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THE HISTORY OF CALVIN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Part VI:  The Turbulent Two Thousands

“RING THEM BELLS!”

Rev. Bernard & Calvin Bell Choir

 

 

Ringing in the New Year as the calendar moved from 1999 to 2000 took on a special importance on December 31, 1999. Would the planes fly? Would the computers work? Would civilization as we knew it grind to a screeching halt? Grocery and hardware stores did a land office business as folks around the country stocked up on food and bottled water and generators and wood stoves. The year 2000 slipped in with no calamities, and Calvin Church faced the new era with hope. The New Year wasn’t the only thing that rang in 2000. Thanks to Chris Goetz, we learned that a magnificent set of bells would become available with the merger of the Madeira and Silverwood Presbyterian churches. They were purchased by Calvin for $4,000. We formed a bell choir with Kay Horning volunteering to be the interim bell choir director, and a new dimension was added to our already excellent music program. Worship was also enhanced with a new sound system for the sanctuary.
 

 

       Our magnificent set of bells

In other 2000 church happenings, membership rose from 190 to 197, Matthew Long conducted an evening summer Bible study, Greg Moore supervised the reorganization of the church library, Tami and Andy Williams and Amanda and Dave Davenport were the Jr. And Sr. Hi youth leaders, and the children of the Sunday school participated in Souper Bowl Sunday and Operation Christmas Child. Sadly we lost charter member Ida Horvath to the Church Triumphant. Facility improvements included an eagle scout project by David Brentlinger to repaint and renovate the restrooms, a new sound system for the sanctuary, and the purchase of two new furnaces for $10,997.

THE CONFESSING CHURCH MOVEMENT

2001 brought with it a new intensity to the conflict in the national denomination regarding the ordination of homosexuals, one that influenced the local church. The 2001 General Assembly approved an overture that would delete the fidelity and chastity requirement from the Book of Order, and sent it out to the Presbyteries for their approval or disapproval. That action prompted protests from a large segment of the church, one of which was to form a pro fidelity and chastity group called the Confessing Church Movement. Churches joining that movement said they believed (1) that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and the only way of salvation; (2) Holy Scripture is our only infallible rule of faith and life, (our Book of Confessions is a reliable expositions of Holy Scripture, and (3) that Christians should live a life of purity, and that marriage between a man and woman is the only relationship in which sexual activity is appropriate. Session, on July 2, 2001, informed the Presbytery of Cincinnati that we have committed ourselves to the Confessing Church Movement. For some of our membership, it was not enough. It was reported that we lost nine members because of the national church’s actions, and our membership was back to 190.

On the brighter side, we received the gift of a magnificent baby grand piano for the sanctuary, we spent a hefty 22% of our church budget on others through our mission activities (including funds to Habitat for Humanity for a bobcat trailer and the Red Cross to aid the 9-11 victims.) Nancy Kranzley created the first of the Old Testament stained glass windows, the Creation. Ruth-Rebecca Circle studied the Book of Esther, and the Circle continued their September birthday party celebration for the residents of the SEM Manor in Forestville. We mourned the loss of Glen Stoup, Dorothy Anthe and Joan Langefeld to the Church Triumphant. Building improvements included a new PA system for the fellowship hall, purchase of a Canon copier for the office, basement waterproofing, and remodeling of the nursery.

 

MISSION APLENTY 

Click on these links for more pictures from Northwest Haiti Christian Mission

or for information about our 2010 mission to Haiti

2002 brought with it the Billy Graham Crusade and a number of Calvin people supported and attended the summer event. Kay Horning and Marty Nordsieck made their first mission trip to the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. Our membership declined to 185, a loss of five. We lost Jean Conley to the Church Triumphant. The congregation participated in an advent devotional program that produced some noteworthy written expressions of what Advent meant to them.

