February 23, 2017

Dear First Pres,

   This Sunday morning we're going to acknowledge Freedom Sunday. We'll be joining thousands of churches around the country who take one particular Sunday on the calendar to remember and pray for the millions of people who are experiencing some form of slavery. International Justice Mission estimates that there are more than 45 million people around the world who are living in slavery today. This is a massive injustice in our world. But it's not just in other places in the world. Slavery is an issue in our city. That's why we're not just partnering with the International Justice Mission who works to end slavery around the world, but we are also partnering locally with the Central Valley Justice Coalition (CVJC) to end slavery in our own city and county.

   Part of Sunday morning's focus on this issue will be a short video provided by the CVJC. The video contains the testimony of one young woman who was violently trapped in slavery. Thus, the video may not be appropriate for our young elementary students. In the second service we plan to show the video after most kids are excused to Kids Alive or our children's choir. But if you have children who are in the first service (8:30) or children who stay with you through the second service, I recommend that you preview the video so that you can make the best choice for Sunday morning. You can view the video titled "Freedom Stories: Arien Pauls" on the CVJC website.

   Why do we take time in worship to focus on an issue like this? We do it because we believe that growing as disciples of Jesus results in the redeeming transformation of our city and world. We are called to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. No one created in the image of God (all persons) deserves to be treated as a slave ... no one. And until that is true we will continue to find ways to partner with organizations that are addressing this issue head on. And, we will continue to seek the God of justice in prayer - that He would intervene for slaves, just like He did for Arien Pauls. 

Blessings,

Jeremy

P.S. It's not too late to come to our Sunday afternoon Membership Class if you're interested in learning more about First Presbyterian Church or exploring a deepened relationship with Jesus in this community of believers. We will meet this Sunday right after 2nd service in the Hub; and March 5, 3 - 6pm. Just call the church office by 4:45pm Friday to register, 485-6460.

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