Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?
–Lyrics from “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent, written by Jonathan D. Larson
The above lines have long captivated me whenever I find myself, like today, thinking about the passage of time. How do we recount, recall, and remember the past? Do we focus on the hurst and challenges—it’s almost impossible not to consider them. Do we hold fast still to the joys that stood alongside such sorrows? Oh, how I hope we do! Do we recognize that through all the ups and downs, the griefs, and graces, that it all amounts to one thing: love? That is my prayer.
And especially it is my prayer as I count the 2 million, six hundred twenty-eight thousand minutes we have shared the ministry of living God’s Good News together. 5 years ago today, on June 21, 2018, was my first official day as pastor of FPCoG. I walked into the doors of this church and into God’s gracious embrace felt through the care, concern, and compassion of this community of faith.
And over these years we have measured our life together in many ways: laughter and tears; grief and joy; times of great faith and times of deep uncertainty and anxiety; in cups of coffee and individually wrapped communion kits; in Christmas Eve candlelight and baptismal waters; in retirements and new music directors; in zoom worship and in person passing of the peace; in walking groups and prayer shawls; in hellos and goodbyes; in faithful traditions and emerging new vision. Most of all though, in love divine, all loves excelling, as God has continued to embrace us in every step.
It’s not always been easy or perfect, but, oh my goodness, how much fun I have had. And how much deep gratitude I must thank each of you for being on this ride and in this time with me.
May the next five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes be filled with the same as God continues to help us measure all things in faith, hope, and most of all, love.
The Lord Bless and Keep You,
PS: Here’s a video of the whole song, sung by various cast members of Rent in 2008
*In-Person/Livestream Worship: Join us each Sunday at 11:00 am in person or online (via Facebook live) for worship!
Online participation via Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/firstpresbyterianchurchofgarner
See our service from June 18, when Komivi Ekoule preached:
On Sunday, June 25, Rev. Acton returns to the pulpit for the second in a 3 part series on Keeping the Sabbath. This Sunday we focus on the joy at the heart of sabbathkeeping. This joy can remind us from where true fulfillment and wholeness-which God desires for us–comes from.
*Masks are welcome but optional during in-person worship. 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.*
*Garner Area Ministry URGENT NEED: THE GAM Food Pantry is in need of ANY and ALL non-perishable food items! The shelves are low and any contribution can help feed food-insecure folks in our area. Please bring donations to the church or directly to GAM in the coming days, weeks, and months.
*Town of Garner Freedom Celebration: Garner’s annual Freedom celebration which began, on Saturday, June 17, at the GPAC with a program of music and storytelling commemorating Juneteenth, continues with the annual Independence Day festival and fireworks at Lake Benson Park on July 3rd.
More information on both events can be found at the following links:
*CHRISTMAS IN JULY: the silent auction fundraiser will be held on July 22nd at 2pm in the fellowship hall. Anyone interested in donating items for the event may contact Deb Wallace or any member of the Lillie Circle. The proceeds of the fundraiser will be going towards replacing the sound system in the fellowship hall. Everyone is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served and there may be a few surprises thrown in. Please invite your friends and children to attend as there will be something for all to enjoy.
*Youth Group will be attending the Holly Springs Salamanders vs South Wake Sharks baseball game in Holly Springs on June 25 at 5:40 pm. All youth in 5th grade and older are invited to attend. Please RSVP by June 15 to Christy Turpin, Roxann Porter, or Stephanie at the office.
*Walking Group: Join the Walking Group each Tuesday at 6 pm. We currently meet at Cadence Senior Living Center (200 Minglewood Dr.). It’s getting warmer so make sure to bring a bottle of water! If you have any questions, contact the church office at 919-772-0727. In the event there is inclement weather, we’ll just gather the following week.
*This is Our Story! Later in the summer, we will again share a worship series utilizing favorite scriptures and hymns of the congregation.
During June we will collect our ideas! You can email Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.
Please note, we will have four Sundays for these selections, and we must pay attention to the copyright on hymns since we livestream our service. Scriptures and hymns not used will be filed for future dates.
*2023 Vision Update: In January’s edition of the Spire, Rev. Acton wrote about church leaders (session, deacons, and staff) exploring an emerging vision for FPCoG, rooted in the idea of serving our “neighbors.” The Session continued this conversation at its February meeting and approved the following recommendations:
1. Appoint a group that can help develop a consensus among the congregation for a vision of FPCoG rooted in the image of being neighborly towards our local, regional, and global communities.
2. Complete a demographic study of our region to better know who our neighbors are and what their needs might be.
Our Group is now set! Thanks be to God for Elders Deb Wallace and Megan Snapp, Deacon Regina Ekoule, and at large members Kathy Blue, Sandy Lee, Joe Prater, and Ken Summerville for being part of this work. They will not be alone though as the whole congregation will have the opportunity to offer feedback and ideas as we discern together what God is calling us to be and do in 2023 and beyond.
*Share FPCoG with Each Other and Our Neighbors! FPCoG is an active church! To help others know this (and to stay up to date yourself), please consider following and asking others to follow us on Facebook or Instagram!