As I write this, there are happy sounds coming from outside my office window. Wacky Worship Wednesday is in full force, and there are some 60 children having a wonderful time, while learning and growing together. The summer interns, volunteers and staff are insuring that it is a good experience.
Wacky Worship Wednesday is, of course, just part of a full summer calendar. We’ve enjoyed Pig Pickin’ and miniature golf and game night. We’ve had great events so far, and there are many more to come. Be sure to check the calendar and join the rafting trip or one of the upcoming hiking groups. In a few weeks there will be another Stop Hunger Now event (funds are needed), and before you know it we’ll have the 2016 Back to School Bash. Last night was the Harp Festival concert, and there are more fine concerts coming soon. These are all opportunities for the church family of all ages to participate and connect with each other. Don’t be a Sunday-worship-attender-only, and if you haven’t yet become a member, you are most welcome at all these opportunities to get to know others.
Last week we honored Hardy Tippett and Wilson Strichausen for their years of service. What a great turnout! The gym was full, as we shared a tasty Mexican meal and some remembrances. Thanks, guys, for your years of faithful service! Susan Giles now serves as part-time associate pastor, and will be coordinating with the Congregational Care network, making pastoral visits and leading worship. She’ll be leading the 8:30 service, then going to her other part-time position as Dean of the Chapel at Lake Junaluska to lead that 11:00 service there, until August 14 when she will be with us throughout Sunday morning. She, Becky Brown, and I share duties for hospital and nursing home visitation and other pastoral needs. Please let us know when you or a family member is hospitalized or in need of pastoral care.
This Sunday our July Mission Moment will focus on Clothes to Kids, and they’ll inform us about their mission and their upcoming Shoe Drive. We’ll hear the Parable of the Good Samaritan, one of the best known and loved passages of scripture. I encourage you to read Luke 10:25-37 before Sunday, maybe several times, slowly, listening for words or phrases that capture your attention. Note the context in which the parable was told, specifically the question to which Jesus was responding. What do you know about Samaritans? This is a simple story with profound implications. It’s always a challenge to listen for something new when something is so familiar, but let’s see if we can let this beloved parable say something fresh and challenging to us this Sunday.
July 4th is behind us, we are now in mid-summer. Enjoy your vacations, your change of pace, whatever summer means to you. And I hope to see you on Sundays when you are in town! God’s grace and mercy never cease, and we gather weekly to give God thanks and praise and seek strength to live as faithful followers.