Saturday, August 20, 2011


After over 13 years of spending nearly every Saturday night writing "This Week at the Power House" (and a couple years prior writing it's initial incarnation, "Saturday under the Freeway") it's time for this author to take a break. I'll be taking a couple months off from writing the newsletter and hope to resume sometime after Thanksgiving. Even though the newsletter is taking a break, the work of Building the Kingdom of God Here and Now continues each day.

I trust that you'll continue to be prayerful for The Power House and its daily life here in Pigtown.

Jeff and everyone at
The Power House
“Building the Kingdom of God Here and Now”

Saturday, July 23, 2011


It's been a busy week at The Power House in Baltimore, Maryland.

It started Sunday with Morning Worship. Barb Carter, who will soon be our apostle, and her husband and parents joined us for the service. Barb brought the message on Love.

At Kids' Church we continued our study of the Armor of God. We talked about "shoes of peace" then made a craft to show how we could leave peace like footprints everywhere we go.

That evening brought our monthly Celebration Service. Our focus for this month was on hearing reports from camp. Though not all our campers were there, many were. They were each given time at the microphone to share some camp experiences. Those present who were on camp staff then shared their testimonies. We ordered pizzas and all ate together afterward.

Throughout the week we continued to collect school supplies for our upcoming distribution. We started stocking up on the "doorbuster" sale items based on this week's sale fliers. Feel free to join us in this quest over the next few weeks as we work our way toward school.

We had four kids who came to church 90+ times last year. On Tuesday we took them out to Golden Corral for dinner as a reward for their extremely good attendance.

Our Peace Pavilion Planning Meeting was scheduled for after the NA Meeting on Wednesday. With extreme heat, some people sick, and others out of town we ended up not having enough of the parties involved to be productive.

The heat continued to blast the neighborhood throughout the week. This kept people with air conditioning inside and those without outside late into the night. We took advantage of the church's air conditioning to get the August mailings ready, both the newsletters (Kids' Church News and Pizza Church Press) and the Bible School postcards.

Sarah stopped by for a few minutes on Friday afternoon. She had a box of "lost and found" items from camp that belonged to kids from our congregation. She also dropped off some school supplies that Sally Walton had sent our way.

Friday night brought Pizza Church. The younger groups talked about faith while the senior high group continued their study of the life of Moses.

I picked up our 5 senior high kids early Saturday morning to catch our flight to Kansas City. There, we rendezvoused with our delegation leaders and other area youth to catch the bus to Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, for SPECTACULAR. They'll spend the week there and come home next weekend. I caught a flight back to Baltimore that afternoon.

Looking ahead to next week we have our full schedule of activities. In addition, Bill Pennington will bring the message at Morning Worship on Sunday. Next Saturday, Tamara will fly out to Kansas City to meet up with our kids who went to SPECTACULAR and escort them on their flights (and change of planes in Chicago) home.

Along with the individuals and activities mentioned, please keep the following families in the forefront of your prayers:

The Pestridge Family
The Jamison Family
The Moore Family
The Collier Family
The Smead Family
The Livingston Family
The Jones Family
The Quick Family

Thank you for your continued prayer support.

Jeff and everyone at
The Power House
“Building the Kingdom of God Here and Now”

Saturday, July 16, 2011


It's been a busy week at The Power House in Baltimore, Maryland.

It stared Sunday morning with good news on Facebook. The folks in the Gatchelville, Pennsylvania, Congregation will be helping collect school supplies for distribution here in August. We're anticipating having even more kids this year than last so the more help we can get the better.

For about an hour before Morning Worship, kids and their parents started arriving for the trip to camp. Kids checked in with me then stashed their luggage in the back of the church. About eight kids from Dunalk also joined us in waiting for the bus.

In the end, we had nearly 70 people for Morning Worship. We sang camp songs, reviewed the youth ministry achievements for the year, and had a blessing for the campers and staff.

The bus arrived at 12:15. The kids quickly loaded their luggage and chose their seats. Vonceil and Gloria had packaged hot dogs for the kids so we distributed them, along with chips and a drink, once the bus got on the way.

Though the campground was more than twice as many miles away from Baltimore as our old campground, we arrived there in about the same amount of time since we didn't have to go through the same traffic. We got our 20 kids registered and to their cabins then Vonceil (who had driven down behind the bus), Robert, and I rode home.

I spent the week "on call" for issues at camp. For the first time in the 14 years I've been taking kids to camp, we went the whole week without a single phone call from camp staff.

