held February 17 at their church, the Winton Road First Church of God.



Cancer is so limited...It cannot cripple love. It cannot shatter hope.  It cannot corrode faith.  It cannot eat away peace.  It cannot destroy confidence.  It cannot kill friendship.  It cannot shut out memories.  It cannot silence courage.  It cannot reduce enternal life.  It cannot quench the Spirit.

Author:  Unknown



Beautiful bouquet of flowers for the alter given by Debbie Davidson in memory of her beloved mother,

Mary Lee Keebler. 

We miss her too, Debbie.





In December we celebrated with the Johnson family, the first anniversary of Amelia's baptism.  Amelia is the daughter of Larry and Andrea and sister of Kennedy and Carter.


On March 16th, we will celebrate the first anniversary of Alice Laura Ellison's baptism.  Ali is the daughter of Laura and William Ellison.




We are so appreciative of the snow removal done by Nick Fears and Tom Holmes.  Thank you both, so very much!

(I tried hard to think of a cool snow pun, but I realized safe sidewalks are snow joking matter -ed)



Thank you to Tip Ziegler for his dedicated work with the Russian shoe mission.  There is still time to get involved--$12 buys shoes to keep little feet warm and safe.  Final totals will be reported in the April newsletter. 

Just IMAGINE how many pairs of shoes OPC can donate!



Thank you to all the officers of our church.  We appreciate your dedicated and caring service, and all that each and every one of you contribute and accomplish.  And thank you to Connie Everhart and Brother Robert Smith, who were confirmed and installed Sunday, February 22.



And many thanks to our own CHEESEHEAD 

(cheeseheads tend to move so very fast that it is difficult to get a clear, crisp picture.)







Our annual Deacon's Blood Drive is coming up soon! 

It will be held on Wednesday, March 25, from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the Seminary Building. 

We are hoping for a great turnout, so please come and donate if you are able.  We are especially looking for new donors and former donors who have not donated for a long time. We encourage you to sign up online.  Our website is: donortime.com Our church code number is:  321.  This number will take you directly to our blood drive. 

If you do not care to use the computer, you can also sign up by calling: 800-388-4433 between 8 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday. 

If you cannot donate blood, be a recruiter--ask your friends!  We hope to see you there!




The Deacons Lenten Food Drive will be on March 15, 2015.  You will find Kroger bags in the pews on Sunday March 1 and March 8


The Food Drive will coincide with the Risk Taking Mission and Outreach part of our Lenten Study.  Please bring your bags of food into the Sanctuary and the Children will collect them during the Children's Time. The items most needed at this time:


pasta (but not spaghetti)

peanut butter


personal car items such as body wash, shampoo, conditioner and deodorant (but NOT bar soap)

For those people who are not able to shop or prefer not to shop, monetary contributions will also be appreciated.  Checks should be made to Oxford Presbyterian Church with Lenten Food Drive in the note field or cash may be placed in the Pew Envelopes with "Lenten Food Drive" on the Pew Envelope.




Do you know someone who needs a Prayer Shawl? Shawls are given for comfort in times of illness or grief, as well as for celebration in times of joy.  If you have a friend or relative to whom you would like to give a Prayer Shawl, please call Cornelia Browne.








Will meet on March 17. Becky Quay will lead the lesson and Mission Yearbook.  Prue Dana leads Least Coin.



Will meet in the home of Jean O'Connell on March 3. In addition to hostessing, Jean will be her own co-hostess and give the devotions. Nancy Sturgeon will lead the program.


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For the




The Presbyterian Women have set-up a fund to receive donations for the Bethesda Christian Community Center in Barranquilla, Colombia.  This fund will supplement the Birthday Offering Grant that will finance the building of the new Center.  Our fund will help with the furnishing of the new Center with kitchen equipment for the meal program, computers and sewing machines for the vocational program, books for the library, and sports equipment for the recreational programs.  If you wish to donate, you can make out your check to the Oxford Presbyterian Women and write Colombia Project on the memo line.






