Monday, December 13, 2010

Ministry Marches On

Last week I sent out a brief message asking for help for a couple of youth who were wanting to go to Winter Blast in Greenlake, WI. One of those particular youth come from a home with parents who are professed atheists. In less than an hour, we received enough responses to cover the necessary expenses for those youth, and have received further donations to cover other incidental expenses for this trip.

On Sunday, we had our third young man come forward to accept Christ as his personal Savior and request baptism. Other children are also asking more questions and I believe more decisions will be forthcoming...

This Sunday we will present our Christmas S.O.C.C.E.R. Team musical which is a collaboration of the children and adults choruses. I can not say enough about all of the hard work put into this musical by the kids and adults and their leaders, Chris Finley, Vicky Thompson, Cindy Gandy, Jessica Bartley, and Missy Adams, as well as our adult choir leader, Lois Roberts.

The church is also hard at work preparing for our Manna program which will feature Morning Manna, a hot breakfast free of charge to our local community, and Manna on the Move, which is a grocery kit each visitor will receive that will provide them with enough food for the rest of the day. Lots of volunteer hours are already being poured into this ministry and it is exciting to see the opportunities that are developing with this outreach.

The church building looks beautiful thanks to the hard work of so many people who have decorated for Christmas. I am grateful to all of the hard work that has gone into, and continues to be made for our Christmas season.

I feel blessed to be a part of a church such as this and to be able to participate alongside such wonderful servants of Jesus Christ. There is so much to be thankful for around here and I praise God for these people who make up our church!

Tom Bartley

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Inclement Weather Cancellations

In the event that services at Crooked Creek Baptist become suspended due to weather, this information will be made available to our church family on the local NBC (Channel 13) and FOX TV stations. The decision to cancel services will be made by the pastor in consultation with the Stewardship Team of Crooked Creek Baptist and will be communicated at least 2 hours in advance of services when possible.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Morning Manna

On Tuesday, November 23, 2010 several members of Crooked Creek Baptist met to discuss the increasing requests for food assistance from our local community. During this discussion, the member developed the following proposal:

Morning Manna- Crooked Creek Baptist would begin in January of 2010 a three month exercise offering brunch on January 15, February 19, and March 19 from 9:30-11:00 a.m. These meals would be free of charge and open to the general public, with specific emphases being shared with the local elementary school and apartment housing in our immediate area.

Manna on the Move- in addition to being served a brunch every person would also be able to bring home a take home bag filled with enough food to feed one person for the rest of the day. This offering would also be at no cost to recipients.

Those in attendance immediately volunteered to work together, and accept anyone else, who wished to help serve our community in this meal service. It is our hope that through this offering, we might be able to demonstrate God's love to those who might visit us for this meal and help them stretch their already tightened budget.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pitch In Dinner and Chrismon Service

Crooked Creek Baptist will be hosting a family pitch in dinner on Sunday, November 28 at 5:00 p.m. The church will be providing the main course, table service, and drinks. We ask our church family to bring a side dish or dessert to share. During this time the Chrismons created by the ladies of Crooked Creek will be on display in the Fellowship Hall.

At 6:00 p.m. we will move upstairs to decorate the Chrismon Tree in a special worship service. Information about the Chrismons will be shared and we will sing some of our favorite Christmas hymns as part of the service! This service should end by 7:00 p.m.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Believer's Baptism

This Sunday Crooked Creek Baptist will be celebrating the ordinance of believer's baptism. Mason Corlette will be baptized as part of the 10:45 service. Hope you will be able to join us for this event!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cloud of Witnesses Insert

Be prepared to answer this question Sunday, October 24 at church:

A Cloud of Witnesses

Next Sunday, October 31 we will be speaking about the cloud of witnesses who have shared the gospel with us. And we would like to hear about those witnesses that have contributed to the worshipers at Crooked Creek Baptist. Would you take a moment before the offering and share a thought or memory of a saint who has helped you reach this point in your faith? We would like to share these memories in celebration next week with our entire church family!

Name of this person:

Relation to this person (friend, family member, co-worker, etc..)

How did this person witness to you?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Edna Martin Christian Center Volunteer Opportunity

On Monday November 8th, CCBC volunteers will be hosting an after-school meal at 6 PM for 60-65 children at the Edna Martin Christian Center. Approximately 6 volunteers are needed to assist with preparing and serving food at the center. Monetary donations and prepared food donations are also needed. A volunteer sign-up sheet is now available in Rainbow Hall. Transportation will be available starting at 4:45 for those wishing to car pool.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lunch Bunch Meeting Sunday, October 17

This Sunday the Lunch Bunch will be meeting immediately following worship. Children up to grade 5 are welcome to head downstairs where Mary Dickerson will be helping to provide a meal for the kids and adult helpers. Following lunch this group will be planting some flowers around the building to help prepare for next spring!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crooked Creek Elementary Help

After School Achievers is a program at Crooked Creek Elementary School that takes place from 2:30-6 every Monday through Thursday at the school. Students who stay for this time get help with homework, tutoring, or just have someone read books with them. From 5-6 p.m. the children have an activity time. The principal, Kim Piper, has asked if there are volunteers from Crooked Creek Baptist who might be willing to help out with some of these children. Volunteers would have a lot of flexibility as to the day, time, and duration of the assistance.
Reading is a great way to bond with children and helping kids to read, and introducing them to the love of reading is a gift that can help children throughout their lives. By volunteering to help these children, we could make a difference in their life that will affect them for a very long time. We hope you will consider how God might be calling you to make a positive difference in a young child's life!

