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Daily Lectionary – March 16, 2020

Morning Psalms 119:73-80; 145

Evening Psalms 121; 6

First Reading Genesis 44:18-34

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 7:25-31

Gospel Reading Mark 5:21-43

21When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?'” 32He looked all around to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

 

Jesus heals both the daughter of the synagogue leader and the woman who sneaks up behind him. We can imagine doing the same. All over the world there are people praying for something: praying for life, praying for a cure, praying for an end to illness, praying for an end to heartbreak. Sometimes it feels like the people of Jesus’ day were the lucky ones; they were the ones who could invite Jesus to their home or grasp at his cloak. Maybe we think that we could get what we needed if we had the same opportunity. But it’s not just the physical presence of Jesus that makes a difference. Here’s what Jesus says: “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” and “Do not fear, only believe.” Jesus commends faith and belief. This isn’t just a simple equation, however. This doesn’t mean that we always get an end to our illness or our heartbreak based on same innate capacity for belief. Jesus assures us that the healing we ultimately receive is a gift from God. Faith and belief have their object in Jesus Christ. The same God who came as Savior to Israel is the same God who assures us of his Spirit and makes a way through death on the other side of the cross. This is the one who hears our prayers. How will he not answer?

Gracious God, in the compassion of Jesus you come to us in places of pain and suffering. Be present to us again where we need it—in anxiety and hopelessness, in hardship and struggle, in illness and pain. We put our faith in you, trusting that, in Jesus Christ, you work all to the good of those who love you. We wait for you, Lord, trusting that you will work through our prayers on behalf of those who are silent, or who do not know you, in the confidence that you love them, too. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Daily Lectionary – March 16, 20202020-09-08T16:05:16-05:00

2020 Pinwheels for Prevention

 

The Family Support Council has begun their Heroes Against Child Abuse campaign. Our church has agreed to participate this year. Family Support Council provides many free opportunities for children and families throughout the area. Some opportunities include:

  • Kids on the Block – show on personal safety and bullying in all the local elementary schools
  • Camp AIM – a therapeutic summer camp for sexually abused children from K-12
  • Parents as Teachers Program – to young high rick preschoolers in the Dalton, Murray, and Whitfield school districts
  • Parenting classes, summer camps, training, and workshops which foster protective assets within families and help to prevent child abuse are additional services provided by FSC
  • Darkness to Light’s, Stewards of Children, training – prevention of child sexual abuse

We are asking $1.00 per pinwheel and donations will be collected through April 5. Individuals who raise $20.00 or more will receive a Hero t-shirt.

Anything you can contribute will be greatly appreciated!

2020 Pinwheels for Prevention2020-09-08T16:05:16-05:00

All Church Retreat 2020

 

Here’s your special invitation to join our church family on retreat. 

                          “On the road again” in May 2020

MONTREAT, North Carolina –

M is for mountains.  Lots of them all around.  Great for hiking or viewing and finding inspiration in the wonders of creation.  The stream flowing by, the children’s park, that cozy chair overlooking the lake – all of these in the unique freshness of spring in the forest will do your soul good.

O is for out-of-town with friends and away from the stresses and strains.  Oh, how nice to have God-time and personal time!  And, yes, there is childcare!!!

N is for now, the time to sign up.  A $50 deposit by February 11 guarantees you a place for all the fun during the May 15 – 17 church retreat.

T is for theme:  “God’s beautiful world” will speak to the nature we’ll explore and to the environment we must protect.   Laurel and early rhododendron will dot the woodland as we roam and reflect on earth’s pleasures and perils.

R is for room in the Inn.”  (Sounds absolutely biblical.)  You’ll have comfy accommodations to fit your preferences, and we’ll share social and gathering spaces.  $150 for a family covers lodging and three meals, with single rooms even less.  Count in travel cost and meals out and you’ll see that the Fellowship Team is making our retreat so very affordable.

