Once a month, our congregation moves out midweek service to Friday night. This allows for a more relaxed atmosphere. We typically do more interactive events and often have food together. But Friday night, February 16, highlighted three key words and Biblical principles.
First, we focused on creation. God is the great creator and He has passed that along to us. After drawing pictures of a giraffe, we found that we are all creative. We have different gifts but can create for God in areas such as encouraging others, raising money for the poor and/or the arts.
It’s winter in New England. That means snow, freezing rain, sleet, ponds freezing over and people staying inside. But not Patrick Bowry.
Following a Sunday service on February 11, Patrick and a host of people from our church drove over to Governor Notte Park in North Providence for his baptism. Patrick loves God’s creation and he wanted to be immersed outside and not inside. He also didn’t want to wait to please God until the summer.
So, with his mother and sister and a host of friends cheering him on, Nic Petre (from Boston) entered the water with Nic to participate in the death, burial and resurrected life of Christ (Romans 6:1-7).
On Sunday, February 4, the two southern regions of the Boston church and the Ocean State Church of Christ met together on the campus of Bridgewater State University. As 600-700 people joined together in song, prayer and Bible study – it truly was a small picture of what the afterlife will be.
The service included a powerful communion sharing time led by Larry and Kim Reed. Steve Shoff preached a hard-hitting sermon entitled, “Global Thrive.” Jimmy Allen then gave a presentation on the New England 2020 vision and plans. This part of the program climaxed as the entire Ocean State congregation got up on stage.
Saquan Moore was born and raised in the Washington D.C. area. He became an excellent high school football player, but was also played by the streets. He left town after high school and played college soccer. However, later on, he changed his dream to focus on culinary school. This took him to Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, NC. In turn, he got an internship in California for the summer.
In California, Quan met Myles Bryan. Myles has just recently been baptized. In Myles’ last few months of life, he had been studying the Bible in both Providence and Long Island.
Upon meeting, both Myles and Quan knew their connection was not random, but instead arranged by God. Myles, too, was a culinary student. But he was headed back to the Johnson and Wales in Providence after his internship, so Quan transferred there as well.
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). John 1:41
On the week of December 17, five souls experienced the new birth in baptism at the Ocean State Church of Christ. One of those was Zoilo Guaba. Watching him get immersed that Sunday evening was one of Zoilo’s younger brothers, Joel. Joel was 21-years-old and had begun visiting our services. His personality was different from that of his older brother, but his fire to follow Jesus was just as strong.
God promises to do more than we can ask for or imagine. On a chilly, Sunday, December 17 – our church had a Neighbor Day service planned. We were thrilled to be preparing to baptize two people. By the end of the day, four had been immersed and ushered into the kingdom of God. One other daughter of God was baptized on Wednesday, December 20, and five new births took place in one amazing winter week.
Those baptized on the faith-building Sunday were Oscar Morales, Zoilo Guaba, Kevin Rodriguez and Amy Delgado. Ariana Depena followed shortly after that at the midweek for women at the Martins’ home on Wednesday.
Let’s all welcome in these zealous new disciples of Jesus. They are already sharing with family and friends and inspiring us by their love for God and others.
On Saturday, December 9, the Ocean State church came together for our annual Christmas party during the first snowstorm of the winter season. This provided a fantastic, wonderland backdrop as we met for our first time at Boulevard Banquets Hall in Pawtucket.
The night began with a festive, potluck meal, enjoyed in the ambiance of red and green tablecloths, a decorated Christmas tree, poinsettia centerpieces and more.
Following the meal, Christmas games commenced. First, there was an unscramble the letters game for a prominent Christmas song. Then we had the candy cane pick-up contest, won by the over-hyped Angel Mercado. Next we turned to Christmas trivia by tables; and then the Christmas match-game.
All of the competitions won different tables some type of candy prize, adding unwanted calories. To seal the first half, we closed out with the popular table-by-table singing and acting out of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Highlights were Tom Matias as a “lady dancing,” Admir Monteiro and Hakeen Jacobs leading the way for five off-key singers as “golden rings,” and Bob Sherman as the lone “partridge in a pear tree.”
By this time all needed a fellowship break. But Leo Mella would not stay silent long. Soon he cranked up the tunes and many began to dance and sing to the music. Laughter, sweat and fellowship filled the room for another couple of hours.
The Christmas season is all about Christ and family. And for this evening, we had celebrated both in a December night to remember.
Our church is pretty new. The Ocean State Church of Christ has only existed for three years. However, one of the areas that has captured the heart of many in our church is serving the less fortunate. Our HOPE board, led by David & Jessica Boerma, meets regularly and consistently inspires us with projects & programs to help others.
This past Friday night, November 10, our HOPE team was in charge of leading the midweek service for our church. It is easy to talk about serving. It is another thing to do it. So, instead of just discussing . . . we have a short, but powerful devo led by Sam Saarinen and then we broke into four different stations to make a difference for the hurting in the greater Providence area and even in Bucharest, Romania.
At the end of the summer of 2014, thirty disciples began the Ocean State Church of Christ. Sent out from an inspiring New England Christian Conference with 3,000+ participants, our team knew that God would do amazing things. And He did. But not exactly how we thought He would.
On Wednesday, May 24, Walter Arecias was immersed. After a night of praying, he called Kevin Mahoney and said that he wanted to get right with God. A small group meeting was already planned for that night at the Martins’ home. So many disciples gathered to see Walter’s new start in a tub in a back yard on a fantastic, warm day.
Prior to the baptism, all of the kids (and Angel) bounced on the Martins’ trampoline. Many adults brought snacks and laid them out. The fellowship was vibrant. And then the sharing began.