Community Connections

It’s been some weeks now since I’ve written this Pastoral Post. I appreciate others filling in with words of wisdom and grace during my time away. For convenience, I’ve called it a sabbatical, but I think sabbaticals are usually longer—like 3 to 6 months to a year. I think I first called mine vacation-renewal-study time. And it was all of those things. I’ll write a bit more about it in next week’s First Words and probably here.

It’s been a good week back. Last Sunday reminded me that summers are not quiet times at First! It was a thrill to once again participate in a Stop Hunger Now event. I missed the one in July, but was glad to be part of the one August 2. It’s always a thrill to see young and not-so-young working together in such a coordinated way. We packed 15,000 meals that night. Think about that—that’s a lot of food for hungry people. Thanks to all who helped make the two Stop Hunger Now events successful.

Then it was up to the sanctuary to hear part of the Swannanoa Chamber Music concert with the Jasper String Quartet. I love quartet music, probably because my daughter Kari, a professional violinist, loves playing quartets so much. And then last night’s production of Haydn’s Creationwas a huge, moving event, with some 80 voices from our church, but also from Asheville and surrounding areas, and 20 instrumentalists. What a gorgeous piece of music, and so well done. The large crowd was most appreciative. It’s one way we are welcoming the community into our building for meaningful involvement. And one way gifts are put to work for the glory of God!

Speaking of gifts, this Sunday kicks off a two week sermon series relating to our spiritual gifts and connection ministries. We are preparing ourselves for the Celebrate Connection event on August 30. We have emphasized during the past few years the importance of every person discovering, claiming, and putting their God-given gifts to work for the ministry of the church and for growth and enrichment in faith. If you want to read ahead, our scripture passages are Jeremiah 1:4-8 and Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-16.

In the meantime, tomorrow morning at 8:00 we’ll perform our annual cleanup day at Central Elementary School, our partner school just 2 blocks from our front door. We’ll be cleaning up and beautifying the grounds, so that teachers and students will come back to an attractive welcome very soon. Join us, if you are able. This is one way we show our support for our neighborhood school.

See you Sunday, if not before!

 Sandy

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