Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, February 28, 2013

March 2013 Newsletter

Olive Leaves
March 2013

Pastor’s Article
by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

Is It Nothing to You?
The Old Testament book of LAMENTATIONS, only 5 chapters long, is an ELEGY—a poem, a lament, a mournful contemplation of a great disaster which has taken place.  Written by the Prophet Jeremiah, the five poems that comprise the book of Lamentations are actually an outburst of grief caused by a single tragic event: the fall of Jerusalem.  Teardrops stain every line of Lamentations.  Choked-up sobs and unrestrained wailing echo and re-echo from stanza to stanza. These poems are spoken by a God-fearing man as he weeps over the fallen city of Jerusalem; a city which he loved as well as her people.  And yet only 12 verses into Lamentations, we come to a verse that the Church has also often applied to the sufferings and crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  The prophet cries:  “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?  Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the Lord inflicted on the day of his fierce anger” (Lamentations 1:12).  Here there is being addressed, in both instances, a calloused multitude of people by a sorrowing and suffering man. 

Though Jeremiah had always sought to be a faithful messenger of the Word of God as it had been given to him by the Spirit of God, he was repeatedly, violently and bitterly denounced by his fellow citizens of Jerusalem as a traitor.  At one point, he was even seized by the authorities, flung into a dungeon, and left there to die.  In that wretched prison, he sank down into a pit of miry clay where he would no doubt have perished, had he not found an unexpected friend in an Ethiopian eunuch.  This man persuaded the king to have Jeremiah pulled up out of that horrible pit and once again entrusted to the custody of the court guard. 

Friends, Jeremiah and all the Old Testament prophets were but a TYPE of the Christ who was to come. And as we approach another Holy Week, our thoughts and attention will be directed once again to that Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief, whom we now profess to be our Crucified, Risen and Ascended Savior (Isaiah 53:3).  St. Matthew tells us that on the eve of his passion, our Lord Jesus also wept over this same city and her inhabitants that Jeremiah did: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!  Killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37).  Yes, a different crowd runs the country now, but they hate Jesus as much as their ancestors hated Jeremiah. 

In this fast-approaching last week of March, we will again enter another Holy Week celebration with the Church catholic throughout the world.  We will celebrate the last days of our Lord’s life with his disciples in that Upper Room in Jerusalem on that first Maundy Thursday and the last day of our Lord’s life on Good Friday, when he obediently went to the cross on Calvary to suffer and die there, in our place, for our souls’ salvation.

Still today, there are unfortunately many church members within the church who will take a rather calloused attitude towards the whole thing.  Though invited to sacrifice whatever other plans they might have made to be gathered together in God’s House with their fellow believers on these two very sacred evenings of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, they will regrettably to their own detriment not heed this benevolent invitation.

There is a beautiful Lenten hymn entitled: “Jesus Refuge of the Weary,” that invites every one of us to consider again the significance of these hours and events in our own lives.

“Do we pass that cross unheeding, breathing no repentant vow.
  Though we see You wounded, bleeding, see Your thorn-encircled brow? 
  Yet Your sinless life has brought us, life eternal, peace and rest! 
  Only what Your grace has taught us calms the sinner’s deep distress.  
  Jesus may our hearts be burning with more fervent love for You! 
  May our eyes be ever turning to behold Your cross anew! 
  Till in glory, parted never, from the blessed Savior’s side,
  Graven in our hearts forever, dwell the cross, the Crucified!” Amen.  (LSB 423:2-3)

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   Midweek Service 4      March 6   “I Am Trusting In Your Pardon”
   Midweek Service 5      March 13   “I Am Trusting In Your Passion”
   Midweek Service 6      March 20   “I Am Trusting In Your Peace”
              Light meals are served after noon services and at 6:00 PM before evening services.

