Hurricane force winds in Utah! Seriously? I’ve about had it with 2020! My prayer is that you are safe and well and have your power on. I’m staggered as I go around town and see the scope and breadth of the destruction. It is really amazing that more people were not hurt and that more homes were not damaged. Trees mostly seemed to find a way to fall on the street or the yard. At our house we are still waiting (on Thursday afternoon) for a return of power. That means out with the stuff in the refrigerator, it means chilly mornings as we get out of bed, it means gratitude for candles in the evenings. And for Kindles! There is a big pine tree in our neighbor’s yard just north of our lot. Because of the slope of the hill, that tree’s roots are above the roof of our house—it just sits up above the retaining wall at the back of the lot. Thank God that tree is still standing up there and not lying down with us!
So on one hand I am very grateful that we have gotten off with so little damage. At the same time, I am reminded of how much we rely on electricity, cable, internet, hot water, heating and air conditioning, etc. All of those things need power to work. One wire down disrupts so many things! It is the same with our relationship with God. When we clear the way and reach out, God’s Spirit pours through us, and empowers us, just as we talked about last Sunday. But it is easy for the storms of life (or our own distractions) to “disrupt the service.” Then we sit around wondering why things aren’t working! We all need Spirit power at work in our lives every day! I encourage you to daily invite God into whatever you are doing today. Just a simple prayer can make a huge difference. Something like: “Good morning Lord Jesus! Please be with me today and use me in all that I do today. Amen.” Let’s turn the power on in our lives!
This Sunday we will be welcoming new members into our congregation and talking about the importance of prayer in our lives, including the importance of praying for each other. I hope you can join us!
May you feel God’s blessings to you through whatever storms may bring—
Labor Day Weekend—for me that means the end of summer and the beginning of fall—a new school year, a new church program year, a new rhythm of life, work, play, rest and worship. The beginnings are at least as important as the ending. For years when I lived in Seattle there was a big music festival over Labor Day weekend—we marked the end of the summer with a bang! Alice called them my ‘high holy days’! Three or four days of music spread across 6 or 7 stages at the Seattle Center. It was fun and exhausting! I think some kind of celebration to mark the change of season is good—are you doing anything this Labor Day?
As I look ahead to the fall, I am excited. We are welcoming new members on September 13 (can you imagine, new members in the midst of a pandemic?). Our session approved our mission study and we have submitted it to the presbytery for their approval. The next step is electing a Pastor Nominating Committee. Your nominating committee is already at work on this, and we will announce a congregational meeting soon for the election. You should expect the search process to take something like 6 to 9 months (but it could be more or less—the key thing is finding the person God is calling to lead FPC in this time).
We launch Immerse on September 20. I hope you will sign up to join an Immerse Group for this 8 week period! Whether you are a relative stranger to the Bible or it is an old friend, this experience could reshape your faith. Don’t miss out! Get more information and sign up here: http://fpcslc.org/immerse/
Finally, our session is reviewing the reopening task force recommendations this coming week. Please be in prayer for wisdom and discernment as we look for how and when we can worship together physically. Of course, we will continue to worship on line throughout as well and will keep you informed of all developments.
Blessings to you as we say farewell to summer and welcome to a new season of growing closer and walking with Jesus!
I can’t believe it is August 20. It feels like August just started! Even in the middle of this weird summer the sudden rush up to September seems to be happening. All around the church there is a drumbeat of progress and forward movement. Your mission study team is meeting TODAY and hopes to finish its work on the mission study. The next steps are for our Session and the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry to approve it. Your Reopening Task Force is finalizing its recommendations to Session with a plan and metrics for when and how to do a phased reopening. Session meets next week with a full agenda!
Then coming quickly after that, starting one month from today is Immerse—our congregation-wide read through the New Testament. You’ll find information, resources and more on our website very soon. A key part of this experience is talking about what you are reading with others—joining a group. Some of our existing groups are choosing to discuss Immerse together during this 8 weeks, and others are forming new “book clubs” to discuss. Either way, I hope you will join a group. What a great way to connect with others and to learn from one another!
This Sunday in worship we will turn to Paul’s remarkable description of Jesus’ Upside Down Victory. I hope you can join us in worship—either live on Facebook Live OR YouTube, or whenever is convenient for you during the week.
Blessings to you as the drumbeat of September builds for all of us!