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July, 2011

From Your President

When I look at a church or am just visiting for the first time I get an impression of that church by the people who will stop and say “Good Morning!” or “Welcome” or engage in conversation. I feel fairly confident that our Church Growth Area welcomes people as they come in to worship with us. After being at the Conference down in La Jolla, I became more aware of the breadth of ways of connecting with visitors and members. We have a Board of Officers as well as Area Leaders and Co-Leaders, and as new members and visitors become acquainted with the church and how it operates, they may ask questions about areas of interest, and find ways to get involved.

We have new brochures that give a quick overview of our church, with our vision statement and a list of Programs and Activities.  I believe this pamphlet is going to be a great tool to share with visitors and friends. I am proud of all the work that went into the designing and printing of this welcoming brochure that you will find in the pew. Take one or two home with you to share with your friends. Rev. Leif did most of the work on it, with Board approval.

We have a history of service to the community with starting the Step by Step program that helps parolees adjust to life out of prison. This program reduces the number of parolees that return to prison. When they return to their home town, they often don’t have enough money or help to start living a better life than they had before. The average percentage of parolees that return to jail in California is seventy percent. With the Step by Step program in Redlands the average percentage of parolees that return to jail is twenty percent. That is a significant difference! It is a program that has become a community program because most churches see it as too big a problem but when we work together we can make a big difference. A spin off from the Step by Step program is the Get on the Bus program. It is a program that takes children to see their mothers the day before Mothers Day or takes them to see their fathers before Fathers Day to visit the parent in prison with permission from the prison authorities. That privilege to see their children (the children want to see them) is motivation to live within the rules and regulations.

We sent a group to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to help dig mud out of a house and tear off wall board to prevent mildew and mold.

Susi Jacobsen works on feeding hungry homeless youth on Thursday afternoon in the Redlands area. I am sure she can use some help.

Currently we are organizing help for a family with exorbitant health care costs to save a three year old child.

The youth are also raising money to go to Oakland and Pacific Grove to do some service projects this summer.

We do a fund raiser with Art For Heaven’s Sake. Over 95% of the congregation helps work on this project each year, and it is a lot of fun and the quality of the project makes everybody pleased with the whole weekend event.

We have a wonderful dinner in December with the choir program called “Feastings”  to raise money for the choir and it is a great chance to get to know other church members as the different courses of dinner are served by the choir. The choir puts on a program after each course is served with some interludes from the Bell Choir.

Some of us work in the garden around the church to make sure it is a place where anyone can sit and contemplate or pray so if you want to pull a weed or two there is a sign up place if that is what you like to do. (Although no one complains if you pull a weed.)

The variety of activity that is happening in this church is valuable and an indicator of the creative action as we follow our faith journey. Do you have a dream?  Do you want to serve in some way? Do you want to participate in some way? Do you want to learn more about the Bible? Do you want to meet more people? Talk to one of our ministers. They can help you get acquainted and get involved.

Lora Hall