World Day of Prayer 2015 will be celebrated Sunday, March 1, 3 to 4: 30 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church, 420 South Campus. World Day of Prayer is a worldwide ecumenical movement led by Christian women who come together to observe a common day of prayer and action. This year's worship was written by Women of the Bahamas. The service tells us about the struggles and triumphs of their communities and leads us to consider how we might show God's radical love to others. Brilliant art and moving prayers are a part of the service. All are invited.


Church Women United of Oxford has been a part of the World Day of Prayer since it's beginning in 1927. Through sharing worship together, we expand the heart and minds in our own community. Through our offerings we make life better for women and their families around the world. 

World Day of Prayer matters! 




OPW Scheduled Social Events



April 18

Friendship Breakfast - 10 a.m.

Program to be announced - Karen Shearer          

Election of Officers


May 7, 8, 9     Rummage Sale -

Seminary Building


June 6

OPW Women's Retreat  

9-1 Western Lodge  

Program to be announced - Roberta Crain           


OPW Coordinating Committee

Molyneaux Lounge, 7:30 p.m.

February 25 and May 27



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What the Session accomplished at the February meeting


* As of February 17th, 50 people had signed up for the Lenten Study series;


*  Congregational meeting, to be held as soon as possible, to present the latest thinking re the future of the Seminary building, and to solicit congregational input;


* Approved the recommendation from Stewardship and Finance:

  1.  that trustees/ facilities committee be authorized to solicit donations to repair nine stained glass windows in the Seminary.  Funds collected in excess of the amount required will be applied to the cost of the stabilization process;
  2. authorized a loan of up to $130,000 from the Brill Fund to pay for the stabilization of the Seminary;
  3. $10,000 per year, from the annual Brill Fund withdrawal (5%), will be transferred to repay the loan;
  4. Architect services up to $10,000 will be secured to plan improvements to the Memorial building, with priority given to accessibility and fellowship.  Funding to come from GF 3000 (contingency fund). 


 *  Clerk Judy Fisher, treasurer Steve Flee, and assistant treasurer John Curry were elected to serve for 2015.


*   Approved the purchase of 300 new hymnals, following a presentation by music director, Kent Peterson


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The trustees are working on a contract for using church facilities.  It is complex to balance mission and facilities costs.  We are working with session to finance repair of the Seminary windows.  The war memorial is in dire condition and the estimate to maintain it is $15,000.  John Bailer and Jeff Smith are the new members of the endowment committee to replace Randy Shoker and Greg Hughes.  The young men of Delta Chi fraternity have been cleaning up litter around the Memorial and Seminary every Monday-Thursday and Sunday mornings.  Please thank them if you see them.  They love homemade cookies if anyone is so inspired.  Lisa


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If you would like to see a recent Presbyterian Church service come to The Knolls on Tuesday, March 10 and Tuesday March 24.  The service will be shown in the Assisted Living dining room at 10:00 A.M. and anyone wishing to join us is welcome! 

Becky Quay



God Lifts Up The Downtrodden"   Psalm 147: 6

So can you.


By supporting One Great Hour of Sharing, you're sustaining programs that provide disaster relief, food, clean water, training, and resources to people all over the world. When you give, you're changing lives.




Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: 40 countries and 24 states received help for natural and human-caused disasters.


Presbyterian Hunger Program: 154,731 people who were living in extreme poverty now have increased food security and livelihoods through international development work.


Self-Development of People:

4,619 children/parents received improved educational opportunities.



  • Through your congregation
  • Text OGHS to 20222 to give $10
  • presbyterianmission.org/give-oghs




Announcing the new Presbyterian hymnal,
Glory to God


Kent Peterson

On behalf of the Worship Committee.


(After study and discussion by the Worship Committee and then by Session at its February meeting, approval was given to adopting the New Presbyterian Hymnal. The following article provides helpful information about this exciting new resource for worship and music in the life of our church.)


