January 2017

Dear Church Family,

Welcome to 2017! I hope you had a restful and full Christmas time. I know I enjoyed celebrating the Advent of our Lord with you. There is something special about the great expectation of Advent and looking forward to Christmas. Now we turn in great expectation to see how God may use us in the new year.

People often make resolutions for a new year (many of which we do not keep). While many make fun of this practice, I think it can hold some spiritual value. The greatest job we are given by God is to share His love with others around us. Perhaps you could choose a family member, a friend, and an acquaintance - and strive to help them experience God’s love through you. Whether it be constant words of encouragement, acts of kindness, or a listening ear; these small acts built up over a year can reveal a loving God to them through you! So before we scoff at resolutions think about the Kingdom impact they could have.

I am excited for where God will be leading our church this next year. I wonder what ministry, or change, or impact God may have in store for us. Let's continue praying earnestly that we would be faithful and sensitive to God’s leading both personally and corporately.

As we look ahead, just stop and think of all the ways God has used us this past year.  We started a  food pantry ministry  and it has grown into one of the largest church pantries in our community. We added another weekly meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in our building. Ezra Howe, our summer intern, invested in the youth of our neighborhood. We started a partnership with the Literary Council to host and teach ESL (English as Second Language) classes. I am sure I am forgetting many other ways, but it is important to reflect and give praise for what God is doing so we do not become discouraged in our Kingdom work!

Finally, this Sunday also marks the exact anniversary of my ministry assignment here at ASHNAZ. Looking back over the last year, I am so thankful that the Lord has brought Rebecca and I here. It truly has been a blessed time, in large part to your loving kindness to us. I am proud to call you all our church family and grateful for our continued ministry together. Thank you for embracing Rebecca and I so warmly. May God also bless us in the year ahead.

Your Pastor,

Andrew Crimmins

December 2016

Dear Church Family,

It is good to be back in the same time zone as you! November was quite the adventure for Rebecca and I, but also for the church as well.  Every Sunday in November we had a different preacher, but from the reports I received, God spoke through every one. Thank you for supporting us in our work in Nepal, and being flexible as we were away. Our trip was both fun and rewarding. We hiked in the Himalaya mountains and spent time at an orphanage where Rebecca has helped for many years. We have come back to Asheville with a renewed sense of gratitude and passion for the work we have to do here.

The parking lot was re-sealed in November and I must say it looks nearly brand new! We believe that the resealing is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also a good stewardship of our resources to preserve the paving already there. Also, thank you for your prayers for the pre-school accreditation process. As of this letter, the state raters have already come and audited our ministry and now we await the results which should arrive in the next few weeks. Please continue to pray for the results, even as we breath a sigh of relief for the school staff.

As we look ahead to December we should be excited about the Advent and Christmas season. Of course, many of us are excited because this season brings back fond memories, or we look forward to the focus on family time. However, we should also be spiritually excited as we await the coming of our Lord. Advent is the season of great expectation as we look for our Messiah, the Prince of Peace to enter our chaotic world. Don’t be distracted by the shopping, family, stress, or business of the season and miss the presence of Jesus in our midst.

Also be aware that this season is difficult for many who have lost loved ones, jobs, or simply don’t have fond memories of the Christmas season. The most appropriate way we can prepare for the coming of our Lord is to offer comfort and peace to those who are hurting and scared around us. We will never find Christ in the consumerist craze that accompanies this season, but you will find Christ in loving the wounded, giving to others, and trusting in the peace of God.  

I am grateful to share my first Advent season with you as pastor. It is a blessing to be apart of a community who is looking for Christ’s presence to enter our world anew each day.

Your Pastor,

Andrew Crimmins

November 2016

Dear Church Family,

Well November has arrived and with it cold weather and plenty of leaves. What a wonderful season of continued Thanksgiving and fellowship.

