Issue 4 | July 2023

Barbara Rowe: Focusing on Recruiting and Training New Missionaries

Christ in me, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)

When you hear the word “missionary,” what do you think of? American Christians going to the ends of the earth to preach the Gospel? While that’s an important aspect of missions work, the missionaries Central Presbyterian Church supports are involved in a greater variety of missions projects: Larry and Stephanie Kraft in England do critical research to support missions; Chris and Kaye Smoes are with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Cameroon; and Barbara Rowe is the director of international personnel for Christ for the City International (CFCI) in Omaha, Neb.

Barbara has missions in her blood. She grew up in India with missionary parents, and her father, Paul Hiebert, was a well-known missiologist, whom Barbara cites as her most important influence. She went out as a missionary as a young adult, before moving to Baltimore where she worked as a registered dietitian at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital and became a member of Central. What spurred her to return to the mission field was a prayerful reassessment of what she was doing with her life after her husband died in 2009. When looking for an agency to work with, she sought one that was primarily Christ-centered and had respect for and support of the local church in each country where they work. She found this in CFCI, an organization in which 90% of the missionaries are not North American and the country directors are national Christians.

Barbara thought back to her previous missionary experience in 1990, working with refugees towards the end of the civil war in El Salvador, and in 2012 was led to return. The country, however, was strikingly different as it was being controlled by gangs. As she prayed, God made it clear that she was to work with youth. The Faro Project brings the light of Christ to gang-controlled San Salvadoran neighborhoods, like a lighthouse (which is what faro means in Spanish), helping local churches develop Christian youth centers. These safe havens offer youth computer skills, English classes, Bible studies, art, sports, retreats and much more.

A new project emerged when Central’s Jack Weber and a group of the Anointed Ex-Offenders visited on a short-term mission trip and Barbara felt led to start a ministry to gang members in the prison system called The Master’s Workshop.  This ministry worked to bring gang members into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and then disciple them through Bible teaching.

Anyone who has heard Barbara speak knows of her harrowing experiences in San Salvador, such as when she went to the home of a gang leader to ask his permission to build a home in the neighborhood for a poor woman, or when she rescued her car from gang members beating it with a baseball bat. God certainly protected her in those situations, but Barbara can also see Him at work in the little moments when He shows up in her daily life.

In 2020, Barbara assumed her challenging new position, serving on CFCI’s core leadership team and recruiting and training new missionaries. She does this in many creative ways—through the website, missions fairs at local churches, visits to Christian universities, and conferences. Under her leadership, CFCI has been registered with an organization that acts as a liaison between missions organizations and those who feel called to the mission field.

Now that she’s back in the U.S., Barbara continues to work with teens, whom she loves for their energy and questions. She has started a youth group in her home, inspired by what she learned from Bill Pitts when she volunteered with Central’s student ministries. She also sees discipling other adults as an obligation for those who have grown in years and wisdom. And even her passion for quilting is an opportunity to share the Gospel, as she places a Bible verse between the quilt’s layers before she closes it up.

Barbara and her daughter Bria joined Central in 2003 for two reasons: because of its vibrant youth group and its long and deep commitment to missions. She is grateful for the church’s significant financial and prayer support she has received over the years. And Central is blessed to be able to support Barbara—and the many other missionaries serving around the world.

Learn how you can support Barbara in her mission work.

  • Sign up for Barbara’s e-newsletter by contacting her at: barbararowe.psalm139@gmail.com
  • Support her by donating online at: https://cfci.org/support/barbara-rowe/

            or by sending a check to CFCI, 5855 N. 90th Street, Omaha, NE 68134

A Mission Field Right Here at Central – Let the Little Children Come to Me

Sandy Pilotte, Director of the Central Presbyterian Church Preschool (CPCP), believes that God sent her straight to this position “like an arrow,” and prepared her each step of the way to lead and support the preschool community.

Sandy was raised in a Christian home, but she describes her faith growing up as a “Sunday and holiday Christian.” Her spiritual awakening happened when she was a new stay-at-home mom to two young boys and started attending Women on Wednesdays and Bible Study Fellowship, where, over the next 7 years, her faith and passion for the Old Testament really grew. After moving to Towson from Alexandria, Virginia, Sandy had been feeling isolated as a new stay-at-home mom, but connecting with other Christian women revitalized her socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

Before moving to Towson and attending Central, Sandy was an elementary school counselor, establishing one of the first grant-funded after-school programs in the state, and a third and fourth grade teacher focusing on math and science that provided the foundation for her to establish a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) program at CPCP.

An experience that Sandy’s eldest son went through at another preschool where the teachers lacked early childhood education experience opened her eyes to the need for high quality early childhood education and ignited a passion for supporting young families, and offering them positive experiences at CPCP. 

In 2005, Sandy was offered a Pre-K teaching position at CPCP, and became the Director in 2008. God prepared her well to guide teachers and families by providing her with exceptional school counseling and teaching experiences earlier in her career in addition to a B.S. in Psychology and Elementary Education from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a M.Ed. from the University of Maryland.

