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Archive for April, 2012

This Sunday, April 29th we will confirm our newest class of confirmands into membership in First Presbyterian Church. Immediately after worship we will have a covered dish lunch to honor and celebrate them. Please bring your favorite side dishes and desserts and help us celebrate as we welcome the newest members into our church.

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Children’s Bible Sunday REMINDER

Just a reminder this Sunday, April 29th is the deadline to sign up for this. Please call me if you have any questions. I hope you and your children can be here and be a part of this wonderful event.

Scripture lays the foundation for our faith and our lives. Our children are building their faith foundation every day, and a solid understanding  of scripture is essential. For these reasons we are excited to announce our

1st Annual Children’s

Bible Sunday

Sunday, May 6

A fun and Bible filled day.

 

11:00 – All K-5th grade children will be recognized in worship and given an age appropriate Bible

12:00– Lunch for the children and their families

1:00 – Bible workshop (fun, games & crafts) for 3-5th graders and parents. Childcare will be provided for younger siblings.

2:30 – Blessing of Bibles   

 

We need to know if you and your child will be participating, by April, 29th in order to get the correct number of Bibles, order food and have childcare. This is going to be a great day for the children of our church we hope you will be a part of it!

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Every year I get past Easter and think, “Whew, now we can rest a bit!”  And every year I’m reminded how silly that is.  Things don’t slow down in the least!  This coming Sunday is a perfect example.  It’s Confirmation Sunday, and we give thanks to God that Emma Harrison, Matthew Eads, Logan King, and Hunt Harrison have decided to make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and join our church.  We’re also going to briefly honor Bill Rountree, who graduated from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte last weekend.  And, of course, the Confirmation covered-dish lunch immediately following worship. A banner day for sure!

There’s one other thing happening on Sunday that I want you to know about – but it’s not at our church.  It’s at our sister church, Edward Webb Presbyterian, on Worth Street.  You may not have realized there even was a Presbyterian church there, but there is – in fact, it’s been there for over 130 years, just 24 less than our own.

However, there will not be a 131st year, as the eight members of Edward Webb have made the difficult decision to dissolve the church.

If shutting your church down sounds like a painful thing to do, it is.  Almost always it comes after years of struggling, usually involving a sharp decline in membership and overall activity.  Many people in these churches have spent their entire lives in this one faith community and remember days gone by when the church was thriving and something like dissolving was unimaginable.

For three years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with Edward Webb every January to moderate their annual congregational meeting, since they do not have a regular pastor and hold worship services just twice a month.  At our meeting this past January, the membership talked openly about the idea of dissolving – something that had been on their minds for a while.  I was touched and inspired by the courage and honesty that Robert, LaDonna, Teresa, Sonya, and Josie Ann engaged in together.  I was (and still am) honored to call them brothers and sisters in Christ.

It’s not a simple process to dissolve a church in the Presbyterian Church (USA).  Since every church is beholden to their presbytery, the congregation can’t actually dissolve itself, but votes to request presbytery to do so.  Decisions have to be made about what to do with the facility and the church’s assets, which must be approved by presbytery.  You’ll be pleased to know that Edward Webb has decided to award a small portion of their assets to the Backpack Program they’ve partnered with us for three years – assuring that the good work of Edward Webb will continue long after their doors are closed.

This Sunday, April 29th, Edward Webb will hold their final worship service as a congregation – a service of remembrance and celebration at 4:00pm in their sanctuary at 704 Worth Street.  I’ll be one of the worship leaders, along with other ministers and lay leaders.  I’ve asked the elders of our church to be in attendance, but everyone from First Presbyterian, and all churches in Salem Presbytery, are invited and encouraged to attend.

You may not know anyone from Edward Webb, but that doesn’t mean you can’t worship with them this Sunday and give thanks to God for their 130 years of ministry.  In fact, not knowing them is the perfect reason for coming!  Being part of the body of Christ means that God works in wonderful ways, not only with a few people we know, but many we do not.  The important thing is that God knows the eight members of Edward Webb – knows them intimately and loves them completely.  And we should do the same.

Give thanks to God for churches like Edward Webb and ours – churches who serve God faithfully in whatever time God grants!

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1st Annual Childrens Bible Sunday

Scripture lays the foundation for our faith and our lives. Our children are building their faith foundation every day, and a solid understanding of scripture is essential. For these reasons we are excited to announce our
1st Annual Children’s
Bible Sunday
Sunday, May 6
A fun and Bible filled day.

