December 2015 newsletter

Upcoming Events:

Dec 20 – Christmas Service; Holy Communion

Dec 20, 3 p.m. – Industry Brethren Church Christmas Candlelight Service with Holy Communion,

155th Anniversary of First Services; fellowship meal after the service.

Dec 24 (Thurs) – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 6:00 PM

Jan 12 (Tues) – Elders meeting – 6:00 PM

Jan 17 – Congregational Meeting after the worship service

Feb 2016 – Four-church fellowship at Nelsonville Brethren Church – (Watch for details!)

Message from the Pastor: Dear Friends, Since the terrorist attacks that took place in France, tension has been building throughout the world. Americans are in hot debates about joining France in a war against terrorism and should we take in Syrian refugees. What do you think? What should we do? Frankly, I do not know. But, what I do know is that American soldiers have lost their lives to keep America free …. I know many have come home with disabilities both physical and mental. Is going to war the answer? If not, what should we do? Again, I do not know what the answer is. So, you may be asking, “Pastor, what do you know?” Well, I know that it seems that there is so much that is wrong with America and the world that when I think about it I am overwhelmed. And, so God whispers, “Be still, and know that I Am God.” I, we, need to pray and not worry. As Christians, we know that God is sovereign and is in control of this world. It’s okay to be a bit scared, but it is not okay to dwell in what we cannot change. So as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus soon, we need to be vigilant and ready for Christ’s return whether it be in 2015 or 4015. Merry Christmas!!! One more thing, I was sent a devotional from Crosswalk, posted 11/19/15, that I think is worth sharing. See below: seven suggested Bible verses to read when terror strikes. Until I see you again ….. remember Amen …. And … Praise the Lord!!!!   Blessings, Pastor Kay

7 Verses to read when terror strikes: II Timothy 1:7 (KJV) 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Psalm 46:1-2 (KJV) 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Psalm 14:4-6 (NIV) 4 Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the Lord. 5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. 6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge. Proverbs 3:24-26 (NKJV) When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Matthew 10:28 (NKJV) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Revelation 1:17-18 (NIV) 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Hebrews 13:6 (NIV) “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Counting our blessings:   1. Ben and I have been working overtime to clean out our Bryan house that has been sold. We have been married 44 years and there was a lot of memories to sort through as well. We still have much to do … but done or not, we close November 30th. 2. Our daughter, Kimberly, is graduating from Texas A&M University on December 18th, 7 p.m. 3. On November 8th, right after the Veteran’s celebration, her young man proposed to her and …they are getting married in 2016! 4. Our grandson, Seth, was offered a full time position with the City of College Station, Environmental Services Department, where he has been working part time for two years.

Flowers: Poinsettia’s from Fayette County 4-H provided by church members & friends. Thank you!

Church news:

Joint “Honor our Veterans” Worship service at Industry Brethren Church: Industry and Fayetteville Brethren Churches honored 158 veterans on Sunday, November 8, 2015. The location was changed due to a busted water pipe at the Industry Brethren Church and it was held at the Industry Firemen’s Hall. The service started at 9:00 a.m. This was the sixth annual service of this kind for Industry Brethren Church and the fourth combined Industry/Fayetteville Brethren Church service. Each living veteran and those that lit candles in memory of a veteran were given a small memento U.S. flag, an envelope containing a copy of Governor Abbott’s Proclamation and a Certificate of Appreciation from the Duck Dynasty Robertson family. Living veterans were also given a lapel flower. The flags were presented to each participant by LtGen Joe Weber, USMC (retired – 36 years). Four Texas A&M Cadets assisted in the service.

The service began with everyone singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” accompanied by Sharon Spiess on the organ. Shelby American Legion members Billie Sisa and August Voelkel posted the colors. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, a group of 13 young men with the Texas A&M Singing Cadets sang “Joyful, Joyful” and other selections during the service. Dignitaries recognized were Mabel Mayer (Industry Mayor); Retta Slavik Chandler (TCHCC, President & Chairman of the Board); Grace Holtkamp (Austin Co. Historical Commission Chairperson); James Marek (past UOB President); Liz Ripple (UOB Financial Secretary); Harvey Treybig (UOB Treasurer) and James Hejl (Centurion, 101 year old veteran – not present).

