Friday, July 21, 2017

Our FAN Kickoff Was a Success! by Lacy Ngo


We had all kinds of goodies on our FAN table. We had several handouts available including a handout that provided tips on how to be an active kid, and a handout that showed what a healthy plate should look like. By the way, the “Myplate” recommends about half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables; one forth of your plate should be filled with grains (whole grains whenever possible); and one forth of your plate should be filled with lean proteins. The dairy is included as a cup of skim milk on the side. Other forms of dairy can be added to food as the dairy source as well.
The biggest hit of our FAN table, however, was the fruit, granola, and Greek yogurt parfaits. All ages were raving about the parfaits.
We even had a FAN survey to find out what ways our church members hope the FAN program can help. We discovered that people are interested in continuing to offer fitness opportunities in the church like the dance classes and the chair fitness classes as well as adding a new activity that can be modified for those that want higher intensity or for those who want lower intensity. We discovered that while our church members love and look forward to the 3rd Sunday donuts, some feel that they would stay and mingle more if there was a healthy option available. According to the feedback, members would rather receive help through awareness, reminders, and encouragement instead of implementing actual nutrition and fitness policies.
Since the FAN program announcement, I am pleasantly surprised at how much just having these recent reminders has encouraged all of us, including me, to make better choices. Here are a few changes I have ALREADY seen:
* The volunteers for the annual ice cream social decided to offer a salad AND ice cream  at the social this year.
* Bananas were offered at an early morning meeting
* The book club social provided healthy appetizers that were heavy on the vegetables.
* The candy that is often given out to children after a children’s activity was replaced with another option.
* Healthy snacks were offered to the children this year during the annual skills camp.
* We have been providing more roasted chicken verses fried for our meals.
* More healthy choices were provided at the Contemporary Service snack table.
These are just a few that I noticed since the FAN program was announced. Way to go St. John’s UMC!
On the FAN table, we also provided a box for any nutrition questions our members might have. We were approached with many great nutrition questions. I was so pleased with all the interest. The questions and answers are below:
1.     What are the benefits of Greek yogurt?
·      Yogurt is a great source of protein, calcium, and probiotics, and for those hoping to lose weight, Greek yogurt is filling, meaning you will feel fuller on less calories. Moreover, Greek yogurt has zero saturated fat and cholesterol. Greek yogurt has fewer carbohydrates and sugar and more protein than yogurt.
2.     Is yogurt healthy? What about GMOs?
First, you may wonder, what are GMOs. GMOs are genetically modified or genetically engineered foods. GMO plants are beneficial because they can tolerate heat, cold, drought, pesticides and herbicides. They can also increase shelf life, control pollination, decrease the need for pesticides, improve the growth and yield of crops, and can even improve nutritional quality of the food. By being able to improve the growth and yield of crops, using GMO plants can help meet the needs of an ever-expanding population. The benefits of GMOs are many, but are they safe? GMO foods have been around since 1996, and have been studied for years. So what does the science say after reviewing the research? According to the World Health Organization, each GMO is different and should be assessed on a case-by-case basis; however, the GMO foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risk to humans. We should continue to study GMOs to gather more long-term data. The take home message is eating a GMO vegetable or yogurt made with milk from GMO fed cows is still much healthier than eating a giant sausage biscuit and tater tots for breakfast. If GMOs still make you uncomfortable, look for the organic label. Either way you are still eating more fruits and vegetables, which is benefiting your health.
3.     Is the sugar in yogurt okay?

The short answer is that just like fruit, dairy naturally contains sugar, but yogurt, like fruit, naturally contains so many important nutrients and benefits as well so avoiding these foods for health reasons would be counter productive. However some yogurt have added sugar along with the sugar naturally in yogurt. Unfortunately, food labels only list TOTAL sugar, not added sugar. The good news is that sometime in 2018 nutrition labels will actually list the amount of added sugar. In the meantime, compare labels and look for the higher protein, lower total sugar yogurts. Also, remember to eat everything in moderation. Many “good” foods have pros AND cons so avoid overeating in general. The take home message is that yes, yogurt has natural sugar, but if you have limited your honeybun to only occasionally and have started regularly eating fruit and yogurt instead, good job! You are now getting a filling food with great nutritional benefits vs. an empty calorie honeybun.


Monday, June 12, 2017

So What is this FAN (Faith, Activity, and Nutrition) and How Will Our Church Benefit From Being Part of the Program? by Lacy Ngo, MS, RD


The church is here to most importantly spread God's word and God's love. Yet the church is also here to care for its members. The FAN program was formed to help with just that: caring for the health of our members. Some of our members have expressed a desire for this aspect of care.

