2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Jason DeVries (New Thing)
Vice President: TBD
At-Large Members: Dale Buettner (Illiana-Florida), Bob Hoffman (Illinois), Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin), TBD (Chicago)
The Fall Issue of the RCAToday is now available online. In addition to stories from around our denomination, there are stories within our region from Second Reformed Church in Fulton, IL and Calvary Church in Orland Park, IL.
Corresponding Women Delegates to General Synod are needed for the 2019 General Synod June 6-11, 2019 on the campus of Hope College in Holland, MI. A Corresponding Woman Delegate has the same role as a regular delegate to General Synod except they are non-voting members. If you are interested in serving the region in this way, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Corresponding Youth Delegate is also needed. These delegates are typically college-aged young adults who are sensing a call to some form of ministry in the future. These delegates also have some special programming during synod. If you are interested or know someone who would be good in this role, please contact email@example.com.
A new church plant, Renewing Life Church in Ferguson, MO was launched in late August. Pastor Terry Tyson is leading this satellite church of Christ’s Church in St. Peters, MO. Renewing Life’s mission is restoration to the broken, the disheartened, the lonely, the economic struggling, and the drug addicted people in the Ferguson community. Please keep this new church in your prayers.
The Reformed Church in America is partnering with the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) to host a Growing Young Cohort in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is an incredible opportunity for up to 30 RCA churches to transform their ministry to teens and young adults using research-based strategies to help young people love your church. The Growing Young Cohort includes:
– Two in-person summits
– Regular online webinars
– One year of personalized coaching
– Comprehensive online diagnostic tests
*Registration is already underway and will end on November 20. To learn more about this opportunity and how your church can register, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch a video on the impact of Growing Young HERE.
The RCA’s Board of Benefits Services Employee Assistance Program provides free, confidential Christian counseling either at at an outpatient clinic in your area (Pine Rest in Grand Rapids), or via an online telehealth session. Up to 3 sessions per issue are provided at no cost to any employee of an RCA church. Some common issues addressed are depression, anxiety, work-related problems, marital issues, family issues, substance abuse, and others. The 24 hour hotline number is (833) 244-2490. For more information click HERE.
News from Camp Manitoqua Have a BLAST this winter break – Registration will begin October 1 for the WinterBlast day camp program, a break from school, not from fun, at Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center. Held during winter break for grades 1-6; featuring classic camp activities, winter snow games, hot lunches, and more. Online registration and additional information (including downloadable brochure) available at www.manitoqua.org/winterblast, or call the office at 815.469.2319.
Enjoy a taste of fall at the Red Oak Luncheon, a pleasant occasion for adults, at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center on Wednesday, November 28th. Coffee & rolls will be served at 10:30am. Our program will begin at 11:00am with lunch to follow at 12:00pm. Tours of the grounds will be available after lunch. Cost for the event is $10.00. Please make reservations at 815.469.2319 by November 26.
Storm the base, capture the flag, and win the game! Camp Manitoqua and Retreat Center invites you out to one of the most epic days of paintball you will ever experience on October 20 from 10am – 4pm! Come play a full day of paintball on our wooded course. Space is limited; registration processed on first come first serve basis. Cost is $36 (includes marker and mask rental, 1000 paintballs, and a box lunch). Register online at www.manitoqua.org/events by Today – October 15. Ages: 7th grade and older. Questions: call the office at 815.469.2319.
Retreat season has begun at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center. At this time, we are offering groups a 15% discount on any retreat booked for December 2018 or January 2019. Please contact Todd at 815.469.2319, or at email@example.com for availability.
STORIES OF CELEBRATION
We share stories of celebration to glorify God. This month’s story comes from Camp Manitoqua. If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church (or classis), please email Chad.
The mortality rate has not changed since Genesis 3 – one in one persons will die. Unfortunately, some people leave us earlier than we would like due to various reasons. Loss of a loved one is hard. Losing a family member due to homicide is abrupt and loved ones often spend a lifetime trying to find closure, healing, and a way forward. Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center opens our grounds to a non-profit organization, the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation, which hosts a weekend bereavement camp focused on providing healing and a way forward for children who have lost a loved one due to homicide.