March 24:  Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion"When We Feel Unwanted"
 8:00 AM - Service of the Word
10:30 AM Rite of Confirmation

March 28:  Maundy Thursday7:00 PM: “True Marks of a Christian”

March 29:  Good Friday “What’s Your Verdict?”
7:00 PM Tenebrae Service, The Service of Darkness

March 31: Easter Sunday“Surprised in a Graveyard”
8:00 AM & 10:30 AM Holy Communion
9:00 AM Easter Breakfast
9:45 AM Easter Egg Hunt (Meet in downstairs adult classroom.)

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Board of Elders
by Jerry Garlington

In the last Elder's meeting we had a great discussion about our ministry to our "Home Bound" members.  We had a great time sharing with each other about how much we as Elders were blessed through the time spent with our older members.  I just want to remind our members that Mt. Olive offers communion to our members who can't attend.  Elders deliver the communion on the first Sunday of the month.  All you need to do is notify the office the week before the first Sunday of the month.  Elders bring the communion after service.

Do you know who your Elder is?  Hopefully, he has called, e-mailed or sent you a note.  There is a list of the Elder care groups on the bulletin board outside the secretary's office.  We want to provide Christ-centered care to our Mt. Olive family.

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A Note from our President
by Bob Massa

Throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament, we read of episodes of our Lord and Savior serving others.  On Maundy Thursday, we will read and hear of our Lord’s washing the disciples feet at the Last Supper.  He models a true “servant attitude” as well as an ”it’s not about me “ attitude.  How does this relate to Mt. Olive and its mission?  Because of our growth, the economic times, and an expanding community, the Lord has blessed Mt. Olive with a growing need for congregational involvement. During our daily prayers and petitions for our spiritual leaders, our sick, our homebound, and our personal needs, we should include a request that the Spirit will move us to volunteer and meet these needs.

The Education Committee has an on-going need for people to serve as substitute Sunday School teachers or individuals willing to teach short-term, topical Bible Classes.  The Worship Committee especially needs individuals willing to serve as greeters, ushers, and lectors.  The Board of Trustees has an immediate need for individuals to set aside time to participate in our March 16th clean-up day.  The Public Relations Committee could use those with skills and interest in information technology and/or photography to assist in the monitoring and updating our web site and Facebook page.

Even though you may not have the abilities and the gifts to fill these needs, you can still be involved by praying that these and other needs are met according to the Spirit’s guidance.  In so doing, a “servant spirit” and an ”it’s not about me attitude” will continue to permeate the congregation and the community in which we live.

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Altar Guild’s Message
by Susie Hoffman

The SUNDAYS OF LENT in the church year cycle continue until the last Sunday of March.    The absence of the Alleluia verses in our liturgy underlines the introspective mood of this season.   We are reminded of our personal responsibility for the coming suffering and death of our Savior, Jesus.  We are reminded, too, that He willingly paid the price our sins require, if we are to appear sinless in the sight of God.  This somber fact should fill our hearts with gratitude, thankfulness and love for our Father God and His son Jesus as well as sorrow, that our sins had a part in these events.

The purple color of the paraments during Lent gives way to the color RED of celebration.  We celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to the acclaim of the crowds who throw their cloaks and palm branches in His path.  On Palm Sunday we choose, also, to celebrate the confirmation of our young people.  We celebrate with them the continuing growth of their commitment to being CHILDREN OF GOD.   Red, the color of fervor and zeal for our faith in Christ as our Savior is a very appropriate color for these two celebrations.  

The altar guild strips bare the altar after the Maundy Thursday Service.  Seven candles will be placed on the altar for Good Friday.  These candles are extinguished one by one to represent the darkness that overcame the earth as Jesus suffered and died for us.  We recall His final sufferings with quiet prayer as we exit the chancel in silence.

White is the color of purity, perfection, and divinity and represents the life of Jesus from before the beginning of time.  The white paraments of Easter show our joy as the terror, fear and sorrow of Good Friday change to praise and thanksgiving when the crucified Christ arises from the grave, conquering death, the devil and sin.  All ornamentation is returned to the chancel.  The large PASCHAL CANDLE, with the current year affixed, is a reminder that the Risen Christ dwells on earth among us still today.

