PASTOR POST 9-15-21

Hello Hazelwood Friends!

I’m on vacation, but I left this fantastic article that I wanted to share with you in place of my Pastor Post this week. It gives us all more “food for thought” as we think about our place in the world as the part of the Body of Christ known as Hazelwood Christian.

Evangelism in the 21st Century
The Cost of Disciple Making
in the 21st Century

The beginning of the 20th Century challenged us to re-examine who we were. We met that challenge. Now, we face multiple frontiers in the 21st century as unprecedented changes press in on the church from all sides. We are called to reimagine our approach to mission and ministry to grow God’s kingdom in a waning Christian society. The vestigial images of spreading the gospel must go! New visions need to be created, endorsed, and financially supported to grow the kingdom.

The following five keys to living out your faith in your mission and ministry must be done in such a way that people will notice and ask questions. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks to give the reason for the hope that you have. Evangelism in the twenty-first century looks a lot like evangelism in the first century.

Real Mission and Ministry
Many congregations faithfully engage in mission and ministry. Then there is a “real” mission and ministry. What makes mission and ministry “real”? Real mission and ministry are being relevant in your community. Real mission and ministry mean that the level of engagement by the congregation is more than just assisting or helping other mission and ministry projects achieve their desired goals. Real mission and ministry mean congregations own the outcome. Congregations that take time to critically assess and evaluate the mission and ministry that is needed or lacking in their current ministry context understand that they must engage in “real” mission and ministry on more than a superficial level. Christ challenged his disciples to engage in real mission and ministry, and that challenge is still ours, as disciples, to live into today.

A Welcoming and Hospitality Component
It is important that not only our church members feel welcome but also each person who enters the doors of the church. All who enter must feel the welcome of Christ who invited all God’s children to come unto Him. Local congregations must develop a culture of being “welcoming” communities of faith if they intend to be relevant in a 21st-century context. Just being a friendly church will not suffice in the culture that the church now finds itself. Congregations must develop and practice radical hospitality. Welcoming and hospitable congregations understand that they must see their ministry through the eyes of outsiders. These congregations know that they will grow only as they effectively invite, welcome, and include new people.

A Spiritual Gifts Component
Does spiritual giftedness have anything to do with evangelism? Yes. The role of evangelism is no longer the sole responsibility of the evangelism team appointed or elected by a congregation.

A Sharing or Talking About Your Faith Component
This component is designed to help the local congregation grow into a deeper commitment to God and God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and in so doing, develop a lifestyle of evangelism. The aim of this component is not to enlist callers for an evangelism program. Persons who participate in this process will not be asked to sign up as bearers of a specific formula which they memorize and use to “convert” persons. While the terms “evangelizing” and “witnessing” are good descriptive words, coming from the ministry of the early church, because of some negative understanding of the terms today, one prominent church leader in evangelism has used the term “reclaiming the great commission” rather than “witness” or “evangelist.” In this component, the congregation will be challenged to empower their members to become comfortable with learning to “share their faith and talk about their faith.”

Media Matters Component
In the 21st century church, technology will be a key component of how effective and far-reaching our evangelism efforts will take us, although technology in the past has impacted the church and evangelism efforts, very few local congregations will be able to survive without a comprehensive, intentional, and effective media presence. The media ministry of the local congregation will be key in deciding just how relevant a congregation can be in its mission and ministry context. In the 21st century congregation media matters; every congregation must have a relevant Media Matters component in place to communicate their evangelism strategy.

The cost of disciple-making in the 21st century is moving away from who we were last century and encouraging Disciples congregations to embrace and engage who God is calling us to be in this frontier called the 21st century.

Rev. Dr. R. Wayne Calhoun, Sr.
Executive for Evangelism and Congregational Transformation
Disciples Home Missions

2021 WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY

World Communion Sunday

World Communion Sunday, October 3, is a chance for Hazelwood to join with their Christian family around the world in celebrating the Lord’s Table. As a part of the Disciples of Christ denomination, we partake of communion every week, to remember the sacrifice that was made for our salvation. There are several different ways that you can help us in celebrating this year:

1. If you can speak a different language, please consider volunteering to read the Lord’s Prayer in that language. Contact Marianna by Monday, September 26. Any language is welcome!
2. We are looking for very colorful scarves or material to use to decorate the communion table. If you have something that could be used to beautify our table, please get with Marianna by Monday, September 26.
3. If you are a “world traveler” then perhaps you have an outfit that represents a country that you have visited. We are asking folks to wear those outfits on Sunday, October 3, to worship. Help us make our Sanctuary sparkle with the colors of the world.

4. If you are a baker, we are looking for volunteers to bake some international breads for a special Bread and Juice Fellowship after worship. See the article below for details.

