This time of year I can’t help but reminisce about the first months of my freshman year at university, which for me was Princeton. I am told that at the time I struck people as being at ease, cool, and in my element. But down inside I was fearful as all get-out. My campus friendships were too new to seem authentic, I felt outperformed by high-caffeine classmates, and I just plain missed home. I couldn’t stop wondering why I had come to Princeton in the first place. I felt like a right foot wearing a left shoe.
As things developed, I began to realize that part of my problem was my own self-absorption. On one particular evening, a Wednesday as I recall, the bottom of my heart fell open like a downward trap door. It was like a scene from Star Wars: I looked down into my heart and its layers of memory as if I were leaning out over a railing, peering down an open abyss (my heart) surrounded by floor after floor of prideful ego, down down down, smaller smaller smaller, but always pride, with no bottom to be seen. It was a hard truth to learn: I was a very proud person.
That confession of pride led somewhere. Through it I was freed to think about God in ways I never had before. I came to understood who the Living God of the Bible was and what he offered in the gospel. With the help of some true friends, I trusted Christ and sometime later attended Stone Hill (then known as Westerly Road). For the first time, I saw a church where people really sang the songs, genuinely prayed, listened to the sermon (yikes!) and actually believed what was said! Church and campus fellowship became my home away from home.
God has used Stone Hill Church to impact college students for Christ from a variety of campuses. It’s one of the things that make this place so special. So as the school year begins, let’s be intentional about welcoming students. Don’t miss the opportunity in the Atrium to reach out a hand and say hello, even if briefly. Small things like that break down walls between town and gown that might otherwise separate (Ephesians 2:11-22).
All Church Fall Kickoff Picnic: Meet new friends and get to know Stone Hill inside and out! Come celebrate with us as we launch into fall with food, music, games, and a cookie/brownie bakeoff. Join us in the atrium after the second service.
Church Financial Update: We are thankful for how God is using Stone Hill Church to minister to our congregation, the local community, and the world. Our congregation gathers for vibrant worship, inspired preaching, uplifting music, and a range of adult and children’s education programs each week. This summer, our Camp hosted a record number of kids, many of whom were new to our church and heard the gospel message. We will soon introduce a comprehensive new curriculum for our growing children’s and youth ministry. The Koinonia Team has engaged the congregation around issues of racial justice through film screenings and guided discussions. The Stone Hill Arts Series drew many visitors to June’s exceptional Quartet Piri clarinet ensemble concert. We continue to help those in need through benevolence, both within and outside our congregation, frequently working with local community partners. Stone Hill follows the Great Commission by sending mission teams to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turkey, and by supporting over 30 long-term missionaries around the world.
Your generous financial contributions fund these ministries. Here are some important numbers as you consider your giving now:
· Through the end of August, our church’s income year-to-date was $1,083,882.
· Expenses so far this year total $1,402,619; this is below budget.
· Thus, our current deficit is $318,737.
Because we receive many gifts at year-end, we typically run behind at this time of year. However, it will help church leaders to plan and to meet church obligations if you could give regularly throughout the year. You can give online via our website, in the Loop, in the offering plate, or via the Stone Hill Church app.
Paul reminds us that Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Shuttle and Parking Announcement: As we move into fall and our regular church programming, parking spaces begin to fill up. Please help us save parking spots for visitors, families with children, and our seniors by using these alternatives: Satellite Parking or Tiger Tram.
Tuesday Morning Women’s Bible Study: Travel through the Gospel of John. This study begins on Tuesday, September 17 at 9:30 a.m. in Harris Hall. Free childcare for children age 5 and under. All women warmly welcome!
AWANA Open House/Parent Night: Calling all children! Our clubs for kids, age 4 and up, start on Wednesday, September 18, 6:30 p.m. All parents are invited! If you haven't registered your child yet, or want more information, visit http://stonehillprinceton.org/connect/families#awana
Parent's Night Out: We are hosting a concert by the Nashville-based recording artists Out of the Dust on Saturday October 19, 7 p.m. Chris and Stephanie Teague make up the husband and wife duo. Their story of downfall, divorce, and miraculous redemption and remarriage is woven deep into the fabric of their music. God's beautiful and majestic redemption is shared through music that is stirring, thoughtful, and uniquely their own. This is the perfect opportunity to spend a night with your spouse that will not only delight your ears but nourish your marriage. Childcare available. Dessert and refreshments to follow. Save the date!
Children's Choir: Meets at 10:40 a.m. in Harris Hall. All children ages 4-11 are invited. We will be preparing for a fall performance in a worship service, as well as the December Christmas Special. Questions? Contact Amelia Ray at email@example.com.
Join the Choir: It’s not too late! No audition necessary. Rehearsals are Sundays, 5 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. Please contact Bob Doll, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stone Hill Arts Series: Voice Recital with Steven & Robin Massie Condy, with Jihye Park and Jamie Rankin on piano. Join us on Saturday, September 28 at 7 p.m. Free admission. Enjoy light refreshments after the recital.