Spirit of Generosity Sunday
On Sunday, November 20, we celebrated our strategic goals for 2017 that were adopted at our Annual Church Conference in October. Prior to the service, members of the finance committee and administrative council pledged over $43,000 to help us accomplish strategic growth and outreach goals for 2017. You can help us reach more children, youth, and adults during 2017 by climbing up to a new level of financial support. Help us change lives by setting a goal or an estimate for your giving during 2017. Your regular financial support will play a major role in reaching new friends and neighbors with the love and truth of Jesus. Our strategic goals for 2017 are:
1. Involve 12 new families in Sunday School/Worship.
2. Strengthen our youth ministry by calling in a part-time youth pastor and by involving parents.
3. Reach 6 new households from the Sterling Glen development (Fries Mill Road).
4. Strengthen communication among our ministry teams by developing a unity covenant.
As disciples of our gracious Savior and Lord, we give, not because the church needs money, but so that our lifestyles will reflect the godly priorities we have adopted. Please prayerfully consider climbing up another step. If you haven’t already, please write down your estimate of giving for 2017 and place it in the offering plate or mail it to the church as soon as possible. Thank you for helping us to get out of the pew and into the places where more children, youth and adults are searching for the love of Christ.
Harvest Success: October 23, 2016
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! We are praising God for all that He did in our midst as we celebrated Harvest Fest Sunday on October 23rd. 178 members and friends attended the Harvest Fest service, ten special gift bags were given out to first time visitors, nearly 100% of our Sunday School children and youth attended the service, the youth group challenged us with a powerful skit, the children's, youth, and adult choirs and praise team inspired us with spirit filled songs, and lay servants led us with powerful prayers and presented God's Word. We easily doubled our attendance at the outdoor festival, two thirds of those who attended were not regular attenders, several families joined us from the Children's Garden, two new attenders indicated they want to join our church, and two non-attenders shared that they want to begin attending, and we gave away all but two of our prayer shawls. These are just some of the things that I saw God doing in our midst! If everyone had an opportunity to share what they witnessed God doing, all the testimonies couldn’t be fitted into one worship service! What a privilege that God would use us to reach new people in such a special way! None of this would have been possible if we were not open to God's call to step out of our comfort zones and if we hadn't followed through with our sacrifices of time, energy, and prayer. Well done good and faithful servants!
Greater New Jersey Annual Conference: July 2016
Pastor Jeff and Brock Winans represented our church at the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference that convened from May 22 – 24. The following are a few good news items that they were able to bring back to our church. The A Future with Hope campaign raised about 24 million dollars during the last three years. 237 homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy were restored and malaria deaths in Africa were cut in half! Praise God! The campaign will phase out by the end of 2017 and transition into hope centers in each county to provide housing and human services in the name of Jesus Christ. Twenty-four new church starts have been initiated since 2014. Significant efforts at church revitalization have moved our conference from the middle ranking of vitality to fourth in the denomination. Finally, the new Mission and Resource Center (Conference Center in Ocean County) opened in April. Praise God, the completed 5 million dollar facility is debt free.
Solar Generation: June 2016
Cross Keys is going solar! We are pleased to announce that at its May 4, 2016 meeting the Administrative Council approved a proposal by the trustees to install two sets of solar panels that will reduce our cost of electricity by 50%. The panels will provide electrical service for all four buildings and exterior lighting on the church grounds. One set will be located behind and to the left of the back parking lot. The other set will be located behind the parsonage to the right of the tall pines. The estimated annual savings will be about $6,000 per year! Special thanks go to the trustees and those who assisted them. They spent countless hours to research the best options for our church and have done an incredible job in helping us to wisely manage the generous financial resources entrusted to us by our members and friends.
