Dear First Pres,

   Some of you may be in denial that today is the beginning of August. For many of us it marks the final countdown before the launch of school (Fresno Unified starts on August 12). But be encouraged, because we have some wonderful things happening this weekend in the life of our church.
   First, this Sunday marks the end of our summer worship schedule. You may remember that the primary motivation for changing things up in the summer was to build connection and unity across the entire congregation. That's the main reason we have one service with both styles of music, and that's the main reason we have special all-church activities after worship. I hope, then, that you have taken advantage of the changes to connect more deeply with others in our congregation (especially those you haven't known as well). And I hope you've come to appreciate more the scope of who we are as a congregation. If not, then I hope you'll lean into that this weekend.
   Second, after worship on Sunday I hope you'll join with your church family for an all-church potluck. Again, the reason we have such events is not simply to enjoy God's provision of the excellent food. It's primarily to deepen relationships in the congregation. So, please plan on sticking around for Sunday's potluck. I'm sure you won't regret it. You can find the details for what to bring in the information below my letter.
   Third, this Sunday in worship we have the privilege of sharing in the Lord's Supper together. What an incredible blessing the Lord has given us in this meal. It's so much more than just a religious exercise. We believe that the Lord uses our time at the Table, when we come ready to receive it, to increase our faith. He reminds us of the truth of His promises confirmed through Jesus' death and resurrection. He nourishes our souls to everlasting life. He equips us to live out the truth of the Gospel in our everyday lives. Truly, the Lord's Supper is a holy experience. I pray you're able to be with us to participate.
   Fourth, there will be some unable to be with us this weekend that we want to remember especially in our prayers. Some will be enjoying the FPC Camping trip. (They'll enjoy a very unique communion experience in the mountains.) We hope and pray they have a wonderful time. Others will be returning from a very fruitful trip to Albania where they have experienced God's hand at work. We pray for a good end to the trip and a safe return home.
   Finally, we'll acknowledge two special groups on Sunday. First, we'll say thanks to our Summer Staff team: Alfred, Michaela, Sophia, Hector, McKenzie, and Mitchel. They have been an awesome group and a huge blessing to our church family. They finish their summer assignment next Thursday. Second, we'll give God's blessing over the students who have participated in Encounter Fresno. This is the group that has been living together in our Pink House and learning what it means to live out the Gospel in all of life. The program is ending this weekend.
   So, as I said, there are some wonderful things happening in this opening weekend of August. Be encouraged Church, God is at work for His redeeming transformation in us and through us.