Volunteers will need to go through a background check before they can begin working with the children. If you are interested in participating in this activity, please contact Pastor Tom Bartley.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Special Mission Giving

At the Leadersip Council Meeting the Outreach Team presented their recommendations on how to distribute the first 10% of the funds received from the Ted Leslie Estate. The groups and organizations listed below are recipients of these gifts:

International Ministries- To support the Bolick family in Chile and the Bonilla-Giovanetti family in Spain

Cvelich Family- Missionaries serving in North Carolina who have a direct relationship with Crooked Creek Baptist

Crooked Creek Elementary School- to help out with specific needs of children/teachers in financial difficulties

Cetola Family- Missionaries with direct church ties preparing for a ministry in Italy

American Baptist Camps in Indiana- we support two Indiana camps: Indian Creek and Tippecanoe

United Mission- United Mission is the foundation of our denomination and we are presenting 20% of the total distributed.

Edna Martin Christian Center- The EMCC ministers to families in a downtown location and is in the process of relocating to a new site. United Way will match our gift during EMCC's fundraising drive and will be given in honor of retiring Executive Minister, Larry Mason.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lunch Bunch Reflection

Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with many of the children who attend services here at Crooked Creek Baptist. The occasion was a trip to a local pottery place where the kids selected and painted their own piece, which will be fired this week and returned to the children this coming Sunday. The plan is to bring their artwork forward so that the church can see the result of their efforts before allowing the children to bring their creations to their own homes.

But what really hit me as we were deep in the process of selecting first each child's individual piece and then color schemes was the investment that each child was making in their respective masterpiece. They were well behaved, respectful, helpful, calm, mannered, and supportive of one another. As I was watching them work together and comment on what each other was doing I was overwhelmed by just what a great group of children we had present.

And that great group of children did not happen by accident. It is obvious that a strong group of adults has invested a lot of time, care, love, and energy into the development of this group of children. And as I sat here and type this I remain overwhelmed at just how "nice" the day was. These good kids are a reflection of very good parents, who also remind me that we have a lot of great people here at Crooked Creek Baptist.

Now this is not to say that we do not have our share of challenges here at our church, but it does make me proud to be a part of such a great group of adults and children who demonstrate faith in more than just lip service. I am encouraged that the pathway we are discovering is one that seems to balance the desire to model good Christian behaviors while being a part of the world.

I do not say this often enough, but I am proud to be the pastor of Crooked Creek Baptist Church and see many reasons why this church should be proud of what God is doing in them and through them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

World Mission Offering 2010

Throughout the month of October, Crooked Creek will be receiving the World Mission Offering (WMO). This year’s theme, In Haiti and in the World, celebrates the American Baptist churches’ inspired and heartfelt response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The WMO is giving special attention to Haiti this year because it mirrors the ministries IM missionaries and partners are also doing elsewhere. This offering is more crucial than ever to sustain those ministries “in Haiti and in the World.” Our contributions will help to support global projects, Christian partners (including churches, schools and hospitals), and missionaries in Haiti as well as in more than 70 other countries around the world. To learn more, go to

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Church Picnic

I would like to express my thanks for all of the people who worked so hard to make our Church Picnic happen this past Sunday. It truly was a blessed event. Here are some of the thoughts I have taken from this event:

1. It was a chance to catch up with some lapsed members: I had an opportunity to talk with one couple who were long time members but had been uninvolved in church life for some time. It was a chance to connect personally and I saw that I was not the only one to take advantage of this opportunity. It is my hope that with these connections we can find ways to continue to serve families and couples like this.

2. It was great outreach to our community: There were several visitors to our picnic that came from the nearby community. I have had heard some conversations about possibly offering a community meal on Saturday mornings or for lunch and the response from the community seems to add fuel to this movement. There is work we can do right in our own back yard.

3. It was a wonderful time for Fellowship: One of the results from the listening conference was a request for more events such as this. It was wonderful to see people eating together, talking and laughing, and visiting to re-affirm some important connections in our church family.

4. It was a time to practice service: We had so many people show up that we had to set up extra tables and chairs. I noticed this and began to set up a table or two. Before I could finish, so many people joined in I soon found myself without any work to do...

5. It was a great time to experience the Holy Spirit: At one point I stopped and just listened to the general hubbub of the room. There were people talking, laughing, visiting, and caring for one another and it made me think of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Sure, we skipped the tongues of fire, but I believe that God's Spirit was present in this event.

I know I missed tome other great moments that took place. Feel free to share those as well. I am proud to serve as the Pastor of Crooked Creek Baptist Church, alongside so many other ministers of Jesus Christ.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Exciting Sunday

This Sunday leadership for worship will be provided by the women of Crooked Creek Baptist. This is American Baptist Womens' Sunday and we will use it to celebrate the contributions to ministry from the women inside and outside of our church family.

Following the service is a special event in the life of our church: Our annual church picnic. Grilled food will be provided, there will be games (and a bounce house) for kids of all ages, and entertainment will be by Joshua's Vision! The fun will begin immediately following worship. We will look for you this Sunday!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Qu'ran burning and the Ground Zero Mosque

I was living in Evansville when the original 9/11 attack took place in New York and Washington. I remember being horrified as I watched the smoke pour out of the Towers and the fear as both buildings fell, killing thousands of people. I was outraged that terrorists would commit such an atrocious act, giving up their own lives to cause so many people harm. Regardless of their religious pretense, these men did not operate out of anything remotely resembling God's love.