2003 was a year of accomplishment, with the possible exception of our continuing water problem in the fellowship hall. Pastor Bernard reported that approximately 70% of our membership worships regularly, almost double the average attendance in the denomination. We gladly sent six people to the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission for a week in July, and approximately 2,600 pounds of used clothing was donated to the IPM Thrift Shop during the year. Vacation Bible School attendance averaged 35-40 children, and Ruth Rebecca Circle sponsored a Brazilian boy. We gave 68 gifts to underprivileged children through our Christmas Giving Tree. We supported Alex and his family in their mission to the Muslims of London, and Alex visited and spoke to the adult Sunday school class. John Pierce continued to change the banners in the church on a regular basis, an unsung chore that adds a lot to our worship services. Sadly we lost Jeanette Farquer to the Church Triumphant.

WAY TOO MUCH WATER!

2004 brought with it the cloudburst and the flood of the century in July to the fellowship hall and Sunday school room in the church basement. The fellowship hall lost our tables and other furniture, and the kitchen was ruined. The shock was almost too much for our “angels of the kitchen”, including Betty Higgenbotham and Helen Lang, whose selfless labors over the years have fed most of Calvin’s membership. The family quilt was damaged. We even lost a number of books and pamphlets in the adult Sunday school room. The Building and Grounds Committee labored mightily to thwart the problems by correcting water drainage off the roof, sealing the basement windows, and installing new drainage lines. Then, on Christmas Eve, the weather added insult to injury with copious amounts of snow and ice that made us cancel our services because the building had no electricity or heat for three days. Pastor Bernard could not recall that ever happening to him in his long years of ministry.

On the plus side, the M&E Committee sponsored the first Western Night at Stonelick, which was well-attended and a great success. Our membership increased to 195, and the NIVLACS, a Calvin Youth Group, was formed. The Men’s Prayer Breakfast continued to be a popular event in the lives of many. To promote outreach, the Youth Group sponsored a car wash for the community in September. D. Marie Campbell was selected to be the Bell Choir Director. Our superb (thirty-year) organist, Kay Horning, announced that she would retire at the end of the year, and a search committee was formed to replace the irreplaceable. Sadly, we lost Carl Brockschmidt to the Church Triumphant. In February, Jim and Pam Bernard invited the membership to be their guests at the “Passion of the Christ” movie, and later in the year they presented the church with another beautiful gift - new collection plates. We supported Mike Gibson as he journeyed to Princeton for advanced ministry schooling, we sent three people to the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, and continued our support for building churches and schools in Africa by supporting Servants of the King.

WHEN THE ROLL IS CALLED

We are a small church and a family of believers. The years 2005 and 2006 were years of such personal loss with our membership. Losses to the Church Triumphant in 2005 included elders Ed Smith, John Wiseman, John Huff, Jim Williams, and Maynard Stapp. Jim Williams was a charter member, and we also lost charter member Helen Brown. Sue Felton also passed away in 2005. In 2006, we lost Rae Rogers and Ralph Lang. They were fine friends, devoted members, and contributing Christians, and we miss them greatly.

MUSICALLY SPEAKING

2005 saw Char (her real name is Charlotte) Bledsoe become our new organist, and a new sound system was installed in the sanctuary.

        

Calvin's Vocal Choir

 

Calvin's Bell Choir

 

OTHER NEWS AROUND THE CHURCH

Todd Houston and Eileen Thomas led several adult Bible studies. We conducted our first annual yard sale, the proceeds of which were to benefit the community. We responded generously to a crippling Asian tsunami at the very end of 2004 and the horrific Hurricane Katrina by contributing to the Presbyterian Disaster Association and Matthew 25 Ministries. On the international front, we supported local people Courtney and Lucas Steever in Calcutta, India, and locally we supported Saul’s Homeless Shelter. Kay Horning and Marty Nordsieck wrote a grant to the national denomination and won a surprising $13,450 for the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission.

PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW!

