This Sunday we will hold our annual service and potluck in Mitchell Park. This is always a highlight of the summer. There are 6 congregations participating this year – ours, Covenant Presbyterian, iChurch Korean Presbyterian, Tongan Methodist Fellowship, University AME Zion, and First Presbyterian. The theme is “Unity and Diversity.” The service will include music, dance, and drama, along with more traditional liturgy. There is guaranteed to be something for everyone! Melanie Ramirez will represent us in worship leading. There will be a joint choir (gather in the Covenant sanctuary at 9:30 AM for rehearsal.) Bring food to share. Come at 9:00 AM to help with set-up or stay afterward to help with clean-up. Please plan to attend and bring a friend. You won’t be disappointed.
It has been fun to meet with colleagues to plan this service. I regret I won’t be there to share the experience. I will be in Seattle this weekend for the memorial service for my dear friend, Elizabeth Patrick, who died earlier in the summer. We were friends for over 25 years and she was important support for me on many occasions. While in Seattle, I will also worship with the congregation of First Baptist Church, where I did my seminary internship. It also happens that the annual “clergy cruise” on Puget Sound, sponsored by the Seattle Baptist Union, will be Tuesday evening so I will be able to participate in that as well. I will be back in the office on Thursday. Call the church office if there is a pastoral emergency. I pray we all have a good week ahead – healing, nourishing, blessed and blessing.
What a special day we had last Sunday with all our international visitors! It was a delight to welcome Dan and Sarah Chetti, missionaries from Lebanon; Ramesh Kumar and Dr. A. J. Samuel from India; and Leonardo Nogueira, a visitor (Baptist) from Rio de Janeiro. Dan preached for us on bringing the good news to the nations of this world; Sarah shared in our Time for Children and Youth; both brought testimony and videos about the work they are doing – Dan in the Arab Baptist Seminary and Sarah with female migrant workers who are brought to Beirut as domestics and then often mistreated. Ramesh brought greetings from Balasore Technical School and Dr. Samuel from the Telugu Baptist Convention of south India. All of them had been in the USA for the missions conferences, held at Green Lake, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Baptist foreign missions.
After worship and a time of sharing, Marilyn Hunwick, Nana Spiridon and the Missions Task Team provided a lovely lunch on the patio. We had dishes from India and Lebanon along with fresh fruit as everyone continued the conversation under the trees. I am also pleased to report that Ramesh has pledged $1000 to our special mission offerings for Habitat for Humanity and One Great Hour of Sharing, from the money BTS makes selling its goods and Dr. Samuel pledged $1000 from the Telugu Convention for the work of the Chettis! Of course, this doesn’t let us off the hook. It simply adds to what we have and will continue to give with our characteristic generosity.
At the end of the luncheon, both Doug and I commented on what good day it was. Special thanks to the Hunwicks for the key role they played in pulling all this together and for the indomitability of their missionary spirit! Thanks to everyone else who helped make the day special. I love not only the multicultural flavors of our own congregation but also our vision and appreciation for how modern missions bring all sorts of people together in a common family of God.
This Sunday promises to be another special day as well as we celebrate our annual joint worship service in Mitchell Park. This year I am very pleased that the folk from University AME Zion will be joining us, including their new pastor, Kaloma Smith. I believe the Tongan congregation “nested” in their space will also participate. Margaret Boles, Kal and I have had a good time planning a service around the theme, “All Are Welcome.” The service will be followed by the traditional potluck lunch so bring food to share. This would be a wonderful time to invite some others to join you.
Remember the service begins at 10:30 AM this week only! Y’all come.
God grant us more light, more love, more life as we journey together.