Category Archives: New Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church

O Holy Day! Praise for a giving and forgiving God!

Today is Christmas and it is also my wife Linda’s birthday.

I woke up relatively early, about 7 a.m. Linda was already up. I went into the kitchen to wish her a happy birthday. She screamed in surprise. She had forgotten that it was here birthday. She forgets that it’s her birthday every year because she is just thinking about Christmas.

I went into my office to study for awhile before church. Linda went to take a shower. A few minutes later I heard a crash and another scream. The sliding shower door had jumped its track and fallen into the shower.

I got the shower door back on but in the process my mind went into a time warp. I went back into my office to resume my study of the Roman–Parthian Wars that overlapped the period of Jesus’ life and the growth of early Christianity. I thought I had over an hour and a half before church when I really only had fifteen minutes. I was surprised and still not dressed when Linda came in to tell me that it was time to go.

Circle of snow, trees, and light

Circle of snow, trees, and light

So we were late, but we did get there for the last song of the worship service at New Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church. One of the main reasons that I wanted to go was because Rick Dougherty had told me he was giving the sermon. He is one of the elders but normally doesn’t preach so I was eager to hear what his message would be.

I wasn’t disappointed. Rick spoke about giving. Giving is a part of Christmas. Rick brought out that the idea of giving permeates the scriptures. In the beginning, God filled the heaven and the earth, he filled the earth with life and gave it all to Adam and Eve. Rick cited from sources that there are 14 different Hebrew terms for giving. The first used in Genesis is נתן, which in English is Nathan and means “given.” Nathan is the name of Rick’s son.

That got me to thinking about my own first name, John. I realized that John is a form of Johnathan which comes from the Hebrew יְהוֹנָתָן (Yonatan) meaning “God has given.”

That fit right into Rick’s sermon. God gave us creation, God gave us life, God gave us the power to choose, because by choosing we become co-creators of our reality and share in God’s creative nature. We have abused our power to choose and separated from God, but then God gave his son to redeem us. And the Holy Spirit bestows upon us the gifts (χαρίσματα του Αγίου Πνεύματος) necessary to do Our Father’s work.

Rick concluded by referring to Jesus prayer for his disciples in John 17 saying that Jesus spoke of  those who believed in Him as God’s gifts.

He ended by saying, “Think about that the next time you go Christmas shopping.”

Obviously a synopsis in three paragraphs can’t do justice to a sermon laced with powerful ideas, but I truly felt that the Holy Spirit has inspired Rick to help lead us into the truth.

Afterwards, Rick, Alex Munroe and I shared insights and ideas inspired by the sermon. There’s  never enough time to explore all the salient points. I was so enriched by the spiritual food, I didn’t even get over to eat any of the cookies, which is rare.

We left at noon, just in time to go over to Grace Bible Community Church for their annual Christmas meal.

Christmas meal at Grace Bible Church

Christmas meal at Grace Community Bible Church

We were welcomed by Mrs. Penny Winkelman, the wife of Pastor Henry Winkelman. The dinner is an act of love performed by the entire Winkelman family. One of their adult sons Jeremy, had the idea four years ago to host a dinner for people in the community that had no place to go for Christmas. For the past four years they have been performing this service.

The Winkelmans have nine children. I’m not sure how many grandchildren, but the kitchen and the serving tables were full of Winkelmans cooking, serving, and delivering a delicious Christmas feast of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams with marshmellow, green beans, and two kinds of cranberry sauce. For dessert there was a choice of pumpkin or apple pie.

Altogether, the Winkelmans served approximately 50 dinners to people in the church dining hall and delivered several dozen more meals to shut-ins in the community. They also gave a Christmas present to every person who came.

I had just heard a sermon on giving and now I saw giving in action. We met many friends at the two gatherings, joyfully sharing spiritual and physical nourishment. Many friends wished Linda a happy birthday as we participated in remembrance of the birth of Christ.

Merry Christmas everybody and a Happy New Year. May the Peace of God that passeth all understanding be with you. May God guide our individual hearts and our leaders and may God’s Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

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New Hope Evangelical Bake and Gift Sale

Oh what fun it is to go to a church bake sale! And so the tradition had been for 68 years with the congregation of the New Hope Presbyterian Church. And so it was on December 3 as the friendly ladies of New Hope welcomed patrons and parishioners into their cozy little church home for their annual Christmas sale.

Linda with her angels and bread conversing with the ladies

Linda with her angels and bread conversing with the ladies

Linda and I were planning to go to Mount Shasta to take some pictures of the snow-covered peak, but before leaving town, we stopped in at New Hope to peruse the fare.

We were cheerfully greeted in the foyer by a trio of women, one of whom, Kathy, I had met at their Tuesday night Bible study conducted by retired Pastor Alex Munro. We went into the main room, which was beautifully decorated and laden with cakes, cookies, pies and gifts. Linda seized upon a loaf of zucchini bread. I found a delicious tray of ginger bread.

Linda Perusing the Sale with a loaf of zucchini bread in hand.

Linda Perusing the Sale with a loaf of zucchini bread in hand.

In the back room, one of the long-time members, Marie Conley, and her daughter, Kristi Waller, were serving pie by the piece and coffee. Kristi had been raised in Burney and since moved to Shasta Lake. However, she came up on this weekend to be a part of the church’s holiday tradition.

Mom and daughter serving pie and coffee

Marie Conley and her daughter Kristi Waller serving pie and coffee

Beautiufl Christmas gift items

Beautiufl Christmas gift items

In addition to all of the goodies, there were also beautiful Christmas gift items. Linda selected two golden angels.

We had found our daily bread, but more than that we found spiritual fellowship. Bobby Lindgren told me that a man had come just because he wanted to give a donation. But he brought not only his donation, he brought his testimony. He had had a difficult childhood and gotten off on the wrong track, even been to prison. But now he had found God and his life had turned around. He does not attend any one church regularly but he tapped his heart and said, “He is in here.” On this day the Lord moved him to come here to show his gratitude.

The Holy Spirt is moving in the land. Abraham’s tree has many branches. We are all children of one God being nurtured by the Tree of Life.

Following our uplifted conversations, Linda and I got into our jeep and headed toward Mount Shasta where I was able to share some of my ginger bread with friends.


I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121 verses 1-2

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