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«JULY & AUGUST WORSHIP SCHEDULE Rev. Patrick Sileo Sunday Mornings Worship Schedule: 9:30 am Worship Service (6/16 – 9/1) Praise & Prayer Worship: ...»

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Rev. Patrick Sileo

Sunday Mornings Worship Schedule:

9:30 am Worship Service (6/16 – 9/1)

Praise & Prayer Worship: Wed. July 10th & 24th

Childcare (located one level below the Sanctuary) available during

the morning services.

A Note from Pastor Pat

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 (NIV) The scripture above comes from Paul’s letter to the church of Thessalonica that focuses on living one’s faith daily. There is a direct emphasis on the promised return of Christ, and a strong sense of Paul’s urgency to have the people remain diligent in their faith.

Notice the language. Paul doesn’t invite Christians to: “Rejoice if it fits your schedule, pray when you feel like it, or give thanks on occasion.” Instead, he uses adverbs such as “always”, “continually”, and “all”. None of these words allows for any leeway in the actions they describe. He is urging them to Love God with all that they are every moment of every day.

So why do I focus on this scripture for a Sparta Notes in the mid-summer? It’s simple really.

Summer is upon us. One church phenomena that has baffled me ever since I began serving my Lord is the vast drop in worship attendance that happens every year at this time in churches across this nation.

Now before you go off to Abilene that I am being too heavy handed and expecting too much from you, ponder this: Our average weekend worship numbers from January to June 2013 (not counting Easter which always skews the numbers) was approximately 270. If in the summer our number drops to 200 per week, then 70 people (over 25%) are somewhere else.

Where is “somewhere else”? It may be the Jersey shore, Cape Cod, Disney World, or other beautiful vacation destinations. But did you know that “somewhere else” has a church of Jesus Christ that worships him every week? Just like us, the “Somewhere Else Christian Church” worships the Triune God of Grace.

Sadly, the fact is that worship statistics for Christian churches across the country reveal significant drops from late June through Labor Day. The sad reality is that people are taking a vacation not only from work and everyday life, but from the Triune God of Grace.

In the last church that I served, I had a couple of people who would routinely bring me bulletins from churches where they worshipped when they are away. One because she thought I needed proof that she worshipped, and other thoughtfully wanted to share with me what he experienced in that other faith community. I loved them both because regardless of the motivation, they worshipped our Lord wherever they were!

So I challenge you this summer. Ifyou are away on vacation, find a faith community to worship God. Try a different tradition or worship style. Maybe it’s a storefront church or maybe they worship under a big tent. Try it and experience something a little different.

But don’t forget to lavish love upon our God.

If you are camping or at some sports tournament where a formal worship service is not offered, gather your family and worship God. Read scripture, pray together, or maybe even sing a song of praise. Invite other campers or softball families to join you, because you just might find that you are surrounded by a faith community, who gave up worshipping God because they were away from their church family.

Be ever extravagant in your love for the Father always! Talk and give thanks to Jesus for what he has done every single day! Continuously work out your salvation with the Holy Spirit!

Forever In His Service, Pat revpat@fpcsparta.org By the way, I would like to know if you have read this so please send me a quick email or let Tricia know.

Church Family


6/1/13: Noah Andrew Dettmer 6/17/13: Kira McLean Forrester


6/2/13: Will, Jillian, and Amanda Robertson 6/9/13: Tyler and Henry Adkins 6/16/13: Marigrace Yuskaitis 6/30/13: Drew Errichetti


6/23/13: Liz Fearen and Mark Treiber Members received on 6/16/13: (Confirmation Class) Spencer Cerny, Jared Kish, Nicole Sileo, Rebecca Wiltshire, Alexandra Worts, Kristina Worts, and Marigrace Yuskaitis.

Youth Ministry News The Old Testament reminds us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:06 Please keep our Senior High Fellowship and leaders in your prayers as they work in West Virginia. They will be returning on Sat July 20th.

Plans are currently being made. Please check www.fpcsparta.org or Facebook for the most up to date information.

For more info about our youth programs please contact Dave Barone at 973-896or youth@fpcsparta.org. Also check out our Facebook page and website www.fpcsparta.org for the most up to date info & pictures from our youth activities!

Blessed Beginnings This past June Sandy Poots, the director of Blessed Beginnings, retired after 14 years of faithful service. Over the years she has seen many children come and go through the school system and touched the lives of many. She will be remembered by our families and teachers for the kindness she showed and for the help she provided. Sandy helped create the loving Christian environment that Blessed Beginnings is known for and now we send her off with our prayers and good wishes for a happy retirement and thank her for her many years of service to God through our school. Let her new “Beginning” be “Blessed”.

Sunday School Heifer Collection This year our Sunday School classes discussed ways we can spread God’s love. We talked about things we could do to help people here at home, like donate to the local food pantry our church supports. We also discussed ways to help people who are hungry and poor in other countries. Earlier this year, we looked at some of the missions around the world, including programs like Heifer International that donate live animals to families who are living in poverty. The children were fascinated with the idea that donations could go toward a live animal (or animals) for a family in need and that Heifer International would teach the family to care for it and this would help that family have food and income. They especially loved the way Heifer International refers to the animal donations as “Living Loans” because in exchange for their animals and training, each family that receives a donated animal agrees to give one of its animal's offspring to another family in need.