Bread Bakers Needed For October 3

For World Communion Sunday this year, October 3rd, we are going to feature a few breads from the Middle East and Africa at a simple Bread and Juice Fellowship after worship. We have a plan to have gloved and masked servers to serve those who choose to stay for fellowship with your choice of bread(s), bread topping(s), and juice.

But we need a few people to volunteer to bake some bread! We have a recipe for an Afghan Sweet Bread, as well as a recipe for Middle Eastern Pita Bread from Palestine to share with you. Neither of these require yeast, so there’s no waiting for the dough to rise! We also have a little more complicated recipe for Challah bread from Israel, if anyone is willing to take that on.

Felix Muhiga has already volunteered to make African Biget Bread rolls for us. Won’t you join Felix in being one of our World Communion Bread Bakers? If Yes, please email us in the office by clicking HERE. Thank you so much in advance!!

MINISTRY TEAM SPOTLIGHT 9-15-21

Where do you see yourself contributing to the ministry of Hazelwood Christian?

Sometimes we fall into the habit of calling on the same people to do “all the things.” But it is VERY good to have new people and new ideas join in the various ministries this congregation carries out, and even help us imagine new ones!

Below, you will see the highlights for a couple of the active ministries here at Hazelwood. We will continue to highlight a couple different ministries in each of the upcoming newsletters in order to help everyone see the various possibilities for service and involvement. As you read through these highlights, please be thinking and praying about where God is calling you to contribute YOUR time and talent. As the old saying goes: Many hands make light work and glad hearts.

Christian Life Team
Current members: Chair Donna Dye, Denise Glasson, Mary France, Lee Anne Chambers

What this team does: They send birthday greetings to members, send sympathy cards, and make phone calls to stay in touch with those who aren’t able to come to worship. They send special cards to a caregiver or someone who has been struggling with health issues and get well cards to members who are ill or have had surgery. At church on Sunday mornings, they make a point to greet people they don’t know or someone who hasn’t been in church for some time as well as regular attendees. They are the glue that helps our members stay connected. It’s a big job, and they could always use another set of hands!

Epiphany Action Team
Current members: Tony Gill, Joanna Hahn, Rev. Pamela J. Pettyjohn (ex-officio), Ann Wolfe

What this team does: This team meets on the 3rd Tuesday of the months in which Board does not meet: February, April, June, August, October, and December. They help keep the “Future Story” initiatives on track, evaluate outcomes, and suggest alternative “chapters” to the plan. The Future Story was a result of the Epiphany Process of 2018, and the story fits into a 5-year framework. In 2023 the team will conduct a final evaluation and make sure successful initiatives have what they need to continue. They could use a couple more members to make sure our work has fresh perspective going forward!

LINK TO VIDEO FROM WORSHIP SERVICE FROM 09-12-21

We were blessed to be joined by Rev. Dean Phelps (by video) for worship. Rev. Pamela J. Pettyjohn, our Interim Minister, was away. The sermon title is Somewhere Listening, and the scripture is Matthew 4:18-22 (NRSV). Click on this YouTube video to see our worship service from September 12, 2021.

PASTOR POST 09-08-21


Greetings Hazelwood Friends!

Did you know that researchers, experts in church growth, and practitioners of ministry say that it is easier to start a new congregation from the ground up than it is to transform an already existing congregation? Why do you think that is?

There are quite a few reasons for this, but here are a few that stand out to me:

      Habit. It is really easy to fall into doing things the way we have done them for decades without asking: Is this what God is calling us to do here and now? Or Is this still the best way to do this particular thing here and now? It may have made sense or been the “best practice” at the time, but times change.

      Concentrated Control. It is really easy in congregations for a person, or a few persons, to control too much of the decision making without input from others. Similarly, the same people continue to hold the same office year after year after year, or only a very small number of people rotate in and out a given position, with no chance for “new blood” and new voices and perspectives, and/or the “new blood” declines the opportunity to serve more deeply.

      Lack of Transparency. This is where things are kept hidden, whether intentionally or unintentionally, from the congregation. People don’t really know how decisions are made or how the congregation’s funds are spent. Clarity is really important to inspire trust in the congregation – from the congregational participants and from the members of the larger community.

I encourage us each to think and pray about how we may see some aspects of these three things happening in our congregation and how we could work to make improvements, as we enter this season of preparing for a new year. How might God be calling you to contribute to continuing transformation?

There is SO much for which to give thanks when it comes to this congregation!!! There is so much potential here, just waiting to burst forth, if we will let it. God is looking for people to be God’s hands and feet and voice for the day in which we live in NOW – not the one we used to live in 50 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I firmly believe that Hazelwood Christian has already made some wonderful strides in transformation over the last few years in some areas. And I believe there is the desire to continue the transformation process in other areas that still need our attention.