I am pleased and excited to write to you in regard to a matter of great impact on the worship and work of the Oxford Presbyterian Church.  In the words of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song:


Hymnals are a gift to the church.  They bring together both familiar and contemporary texts and tunes.  A 'sign of the times,' they offer a glimpse of who the church is at a particular moment and how the church has changed.  Hymnals are not intended as a limitation for congregational song or a rule book to which people should adhere, instead, they are a common denominator to span cultures and distance as Christians worship the Triune God.




A 15-person voluntary committee comprised of musicians, scholars, pastors, and theologians has developed our new Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God.  It was published in 2013 and includes 853 hymns, psalms and spiritual songs.  Despite containing an additional 248 musical selections from our present hymnal, thanks to new developments in the printing process, it weighs approximately the same weight! 

Glory to God preserves approximately 80% of the musical material contained in our present hymnal and includes music from all major historical periods and sacred genres.  In addition to including many older beloved hymns (e.g.-"Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,") it also features older hymns never before published in a Presbyterian hymnal (e.g.- "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" and "Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling,") and brings back hymns appearing in older versions of the hymnal (e.g.- "I Love to Tell the Story" and "Rock of Ages") that were deleted from our present hymnal.  Moreover, the contents of Glory to God expands on other genres of musical literature including 35 African-American and gospel hymns, selections of global music from six continents featuring many different languages including Korean, Mandarin, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, Latin, French, Sotho, and Swahili.  Approximately 25% of the texts and tunes contained in Glory to God were written after 1990 and include contemporary praise songs, and 20 songs from the Taize tradition. 


Glory to God has been met with rave reviews by some of the early adopters of the hymnal.  One writes: "The hymns and responses in Glory to God represent the heritage of many more Presbyterians around the world than any previous hymnal did."  And, another observes: "We are a changing country, and if we want to be in synch with the changes we need to 'modernize' to draw the younger and 'non-churched' folks, and I think this hymnal is addressing these needs."

As a congregation, we have the opportunity to update our collective music making and reach out to a new generation of worshippers by adopting the new hymnal, Glory to God.  I am pleased to report that the Session has voted unanimously to proceed with this project.  To that end, church members have a pivotal role to play in this project.  The cost of a pew hymnal is $20.00.  We estimate that we will need to purchase 300 hymnals in order to replace the current stock of hymnals in the pews and choir loft.  Though not an inconsequential amount of money, it is truly an investment in the future worship of the church.  Gifts of any amount toward the purchase of new hymnals would be greatly appreciated.  Bookplates are available to be affixed to the new hymnals that cite many various means of gifting a new hymnal to the church.  Perhaps there is someone in the church family whom you would like to honor for a particular contribution to the life of the church or for exhibiting a trait that has touched you personally.  For every hymnal purchased, you could cite "In Honor of ..." that individual.  Or, you could memorialize a loved one with "In Memory of..." Other options for bookplates include "Presented to..." and a blank one that can be customized to your desire.


I have always been heartened and greatly impressed by the cheerful and giving nature of this congregation.  Whether it is donations for the food bank, flowers for Christmas and Easter, donations to the Special Music fund, donations to the medical relief fund, donations to the pastor's discretionary fund but to name a few, your collective acts of Christian charity speaks volumes about God's love in the world.  Please prayerfully consider contributing to the project to replace our present hymnals with the newest version, Glory to God.  Your gift will literally benefit the church for decades to come!


(I didn't know the meaning of Taize, so I included this brief note in case there were others unaware like me-ed.)


For many people the name "Taizé" evokes a certain style of singing that has become popular in more and more churches, retreat centers, campus parishes and even seminaries. For some, the word also suggests gatherings which attract large numbers of young adults. Still others are aware that Taizé is in fact an ecumenical community of brothers located in a small village in eastern France.

Today the Taizé Community is composed of around a hundred brothers. They come from different Christian traditions, from over twenty-five countries and every continent. They make a life commitment to live together in joy, simplicity and mercy as a "parable of community," a sign of the Gospel's call to reconciliation at the heart of the world.


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Infant Mortality in Butler County

Did You Know?


Ohio is currently the worst state in the U.S. for black infant mortality, and 5th from the bottom for white infant mortality? Butler County, with a population of 372,272, is among the ten worst urban areas in Ohio for infant deaths.  Wouldn't it be amazing if all babies in Butler County could celebrate their first birthdays?


