FROM THE PASTOR
Dear Family in Faith: As we begin May this year, I want to share with you a potpourri of thoughts. The first is to share my congratulations and thanks to you for your faithfulness during the Lenten and Easter season just past. Our attendance was outstanding (even despite some bad weather!) Our Lenten Bread and Broth gatherings were very well attended and the fellowship, food and devotions were excellent. My thanks to Kenny Oswald for sharing the devotions with me – accents included. Holy Week saw good attendance and on Easter Sunday we saw right around 150 to worship our Risen Lord. In a time when we have so much competing for our attendance and loyalty, you have been faithful to our Lord and his church. Thank you.
This month and the beginning of June have seen and will see some now additions to our worship space. We now have new Christian and American flags on the chancel. The new Christian Flag, pole and base are a gift from the Tong Family. On the opposite side of the chancel is a new American Flag. This flag, pole and base are a gift from the Maddox and DeVos families. They certainly enhance the beauty of our chancel.
The first week in June will see a major project to enhance the beauty of the sanctuary. The General Board has contracted with Snyder Flooring of Bettsville to replace the carpeting in the center aisle up to the chancel steps and the four feet out from the steps with porcelain tile. The tile selected is a hickory color that blends beautifully with the carpeting. We have taken this move in order to help extend the life of our twenty-five year old carpeting. The area of most wear on that carpet was the center aisle and around the steps. The remainder of the carpet is in good shape. The new tile will help with the wear and tear of normal traffic as well as the traffic of weddings and the weight of caskets during our congregationally held funerals. The Board authorized the use of Building/Memorial funds, but we are more than happy to receive additional gifts from our members to help beautify the place where our family worships. The General Board and the Trustees are also exploring the repainting of Fellowship Hall and the surrounding classrooms. This, too will require our support and gifts.
As most of you know, I am not a pastor who preaches money. Money talk from the pulpit only serves to alienate most people. And so I won’t preach money here either. I will, however congratulate you on your stewardship. You have been faithful stewards of your time, talents and treasures and for this we thank you. It is a blessing to attend a General Board and learn that we are “holding our own” in giving and expenses. This allows us to better concentrate on our mission of serving Jesus Christ and not having to worry about finances. You are faithful and we encourage you to continue to be the great stewards that you are.
With May also comes the time when our Sunday School program winds down for the summer. I want to thank all of our teachers and students who have made this another outstanding year of spiritual growth through Sunday School and Junior Worship.
Although only in the fifties today, we look forward to nice warmer weather. With the warmer weather comes our traditional “Informal Worship.” Heretofore we called this “Worship in the Grove,” but this year will bring a twist. As the Board has considered the needs of our congregation, some of our outdoor services have actually kept some of our family away from worship. So this year we will have “informal” worship in June, July, August and September. Plans are for June and September to be in Fellowship Hall and July and August in the Grove (weather permitting.) Although “When First Christian Meets, First Christian Eats,” we have decided to replace the pot-luck meals with abundant snacks and goodies (carbs galore!) along with beverages to be consumed during, before and after our informal worship. This will allow our families to worship at 9:30 and still have the remainder of the day for other family events. During the month of June, our first informal worship will be June 11 (rather than the first Sunday) due to a scheduling conflict.
With the summer months also comes Vacation Bible School. First Christian will once again join with Trinity United Church of Christ, St. John United Church of Christ, First Presbyterian Church, First Lutheran Church, and Family of Faith Lutheran of Church to hold Vacation Bible School. We hosted it last year and will be the host site again this summer. The dates are July 10-14 from 9:00 to noon. Our theme this year is “Barnyard Roundup.” Mike Porter from Trinity UCC is again our coordinator. We had a terrific time together last year and are looking forward to another great year in 2017. We will need help again this year and our planning meetings will be held here on May 11, June 1, and June 29 here. We would welcome any help you can give.
As we continue into our late spring and summer, I encourage you to be in worship with your family in faith. As we all know, it is during this time we are fed on God’s word and Sacrament. It is also a time when we hold up in prayer all of those in need. We continue to have many in need of our congregational prayers and support. We have shown how important our prayer life is and so I ask you to continue to be in prayer for all of God’s people according to their needs.
In our Savior’s Love, I remain,
Pastor Doug DeVos
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