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Issue Home October 1, 2002 Site Home

Gold From God's Word
St. Mark's To Host Blessing Of The Animals
Rachael's Vineyard Plans Retreat
Rev. Gerald Safstrom Returns To Thompson


This weeks " gold nugget " comes from Jeremiah 33:8 where God says, " And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me."

The word "pardon" is a very powerful word. Here it means, "to forgive, to spare." I'm sure each of us have heard of Governors of various states "pardoning" certain inmates on death row. Their life is spared from the normal course of judgment for their crimes. God is talking to people here, who for sins and iniquities, were destined to shortly feel the hand of judgment from God. He would pardon them however, if they would turn and "Call unto Him". This is a great picture of the Gospel message! For the Word of God tells us that we've all sinned and in some point transgressed His laws (Romans 3:10-24). Because of this we owe a penalty. Sin has great consequences, both in this life and more importantly, eternal separation from God (Rev. 20:12-15). But God loved us so much that he sent His Son, the sinless one, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for sin that you and I owe. He was our substitute so that the justice of God could be satisfied. He could therefore extend a "Pardon" to you and me, so we can spend eternity with Him. And just like in this passage, all we have to do to receive this pardon is in repentance and faith "call unto Him," believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, and trust Him as your Savior.

In my travels the other day I passed a church that had a sign out front that read," 3-nails + 1 cross = 4-given." And salvation is as simple as that. If you haven't experienced it yet I hope you'll do so today, for once you meet Jesus you'll never be the same again!

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St. Mark’s To Host Blessing Of The Animals

On Sunday, October 6, at noon, a Blessing of the Animals will take place on the lawn at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 115 Main Street, New Milford. The blessing will follow the regular Sunday morning worship at 11:00 a.m. St. Mark’s has had a long tradition of blessing pets on the Sunday closest to October 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, because of that saint’s association with all of God’s creatures, especially pets. This year the blessing will be given by the Rev. Charles Cesaretti, who is the priest in charge at St. Mark’s while the Rev. Carol Horton, Rector of the parish, is on sabbatical. All are welcome to bring pets for a blessing; for the safety of all present, pets must be appropriately restrained (leashes or cages, please).

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Rachael’s Vineyard Plans Retreat

Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph.D. and her husband Kevin Burke, M.S.W., founded Rachael’s Vineyard in 1994. In 1986 Theresa had started the first therapeutic support group for post aborted women with the founding of The Center for Post Abortion Healing which, in 1995, was expanded into a format for weekend retreats.

Rachael’s Vineyard Ministries (, a division of American Life League, Inc. will hold a retreat in our area for women who are troubled by a decision to abort. Some women experience post-abortion syndrome, a sense of depression and anxiety that can last a lifetime. Common signs of post-abortion syndrome are extended grief and heartache over the procedure and feelings of loss and victimization. Many have problems processing the trauma and deny or repress her thoughts and feelings. When a traumatic abortion experience is not acknowledged, a psychological barrier is erected and an emotional toxicity is perpetrated. In addition to denial and avoidance, a woman may experience numbing, amnesia, phobic responses and interpersonal distancing. Other symptoms of post abortion syndrome include guilt feelings, dreams and nightmares about the baby, flashbacks of the abortion, remorse, low self-esteem, sexual coldness, abuse of alcohol and/or drugs, promiscuity, depression and a withdrawal from their church.

The upcoming retreat, which will be held at St. Gabriel’s Retreat Center, Clark Summit November 1 – 3, will be focused on emotional and spiritual healing, helping the women to forgive themselves as well as accepting forgiveness from God. The retreat is private and available to any man or woman grieving an abortion. Lodging and meals are provided. Participants are asked to contribute only what they can afford toward the actual cost of the weekend. For more information or a registration form you may call 570 756-2915 or 570 207-2228.

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Rev. Gerald Safstrom Returns To Thompson

The Rev. Gerald Safstrom began an interim ministry at his former church, Thompson Baptist, on Sunday, September 25.

The Safstroms retired from the church in the fall of 1999 and moved to Ellenton, Florida where they became involved in their church, their jobs and life under the warm Florida sun.

With the resignation of Thompson Baptist Church’s pastor the congregation began to seek out guest speakers to serve as a temporary pulpit supply for them.

In recent months, Gerry Safstrom started thinking about an active ministry again. His wife, Lucile, said he really missed preaching. So when he was approached by the deacons of Thompson Baptist Church about filling the pulpit here, the former pastor gave an enthusiastic, "Yes!"

Pastor Safstrom will be preaching in the 10:45 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. services Sundays and 7:00 p.m. prayer meeting Wednesdays.

Everyone is asked to come out and welcome back this very special couple!

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