Grief can be a lonely journey. Camp Sheilah sought to provide a one on one companion to the fifty campers that attended camp so that these campers were not alone. During the weekend, campers had the opportunity to use our grounds freely, and they experienced our teambuilding initiatives, zip line, high ropes course, climbing tower, and recreational tree climbing which were led by our eight Adventure Zone staff. In order to accommodate their needs and grief journey out on the course, we work with our facilitators on how to present each activity so that we are as sensitive as possible to the emotional needs of these campers.
When the campers were not working with the Camp Manitoqua staff they were in smaller, age- appropriate groups in which Camp Sheilah helped lead and facilitate discussions that guided campers through their grief. Camp Sheilah also hosted and led a one-day meeting on our grounds that sought to care for the mental and emotional needs of the parents who lost a loved one.
What’s the big deal about this group? Why do we value the relationship and partnership with this group as much as we do? What separates them from the other 13,000 people that will walk through our grounds in a given year? Our mission and vision of providing a setting for organizations to be supported – through retreat, outdoor education, and a summer camp – by our grounds and staff allows this group to uniquely experience a reprieve from everyday life.
Camp Manitoqua provides two staff members to this group to be the hands of feet of Jesus. They do things ranging from filling coolers with ice, cleaning up after meals, moving tables and chairs around grounds, popping popcorn, and tending to any other requests that may come up throughout the weekend. They are also there to be a listening ear and an empathic voice as staff, volunteers, and campers share their experience with us. We are uniquely involved in the weekend more than we are with any other program. We are more than just 100 acres to this group. We are more than a place that sets up tables and chairs before their arrival. We do more than accommodate dietary needs and food allergies. We are there to show Christ-like service and hospitality – just as we would to any other group – and uniquely to this group. To put it differently, Camp Sheilah leans into us heavily, unlike any other group, to make their weekend here a success. This is why this partnership is as valued as it is.
We will continue opening our grounds and offering our staff to groups that are hurting, in distress, struggling, depressed, and lonely. While this world is filled with trials and tribulations, our ministry will continue to take heart in the fact that Jesus Christ has overcome the world. It’s for this end that we toil to make the Kingdom of Heaven made known here on earth.
Thanks be to God!
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
Developing A Heart of Courage…
You’ll never guess what the Bible says 365 times. It says, “Do not fear.” It says it exactly 365 times, almost as if to remind us that not a single day goes by in a year when we don’t need to hear about it. The Bible doesn’t say, “do not mourn” or “do not feel hurt.” It says that in the midst of whatever we’re feeling, doing, or facing, there is no need to fear. There is a holy courage that comes from God.
Yet most of us are content to simply “hang in there.” We hang in there when we are in a difficult relationship. We hold out hoping for better days when we are in a challenging work situation. When the kids are bickering in the car, we try to just hang in there until we get home. Most of the time, people don’t confront their fears and challenges, but choose rather to just hang in there.
Many of you I’m sure have seen the movie “Titanic”. What if someone that you cared about felt like their life’s ship was sinking? Would your advice to them be to “just hang on?” We need a faith that does more than hang on. We need a faith that grabs a raft and starts rowing, a faith that faces our fears and acts in a way that participates in overcoming the challenges of life.
Thankfully, in the depths of Christian faith, there is a strength much deeper than just “hanging in there.” It is the strength of victory. Because Jesus literally “hung in there” on the cross for us, we don’t have to “hang in there” anymore. We live in victory through the risen Christ.
That’s why the Bible’s instruction to us is not “hang in there” but “take courage.” When we face challenges, disappointments, bruises, failure, and seemingly unclimbable mountains, God’s Word teaches us to take courage. Take courage in your church, in your community, in your family life, and in your personal life.
There is a holy courage available for you. No matter what you fear, no matter what pain you bear, no matter what challenge you face, you can do all things through Christ who strengthen you.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14 ESV)
— Wayne Van Regenmorter
LINKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
How to Create an Inviting Culture in Your Church – Much of our congregation doesn’t know how to invite people to church. Instead of getting upset with our people, this is a great opportunity to teach them how to invite. This doesn’t have to be a weird thing. And you have the chance to show your people that. Inviting can become a normal part of your church’s life.
No More Boring Meetings – Use this article to evaluate your meetings and see if you’ve fallen into some unhealthy meeting traps.
Low Income Communities Are Not Needy; They Have Assets – People who want to help low-income communities should see them as “half-full glasses” — places with strengths and capacities that can be built upon, says the co-developer of the asset-based community development strategy. How do you honor, locate, and invest in these assets?