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Fellowship Deaconry Blog

Sharing Updates and Stories from Fellowship Deaconry Ministries
Messages from the Executive Director

The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength

In our last issue of Seasons our Board Chair, Fred Schumm, alluded to Nehemiah. In this issue, we also allude to the book of Nehemiah in several places. The Nehemiah example continues to resonate at Fellowship Deaconry Ministries. The book of Nehemiah recounts a stirring episode in the history of Israel. There was a material task to literally rebuild walls and repair gates in Jerusalem, but there were spiritual issues too. After having been defeated by Assyria and Babylon, most Israelites had been scattered to the winds or carried off into captivity, including the priests and Levites. After 70 years, and a partial return to the land, the inhabitants of Jerusalem had forgotten the Word of God, and the joy of His presence. In Nehemiah chapter 8 we learn that after the walls had been repaired Nehemiah and Ezra called for a holy day in Jerusalem. Ezra mounted a platform to read the Word of God aloud to the people. Their hearts were pierced, and they wept, as they realized that they had wandered away from worship, and had broken the Law. But Ezra and Nehemiah admonished the people to not grieve: “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 

The people were being instructed that it is a good thing to discover they had wandered off of the path that leads to joy. When God allows us to observe (or be reminded) that we have lost track of His Presence in our endeavors, we rejoice that He has intervened to get us back on track.  Here at the Fellowship Deaconry, we rejoice that God has impressed upon us to institute Staff Devotions on a mandatory basis: Every Friday, at 10:15, everyone at the Deaconry (including volunteers, part-time employees, regular staff and the Sisters) gather for Bible study and prayer. We structure our work schedules on Friday to make sure to attend Devotions for this hour. Along with prayer for Deaconry needs, this is the time when we, as a group, pray for you, and lift the Prayer Requests that have come into us from you by email, through our web site, or by personal contact. Jesus is at the center of what we say, and we are determined that He be at the center of what we do. “… the joy of the LORD is [our] strength."

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How Great is Our God?

Fellowship Deaconry GroundsBy: Ron Schober, Executive Director 

We may often think or say that God is good, and indeed He is good all the time, but that doesn’t seem to best describe how “all things work together for those who love Him and that are called to His purposes” (Romans 8:28). As the new Executive Director of Fellowship Deaconry Ministries (FDM) I have experienced the greatness of our God in directing my paths to help the board and staff understand God’s perfect plan for us as stewards of these precious resources here in Liberty Corner, NJ. As I walk around the grounds, I can only imagine how God has used this place and the Sisters for healing, transformation, and His glory during the past 82 years. It is my desire to seek His will and blessings as we explore new and significant ways to use our staff and facilities for His glory and honor.

We have an opportunity to serve our community needs as we partner with local churches and regional ministries to offer education, recreation, and restoration to youth and adults in the greater metropolitan area. With over 40 acres and more than two dozen buildings, the task is challenging to say the least. I have been blessed with a competent staff and wise board, but we need and covet the continued prayers, and support, of our Deaconry “friends”.

Your faithfulness over the years has allowed us to make improvements, repairs, and continue to make our facilities affordable to groups so they can experience God’s peace in the beauty and serenity of these grounds. I have listed a few investment opportunities for you to consider as we plan our needs. Perhaps one of these, or a portion of one, resonates with you, or a gift of any amount will help close our operating budget gap this year. We are also planning a new scholarship program to help sponsor a child in need with a Day Camp Sunshine or Sunshine Preschool experience. Would you be willing to help as you can to support these important stewardship opportunities?

 

A few investment giving opportunities – could you help meet some portion of our need?
  • New roof on our barn – we need 180 sections of shingles costing $100 each
  • We need a good, used, ¾ ton, 4-wheel-drive pickup truck for general utility and snow plowing
  • Replace four commercial double exterior doors – large chapel – these are $2,000 a piece!
  • Paint a wall or room – A $25 gift “covers” one of many rooms
  • Two laptops to replace aging units – $750 each to update our offices
  • Sponsor a camp scholarship – $150 is half the cost of a camp week
  • Help a Sunshine Preschooler with a $50/day or $250/week scholarship
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Thank you, Allen Smith

On behalf of the board and staff of Fellowship Deaconry, I would like to express our appreciation to Allen Smith for his leadership efforts during the past three years. He has worked to grow programs and resources and sustain the facilities that are the heart of our ministry. Through his efforts Day Camp Sunshine has grown and improvements have been made to benefit this important FDM program and outreach. He also oversaw renovations to the Sister’s living space, which integrated special cooking and dining areas to improve the efficiency and quality of their living. Allen brought many organizational enhancements as well, with updates to our website, governance, and accreditation with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Well done, good and faithful servant!

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Director's Corner

I have to confess that the end of summer for me is somewhat painful. In previous Seasons I’ve shared my childhood experiences and the impact that Camp Sunshine had on my life. Reflecting back on our summer camp season I can’t believe it just seemed to zip by too quickly. I’m sitting here thinking back on my childhood and remembering how sad I was when camp ended. I wanted it to continue year round. The power that camp can have on a child’s life can be incredible. For me it was life changing.

In order to run a successful camp, it’s a year round job. In our case preparation for the 2015 season began immediately after camp closed. Back in my day as a camper/counselor camp opened usually the last week of June and closed the Saturday before Labor Day. There was no pre-camp planning. We used the same program year after year and everyone loved it. Those days are long gone. We have a small camp staff team that works feverishly to deliver an incredible summer camp experience.

This year was an extraordinary camp season. Camp attendance was up, we increased the camp season by two weeks, the staff was the strongest we’ve seen in years, the annual drama play was a huge success, the family BBQ’s were amazing and best of all kids came to know the Lord.

I really want to thank the year round and summer staffs for their countless hours of hard work and dedication that made this season such a blessing.

The fall season is quickly upon us. Leaves have already begun to turn colors and drop. We’re preparing the facility for the winter season and I’m looking forward to a number of special winter projects we’ve got lined up.

This has been an exciting year for the entire organization. God has truly blessed us on many levels. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. Remember, if you’re in the area, stop by - I’d love to share a cup of coffee with you. Have a blessed and joyful holiday season.

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