February 2019: Lent, QCD, and the Re-Covanent

Greetings To All……

It’s the dreary season, where all the holidays are in a seemingly distant past, it’s cold outside and, we’ve had lots of days of snowing/sleeting/sometime almost raining (I think this is called “a wintery mix” by weather people) and it’s all just yuck!!

But as believing Christians always say, there is hope!!! Have you noticed that even on cloudy days, it’s still light out at 5:45 or a little beyond? And in the morning, if you’re an early riser like I am, around 5:45 the horizon is starting to lighten (to all you sleepers-till-seven, trust me….it is getting light out!!!). Which means Spring is coming …. only four weeks away… which means the most important day in our church year, Easter, is nearing.

To get to that glorious day when we celebrate the rising of our Lord and Savior, however, we have to go through the season of Lent, which this year begins with Ash Wednesday on March 6th. The following five Wednesday Lenten Services here at Holy Trinity will be preceded by the Soup Supper, each week hosted by a different team, including Church Council on March 13th. As in past years there will be a free will offering basket with proceeds this year going to the Tanzania Scholarship Fund.

A week ago this past Sunday, Council members of Imanuel Indonesian Church and Holy Trinity, on behalf of their respective congregations, re-signed the Covenant In Gospel, Community, and Mission. The original Covenant was signed in December 2013, and both Holy Trinity and Imanuel agreed to renew it in December, 2018. For various reasons the actual signing could not be done until a week ago last Sunday. So we’ve ‘officially’ re-affirmed our commitment to each other for another five years, including Holy Trinity’s prayers of support for Imanuel; sharing in Christmas and Holy Week worship services, VBS, the June church picnic, and other activities. The new Covenant will be posted in the Gathering Area once it’s re-framed.

This time of year also brings on the chore of tax filing, and I thought I’d pass on something for you to think about, called a qualified charitable deduction (QCD in IRS parlance). With the new tax reform coming into effect, many of us may no longer itemize, but rather use the standard deduction. This will lead to a loss of the itemized church donation deduction. The QCD allows you to transfer money from your IRA or SEP directly to Holy Trinity, without that money being added to your taxable income. The QCD would also count toward any required minimum distribution (RMD) you might have to take this year. There’s a lot of good articles and examples on various tax consultant websites, including the IRS site. If you want to use the QCD, you need to check with whomever your IRA is with for its rules and procedures.

And finally, cool news from AmazonSmile …. Purchases for the fourth quarter 2018 came in at $37. (actually $36.95) !!!! Thanks to all who are making their Amazon purchases thru AmazonSmile which results in .5% of purchase price going to Holy Trinity. For those who have not set up an AmazonSmile account, or don’t know how it all works, please see Mark Donahue, who can provide you with instructions on the procedure to enroll. Very simple, even for those of us technically challenged. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

Stay safe….stay warm…..and, in only three more weeks we turn our clocks ahead (March 9th)!!!

Peace,

Dave Smith

Council President

January 2018: Annual Meeting, Curch Budget, and the NE Synod Assembly

Greetings everyone!! Happy New Year!!

I hope you all had a wonderful, joyful Christmas season. Before it’s totally faded from memory, I want to thank everyone for the generous response to my letter on behalf of Church Council in early December, which gave you the opportunity to offer good wishes, thanks and support to all of our great staff here at Holy Trinity. Pastor Tim, Mark, Jon, Jonathan, Ken, Heidi, and Juanita were all very appreciative of the recognition shown to them, and I and all the Council members want to thank you, the congregation, for your generous response. Thank you very much, one and all, and “God Bless us, everyone”.

So now we’re into January …. On average the coldest month of the year, with long nights and short daylight time, and (hopefully) working on paying off all those lingering Christmas bills. And……we have the Annual Congregational meeting, which relative to that other stuff, makes it a good event!!.

This year, we’ll be holding the meeting between services on the 27th. At this point the primary topic will be the presentation and vote to accept the budget for the 2019 calendar year. The Nominating Committee will present names to fill the Secretary Position and Member at Large – Serve The Lord position. We will also be approving two members to attend the New England Assembly in June in Worcester, Ma.