Toward that end, in 2013 Butler County became part of a statewide initiative to advance equity in birth outcomes for mothers across Ohio.  The Butler County Partnership to Reduce Infant Mortality (PRIM) was then formed and is now a countywide team of more than 150 partners.


To hear more about this project, Jenny Bailer, Co-Leader of PRIM and Director of Nursing for the Butler County Health Department, will present a program on Wednesday, March 4, in Fellowship Hall of the Oxford United Methodist Church.  Join United Methodist Women with a brown bag lunch at 11:30 or come at noon for Jenny's presentation.  All interested persons are encouraged to attend.



Eileen Jeck has moved to be near her daughter.

Mail for Eileen should go to

Lynne Steele

2011 Brewster Rd.

Indianapolis, IN 46260








Teens, Youth, Adults, and Seniors

Sign up to Show Us Your Talent

    Sunday April 19
                                                   5:00 p.m.

            At the Seminary

Watch for a Bulletin Insert


Silent Auction Items can be donated by anyone.  Place items on the bench outside of the conference room. Please label Silent Auction. 

Suggestions:  Unused gift cards, Collectables, Donate a pie or a meal that is Baked, Gift baskets, Donate time to do yard work, Antiques. 

  All profits from the Silent Auction benefit

The Youth Mission Trip.



First Friday Niters will not March 6



Answer to Question of the Month

Because Martha Jefferson died 18 years before Thomas was elected, his daughter Polly Jefferson Randolph served as hostess. Martin Van Buren's daughter-in-law served as hostess as his wife had died before election. Harriet Lane served as First Lady for her uncle James Buchanan, a lifelong bachelor. Chester Arthur asked his younger sister, Mary Arthur McElroy to serve as first lady.  His wife died a year and a half earlier




Oxford Presbyterian Church Staff

web page: www.oxfordpresbychurch.org

Telephone: 513-523-6364

Fax: 513-523-8215

Seminary Building: 513-523-7411



Interim Pastor: Pastor Hart

Music Director: Kent Peterson

Organist: Lynn Jacobs

Pastor Emeritus: Dr. Joseph R. Hookey

Parish Associates: Dr. Bruce Bueschel, Rev. Diane Ziegler

Administrative Assistant:

Elaine Patterson: office@oxfordpresbychurch.org

Financial Secretary:

Jean Hitsman: finance@oxfordpresbychurch.org

Director/Teacher C.C.N.S.:

Sarah Mapel: 207-3630

Newsletter Editor:

Nancy Moeckel, moeckenj@miamioh.edu






Class of 2017:

Mary Jane Roberts, Jeff Smith, Robert Smith, Janet Zeigler, Tip Ziegler


Class of 2015:

Carol Burkhalter, Diane Young, Brent Bader, Jenny Bailer, Mary Jo McFadden


Class of 2016:

Pam Deahl, Lynn Cronk, Pat Gifford, Tom Poetter, Rich Drewes




Deadline for the April, 2015 Newsletter is March 20, 2015







Time has passed way to quickly and my time here with Mercy Ships has come to an end. It will be a sad parting but always with hopes of returning one day. We talk a lot about why we are here and what makes this place so special. For me, living in community with one another is what makes this place so different from what I would consider my everyday life. Living in community means that everyone is important and each person is dependent on another. If I don't do my job to the best of my ability, it will impact someone else. On the flip side when I do my job and I do it well it has a direct positive impact on someone else. It may not seem like a big deal to get someone's personal device connected to the network but for the one person who is trying to contact home because there is a family emergency, it makes a big difference. Keeping the printers supplied with ink makes a difference to the departments so they can get their work done. The hospital depends on being able to print out patient lists for surgery, rehab, transportation, etc. and reception has needs for keeping track of who is on and off the ship. Living in a small community makes you feel more important to the success of the community. You get to see the direct results of your work.