Martha Dove read a Proclamation from Governor Greg Abbot that addressed “Thanks to all that served our country.” The service message was delivered by Reverend Kay Polasek, pastor of Industry and Fayetteville Brethren. Sharon Spiess played the keyboard. Terri Ross played beautiful music on the harp while names of the veterans were called. A bell rang one time as each veteran’s name was called. Liz Ripple called the names of the honored Fayetteville veterans and Martha Dove pinned on their ribbons; Liz Treybig called the names of the Industry honored veterans and Marian Branam pinned their ribbons on.

The hall was decorated with U.S. flags including all the flags of the different branches of the military. A large flag drape on a tripod was in the front of the hall where a large flag bow held red streamer ribbons containing name labels of each honored veteran. In addition, Unity of the Brethren ministers that are veterans and were honored included Rev. Nello Strickland, Rev. Lawrence Junek, Rev. Milton Maly, Rev. Gordon Hejl, Rev. Daniel Marek and Rev. Henry Beseda, Jr.

Afterward everyone enjoyed a delicious brunch. There were many displays and articles of several veterans. All branches of the service were represented in this group of veterans and all times of service dating back to the Civil War and current active service. There was also a picture of one veteran from 1874 who served in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Moravia. People enjoyed viewing all the biographies of these men and women that served our country. It was estimated that there were 200 people that attended this event.

Board of Elders Report: The Elders approved sending a donation to the Deputy Santa program and paying for 2016 Brethren Journal subscriptions for all active members. They also approved sending a donation to the Granger Brethren Church for steeple repairs. The church and hall usage form was discussed. It was approved that the church will be available for weddings for church members only and the hall rent will go up from $100 to $150. A new form will be approved at the next meeting. The date for the annual Congregational meeting was set for Jan 17, 2016 after the worship service where we will be electing 4 Elders for a 2-year term. Those interested in running for Church Elder may contact Joe Ripple. The deadline to have your name on the ballot is Jan 3. There are no term limits. To be eligible for the Board of Elders you must be at least 21 years of age and he or she must be an active member of the Church for at least one year and be in good standing. If you have any comments, concerns or suggestions, please let the Elders know.

The Christian Sisters’ Society: The Christian Sister’s have raffle tickets available! Make sure to get yours! Tickets are $2.00 each or a book of 6 for $10. There are 29 prizes. The drawing will be held on Feb 13 at the fundraiser on the square in Fayetteville. Breakfast tacos will be sold starting at 7:00 a.m. along with a bake sale and country store. Worksheets will be posted in January. The proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit various projects, missions and charity work. Barbara Arambula delivered the food collected from the food drive to AMEN last week. Kathy Voshalike collected items for Operation Christmas Child and reports that two dozen well-filled shoe boxes were delivered to the Brenham location. This is an increase of 5 from last year. Kathy expresses her appreciation for all the support the families of our church have given to this project….so many nice things were given. Prayerfully – 24 children will come to know Jesus through the gospel message placed in each of the boxes. wo dozen well filled shoe boxes were delivered to the Operation Christmas Child location in Brenham today. The next meeting will be announced with elections held for President and Vice-President (2016-2018). If you would like to join the Christian Sisters’ Society or have any questions about some of the activities, please contact Liz Ripple or Margaret Michalsky. Dues are $20 and are payable now until January 25 for 2016.

Unity of the Brethren History Symposium: Jan Hus after 600 Years: History and Heritage Summary: The Unity of the Brethren held a history symposium on Nov 14 at Blinn College, Brenham. The event commemorated the 600th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Jan Hus. Registration began at 8:00 AM with coffee and kolaches served. A lunch of roasted chicken and roast beef was served at noon. The symposium was funded through the Board of Grants and Bequests as a way to give something back to the denomination.