There will be an Adult Forum discussion about the budget the week before, on January 20th, and I hope that everyone that is able, will attend. As with last years budget, our anticipated offerings for 2019 will be shy of our anticipated expenses, hence Council will be recommending a budget that will include use of some reserve funds and “In and Out” funds to fill the gap. Last year’s anticipated offerings were exceeded by an amount that was greater than actual expenses, so the need for dipping into the reserve funds did not materialize. I would hope we can be as blessed for a second year in a row. Linda Edwards, Treasurer, will have the budget paper available at the Forum.

Finally, the Council is looking for two congregation members to attend the NE Synod Assembly on June 7 & 8. If you’re interested, please speak to Pastor or any Council member, and we’ll give you the details. You will go as the two voting delegates of Holy Trinity, with the church paying all expenses. It takes place in Worcester, Ma. and runs Friday evening thru Saturday.

Please don’t forget the Annual Meeting between services on the 27th. There will not be any NFL action that weekend, so that should help clear your calendar a bit and allow time to attend!! Enjoy the rest of January. Stay warm.

Peace to All

Dave Smith, Council President

December 2018: Christmas Eve, Holden Evening Prayer, and January events

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Greetings everyone…… Hope you’re all enjoying this Holiday season as we move on to the day of the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For most of us this can be a great, joyous time of the year, but for others, not so good. We pray that the Holy Spirit might make its presence known and give them comfort, so they too can enjoy this peace that exceeds all human understanding.

Here at Holy Trinity, activities are ramping up as we approach Christmas Day …. Decorations are popping up, the sanctuary is looking festive, and a big wonderful growing pile of toys have been donated for the Toys for Tots drive. Last Sunday we had 17 of our children present a wonderful Christmas Pageant under the direction of Leslie Darling. A big THANK YOU to Leslie, the children and all those involved in helping to put the program together.

By the time you’ll be reading this message, there will only be one more Wednesday evening Holden Vesper Service remaining during Advent. If you haven’t attended yet, I strongly recommend you try next week…. I’ve found it to be a very good way to stop and take a few deep breaths during the week as I cram extra events and get togethers into an already active schedule.

Speaking of schedules, and getting back to business for a moment, please keep in mind the Annual Meeting that will take place January 27th between services. A discussion of the proposed budget will take place the week before (January 20th) during the adult forum. Also, on January 20th during second service we are planning on renewing our Covenant in Gospel, Community, and Mission with Imanuel Indonesian Church. Church Council approved the renewal of the current five-year Covenant, which expires at the end of this year. For those not familiar with this document, it’s hanging on the wall by the outside entrance into the gathering area.

As Christmas approaches, and we approach another new calendar year, I wish each and every one of you, and everyone in your family, a very very Merry Christmas and a new year of good health, joy, and contentment.

Blessings and Peace,

Dave Smith Council President

September 2018: Autumn Events at Holy Trinity

Summer’s Gone!!! I have no idea where it went, and I can never figure out why, when we have the same 24 hours each day in June, July, and August, those days go so much quicker that the same 24 hour days in January, February, and March. So…..we go from the slower paced summer mode to the hustle and bustle of busy-ness that often puts us in survival mode. Thanks be to God that we have the opportunity every week to be at church on Sunday (and/or Wednesday evening if you’re so inclined) to stop, take a deep breath, and reflect on our Lord’s presence within us to help throughout the week when daily routines get so overwhelming.

Getting back into the swing of things, two service Sunday’s began last Sunday with Rally Day activities sandwiched in between. And what a hit Rally Day was with lots of people all over, mixing and mingling and doing lots of fun stuff. Movie Night returns next Thursday (the 20th), and New Grounds Coffee House will be opening back up Friday (21st) at 6:00 PM. Coming on October 14th will be God’s Work Our Hands.

Pastor Tim, Associate to the Bishop, met with our Pastor Tim on Tuesday and then joined the Council meeting, as part of the process of the latter’s assimilation at Holy Trinity. During the Council meeting there was a sharing of Council member’s thoughts and observations to Synod Tim regarding HT Tim’s effect at Holy Trinity. Member’s opined about the positive impact HT Tim has had, and the feeling that the congregation is moving in a very positive and upbeat direction. Synod Tim told us that he, the Bishop and Synod staff are very pleased with the transition of Pastor Krick into the Holy Trinity community, and pray for our continued success. Amen!