There is more energy here as well. People are here because they want to be here not because they are earning a paycheck. They want to serve and help Mercy Ships to be successful so we all have more energy for our jobs. This is not to say that we all love our jobs.  I didn't particularly care for the actual work that I was doing but beyond the physical labor I was able to contribute to the IS Team by helping them to look at work differently so they could be more successful in completing their work. When I got here the ticket queue had a huge backlog. Average close time for a ticket was 270 days average. While it is not yet perfected we have a close ticket turnaround time of 189 days as of today. A large part of this is due to the cleaning out of tickets in the queue that were several years old. And we have tickets in the queue that are actually long term projects but they have no other way to track what needs to be done at this time. My project management skills played a large part in helping to make these improvements as did all my experience in working as a systems administrator. It is funny to think about this because while I am working at Miami I don't necessarily recognized the skills I have gained but coming to this environment I see that what I take for granted at Miami is not necessarily the case in a volunteer organization.


Beyond the ticket queue I was successful in cleaning out the backup server room (with the help of my workmates). This involved wiping the drives the old fashioned way of about 80 workstations and unloading a lot of broken and old equipment off the ship and stacked on pallets for donations. This work helped me to realize that I have a lot of respect for folks who have to decommission machines. It is not fun work. However, this work did appeal to my need to organize and tidy things up. It was one of those kinds of jobs that you have to touch briefly each day and after several weeks you start to see the value of slowly getting the work done bit by bit.

I did have the opportunity to go to the Hope Center again after my discussion with Claire (the nurse who is so comfortable with the patients). Looking at the situation with this new light I was much more comfortable being there and had a really good time. There was a group of folks playing dominos which I really enjoy. I started watching and eventually I was rotated into the game. It was lots of fun and I even won a couple of rounds. At one point the guy sitting across from me was someone who has multiple large tumors around his head and neck. When I first saw him I saw him as a person with tumors. Playing dominos with him, he became a fun person to play dominos with. I saw past the tumors and saw the person and from then on he was a person first and an avid dominos player second. It was a whole lot of fun and quite lively. Here these guys really slam down their dominos when they play and they don't keep the tiles laid out nice and tidy. It is a fast, action packed game.


I had the opportunity to go out to a new restaurant with my workmates. There are a lot of really good restaurants here in Tamatave and around this island. Anyway it was a great little place that was very local and had great ambiance. It was not a closed in air conditioned place, but nicely painted, posters on the wall, little old tables and a full menu. I had zebu medallions with a blue cheese sauce with French fries and a fresh mango juice. The total cost was $20,000AR which converts to $7.28 USD. Not a bad deal for a steak lunch.


It has been a week of last times for me. My cabin mates are the greatest. Instead of going out to a restaurant for a farewell dinner, my bunkmate Pat organized a catered dinner on Deck 7. It was the best. Pat befriended the Head Chef on the ship and he was quite keen to cook up a special dinner for my going away party. It was a beautiful event and all my cabin mates were there to share in the experience with me. It really touched my heart and makes me all the sadder to leave.


It has been a life changing journey and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to serve with Mercy Ships. Much of this journey was made possible by all of you who have donated to my funding. I hope that my emails have kept you informed and carried you along on this journey with me. And I hope that maybe one of you is inspired to want to make this journey on your own. It is one thing to read about but very different to experience it and learning and growing from others. What I am doing here on Mercy Ships is no different from each of you following your life path. We each have a calling or a passion that we want to fulfill. So I hope that you won't let doubts get in your way of fulfilling your own calling and that you will take advantage of opportunities as they arise to step out of your comfort zone and grow.


I don't know what the future holds for me but I do hope to have another opportunity to serve with Mercy Ships in some capacity. Thanks to each of you for your support and emails throughout the past 12 weeks. I look forward to returning to you all and sharing more stories with you.






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Why the word LENT?

