EPISTLE SPORTS MINISTRIES FALL NEWSLETTER 2006
WE’RE IN THE OVERLAP… It’s that time of year when the baseball and hockey seasons overlap. The same thing happens each year during Spring Training. The Blue Jays are into the final month and the Peterborough Petes have started their training camp with Opening Night coming on September 21st. It seems like yesterday that I was in Moncton, NB with the Petes as they contended for the Memorial Cup, symbolic of Major Junior A supremacy in North America. Even though I resigned from the BASEBALL CHAPEL ministry on February 1st, I maintained contact with the team and tried to visit the ballpark about every 2 weeks. My successor, Nigel Wheeler did a great job as Chapel Leader. The players enjoyed him and he seemed to be well accepted. J. P. Ricciardi (the G.M.) and John Gibbons (the manager…pictured) continued to be very supportive of me and the Epistle ministry and I’ve tried to be “in their corner” throughout the season through notes of encouragement (epistles) & personal visits.
MILWAUKEE TRIP… In August I flew to Milwaukee to see Gabe & Kelly Gross (pictured) former Blue Jays. I had hoped to see Corey Koskie as well but he is still recovering from a concussion and we weren’t able to connect. Please keep Corey in your prayers. The Brewers recently put Corey on the 60 day disabled list. While in Milwaukee I had breakfast with Wayne Beilgard, the Brewers’ Chapel Leader. In addition to his ministry with the team, Wayne is responsible for overseeing the other 29 major league chapel reps. He does a great job encouraging them!
BIG CHANGES… With many of last year’s team graduating, there will be a lot of changes in the line-up when the Peterborough Petes open their season. Dick Todd, the veteran coach who led the team to the OHL Championship and the Memorial Cup Tournament, retired and Vince Malette, the assistant coach of the Ottawa 67’s for the past nine (9) seasons, has taken over. It always takes me a week or two to get all the new players straight as far as their names and identity are concerned. This year will be especially challenging. We hope to have our first MONDAY WE HAVE FISH chapel/meal soon and we’ll get together every 2nd Monday throughout the season. We thank God for the positive feedback we get from the entire Petes organization. Players like Steve Downie (Flyers) and Jordan Staal (Penguins) are away at NHL training camps but should be back for the season opener. Thanks for your prayers as we begin our 11th season of ministry to this hockey team.
LORD STANLEY COMES TO PETERBOROUGH… The Peterborough Memorial Centre was jammed with fans when homeboy Cory Stillman of the Carolina Hurricanes brought the Stanley Cup home for the weekend. Hundreds of people stood in line waiting to get autographs and a photo with the local hero. Many Peterborough fans were cheering for the ‘Canes because of Stillman and Eric Staal (Jordan’s older brother). Of course I was pulling for my nephew Mike Fisher and the Ottawa Senators but…well, let’s wait for next year.
COMMUNITY CHAPEL SERVICE IN AUBURN, NY… The town of Auburn, New York where one of the Toronto Blue Jays’ rookie league teams is based held their annual Community BASEBALL CHAPEL service at the ballpark in July. This was the 11th year that this outreach has taken place. I had attended the service several times in the past as the Blue Jays’ chapel leader but this year I was asked to be the guest speaker. Players from both team were in attendance and people from the community were admitted to the chapel and game FREE. A stage was set up near home plate and I spoke from the lectern there. A singing group from Freedom Village provided music and testimonies. What an opportunity to share the gospel with baseball fans. Art and Marion Fritz have been serving with Baseball Chapel in Auburn for many years and their son Adam is also getting involved. Thanks to the Fritz family for their efforts over the years. They are special people!
OHL & OHA CHAPEL LEADERS GET TOGETHER… Several chapel leaders (chaplains) met at the home of John and Alice Farnworth, just north of Guelph, recently for mutual encouragement and to get geared up for the upcoming hockey season. The HOCKEY MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL (HMI) chapel program is “taking off” in these junior leagues. Jamie Ramie is doing an excellent job as chapel co-ordinator while Mark Osborne, Paul Allen, Laurie Boschman and I work alongside him. This season chapels will be held in Barrie, Saginaw, Mississauga, Guelph, Ottawa, Belleville, Kingston and Peterborough will other OHL centres still working on getting things up and running. One of the OHA teams, the Elmira Sugar Kings, was represented at our gathering and they will have chapels again this season. Our host, John Farnworth, is the chapel leader for the Guelph Storm.
PILGRIM SCRIBBLINGS… Response to our Pilgrim Scribblings blog (short for web log) continues to grow and I enjoy encouraging the Body of Christ through this medium. It’s amazing how many Christian bloggers are making a godly impact in cyberspace through their web sites. In addition to the Pilgrim Scribblings site, I have a George Muller site that I’m building up. This is all part of the EPISTLE SPORTS MINISTRIES mandate to offer encouragement and support to athletes and everyone else we come in contact with. Check out our web site addresses at the bottom of this page. Here’s an excerpt, THE GREAT UNKNOWN, from a recent Pilgrim Scribblings “post”:
“This sometimes frightening experience we call daily living can, at the same time, be exciting and downright scary. Venturing into “the great unknown" can be debilitating. Our existence is often strewn with unknowns, those chapters in the book of life that add suspense and drama to the finished product. I've never known the terror of living without a Guide to walk me through those dark nights, those paths littered with the debri of broken promises and shattered dreams. With Christ in my life since I was a six-year-old boy, I've, to some degree, been able to place my hand in His nailed-scarred hands and let Him lead into those dark, shadowy places. That's not to say I've never been scared. I'm at a cross-roads in life as I pen these words. What lies ahead is unknown but, as William Carey once said, "The future is as bright as the promises of God." I'm amazed that people in this day and age continue to walk independently, stating that they don't need anything to do with God in their lives. How can they have any measure of peace?”
MY PRAYER: "Father, teach those of us who have personally met You, through Your Son Jesus, to be brave and be strong, knowing that the Lord our God is with us. May the realities that accompanied our salvation when we first believed be realized and entered in to as we walk this pilgrim pathway. As we enter unknown, virgin territory today, tomorrow or next week, remind us that we never walk alone. Guide us O Thou Great Jehovah, pilgrims in this barren land. Father, make us instruments of Your peace, agents of redemption and reconciliation, lighthouses in our neighborhoods, shining lights who radiate Your love. May those who have never met You see Christ in us. Use us in spite of our brokenness and imperfections. Take us to our desired haven at Your right hand, but until then, may we sense Your abiding presence in the midst of the storm. Thank You for leading us "home" through Jesus Christ our Lord and Master! AMEN!"
AND FINALLY… As you know, Epistle Sports Ministries operates strictly by faith and we trust God to provide through His people. This has been a very difficult year for us financially as we have transitioned away from the Baseball Chapel ministry. Thanks for your prayerful interest and support. All gifts of $10.00 and more are tax-deductible and receipts are issued at year-end. Enough said!
EPISTLE SPORTS MINISTRIES – http://www.epistlesports.blogspot.com/
PILGRIM SCRIBBLINGS – http://www.pilgrimscribblings.blogspot.com/
GEORGE MULLER – http://www.georgemuller.blogspot.com/
THE BARNABAS BLOG - http://acts436.blogspot.com
“Encouraging athletes one letter at a time since 1975”