Marion Oaks United Church of Christ, Ocala Florida

July/Aug 2009                      Vol. 9, No. 7/8



Sunday Worship
      10:00 AM
        11:15 Church School will be suspended for the summer, resuming on  September 14.

Women’s Fellowship will not meet July and August; crafts will meet on call during this period.

Church Council will meet when called during July and August, with the next scheduled meeting being September 14, due to Labor Day being on the first Monday.

Service of Anointing with Oil and Laying on of Hands.  The next service will be July 26, in the regular worship service.  If you choose to receive this service, but need to receive it at your seat please let the officiating pastor know. 

Breadbasket offerings: The offering in July will be for the Rape Crisis Center.  The offering for August will be Stirrups and Strides Therapeutic Riding Center.

Covered Dish Meetings will be suspended during July and August.

Jeannine Hart continues to bless us with her skilful piano playing.  Our regular pianist and music director, Ruth Tuttle, is due to return on August 16, with choir resuming on August 22.

Interfaith Emergency Services.  Worshippers are encouraged to bring Non-perishable food items to this great ministry each time you come to worship.  A box will be placed in the corner of the sanctuary for these items, and they will be dedicated, along with the regular offering, on Neighbor Sunday.

Also, don’t forget Sammy’s Friends.  Sammy is our resident Seeing Eye dog and most popular member.  Collections placed in Sammy’s box will also be dedicated on Neighbor Sunday, and taken to the local Humane Society.

Communion in your home. Please inform one of the co-pastors if you desire to receive communion in your home.



      Fred Kramer is the newest member of our congregation, having been received by proxy on Neighbor Sunday, May 17, with Shirley Hunt standing in for him.
        Fred was born November 11, 1949 in the Bronx, NYC.  He served seven years in the US Air Force.  Fred later owned a recording studio, and played drums for a living.  At some point he sold his studio and moved to Arizona where he ran a real estate business.   Fred is divorced, and has no children, nor siblings.
        In 2001 Fred was diagnosed with cancer, which he is battling now as a patient at the Lake City Veterans Hospital.  We met Fred through Alan Hunt, also a patient at the facility.
        Several members of our congregation have visited Fred, including co-pastors Merle and Lamar.  He appreciates the prayers, gifts and visits from the congregation.  “My only regret,” Fred said, “is getting away from my faith for so many years.  But I am back now.”  Fred is happy to be a member of our congregation.  He can receive mail at Patriot Pl, CLC4, 619 S. Marion Ave, Lake City, FL 32025.
        We welcome Fred into our fellowship with joy, and pray for his healing.


          As of June 10 there was $25,735.90 in the building fund.  Other funds that were pledged are still coming in.  After paying the contractor at completion of the fellowship hall we will be approximately $25,000 in debt to promissory note holders.
          We will pay the note holders $1,250 in interest yearly.  At completion of the hall the Hispanic Congregation will increase what they pay in rent to $600 monthly ($7,200 yearly).   That alone will cover the interest we pay on the notes and will enable us to pay back $5,950 in principle yearly.  With God’s continued blessing on our congregation we should be debt free in three years.
          Chairs for the sanctuary are being purchased by an anonymous donor and will be available in November.  The chairs and tables currently used in sanctuary will be used in  the new fellowship hall.
           A new water fountain will be placed in the foyer of the sanctuary.  Rain gutters will be added over the side door.  Hand rails will be added to the entrance to the hall and a gutter over the entrance.  Appliances for the hall have been purchased by the women’s’ fellowship and will be installed at the appropriate time.
      FELLOWSHIP HALL SIGNINGS. At the recommendation of the contractor, the Bible passages/messages from members and friends of Community Church are printed on the interior woodwork of the Fellowship Hall. As June 10, we have twenty-five signatures and most have shared a message. Photos and a list of the messages are on the long table in the sanctuary.


Moderator’s Musings
July/August 2009

The reading for The Daily Bread devotional for May 2008 began this way; “A man who played double-bass in the Mexico City Philharmonic told me that the finest instruments are made of wood that has been allowed to age naturally to remove the moisture.  ‘You must age the wood for 80 years, then play the instrument for 80 years before it reaches its best sound,’ said Antonio Rojas. ‘A craftsman must use wood cut and aged by someone else, and he will never see any instrument reach its peak during his own lifetime.” If you consider that the tree might have been planted and grown specifically for the purpose of making a fine instrument you can easily imagine the process to encompass 250 years.
Many important things in life are “next generation” matters- teaching, training, and parenting are among them.” The article went on to explain that Paul had charged Timothy “to commit these (teachings) to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” –2 Timothy 2:2

As I reread this lately I couldn’t help but place the above lesson squarely in the middle of our new Fellowship Hall.  The analogy is very close. We have taken a long time to get to the place that we now find ourselves. The growing of our faith is like the aging of the wood. It has taken some time to get to the point of committing ourselves to building the structure and no doubt it will take some time to complete paying for the debt that we incur, not to mention the outfitting and preparation for use that we have yet before us.

The Fellowship Hall thus becomes an instrument to be used in the joyful noise of our praise to our God. We, as the present congregation, are charged by the same charge that Paul gave Timothy. That is we are committed to play the music of our lives and seek faithful men who will be able to teach others also. We will pass this place on to others to develop and use, hopefully for generations yet unborn. Wouldn’t it be something to hear the music of this place 80 years from now? Imagine!

Blessings upon you,

Richard Granier



Among the Oaks
Rev. Lamar Hunt

Independence Day!

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Those incendiary words from the Declaration of Independence were indeed radical in their time.  The document concluded with a declaration of war against England. 
Fifty-six men from the 13 Colonies signed the document. They pledged their lives, honor, and fortunes to the new country.   And some of the signatories did lose their lives and fortunes, for the independence that they so nobly declared had to be won on the battlefields.   Names like Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, and Valley Forge come to mind.
The Declaration includes lofty concepts indeed:
Unalienable rights granted by the Creator.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
On this Independence Day I hope that you will reflect on the meaning of freedom and equality.   And I hope that you will recognize just how central the Founding Fathers understood God’s role to be as the author of these rights.    

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord….”  
Psalm 33:12

Lord God, You have richly blessed America.  I pray that you will bless Americans.  Help us to be charitable to our fellow citizens and generous to those less fortunate.  Bless us with good and honest leaders.  Make us a nation that others will see and emulate, not for our riches, but for our goodness.  Amen.  (adapted from Hello God! A Daily Call to Faith and Worship.