November will be a different sort of month for our church, as I will be gone the first two Sundays! However, I am excited for you to hear the visiting preachers we have in store. The first Sunday of November you will get to hear our District Superintendent Dr. Greg Mason. Dr. Mason provides great leadership for our entire district and region and I am glad he is willing to come fill in. The second Sunday of the month you will get to hear Dr. Steve Hoskins. Dr. Hoskins is the professor of Church History and Biblical Greek at our very own Trevecca Nazarene University. He has been a great mentor of mine during college and especially afterwards. I am tickled pink that he was able to fill in, though I am saddened I won’t be able to be here. I know God will use these pastors to continue his work in and through our church.

Rebecca and I are sad to miss the next few weeks, but we are excited for our trip. Rebecca first visited an orphanage in Nepal in 2008, and she has worked with the same orphanage ever since. She has been back two additional times and has served as their volunteer coordinator for a few years. This trip to Nepal will most likely be the last time Rebecca will be able to see the children she first met many years ago as they are already getting into their teenage years. Rebecca’s heart for these orphans was one of the things that attracted me most to her as it was a sign of the Holy Spirit leading her to love and serve the least of these. During this trip we plan to do some projects on the physical buildings and organize the education for some of the girls who are graduating high school. Thank you for encouraging us in our mission and please pray for us while we are gone.

At the end of October we had a wonderful “Trunk or Treat” event where we got to be a strong community presence and show love to our neighbors. Our other ministries are going well and impacting our neighborhood. During this next month, will you take time to especially pray for the pre-school? November is a critical month for this ministry as we will be going through the government rating system for childcare. We are currently a 4 star program and we hope and pray that we will be afforded the same rating. Certain standards, mainly based on the building and playground, get tightened and changed overtime and Peggy Neighbors has been doing a wonderful job preparing us for this rating time. Pray for her, the teachers, and that the entire process would go smoothly. We trust God’s continued blessing upon this ministry.

Thank you for your commitment to God’s kingdom and this church. Let us remember those who are carrying physical, spiritual, and emotional burdens during this time. Loving one another is our witness to Christ’s saving love. May God bless you.

Your Pastor,

Andrew Crimmins

July NewsLetter

Dear Church Family,

Well the summer is off to a great start! The month of July has some exciting things in store for us. The month will be bookended by two great events. At the beginning of the month, July 3rd, we will be having a community cookout at 6pm. It will be a time of fellowship among our church, but it is also a great type of event to invite a friend or neighbor to. It can be scary for folks to walk into a new church service, but everyone likes to eat!

The second event will be Saturday August 6th (I know technically not July), and I would like us to start praying and preparing ourselves to engage the community with it. The event is in partnership with Provision Asheville (the same organization we partner with for the food pantry), and is called “Love West Asheville 2016.” This will be a community wide event where we will offer our regular food pantry, free chair massages, school supplies, lunch, inflatables, and will have dental examinations through the North Carolina Baptist Men’s Dental Bus. As you can see this will be a great event that is meant to love our neighbors, especially those who could use some assistance before school starts back. Would you start praying with me that God would work through this event to bless and draw our community?

The first Sunday in July concludes our sermon series “The Makings of a Church” and I am sad to see it end as it has been a wonderful time considering the Spirit’s work in the  Acts church and where Spirit is leading us here at ASHNAZ. Our next sermon series will be on the Lord’s prayer; a critical piece of instruction from Christ, not only as a model for our prayer life, but for the Christian pursuit. However as we transition out of our current sermon series, let us never stop asking and seeking what it means to be a good and faithful church here at ASHNAZ.

I hope this letter finds you well. May this next month bring you the peace of Christ which passes all understanding.

Your Pastor,

Andrew Crimmins

June Newsletter

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Dear Church Family,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. June officially brings us into summer; school is out, the weather is warm, and there is much to be excited about this month! Perhaps the biggest change will be the arrival of our summer intern, Ezra Howe, who just graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University. Ezra studied theology and ministry at TNU and will be applying what he learned in school here in our ministry setting. He will primarily be working with our youth, but will also help out in other pastoral areas. Please pray for him and his time here, may God use him to disciple young people, and may he also gain experience for his ministry road ahead.