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LWML (The Olive Branch)
by Carole Mueller, President

The Olive Branch meets the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of each month with Bible study 10:00-11:15, followed by a brief meeting, lunch, and crafts/projects from l2:00-2:00.  We continue into March with Bible studies on “Great Women of the Bible.”  Our studies explore the lives of “Mary, Mother of Jesus” (3/12), “Women who Served Jesus” (3/26), “Women whom Jesus Helped” (4/9), and “Women who Helped the Apostles” (4/23).   Copies of the Bible studies are located on the table in the narthex.   After lunch, we will be working on machine and hand tied quilts that will be donated to charitable organizations.  Those ladies who wish to purchase and assemble a chrismon to adorn the church Christmas tree will decide on which ones to order after our 3/12 Bible study.  If you wish to be part of this project, we would appreciate your help & assistance.  Please consider being part of the LWML by joining us for Bible study and assisting in current projects.

Upcoming events: 
March 16th, 9:00-3:00:  District Joy Event at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Winston-Salem, NC.  Registration fee after Feb. 27th deadline is $20.00. 

April 13th: Southern Zone Spring Rally at Grace Lutheran Church, Summerville
June 27th-30th:  LWML Convention, Pittsburgh, PA. 
Information to events is posted on the LWML bulletin board located outside the workroom.

Be a missionary with your mite box.  Check for updates on the 19 mission grants for 2011-2013 at  The first Sunday of each month is designated for LWML mite box collections.  Please place your monetary contributions in the large mite box located in the back of the sanctuary. 
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Preschool News
by Krista Bernthal

The Preschool & Mt. Olive family had a wonderful evening at the Mardi Gras Dinner and Auction.  Thanks especially to Al Nes'bit for the great atmosphere of music and lights.  We had fun and raised some money for the preschool!  The proceeds this year will go to some "capital improvements" that are needed after 6 years in operation.  Thank you to all in attendance and to the multitudes that helped with the event.   I was especially thrilled to see the many willing hands pitch in to clean up after the affair.  All of the support I feel from everyone warms my heart!

A special thank you goes out to the Trustees for adding mulch to the playground. 
We have enjoyed playing in wood chips rather than dust!

We are currently taking applications for the next school year.  Help spread the word to friends and neighbors about our preschool.  Any questions about our program can go to Krista at 781-7180 or by email -

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Christian Education
from Katrina Folks

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Eggs are traditionally a symbol of new life for Christians as we rejoice in Christ’s resurrection after His sacrificial death on the cross.  Easter eggs are a special and fun way to share with our children the new life we have in Christ!
We would be honored to have you join us Easter morning in between services for our annual Easter egg hunt held for children birth through 4th grade.  Please drop your children off in the downstairs adult classroom at 9:45 a.m. following breakfast.  We will share the Easter story with them while you wait outside and then send them out to hunt for eggs near the playground area.

“All Glory, Laud, and Honor to You, Redeemer King, To Whom the Lips of Children Made Sweet Hosannas Ring!” 
Every Sunday until Palm Sunday, our choir director will be working with your children at the beginning of Sunday School on a chorus they will sing with the adult choir in the Palm Sunday service.  If you would like your child to participate, please make every effort to have them in class every Sunday, on time, so they may have every opportunity to learn the words and tune to this chorus.  Contact our choir director with any questions.

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven” Matthew 10:32
Please join us in the fellowship hall during the Sunday school hour on Palm Sunday for a reception for our new confirmands.  Confirmation marks a special time in these youth’s spiritual lives as they remember the promises of their Baptism and publicly profess their faith.  These young people have worked hard over the years in preparation for this day.  Pray for them!  Celebrate with them!  Encourage them in their spiritual growth!  Include them in church work!  Make them feel important and welcomed in our church family!  “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Psalm 118:24

VBS?  Already?The Education Committee has decided to do something new and fun with VBS this summer and NEED YOUR HELP!  We are calling all willing and able bodies to help serve the youth of our congregation and reach out to the youth in our community.  Your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak, you say?  You can still help!  VBS will take place on three separate evenings of the summer so it is not a huge time commitment like it once was.

