Friday the 13th is a creepy enough date. Friday the 13th, in October might only deepen that sense of foreboding. And if the calendar doesn’t, there still is much in the world that does. The continued news out of Israel and Gaza is difficult and shocking. Experts seem to agree that there is much that is uncertain about how things play out other than that, no matter what, a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions is in the making.
As Christians though, we still hold fast to the belief that even in the chaos, even in crisis, even on Friday the 13th, there is a love, a light, a hope that endures. But how do we share that love of Christ when we are so far away?
There are many answers to that questions. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is always a trusted and reliable agency for monetary donations. https://pda.pcusa.org/situation/israel-palestine/
Prayer is always a resource we have, too, and one that can hopefully make us more open and alert to other tangible ways of acting.
In addition, I think turning off the TV, Internet, and Social media is a good option at times, esepcially when accompanied by another act of service. For when we take a minute to donate time, food, presence, or money to the needs of our neighbor we contribute to addressing the causes of conflict (such as poverty, lack of education and opportunity, discrimination) in ways fretting in front of screens and “proportionate responses” cannot.
One thing I am going to try and do: seek out ways to connect with Jewish and Muslim neighbors here in our area. get to know my neighbors and understand them. in ways that can mitigate stereotypes that we often can see in our media. Because, honestly, the best thing I know to do in a almost any situation is to simply keep loving others, just as Jesus first loved us.
In that spirit, may this prayer continue to inspire us to that goal:
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
[Reportedly inscribed on the wall of Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta, and attributed to her. However, an article in the New York Times has since reported (March 8, 2002) that the original version of this poem was written by Kent M. Keith.]
The Lord Bless and Keep You,
*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
On Sunday, October 15, our worship series “Created to Be” comes to a close. During worship we will invite participants to bring forward their own creations (songs, poems, woodwork, knitting, paintings, drawings, etc) as a way to pledge ourselves to the continuing creative work of love and peace. Join us to live and share Good News in a world that needs it.
*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 has test kits on hand for those who need them. Please contact the office or pastor if you need one. Also, remember to get your COVID booster and Flu shot as you are able and feel led to do so.
*Congregational Meeting: At the conclusion of worship, we will have a congregational meeting for the purpose of electing new Elders and Deacons. For Elder: Billy Knabe, Melissa Miley (filling 1 year of an unexpired term), Deb McHenry, David Pease, Paul Pedziwiatr. For Deacon: Kathy Blue, Bonnie Bowling, Regina Ekoule, Lorrie Icenhour
*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 has test kits on hand for those who need them. Please contact the office or pastor if you need one. Also, remember to get your COVID booster and Flu shot as you are able and feel led to do so.
*Our Fall Church Picnic will be on October 15 at 5 pm on the church grounds. Bring an appetite for good food and good fellowship!
*November Spire articles are due to the office by Monday, October 23rd.
*All Saints 2023! FPCoG observes All Saints Sunday on October 29, 223. We will remember by name during the service members of our church who have died since October 30, 2022. If you have a loved one you would like to remember by name and with the lighting of a candle, please submit their name to the church office no later than October 22, 2023.
*Calling all Ringers! In worship on 11/26, our music contains the possibility of a handbell piece. We need at least 4-5 folks who might be interested in learning and playing the piece. Please contact Bill Rashleigh to be part of this ensemble!
*Confirmation has Begun! Our young people are undergoing the process of Confirmation during September and October, where they will deeply consider what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. We have approximately a half dozen youth and adults serving as mentors involved in this process. Please pray for them!
* Garner Area Ministry NEED: 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 from 10 am until noon. The next date will be November 4. 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. Starting Oct. 17th, the walking group will meet at the Village at 6pm to walk. We will park at Cadence assisted living on Minglewood Dr. and walk 2 laps around the Village. If you have any questions, contact Martha Long at 919-744-0751. In the event there is inclement weather, we’ll just gather the following week. The group meets weekly at 6:00 pm
*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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