One of the biggest blessings in May was the start of our food pantry ministry. We expected to start very slowly as word got out about the pantry, but we had over 20 people show up our first Saturday and over 40 people benefited from the food that was given away. In June we will increase our ministry to two Saturdays a month. So on the first and third Saturdays of every month we will be  opening our doors at 9am to offer food to the hungry. I am thankful that we are a community that is actively trying to be the hands and feet of Christ to our neighbors. Please pray that people would continue to witness God’s love through us and that they may be transformed through the encounter.

During June we will continue our sermon series in Acts: “The Makings of a Church.” My hope is that during this series we will be able to reimagine together what the church is called to be. At times we can get so comfortable in our routines, even our faith routines, that we are immovable; but God is always seeking to move us forward towards himself and our neighbors. As you study, pray, and engage during this series I hope your heart will be open to where God is leading us as a church.  As we have already seen through Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is the creative power of God that is actively bringing all of creation towards redemption in Christ. May we allow ourselves to be used by the Spirit in this new work of God in Asheville.

Your Pastor,

Andrew Crimmins

 

May Newsletter

Dear Church Family,

What a blessed Easter Season we have had together. As we look ahead, I am excited about Pentecost, and the following time we will spend in the book of Acts. Pentecost was the formation of the church, and I think it is the perfect time for us to consider what it means to be a faithful church. After Pentecost I will do a 7 week sermon series entitled “The Makings of a Church.”  We Nazarenes are a church that believes firmly in the work of the Holy Spirit empowering us to live Christ-like lives. So I am excited as we look into Acts to see what it means for us to be a church that reflects Christ in the world today.

May is also an action packed month. We are kicking off our new Food Pantry Ministry (a partnership with Provision Asheville) on May 7th, we will be celebrating Mother’s Day with a special breakfast on the 8th, we have the Pre-School Car Show on the 21st, and finally we have Rev. Dana Preusch preaching on the 29th. Dana taught me preaching at Trevecca, and has been a pastoral mentor of mine ever since. She currently is the director of the Center for Pastoral Leadership at our very own Nazarene Theological Seminary, and is one of the most gifted leaders in our church.

Among all of the activities this month I hope you will find a place in our community to engage and connect with your fellow believers. I am thankful for our church community that celebrates Christ in so many ways. May everything we do as a church this month bring glory to God.

Your Pastor,

Andrew Crimmins

 

April Newsletter

Dear Church Family, 

The Easter season has finally come! We have journeyed together through the season of Lent as we contemplated the way of the cross, but now we have turned the corner and witnessed our risen Lord among us.  What a wonderful Easter celebration we had together. I felt so blessed to celebrate my first Easter with you all. April is a beautiful time as the temperatures are warming and flowers are blooming. In each new bud and leaf we should see the promise of creation’s renewal through Jesus Christ. Easter is not just one Sunday, but it is actually a season just like Lent. Easter season lasts 7 Sundays until we get to Pentecost. 

So for this Easter season pay attention to areas in your life and our world that could use God’s resurrecting power. As we celebrate together over the next few weeks what Easter means to us, let us be reminded that God is still in the business of resurrecting the dying and hurting places in the world today. Resurrection is not just something we look for at the end of time, but it also can happen today. God’s Spirit is at work in the world in powerful ways, leading all of creation towards resurrection in Christ. 

Finally, I hope you will be able to make it to our “Parsonage Open House” on Sunday, April 10th at 5pm. I believe it will be a great time of fellowship and fun. Feel free to invite friends and family from outside the church as well. Have a blessed April, thank you for being apart of our church family. 

Your Pastor, 

Andrew Crimmins