The first word used to describe this season of the Christian year was the Greek word tessarakoste, meaning "fortieth." Christian leaders in western Europe adopted its Latin equivalent, quadragesima. In western Europe, the word quadragesima soon attached itself to the sixth Sunday before Easter, approximately the fortieth day before Easter, when western European Christians began the Lenten fast. This day became known as Quadragesima Sunday. The word for Lent in many European languages evolved from this old, Latin root word. For example, the Spanish word for Lent is cuaresma, the Italian quaresima, and the French caręme. The English word "Lent" traces its roots back to another word altogether. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon term lencten, meaning "springtime." The word lencten itself may have come from an old Germanic root word meaning "long," a reference to the fact that the days lengthen in the spring.

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2          Mickey Simonds

2          Greg Hughes

4          Nancy Shoker

5          Billie Maynard

8          Susanna Smith

11       Dick Wespiser

11       Debbie Davidson

14       Mark Boardman

14       Nicole Jordan

15       Evalou Middaugh

16       Kyle Shriver

18       Alan Mehl

19       Randy Shoker

21       David Marado

22       Dan Cross

22       Deborah Bommer

22       Lindsay Crist

24       Marilyn Curry

24       Jill Grajewski

24       Trevor Richmond

25       Dick Fisher

25       Ted Fujii

26       Marian Nelson

26       Pat Spitler

29       Jan Cromer

29       Brad Cronk

29       Debby Snyder

30       Fred Brower



March Monkey Business


When is the vernal equinox?  In 2015 it falls on March 20 at 6:45 P.M. EDT


It is said that In spring, no one thinks of the snow that fell last year. (that one may not hold true this spring!)


Start Day Light Saving Time: Sunday, March 8, Spring 1 hour forward




March is:  Fire Prevention Month, Women's History Month, Irish American Month, Music in Our Schools Month, National Craft Month

National Frozen Food Month, National Nutrition Month, National Peanut Month

Social Workers Month


March 14 is PI day.  (I like lemon chiffon)



John Philip Sousa died March 6, 1932. (you're a grand old flag, you're a high flying flag, and forever in peace may you wave...sing the rest on your own)


Last week it was so cold: We had to chop up the piano for firewood - but we only got two chords



Question of the month.  When the US president is unmarried or his wife dies while he is in office, one of his female relatives becomes First Lady.  (This question assumes the US president is male....we'll see)

Has this ever happened? Search the newsletter for the answer.


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From Our Interim Pastor

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As I write this article for the March newsletter, I have learned that 72 members and friends of OPC have received their copy of the Lenten Study Guide "Five Practices of Fruitful Living." That's cause for celebration!   Imagine how the life of this church can be impacted by such spiritual reading, prayer, and conversation with others in the church.  God is up to something here at OPC I firmly believe.  Do you also have that same feeling?

God's Spirit is moving in the life of this community! On Day 1 of this Lenten Study is the scripture verse: "I am the vine, you are the branches." -John 15:5   By that promise, Jesus is saying to us that we are connected to him and to each other in ways that make a difference in our relationships and connection to the wider world. 

There is a prayer that ends on Day 1 of "Five Practices of Fruitful Living" that is memorable: "Lord, lead me to the rediscovery of wonder, awe, peace, joy, life.  Help me to find myself, my true self, in following you."  In this Lenten Season, I am hopeful that you will find that prayer being answered.

There is another prayer from Day 4 that continues to express my own hope for spiritual transformation in this season:

"Reach down to me just where I am, Lord, and help me flourish in my following in your way as I take the next step toward you.   Grant me patience and perseverance as I practice your love so that things I formerly thought impossible become real in me in my daily life."

The life of faith is meant to make a difference in how we live our lives.   

Long years ago, my first son woke up one day before leaving for first grade with a question at the breakfast table that surprised me.  "Dad," he asked, "Am I mature?"   Where that question came from I do not know, but something in my son said that the purpose of life was to grow.  Our Lenten Study guide puts it this way: 

"Jesus made maturing in faith and growth toward God unexpectedly and irresistibly appealing."

 Jesus wants us to flourish!

