Dear First Pres,
I'm so glad I was here this year for the combined service with Bethany Inner City and Hope Now Bible churches after City Bible Adventure. Our extra-warm sanctuary didn't dampen the joy and excitement of being together with our sister churches and the kiddos we share. If you haven't seen the video I encourage you to check it out here. (The password is CBA.) I really appreciated the collaboration of our music teams as they led us in worship.
Those of us who were in Denver at General Assembly also had an exciting, joy-filled time of hearing what God is doing in and through the EPC. GA, as we call it for short, consists of much prayer and worship, a leadership institute, networking with folks old and new, and decision-making. It's a highlight each year to recognize and appreciate our Chaplains and Missionaries, those who are being newly deployed are commissioned to serve. Our own Nathan and Kristin Stockamp were acknowledged as official World Outreach Appointees who are seeking God's call for their place of service. We received a report from the Rev. 7:9 task force, appointed at last year's Assembly to "study how the EPC can better become a denomination that faithfully embraces, worships with and serves our neighbors" within a one to five-mile radius of our local EPC churches. This includes the full ethnic, economic, educational, and social diversity found there. Beth Paz, director of our Rooted High School ministry, gave part of the report. All of that adds up to General Assembly being a spiritually and relationally rich time.
This year we had the particular, deep blessing of hearing from Pastor Andrew Brunson. You may remember that we prayed for him for two years, that he would be released from prison in Turkey. I would strongly urge everyone to listen to both of his messages. He was transparent about the suffering, what he learned about God, and how he sees God using that experience for His purposes. (You can watch Pastor Brunson's first message here and the second here.)
Finally, as we move into summer and sharing worship space with others we may not usually see, can I plant a little reminder? If you're seated at the end of the row please keep an eye out for folks who might need to get by you to be seated. Or, you may choose to move to the center of the pew. Either way, it's a blessing to be able to host someone by helping them be seated for worship.
God be with you,