Dear friends,

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Have you ever had a friend arrive to support, listen, and encourage you at just the right time and place? I recall one such friend in my life—Alan Struckmeyer. When I first met Alan, I was newly ordained as a pastor and greatly in need of a friend. Alan, being a seasoned pastor, was able to strike the healthy balance of listening and offering helpful insight. I can remember sitting at a restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida talking for two straight hours without coming up for a breath. Alan patiently sat and sipped his sweet tea. That moment of friendship was needed by me!!

I share this for a couple of reasons. First, pray for Alan and his wife, Linda. Alicia and I received news this week that Alan likely will not have much more time to live. He has been living with brain cancer and the cancer has simply taken over his body. As of the time of this writing, Alan has not eaten anything for five days. Alicia and I took time this week to share our gratitude to the Struckmeyers for their sincere friendship at a critical time in life.

But I share this also for another reason. As I needed a friend at a critical moment, so also people are in need of friendship today. Could you be that friend? The need is great! Administrators of one of the largest hospitals in America cite loneliness as a major reason for overcrowded emergency rooms. Parkland Hospital of Dallas, Texas, made this startling discovery as they were looking for ways to unclog the system. They analyzed data and compiled a list of high utilizers. They identified eighty patients (EIGHTY PATIENTS!!) who went to the four emergency rooms 5,139 times in a twelve-month period, costing the system more than $14 million! Why were the emergency room visits so frequent? The administrators determined that the number one reason was loneliness.

“Dallas, Texas is a lot different than Philomath, Oregon, Pastor,” you might be saying. And you are right. However, the challenge of isolation is very present in our community like it is in Dallas, Texas.

Compassion Ministries is needing Christian volunteers to be a friend with a person. Some of these people needing friends are experiencing mental health concerns. They have been taken advantage of or have been told what to do and how to do it. Their self-worth has been diminished. They are very discouraged. Most of all, these people need someone to listen and encourage them.

What are the requirements of this program?

  • 1 orientation meeting to begin the process.
  • Meet with the person once every other week.
  • Quarterly support and educational meetings.
  • 1 year commitment.
  • Be an encourager, listener, and friend.

Please contact me if you are interested in serving as a volunteer in Compassion Ministry’s program. You can also speak with Mike Rinkin, Executive Director of Compassion Ministries. His email is [email protected] and you can call him too at 541-928-6382.

Why be a friend with someone? This is what Jesus did for you. As the Casting Crowns song states,

Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Oh, let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours.

Your friend in Christ,

Pastor J

Easter Egg Hunt for Families at Peace

We are excited to announce that we are having the children’s Easter Egg Hunt!  After receiving communion on Easter Sunday, you can drive around to the new section of parking lot and wait for  Pastor Lucke to announce the hunt.  As in years past, the eggs will be hidden in the backyard of the church, just off the patio. You will need to walk around the church on the outside once service is over.  George and Jan Abele will meet you near the back patio to hand out Easter sacks to the children to collect eggs.  They will then tell the children when to begin the hunt–children 4 & under will go first and can hunt eggs in the corded off area that is reserved especially for them.  The rest of the children ages 5 through 6th grade will be released to find eggs which will be hidden all around the back of the church but NOT in the landscaped areas.  

We are asking the children to not open eggs in the grass but instead to either take them home or open them in the patio area.  Empty black garbage sacks will be available to use for empty eggs.  Happy egg hunting on this special Easter Sunday & God’s blessings to you!

Backpack Ministry

The Backpack Ministry continues to try to serve our homeless population however we are able.  Our past Lent Zoom Service included an interview with the Executive Director of the Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center ( CDDC) that serves the homeless population.  In the most recent newsletter I included a list of their most dire needs.  You have come through beautifully, as every few days someone drops off items on my front door.  Because of your generosity, I have been able to make weekly donations of needed items to the center for the past 5 weeks.  This weeks offering includes, Toilet paper, Ace Bandages, Combs, Brushes, Anti-bacterial ointment, Pepto Bismol, Sleeping bags and dog food.  I usually do not know who is dropping these items off, but please know they are very much appreciated by the Center and the people they serve.  If you are cleaning out areas in your home and find any of the items on the list, even used where appropriate….please continue to just drop them at my doorstep and I will deliver them to our partners at the Daytime Drop-in Center. Apparently they could also use clean used ( but no holes or stains) pants for men and women.   My address is: 2223 Applegate St, Philomath OR  541-609-0018- Thank you all!  Diane Crocker

Thank you!

Just can’t say it enough! What an adventure. On Jan 5 th , we drove to Stanford for my super deluxe heart surgery on the 12th . The surgery was a long one so didn’t head home until Feb 4th or so. Thank you all so much for the financial support, cards, and especially all of the prayers. God truly held me in His hands through all of this.

Recovery will take a while and I do get impatient sometimes so keep the prayers going up!

Thank you again. Love to all.