At CPCP, Sandy makes it a priority to support and guide well-trained, loving teachers who meet 95 preschool children and their families where they are, and send them well equipped for their next level of education.  

“This place is different because of Jesus,” according to Sandy, who believes the preschool is a mission field because only about 5 percent of the families attend Central. “We’d love for these families to come to Central.”

Sandy invites Central members to pray for each preschool family and the classes. The preschool hosts family events Grilling for the Greats and Trunk or Treat in the Fall, and a Christmas pageant. Sandy would like to invite church members to volunteer to make these events fun and relaxing for the children and their families.

Central members are welcome to visit the preschool. Sandy can be reached at 410-823-6164 or preschool@centralpc.org to schedule a visit or to learn about volunteer opportunities. For more information about CPCP go to www.centralpcpreschool.org.

Picnics in the Pavilion

Picnics in the Pavilion have been a big part of summer at Central for several years. The beautiful thing about the picnics is their diversity. People from different services, ages, and walks of life connect and find common interests! Some people connect by sitting and talking, while others play a game of cornhole. In a world where activities tend to be segregated by different ages or interests, the picnics break down walls and let people of different generations connect over a meal in an authentic way. 

The picnics grew from a group of families gathering together after church with young kids who were hungry. Originally, the families brought picnic lunches and ate together outside. We wanted to invite others to join in, so we decided to grill hot dogs as a way to welcome people who may not have planned food ahead.

I would love to have some sort of spiritual reason to keep the picnics going, but the first thing that comes to mind is that our kids would probably rebel if we didn’t! In the eyes of the kids, the picnics are a time to eat together, play together, and connect to friends old and new.

Each week, we see smiles and laughter, connections being made, and people having fun. But there are people coming with tears and sadness and the picnics provide a safe place to share that with others. It’s a “come as you are” event. 

We’ve also seen people who are visiting Central for the first time be welcomed and get to know others, and those who have attended for generations come and get to know future generations who are growing up at Central.

One group of people with a common interest in music sat around a picnic table last year and hashed out the idea that turned into the children’s choir.

Ministry partners who are visiting Central have joined in the fun at the picnics and connected to people in a way they may not otherwise be able to do.

In short, the picnics have been an opportunity to “make space” and see God working … and as He tends to do when we make space for Him, He’s shown up in ways we couldn’t have imagined! 

You don’t have to sign up to come – you can just show up! That said, signing up does make things easier for the planning team.  You can sign up at: centralpc.org/picnics. In addition to letting us know you’re coming, you can sign up to bring a side or dessert or help with setup, cleanup or grilling. But even if unable to sign up ahead, you are always welcome!

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Milestones in July

Central celebrates these special birthdays and anniversaries!

If we missed posting one of your special days, please check your CCB profile to bring it up to date.

Birthdays

July 2
Kim Meagher
July 4
Christina Glover
July 6
Kim McCaughey
Chris Bauernfeind
July 7
David Morgan
July 8
Melissa Hammiel
July 9
Neil Pohlhaus
July 10
James Loomis
July 11
Bob Hale
July 13
Patrick Carr
July 15
Adam John
Ryan Bankert
July 16
Robin Barnes
Janice McWilliams
July 19
John Doarnberger
Hilary Hargis
July 21
Les Bley
John Davis
July 23
Larry Cook

July 24
Allison Gerbereux
Ray Almsteadt
Katie Kavalsky
July 25
Jim Hutson
July 26
Derek Sweet
Michael Hearn
July 27
Kim Morton
Jeremy Bley
July 29
Ann Tarbell
Grace Hogsten
July 30
Indy Patschke

Wedding Anniversaries

July 1    Susan & Frederick Jones, 45 years

              Chris & Debbie Eberle, 39 years

              Nick & Jamie VanRensselaer, 1 year

July 2    Laura & Robert Lindstrom, 12 years

July 7    Robin & Sandy Bissell, 61 years

July 9    Keith & Carol Pallante, 40 years

              Abby & Joshua Gabrielse, 18 years

July 10  Vernon & Sandy Strawhand, 19 yrs

              Jared & Amanda Newman, 13 years

 

July 19  Bill & Valerie Foxburrow, 15 years

July 20  Gerard & Julienne Joab, 38 years

              Katie & Nick Gent, 10 years

July 21  Kyle & Julie Wheeler, 5 years

July 25  Greg & Erin Smith, 25 years

July 28   Dan & Susan Schulze, 39 years

July 29   Jeff & Caroline Wilkinson, 34 years

               Bryan & Julie Brunelle, 23 years

July 30   Paul & Darlene Glaudemans, 40 years

               Sue & Kevin Hula, 29 years

2023 Confirmation Class

The following students have taken this important step of commitment by confirming their faith in Jesus.  Learn more about these students.

Brett Chottiner 1

Brett Chottiner

zach

Zach Nagel

ella

Ella Pusateri

New Central Members

We celebrate with those who have taken steps on their spiritual journeys by becoming members of Central Presbyterian Church on June 25, 2023. Read their bios.