Even more disturbing to me was the next day, when local media announced that some Evansville resident tried to to drive his pick up truck into a mosque in the city. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to reach the mosque, but did some damage to the grounds around the building. At our church we reached out to the Muslim community and offered a public forum for the community to help them understand the difference between the Islamic faith and the radical version of those terrorists who carried out these acts. At that meeting, I remember one of those leaders translating the word, "Islam" explaining that it means "peace."

Recently there has been a lot of coverage over a proposed Islamic interfaith center that would be a few blocks from the Ground Zero. It has been billed as the Ground Zero Mosque (which is incorrect, as its not at Ground Zero nor is it a mosque) and Americans have called its proposal insensitive. I do not understand how a proposal for understanding is insensitive.

And then there is the pastor who wants to burn copies of the Qu'ran. I am beginning to wonder if this is not some media ploy, as he seems to received responses from the Roman Catholic Church and the President of the United States. What does this man hope to accomplish by this event? Is this an act of love?

The good news about God's intervention in the world was a message of pure unbounded love. At a point in human history where creation stood condemned by sin, God provided a solution to the issue of sin through Jesus. In his earthly life, Jesus carried out miraculous healing, reached out to the lost and the dispossessed, turned the social order upside down by talking to prostitutes, lepers, and other sinners, and called people to a radical form of love (Love your neighbor as yourself). His death on the cross was a sacrifice that allowed for an ultimate restoration between God and creation.

Regardless of how we feel about the Islamic faith: whether it challenges the Christian faith and Bible, or whether our roots speak of serving the same God, I find it deplorable that Christians on both sides of this issue would evoke such hatred, fear, and suspicion. It runs contrary to the example that Jesus set for us. In our worship services we have been studying the 10 Commandments to discover that these words from God are not so much about rigid obedience as they are gifts from God on how to live as God's Holy Chosen people. These commandments are a gift from God, a pathway and invitation to live righteously. To be a zealous follower of Jesus Christ is to practice radical love.

It is my hope that as a people of God, those who worship at Crooked Creek (and those who might read this) would use these events as a focus to re-affirm our commitment to Christ Jesus and the love expressed through his life, death, and resurrection. We have been given a new, transformed life inundated with the power of God's love through the Holy Spirit. May we live this new life that we have been given!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Women's Sunday- September 19

September 19, 2010
We are planning a very special program for you on September 19 involving a number of women from the church. Our special guest this Sunday will be Debbie Kelsey, a missionary from Padua, Italy who works in the field of Human Trafficking along with her husband, Jim. Debbie will share her experiences with us via DVD, as she cannot be with us in person due to other commitments in Ohio that Sunday. Debbie came into the field rather reluctantly, after meeting with Lauran Bethell, a pioneer in the field of Human Trafficking. When God continued to open doors for Debbie to talk to women in red light districts, Debbie realized God was calling her and preparing her for a new ministry focus to provide training and encouragement to prostituted women in Italy. Debbie and Jim minister to women, many of who are Africans whom have been trafficked or prostituted.
The International Labour Organization reports that at least 12.3 million adults and children worldwide are in forced labor, bounded labor, and commercial sexual servitude at any given time and that 56% of all forced labor victims are women and girls.
After drug trafficking, human trafficking is tied with illegal arms trade as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and the U.S. Department of State estimates that in this year it will become the number one crime worldwide.

If you are a woman attending Crooked Creek, you are an American Baptist Woman, part of a proud heritage of women around the state, the country, and Puerto Rico. Besides programs for women, there are programs for AB-GIRLS and Young Adults.
The national American Baptist Women's Ministries mission is to provide vision, training, and resources to women and girls in American Baptist churches.
Every American Baptist church shall have a vital women's ministry program that empowers women and girls to become and develop as God's person, build God's faith community, and serve God's world.
As servant leaders, we serve American Baptist churches by encouraging existing vital ministries with women and girls and empowering churches to build such ministries.
Our ministry is based on certain non-negotiable values that form a foundation and criteria for all that we do.
• We provide Christ-centered ministries.
• We strive for excellence in all we do.
• We practice faithful stewardship.
• We are relevant for women today.
• We assure that our diversity (clergy/lay, age, geographic, and racial/ethnic representation) as a denomination is represented in our ministries.
• We affirm and encourage the use of spiritual gifts.
• We recognize the worth of all women and girls.
• We value our American Baptist family relationships.

AB GIRLS Covenant
Remembering the words of Christ, who said,
"I am the light of the world," and also
"You are the light of the world"
I promise
to grow in Christ
to share my gifts of time and money, talents and prayer, and
to serve with others in God's world,
So that the Light of Life may shine through me.

Organizational History
American Baptist Women's Ministries became a national organization 1951, with the formation of the National Council of American Baptist women. But women's ministries in our denomination began long before 1951. For well over a century, women have been strong partners in the American Baptist family-raising money for missions at home and abroad, sending missionaries, and ministering in local churches and communities.

