From the Associate Pastor

  • Sunday, September 28th, 2014

         Recently a challenge has been circulating on FaceBook for people to list 3 things for which they are grateful, every night for a week. Sounds easy, right? But if you don’t list anything more than once so that all 21 of your answers are unique, it might be a bit more difficult than it seems. If you are a glass-half-empty person like me, it can really be a tough assignment! But maybe that’s exactly why I should do it! It forces me to look at everything in my day, especially the smallest of happenings, and discover that God is indeed at work blessing me far more than I sometimes realize and that if I allow myself to see only my frustrations and failures, I miss out on all the good that God pours into my life every single day.

         So here are three things for which I am grateful this week:

         Our children, and especially our third graders, who are in my Kids Central class, Learning To Use My Bible. What a high energy, funny, smart and, most importantly, faithful group of kids! It’s been a long time since my own kids were this age and I leave exhausted but exhilarated- every Wednesday night! How cool is it that they get really excited reading stories in the Bible that this congregation gave to them on Rally Day?! It is so much fun dancing with them to the “Bible Book Bop” to help them memorize the books of the Bible! It’s really heartwarming to see them digging like junior archeologists in a box of sand to find the “hidden treasure” of Bible verses - or replicas of Qumran pots, scrolls and other surprises! Our children remind me of what this church is really all about- keeping our baptismal promise to help parents nurture their children in the faith and helping them grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. It just doesn’t get any better than this! Thank you God, for our FPC children and youth!

         Our young families, who remind me of my own grown children and my granddaughter. I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to know them and learn something about the struggles and joys in their lives, which are probably similar to those of my grown children. As a grandparent, I might have a little bit of wisdom that could help these young adults in their journey of parenthood. But they are teaching me that the world in which they are raising their children is dramatically different from the one in which I raised mine. Bigger. Scarier. More Complicated. It’s a gift to be able to hear their stories so that we as a congregation can learn new ways of encouraging them and strengthening their faith and their families in these challenging times. Thank you God, for our young families!

         Our church staff. I’ve worked in a hospital, doctors’ offices and a law firm but I have never worked with a group of people who are more caring, more supportive of each other or more faithful than this church staff! Each of them- Sam, Robin, Suzanne, Sherri, Jeannie, Cindy, Heather, Ken and Debbie are consummate professionals who care deeply about this congregation and work tirelessly to support, encourage and nurture this church. They’ve taught me so much! I’m grateful for all the ways in which they support and encourage me and help me learn to be a better pastor. Thank you God, for our church staff!

         Looking over my list, none of these things are “small happenings”; indeed, these are precious blessings that keep my glass not half empty but full to overflowing! Thank you, God for your goodness and grace always and everywhere at work in my life!

    God's grace and peace to you!

    Daria

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From the Pastor . . .

  • Sunday, September 14th, 2014

           Rally Day this past Sunday morning and the Kickoff to our Youth Ministry Sunday evening were a tremendous success largely due to the hard work of the Education and Fellowship Committees as well as the Children, Youth and Adult Education Subcommittees. It was a blessing to be “together again’ after all our various travels and journeys this summer.

           Of equal excitement to me personally was the energy, effort and enthusiasm surrounding our new Wednesday    Kids Central program for 3 year olds to 5th graders. Robin Russell, Suzanne Fairbairn and the Children’s Ministry Committee have labored tirelessly this summer to put together a program for children that meets the needs of our young families. Daria Ragan is teaching one of the classes and I look forward to incorporating Acolyte Training for 4th graders later in the year. In an effort to support this new ministry, Mary and I hope to attend the weekly fellowship meal in the Fellowship Hall from 6:10 to 6:30, and I am sure others in our congregation (especially grandparents!) are welcome to break bread around the table as well.

           Five men joined me at Caravan Coffee for the first meeting of our Men’s Midweek Fellowship Group this past Wednesday where I introduced the book by Richard Simmon’s entitled The True Measure of a Man. We begin around 7:15 am and adjourn promptly at 7:45 am so everyone can move on with the busy work day. I look forward to our future sessions and invite others to join us.

           Perhaps most importantly of all, Welcome New Members! This past Sunday it was the privilege of the Session to receive Brad and Danielle Baker (with their infant daughter Everly) as well as Jim and Virginia Yandle into the active membership of our church. Pictures of both families may be found on the front page of this week’s Harbinger newsletter and I hope everyone will speak to them and welcome them when you see them around the church.

    God's grace and peace to you!

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