While working on paperwork at the church one afternoon, I heard a horrific crashing sound. When I went to see what had happened at first I couldn't find anything. I then noticed a mark on the glass door from where someone had pitched a large rock at it. There's no reason that door shouldn't have been completely shattered but it remains intact.

Also while looking for the source of the noise (before I found the rock) I discovered that our gutter's downspout was plugged by a tennis ball. This explained the strange problems we've had with the gutters the last few weeks. I went out in the rain, cleared it plus several rocks and sticks, and got things flowing again.

With so many our our core kids away it was a good time to work on work on lessons, crafts, and snacks for Bible School. We've got things roughed in and will gather the necessary supplies next week.

When I went to get in my car on Friday morning, I discovered that it was blocked in the parking lot at the church. This was because a neighbor had illegally parked her van in the alley. I knocked and she came to the door. She began yelling, cussing, and accusing me of lying saying that she had the right to park wherever she wanted and that if I worked hard enough I could get my car out. She went back inside. I called the police. Once she saw me on the phone she moved her van while hurling accusations and snide comments at me the entire time.

Friday night brought Pizza Church. Between two of the sessions we discovered that ants had invaded. Several of the pizzas had to be tossed out. After all the kids left we went to Home Depot to get ant bait and distributed it around the church.

On Saturday Vonceil and I drove down to camp to be at the baptism service. Though no kids from The Power House were baptized we like to be present for this sacrament whenever possible. We then loaded the kids on the bus and headed back to Baltimore.

The bus that came to get us did not have the features that we had included in our contract. When we got home I filed a complaint with the company. The errors on there part were quite significant and we are owed at least a partial refund on the money we paid.

Looking ahead to next week we have our full schedule of activities. In addition, we have our monthly Celebration Service on Sunday evening during which we'll give the kids a chance to tell about their experiences at camp. We're taking the four kids who came to church 90+ times last year out to dinner at Golden Corral on Tuesday night. We've got a Pigtown Peace Pavilion planning session scheduled for Wednesday evening. On Saturday we're taking five high school students to Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, for a week at Spectacular. Next Saturday evening is our monthly Sundae Church.

Along with the individuals and activities mentioned, please keep the following families in the forefront of your prayers:

The McCusker Family
The Kelly Family
The Dance Family
The Logan Family
The Boston Family
The Liason Family
The Mitchell Family
The Sugars Family

Thank you for your continued prayer support.

Jeff and everyone at
The Power House
“Building the Kingdom of God Here and Now”

Saturday, July 9, 2011


It started out Sunday, June 19, with Morning Worship. The message that day was on the Acts 3 story of the healing of the man born lame.

After the service I got an email saying our order was in at the Dollar Tree so I ran out to the store to get it. We'd ordered aluminum water cans to use as our prize for attending church 20+ times and I wanted to be sure to have them available at the start of the year. Afterward, Tamara and I sat down and reviewed things for when I would be out of town.

We talked about Fathers Day at Kids' Church. The kids then made "World's Best Dad" pins as gifts.

That evening was our Graduation Celebration. We had a time of song then had our three high school graduates (the most we've had in one year) talk about their plans. Two are going to Graceland University this fall while the other is planning on going to the police academy. We then shared in the two cakes (brought by Earl and Janet), lots of ice cream, and fellowship together.

It’s been a busy few weeks at the Power House in Baltimore, Maryland.

In the end, we had only 6 pieces of cake left. I took them out and shared them with neighbors who were out on their front steps.

On Monday morning, my family and I left to visit family for a couple of weeks. While out, Sarah brought the message one Sunday while Earl did so on the other. Gloria and Earl presided over Morning Worship while Tamara, Sarah, Robert, and Kathy were responsible for youth ministries.

June 30 brought the end of our attendance year for youth ministry. With that we have the statistics for last year:

-We officially had 924 kids attend at least one activity at church. That compares to 752 in 2009-2010.
-When you factor in kids who attend activities for which we cannot track attendance (Peace Pavilion, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.) we easily served well over 1000 kids last year.
-We had a total of 6238 attendance instances. That is over 100 more per month than 2009-10.

In every category we measure, we had both an increase in both the number of kids in attendance and an increase in the frequency of attendance by kids. In other words, we had more kids come more often to more activities than any time in our congregation's history.

Some kids who came to Pizza Church this Friday came there from a funeral. A teenage friend of theirs had been murdered last week.

Several people gathered at the church shortly after noon on Saturday in preparation for camp. Sarah and several staff members stopped by to get some supplies from the church that they were using at the campgrounds. Tamara and Ebony also met there and traveled to the campgrounds to help get things ready for the campers' arrival.

