Tag Archives: Arise

Evangelist Joey Perez at Arise Community Outreach

Joey Perez at Ariseby Lynne Allebach, Arise

For three nights in early March, evangelist and author Joey Perez held a teaching seminar at the Encore Center in Harleysville, sponsored by Arise Community Outreach.  Joey has been seen on the 700 Club and written two books:  I Lived to Tell About It and Mysteries of Angels.  He is the driving force behind Worldwide Evangelistic Ministries, headquartered in Philadelphia, PA.

Joey spoke each night about the need for saints to be in prayer and to know who their adversary is in this world.  Through Bible teaching, he showed that we as believers have power and authority over the evil forces present in the world today.

Joey began by teaching about the need to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and to use the spiritual weapons available to us (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).  He reminded those in attendance that we are not fighting flesh and blood, but spiritual beings.  He told stories from his own life growing up in a household where idolatry and witchcraft were practiced.  Other stories came from his work in evangelistic ministry around the world.

Next he focused on the need to be persistent in prayer (Luke 18:1-8).  He stressed that prayers made in the will of God will avail much.  Attendees were reminded of the words found in Luke 11:9 that those who ask will receive and those who seek will find.  God wants to give us good gifts and when we are in a close relationship with Him we will receive those good gifts.  Prayer and spending time studying God’s word help us to build that close relationship with Him.

Joey Perez at AriseJoey stressed the importance of protecting our hearts and minds from things that can give the devil an opening to enter our lives.  He suggested that not just individuals and families, but churches as well need to be vigilant about giving an opening to those spirits that come to tear down and destroy.

Joey feels the Indian Valley area is ripe for a movement of the Holy Spirit.  It is hoped that everyone who attended the three nights of meetings will take Joey’s message to heart and share that message with others.

For more information on Joey Perez and Worldwide Evangelistic Ministries, go to www.joeyperezministries.com.  For more information on Arise Community Outreach, visit www.arisepa.com

Beauty for Brokenness: Growth toward Wholeness

Womens Gathering 2013
Women from Franconia and Eastern District conferences attach symbols of healing to an oak tree at this year’s Beauty for Brokenness seminar. Photo by Anne Yoder.

by Lynne McMullan Allebach, Arise

On the morning of Saturday, June1st, thirty women came together at Salford Mennonite Church in Harleysville (Pa.) for the first women’s equipping event sponsored by the new Eastern District & Franconia Mennonite Conferences Women’s Committee.

Angela Moyer, co-pastor of Ripple congregation (Allentown, Pa.) and occupational therapist at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation, spoke about melding a clinical model for recovery from trauma with the story of Christ to bring healing for hurts, whether small or truly traumatic. She explained how we can choose to “act in” by doing things destructive to ourselves or “act out” by doing things that are destructive to others, or we can choose to heal by taking positive steps toward forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace.  Sister Mary Julia McKenzie, chaplain at Penn Foundation’s Recovery Center (Sellersville, Pa.), spoke about the work of recovery, especially as it relates to drug and alcohol addictions. She shared a poem about an oak tree as a symbol of resilience in the face of trials, then invited the participants to decorate items to be placed on a drawn oak tree as a part of the closing worship time.

Phyllis Chami shared a devotion she had written about Eve and Mary, two women of God. The devotion came out of her own personal trauma and how God has played a part in her growth toward wholeness. Lynne Allebach also shared the story of the loss of her son and how the care of others aided in overcoming her grief. Participants met in small groups to discuss their own trauma experiences and their need for recovery. The morning ended with a time of worship that included a version of “Beauty for Brokenness” with words written specifically for the gathering.

Franconia and Eastern District Conferences sponsored a seminar last year on training women for relationships of mutual care.  Responses to a survey taken after the training indicated an interest in continued equipping gatherings that address the needs of women. Anne Yoder, West Philadelphia congregation, answered the call for ongoing ministry and assembled a committee to begin brainstorming ideas. The theme of Beauty for Brokenness was chosen as a motif for the June event as a way of examining trauma and seeing how people may grow toward wholeness from places of brokenness.

Beauty for Brokenness was well received and there was support expressed for continuing to meet, probably twice a year.  “There were women from eighteen churches here, most from smaller congregations that do not have established women’s programs,” observed Yoder. “It is a joy to be able to provide a forum for so many who are looking for spiritual and emotional encouragement and for friendships with other women of faith. . . .  I am so grateful to see the Spirit moving among us, empowering us to sister each other through our life journeys.”

To join the planning team or to receive information about future gatherings, please e-mail Anne Yoder at ayoder1@swarthmore.edu.

