Pastoral Post 9.1.2016

This past Sunday was one of those busy, crazy, fun, exhilarating, inspirational Sundays at First Church. (I could add a few more adjectives, too!)

We began our 3-week series entitled “From Root to Fruit,” a series that focuses on our discipleship as followers of Christ. It’s about our faith, our relationship to God, our commitment to Christ, and our living it out in the world. It’s mostly about that phrase from our mission statement, “growing in faith.” We were briefly introduced to the new image of a tree, developed over the past 18 months by our Discipleship Team, which helps us think about our growth in Christ. We heard in each service from a member or members about some aspect of discipleship at First Church in their own lives, each encouraging us to be involved. The 8:40 presentation was by Laura and Patrick Bradshaw, and was shown on video. It can be viewed here.

We will revisit that theme and image this Sunday. Wherever we are in our growth, God meets us there, and the church seeks to meet us there with opportunities for fellowship, growth, and service. We are called to “bear fruit,” and we’ll give more thought to that Sunday. The Discipleship Team has encouraged us to use the song “Fruit We Bear” by Lost and Found, and we did use it in all three services last week and will do so for the remaining two weeks of this series. I’ve always liked this song, but the more I listen to it and think about it, the more I like it! Google it and you’ll find a couple of YouTube recordings of it.

We also held an “Information Celebration” in the gym between 10:00 and 11:15 Sunday morning. It’s amazing how quickly that space can be transformed from a worship space to a space with many tables and much information about the classes, small groups, and other opportunities in the church. Some volunteered for specific ministries or signed up for classes. Hopefully everyone who attended is now better informed as to the many, many opportunities for involvement.

Bishop Charlene Kammerer shared with all three services some basic information on Project AGAPE in Armenia, which is supported only by the United Methodist Churches of NC. There were 162 plastic “shoe boxes” to be taken and filled for Christmas boxes for Armenian children, and all 162 were taken! Thanks to all of you willing to brighten a child’s life in Armenia, and, for those who didn’t get a box, there will be more this week. The deadline to return these is September 25.

Finally, Sunday afternoon we came back to church for our annual “Back to School Bash.” This event gets bigger every year! Several hundred folks came through, children enjoying the many inflatables, adults watching and visiting and enjoying ice cream, BBQ, and craft sodas. Many, many of those who came were not members of our church, and we celebrate that! Our members there were ambassadors for the church as they greeted our neighbors and invited them back.

You never cease to amaze me, First Church! Thanks to all mentioned above, and the many not mentioned, who made Sunday a special day of worship, learning, growing, welcoming, celebrating, and more!

See you this Sunday for another special day!

Sandy

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