By Nicholas Fong
School is back in session, and let the learning begin! But don’t fret. There are programs out there that can help you with anything you have trouble with. Like math, english, and history. There are places like a library where you can study in peace with friends or alone. And, there are places where you can let loose, and enjoy a small slice of freedom, just doing what you want to do.
In my youth group, at North Shore Baptist Church, we sing songs, eat good food, and have fun with an activity that can lead late into the night. For instance, in December, we made graham cracker houses and used frosting to make a sweet cathedral, or a structure of some kind. Or, we make non heat lava lamps that we can take home and just watch; even when we are studying. We even go out to a farm sometimes and go through a corn maze at night. Some play jokes by scaring others, even if it is breaking the rules, but nonetheless we still have fun.
So, even if school is hard or grueling, just know there are places out there that are willing to help students, and there are programs out there that can help ease the stress that is school.
Youth group meets Friday nights from 6:30-8:30 pm.
By Cecilia Poenyunt, First Lady Emerita of the Karen Fellowship
This year, we will celebrate 9 years of the Karen Fellowship with a thanksgiving worship service and meal on September 16th at 12:30 pm in Howell Hall.
Pastor Roger Poenyunt arrived in Chicago on June 11, 2008. Before this, Po Clee and several other families had come to Chicago in 2007and started attending North Shore Baptist Church. The first week we [Roger and Cecilia] came to church, we met the Karen families who had come before us. Po Clee, who came to church first, introduced Pastor Roger to [English Language] Pastors Carol [McVetty] and Doug [Harris[, which is how we came to know each other. A few months later, Pastor Roger began work as Karen Fellowship Pastor, but then we only gathered and worshipped with the English service. On September 13th, 2009, we got room in Kraft Chapel and started the Karen Fellowship worship service. So every year in September, we celebrate our anniversary with thanksgiving in Howel Hall.
From 2008-2010, more Karen families arrived. Later, some families moved to Minnesota; Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska; Waterloo, Iowa; Utica, New York; as well as Rock Island and Rockford, Illinois. We now have only fifteen families remaining in Chicago. By the grace of God, the Karen Fellowship members work and worship together every week at 11:30 am, after fellowship time.
In December of 2017, Pastor Roger retired from work because of his declining health, resulting from cancer treatment. From December to June 2018, he returned to Myanmar. Now, by the grace of God, we have a new pastor, Rev. Eh Plo Soe, from Rockford. Rev. Eh Plo Soe’s installation service on July 29 featured guests from many places. Rev. Eh Plo Soe moved to Chicago on August 1, and some members of the Karen Fellowship helped him move into his apartment in Ravenswood.
This September, we welcome Rev. Michael Ware as the new pastor of the English Language Congregation. Pastor Michael’s first day will be September 4, and his first Sunday in English worship will be September 9.
Pastor Michael ’s faith journey began at age seven when he was taken in by a Christian couple in Benton Harbor, Michigan, who introduced him to Christ’s mercy, grace, and love. The church has been a central focus of his life ever since. Throughout his college days, secular career, marriage, and raising a family, God’s call upon Pastor Ware’s life has been strong. As he taught Sunday School, served as moderator, sang in the choir, and listened to the struggles of a friend, he knew that God had a plan for him, and sharing Christ’s love was central to that plan. He organized and led local youth groups and became involved in coordinating and leading several state and national youth gatherings for the denomination. Through the years, Michael often contemplated a career in the ministry; finally, he felt God’s call to be irresistible, so he enrolled in seminary.
Rev. Ware is wrapping up his pastorate at Webster Baptist Church in Webster, New York, where he has served since 2006 as the solo pastor of an integrated church. He will also be wrapping his service as Vice President of the Rochester/Genesee Region of the ABC. During his tenure at Webster Baptist Church, he also served as a volunteer chaplain and firefighter for the Webster Fire Department.
Rev. Ware obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Albion College in Albion, Michigan and a Master of Divinity from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. Michael enjoys traveling for mission, ministry, and pleasure. Outside of the United States, he has been to South Africa, Swaziland, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Jamaica. Rev. Ware likes to play disc golf, do puzzles, and ride his bike. He is a devoted sports fan, especially the Dallas Cowboys, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Chicago Cubs.
Rev. Ware is thrilled to be coming to North Shore Baptist Church as the English Language Pastor. He is dedicated to bringing energy, growth and spiritual renewal to the church through preaching, teaching, mission, and evangelism. Pastor Ware is passionate about making the church and its neighborhood part of the “beloved community.”