Sunday, September 25, 2011
The harvest season is fast approaching and it’s time for us to start considering how Faith United Church of Christ can reap the harvest of our time, talents, and monetary gifts.
Faith UCC’s Shared Ministry and Stewardship campaigns will kick off with an Autumn Gathering on Saturday, October 1. The fun-filled evening will begin at 6 PM with a wonderful soup supper. The soup is being prepared by a guest chef. The rest of the evening meal will be provided by Faith’s own council members (I have been advised that at least a couple of the members think that dessert is the most important part of the meal!).
After the meal, you will be asked to thoughtfully and prayerfully decide how you can share your time and talents for Faith’s Shared Ministry program. You will also be asked to consider how your pledged monetary gifts can help Faith UCC meet its financial obligations, continue to run its programs, and help us dream to add more programming.
The evening promises to be filled with sumptuous food, laughter, lively fellowship, wonderful food, skit(s), tongue-tempting food, door prizes and – OH – did I mention food?
Before we gather in October, please consider how you can participate in the Shared Ministry program and how you may contribute financially to Faith Church. And then on October 1 at 6 PM please join your Faith Family at Faith United Church of Christ to share your time, talents, monetary gifts, friendship, laughter, and an awesome meal!
Sunday, September 4, 2011
September 4 “Chronos or Kairos?”
September 11 “A Dirty Job”
September 18 Shared Ministry Sunday
September 25 Jesus-A ‘Tiger’ Parent?”
Rev. Bob Loffer, our Interim Pastor, will deliver the message on September 4, 11, and 25. Our shared ministry team will lead worship on September 18.
You will be welcome! Come on, why not?
Last month, Faith United Church of Christ banded together to provide home-made backpacks for students at Mark Twain Elementary School. Altogether, 160 backpacks were distributed to students. Each backpack was filled with needed school supplies, such as notebooks and folders and pencils and tissues. Project organizer Pam Zehr shared the recent observations in the church's September 2011 newsletter:
How do I thank a community of people for believing in a cause so deeply? For rallying around a neighborhood. For supporting children and families we’ve never met, just because it’s the right thing to do. Not just say the words, but put energy and effort and resources behind those words. I’m quite at a loss.Below are pictures and video of the day when the Faith folks gathered together to pack the backpacks. It was a fun experience and hopefully that shows through. Enjoy!
We asked for zip lock bags, and created a Zip Lock Lincoln Log train car that was stacked so high it risked toppling. We asked for pencils, and received so many our Pencil Platform was overflowing. We asked for tissues, and the A’Cho Cho Train stretched full circle (and then some!) around the entire sanctuary with 165 “box cars” of tissues placed end to end. It was an amazing sight to behold. We asked for money to purchase additional supplies, and as the receipts are totaled we should have money left over for next year. Again, an incredible response to our calls for help.
I asked for help sewing the backpacks and had 12 eager volunteers. Together we stitched 200 backpacks of different designs and fabrics that will hopefully be enjoyed and last beyond the school year.
We asked for help packing the backpacks, and had an astonishing turn out. So many volunteers stayed after church that Sunday that we stood shoulder to shoulder in the large classroom. We had people stationed at the school supplies, and people carrying bags around the room, looking like Trick or Treat-ers as they filled their sacks with bright, new school supplies. It was a joyous event, full of fun and laughter and the occasional reprimand for rowdy behavior (you know who you are). In the end, 160 backpacks filled with grade appropriate school supplies lined the church hallway, eagerly awaiting a student to select them and take them home.
We asked for help carrying all the bulk items and backpacks to Twain, and Gordon and Ben Borgstahl jumped in and had the task practically completed before we even arrived. And we asked for help at the distribution, and had a willing crew of Ev, Eadie, Ann Z. and Julianne assist the children as they checked in and selected their bags.
We constantly asked for help. You responded with unmatched enthusiasm, with a generosity of resources and energy that has me at a loss of words. Together we “did good work.” We did the work of Christ. It was an honor to walk His walk with you.
Friday, September 2, 2011
School is in session! The school term for 2011-2012 began, in most places in Iowa, in August. Another reminder that the days of summer are limited and fall is just around the corner.
The beginning of the school term is also a reminder of the many times in life we have a chance to start over. Students are facing a new class, often a new teacher, new academic challenges, and a new chance to change the way we behave and respond. A new beginning.
Life has a way of offering many chances to start over. Think New Years! We make “New Year’s Resolutions.” We vow to (fill in the blank here) either stop doing something or start doing something. A new year offers a chance to change the way we behave and respond.
A change in personal relationships (marriage, divorce, a birth, a death, a breakup) is another chance to change the way we behave and respond. A change in professions, locations, job responsibilities, volunteer opportunities are yet other changes in relationships that offer a chance to change the way we behave and respond.
Church folks have the above-mentioned chances plus a church year and calendar that offer other chances as well. The start of each school year is, in many churches, the start of the church program year as well. Plans and programs that have been dormant during the summer come back to life along with new programs, classes, and plans. A new church program year; another chance to change the way we behave and respond.
Advent (which begins on the Sunday closest to November 29) is the beginning of the Church Year. Advent is a time to focus on the coming of God into our world. One more chance to change the way we behave and respond.
Lent (which begins with Ash Wednesday) is a time the church challenges each of us to reflect on God in our world and the difference God’s presence has made in our lives. Again, a way for us to move toward, a chance to change the way we behave and respond.
Sunrise, sunset, beginnings and endings. Each and all are chances to change the way we behave and respond. God offers us many times to change the way we behave and respond. God wants us to know we can start all over again. God wants us to know we do not have to settle for the way things are or have been. God offers each and all a new beginning. Here is to new beginnings! Thanks be to God!
Peace and Good Cheer,