This is a WONDERFUL congregation, full of folks who genuinely care about our future and our community. We are fortunate to not have the problems that some congregations face, while at the same time recognizing that we do have challenges that must be addressed. I am so excited and grateful to be serving here with all of you during this time of transition and change!!

Shalom, Rev. Pamela

WORSHIP FOR SUNDAY 09-12-21

This week we will pause our current sermon series as we hear a good word from Rev. Dean Phelps.
Rev. Dean is serving as our Associate Regional Minister while Rev. Carolyn Reed is on sabbatical, which includes working with our Search Committee.
Sunday, September 12 Sermon TitleSomewhere ListeningScriptureMatthew 4:18-22
To see information about the songs we will be singing this Sunday, click herehttp://www.hazelwoodchurch.org/worship-songs-this-week/

To watch past services, you may go to Youtube by clicking HERE.
To see just the scripture and sermons from each week, click HERE.

MISSIONS UPDATE 09-08-21

Community Outreach Opportunity on the Hazelwood Campus

Our next door neighbors at Parlour, in the mansion, are organizing a community-wide event open to the public, on September 25th, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. And we are excited to be partnering with them to provide some live music in the afternoon, as well as some family-friendly activities for all ages on our lawn throughout the event.

If you are willing to be part of the music group, please contact Marianna, and if you are willing to help with the family-friendly activities, please contact Rev. Pamela. So far Ann Wolfe and Shirley Bookout have volunteered to help with the family activities, but more helpers are still needed. This is a great chance to meet our community and let them know Hazelwood cares about children and families.

Additional happenings, arranged through Parlour, will be outdoor yoga and/or Pilates classes, other types of music, and vendor booths, including some food vendors.

Afghan Refugees Coming to Indiana Need Our Help

Welcoming refugees – tens of thousands of them – is something Disciples have generously done since the end of World War II. Here is information received last week from our Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries, a ministry of Disciples Home Missions:

The Afghan Crisis is the call of our times for a revival of U.S. resettlement, which has been one of the most effective and non-partisan ways for churches to offer hope for decades. The heartbreak of needs is likely to be lengthy, and Camp Atterbury in Johnson County is now joining a growing list of other bases who are serving as temporary transit and processing centers – offering pathways of promise for Afghan refugees.

Click HERE to see how our congregation may join with other Indiana congregations to help these beloved children of God in this time of drastic change and transition.

Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea is our Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries Director and may be reached at 202-957-7826 (text or call) if you have questions after reading the information provided at the link; we also have her email address in the office.

-EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS 09-08-21

You’re Invited!

Tony and Marianna Gill will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary this year, and they would like to invite you all to celebrate with them. There will be an Open House celebration at their home on Sunday, September 19th from 2-5 p.m. The couple would like you to know that your presence is all the presents they need.

If you would like to attend, please R.S.V.P. by September 10th to Barb Gill at 321-313-3680 or barbgill@cfl.rr.com.

Become A Climate Ambassador

Green Chalice is a ministry of our denomination which helps congregations become better stewards of God’s creation. Many in faith communities call this Creation Care; in other settings you may hear Green Team or Environmental Protectors. Now, Green Chalice is expanding it’s ministry to co-sponsor an opportunity for people of faith to receive free training via Zoom to help them become Climate Ambassadors.

What is a Climate Ambassador, you ask? Good Question! Read on…

As we all know, climate change is one of the biggest problems facing the world, and humans are exacerbating the problem. But we can also help be part of the solution! With this training, and a cohort of like-minded people of faith, you will be able to engage our congregation, your colleagues, the public, and policymakers to inspire them to work towards climate solutions. Climate Ambassadors are desperately needed to help protect our families and communities now, and ensure a prosperous, just, and secure future. This training takes place Saturday, September 25, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Register by clicking HERE.

Bread Bakers Needed For October 3

For World Communion Sunday this year, October 3rd, we are going to feature a few breads from the Middle East and Africa at a simple Bread and Juice Fellowship after worship. We have a plan to have gloved and masked servers to serve those who choose to stay for fellowship with your choice of bread(s), bread topping(s), and juice.

But we need a few people to volunteer to bake some bread! We have a recipe for an Afghan Sweet Bread, as well as a recipe for Middle Eastern Pita Bread from Palestine to share with you. Neither of these require yeast, so there’s no waiting for the dough to rise! We also have a little more complicated recipe for Challah bread from Israel, if anyone is willing to take that on.