11:00 – All K-5th grade children will be recognized in worship and given an age appropriate Bible
12:00- Lunch for the children and their families
1:00 – Bible workshop (fun, games & crafts) for 3-5th graders and parents. Childcare will be provided for younger siblings.
2:30 – Blessing of Bibles

We need to know if you and your child will be participating, by April, 29th in order to get the correct number of Bibles, order food and have childcare. This is going to be a great day for the children of our church we hope you will be a part of it!

Read Full Post »

Calling All Graduates!

It is that time of year when we prepare to recognize our High School graduates and celebrate all our college graduates. If you will be graduating in a few weeks please take a few minutes to e-mail Shasta (bodesoda2atgmail.com) the following information:

  1. Full name of graduate
  2. High School, College or Graduate School graduating from
  3. Parents name
  4. College attending if High School graduate
  5. Degree earned if College/Graduate School graduate

This is a wonderful time in your life, I hope you will allow your church family to recognize and celebrate with you.

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I don’t know how many of you follow my personal blog (www.thoughts-musings.com), but last week I posted some thoughts about what it means to be an authentic church.  This is something I’ve devoted a lot of thought to over the years, especially after the wonderful Lenten Bible study we concluded last Wednesday on Emergence Christianity and what new things God is doing in the life of the church these days.  As I say in the post, I’m convinced that what draws people to a particular church – and what keeps them there – are not fancy “programs” (a word I loathe to use in a church context) but the fellowship they find there, and how “authentic” that fellowship is.  How comfortable they are in their own skin; how committed they are to following Jesus wherever he takes them.

As I think of the Holy Week we enter into today, I recognize the fact that you can only meander along on the journey for so long.  Eventually there comes a point where it is as real as real gets.  Those disciples who followed Jesus into Jerusalem that day with the crowd waving palm branches and shouting “Hosannas” knew it was a radical and dangerous thing they were doing; sure to draw the ire and wrath of the Roman empire.  And there was no turning back.  In the week that came, following Jesus grew more and more risky – they were there with him when he turned tables at the temple, there when he preached about the temple being destroyed and rebuilt in three days, there when he “woe’d” all over the Pharisees, there when he took the Passover meal to a whole new level with bread and wine.

It was risky.  And yet, it was authentic.  Radically authentic.  Whether they knew it or not in the three years prior, this journey was the journey Jesus intended to take them on all along.  Where the rubber meets the road, as the old saying goes.  It was inevitable that following Jesus would mean going down a path that would force them to make a choice. Sadly, as Jesus followed things to their bitter end, to Good Friday and the cross, those around him chose to diverge from that path and make their own.  If we’re honest with ourselves, our tendency is to do the same thing.

Easter is coming, I know.  We all know the glory of that morning when the tomb is empty and death fails to get the last word.  But Easter is not an event unto itself – it’s the culmination of all that came before it; all that came before for those disciples, and for you and me.

What does it mean, then, to “keep it real” this Holy Week?  How can we, in 2012, be authentic followers Jesus and journey with him down the path that would ultimately lead to his demise?  Three things I can think of:

Reading Mark – A few years ago I started the Holy Week tradition of reading this book about the last week of Jesus’ life through the Gospel of Mark.  If a whole book is too much to cram into your busy schedule, consider using this schedule for the gospel itself, which is actually written as a day-by-day account:

  • Palm Sunday: Mark 11: 1-11
  • Monday: Mark 11: 12-19
  • Tuesday: Mark 11: 20-33, 12:1-44, 13: 1-37 (a busy day!)
  • Wednesday: Mark 14: 1-11
  • Thursday: Mark 14: 12-72
  • Friday: Mark 15: 1-47
  • Saturday: The only day without a scriptural account, but we know it was there. Think about what it must’ve been like as one of those disciples on the day after you saw Jesus put to death, not knowing what the next day would bring…
  • Sunday: Mark 16: 1-8

Maundy Thursday Service – Join us for our special Maundy Thursday service this year.  We’ll meet in the Scout Hut at 6:30pm.  We change things up every year, and this year is our Maundy Thursday drama, “There’s Room At The Table.”  It’s a very moving depiction of that night and the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples, coupled with some hymns and communion at the end. Very authentic; very real.

Keeping It Real – As you walk through the week ahead, whether it means going to work or enjoying your spring break or running errands, reserve a corner of your brain to focus on that week long ago when things got very real for Jesus and his disciples.  Think about the conflict, the stress, the struggle that comes before the celebration of Easter morning; and how your faith is impacted by that.  Contemplate how “keeping it real” enables you to be a more authentic witness to Jesus – that he journeys with us through it all; the highs and lows of life, all the way to the cross and beyond.

Blessings to you this Holy week!

 

 

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