Through the years, women have shaped their ministries to meet emerging needs. The Woman's Baptist Society, organized in 1871 (the forerunner of the Woman's American Baptist Foreign Mission Society), focused on women in other lands. The Women's American Baptist Home Mission Society, formed in 1909, centered on evangelism in the United States. The World Wide Guild was established in 1915 to train, inspire, and empower girls for Christian ministry and leadership; it became a program of Educational Ministries. In 1992, AB Women's Ministries affirmed and accepted all responsibility for the girls' ministry and organized it as AB GIRLS.
The Meaning Behind Our Logo
The logo symbol for American Baptist Women’s Ministries is biblical. The woman depicted in the logo embodies the New Testament women who were among the first to know and believe that Jesus Christ is God’s son. They encountered the cross; their commitment deepened. Commitment leads to the waters of baptism. The woman steps from her baptismal waters confident in her belief in Christ and in her God-given talents and abilities. She carries the lighted lamp, serving the Christ of the empty cross, the light of the world.
The symbol portrays unity. The cross resembles the cross in the American Baptist Churches logo. AB Women’s Ministries is part of the larger church body. The water, symbolizing baptism, unites Christians. The water also symbolizes the oceans and rivers of the earth that connect us with sisters and brothers around the world and reminds us of our global interdependence.
The symbol is filled with life. In the cross there is new life in Jesus Christ. Water sustains physical life. The living water in the person of Jesus Christ is life. The woman, a life-giver herself, carries the light and lift of Jesus into the world.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

United Mission Giving

American Baptist United Mission
“Risk Taking and United Mission”

Rev. Dr. Ron Vallet, Ambassador for United Mission from ABC/NYS
September 2010

When we are united in God’s mission,
our United Mission will grow.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-45)

If we are to carry out God's mission as stewards of the gospel, it is necessary to take risks in using the resources entrusted to us. The parables of the treasure and the pearls tell us that we are called to give everything to possess the treasure of the kingdom. “ …he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Willingness to Risk

When the reality of what God has done for you and me sinks in, we are motivated to respond to God. Individually, we can “strive first for the Kingdom of God” only after we have known and experienced the reality that God loved us, sought us out, and bought us at a great price. Then it is love responding to love.

Churches also are called to take risks. Charlie W. Shedd (The Exciting Church Where They Give Their Money Away, Word Books) described a risk-taking church business meeting in which the charter members voted to be a dollar-for-dollar mission church. This would mean that for every dollar they spent on the local program, a matching dollar would be sent elsewhere. As a consequence, purchase of any item meant double payments.

But that was not the end of the story. In their denomination, such a dollar-for-dollar commitment did not include building funds. Capital improvements did not need to be matched. When the people gathered to vote on whether to build a million-dollar sanctuary, they heard a challenge from a young officer, new on the church board. No one there, including the pastor, was expecting strong leadership from him. He stood to sound this call: “When I was elected, the church treasurer told me, 'Man, don't ever forget there's one reason this church gets money. That's because it's giving so much.' I'm on the committee to raise this million dollars. If we vote to build our sanctuary, here's my proposition: I move we go after two million, and give the extra million to build new churches where they're needed. Like on the mission field. Or places in our own country where they could use a hand from us.”

Heated discussion followed. When the ballots were counted, 93 percent had affirmed the young officer's vision. They followed through with the matching of dollars. Often they were not sure where the money would come from. At the end of one year, the officers borrowed ten thousand dollars to give away because they had faith in the basic principle that when the outgo meets with God's approval, God will provide the income needed.

In two of the churches I served as pastor, each congregation voted to move toward 50-50 giving, increasing the amount going to wider mission by one percentage point a year. Both churches followed through. In the latter pastorate, the giving to wider mission increased from 10 ½ percent to 22 percent of total church income over the span of my 11-year pastorate there. There was risk in adopting such a budget each year. A risky budget makes a theological statement.

Vision to Risk

In the Old Testament, the year of Jubilee came every fiftieth year. The Jubilee ideal called for letting the land lie fallow, the remission of all debts, the liberation of slaves, and the return of family property to its original owner. Jubilee represented the kind of daring vision called for on the part of God's people. Risky? Yes.

The fourth chapter of Luke describes Jesus' inauguration of his public ministry when he returned to his home synagogue in Nazareth and rose to read from Scripture. The text he chose was a combination of Isaiah 61:1-2a and part of Isaiah 58:6:

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release
to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
(Luke 4:18-19)

This is the first extensive act of Jesus' public ministry in Luke's Gospel. Jesus' words give a description of the work that he would do, defining him as one empowered by the Spirit of the Lord. The hostile response of the crowd foreshadowed the rejection that he would face. After reading, Jesus announced, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). That was risky. The crowd grew angry and tried to kill him. Jesus had identified himself and his ministry with the whole Old Testament tradition of God's deliverance of those forced into the margins of human existence. To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor” was to announce the Jubilee year. The placement of this statement at the beginning of Jesus' ministry strongly implies that we are to read his whole life and work in this manner.

Jesus' life and ministry made these words real. Jesus associated with and ministered to the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed. He befriended outcasts, tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, lunatics, and poor people. In short, he took risks and he was criticized. Three years later, he was crucified!

Yet we tend to be bound by the restrictive mold of the age in which we live. William Keucher (An Exodus for the Church: From Yesterday to Tomorrow, Judson Press) illustrated this concern in his words about a man who had the task of blowing the noon whistle at the factory where he worked:

[The man] made it a point to check his watch every morning with the most accurate chronometer in a certain jeweler's window. One day out of curiosity he stepped inside the jewelry store and asked the owner if his chronometer was set by Western Union, Arlington Time Signal, or Naval Observatory Time. Surprised at the question, the jeweler replied that he did not use any of those sources; he simply set his chronometer by the factory whistle that blew every day at noon!

The great need of our time is for men and women individually, and the church collectively, to envision themselves as stewards of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to take the risks necessary to break out of restrictive molds and to live out the implications of the Reign of God.

When Jesus told his disciples that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church, he did not mean that the church is safely protected behind its walls so that the gates of hell cannot destroy the church as it stands in isolation, retreating from attacking forces. The text tells us that the gates of hell represent the stationary aspects of the picture, and it is the church, which is to be the moving, mobile force. The church can only attack; the gates of hell are on the defensive.