The 1st and 2nd grade class was very excited about this type of mission and asked if we could start collecting money so we could donate animals through Heifer International. We got our Pastor’s (Pastor Pat Sileo’s) and the Session’s approval to donate all of the offering the children brought to Sunday School in May and June to Heifer International. The concept of “Passing on the Gift” became a theme in our Sunday School classes. The children made posters to hang up around the church and cow donation boxes to place in all the Sunday School rooms for this special offering. On the last Sunday of the Sunday School year, the 1st and 2nd grade children got up in front of the church and told the congregation about their Heifer project. They passed the cow boxes through the church and the congregation enthusiastically gave very generous donations. Then, we took a vote among the children to decide if the donations should be used to donate many smaller animals or used to donate one cow. They were thrilled that the total donations of $642.52 would be more than enough to donate a cow – and decided that is what we should do!

FPCS VBS 2013 July 22th – July 26th, 9:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Ages 4 years (as of June 30th) – entering 4th Grade For more info visit our VBS page at www.fpcsparta.org Registration forms now available online, on the Narthex table and in the church office! We hope you and your children can join us for a rewarding week.

Adult Studies


Resuming in September. Details available at the Open House on Sept. 8th!


Wednesday Evenings With Pastor Pat at 7:30 pm in Upper Room 2: Comments or questions, email Pastor Pat at revpat@fpcsparta.org. Taking a break the month of August.

PW NEWS The next PW Gathering will be held on Thursday, September 12, 2013.

Circles will also resume in September.

WRAPPED IN LOVE – Knitters needed We meet the 1st and3rd Wednesday of the month in the Church Parlor at 10:00 am for about 1 ½ hr for prayer, knitting, and fellowship. We supply the yarn and directions for prayer shawls, baby hats, or blankets. Come join us as we knit or crochet to wrap someone in God’s love. For more info contact Nancy Claus at 973-729-3647.


Forgiven and freed by God in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to nurture our faith through prayer and Bible study, to support the mission of the church worldwide, to work for justice and peace, and to build an inclusive, caring community of women that strengthens the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and witnesses to the promise of God’s kingdom.

Media Team is Looking for Help The Media Team is looking for volunteers to help run the audio, video, and lyrics during Sunday morning worship services. No previous experience is necessary, and happy to train!

For more information please see Chris Sebes before or after the worship or email him at chris@chrissebes.com.

Sparta Ecumenical Council Food Pantry You, the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, have been wonderful in your support of the SEC Food Pantry's Summer Lunch program. I wish you could be at the Food Pantry when we give out the bags of lunch food. Our clients are so surprised and grateful for the extra food. And the children are very excited to receive their own bag of food and to choose from a large collection of snack items!

Three of the four Summer Lunch collections have been held. All seven churches of the Sparta Ecumenical Council will do one more lunch food collection in August. Please continue to help bring a little extra joy to needy families in our area before the Summer Lunch program ends with the start of the new school year.

----Valerie, SEC Food Pantry Summer Lunch Coordinator "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40 SEC Food Pantry Volunteers Needed Do you have some spare time this summer? The Food Pantry needs extra help. Can you spare a few hours? Are you a student looking for something to do this summer? Volunteer with the Food Pantry. If interested please call Suzanne Blecker at 729-2765.

A Christmas Carol Musical Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 6, 7, 8 Our expanding FPC Drama Ministry is excited to announce A Christmas Carol for production this fall. While many musical and non-musical versions of this Christmas classic exist, we chose this more Christian version written by Ferguson and Greer (same authors of our 2012 version of It’s a Wonderful Life).

Come One, Come All ! ! !

On-Stage Roles - Auditions for on-stage roles will be held August 11 (1 pm) & 12th (6:30 pm). If you want to audition and cannot make these dates, please contact Karen McEver.

mcever@fpcsparta.org Off-Stage Roles - If you would like to be involved in an off-stage role, we would love to have you as part of our team. We are looking for musicians, artists, designers, tech crew, construction workers, and backstage crew. The most pressing need is to develop a team of people who can cover the business side of the house. This includes publicity, marketing, tickets, advertising, seating, concessions, programs, etc. And you don’t even need to sing well to do these jobs! Please see Karen McEver or Nathan Simmons if you are willing to help in any of these areas. mcever@fpcsparta.org We look forward to seeing how God will be working in us and through us for His Glory as we seek Him via A Christmas Carol musical.

Membership Council The membership council invites you to contribute and or participate in the exciting life of FPC. The only thing you have to do is submit idea’s and be willing to be part of the team that put’s ideas into action. You have already participated in some of these ideas already.

Let’s review some of them now.

On June 16th you had your photograph taken in front of FPC and that shot will be used as a billboard advertisement. If you travel down route 181 off of Route 15 you will see your church and your photograph on a billboard that is promoting the FPC of Sparta beginning on August 5th.

If you listen to 106.3 FM, as many 18 to 45 year olds do, you will hear Pastor Pat’s message to this young audience about the FPC of Sparta. That message will run all summer long on Saturday’s to reach out to young people and couples of our community.

We have a message! We are off to a good start that began in the spring of 2012. If you recall we announced Pastor Pat’s arrival with news articles that talked about “a new beginning” for an historic church. Our post card campaign continued the theme of a “new beginning” and “what you have been searching for” as we reached out into the community with our message. That message was spread at Sparta Day, our open house, news and magazine articles, sermons and many other venues. The question is, do you want to be a part of this exciting journey going forward?

What’s ahead in the near future? August 25th is set for our annual church picnic and as usual it is good food, good fun, and good entertainment for all.

Our open house is scheduled for September 8th and we are again looking for all our councils, Bible study groups and missions to proudly let our church family know what they have been up to in the service of God’s people.

Talking about big special events then we should all mark our calendars for September 28th. You haven’t heard? Mark Cable is a Christian entertainer that has been here before and is back! Buy your tickets early, buy often, and buy for your friends because you will not be disappointed. Don’t be sitting in church on Sunday the 29th and hearing what all your friends went to see on the 28th and you didn’t.

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