*Today’s message kicks off a new publishing schedule for this blog, now entitled “The Good News” The blog will now be published on Wednesdays and Fridays. On Wednesday Rev Acton will include a brief meditation and announcements. On Friday we’ll have “Weekend Refreshment” which will include a short prayer or quote as well as updated announcements about the life of the church.*
As a new year begins, I find myself thinking a lot about transitions—a fairly natural topic when we are still so early in 2023. It’s even more pertinent for me today as well as part of my “to do” list includes preparing for the first Deacon and Session meetings of the new year. Other groups in the church such as Presbyterian Women, Men of the Church, Bible Study groups, and choir are doing the same.
In such times, I find it helpful to take a moment to pause and give thanks for the previous year—the accomplishments and joys that we witnessed thanks to God’s sustaining presence and spirit working through so many good people. I also find it important to mark the heartaches as well—the plan that didn’t go as well, the losses we knew, the struggles that remain, even as we look to a new year and what we hope God will bless us with going forward.
I do this by journaling, by prayer, and through conversation, but this year I am especially eager to share a time of worship in which we can do this sort of work together. On Saturday, January 7, we will meet at the church beginning around 9:00am to begin taking down our Christmas Decorations. At approximately 10:30am we will wrap this work up with a brief prayer service, inspired by a practice known as a “Burning Bowl.”
For those unfamiliar, the main element of such a service involves writing on slips of paper things for which you are grateful or concerns and regrets you have and wish to let go of. These slips are then collected and burned in a fire safe vessel to symbolize our giving of these thoughts and experiences to the God who loves us. In doing so, the service offers space and time to consider moments of gratitude as well as regret and encourages a looking forward with hope.
For FPCoG the service will begin in the sanctuary and then move outside the front of the sanctuary where we can safely burn the slips we write on.
I hope you can come to help with de-decorating and/or the Prayer service at 10:30am. It will be with your while and a good way I think to begin the new year aware and alert for God’s continued presence with us.
The Lord Bless and Keep You,
Join us each Sunday at 11:00am in person or online (via facebook live) for worship!
See and share Sunday, January 1’s service, observing Epiphany via the links below:
On Sunday January 8, we ordain and install new Elders and Deacons and remember the baptismal call God gives to each of us. As we worship may we each recall what God’s voice sounds like!
Online participation via Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/firstpresbyterianchurchofgarner
*Masks are welcome but optional during in-person worship as we continue to contend with COVID and an emerging flu season. We also ask everyone to be still mindful of social distancing and respectful of the personal space of others even as we give thanks for being together.*
*Men of the Church: The MOC gather on January 8 in the fellowship hall at 8:45am-9:30am for biscuits, coffee, fellowship, and prayer. All ages are welcome!
*Church De-Decorating and Prayer Service is Saturday, January 7: The work to take down our Christmas decorations begin at 9am; at approximately 10:30am we’ll have a brief prayer service in the sanctuary and outside to mark the end of one year and the beginning of the next. This service will be an adaptation of a “Burning Bowl” Service inviting you to offer memories, concerns, thanksgivings, and hopes to God. You are welcome to attend either or both events in person.
* Walking Group: Join the Walking Group each Tuesday at 6pm. We currently meet at Cadence Senior Living Center (200 Minglewood Dr.). If you have any questions, contact the church office 919-772-0727. In the event there is inclement weather, we’ll just gather the following week.
* Boy Scout Troop 392 is having a Krispy Kreme fundraiser. Please contact the church office (919) 772-0727 for information on how to get your certificate for a dozen glazed donuts. The cost is $15 for each certificate which can be used at any Krispy Kreme location across the United States. (Not valid for in grocery store purchases.)
* The 2023 Flower Chart is up! The flower chart is posted in the hallway and ready for sign-ups. The cost of the flowers for the coming year is $40.00.
*Prayers for Peace: Our world continues to need prayers of word and deed for peace. As we prepare for a new year, may we pay for those affected by the extreme cold weather across the US, as well as those continuing to rebuild from storms earlier in 2022. Please continue to keep law enforcement and first responders in your prayers as well as those struggling with gun violence in too many places in our nation (including Raleigh, NC). Pray, too, for those for whom the holiday season can be heavy as they deal with loss in what is known as a “joyful