Remember to turn your clocks back Saturday night and enjoy that extra hour of sleep!
Nine of the Rairdon clan gathered Saturday for Hoosier Hysteria. A sign of what makes Indiana basketball so special is that 14,000 fans gathered in spite of IU’s very poor season last year. It was grandson Coen’s first Hoosier Hysteria and marked the 12th one in a row for our family. For those who follow the Hoosiers, I think you will enjoy this team much more than last year. Shooting will be a strength with 5-6 players very capable of hitting the three. Of course, the big question mark is the inside. Hanner Perea, IU’s only true center, did look more comfortable in the scrimmage, but we will see if he can stay out of foul trouble in critical games. I am predicting that IU finishes in the top half of the Big Ten, makes the NCAA tournament and of course, finishes ahead of Purdue, lol.
Sunday evening I took Janae to the ER when she spiked a fever. She has continued to experience pain in her kidneys following her kidney infection. They do know that she has five kidney stones but they are not passing so they cannot explain her pain. As it turned out, part of her pain and the cause of the fever was that she had pneumonia. She was given an antibiotic for it and stayed home from school Monday and Tuesday. She was also given referrals for a neurologist, urologist and nephrologist to try and figure out the cause of her kidney pain. Friday will be her first appointment and we hope to find some answers. Right now we would accept a good theory.
Monday night, the Administrative Council did approve a proposal by Gene Maley to start a campaign to replace our folding chairs in Fellowship Hall. We will need at least 200 and the chairs will be $25 each. The funding proposal still has to be formed, but will likely include individual donations as well as seeking grants from Summer Fare and the Memorial Fund Committee.
Tuesday, our staff completed our 2015 Calendar and then brainstormed on what can be done to turn around an attendance decline at the Wednesday night Gathering. Our format is not attracting busy young families. We came up with the beginnings of an interesting proposal which will need to be refined, but we think has potential. First, we would reach out into the community by taking The Gathering to Braeburn Apartments this summer. We would have the meal catered and paid for by the support of Old Bethel members who normally buy their meal and funds leftover from a Metro Ministries grant. This would be an opportunity to build some relationships and hopefully bring some of these people over to Old Bethel when The Gathering moves back to the church in the fall.
Our format would change to emphasize community with the meal at 5:30 and people assigned to new tables each week so we truly get to know new people and break down our cliques. An icebreaker each week would help us to better know each other. There would be a little singing/worship followed by a staff or lay led devotion which would apply a Biblical principal to our life, intergenerational discussion questions would be guided by trained table leaders and each table would take time to pray for each person. Then, at 6:30 instead of trying to have classes for everyone, we will offer optional short-term classes which would teach basic life skills and specialized topics of interest. This would make it easier for people to attend without feeling they have to make long-term commitments and would feature gifts of people in the community as well as in the congregation. The following summer we would return The Gathering to Braeburn or perhaps even expand to a second location. This proposal will go next to the Connection Team, as we continue the discussion of making The Gathering a more externally focused opportunity.
Our Stewardship Campaign is getting closer to our goal of $585,000 in pledges. At last count, yesterday, we had 179 pledges (215 last year) totaling nearly $503,000. The exciting news is we have 21 new pledges totaling $23,726 and 64 who increased their pledges, which total another $23,542. We have 57 who pledged last year that have not turned in a pledge this year, so if most of those come in, we have a good shot at reaching our goal. After this week, the Extravagant Generosity Team will begin follow up calls so please turn in that pledge as soon as possible.
This Sunday we will think about how we were disciplined/punished growing up, review how God disciplined Israel and Judah and consider how God brings discipline into our spiritual lives. In preparation, read Isaiah 40:1-11.
See you Sunday,