The FAN program has three goals, which are:
1.     Increase physical activity
2.     Increase availability of fruits and vegetables at church, and
3.     Increase the availability of whole grain foods at church
The FAN program has a few requirements and many options on how our church can improve our ability to serve our church family in this way.
A few things you will see are:
·       A monthly FAN informational table in the church lobby. The table will have FAN newsletters, handouts, a place for you to ask a dietitian your nutrition and fitness questions, and even some healthy morning snacks will sometimes be provided for your enjoyment.
·       You can also checkout an updated monthly bulletin board, and
·       The monthly FAN bulletin inserts in your church bulletins. 
Do you want a little more? Sign up for the 8-week nutrition and fitness program starting August 27th. We will meet for a boot camp style fitness program, and we will spend some time learning nutrition tips from a dietitian. This program will be held every Sunday at 4:30. The workout will be tailored to you. Sign up in the lobby during the FAN kickoff Sunday or by emailing Lacy Ngo at lacyngo@yahoo.com.
Speaking of the FAN kickoff Sunday, please stop by our first FAN table on June 25th.
Lastly, keep checking this blog for even more nutrition information.
In fact, our first nutrition and fitness blog tips are listed below:



Easy Ways to Increase The Availability of Nutritious Foods at Church Activities
So your group is in charge of the church Wednesday night supper, and you want to make something delicious and nutritious for a large crowd; but what can you do? Don’t worry; you won’t need to change your whole menu to GREATLY improve your recipes for large crowds. Just follow three simple steps, and your same delicious recipes will become drastically healthier:
1.     Add more vegetables to your own recipes
2.     Use whole grain pasta, bread, and rice in your own recipes.
3.     Always have at least one fruit or vegetable as a side
That is it! Walla, you have a healthier meal to serve your church family.
Whew, that was simple. Now the meals are healthier, but what about snacks? So you are in charge of snacks for a church event, and you want to purchase snacks in bulk.  Perishables like fruit and vegetables are not going to work for you. Can you still provide healthier snacks?
Yes, you can! Simply buy cheerio’s, popcorn (which is a whole grain), or whole grain goldfish, and you have now increased the availability of whole grains in the church. One simple snack solution, and you are providing your church loved ones with healthier snack options.
Remember, it is not about taking foods away, but about having healthier options available.






Sunday, June 11, 2017

St. John's Musical Magnum Opus (Omaggio a Helton and Revels) by Lauren Reinhardt on behalf of SPRC

For more than two decades, two people at St. John’s have been working to bring us closer to each other and help us come together as a congregation to glorify God—Wes Revels (1993) and Mary Ann Helton (1999). As we consider all the families who have grown up under their music and tutelage, the harmony of the men’s chorus, the chancel choir, and the handbell choirs (children and adults)—their impact is monumental.
Concurrently, Mary Ann was the choral director at Rock Hill High, when she finally retired in her 36th year in 2009. “That was my calling,” she says, “but work at St. John’s was also a joy as well as service.” Additionally, she formed the men’s chorus in 2010, has participated on a Nicaragua mission trip, and delivers food via Hunger Outreach every month. Wes has helped foster a love of music in many piano and hand bell students, has played hundreds of weddings and funerals, and served as the Mother of the Groom during the St. John’s Womanless Wedding. They have both helped with VBS, with Wes once breaking his arm on a pew the first day!
Wes and Mary Ann have been a dynamic duo, effortlessly accompanying each other, even during moments of crisis. There was a time on Christmas Eve when the organ got stuck, and Wes rushed to the basement to cut the power to the organ. Not missing a beat, Mary Ann went to the piano to keep the music going. As the adage goes, the show must go on.
In fact, this Christmas will be the first in the last 20+ years that they will have time off from Christmas music. Mary Ann’s only lament is, “We had the best seats in the house.” Wes confirms, saying, “To look out from the organ in the choir loft and see the people and candles is magical.”
And that’s one of the things they’ll miss the most. When asked if they ever anticipated staying as long as they have, neither did, but they enjoyed it every day and will miss all the people very much.
But retirement isn’t the end, it’s just one more movement in the musical composition of their lives. Mary Ann grew up at St. John’s and will continue to serve faithfully on the missions team and lead the First Sunday Food Outreach team beginning in July, but she excited about traveling more and spending time in the yard. Wes has promised to come back to visit and will keep in touch, but he is eager to spend more time at the beach, write some music, and study photography—his photo of the fountain at Fountain Park on Easter morning was recently featured in the Down Home magazine published by The Herald. He will also continue to teach private piano lessons.
There’s so much more that could be said about these precious people and the stories they shared, including wild antics of a monkey named Chico, but as Wes winked and chuckled—but said in all seriousness, “Don’t include this…it’s off the record.”
However, in all seriousness, Wes and Mary Ann didn’t strike it rich in their music ministry, but they have achieved a success beyond riches and fame. They have touched the lives of generations here, fostering a love of music, uplifting hearts with favorite hymns, and all the while glorifying God in their ministry to this church. They have given us beautiful music, and we are better—more united—for it.
We wish Wes and Mary Ann the very best and much happiness in their retirement. Please come congratulate them during a reception in their honor after the 11am service on Sunday, June 25th.