Nothing is forever, and all good things must come to an end. In September, 2006, Pastor Jim announced to session that he would be retiring in one year. He was ordained to the ministry in 1970, and will have 37 years of service to the church, nineteen of which will have been with Calvin. In addition to personal reasons, Pastor Bernard cited the adverse influence of the denomination’s Peace, Unity and Purity (PUP) Report upon the connectionalism of the church, and other denominational actions as contributing to his decision. His early announcement permitted the church to take action to make the transition as smoothly as possible.      

     Pastor Jim Bernard

Pastor Bernard’s announcement came in the midst of a very busy year. Using funds from the first annual yard sale, Calvin Church joined the Village of Amelia in sponsoring an Easter egg hunt for the community with a $500 contribution. The remainder of the funds was contributed to Saul’s Homeless Shelter. Sid Martin designed and Mary Smith published a new brochure to pass out to welcome visitors to the church. We committed funds to support the new chapel at Clermont Mercy Hospital. Building improvements included a gift from Janett Stamler to purchase and install a lift chair between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall, and a gift from John and Fran Houston to purchase cushions for sanctuary pews and tables and pads for the bell choir. At the end of 2006 our membership was 177.

To our readers: You will recall that a history of Calvin Presbyterian Church 1957-2007 was published in the summer of 2007 to commemorate our 50th anniversary. This is an addition to that history.


2007 - A YEAR OF TRANSITION AND REFLECTION

Sometime in early 2007, the session was informed by the estate of Rae Rogers that she had bequeathed approximately $160,000 to the church. Session decided to use the funds for long-term and special needs rather than as a supplement to the operating budget. In the area of Mission, the Stewardship and Mission Committee ran a special campaign to help the children of the House of Peace (Clermont County Battered Women’s Shelter), and urged greater participation at our monthly First Fruits collection to help the children who pass though that facility.

The second half of 2007 was dominated by two important activities. The Interim Pastor Search Committee began the process of finding an interim Pastor for Calvin Church to replace Jim Bernard, whose last day was September 30. His retirement from the ministry was celebrated with a wonderful retirement dinner at the Legendary Run Golf clubhouse on September 30. The facility was filled to the brim with Calvin parishioners and other friends of Jim and Pam as we bid goodbye and Godspeed to our Pastor and friend in word and song. September was really the month to remember. Just a week earlier the congregation celebrated Calvin’s fiftieth birthday with a special worship service and a congregational luncheon, which was held in the church fellowship hall.

Of course, we had to come back down to earth after all of the partying, and face the last quarter of the year with no pastor. Session went to work to make sure we had an adequate pulpit supply, conducted a successful annual stewardship campaign, and celebrated the birth of our Lord with an inspiring Advent program and Christmas cantata. The Rev. Gary Brose, Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Milford, was our Session moderator, and Pastor Harvey Koch, Chaplain of Mercy Hospital was our pulpit supply.

As we entered the year 2008, the Interim Pastor Search Committee was working hard to find a candidate to fill our vacant pulpit. We were blessed by the presence of the Reverend Tom Hoffman, a retired Methodist minister, who had been worshiping with us. He preached a fine Lenten series on “What’s Exciting about the Faith”, and our choir presented an Easter cantata, “When Silent Voices Sing”. Session’s strong leadership and the commitment of the congregation enabled the church to maintain a strong attendance and programs during the absence of a pastor.

 

PASTOR JIM STEINER - CALLED TO CALVIN

In March, 2008, the Interim Pastor Search Committee had good news for Session and the congregation. They reported that they had found a great fit for the Calvin pulpit. His name was Jim Steiner, and he had been an associate pastor at the Maderia-Silverwood church for the past 3 years. His marketing and sales background and MBA only enhanced his Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Rev. Jim Steiner

Jim began his interim pastorate with Calvin on April 1, 2008, and the congregation enjoyed his enthusiasm in the pulpit and commitment to scripture. Jim’s first months were spent learning about us, and we learned about him and his lovely wife, Caroline. This was Jim’s first solo pastorate, but he readily adapted to the demands of the position. He and the session assembled a Transition Team composed of Sharon Brummett, Dave Ferguson, Chris Goetz, Mark Grippa, Kim Meyerenke, John Middleton, Carla Moore, and Mark Williams to examine where Calvin had been, where it presently is, and what is God calling us to do in the future? There was substantial congregational input to the process, and several “town meetings” complemented the exercise.

