I am personally thrilled that Gregory Stevens has accepted our call to serve as our Associate Pastor for Faith Formation and Family Life. Our candidating weekend went very well, with a fine cook out and time for sharing on Saturday evening, followed by an excellent worship service and special business meeting on Sunday. Gregory acquitted himself with grace, good humor and thoughtful reflection as we considered together how we might link our lives as pastor and people.
The latest word I have is that Gregory is hoping to join us as soon as September 4. He is eager to get started! I trust that we will offer him our customary warm FBCPA welcome and do everything we can to support him as ministers with us. Thanks to everyone who helped to make the weekend such a special time.
We are coming to the end of the road we have been making by walking with Brian McLaren. This Sunday’s theme is “Alive in the Spirit of God: Spirit of Life.” Ironically this chapter focuses as much on death and the afterlife as on life as we know it. Our focus scripture will be from Paul’s letter to the Philippians leading to an exploration of “Living in Christ.” “For me to live is Christ,” Paul proclaims. What would such a claim mean for you and me? Patio Hour will be hosted by Nana Spiridon.
Plan to be here to share in worship and Sunday School starting at 10:00 AM. We have a special treat Sunday as our service and special music will feature the playing of several Native American flutes. What a great time to bring some others along to join us.
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.