When the church goes on the offensive, people will have a vision of the ministry of the church as part of God’s mission, not simply the ministry of an institution and they will provide the funds needed. People will support God’s mission, and with more than money alone.

“What I have to do,” said Paul Tournier, “is to put my signature at the foot of a blank page on which I will accept whatever God wishes to write. I cannot predict what he will put on this blank contract as my life proceeds--but I give my signature today.” When we realize that we are the treasure for whom Jesus died, we will treasure doing God's will, at whatever risk. Are we willing to take the risk of increasing our support of American Baptist United Mission, even when as now the economy is in difficulty?

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

United Mission giving supports our region—ABC of New York State—which makes it possible for the region to provide more effective support for your church and others. In fact, most of the income for ABC/NYS comes from gifts to United Mission. Our giving to UM pays the major parts of the salaries of our region’s staff who provide:

* staff service for search committees;
* assistance resolving church conflicts;
* field ministers to maintain contact with individual pastors and with associations and small groups of churches;
* camping ministry;
* resources to assist your church in growth and spiritual health; and
* education and training of pastors, youth, and lay leaders in congregational empowerment.

UM giving also supports:

* The Office of the General Secretary
* American Baptist Men
* American Baptist Women’s Ministries (through the Love Gift)
* ABC Information Services
* National Ministries (now American Baptist Home Mission Societies)
* International Ministries
* Colleges, Seminaries, Homes, Hospitals, etc.
* Career Centers
* Mission Resource Development
* American Baptist Historical Society
* American Baptist Personnel Services
* Orientation to ABC Life

Reminder: If you need a customized remittance form with your church’s name, address, and PIN number, please contact Mary Schwarz, Administrative Assistant of American Baptist Churches of NYS. Her phone number is 315-469-4326, extension 10.

A special note

The news for giving to United Mission Basics is encouraging this month. The latest data I received from Valley Forge show that total giving from ABC/NYS congregations to United Mission Basics for January-July 2010 increased by $15,641, or 6.1%, compared to the same period in 2009! This is a strong improvement from a month earlier.

As you know, almost 65% of our United Mission giving comes back to ABC/NYS.

The news is not as good for total United Mission Basics giving of ABC/USA in the same period: the giving decreased by $447,639, or 7.3%.

THANK YOU for your support of American Baptist United Mission!


P.S. You are encouraged to share this letter by e-mail or in print with other leaders in your church.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Student Pastor

Crooked Creek Baptist is pleased to announce the addition of student pastor, Tanya
Douglas Cain. Tanya is currently involved in a Masters of Divinity program at Christian Theological Seminary. Her educational background includes a Masters of Social Work from Indiana University and an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Indianapolis. Tanya is retired from the Indianapolis Public School system where she served as a Police Lieutenant. She is a member of Light of the World Christian Church and has previously served as a student associate pastor in another church in the Indianapolis area.

Tanya officially begins her responsibility with Crooked Creek Baptist on September 1, 2010.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Childrens Christmas Musical

Crooked Creek Baptist is pleased to announce plans for a Childrens Christmas Musical this season! We will start rehearsing on Wednesday nights of the Well (beginning September 15) and will continue through to December 15 (taking off the Wednesday nights of Fall Break October 20 and Thanksgiving Week of November 24)! More information will be forthcoming as this musical will involve both the children and the adult choir!

Lunch Bunch State Fair Trip

This Sunday the Lunch Bunch will be headed to the State Fair. Crooked Creek has discounted admission tickets for a price of $6. We will leave immediately following worship for the State Fair. Kids participating should bring enough money for lunch at the Fair. We will return to the church by 5:00 p.m. Permission forms are available in Rainbow Hall.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Quarterly Business Meeting

Crooked Creek Baptist will be having a quarterly business meeting this Sunday, immediately following worship.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Night at the Indianapolis Indians

Its a great American tradition! Baseball under the lights at Victory Field! Crooked Creek Baptist is going to the Friday, August 27 Indianapolis Indians game! We will be purchasing group box seats at a discounted price of $12 per person (we need 25 tickets to get this price) for this night as the Indians play the Toledo Mud Hens. Following the game, a special fireworks show will be displayed for those fans remaining. This would be a great event to invite a friend or neighbor! Your family can sign up for tickets in Rainbow Hall of the church, by calling the church office, or by sending an email to the church with the number of tickets requested by Sunday, August 15.

Hope you will join us for this event!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Holiday World Permission Form

Crooked Creek Baptist Church Permission Form
Holiday World trip, Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Starting time: 7:30 a.m.
Ending time 11:00 p.m.

I, _____________________________ am the parent or legal guardian of __________________________
born on ________________, 19___. I warrant that I possess all the rights, powers, and privileges of a
parent or legal guardian necessary to execute this document with binding legal effect.
As the parent or legal guardian of ____________________________, I certify and affirm that I have been
completely and thoroughly informed that as a child attending Holiday World, my child
will participate in certain activities which carry with them a degree of risk and danger. I acknowledge and
understand that Holiday World may offer other activities not listed above that present
similar risks or dangers to my child. I consent to my child’s participation in these activities. I acknowledge
and understand that this PARENTAL AUTHORIZATION, CONSENT AND RELEASE has the same
force and effect regardless of whether the activities engaged in are free or if a fee is charged. Further, I
personally assume, on my child’s behalf, all risk in connection with said activities for any harm, injury or
damages that may befall my child as a result of my child’s participation in the activities, whether foreseen
or unforeseen, and I still wish to allow my child to proceed with the activities.

