I hope you all had a happy 4th of July! And I hope that you had time to reflect on the blessing of freedom that God’s grace provides.
As I mentioned in my sermon Sunday, from the perspective of the gospel, we most faithfully celebrate our nation not by lifting up how exceptional or accomplished we are, but by our trust that God’s grace has been shed upon us in times of worthiness and in times when we were less than. And that trust in God’s grace means also recognizing we are among a family of nations, each with hopes, dreams, strengths, and weaknesses like us.
We are not perfect—no one person or country is. We have major challenges. Every person or country does. But we still place trust and hope that God will mend our flaws and work through us to shed ongoing grace, love, and equity among all people.
The prayer below by Jill Duffield, reflects this faith. May it be our prayer during July 4th week and for days still to come.
The Lord Bless and Keep You,
Prayer for Independence Day (originally found here: https://pres-outlook.org/2018/07/prayer-for-independence-day/)
Lord of all, we recognize that true freedom comes through you, that our ultimate loyalty belongs to you and that our real identity is bestowed upon us by you. Every day is a gift, every breath a moment to give you praise, every hour one in which to live what you command.
Knowing that you are Alpha and Omega, we ask for the wisdom to properly order all else. On this day when we celebrate our country’s independence, we give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy in this land: the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; the ability to speak what is on our minds, even when what we have to say is contrary to popular opinion or public policy; and the freedom to worship (or not). Help us to recognize that such marks of human dignity are for all people and that you, O Lord, love and value every person and place you have made.
May our patriotism be subject to your law, our loyalty to country never higher than our obedience to your will, our pride of nation always secondary to our humble attempts to follow Jesus Christ. As we commemorate this Independence Day, we remember that all people are created equal, because you Lord created us all and called us good. May our actions, laws and hearts reflect the character of our Creator. Amen.
*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 July 2, the conclusion of our “Remember the Sabbath” series.
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.
*Faith Fest is July 23, 24, 25 5:30pm-7:30pm. See this link for more details!
On Tuesday we will participate in a number of mission projects including one for Wake County Animal Shelter. Please consider donating an item from the following list:
New or lightly used blankets or large towels.
Canned dog, cat, puppy, or kitten food
Dry dog, cat, puppy, or kitten food
Little critter food (rat, rabbit, ferret, guinea pig)
New or lightly used indestructible toys in LARGE sizes (such as Kongs or Nylabones)
Soft cat treats
*Walking Group: The Walking Group meets each Tuesday weather permitting. During these warmer months, please take precautions and stay hydrated! Because it has more shade, the group will return to walking at Lake Benson Park until the fall. The group meets weekly at 6:00pm
*2023 Vision Update: Our Group is now set and meeting! 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. Please pray for this process to be faithful and fruitful.
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