Other camp needs were addressed throughout the day. I had one kid stop by the house all but begging to go again this year. We did not have the resources to take him. I got another call about a kid needing a piece of luggage and another who had everything but a blanket. We were able to fill the last two needs thanks to people who have given us used luggage and sleeping bags in advance.

Saturday night brought our monthly Solid Rock Cafe. The group was well behaved but VERY loud. The energy and excitement about camp was raising the noise level of the whole group. One young adult who will be on staff brought his luggage to the church to be ready for Sunday's travels.

Looking ahead to next week we have a different schedule of activities. Sunday morning is our annual camp service. We'll be joined by some kids from the Dundalk Congregation who are riding with us this year. Once the service is over the kids, Quentin, Robert, Lennard, and I will board the bus for camp. Vonceil will follow behind to bring Robert and me back to Baltimore once the kids are all registered. Though we've cancelled Kids' Church, the rest of our activities will follow their regular schedule throughout the week. On Saturday, Vonceil and I will drive back to the campgrounds to gather the kids back on the bus for the trip home. Though we'll be "on call" throughout the week, we're hoping not to have to make a mid-week trip to camp to pick up a kid due to medical or behavioral problems.

Along with the individuals and activities mentioned, please keep the following families in the forefront of your prayers:

The Stinchcomb Family
The Moore Family
The Richardson Family
The Latham Family
The Jackson Family
The Allen Family
The Pringle Family
The Miller Family

Thank you for your continued prayer support.

Jeff and everyone at
The Power House
“Building the Kingdom of God Here and Now”

Saturday, June 18, 2011


It’s been a busy week at the Power House in Baltimore, Maryland.

It started out Sunday with Morning Worship. Our focus was on Pentecost and what happens when we recognize and respond to the Holy Spirit.

After the service a few of us went to Carroll Park for the annual "Tour Dem Parks" gathering for bicyclists. As President of Friends of Carroll Park, Gloria ran a booth there throughout the day.

Keeping with the Pentecost theme, at Kids' Church we made flame hats to correlate with the story. The kids were especially focused in making their craft. One said, "Today, I came in here a little boy and I leave a King!"

That evening we had a long priesthood meeting. With summer upon us we had many decisions to finalize and plans to coordinate. Afterward Robert and I got a bite to eat together.

On Monday we spent time implementing some of the decisions from Sunday's meeting. This included contacting the bus company to make reservations for the trip to camp and ordering some supplies. We also wrote out the newsletters and finalized the content of the camp mailings. Further, we learned on Monday that Vonceil was named Teacher of the Year for her school.

Tuesday morning's Facebook posts indicated that something bad had happened overnight. We checked around and learned that two teen girls had been hit by a car overnight. Neither survived.

Later that day Bill stopped by with the tax forms. His accountant had figured them out for us and they were now ready to be filed.

When I arrived at the church with the donuts on Wednesday, I noticed that a portion of the awning over the back door was broken. It looked suspiciously like a basket ball had gone through it.

75 kids participated in Wednesday's final SonRisers of the school year. 9 of them were at the church for the first time.

Once the kids were gone, Onalee and I took the rug that the kids weaved at the Peace Pavilion over to school 34. The principals were very happy to receive it and immediately began discussing the most prominent place to hang it. They started talking about next year's plans as well.

We spent much of the day running errands. This included a trip to Staples to make copies (and the manager gave us more free supplies!), a stop at Home Depot to find items to repair the awning, and a stop at the grocery store to get ice cream for Sunday night. Since our small freezer at the church is already full, Gloria kept two buckets of ice cream at her house and we have 2 bucket at ours.

Thursday provided the opportunity to repair the awning. The good news is that the part we fixed now looks really good. The bad news is that it shows how worn the non-repaired sections are.

While doing this I discovered that one of our downspouts and some of the siding upon which it is attached was no longer connected to the building. Kids had been using it for first base in their baseball games so I suspect there was an incident there one evening this week. That repair will have to wait for another day.

I got a knock on the door of my house while doing the dishes Thursday evening. It was the cousin of one of the girls who had been killed earlier in the week. They wanted me to do the funeral. It was scheduled for 1 p.m. the next day.

At that point, I went out to the funeral home and found hundreds of people gathered in line for viewing and visitation. I had a few minutes to talk with the funeral director and caught the eye of the family. I spent much of the rest of the evening putting together the funeral service.

The funeral home needed to use the overflow room with closed circuit television to accommodate the crowd for Friday's funeral. The girls' deaths had captured headlines throughout the week so guards were posted at the entrance to the cemetery to prevent the media from entering.