The full Q and A with Wes and Mary Ann:

Q: What’s a song you never get tired of hearing?

Mary Ann – so many. Maybe one of the Paul Manz Christmas arrangements, such as “E’en So Lord, Quickly Come.”
Wes – I like the Wesley hymns, especially “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”
Q: What are your retirement plans?

Mary Ann – I hope to finally get my house cleaned out (laughs). But I just want to enjoy each day, work in the yard, do some accompanying at Winthrop. And more traveling.

Wes – I will go to the beach more often. I’ve always enjoyed photography, but I want to learn more about photography. I want to write some music.

Q: How has the music program(s) and your involvement changed since you started?

Mary Ann – I founded the Men’s Chorus in 2010, and I’ll continue to lead that as long as they’re interested in singing. As to how things have changed, I think the number one change is commitment. Church used to be where everything happened, and now many folks are gone on Sundays.

Wes – St. John’s was one of the first churches to have a handbell choir. We still have an active handbell program and have the original bells that go 5 octaves. We now have three worship services each Sunday, as well as a Taize meditation service during the Lenten and Advent seasons. I started the Lessons and Carols service in 1993 and is now a tradition at Christmas time each year.

Q: What drew you to music, and what was the path you took?

Mary Ann – I grew up in this church. My mother always wanted to do music—to play piano—but she was raised in the depression-era and couldn’t afford it. So she had me take lessons starting in 2nd grade with Mrs. McCrory. Mrs. McCroty said I had talent and I moved to a Winthrop teacher, Mary Elizabeth Dunlap. I had to practice 30 minutes every single morning. I continued taking from Ms. Dunlap, who told me to get a musical education degree. I wanted to be a music teacher. So I went to Florida State and got a Master’s degree in choral music. My first job was in elementary school, but then I went to Rock Hill High School as their choral director for 36 years. That was my calling. This work at St. John’s has been a joy, but it’s time for young blood with stars in their eyes.

Wes – I always wanted to study piano. I started 2nd grade and went each year until one time in middle school, I told my mom I was quitting – and she turned and looked at me and said NO you aren’t. That was the last time I ever said I would quit, and I never did. I went to a private boarding school in Kentucky and music was pervasive—wonderful. Then I studied at Southern Wesleyan University, University of Georgia, and Winthrop. I’ve served ARP, Lutheran, Disciples of Christ, and Methodist denominations. Being Samuel Wesley, I had to be Methodist. During my tenure at University Lutheran in Clemson and at Ebenezer ARP, a pipe organ was installed. The organ at St. John’s was installed in 1924 and renovated in late 90s while I was here. We also purchased three new (wonderful) Yamaha pianos.

Q: How did you get to St. John’s?

Mary Ann – Well, I grew up in this church! I came to work as interim in 1988 and stayed until 1993. Then I came back in 1999.

Wes – My wife, Pam, and I were doing a duo piano recital for a music club in our home. St. John’s member, the late Margie Hood, asked me if I was looking for a change. I had been serving for the last 11.5 years as the organist/choir director at Ebenezer ARP. I applied and was hired at St. John’s and my first Sunday was June 13, 1993.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory?

Both: Christmas Eve service. We have the best seats in the house. The people and candles is magical. Another favorite is the Ascension stained glass window at the rear of the sanctuary. It is beautiful at sunset, and they enjoyed seeing it during Wednesday night choir practice.
And then there was the story about the organ going off during the middle of a sermon and Chico the monkey….

“But don’t include this…it’s off the record.” – Wes





Monday, April 3, 2017

Our Disciple Fast Track Journey by Vicki Stevens

              

The group of St. John’s adults who has joined together in the Disciple Fast Track study has embarked on a 24-week-long journey through much of the bible.

God’s promises and laws for His Chosen People were studied in depth from the Old Testament for the first 12 weeks of the study.  We saw how God gave the Israelites second…and third…and more chances to live up to his expectations of how good they really could be.  When He saw that humans were just not going to make it on our own, He sent Jesus to save us from our sins and ourselves.  Thus began the second 12-week part of the study of the New Testament.

Through the study of the Gospels and Epistles we are learning how we can more model our life after Jesus in order to be better disciples of him.

The reading assignments have been overwhelming at times, but the book is certainly the best we’ve ever read!

Thanks to Pastor Rett who keeps us on track and imparts on us his biblical knowledge and understanding!