We pray that you will join us in “Growing in Faith and Love by Spreading the Word of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”!  To volunteer or learn more, please contact Anna W. or Katrina F.

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Board of Trustees
by Geoffrey Griesch

We have scheduled Saturday, March 16th (March 23rd, rain date) as "Spring Clean Up Day. In addition to general cleaning in and around the church building we would like to clean out the cellar under the Wagner house and the shed next to it.  Please put these dates on your calendar.  There will be a sign up sheet in the narthex.  If you have a pick up truck we would appreciate you volunteering as we anticipate it will be necessary to make several trips to the recycling center.  We will also be pruning the crepe myrtles, so bring any pruning tools you may have.

Other project updates:  We are waiting for the weather to cooperate so that the parking lot can be sealed and striped.  The elevator inspection process has been completed.  A dead pine tree next to the Wagner house was removed.  A new water heater was also installed in the kitchen. 

Continue to keep the Trustees in your prayers as they work to maintain our buildings and grounds.

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Youth Group News
by Vanita Fiedler

The youth have exciting news!  We have obtained our financial goal set to attend the National Youth Gathering on July 1st-5th, in San Antonio, Texas.  On February 10th, the Mt. Olive Youth Group thanked congregation members for the prayers and financial contributions that make attendance possible.   August and Jeremy are working on developing an itinerary for the youth group to follow during the gathering as well as rally calls.  Emily and Kathleen are designing Mt. Olive t-shirts which a parent is researching the possibility of sponsoring.   We still need to assign a photographer, and possible film productions leader. 
Beginning March 17, 2013 the Youth Group will begin studying “Living Together”, based on Living Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer this study group will occur during Sunday School hour.     Mr. Eddie M. will lead the lesson.  He has great insight to share with the youth on the gathering.  Thank you Mr. M!!!   (To view the study material visit
We are looking forward to several more servant events; the youth group will be assisting one family with their move on April 6th, and completing yard work for two other families as soon as the weather permits.
Our Mt. Olive Youth are wonderful young adults, and wonderful representatives of Mt. Olive Church.

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A Stewardship Minute
from David Buck

MARCH 2013
In the March issue of Stewardship there is a brief article by Mother Teresa.  It brings to mind how troublesome holy people can often be to those of us who fall short of holiness.  Consider this prayer Mother Teresa offered to God:

“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of the things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life.”

After her prayer she addressed her listeners with the following words: “Open your hearts to the love God instills in them.  What God gives you is not to be kept under lock and key but to be shared. Let us ask God …to help us to be generous.” Isn’t that the basic meaning of stewardship?  Isn’t it to be generous … not simply with money, but generous also with our talents, our strength, our mental ability and our time?  Stewardship is considering our many blessings from God and using them for the glory of God and the welfare of mankind.

In every congregation on earth there are some dear souls who set an example for those who hide their light under a bushel.  These are they who volunteer their heart, hands and resources to glorify and serve God and God’s church.  Should not each of us consider making the effort to bring light to the dark places of the world?

Jesus said: “You are the light of the world.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Prayer:  Serving you, dear Lord, is an honor and a privilege.  Grant us the strength and guidance to serve you well.  In Christ’s name, Amen

Parish Publishing, LLC      (888) 320-5576

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Public Relations
by Aresa Boykin

Public Relations has been extremely busy during February, and will not be slowing down for a while!  Updating the Mt. Olive website is the first priority.  There are sections that need to be reworded and photos to change out.  Once the changes are finalized, we have a conference call with our contact at our hosting company, Adsoka, who will apply the changes to the site.

Second, keeping Mt. Olive’s Facebook page current is a daily job.  If you have Internet access, please “Like” us at You can also spread the word to your friends and family members who might be interested in keeping up with your church.  When you see me scurrying around Mt. Olive with my new camera, you will know that new photos will appear on FB soon!  If you have not signed up for Facebook, it is really easy.  Just go to and create an account.  You don’t have to write any “posts” or “comments” on FB or get any “friends,” but to see Mt. Olive’s page, you need to type the above link and then click on “Like.”  Then Mt. Olive’s posts will show up on your FB.