Prayer Requests

Please remember the following people in prayer as the Lord leads you.

The Orendorff Family

The Summers Family

John Doarnberger

Joe Pollitt

Charlotte Butler

Sally Gornik

Gene & Dottie Ball

Keith & Carol Pallante

Kyle Hungerford

Pastoral Nominating Committee

We extend our sympathy to the friends and family of Yvonne von Kreigenbergh who passed away on June 1.

A Value-Driven Church

A Values-Directed Church

It’s been an interesting but challenging season on Session as we have had to take a critical but fresh look at how we think of budgeting, investing and directing the resources with which God has entrusted us. 

We are a little more than a year removed from the height of Covid, and we are starting to see real growth in attendance on Sunday mornings as people are not only returning to in-person worship but we are seeing a steady increase in new visitors and members. And with that increase in attendance, we have seen a five percent increase in contributions over last year! As you could imagine, this has all been very welcomed and encouraging to all of us.

Our fiscal year may end in June but the work of the financial committee has been fully engaged for the past several months; in fact, it’s pretty much a year-long endeavor. And while the group has a solid grasp of what it takes to fund our missionaries, pay salaries and keep the lights on, earlier this spring we decided to take a different approach to the budgeting process. 

Some context is probably needed here: last Fall at our session retreat, we took another look at the core values Session settled on 10 years ago. Core values are meant to reflect the lived-out reality of what really matters to an organization.

The core values the group agreed upon at the time were:

  • Clear teaching of scripture
  • Missions and outreach
  • Authentic Christ-centered community

And then there were the “aspirational values” — ideals we desire to be central to our culture, but recognize we haven’t arrived there yet. And in some cases, we haven’t even really started on the journey. 

Those aspirational values included the following:

  • Increased dependence on prayer
  • Ethnic diversity
  • Expanding Neighborhood-based ministry. 

We began by taking a look at our vision statement: “Moving People Toward Christ by Being a Community of Faith, which loves, encourages and equips them in Christ, sending them out to serve,” and breaking them down to four distinct values: 

Moving people toward Christ, TRANSFORMATION

by being a community of faith, COMMUNITY

which loves, encourages, and equips them in Christ, DISCIPLESHIP

sending them out to serve. IMPACT

Out of that discussion, we drafted a revised set of values:

Authentic Community — diversity of age, race, and perspective

Compelling Christ-Centered Experience — growth through worship, teaching, equipping

Loving Our Neighbors and Nations — meaningful engagement locally and globally

Dependence on God through Prayer — courageous spirituality

This all sounds great, but you can rightly question if there is any practical application to what we did or whether this was nothing more than an intellectual exercise.

Fair question.

An organization’s values are meant to underscore and drive everything it does, from how we plan, how we staff, what we teach and where we choose to invest the resources with which we have been given. All of this takes us back to the budgeting discussion, where we began the process of creating a “values-based budget.” 

We say, for example, that we value Loving Our Neighbors and Nations — meaningful engagement locally and globally, but does our budget reflect that sentiment? 

By the time we were finished, the entire budget was organized by our core values and we were able to see what percentage of our resources were assigned to what value. The resulting product of this exercise gave us a very clear picture of what it is we truly value and where we might need to make some changes. 

We’re still fairly early in the process but already these discussions have been really illuminating in helping us differentiate between values that are lived out vs. those that are merely aspirational.

Not only will these discussions impact our budgeting, but this same tact will help staff and leadership better focus our time, energies, and passions.

Please pray for us as we continue this process and that it will bear fruit in our ministry here at Central, our neighboring communities, the city, the region, and beyond. 

End of the Year Financial Update

While we have just closed the books on our Fiscal Year 2023, we will provide a detailed update at our Annual Meeting on July 30th and celebrate the highlights at our Kick-Off/Celebration Sunday on September 10th.

We are grateful for the many ways our congregation has demonstrated God’s love through the generous giving which allows us to carry out Central’s mission in our neighborhoods, among our networks, and for the next generation. Thank you, Central!

Opportunities

Graduate Program

St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute
CONNECT: Faith, Health & Medicine graduate program, designed for health professionals, chaplains, ministry students, and anyone interested in the intersection of faith and health, of caring and curing.
Learn More

Welcome Corp

Support Refugee Families
Support the team sponsoring a refugee family from the Congo currently in a camp in Malawi. Stop by the concourse table on July 16. Contact Robin Henderson
Email

Housing Needed

42 year young-at-heart woman & Central member seeks a private room with a full bathroom in Towson. Please contact: Andrea Cook - call or text: (a Virginia area code) 434-238-5199. Thank you!
Email

Bibles & Books Needed

UnCuffed Ministries
UnCuffed Ministries is collecting Bibles/books to distribute to the young people they serve in prison.
Learn More

Fruitful Service

First Fruits Farm
Join with the Central community as we serve our neighbors by picking fruits and veggies at First Fruits Farm!
Learn More

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