Concrete Improvements: June 2016
The cement mixer will be visiting our Cross Keys campus in mid-June, after the Children’s Garden breaks for the summer. Several sidewalks will be repaired or replaced in order to correct some of the tripping hazards that have appeared over recent years. Looking ahead to future projects, the trustees also conducted a cost analysis related to the following projects: Replacing the church and education building roofs, painting the interior and exterior of the education building, replacement of educational building black top, Faith Hall black top tacking and sealing, and the eventual replacement of the air conditioning condensers that cool Faith Hall. In a recent self-evaluation our church scored extremely high on keeping our grounds and buildings beautiful. We are pleased to bring honor to the Lord by taking care of the facilities that have been entrusted to us. Our safe, clean, and up to date facilities are a powerful statement about the health and vitality of our church and the ministries we support.
There is a food barrel in the entry way of Faith Hall. Please bring in can goods or non-perishable food items to help someone in need. All the items will go to the food pantry at Our Lady of Peace in town.
New Gift Card Program
We have received new information that will enable us to implement our gift card program again. You can order gift cards for everyday purchase, such as gas and groceries, at the face value and our Missions program gets a percentage based on the card. See Dawn Jennings for more details.
South Jersey Food Bank
The Food Bank has continued to bless 80 - 120 families each month. Joanna Campbell is looking for some new church volunteers willing to come out for a couple of hours on the third (3rd) Saturday of the month. The ministerium chose to discontinue the food bank and Cross Keys picked it up. There are fewer churches participating, so fewer church volunteers and more recipient volunteers. While we encourage recipients to help, we love to see a strong showing of our members. No one has to commit to every month, just come when you can! The next food bank is Saturday, October 17. See Joanna Campbell or Dawn Jennings for more information.
Community Bible Study Begins
Gifted Bible teacher, Roy Kreiser, will begin a new Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark. The text will be the guide for participants and one of Roy’s key goals is to work together in such a way that we “allow the text to speak for itself.” No questions will be too simple as we explore what life was like for Jesus and the first century Christians. Most of all, everyone who attends will be strengthened and encouraged as we discover why the teachings of the Bible still apply to us today.
The Kreiser study will be offered in the Sunny Estates development every first and third Monday from 9:30–10:30 am, beginning on Monday, September 21. Joanne Jones will host the study at her home located at 1 Parker Lane, Williamstown, NJ. Members of the church and community are invited to attend.
Altar Flowers and Memorial Vase
The flower order forms for 2016 are on the bulletin board in the narthex of the Church.
A Future With Hope
As the new year unfolds, we continue with or efforts to support the United Methodist Greater New Jersey mission initiative, A Future with Hope. Our goal is to repair 300–500 homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy and to save thousands of lives in Africa with mosquito nets that prevent malaria. The communion offering on the first Sunday of each month during 2014 is designated for the A Future with Hope ministry. Thank you for your dedication to help us carry the love of Christ beyond the walls of our local church.
Prayer With Us
The E-mail Prayer Chain is a vital part of our ministry at the Cross Keys Church. Anytime of the day or night you can submit a prayer request or praise and also be alerted to needs related to our members and friends for which you can pray. If you would like to be on the E-mail Prayer Chain please contact our administrator, Sam Sprengle, at email@example.com and provide him with your email address. Prayer Chain members will also receive a summary listing the requests that were lifted up during the previous Sunday services.
Another way that you can stay in touch is by becoming a member of our Facebook Group (Cross Keys United Methodist Church), which can be accessed through our website (http://crosskeyschurch.org).
You may have noticed that a monthly devotional accompanies each Sunday Prayer List that is emailed to prayer chain members. We hope that future devotional thoughts will arise out of the prayer times of prayer chain members. If you have a contribution that you would like to share please send it to Jerry Furniss (see below). Topics can be anything that might be encouraging, inspiring, thought provoking, biblically educational, or just a fun subject that might help others in their personal time in the Spirit. Jerry can also help find scripture references related to your devotion and in the general process of editing. We’d love to hear from you! For information or to submit a devotion contact Jerry Furniss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 856-881-2563.