Third, Mt. Olive will be getting a new Pictorial Directory this fall.  Photos for our 2013 directory will be taken on August 22-24th.  Please save these dates on your calendar so that you and your families will be available!  Each family who participates will receive a free 8x10 picture and a directory in one of three formats:  traditional size, pocket size, or CD.  The directory will also have a free, secure app for those with smart phones.  You will be able to sign up for appointments in mid-June.  Updates will be in future newsletters & bulletins.

Fourth, completing The Olive Leaves is a monthly project.  Assembling & editing the newsletter is much easier in the age of technology because articles are sent electronically.  Formatting can be a chore because everything has to fit on 11 pages, but adding the clip art is really fun!  Thank you to Pastor, all the committee/board chairpersons, and Secretary Sue for diligently preparing and sending monthly articles by the 20th of each month!  : )

If you have any photos from Mt. Olive events, please e-mail them to me so that I can include them on FB and the bulletin boards in the hall.  If you have any suggestions for any of the PR projects, or if you are interested in helping with one or more of them, please contact me.

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by Jon Richter

Are you a “Grain of Wheat”?

Jesus is predicting his own passion of the cross in John 12:24:  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

But He did not stop there, He followed with instructions to us in the ‘Whoever’ statement of v.25 and the ‘If anyone’ statement of v.26:  “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone loves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.”

When the lonely little grain of wheat fell into the good soil and gave up its own life, it grew and yielded a “hundredfold” (Luke 8:8).  Is the Holy Spirit working with you during this Lenten season?  Are you looking for where He wants you to be planted?  During this Lenten journey, we cannot aim higher than to serve Him and lose our lives for Him in this world.
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Stephen Ministry
by Bill & Aresa Boykin

Mt. Olive’s Stephen Ministry is a ministry of the entire congregation!  There are many ways for each one of you to be involved.

Pray for Mt. Olive’s Stephen Ministry – Pray for Stephen Leaders, Stephen Ministers, Care Receivers, & people who need Christian care. 
Encourage Stephen Ministers – Say a kind word.  Send a card. Let them know you appreciate their commitment to providing quality Christian care to individuals who are in crisis, despair, or who are overwhelmed.

Train as a Stephen Minister – If you have the gifts of compassion, listening, and caring, pray that the Holy Spirit would nudge you to join our next series of training classes.

Ask for a Stephen Minister – When you experience one of life’s crises such as death of a loved one, job loss, loneliness, or overwhelming circumstances, ask Pastor Sizemore or Lay Minister Bill Boykin, a Stephen Leader, about matching you with a Stephen Minister.  As Jesus often said, “Fear not!” or “Don’t be afraid!”  Everything in a Stephen Ministry relationship is kept confidential and private – even your identity!  You usually meet with your Stephen Minister one hour per week, for as many weeks as needed.   A Stephen Minister becomes your special Christian friend who cares, listens, shares Scripture and other Christian resources, and prays for you.  That’s all.  The Holy Spirit does the rest by bringing healing, love, and wholeness in your life.

Refer Friends & Family Members – When you know of someone who may benefit from having a Stephen Minister, first tell him/her a little bit about Stephen Ministry.  Ask his/her permission to make a referral to our program.  Then follow through by contacting Pastor or Bill.

Provide Snacks – Each Monday training session lasts 2½ hours, focusing on a specific Christian caregiving skill or topic, filled with instruction, discussion, and role-playing.  Since classes are fast-paced and intense, it is very helpful to have snacks provided.  The bright orange sign-up sheet is across from the workroom by the fire extinguisher or you can call Stephen Leader, Aresa Boykin.  You can even bring snacks on Sunday and leave them in the church kitchen.  Thank you to those who have brought yummy snacks for our February classes!

