Hi, I’m Karen Ricotta. Four years ago I came here for the first time on Christmas Eve and haven’t left because every week it seemed like the message was written for me specifically. As if God were speaking directly to me through Myrlene. It was the first time in a long time that I felt like I was home. That’s how I knew this was God’s house. I feel his presence more now than I did then. As I met more people each week, my family here became bigger. Roger was one of the first people to introduce himself to my family. I became a member at the same time as Lorraine and Debbie. They had been here for a while and first got me involved with the food pantry every week. Soon after, I was helping Lynn and Priscilla with fundraising events & eventually took leadership of fundraising. Then I was
asked to be part of the stewardship team and most recently, I became a session member.
When our Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Volunteer Village was formed after Sandy, I didn’t join the village team right away. I did however come to the Thursday night dinners. I was inspired and touched, hearing some of the stories from groups who travel from all over to stay at Morning Star to help our communities by rebuilding homes. As fundraising was winding down in 2013, I joined the village team. They were preparing to host volunteers during 2014. I had no idea how or if I could help but through the Unbinding prayer, I found my place helping Myrlene find work for the volunteers. Soon we will host our 1000th volunteer. Over the last 2 years they provided $1.4 million in free labor to Sandy homeowners in need.
God gave us this church and in it we worship Him. I see God at work through our food pantry, the 3 AA groups that meet here, the pastoral care team, Bibleland Adventure, the volunteer village and during the summer, we meet people at the concerts in the park and people who come here for the yard sale or to enjoy the Canine Carnival with their dogs. I see God at work through these people and events. I see this all as God’s work. There are so many places I see God at work here at Morning Star and through these doors out into the community. Our little church of about 100 or so members, makes such a huge difference in the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people through many of Morning Star’s members and our many ministries.
Sometimes I get lovingly teased about my OCD arranging of the chairs on Sunday mornings. Well, at least the Sundays I wake up early enough. I don’t mind the joking. I believe this
is God’s house. He has given it to us to be our church. We need to take care of it. Maybe it’s by cleaning up a mess you’ve made or you’ve found, cleaning the grounds, helping a friend in need or working hard in one of our many wonderful ministries. We are working for God and taking care of his gift to us with the spiritual and financial gifts He has given us. This gift comes with responsibilities. Sometimes the work is simple. Just make our church look presentable to members and guests by arranging chairs for service in the morning. Sometimes it’s not so simple. Morning Star’s future is our responsibility.
As a leader here I’ve kept up my pledge each year. This year I plan to make sure I have money above my pledge for per capita, (I usually forget), the Easter and Christmas offerings, a Christmas Gift, a Morning Star Birthday Gift and the birthday fund. My birthday is coming up and it’s important to me to give to the birthday fund because that money gets invested into our church’s future for the growing population of the children to continue to worship here. This year as we remember Jesus’ great sacrifice for us during Lent, I give sacrificially to the mortgage lifting, $1000. I invite you all to pray, where does God want you to be and what does He want you to do on the subject of giving. Then listen when He lets you know and go with it. If you feel the same way I do, you’ll want Morning Star to be here for a good long time too.