E is for each other.  We see each other on Sundays, but to really know one another takes time and opportunity.  Across the dinner table, on a walk, bargain hunting at the Tobacco Barn, touring Biltmore House, sharing a coffee while the kids sleep – such moments move us from acquaintance to appreciation and affirmation.

A is for Arts and Asheville.  Just 16 miles west of our retreat is the lively and charm-filled arts capital of the South.  No city of its size gets better press today, and for good reason.  What’s not to like!  You’ll have afternoons to explore and enjoy.

T is for teamwork.  Our congregation’s potential to serve more effectively is bolstered by a balanced diet of worship, work and play.  Come be part of all three!  Time together makes our ties stronger.

Dates: May 15-17

Cost: $150 for a family unit, which includes room for two nights, pizza supper Friday night and breakfast both days.

Accommodations: The rustic Inn will be the center of our activities, with rooms to suit your personal needs as well as meeting and social spaces for our group.

Deposits due: Please have your $50 into the office by February 11 to reserve a place and help us with planning.

Who has signed up: Check the growing list in the Commons and pay attention to the weekly announcements for more revelations.

Transportation: Whether carpooling or driving separately, the four hour ride to the woods of Montreat will help renew our appreciation for the garden of nature which surrounds us.

Program: Yes, there will be times of worship and learning, but we’ll have plenty opportunity to just “hang out” or explore sites of interest in nearby Black Mountain or the best of Asheville’s art and food scene.

Contacts: Leanna Granillo, Laura Goins and Jeane Jones can answer your questions and testify to the fun we’ll have together.

All Church Retreat 20202020-09-08T16:05:16-05:00

What does it take to be a Presbyterian elder? Here’s what you need to know!

 

The Christian year begins with Advent, we know; but there seems to be some phenomenon of the “church calendar” which has taken a life of its own. So as every year in December we hear the prophetic announcement that God in Jesus is coming, we build up to it throughout the fall through some rather mundane activities—new Christian Education programming in August, stewardship in November, and, of course, elder nominating in September and October. Christmas Carols, candlelight, and a pageant may seem the most memorable things we do in a given season of the year; yet these other practices of our life together are equally constitutive of who we are as the people of God. They may seem mundane, but they are important and theologically profound. We are people who call our leaders—elders—in a particular way, realizing that the Holy Spirit is bringing us and them together. That way is through our elder nominating process.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t always fit into our timetable, but we try as best we can. It looks like this:

  • In late August the congregation nominates and then elects two members (one woman and one man) to serve on our nominating committee. The session elects its own representative who will chair the committee. This year our nominating committee consists of Jodi Johnson, Jim Burran, and Jeane Jones (chair). Aside from the alliterative possibilities of such a group, you can see that the Spirit is already at work bringing such gifted people together. In my role as Pastor I serve as a non-voting member and advisor to the committee.
  • The nominating committee will spend the next six weeks soliciting nominations for elders of the class of 2022, who will begin three-year terms of service in January of 2020.
  • In October, the session will call a congregational meeting to vote on a slate of candidates to serve as elders of the class of 2022 and the congregation will vote on this slate with a called meeting in October. In accordance with our polity, this meeting will allow the opportunity for nominations from the floor to be considered, too (although it’s the sporting thing to do to ask someone ahead of time if you might nominate them).
  • During November and December our elder nominees will receive training that will help them in their terms of service. Training includes Bible study; exploration of the Book of Confessions of the PC(USA); an orientation to our polity through the Book of Order; and a review of our session policy manual, The Trellis. As elders are typically elected in a dual role as committee chairs, they also receive training and instruction relevant to whatever team they may shepherd going forward (for instance, worship, congregational life, missions, finance, etc.).
  • Following this training, the session will review the elder nominees as to their preparation and readiness to undertake this important work. And, pending approval, we will ordain and/or install these elders in worship in early January. (Quick note: once you are an elder, you are always an elder. Active elders are those currently serving on session. Ordination makes you an elder. Installation makes you currently serving.)