Friday night brought Pizza Church. In the haste of the prior 23 hours I had prepared the wrong week's lesson. Normally, I would simply flip flop the two weeks lessons and it would not be a big problem. However, the assigned topic for this week revolved around Fathers Day so we couldn't do that. I had a "wing it" lesson instead. Both before and after Pizza Church, Sara and Tamara met together to work on camp planning.

On Saturday I got a note through Facebook from a high school student who used to be active in church here but now lives out of state. She wanted to know when Bible School would be this summer so she could try to time her week in Pigtown visiting her grandmother around it. She thought it would be a good chance to be able to help out with things while she's here

That night Robert and Ebony came by to set up the church for Sunday. Normally they do that on Sunday morning but since decided to do it ahead of time because of an event in the morning that will keep them from church.

And with summer upon us that means camp, Spectacular, vacations, and lots of other things might otherwise occupy our normal Saturday evening schedule. Because of that, THIS WEEK at the POWER HOUSE may come sporadically over the next few months. If you don't find a message from us in your inbox on Sunday morning, please say some extra prayers for us as you'll know we're in the thick of things.

Looking ahead to next week we have our full schedule of activities. In addition, Sunday evening is our Graduation Celebration. This service includes cake and ice cream. We'll also be working this week on finishing up our camp transportation plans. Next Saturday is our monthly Sundae Church.

Along with the individuals and activities mentioned, please keep the following families in the forefront of your prayers:

The Kearse Family
The Carnes Family
The Toomey Family
The Smith Family
The Angeles Family
The Buckner Family
The Taylor Family
The Miller Family

Thank you for your continued prayer support.

Jeff and everyone at
The Power House
“Building the Kingdom of God Here and Now”

Saturday, June 11, 2011


It’s been a busy week at the Power House in Baltimore, Maryland.

It started in the wee hours of Sunday morning with the conversion of our mailing list to our Mail Chimp account. I know of a few issues that arose and that some people didn't get their copy of last week's report. We've updated the list and will continue to do so until we get it fully corrected. Thank you for your patience through this transition as we continue working out the kinks.

We had a good turn out for Morning Worship. Tamara brought the communion message and summarized the series on peace, power, and purpose from the last three months. Many people stayed afterward for prayer.

At Kids' Church we learned about the Great Commission. We then made necklaces and ate popsicles together.

We learned in the morning that Shirley was in the hospital. I had a chance to visit her after Kids' Church and Ron stopped by the next day.

Our last session of the Peace Pavilion for the year was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. We had several people scheduled to be on staff have to cancel at the last minute. Fortunately, Kathy was able to come in for the first class and part of the second class. While I was trying to figure out how to cover the rest of the time, Bill Brian called saying he was on his way through town and wondered if I have time for him to visit. I recruited him to lead a group of kids instead.

88 kids participated in SonRisers on Wednesday morning. This was more than we thought would do so since it was a half day due to heat and because many kids have already graduated.

We learned that afternoon the good news and bad news about the grant we wrote for camp. The good news is that we received $1400. The bad news is that it was much less than the $7000 we'd asked for. By doing some creative math, we have thing down to a $2600 gap between the number of kids we've registered and the amount of money we'll owe. Needless to say, we're working on this.

The heat continued through Thursday evening. Many of those without air conditioning were out on their front steps sweating out the time for when the front would come through. I was caught visiting at Gloria's (in her air conditioning) when the thunderstorms hit so I stayed for an extended visit at her place until it passed.

Friday night brought Pizza Church. Shortly after the first group left torrential rains hit. We did not think anyone would be able to come to the middle school group because of it. Two boys did show up. They were soaked to the bone. We had them use the towels we keep for baptism services to dry off and to sit on. When we tried to do the lesson, the sound of the rain on the roof was so loud that we had to huddle together in order to try to hear each other. By the end it let up enough that another kid joined us.

As the time for the senior high session approached, the rain stopped and the sun came out. One of the kids who had graduated last Sunday had a party scheduled at his house for this Saturday. He asked to borrow some chairs so he and his friends went in the attic and took about 20 wooden folding chairs home.

Afterward Quentin and I went out for some dessert. We had a chance to visit and catch up one on one.

Saturday night was our monthly Solid Rock Cafe. The kids seemed to really relax and enjoy themselves for the evening together.

Finally, I want to add that people can now sign up for this newsletter through this link. I know some of you forward this email to others and this is an easy way for them to manage their own access.

