The Good News, Weekend Refreshment, September 15, 2023

Dear Church,

This week I have been reading and re-rerading the story of God, Noah, creation, and the flood. That’s because this story is the focus for this coming Sunday’s worship service–“Created to Be New.” But this morning, one of this the story’s truths–that new beginnings, new creation, new possibility are most often born out of sorrow, storms, and difficulty–became visible in the remembrance of one of our nation’s most shameful tragedies.

60 years ago today, in Birmingham, AL, at 10:22am CST, 4 children–Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson were killed in a bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church by 4 members of the KKK. Approximately 2 dozen others were injured in the blast. This article from does a god job, I believe, of lifting up the victims  and noting the lingering pain and sorrow of that day, that remains a scar in our nation’s ongoing wrestling with issues of race among our citizens.

But while rain and dark skies still linger, this article, I think, also points to the promise of new beginnings. Remembering is part of that. Because we cannot make anything new without first recognizing that the old ways no longer work in helping God’s whole creation thrive. Learning who these young women were is a part of that because seeing people as full people is vital to treating everyone with dignity. Lamenting is part of that because sometimes you need to scream before having energy to take a new breath. And listening to the ways others have shown grace and love, who have endured, even amid pian and uncertainty, is certainly a part of that, for reasons I hope are obvious.

Near the site of 16th Street Baptist Church in downtown Birmingham now stands the Civil Rights Institute. Across the way–in the park where Bull Conner released dogs on Civil Rights activists including children, stand statues commemorating these 4 women and the ongoing work of unity that God calls us to begin again and again and again. On rainy days a rainbow even pops up from time to time. May such light shine in us in days and weeks to come.

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:

On Sunday, September 17th, we continued our worship series “Created to Be” which will take us through the stories of Genesis. This Sunday we look at the story of God, Noah the flood, and new beginnings.

*The Congregation elected Rachel Acton, Carrie Dixon-Cash, Parks Icenhour, and Kevin Wallace, to serve with Elders Roxann Porter and Lucy Paradies, and Deacon Chris Turpin to serve on the congregational Nominating Committee. Please pray for these folks and the people God is directing them toward who will serve as Elders or Deacons for our church. If you have a name the committee should consider please offer it to one of these folks.

*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.

*Confirmation is Beginning! Our young people will undergo the process of Confirmation during September, where they will deeply consider what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you as an adult are interested in working with these young people as a mentor or teacher, contact Rev. Acton!

* October Spire articles are due to the church office by Thursday, September 21st. It’s hard to believe how fast September is going and October is right around the corner. Now is the time to let us know what your groups will be up to in October!

* 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.

* Crafting Crew: Attention crafters and other handcraft creators! The monthly crafting collective is restarting. We’ll be meeting on the first Saturdays of the month starting October 7th from 10 am until noon. Bring whatever you’re working on and a beverage of your choice. We’ll spend the time in fellowship and learning new skills. Kathy Blue will teach any crocheters who want to learn how to do broomstick lace. Come join us!

*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!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Print your tickets

%d bloggers like this: