Pastoral Post 6.8.2016

Once again First Church will be a place of much ministry and activity during the summer! And it all began on Saturday with Community Impact Day. After a sausage biscuit breakfast prepared by our United Methodist Men, we once again had some 200 people scatter to a dozen or so locations to weed, paint, build shelves, sort clothes, sing in nursing homes and almost anything else you can imagine. I made the rounds to almost all the sites and was once again proud of our people for rolling up their sleeves and supporting these fine community service organizations. At several sites I was greeted by a representative of the organization who expressed sincere gratitude for the work of our people. Thanks to all who made this once again a special day! Did any of you get an ideas about being a regular volunteer in one of these nonprofits?

Sunday was another great day. It’s always a thrill to recognize our high school graduates at this important milestone in their and their families’ lives and to affirm the scholarships that will be given them from the church. (These scholarships are funded by the Dollars for Scholars offering and by the Permanent Endowment Scholarship Funds. For more information on gifts and bequests to the Endowed Funds, contact the office.)

Also we kicked off a new thing on Sunday, “Coffee With the Staff” during the Sunday School hour, intended primarily for folks who are new to the church. We had a number of them turn out to meet and chat with us!

Sunday evening concluded our exciting, busy weekend with the annual Pig Pickin’. We welcomed some from the Central Elementary Family as our guests, the children enjoyed the inflatable playground, and once again we all enjoyed the music of Whitewater Bluegrass and some very tasty BBQ! Some got on their feet to square dance, and those who stayed to the end witnessed the senior pastor and spouse on the dance floor, more or less shamed onto the floor by an old friend who is the guitarist for Whitewater Bluegrass. It was great fun!

And the summer’s just beginning! Thursday through Sunday morning of this week our Bibletimes Market Place will recreate ancient Egypt for the children. I’ve seen the sets and they are fantastic! Over 100 children are pre-registered, so this promises to be a high energy, exciting few days! It will all culminate in the 8:40 service on Sunday morning. (The 8:30 and 11:00 services in the sanctuary will continue as usual.) I’m told more volunteers are still needed for Bibletimes, so call Kara Sither to be part of the learning and fun.

The 2016 session of the Western NC Conference will be held next week, June 15-19 at the Lake. Judy LaFountaine and David Brown are our church’s delegates this year. Jane Wood is a delegate as the Smoky Mountain District Lay Leader. Please be in prayer for the conference, the last for Bishop Larry Goodpaster, who will retire in September. Wilson Strickhausen will preach on June 19 as I am worshiping at the closing service of Worship.

And mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 29, when we will honor Wilson Strickhausen and Hardy Tippett for their many years of service as part-time associate pastors. The meal will be similar to a Wonderful Wednesday meal, so make your reservations and join us!

The summer calendar is filled with numerous opportunities for fun and fellowship for all ages, from concerts to hikes to miniature golf. Our summer interns are busily at work to help make them all happen, and we’ll hear each intern share his/her faith in Sunday worship. It’s going to be another great summer. When you’re in town, be here and be part of the vitality of First Church!

See you each summer Sunday when you’re in town!

Sandy

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