If you have made it this far then good for you! You may have what it takes to be a Presbyterian elder. Or, alternatively, you may wonder what makes a good Presbyterian elder. This is where you come in. Your job as a member of the congregation is to nominate someone you think God may be calling to leadership in our congregation. Functionally, nominees must be people of good standing who have been members part of the congregation for at least one year and not in an immediate family relationship with a currently serving elder. Theologically, there is much more to consider. Our Trellis provides a kind of job description for them:

Elders are expected to:

  • Seek to deepen their own spiritual life through prayer, Bible study, worship, and acts of kindness and commitment;
  • Seek ways to encourage our members to deepen their spiritual lives and promote the work and worship of the church;
  • Participate in officer training sessions, concluding with an examination before the current Session and ordination/installation at a regular worship service;
  • Be a faithful member of the Session, attending and participating in both stated and called meetings as well as activities of the congregation and Cherokee Presbytery wherever possible;
  • Seek to find his or her special niche of service within the church to best utilize the gifts that each has been given;
  • Make a regular financial commitment to the work of the church.

While elder responsibilities are considerable, we believe that those called for service are given suitable gifts and abilities by God to fulfill these responsibilities. In addition to having the necessary talents, natural and acquired, those who undertake particular ministries should be persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

This is a heady description. It also reflects what makes First Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the universal Church of Jesus Christ special—and that is, there are people here who meet this description, people who God calls for nothing less than the task of service and leadership in this new creation God is forming before our eyes. People wonder, what makes all those meetings and minutes and administrative minutiae worth it? The answer is just this: that you see God at work. Isn’t that enough?

Do you know someone called to be an elder in the church? Please submit your nominations to the church office or a member of the nominating committee by the end of the day on Friday, September 20. The nominating committee will consider each submission.

And if you don’t have a nomination, prayers are welcome too.

Peace,

What does it take to be a Presbyterian elder? Here’s what you need to know!2020-09-08T16:05:17-05:00

Christian Education Volunteer Opportunities

Great news! We have a problem. Why is this great news? Our Children’s Ministry Program is growing and our Christian Education needs are growing along with it. As we build up our C.E. opportunities for our youngest members, we invite you to help be a part of the solution and volunteer a little time with us!

Here are some volunteer needs. Can you come volunteer with our kids?

Children’s Church Assistant:

Job Description: Shepherd our Preschool children up to the classroom after the Children’s sermon and stay with them for the duration of worship. Model good listening to the children as they listen to their Bible story. Respond to behavioral or bathroom needs. Encourage quiet reflection time. This requires no preparation on your part. You just show up on your assigned day! Minimal training is necessary (but will be provided). A review of our child safety policy and a background check are required.

Time Commitment: 1 Sunday every 8 weeks on average

Nursery Assistant:

Job Description: Be available to assist nursery staff with our youngest children (ages 0-3). Be ready to play, cuddle, and read some books! A nursery staff person will always be on hand to change diapers, provide snack, etc. so your presence is truly meant to provide connecting relationship for our littles and their families. A review of our child safety policy and a background check are required.

Time Commitment: 1 Sunday every 8 weeks on average

Joy Maker’s Art Teacher:

Job Description: Our Joy Maker’s Sunday School class (Preschool-Kindergarten age) rotates each week in leadership and content. Each month children engage with Storytelling, Music, Art, and Liturgical Movement. We are in need of a Joy Marker’s Art Teacher who can work with a partner to develop and lead art projects for the children. A review of our child safety policy and a background check are required.

Time Commitment: Class meets 1 Sunday a month during Sunday School hour (915-1015). Some preparation of class content. Help is provided in collecting any supplies you may need for your projects.

 

Please talk with Jo Beth Thompson about these volunteer opportunities or other ways you may like to serve our community through Christian Education.

 

Christian Education Volunteer Opportunities2020-09-08T16:05:17-05:00
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