In consideration of my child being allowed to participate in these activities and to use
Holiday World equipment and facilities, on behalf of my child, I hereby voluntarily
release, forever discharge, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Crooked Creek Baptist Church,
from any and all claims, demands, or causes of action, which are in any way connected with my child’s
participation in these activities or use of Holiday World, equipment and facilities.
I understand that it is my obligation to inform the church of any and all health considerations or medical
conditions that would restrict my child’s participation in any and all activities while in the care of
Pastor Tom Bartley. Should the need for medical attention arise the church will attempt to
contact me as soon as practicable under the circumstances.

In cases of emergency, I further consent to the examination or treatment of my child by a physician duly
licensed to practice medicine in the United States of America or any health care professional duly licensed
to provide heath care serviced in the United States of America for medical care and services deemed
necessary by the doctor, its agents, servants, and employees. I give permission to the doctor or health care
professional to provide any and all medical care they deem, in their professional opinion, to be necessary. I
agree to pay for any and all medical expenses incurred as a result of the use of this consent.
I acknowledge by signing this document, that if anyone is hurt or property is damaged during my child’s
participation in these activities, I may be found by a court of law to have waived my right to maintain a
lawsuit against the church on the basis of any claim form which I have released them herein. I agree that if
any portion of this agreement is found to be void or unenforceable, the remaining portions remain in full
force and effect. I have fully informed myself to the contents of this PARENTAL AURTHORIZATION,
CONSENT AND RELEASE by reading it before I signed it.

______________________________________ ____________________________ _______________

Signature Printed Name Date

Contact Number in case of an emergency ______________________________________

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Special Guest Speaker this Sunday!

This Sunday, Crooked Creek Baptist welcomes the Rev. Don Scott, Area Minister and Associate Executive Minister to the pulpit. Don has spent many years working with local and regional churches in areas of missions and stewardship and will be sharing with us during our regular morning worship service. Additionally, Don will be wrapping up the final week of his Sunday School leadership with us preceding the service at 9:30 a.m. in fellowship hall!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Holiday World Trip

Youth Holiday World Trip

On Tuesday, August 3 youth in grades 5-12 are welcome to join us for a day at Holiday World-Splashing Safari in Santa Claus Land, IN. Youth will need to meet at the church at 7:30 a.m. this Tuesday morning as we will all ride together for this event. We plan to return to the church at 11:00 p.m. the same day. Cost for this event is $35 per youth (this includes a lunch of sandwiches, chips, and fruit) but a special $5 discount can be earned for each youth who brings a non-Crooked Creek Baptist friend to join them. To make it easier, we will also offer the friend the same price of only $30! To register for this event, youth will need a signed parental permission form and the fee paid to the church turned in by Sunday, August 1! Permission forms will be available through the church office or online at our website.

Worship Concert

This Sunday, July 18 the Worship Team from Crooked Creek Baptist will be at the First Baptist Church of Plainfield, Indiana for an evening of praise and worship. The concert will start at 7:00 p.m. with Crooked Creek's Team starting of the evening. Plainfield's Worship Team will take over from there and close the night out for us. There is no admission fee for this event. Come an add to the blessings of this event!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Building Open

Professionals continue to work on the building to restore it for regular use. At this time there is no danger from leaking gas lines, however water and gas are currently not available. These technicians hope to have everything back on line and working properly either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Church Building Closed

Tuesday, July 13 the church building will be closed due to leftover fumes from a gas leak. There is currently no danger of an ignition or explosion, but the leftover fumes can lead to other health issues. By Wednesday, July 14, professionals will be in the building to trace the gas leak and provide for the safety of the building. We will keep our church family updated as events continue.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Welcome New Member

Crooked Creek Baptist welcomes our newest member of the year, Darrell Berry. Darrell stepped forward yesterday to unite in Christian fellowship with us as a fellow believer in Christ. Darrell is the husband of Amanda (Eilert) Berry and father of Shawn. Welcome Darrel!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thirsting for God

With the help of a team of volunteers a special worship service will take place on Sunday morning, July 11. Focusing on the them, "Thirsting for God" from John 4:4-15 the service will explore the passionate longing and yearning for the presence of God's Holy Spirit in our lives. As part of the service, we might be able to experience the power of thirsting ourselves. During our regular fellowship time between our education hour and worship, we will continue to serve our regular offerings of a meal, but will not be serving any juice or coffee. The intent of this is to allow our church family to experience in a very real way this "thirsting for God." Of course we are not going to prohibit drinks from being brought in and would not recommend this for people who have health issues related to this, but we do hope that this one time practice might help people arrive at a better understanding of what it means to thirst for God.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stewardship Emphasis in July

Associate Executive Minister of ABC IN-KY, Don Scott, will be present with us during our education time on July 11,18, and 25 to share some thoughts on Stewardship. He writes:

While we often think of "stewardship" as being connected to money, the truth is that stewardship is much broader. In fact, stewardship is often equated with discipleship since it pertains to all of life. Please join us in Sunday School for a three week emphasis, starting July 11, as we focus on the stewardship of relationships, the Gospel, and, yes, money.

