Strategic Plan Implementation Underway

Strategic-PlanningGoal One:  Start at least two our intergenerational, multicultural, hands-on mission and service each year.

The two projects that we have selected to begin immediately are in the beginning stages of implementation. The Mobile Food Van project, championed by John Zlatnik, has been developing a plan and is recruiting people interested in making a commitment to deliver food to the distribution sites on a monthly basis. If you are interested in participating in this project, be sure to connect with John.

Our other project, the Habitat for Humanity construction project, is in the beginning stages of organization. The project champion, Bill Palleschi, reports that the Habitat folks are not quite ready for our volunteers yet, but they are excited at our level of interest, and eager to incorporate us into the project as soon as they are able. Be sure to check back as this project unfolds, and see Bill if you’d like to volunteer.

Goal Two:  Encourage the faith journeys of all members and visitors by increasing participation in programs by 10% annually.

Meanwhile, the ministry teams have been discussing which programs to focus on for Goal Two, our internal growth goal. As of press time, most of the ministry teams have chosen one or two programs to focus on, and will begin implementing strategies for increasing participation in the months to come.

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Cabinet adopts “Statement of Commitment and Action”

commitmentAfter discussing the wording and making sure we would actually follow through on each point in the statement, the Cabinet adopted a “Statement of Commitment and Action” at their meeting in July. In some ways, the statement is a reaffirmation of the church’s open and affirming identity.  “But it’s more than that,” Pastor Jeff said recently.

“The statement reminds us that the work is not done, that we need to go deeper in faith, listen carefully, and lift up the truth we hear,” he said.

You can read the complete statement on the church’s website at If you don’t have internet access, call the church office and we’ll mail you a copy.

Pastor Jeff says he is looking for a way to utilize the statement in worship, perhaps sometime this fall.

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Church prepares for annual Flea Market

On August 27—the last Sunday in August—downtown Niles hosts a large antique fair.  On that day, downtown Niles  Boulevard is closed to traffic, antique and food booths are set up, and hordes of bargain-hunters descend on the town, providing buyers for our own flea market and largest fundraiser of the year, right in our own Fellowship Hall. Between selling our cast-off treasures and renting parking spaces in our  lot, last year we raised $9,000.

To prepare for the sale, our congregation and friends clean closets, garages, and storage units and donate used but good, working items to the church. These wonderful treasures are sorted, priced, displayed, and sold throughout the month of August. This gives everyone a good chance to find some great bargains before the actual flea market takes place.

Starting Monday, July 24, unwanted treasure may be brought  to the Fellowship Hall on Sundays, weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., whenever office staff is in the church (see the schedule on page 5), or by appointment: call Alta Jo Adamson, The Flea Wrangler, and she will arrange to open the church.

Here are some suggestions for donations: tools, books, toys,  games (with all the pieces), jewelry, hats, purses, musical instruments, china, glassware, antiques, tools, collectables, knick-knacks, holiday decorations, linens,  blankets, working small appliances, patio accessories, office supplies, children’s small furniture, trunks, shoes, chairs, desks, and other small furniture, exercise equipment, sporting goods, and more!  Please DO NOT bring:  clothing, sofas and other large, heavy, furniture; large drapery rods, sinks, toilets, and soiled, broken, or non-working items.

Where is the fellowship we’re talking about?  Why, it’s every day in August!  We need weekday volunteers for all aspects of the sale—sorting, pricing, and selling. We can also use volunteers with trucks or vans to help with hauling items to the church.

The Saturday and Sunday of the Flea Market weekend are staffed by church volunteers in two-hour shifts throughout the day. These hours are especially important to fill. Generally speaking, the whole congregation rolls up its sleeves and pitches in, and it is actually loads of fun.

See Marilyn Singer during coffee hour to sign up for a work slot, and watch the announcements for  further details. See Bill Palleschi to sign-up to work on the big weekend, August 26-27.

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Cabinet Approves Strategic Plan Projects

Strategic-PlanningDuring our worship service on July 18, the congregation heard from the champions of our five Goal One projects, and then attended meetings after worship to learn more information about the five project plans. Although overall worship attendance was smaller than usual, attendance at the meetings after worship was enthusiastic, and each meeting had a healthy number of people attending.

In its meeting on Monday, June 19, the Cabinet carefully considered all the options for moving forward, and decided that two of the projects were more “shovel-ready,” and could begin immediately, while the other three projects—which all had significant backing from the congregation—needed more planning and organizing before moving forward. In other words, we will move forward with all five of the finalist projects, but three will begin later in the program year, when they are more developed. In particular, the Cabinet wants all the projects to specify how they will be hands-on, multigenerational, and multicultural.

The projects we will proceed with immediately are the Mobile Food Van and the Habitat for Humanity housing project in central Fremont. The other three projects—supporting St. James School in Kenya, the Homeless Supplies ministry, and the Anti-Racism/Interfaith project—will be started when the champions and their project teams have more thoroughly fleshed out the project plans.

If you are interested in participating in the planning or executing of these projects, please see the Project Champions: John Zlatnik (Mobile Food Van); Bill Palleschi (Habitat and St. James School); Rich Godfrey (St. James School); Jim Thomas (Homeless Supplies); Joy Barnitz (Anti-Racism/Interfaith).

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What’s “Spiritual Direction Group A”? you read our church calendar (the second to last page of each edition of The Bell) really carefully, you might have noticed that there’s a group that meets on the third Wednesday of the month called “Spiritual Direction Group A” and you may have wondered what it is. Here’s an attempt to describe it.

As the name implies, it’s a group of people who are doing something spiritual. That “something” includes praying together in silence, paying attention to how God seems to be active or absent from our lives, and talking about our relationship with God as we walk through our lives. It’s not a therapy group, though it is supportive. It’s not a meditation group, though we spend time in contemplation. It’s led by Pastor Jeff most weeks, but sometimes a member of the group leads it.

Arabesque-letter-a-iconIt’s called “Group A” because there is a hope that other small groups of people might want to form such a group. Both Pastor Jeff and Pastor Brenda have training as Spiritual Directors and are both open to helping additional groups form. If you’re interested, speak to either of them.



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Special Offerings

pastors discretionary fundThe July Special Offering will go to replenish the Pastors’ Discretionary Fund. This money is used by our Pastors to help out families in emergencies. During the past year, our Pastors have been able to help church families keep phones connected, prescriptions filled, and lights on thanks to your generosity. They’ve even helped pay for a cremation.

This offering will be officially received on Sunday, July 9. As with all our special offerings, you are welcome to give at any time (always make checks payable to Niles Discovery Church). You can also give online: go to our church webpage and click the “donate” button at the top of the page.

Niles Discovery Church receives a special offering each month. With that many possibilities for special giving, you may need to choose which ones are most important to you. You can see the schedule of special offerings at or call the church office and we will mail you one.

Thanks to your generosity, $762 was contributed to the June Special Offering to support the evangelism efforts of the denominations.

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We Are One rally/vigil focuses on Unity

we are one

The monthly “We Are One” rally/vigil, sponsored by the Tri-City Interfaith Council and Compassionate Fremont will focus on “Unity” in July. Held on the fourth Thursday of the month, 5:00-6:00 p.m., at the corner of Walnut and Paseo Padre in Fremont, the “We Are One” rally/vigils bring people together to stand up for the common value of compassion and respect that is found in all religious traditions. You are invited to make and bring signs that are peaceful, compassionate, and non-partisan.

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