Felix Muhiga has already volunteered to make African Biget Bread rolls for us. Won’t you join Felix in being one of our World Communion Bread Bakers? If Yes, please email us in the office by clicking HERE. Thank you so much in advance!!

Calling All Choir Members!

Are you eager to help lead worship through song again? Just because Sally Kelley, our beloved choir director, has been called to another position, doesn’t mean there are not still possibilities awaiting you! We know different people have different comfort levels with participating in this way due to the Delta variant, but the church has invested in special singing masks which make it easier to sing while remaining masked, so we hope you will take a moment to consider this.

Marianna Gill and Lori Rhoden, our awesome worship coordinator and organist/pianist, have agreed to work together to provide opportunities for you to help in leading congregational songs and/or sing in ensembles, quartets, etc., for special music in October through December. But they need to know WHO is interested in doing so!!! If you are interested, please email the church office by clicking HERE and your email will be forwarded to Marianna and Lori. Lori will meet with the singers to practice in advance, and this is not a weekly commitment, so email today with your interest and availability! As of Sunday, September 5th, Rhea Morgan, Yeno Matuka, Charles Retherford, and Ann Wolfe have all volunteered; how about you?

Where do you see yourself contributing to the ministry of Hazelwood Christian?

We have six wonderful people who are paid to help make our ministries happen (1 full-time, 3 part-time, and 2 very part-time) in addition to our paid Preschool and Early Learning Center Staff. But they couldn’t do it without the many, many offerings of time and talent freely given to this congregation by our active participants. In the next 3 weeks, we are going to be highlighting different groups, teams, and committees to help everyone see all the different possibilities for service and involvement.

Sometimes we fall into the habit of calling on the same people to do “all the things.” But it is VERY good to have new people and new ideas join in the various ministries this congregation carries out, and even help us imagine new ones! Please be on the lookout for those highlights in the upcoming newsletters, and be thinking and praying about where God is calling you to contribute YOUR time and talent. As the old saying goes: Many hands make light work and glad hearts.

LINK TO VIDEO FROM WORSHIP SERVICE FROM 09-05-21

Rev. Pamela J. Pettyjohn, Interim Minister, is doing a sermon series called Where We Came From…old stories for a new day. Click on this YouTube video to see our worship service from September 5, 2021. Week 4 Sermon Title – The Drama of Desire   Scripture – Genesis 3:1-13 (CEB & TIB), Psalm 32:1-5, 10 (CEB)

PASTOR POST 09-01-21

Greetings Hazelwood Friends!

Today, I want to take a few moments to talk about stewardship. Now, please don’t stop reading or let your eyes glaze over yet! While we too often equate Stewardship with money, it is really about so much more. The word, steward, is very similar to manage/manager or caretaker, so stewardship is about management of resources or taking care of something (or many somethings). And even young children can be taught about being good stewards. I’ve had some very insightful discussions with children and teens around this topic. And they quickly “get it”:

The more resources or “things” we have, the more we have that needs to be managed with care. This really includes everything – how we spend our time, where we put our thoughts and energy, and how we use the gifts, talents, and ability to think, which we have been given by our Creator. And of course, it can often mean how we manage our physical possessions and financial resources.

As a congregation, we have a big responsibility to be wise managers, or stewards, of the talents and financial gifts which people have entrusted to us to put to good use on their behalf, for furthering our ministry and taking care of our building. There are some who think this means never spending money or trying to get by as cheaply as possible. But that is not always the case, because there’s another aspect to wise and good stewardship and that is to be ethical.

We have a moral obligation to think beyond just the price tag to the ethics entwined in each decision, including, but not limited to, being fair and ethical employers to our staff. Another part of being ethical is to avoid the temptation to favor particular areas of special interest to some, while the needs of others go unattended.

So, there are a lot of factors which congregational leaders have to consider before making decisions on behalf of the congregation. And sometimes, participants in a congregation can feel left out or they don’t understand the process of how decisions are made. As your pastor during this time, I am here to support and help this congregation, and to listen to you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to arrange an appointment to chat, either in person or by phone, where you may share with me any of your concerns, wishes, or dreams for this congregation.

Being open and honest helps a congregation to be its healthiest self. Hazelwood is blessed with a lot of talented and caring human beings, and I truly believe everyone wants what is best for the congregation – so that we may continue to shine a light for Christ in Muncie and beyond.

My cell phone and email are on the front of recent bulletins, or you may click HERE to send an email to the church office to receive them if you do not have a bulletin handy! Also, if you are on Facebook, you may find me as Pamela J Pettyjohn. I accept all friend requests from active participants, but do not usually make request because some people may not want to be “friends” with their pastor on Facebook, and that is okay too. But if you don’t mind, it’s a great way for me to get to know you personally a little better.

Shalom, Rev. Pamela