All adults and youth (grades 6-12) are welcome to come and join us for this thought provoking and life changing series during this time as we meet in the Fellowship Hall.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School for Crooked Creek Baptist will be from Monday June 28 and run through Thursday, July 1 from 9 a.m. til 12 noon! We will be using curriculum from Gospel Light called SonQuest Rainforest and it will have a rainforest motif. The mission project for this week will be connected with the Penny Project, a mission designed to help raise awareness of poverty in America by American Baptist Churches. The Penny Project seeks to raise awareness of the extent of child poverty throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, and support for programs and ministries responding to the needs of children in poverty. Inspired by the example of the youth of First Baptist Church in New London, N.H.—who raised 60,000 pennies to represent the number of children living in poverty in their state—National Ministries is encouraging the youth of American Baptist Churches USA to raise 14 million pennies to represent the number of children living in poverty in the United States and Puerto Rico. The link to the site is:

In the city of Indianapolis, the 2008 population is given as 798,382. Of that number, 16.5% live at or below poverty. 24% of these unfortunate are under the age of 18. This means that in the city of Indianapolis, 31,616 children live at or below poverty. And so our goal at Vacation Bible School this year is to collect one penny for each of these children. Our goal then is collect 31,616 pennies. We will track this collection and let you know as we reach toward our goal of raising awareness of poverty in Indianapolis, and of our attempt to take action to change these statistics.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rev. Joy Amick Bio

Rev. Joy Witek Amick was born in Wayne, NJ and attended the Preakness Baptist Church. She attended Presbyterian-related Muskingum College (now University), New Concord, OH, earning a BA degree in elementary education with a minor in sociology. She spent 13 years teaching elementary school in OH and NJ, part of that with the Dept. of Corrections, teaching GED and life skills to high school students.
When she felt God calling her to the ministry, she attended Drew Theological Seminary - a Methodist school in Madison, NJ, graduating with an MDiv (Master of Divinity), and pastoring the Upper Freehold Baptist Church in Imlaystown, NJ for almost 10 years before moving to Kirklin, IN to be with her newly married husband, John. (John and Joy met at a singles conference for pastors at Green Lake, Wisconsin, our American Baptist Assembly grounds.) For several years, John and Joy resided in the Hudson Valley area of New York state, where Joy was the interim pastor of First Baptist Church of Middletown, NY.
Recently, they moved to Noblesville, IN to be closer to family (Cathy Lynn and Alan Peacock) and grandchildren (David and Evan Peacock). John’s son and daughter-in-law, David and Amber Amick, live in Nebraska, with Dylan, 7, and Dawson, 3, and our newest addition, our first granddaughter, born 5/25, Abigail Renee.
Joy is enjoying decorating her first “home” with turtles, garden flags, flowers, and family pictures, and making the house a comfortable and inviting home.
She continues to search for God’s guidance in pastoral placement, and is also working toward an MLIS (library science) degree online at Rutgers University, expecting to become a theological or academic librarian upon graduation in 2012.

Rev Joy Amick will be our featured guest speaker on Sunday, June 13. Joy has recently begun a ladies Bible study that meets every Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. here at Crooked Creek Baptist

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Inviting Church Community

At our last Leadership Council meeting I spoke to the Council about our activity as an inviting church. Since becoming the pastor here at Crooked Creek I have been involved in several local community theater productions around the city. Aside from absorbing a lot of my free evenings it has presented an opportunity to minister to a community of people who I believe are being overlooked by too many faith communities. Listening to my fellow cast-mates I have been overwhelmed as the stories they have shared of neglect, abuse, racism, intolerance, and out right dismissal. They have been treated harshly, ridiculed, threatened, and ignored.
And they have been very wary of local churches. Afraid of being judged, condemned, or rejected most of these people would never consider that part of the answer to their life struggles could be found in a loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I have been amazed at how quickly they have responded to a simple showing of love, care, or affection and believe that these simple offerings have led to positive changes and adjustments in their life.
It is truly a humbling experience to attempt to share this Love of God for another person to discover how quickly and thoroughly some can cling to this small hope of grace and acceptance. I am excited to see how this acceptance is leading these same people to take great strides in their own personal lives and in their relationship with Christ.
And it leads me to wonder what others are doing to help establish God's Kingdom...what are doing to share this love and acceptance. To whom are we reaching out? And are we reaching out with the desire to communicate God's love or with a desire to fill the pews at our church?

LOST and the Church

The television show LOST has captured the interest of many viewers over the past six years. The series finale, which aired on May 23rd, has polarized fans. The Sunday school class I teach at Crooked Creek Baptist Church hasn't focused specifically on LOST (yet!). But we certainly have focused on issues which have polarized Christians every bit as much as the LOST finale has polarized fans. And some of those topics are ones that LOST itself has explored: the meaning of existence, the nature of good and evil, the relationship of Christianity to other religions, and the afterlife.

I thus thought it appropriate to post on this topic, both to invite LOST fans in the Indianapolis area to a church that makes room for those sorts of conversations, and to share with friends at church (as well as anyone else who is interested) links to things I have written and interviews in which I am quoted commenting about LOST.

USA Today: "God, the Devil and TV's 'Lost'"
MTV News: "'Lost' Finale: Experts Talk Impact Of Religion On The Island."
E! Online: "Can the Lost Finale Satisfy the Fans?"
Journal Sentinel: "To The End, Fans Lost in TV's 'Lost'" and "Lost Theories Revealed" 

I have also blogged extensively about LOST for the past several years on my own personal blog, Exploring Our Matrix.

Whether you are a LOST fan or not, Crooked Creek Baptist Church welcomes you to join us for worship, and for conversation about interesting and important topics!

