The Good News, Weekly Addition, August 9, 2023

Dear Church,
At our grief workshop on Saturday, we explored various types of grief. The exercise was eye-opening for me as it gave me a name for the sadness I both feel myself and see others struggle with. I was truly grateful to our leader and to the Deacons Wellness Activities Team for organizing the gathering.

One of the types of grief we noted was “ambiguous grief” which describes the grief we feel that doesn’t really seem to have an endpoint or other markers (such as a funeral) to process and make meaning of it. In my mind, I think our experience with COVID-19 has aspects of this sort of grief.

I say that because while COVID-19 is no longer considered a public health crisis, its effects are still widespread and deeply felt. March 2020 has become one of those touchstones in our culture that is defined by a “before” and “after” with much feeling like it has been lost or changed far too rapidly for our liking since that time. Additionally, many still struggle with not only the emotional grief of loss but with the physical aspect as well—“long Covid” has sapped many of their strength and energy, and the anticipation of further effects down the road only heightens the stress.

Complicating things further is the fact that COVOD-19 hasn’t really been eradicated. In fact, recent reports from the NC Department of Health reported an increase in cases, though not due to any specific variant or other factor. It appears that the “bug” really is becoming endemic, but that doesn’t mean it feels any less anxious when we hear the word.

All of this is to say: there is plenty of grief in our world and in our lives. And as we talked about on Saturday, perhaps the first, best step we can make is to acknowledge it. In this, I think again of John 11, one of my favorite passages in scripture, in which Jesus weeps over the death of his friend Lazarus. Jesus performs a miracle of resurrection, but the flow of the passage suggests that grief is an important step in the process that eventually does bring new life.

So, may we, by God’s grace, learn how to be more honest about the things that hurt and frighten us. May that honesty empower us to ask for help and prompt us to be gentle with others and self. And may that community of gentleness help us experience the love of God which can lead to a wholeness, marked by tears, but full of hope.

The Lord Bless and Keep You,
Rev. Ben



*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:

See our service from August 6 here:



This Sunday, August 13, we continue our  “This is Our Story!” series. Each week we will be looking at scriptures and focus in on one word that helps shape and form us as a Christian community. On Sunday, we read psalm 121 and Hebrews 4:10-18 which tells us our story is never a solo adventure. We all have “Help.”  This help comes from God who also gives us other people to help us live and share the good news of Christ. We will see that help again also as we celebrate the sacrament of communion and are fed by the grace of God’s presence with us.

*NC Department of Health reports and data show a recent increase in COVID-19 rates, perhaps due to a summer seasonal surge. The church encourages people to be mindful about ways to protect themselves and others, including maintaining distance, washing/sanitizing hands, wearing a mask (always welcome at FPCOG but still optional), avoiding large crowds when you are not feeling well, and having a COVID test on hand. The church office is gathering test kits to have on hand for those who need them. Please contact the office or pastor if you need one.

*September Spire articles are due to the office by Friday, August 18th!

*Lemonade on the Lawn returns on August 20! Join us for a time of fellowship following worship and say thank you to our FPCOG staff as we honor them in worship that day as well.

* Garner Area Ministry URGENT NEED: In June, FPCOG contributed 424 lbs of food to GAM to help alleviate food insecurity in our community. The shelves need to remain stocked though! Please bring donations of ANY and ALL non-perishable food items to the church or directly to GAM in the coming days, weeks, and months.

*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 has returned 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.

*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!

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