We continued to emphasize local mission with strong financial and personnel support to IPM, SEM and the House of Peace. Other mission efforts included sending missionaries to the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, and participating in the One Great Hour of Sharing and the Peacemaking collection. As 2008 came to a close, a Calvin institution, Clerk of Session Ralph Campbell, announced his retirement after 20 years of dedicated service in that position. His leadership and institutional perspective will be sorely missed by session.

2009 - BRICKS AND MORTAR AND ANOTHER GOODBYE: With Ralph Campbell’s retirement, session began a new era, and Cyndi Yunger became the first female Clerk of Session in Calvin’s 51+ year history. Early in the year, on February 22, a Pastor Nominating Committee was elected by the congregation, composed of Sharon Brummett, Ron Case, Mark Grippa, John Middleton, Marty Nordsieck, Carla Moore, and Mark Williams. They began the process of finding a new pastor with the assembly of the church information form, a document that describes what Calvin church is and has been in some detail. It is provided to prospective candidates.

Perhaps the most visible signs of activity and progress concerned the physical church plant. After years of band-aid and duct tape repairs, Pastor Jim and the Building/Grounds Ministry had the building inspected and inventoried, and a list of health/safety and construction issues was compiled. Session supported a major renovation effort and a $265,000 repair and renovation contract was signed with the Gordon Construction Company. The company worked hard for four months, replacing interior and exterior doors, installing new roofing, brickwork and siding, and various other repairs. The improvements were striking. A portion of the cost was funded with the Rae Rogers bequest, and the remainder will be funded with a capital campaign to pay back the construction loan.

 

Bell Dedication

Reverend Steiner had accomplished most of the goals he and session had set for his interim pastorate, and Jim announced in July that he would resign his position on August 9 to accept another interim position at North Branch Presbyterian Church near Monaca, Pennsylvania. (Near Pittsburgh and his beloved Steelers). For sixteen months Jim had successfully led the church in its journey from Jim Bernard to a new pastor. He was able to keep us whole, on course, and moving. We will miss him very much and pray for his future success in his new position. In the meantime, our Pastor Nominating Committee continued to winnow the list of candidates and would soon present “the one” to the congregation for its approval.

 

WHAT A FALL IT WAS AT CALVIN!!!

 

A worship highlight soon after Jim’s departure was the worship service and concert conducted by Dr. Calvin Taylor on Sunday, August 23, 2009. His message in music was a blessing to the Calvin Congregation.

 

 

Dr. Calvin Taylor

A 2009 CHRISTMAS PRESENT FOR CALVIN:  A NEW PASTOR!! 

Finally, in November, 2009, the congregation received the news from the PNC that had been long-awaited. They had a candidate! A congregational meeting was called for Sunday, November 22, immediately following the worship service where the Reverend Kathleen Haines preached her trial sermon.

Reverend Haines was a campus minister at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. By a vote of 73 to 4, she was called to be our next pastor. She and her three children moved to the area at the end of 2009. She began her tenure at Calvin on January 3, 2010.  

 

On to 2010: New Beginnings

Back to The 90's: The End of a Century 

 

Home Page: A History of Calvin Church

 


During 2007, Bob Bridges, our church's resident historian, reminisced about each decade of Calvin’s existence. Although he wasn’t at the church in the ‘50s, he's spoken with many who were. He has pieced together a sketch of those earliest years.  In 2010, he updated the church's history.

 

 
   

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