The main speakers for the event were Dr. Thomas Fudge and Rev. Dr. Craig Atwood. Fudge gave a very informative session on The Prophetic Voice of Jan Hus for American Christianity in 2015. He said that while there are many misconceptions about Hus, we might see Hus as one who speaks into modern Christian culture with a prophetic voice urging renewal and reform. Hus was about truth. Attwood spoke about The Spirituality and Ethics of the Original Unity of the Brethren. He discussed the founding principles of the Unity, their social teaching, church discipline, and doctrine. Several break-out sessions were available and were led by Fudge, Attwood, Dr. Dawn Marie Baletka, Dr. Larry Koslovsky, Rev. John Gantt and Kent Laza.

Ministers in attendance were Pastor Tim Chaplin, Rev. Michael Groseclose, Rev. Jim Heckman, Rev. James Hejl, Rev. David Johnson, Koslovsky, Pastor Ben Kruse, Rev Joseph Polasek, Rev. Mark Sebek, Rev. Dr. Jerry Terrill, Rev. Lawrence Junek, Dr. Mark Labaj and Rev. Nello Strickland. Attending from Fayetteville were Lillie Mae Brightwell, Martha & Jerry Dove, Ben Polasek, Joe & Liz Ripple, Sandra Stepan, Kathy Voshalike and Betty Yoakum. There were approximately 115 that attended the event.

Collecting Supplies for the Military: Everyone is asked to collect the following items that will be sent from our church to an individual serving in the military: Non-aerosol deodorant, non-aerosol bug spray, flea collars, baby wipes, razors, Visine, hand sanitizer, sinus/allergy medicine, Advil, Tylenol, lip balm and foot care products. Snacks are always good. No candy or snacks that will melt in the heat over there. Personal size packets of tissue, band aids, instant drink mixes, q-tips, pens, paper, envelopes, seeds/nuts, trail mix, disposable cameras, batteries sizes AA, AAA, C and D and LETTER/CARDS of Encouragement. Smaller sizes are easier to ship and for individuals to carry. Please put your donations in the box in the church entryway. Questions? – please contact Pauline Ott.

Church Cookbooks & Plates – Church cookbook – $20.00 donation of which all proceeds go to the building fund. Commemorative church plate – $25.00 donation. If you would like to purchase either of these, please contact Liz Ripple. If you would like to have it shipped to you, please send the purchase price plus $5.00 for cookbooks / $6 for plates for shipping and handling to FBC, PO Box 11, Fayetteville Texas 78940.

Fall Synodical Committee meeting: A Synodical Committee meeting was held on Saturday, Oct 24 at the Hus School Encampment near Caldwell. There were 49 present: 13 pastors, 16 synodical lay members and 20 guests. Attending from Fayetteville were Liz Ripple (UOB Financial Secretary-Representative), Sandra Stepan (Representative), Martha (Home Missions Chair) & Jerry Dove, Joe Ripple, Pastor Kay & Ben Polasek. The meeting was opened by outgoing President, James Marek. The devotional was given by Rev Ron Winsman. The minutes from the March 28, 2015 meeting and the July 2015 convention were sent out electronically to everyone and were approved as presented. Dewyan Weise, outgoing treasurer, gave his final report. An examination of Ben Kruse (Ministerial Student) for a ministerial license, was given by Dr. Jerry Terrill, Rev Joseph Polasek and Rev Tommy Tallas. The synodical committee also asked questions and gave comments. The examination lasted 1 ½ hours and approval was given to Ben for a 1-yr license to Rosenberg Brethren with a stipulation that he must complete his final project by the spring meeting or the license will be revoked.

A report was given on the Unity website by Marek. It was approved to have Brady Huddleston maintain our current website for one year. Marek, Liz Ripple and Ben Polasek are the contact people to make updates and add events to the website. Everyone is encouraged to visit the website and give feedback to these folks. The referendum results were approved as presented.

