I've missed you! It was a wonderful, restful, and productive time away, but I am super excited to be back with you in worship this weekend. I'm going to be continuing our summer preaching series called Building Christian Community that was started so effectively by Beth Paz, Jameson White, Pastor Lana, and H. Spees. I hope you are going to be here.
A few weeks back, Jeremy concluded his weekly letter to everyone in this way: So, as you come to worship on Sunday morning, will you please ask the Lord to help us lean into this Community Building Initiative rather than lean away from it? Will you pray that God gives you the energy and opportunity to connect in a new way with others in our congregation? Will you pray that God helps us to be flexible and patient? Finally, will you pray that God fills us with a spirit of joy because of the great work that He is doing in us for His glory?
What a thrill it was on Sunday to see almost every person who was in worship walk across the lawn to meet for the first time with their Community Group! All the rooms were buzzing with activity as people made connections, sometimes for the first time. Well done, church, for taking that trek across the lawn! We've arrived together at the start of a grand summer adventure.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. As we enter this summer season, plans are in motion for family reunions, trips to the lake, baseball games, picnics, summer school, and on it goes ... We are entering a new season here at FPC, as we embark on "going public" with our Community Groups this summer - and beyond.
Today is the last day of school for my kids. Yes, they are excited. But, it hasn't ended up exactly as we expected. A week ago today, Andrew fell during school recess and broke his left arm. We hoped, that since the break was close to his wrist, he would only have a cast that came up to his elbow.
I was grateful that so many attended the First Pres Forum. It was a great joy to share with you the journey of discernment that the Session has taken together these past many months to define our core values and purpose statement. It was also fun to begin laying out, in more detail, phase 1 of our Community Building Initiative. In particular, I talked about the idea of Community Groups, and our plan to initiate some special summer community groups on June 22.
It was a monumental Session meeting this month. We culminated what has been about a three year process. It started with a small task force that was commissioned to develop a first draft of our church's core values and purpose statement. Core values describe the best of an existing culture for a particular organization. They help define how the group does what it does. The purpose statement describes why the particular organization exists in a way that inspires and guides its work.
Dear First Pres,
First, this Sunday during the education hour I'm starting a new thing called Leadership Matters. Leadership Matters will be an intermittent class during the education hour that focuses on various aspects of one of my favorite topics: Christian leadership. Remember, leadership is something that we all do together; it happens in our church, in your homes, and in your workplaces. Thus, I believe it is a relevant topic for everyone.
There's a new face smiling at First Presbyterian Church, and that face is mine! Hello! My name is Ataloa Woodin. On May 1st, I officially came on staff with your church as the new "Administrative Assistant to Pastoral Staff," which means: I am here to give much needed support to your Senior and Associate pastors, Jeremy Vaccaro and Lana Roberts. I must say, I cannot imagine finding two more steady, mature, and fun people to come alongside. You have wonderful pastors! On top of that, these two have obviously been working very, very diligently on your behalf. I can attest to that