Now that isn't always how people outside the church see us.  But consider the difference it would make if that became the reputation of Christians and this church.  "Those are the people who want you to flourish in life."  In the days ahead during this Lenten Season, I hope you will find many occasions to share understandings and thoughts and prayers with others about what it means to be growing as a fruitful follower of Jesus Christ.  And consider this question, "When have you been encouraged by friends in a faith community to follow Christ more closely, eagerly, or boldly."  As the author of our Lenten Study remarks: "People who grow in grace realize that if they follow Christ for a thousand years, they will still need to learn as much on the last day as on the first." 




Dan Anderson-Little
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(This article continues a series of reflections on the pioneering ministry of Rev. Henry Little, who served Oxford Presbyterian Church in the 1830s.  Dan is a 6th generation Presbyterian pastor and descendant of Rev. Henry Little. Dan's articles are offered as a way of thinking about how OPC can draw upon the risk-taking leadership of Henry Little.)



"There was a time in the history of our country when the Lord's day was sacredly observed, but in an evil hour its sanctity was lost; and men began to think and occasionally converse about their worldly affairs....When things came to this, it was only necessary for the children to arrive to middle age, and they were seen in their counting rooms, and shops, upon their traveling the public roads, and even joining the mirthful pleasure parity."


These are the opening paragraphs of Henry Little's dissertation which he wrote at Andover Theological Seminary in 1829-two years before he was called as the Pastor of the Oxford Church. Henry's dissertation continues for another 6 paragraphs with a similar scolding tone and with dire warnings of a national moral decline.  Heavy stuff even for 1829!


I sometimes wonder what the good folk of Oxford thought when, Sunday after Sunday, Henry mounted the pulpit and hurled his thunderbolts of condemnation over the heads of the worshipers. Did he turn them off?  Did he connect with them? Apparently it worked for some because church growth in Henry's two years was nothing short of breathtaking.


But while such stern, imprecatory sermons might have worked within the church (after all, churchgoers were observing the Sabbath!), I doubt Henry would have gotten very far with this style out in the mission field of frontier Ohio and Indiana. And history tells us that Henry did adapt his style over the years. 


When Dr. Fisher, President of Hanover College spoke of Henry, he referred to him as
"[that] wonderful old pioneer preacher."  Henry's son George Obadiah Little wrote this about his father: "

A veteran minister has lately told how when a boy riding in a stage from Cincinnati to Oxford the passengers were greatly entertained all the way by the versatile conversation of one of their number whose name they did not know, and how surprised he was next morning to find this man in the pulpit and to learn that he was the Mr. Little who had been announced to preach...this power to entertain was never used for itself alone, much less for his own popularity, but always to interest men in the work of saving souls through the gospel of Christ."


Henry knew that the key to successful ministry was the ability to translate the content of the Gospels into the everyday parlance of the people to whom he was called to minister.  His "parish" for most of his life wasn't in the well-heeled, established congregations, but among the common folk who had little education and little background in the ways of the church.  He learned to think in and speak in the language of the people around him. 


As Linda and I seek to be a new kind of church for people with little background in the Gospel or the ways of the church, we are relearning this lesson. We are having conversations with folks who don't know the Lord's Prayer, who don't thrill to old hymns, who don't know the stories of the Bible, but who do have a desire to have a relationship with God.  We've had to learn a lot and unlearn a lot.  But it has been a thrilling and rewarding experience, not only because we have been able to introduce people to Jesus who didn't know him, but we have deepened our own relationship with Jesus as well!


So Oxford Church, into what languages is God calling you to translate the Gospel?  Is it the language of college student? Is it the language of new immigrants? Is it the language of the "spiritual but not religious"? The question that confronts the Church is the 21st
Century is the same one that confronted Henry: Not "Are we in the translation business?" but rather, "Into what languages are we called at this time to translate the Christian faith?"  As the Holy Spirit gave Henry power to answer this question in his time, the Spirit gives us the same power today!


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We welcome your feedback on the newsletter.   
What is missing from the newsletter that you would like to see?  Let me know.  Thanks, nancy.  moeckenj@miamioh.edu (and here's your bonus for reading this section: from a church bulletin comes this notice- Applications are now being accepted for 2 year-old nursery workers.)