Seeking peace and pursuing it with Conference youth

by Don McDonough, Arise

Arise & Methacton youthWhat happens when a youth group from a 274-year-old congregation (Methacton) meets with the youth from a community outreach that is just about a year old (Arise)?  What happens when you then pile those youth in a couple of vans and drive two hours to a cabin where they will be cooped up for a couple of days?  What happens when you add to this mix three 50-something-year-old leaders who want to connect with these kids and have a serious discussion about being peacemakers? You get a weekend when all of us learned a lot about each other and probably a little more about ourselves, a weekend when we all learned that we can have a lot of fun together.

The teenagers could not have been more different.  The ethnic differences were the first to fade away and as we got to know each other better, a variety of other differences began to surface.  The students were raised and shaped in different contexts and by different influences.  Some attend church regularly, others don’t.  They came from five different high schools, each of which had its own culture and its own idea of what is cool.  One youth described the car that they wanted their grandfather to buy for their 16th birthday.  How must that have sounded to the person next to them who never knew their grandparents and for whom the hope of owning a car seemed so far out of reach?

Arise & Methacton youthDespite our differences, we were able to bond and soon shared freely about ourselves and our lives.  Our discussions centered around peace issues; more than just war or mass shootings, we talked about an attitude of peace.  The youth shared about bullying, social media abuse, and sports violence.  For the older leaders, it was sad to see how the very activities we used participate in for relaxation and community building have turned into a competitive, anxiety-causing force.  Even the cheerleaders shared how their focus was less on encouraging their team and more on degrading the other team.  How do we become peacemakers in this environment?

We were so blessed to have Ron Wycoff-Kolb along.  Ron shared passionately about how God convicted him to become a conscientious objector even though he had voluntarily joined the military during the Vietnam War.  We listened intently as he told the story of his family’s rejection and the price he had to pay for following this call to peacemaking.  We were challenged; in the end, a diverse group of teens and a few post-mid-lifers found some common ground. May all of us be brave enough to take a costly stand for peace, whatever our context and whatever our age.

Celebrating a Shamrock Seder

shamrock sederby Lynne McMullan Allebach, Arise Community Outreach

What happens when you cross St. Patrick’s Day and a Jewish Passover Seder?  Everyone who attended Arise in Harleysville on Sunday, March 17, found out as Robin Burstein, Executive Director of the Encore Experience of Harleysville, led the group through a “Shamrock Seder.”

Originally planned as a “Nacho Typical” Seder featuring a Southwestern flavor, the Seder evolved into a Shamrock Seder after Robin learned that St. Patrick, like the Israelites in Egypt, had been taken captive and lived as a slave for a number of years as a young man before escaping and returning to his family. Patrick’s story was a good lead into the beginning of the Seder.

Robin explained about the four glasses of wine (for us, grape juice) that are poured as part of the Seder to represent the four stages of the Exodus:

The first glass of wine represents freedom.  We were instructed to break one of the matzos on the table. As the matzos was broken, we were invited to consider what may be “broken” in our world and what we could do as individuals and as a community to make the broken whole again. When had we felt like we were a slave to something?  What had led us to great moments of liberation in our lives?  Just as the Jews are called to remember their liberation from slavery in Egypt during the Passover Seder, we can look for those places in our lives where God has led us to freedom.

The second glass of wine represents deliverance.  At this point in the Seder we were invited to prepare a sandwich to remember the bitterness of slavery in Egypt with maror (horseradish) mixed with the hope of the Promised Land represented by charoset (apples, nuts, and honey) served on the unleavened bread (matzos).  We were led in a recounting of the ten plagues that beset the Egyptians because of Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Israelites go.  This was done by dipping a finger in the wine and dripping a drop of wine, much like falling tears, onto our plates.  Where can we see bitterness in our lives transformed by God’s deliverance today?

shamrock seder
Matzo bread at Arise’s Shamrock Seder.

At this point in the Seder a meal is served.  The Seder is a meal of remembrance and we remembered St. Patrick as we enjoyed a baked potato bar.  We were reminded that a potato famine in Ireland led to an exodus of many of its citizens.  Hardships have been experienced by many different people groups; as we see the similarities in our own stories, we see that we are not that different from one another.

The meal was followed by the third glass of wine, which represents redemption.  Before drinking, we were instructed to each eat a piece of the broken matzos known as the Afikomen.  This was followed by a prayer of blessing and another question – how do we get in the habit of freely expressing gratitude?

Finally, the last glass of wine, representing release, was poured.  A cup was also poured for the prophet Elijah.  It is traditionally believed that he will come at Passover to herald the Messiah, so in anticipation, a door is opened to look for him and someone is sent to the door to invite him in.  One of our group went to the door to look for Elijah and we all waited eagerly to see who might come in to join us. Despite the fact that Elijah did not come to our Seder, we still poured some of our own wine into his cup with our wish for the world in the coming year.

In the Seder we remembered the four stages of the Exodus – freedom, deliverance, redemption, and release.  All of these promises are ours today through Christ, who celebrated the Seder with his disciples that very first Holy Week.  His broken body is our matzo bread and his blood is the wine we drink in remembrance of our deliverance from our own Egypts.