Think Stephen Ministry – The people of Mt. Olive are a caring group!  Continue to care for our church family through prayers, visits, phone calls, cards, and sharing meals & goodies.  Be the eyes and ears of our congregation, and when you see a need that is overwhelming, talk about Stephen Ministry!  The support and prayer from each one of you is what is making our Stephen Ministry successful!

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Social Ministry
by Shari Selke

The Social Ministry Board is very excited to announce a new outreach called “Cards of Compassion”.  This is a ministry to our members who are unable to be with us and attend church service at Mt Olive.  Social Ministry will be sending words of love, encouragement, and prayers to those who are in special circumstances within our own church. How can you help?
1. Bring any of your unused old cards and place them in the purple box outside the church office including blank cards. (If you are like me, I have a few cards I’ve purchased and never sent) Bring them in and we will put them to good use.
2. If you don’t have cards a small monetary gift would enable Social Ministry to buy some.
3. Volunteer to be a part of this ministry. If writing is your niche this is a great way to share the love of Jesus with your fellow brothers and sisters at Mt Olive. Drop your name in the purple box or contact Shari Selke at 803-407-3728 or

In March, we will be doing a penny drive for The Ronald McDonald House in Columbia. To keep it seasonally festive for St. Patrick’s Day, there will be a cast iron pot to drop off your coins. It may not be a Pot of Gold, but surely a Kettle of Copper! Also just a reminder that we also collect pop can tabs for the Ronald McDonald house, those can be deposited in the “house” box outside the church workroom.
Sharing God’ Love had a very successful Souper Bowl of Caring campaign and I need to express my appreciation to all who participated and the confirmation class for the wonderful job they did collecting your donations of over $500!

Sharing God’s Love is support by Mt. Olive year round and is always accepting donations for their pantry. All donations are welcome…but some suggestions are detergent, tissue, toiletries, peanut butter, jelly, rice, pasta, sauce, canned goods, or anything else you can think of. Please place your donation in the basket under the table outside the office workroom.

I am so fortunate to be able to see how eager Mt. Olive members are to show God’s love. By the generosity of your donations and the zeal of your support Mt Olive is glorifying God here in our community.
May you be blessed as you do all those kind things that show you are a child of God.
Phil 1:11
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Announcements & Opportunities

Mission TripThank you very much for your donations to my El Salvador mission trip through the USC campus ministry.  I look forward to opportunity to serve and appreciate your help and prayers.  Mt Olive is such a wonderful congregation and I am blessed to be a part of it. I plan on sharing pictures and stories after returning from the mission work.
Yours in Christ, Hannah

April Newsletter DeadlineMark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the March newsletter is Wednesday, March 20th.  Also, remember to “like” Mt. Olive’s Facebook page at

Nursery ReminderThe church nursery is open at during the Sunday school hour and the second worship service from 9:00-Noon for children, ages birth to 2 years, during Sunday School, and through age 3 during Worship.  The nursery is located inside the back entrance of the church, across from the Wagner House.  Parents, remember to bring your diaper bag with extra diapers, clothes, sippy cup, etc.  A light snack is served.  Flora W. is in charge.

Daylight Savings TimeIt’s time to set your clocks an hour forward on Saturday, March 9th before you go to bed so that you’ll be on time for Sunday Worship & Bible Class!

Midweek Bible StudiesBoth Wednesday Bible Studies are taking a break during Lent through Easter.  They will resume in April.  Both Bible Studies begin at 6:30 PM with a light meal with study beginning at 7:00 PM.  One meets in the Northeast area of Columbia at the home of Bob & Teri M.  The second study meets in the church fellowship hall.

Stephen Ministry SnacksIt’s time to sign up for March snacks.  The sign-up sheet is in the hall under the Stephen Ministry bulletin board, or contact Stephen Leader Aresa B.  Since classes are on Mondays, you can bring snacks on Sunday, mark them “Stephen Ministry,” and leave them in the kitchen.  Thank you so much to those who provided snacks in February.

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