Special Guest Speaker for June 6 service

Crooked Creek Baptist Church welcomes special guest speaker, Rev. John R Amick. A graduate of Western Carolina University, NC, in 1969, John earned his Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Seminary, KY, in 1973. Active in American Baptist Churches USA ministry since 1972 in Indiana and New York, John has served as Area minister in NY 2003-2009. John has been married to Joy Witek Amick since 1997.
John is the father of 2 children, Cathy and David, grandfather of four healthy little boys and a new baby grand daughter as of May 25. John and his wife Joy, are both members of Crooked Creek Baptist.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday School Discussion Starters on Immigration

On Sunday May 30th, Rev. John Amick will be leading Dr. McGrath's Sunday school class. The topic will be immigration, and to provide a starting point for discussion, Rev. Amick has provided links to relevant documents which may provide a starting point for conversation on this topic.

Letter Addressing Immigration and Immigration Reform (American Baptist Churches USA)

Immigration 2009 (National Association of Evangelicals)

A Bipartisan Call for Immigration Reform (Evangelicals for Social Action)

Immigration Reform (Church World Service)

Immigration Reform Agenda (America's Voice)

Christians For Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Articles on Immigration at Ethics Daily (Baptist Center for Ethics)


What a beautiful addition to the service the handbells were yesterday at church! While I love to listen to John Logan's organ prelude, it was so wonderful to hear the bells ring through the same time. It certainly set the tone for worship yesterday. I wonder if anyone realizes the ministry that these bells serve? Besides being beautiful to listen to two of our ringers are not members of our church. This means that every time these two visitors join us its an opportunity for us to minister to them, and not just in music. It does not mean that we are recruiting them for church membership (I know at least one of them already has a church home) but we are doing what we can for their Kingdom participation.
And this is important for us and for our ministry. If our primary goal is to build Christ's kingdom then church membership has to be secondary at best. And when we provide opportunities for people to serve through handbells, Vacation Bible School, or other ministries, we boost participation in God's Kingdom.
I am grateful to the leadership of Sylvia Gormley and the rest of the handbell choir for their ministry to our church family and for their ministry that reaches others as well!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Joshua's Vision Gospel Group for May 30

Crooked Creek Baptist welcomes special performing artist Joshua's Vision to worship Sunday morning, May 30.

In the Bible Joshua used music to tear down the walls of Jericho. Joshua's Vision from Alexandria, Indiana wants to continue that idea by encouraging a life-long commitment to Christ.

Joshua’s Vision is Andrea Hughes, Bryan Hughes, and Coy Hutcherson. With a commitment to God’s word first and close vocal harmony second, Joshua's Vision has been thrust in to the core of the gospel music world. heir goal is to help tear down the walls of personal struggle, sadness, and resistance to God’s healing hand. Joshua's Vision believes that a relationship with Christ is the only way to live eternally with our God in heaven. They pray their music reinforces the joy and grace that His Word can bring.

In their short time together, they have been blessed to perform with Gaither Music Friends Woody Wright and Stephen Hill as part of Woody and Friends concerts. They have appeared on stage with such notables as Jim Hill, Triumphant Quartet, and The Blackwoods. Joshua's Vision was also honored to be invited by Gloria Gaither to be a part of the Gaither Fall Festival as a featured performing group in 2009. We continue to be humbled by the doors God has opened as our ministry grows.

Joshua’s Vision performs Christian favorites AND original selections. Their uplifting music is a combination of accompanied and a cappella music. The music of Joshua’s Vision also breaks down the walls of generation gaps. In addition to touching all age groups, this trio has gained a positive reputation for the genuine delivery of God’s message through them.

For more on Joshua's Vision, please visit their website at:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fireside Club Outing

The next luncheon gathering for the Fireside Club will be on Thursday, June 17 at 1:00 p.m. at the Grindstone Charley's in Speedway, IN. Interested participants can sign up in Rainbow Hall. Those requesting a ride can indicate on this form and will need to meet at the church at 12:30 on this date.

Vacation Bible School

SonQuest Rainforest, the Vacation Bible School program at Crooked Creek Baptist will run from Monday, June 28 through Thursday, July 1 from 9:00 a.m until 12 noon. Registrations for children kindergarten through 5th grade can be made by contacting the church.

Stewardship Offering from Don Scott, Area Resource Minister

June 1 and 8 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Please register by Thursday, May 27 at the church or via email at

Freed up from Debt...Getting Out and Staying Out of Debt

The greatest challenge and the fiercest enemy of personal financial freedom is not a recession or a declining stock market. Both are cyclical, expected, normal periodic financial events. Instead, an individual's biggest problem or the proverbial "elephant in the room" is personal consumer debt. "Freed-Up from Debt" is a biblically based two session workshop that provides the basic tools necessary to get out and stay out of debt. More than "how to's" this resource helps you examine your heart and motivations around money, while giving you the steps you need to take to get free from the emotional and spiritual bondage debt produces.

Please bring to the workshop the details of your debts (these will not be shared) such as you most recent credit card statements, student loans, vehicle loans, etc.

Because our church believes that money and its use is a spiritual issue, we offer this workshop free of charge (except for a nominal workbook fee) to persons who may be struggling with debt and its accompanying issues.

Don Scott
Associate Executive Minister
American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky
1350 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
Telephone: 317-635-3552, Ext. 228
FAX: 317-635-3554

New Ladies Sunday School Class

Would you like to learn more about the women in the Bible? Are you fascinated by the relationship of Ruth and Naomi? What do you know about Deborah, Lydia, or Priscilla? Have you heard of the Shiprah and Puah, the Witch of Endor, or Jepthah's daughter? What lessons can these women teach us today about ministry, business, care giving, matriarchs, sacrificial giving, etc...? Come with your different versions of the Bible and let us look at these often untold stories of the Women of the Bible. Join Rev. Joy Witek Amick each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for this exciting and interesting study (meet in the former Keys Classroom)