Looking ahead to next week we have our full schedule of activities. In addition, Sunday is also the annual Tour Dem Parks in which Gloria plays a role in the Carroll Park location. Some of us will be joining with her after Morning Worship. Sunday night is our monthly Priesthood Meeting. I'm meeting with Bill later this week to finish up tax forms. Throughout the week we'll be working on camp plans, including mailings for parents and coordinating transportation. We'll also be getting things ready for the new attendance year which begins July 1.

Along with the individuals and activities mentioned, please keep the following families in the forefront of your prayers:

The Lloyd Family
The Nickerson Family
The Richardson Family
The Oloyed Family
The Williams Family
The Walker Family
The West Family
The Abrams Family

Thank you for your continued prayer support.

Jeff and everyone at
The Power House
“Building the Kingdom of God Here and Now”

Saturday, June 4, 2011


It’s been a busy couple of weeks at the Power House in Baltimore, Maryland.

It started out Sunday with much of our parking lot filled with neighbors' cars, leaving little room for people who drive to church. We've started sending reminders of the need to have the parking lot cleared for church activities to those who live near it.

During Morning Worship we finished our series on God's purposes. We were all able to hear better due to the sound system's new speakers that were donated last week.

With it being Memorial Day weekend we knew we'd either have a very small group or an overflow crowd at Kids' Church. We ended up with 6 kids for the "feed my sheep" story. Of those who came, 3 were kids who had participated in SonRisers on Wednesdays who came to Kids' Church for the first time that day.

Afterward we spent some time finishing the details in setting up "Peace for the Planet" at the Peace Pavilion. Classes were scheduled to begin arriving on Tuesday. You can see pictures of the setup by clicking here.

Sunday also marked the 13th anniversary of the Anderson's arrival in Pigtown.

Though we had the Peace Pavilion set up by Sunday, we had a few items for the teachers that needed to be updated and printed. We finished those on Monday.

Extreme heat came to Baltimore on Tuesday. The schools closed early so the 3rd grade groups were not able to come to the Peace Pavilion. We were able to reschedule them for next Tuesday, though not all our our staff could do so.

86 kids participated in Wednesday's SonRisers activities. With the new kids who came to this activity, we have now crossed over the 900 mark in the number of kid participants in the last 11 months. When you consider the fact that the number doesn't include kids who come to the Peace Pavilion, the NA Meeting (a group home regularly brings their kids to the meeting), and Bible School, we can easily know that we've reached over 1000 kids this year.

The heat continued throughout Wednesday so schools again closed early. The 5th grade group had to cancel their visit to the Peace Pavilion because of it. Since they have 5th grade graduation next week, we were unable to reschedule their visit.

That afternoon we assembled the mailing for Kids' Church News and Pizza Church Press. You can read the June edition of these newsletters at the links provided.

After the NA Meeting we had our final Mid-Week Service before its summer break. Many more people than usual came to this activity, including a first-time visitor to the congregation. We'll resume this group in September.

More seasonal weather returned on Thursday. I spent quite a bit of time that night out on the streets visiting with people who were sitting on their steps enjoying the great weather. In between walks we changed out the front sign to reflect the summer schedule. We also changed out the banner to start promoting Bible School.

Blair, our incoming Mission Center President joined Quentin, Tamara, Sarah, and me in welcoming the 1st grade classes to "Peace for the Planet" on Friday. Afterward, Blair and I had some time to visit.

Friday night brought Pizza Church. Historically, June is one of our lowest months in attendance in this activity. This Friday, however, we nearly ran out of pizza. Much of the crowd was made up of kids who have recently started participating in SonRisers on Wednesdays and have just discovered Pizza Church.

Vonceil and Sarah attended Crystal's graduation on Saturday. She was valedictorian of her class and is attending Graceland this fall. Most of the other kids who are graduating from high school this year have ceremonies on Sunday.

Tamara and I were scheduled to take a couple girls to Friendly's for ice cream sundaes on Saturday evening. Neither of them showed up.

Looking ahead to next week we have our full schedule of activities. In addition, Tamara will bring the communion message on Sunday morning. The 3rd grade classes from School 34 will be at the Peace Pavilion on Tuesday afternoon. We're hoping to get more street time in this week since Mid-Week Service is off the Wednesday schedule until fall. We'll also be working of plans for our summer programming, such as camp, Bible School, and school supply distribution, throughout the week. Next Saturday is our monthly Solid Rock Cafe.

Along with the individuals and activities mentioned, please keep the following families in the forefront of your prayers:

The Pettis Family
The Ceo Family
The Buckner Family
The Butler Family
The Brown Family
The Sugars Family
The Stewart Family
The Adeyale Family

Thank you for your continued prayer support.

Jeff and everyone at
The Power House
“Building the Kingdom of God Here and Now”