Some years ago I heard the phrase, “Pray first – worry less.” I need to be reminded of that frequently. Fortunately God is persistent. This month I have received multiple reminders of the value of prayer. The Pastor’s School I went to on study leave had prayer as a central theme and practice. Several books I have been reading about church growth begin with a call to pastors and congregations to pray first – before we begin anything else. Pray. A month ago I met with our Presbytery’s Associate Executive to talk about some new ideas for our congregation and to find out what kind of support might be available. Before we even met, she sent me an email to say, “I want you to pray about this…” with specific thoughts she wanted me to pray. Sometimes it takes a while for a message to sink in. Sometimes it takes a while for me to “get it.” This month clearly I needed to hear the call to prayer and to share that call with others.
During July there are three invitations to prayer which I share with you.
First, I will be preaching a short sermon series on prayer. It is important to develop a rich spiritual life and a deeper relationship with God. It is also important for a congregation to be spiritually vital, to encourage connections with God in any and every form.
Second, you will be invited to pray for specific joys and concerns in the congregation and community. In July, among other things, pray for PYF on their mission trip and pray for all children, youth and young adults to come to know God’s amazing love.
Third, as noted in the article below, I will be starting prayer circles for July and August on Wednesdays at noon and 5:30 p.m. (Read the details in the other article.)
I decided to offer these prayer circles because I wanted to be more organized in my own prayer time. It is easy to get pulled into ordinary busy-ness and to forget regular, active, purposeful prayer. So these circles will be part of my own personal prayer life. I am inviting you to explore the practice as well. My hope in this is threefold – 1) that I will continue to deepen my relationship with God and grow spiritually, 2) that some of you will also grow spiritually so that we as a congregation will become closer to God, and 3) that our revived relationship with God will be such a blessing that others will see and come to worship with us, that we will grow as a congregation and that others will be blessed. Please join me in my prayer journey and we will see
Wednesdays at noon and 5:30 p.m. For one hour of prayer
Pastor Kimby has started two midweek prayer opportunities. Every Wednesday in July and August at noon and 5:30 p.m. a group will gather in the chapel at church to pray for one hour. This is a total of nine weeks. You may come once or any time you are available. If it is your lunch hour from work, you may bring your lunch and join us. Pastor Kimby will teach a few prayer forms (ways to pray) but most of the time will be spent in prayer together. Invite a friend. Everyone is welcome.
Rev. Jay McKell, honorably retired, will preach on July 23 while Kimby is away for vacation. Jay is a long-time colleague of Kimby. Jay is the founding pastor of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church of Overland Park, KS, where Kimby served just before coming to Gardner. Jay also helped to moderate session for a short time, after Ron Lavoie left. Jay is now honorably retired, though he still serves Heartland Presbytery in many ways. Jay and his wife Elizabeth have come to worship here within the last year, and are known to many in the congregation. Please plan to attend and welcome Rev. Jay McKell on July 23 at 9 a.m. worship.
We have a special opportunity to host a travelling Christian artist. Brent Vernon is a singer, song writer, ventriloquist, performer and author of children’s books. He was coming through Kansas, has Presbyterian connections, and reached out to us for this concert venue. Because his availability coincided with our church anniversary, we jumped at the chance to host. Brent says, “Each of my concerts is a potpourri of energetic, challenging and Hope-filled music.” We will promote the event in Gardner and surrounding areas. We hope to welcome guests of all ages into the sanctuary to enjoy the show. The show is family friendly. Sam is especially popular with children. The concert is free and open to the public, with a free will offering and CD/book sales. Be sure to mark your calendars for Friday, August 11, and invite friends and family.
Pray for PYF – Presbyterian Youth Fellowship – during their mission trip – July 8-17
The PYF will be embarking on their summer mission trip in July. Eight youth and three adults will be serving with Team Effort in Washington, D.C. The trip is July 8-17 and will cover about 2500 miles. With an adventure this big, we’ll need your prayers and support! The mission team will be commissioned during morning worship on Sunday, July 2nd. Please come pray the group off. The team will give a presentation while leading worship on Sunday, August 6th so that you can learn all God did in the hearts of the kids and the lives of those they will have served so far from home.
July: Shoes/Flip Flops, Composition Notebooks, umbrellas
August: Composition Notebooks, Crayons, Pencils/Sharpeners, School Scissors
September: Erasers, Crayons, School Scissors
October: Socks, Underwear, T-Shirts, Shoes
There will a basket in the Narthex for the monthly donations. The items collected will be used at our Packing Party in November. Toothpaste and candy are not allowed in the boxes as of this year. A size chart is in the Narthex.
We will not be having P.W. meetings in July but a reminder we do have budget obligations. In order to keep abreast of the budget responsibilities you may submit pledges to the office to Connie and please mark that it is going to Presbyterian Women. Thank you for your faithfulness!
The ladies of Presbyterian Church will be having a “Summer Brunch”: at the home of Char Bergene on Saturday, July 15, 2017, 9:30 AM. Bring a brunch item to share. We will have a book exchange of Christian Fiction books so if you have one to share bring a book and then take another home. Please join us for a morning of good food and fellowship!
Be On The Alert: Watch for information for the new Fall Study in the near future! Please join us for any or all the events coming up and keep up-dated on happenings! God Bless you all!
Once again this year the Mission Group participated in the Festival on the Trail event for Gardner’s annual celebration. The Mission group with the help of many in the congregation had a cooling station for all of the attendees for the Gardner event. During the Saturday event we gave out over 700 bottles of cool refreshing water. Each water bottle had the First Presbyterian label on it.
Last year we just gave them out free, but this year we had a donation bottle out. The donation bottle was labeled for Water Wells in Kenya. The event collected $165.00
Many thanks to all who donated water and also helped man the “cooling station” for this event.
We had a wonderful week with an average of 53 campers daily. Our Heartland staff was outstanding as always. A big thank you to the youth volunteers! They were great also. Thanks to everyone that donated food for lunch, served breakfast, and hosted the Heartland staff for dinners, worked with crafts, or read stories to the campers. Thanks also to everyone who helped set up for camp on Sunday and who helped take down camp on Friday and Sunday. Next year’s camp is tentatively scheduled for June 18-22, 2018. Mark your calendars!
“Summertime and the living is easy,” sings the first line of the old song from “Porgy and Bess” by George Gershwin. I love the song, but I always laugh a little when I hear it. Easy? Not so much anymore. “Crazy” might be a better word – which leads me to another song, “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” Really, everything leads me to another song.
Summer is upon us and we have a lot of activity planned already – special events for June, July and August. Our schedules change, our daylight lengthens, and we do things a little differently. Worship continues as usual – with solos and ensembles instead of choir – still praising God and gathering in community. We add to the mix several special events – many of which could use your support and prayer. See examples in the rest of the newsletter.
The point is there’s a lot going on – in your life and in the life of the church. Don’t forget to stay connected and involved. Don’t forget to pray for one another and for the church. Don’t forget to ask for help if you need it, or to let us know if you need prayer support. If you are looking for ways to get involved, contact me and I will listen to your interests and come up with some options where you could contribute. This may be your time to try something a little different. Let me know if you have any ideas. Let us know if God is inspiring you in a new way. That’s what these “lazy hazy crazy days” are all about – listening to God and letting the Spirit move.