Dr. Larry Koslovsky installed the new officers to their positions: Kent Laza – President; Rev Mark Sebek – 1st VP; Dr. Jerry Terrill – 3rd VP; Angie Hairrell – Secretary; Liz Ripple – Financial Secretary; absent – Rev Mike Groseclose – 2nd VP; Harvey Treybig – Treasurer.

Plaques were presented to James Marek for 8 years of service on the executive committee, Dewyan Weise for 8 years of service, Dan Merz for 2 years of service and Rev Lawrence (absent) for 4 years of service.

A request by Granger Brethren for a $30,000.00 grant to help with bell tower repairs was discussed and denied. The repairs are estimated to be in excess of $60,000.00. The congregation has 16 active members, most are elderly and they are not certain if they could repay a loan. The congregation will be having fundraisers and donations are appreciated.

A 5-yr license to New Tabor Brethren was granted to Pastor David Johnson, with the understanding that his final project will be completed by the end of the year. A 1-yr license was granted to Pastor Tim Chaplin to the Temple Brethren church.

Appointments were approved as follows:

Ministers Benefit Committee: Rev Tommy Tallas, Rev Larry Zabcik, Tami Laza, Leonard Mikeska, Ray Vajdak.

Home Missions – Rev Kay Polasek, Beverly Mikeska, Marvin Chlapek, Dorothy Hinson, Alton Urbanovsky, Ben Kruse. Martha Dove was elected as the Chair at the convention.

Foreign Missions – Reesa Ueckert (Nelsonville), Arnold Cuba (Taylor), John Brinkley (Ocker). David Miller was elected as the Chair at the convention.

Board of Christian Education – Peggy Hejl and Debbie Clark. Approval was given for the executive committee to appoint 3 more members. Tami Laza is the Chair, elected at the convention and the Youth Coordinator, Jennifer Chervenka is also a member of this committee.

Unity Archivist – Clint Machann

Brethren Bookstore Manager – Diane Heckman

Brethren Journal Sec/Reporter – Stacy Hooker (Taylor)

Brethren Journal Treasurer – Dorothy Milberger (Nelsonville)

Hus School Board of Trustees Treasurer – Ron Krueger (Taylor)

Hus Board of Trustees Synodical Representative – Phil Michalik (Pasadena)

Remuneration of $100 a month to the Brethren Journal treasurer was approved.

The Home Missions budget for 2016 was approved at $67,000.00 as follows:

Rev Jim Heckman – $49,000.00 (Salary $27,000.00, Parsonage & furnishing $12,000.00 and Professional & car $10,000.00); Cade Lake Operating Expenses – $12,000.00; In God’s Hands food pantry – $6,000.00). Their next meeting will be on Nov 21 at Cake Lake.

The Foreign Mission budget for 2016 was approved at $68,000.00, the same as last year with an additional $1,000.00 given to the Board of World Missions. Approval was given that the Home Mission Board act as the oversight committee to Cade Lake.

Dr. Larry Koslovsky, Rev. Jimmy Hejl and Dr. Mark Labaj were appointed to review and come up with revisions for the Catechism. This project should be completed by the 2017 convention for approval.

It was approved to have the definition of a part-time pastor for use in determining retirement benefits eligibility defined as a pastor that leads worship service at least 30 times a year (does not have to be the same church). The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m. A complete copy of the minutes will be available on the Unity website later this month and will be published in the December issue of the Brethren Journal.

Brethren Fund Dues – All churches in the Unity of the Brethren pay dues to the Brethren Fund for their active communicant members. These dues are mandatory payments that we make to the denomination. At the Synodical committee meeting, the proposed change of $35 per active communicant member was passed. The allocation approved is as follows: Administrative Assistant – $3.50; Administration – $3.15; Brethren Journal – $5.95; Contingency – $10.50; HUS School – $7.35 and Educational Ministries – $4.55.

Sunday School – Martha and Jerry Dove are leading the adult class in a study entitled:”When God’s Spirit Moves: Six sessions on the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit by Jim Cymbala. Everyone is welcome! Please come and join us as we study God’s word and grow in faith together.


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