Stephen Ministry Comes to St. Matthew’s

On May 7th, Ted Sawyer, a long-time member of St. Matthew’s, was commissioned as a Stephen Minister at a ceremony at First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville. This is no small feat. To achieve this highly responsible position, Ted had to successfully complete 50 hours of intense training over a course of 8 months. Ted is now prepared to offer the care-giving services of a Stephen Minister to his fellow parishioners.
At that same ceremony, Susan Jung and Priscilla Trescott were officially named leaders of the new program. To become Stephen Leaders, Susan and Priscilla had to successfully complete a rigorous 50-hour specialized training for leaders. This training qualifies Susan and Priscilla to oversee the program (along with Mother Liz) and to train other Stephen Ministers. Both Susan and Priscilla have also completed the 50 hour Stephen Ministry program twice and have served as Stephen Ministers at other Episcopal churches.
This ceremony also officially launches the Stephen Ministry program at St. Matt’s. Ted, Susan, and Priscilla are now available to offer the distinctively Christian care giving they have learned to the members of St. Matthew’s.
What is Stephen Ministry all about? Who does it apply to?
We live in a fast-paced and fragmented world.  People suffer crises and tragedies, but they often don’t have caregivers they can count on. Family members and friends may be scattered across the continent-or even the world.  Neighborhoods rarely offer the support they once did.  So when a crisis or challenge hits, many people have no one to turn to and end up facing it alone.
Congregations today are overwhelmed with needs for care-the needs of their own members and the needs of people in the surrounding community.
  • People who are hospitalized
  • Those who are grieving
  • Those suffering loneliness or discouragement
  • People who are divorced or separated
  • Those who are dying-and their families and friends
  • Unemployed persons
  • People fighting cancer or another debilitating illness
  • People providing long-term care to a loved one
  • Those dealing with the losses and challenges of relocating
  • Parents whose children have left home
  • Those who are homebound, convalescing, or rehabilitating
  • New parents
  • Single parents
  • Victims of disasters
  • Those in a spiritual crisis
 The list goes on. Our wonderful and caring Mother Liz cannot attend to everyone without assistance.
Each of us faces periods of crisis, transition or difficulty.  During these times, a caring relationship with someone who will faithfully listen, empathize, pray with and for them, and encourage them with Christ’s love and care can be a tremendous benefit. The Stephen Minister will meet with the hurting person once a week for about an hour. During this time, the Stephen Minister listens to the care receiver without judgement or a “fix it” mentality. Ours is a process-oriented form of care and support. We walk alongside you as you move through tough times. We take a vow to God to keep the relationship and anything said completely confidential. All Stephen Ministers are paired with care receivers of the same gender. Our services are available only to those 18 or over.
Should you be interested or if you know of someone who may benefit from having a Stephen Minister, please contact the church office.
For more information about Stephen Ministry at St. Matthew’s, and a link to the application to become a Stephen Minister, click here.
Stephen Ministries also has a great website: where you can hear testimonies about the life changing effect Stephen Ministers provide to those who are hurting and in need of care.

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Renew, Refresh, Rejoice!


Renew the Mind
Refresh the Body

Rejoice in the Spirit of the Lord

As the season of Easter arrives we are reminded of the Lord’s crucifixion for our sins and his resurrection so that we might have everlasting life. God has given us hope for new life and it is reflected all around us in the season of spring. We have a multi-sensory awareness of renewal and rebirth in the greening of our barren landscapes, the growth of foliage, the blossoming of fragrant flowers and the return of birds and yes, even our pesky insects. God is clearly showing us that this is a special time for renewal in the cycle of life.

Take some time to reflect on what this season means to you and then take some definitive steps to renew your mind, body and spirit:

1. Make a conscious decision to renew and improve your relationship with God, your family and friends. Pray, study the Word of God and make a personal plan for yourself.
2. Show God’s love not only to family and friends but also to your neighbor and those you do not know. Help those who are in need and do acts of kindness to all. When we help to refresh others, we are refreshing ourselves.

3. Refresh and have respect for your body, which was created in God’s image. Commit yourself to a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious food, getting daily physical exercise and mental stimulation. Eliminate excess in all areas and strive for balance.

Rejoice and be glad! God has given us another opportunity for new life.

Flora D. Cox, M.D.

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Red Cross Blood Drive

Blood Drive Sunday, April 17

8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 

The Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at St. Matthew’s on Sunday, April 17.

To sign up, click here.

Please consider donating blood in honor of Ms. Ellanor Young.  She’s the 6 year old niece of Levi and Amanda Livermont, best friend of cousin Hannah Livermont (in photo), and granddaughter of Jack (Sr. Warden) and Pam Denton.  Ellanor (Ella) was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2014.  She has about 6 months remaining of treatment.  She’ll likely need blood products throughout her treatment beyond her past needs.  As the Red Cross is running low, NOW is the time to donate!!!

Ella Young2

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Health and Wellness–Zika Virus Info

During the past month the Zika virus infection has been a newsworthy item. We have been flooded by television news reports and online  images of newborn infants in Brazil with small malformed heads (microcephaly) and  enlarged images of the Aedes aegypti mosquito which carries the Zika virus. This has instilled some warranted concern for certain populations e.g.(pregnant women),but there is a growing panacea of fear and anxiety .
Exactly what is the Zika Virus?
Zika is a virus that was discovered in 1947 in monkeys in the forest of Uganda. It was not known to be problematic for humans for many years until spreading to Micronesia and most recently Brazil. Zika is now in over 25 countries in South America and the Caribbean, and is spreading. It is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites and can be transmitted sexually to a female by an infected male partner. The virus has been isolated in the blood, semen,  and urine of infected individuals. There have been 48+ reported cases of Zika in the United States which were transported into the country by infected individuals.
Zika is suspected to cause birth defects, microcephaly, neurological defects, and visual abnormalities in newborns of women infected during pregnancy. Up to 80% of infected individuals may have no symptoms but 20% may have the symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. There is no treatment for Zika virus at this time although there has been some progress towards genetic modification of the male mosquito and the development of a vaccine.
There is some very recent speculation, however, by a group of physicians and scientists in Argentina and Brazil that a pesticide, pyriproxyfen, which has been injected into the drinking water tanks in Brazil is the true cause of the microcephaly birth deformity and not the Zika virus.  At this time there is insufficient evidence to determine the true cause of the birth defects and other possible conditions associated with Zika.
What can we do to protect ourselves?
  1. Pregnant women should avoid travel to Zika infested areas and avoid unprotected sex if their male partner has recently traveled to a Zika infected area.
  2. Avoid mosquito bites by using mosquito repellent and covering as much of your skin as possible wearing long sleeves and long pants.
  3. Walk around your property and eliminate everything than can collect water (e.g. old tires, watering cans, pots) and breed mosquitoes
  4. Consider having a professional treat your property for mosquitoes.
  5. Stay informed and updated about Zika by checking the CDC website at
We will see more Zika infections in the USA in the coming warmer months, even here in Georgia.  Throughout biblical history and the current times, humanity has experienced pestilence of many varieties and we must remember and have faith as Christians that the Lord will see us through this.  Take reasonable precautions as outlined by the CDC and continue living with hope, confidence and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Flora D. Cox, M.D.

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