The summer was not without activity around the church, as the Property Team did their thing every week in keeping the grounds and building in great condition; we had a wonderfully successful and fun filled VBS at the end of July; the parking lot was sealed and re-lined; Faith Formation Team volunteers painted the two back first floor classrooms and the Coordinator’s office; and the gathering area, two hallways and classrooms were re-carpeted. In addition, some very dedicated folks were working on transitioning our electronic data systems into a new format and our web-site was being updated and reconfigured. While these and other special jobs were being worked on, the regular day-to-day tasks were also taking place, such as the choir’s singing every week, the finance folks paying the bills, the Library being maintained, Altar Guild setting up for services…. and the list goes on and on. I guess what I’m trying to say is there is a lot of activity that goes on at HT by a lot of volunteers. All the time. It’s not like all the tasks are done by a bunch of fairies that float down from the sky at night when everyone sleeps, sprinkling magic dust around and poof!! The job is done!! It takes the efforts of a lot of people. And I, along with all the members of the Council and Pastor, are very thankful to all of you that help to make HT work. Thank You Thank You one and all!!

Speaking of the new carpet, I hope you noticed Property Team Leader Dave Mercer’s note in last week’s Tidings about the slight elevation change in floor levels at the junction of the gathering area and the two hallways leading to the class rooms. They have been marked, please watch your step.

Thanks to Brian Clement, whose Eagle Scout project is the installation of a refurbished Holy Trinity sign in front of the church. It’s been re-positioned from the previous spot to provide more exposure to passers-by, and really looks great.

We’re starting to pick up some traction with AmazonSmile …. 2nd quarter saw Holy Trinity receive a $26.00 donation thanks to those who have signed up and made Amazon purchases through the AmazonSmile program. Signing up is easy…. If you have any questions or need help signing up Mark Donahue can give you an easy to follow one page instruction ‘manual’. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate .5% of purchases to Holy Trinity after you have signed up and select Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Newington, NH as your designated charitable organization. Thanks to those now using AmazonSmile ….. here’s to hoping more will join in.

Enjoy the rest of September as we move into Autumn, and pray for all those folks down south who will be impacted by monstrous hurricane Florence.

God’s Peace to All

Dave Smith

July 2018: VBS, New Carpet, and AmazonSmilte

From the Council and Council President

Greetings everyone!

Well, we’re now into those lazy, hazy crazy days of Summer, but there’s still stuff going on at church … especially on Sunday’s where the single service has been having good size crowds and the energy and spirituality is in high gear.

VBS is right around the corner (a week from Sunday, actually, the 29th) and everything is looking good. Heidi is getting everything in ship shape for the “Shipwrecked” theme (try saying that rapidly three times), and as she has mentioned, it’s never too late to get involved so come on down!

As you probably noticed last Sunday, the parking lot sealing project that was approved at the June Congregation meeting has been completed. The other approved project, re-carpeting the Gathering Area, hallway, and two classrooms is scheduled for the first week in August (7th thru 11th).

Being in the ‘Summer slow” season, with not much else to write about, I want to take a moment to remind everyone of the AmazonSmile program Holy Trinity is now registered for. Everything you might buy on Amazon is also available on AmazonSmile, at the same price. But when you register with, and purchase thru, AmazonSmile, HT will receive 0.5% of the purchase price/s. So far, the program hasn’t gained much traction. Hopefully it’s because registering is one of those things that you just haven’t gotten around to. Mark Donahue in the office has a pretty easy to read / easy to follow sheet on how to register. Believe me, if I could follow the instructions and register, anyone can!! Please sign up and if purchasing from Amazon, use AmazonSmile.

One other thing I’d like to mention ….. if you’re interested in what’s been discussed or decided upon at Council meetings, the minutes are posted on the kiosk, usually within a week or so after the meeting. These are the ‘official’ minutes, as Council reviews and approves them electronically well before the meeting the following month. So if you’re ever curious as to what’s going on, the kiosk in the Gathering Area is the place to read and find out.

Enjoy the great outdoor weather, stay safe, and don’t forget to wear that Hawaiian shirt or tropical themed outfit to church on the 29th to help kick off VBS later that day.

Peace,

Dave Smith