encourage intergenerational participation. At 1st Pres, we want to support and serve your entire family; I’m excited to share and participate in Kierstie’s vision for how we accomplish this together.
Ten years ago, I was a recent seminary graduate beginning my own ministry with families in Washington, D.C. At that time, ministry with families followed a blueprint that had been in practice for over 60 years. The blueprint prescribed a never-ending buffet of church activities to fill your family’s weekly schedule. We believed that the best way to serve families was to keep them busy.
A lot has changed since then. COVID and the rapid cultural changes we all have experienced have left churches asking the same question: How do we best serve the families in our care? At 1st Pres, we believe that the answer to this question lies in deep and meaningful experiences that draw you into closer relationship with Jesus Christ and one another. In other words, we want to pursue quality over quantity. We know that the demands on your life and time are many. Our prayer is that 1st Pres becomes a haven of rest and restoration for your family.
As we enter into this new chapter together, my prayer is that you will partner with us in our mission to love our young families at 1st Pres. Whether you represent one of these families or are a retired empty-nester, you have a role to play in this mission. God has given you the talents to participate in pointing others to the amazing grace and love of Jesus. What an incredible calling! As there will be opportunities to share those talents, I pray that you will be bold, courageous, and generous in your service.
We are excited about the future God has for us at 1st Pres. Our walk with Christ together is transformative, and transformation is always better when experienced in a community of people dedicated to supporting and serving one another. Love 1st is the mission of our church family. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to pursue it with you.
Grace and peace,
church was quite some time ago. It was a bit loud — that was the excitement of the children who were going pew to pew with their offering buckets. Yes, it was noisy — that was the sound of all the coins being dumped into the collection buckets; oh, and the children shaking the buckets to hear the sound of clinking coin against coin! If I recall correctly, it was loads of FUN — for the children and the congregants alike. So many smiles on faces as coins/bills were collected and as folks gave generously to fill the buckets!
Well, this special offering is happening once again in our church on August 27, 2023, at the 9:00 am service. The proceeds from this offering are going to benefit the 1st Pres Neighborhood Closet.
But, as I sat and thought of this offering, I wondered how it all began? So, through a bit of research, (sending out the "HELP" SMOKE SIGNAL to 1st Pres folks) I got some background information.
Kierstie let me know that “in the past it has been a fun way for our children to be involved with giving to a specific mission partner. The change hitting the buckets serves as a ‘visual and auditory representation’ of giving with generous and joyful hearts to people and places God has called us to walk alongside.”
Yvette let me know that it was a “fun way for the children to participate in collecting ‘change’ (hence the noise in noisy) for a special project they were supporting”. She also said that the children’s lesson on Sunday, August 27, will be on Matthew 25:40-45 Whatever you did for the least of my children, you have done for me.
Jeannie asked about a tour of the 1st Pres Neighborhood Closet for the children. This could help the children understand how the money collected from the Noisy Offering would support the 1st Pres Neighborhood Closet.
So, during their class time on August 27, the children will be touring the 1st Pres Neighborhood Closet to see the types of new clothing items that will be purchased with the proceeds from the offering. They will get to physically put merchandise on the racks for their peers' shopping experiences.
WOW! What a hands-on way to help children understand scripture.
Over the last several months, the 1st Pres Neighborhood Closet has been mostly providing new clothing to our families. It has been wonderful to hear the comments and excitement on the children’s faces when they enter the Closet and see all the brand, new clothing (with tags attached) they get to choose from.
The following are comments from a few of the children. Most recently, we had a 9-year-old girl come for a shopping experience. Her first reaction was to go to a rack of blue jeans and run her hands along all the tags attached and make a ticker tape noise as she did. It was priceless when she said to her mom, “Look Mom, these are all new!” On another shopping experience, we had an early teen whisper to her younger sister as she picked up a new package of underwear and socks, “This is cool, they’re all new, no one’s worn these!”
This is why we do this! When we serve children and families in a dignified manner, we know we are following the word of God. Matthew 25:40-45, Whatever you did for the least of my children, you have done for me.
Thank you, from the 1st Pres Neighborhood Closet, for supporting children and families with this Noisy Offering.
Blessings, Gina Dingman
that both of their journeys are filled with joy and wonder — the beginning and the end.
I’ve been watching old reruns of Touched by an Angel. You might remember the show that started in 1994 and ran for 9 seasons! The lessons were simple. God exists. God loves you. God wants to be part of your life. Invite God in at every chance.
The beginning of Constance Nora’s life and the end of Grandpa Chuck’s life are in God’s and all his angels' hands. What a blessing! Praise the Lord!
In His Name, Janet
you are sick and have seen so many times that if you accidentally doze off, it doesn’t matter. The latest courtroom drama show I’ve gotten interested in is Bull.
As much as I enjoy legal dramas, I’m really hopeful it is much more boring in real life. I’ve been called for jury duty the week of August 8th.
This disruption to daily life that a jury duty causes has made most people I talk to cringe, and I’m not too thrilled about it either. The one thing that all these shows try to show is how important the courtroom is. It is part of our social responsibilities, and one of the ways we serve our community.
Even though I hope it is more boring than what is on TV, I also hope that it doesn't feel like a waste of time. When we go in to serve, we want to feel useful. We want to feel useful if we are serving for a jury or serving our community. We have to take some moments of serving on a little bit of faith: we don’t get to see the benefits of our service or our service is just another piece of the larger picture. I don’t know if my jury service will be of benefit. I don’t know if there are any long-term benefits to some of the volunteer work I’ve done before. I do know that the act of service is the important part. The rest of what happens after service is up to God. Even if it’s the service we don’t necessarily feel like doing.
In His Name, Tyler
she just didn’t seem to fit in (as if I’d know…). I have prayed for forgiveness for 58 years for the way I treated that girl. I often pray that God had let that foreign girl have a future filled with success and that my hurtful actions didn’t cause her continuing pain.
Fifty-eight years of asking for forgiveness. Had I been Lot’s wife, I would have turned into a pillar of salt and blown away in life’s breezes a long time ago. But, I mentally moved on down the road, only to return to that same prayer over and over and over again.
Why, oh, why do I continue to look back as Lot’s wife did, reliving every detail, praying once again for forgiveness and healing?
After retiring from what had been considered a successful teaching career, I returned to my old school the next Fall to teach for a trimester for a friend who was having a baby. It was a horrible experience: the principal seemed to begin questioning and criticizing my teaching, which he had earlier only praised. I learned several months into that substitute experience that a group of parents had been using me as fodder in their gossipy social gatherings, and the principal’s wife was one of the participants (even though she had no child in my room). I was deeply shocked and hurt. Even though one of the ringleaders in this bashing apologized and admitted that their perceptions had been wrong, it has negatively colored recollections of my entire career. For ten years, I’ve gone over and over my time with former students, questioning every lesson and interaction, praying to God that if I had caused any harm to any student that He might heal them.
Why, oh, why do I continue to look back, reliving every detail, praying once again for forgiveness and healing?
One of the lessons I’ve learned from writing this blog was that I have been conflating an actual sin I’d committed with a sin that was committed against me. By combining them, it increased the weight on my shoulders. It’s time to rightly separate them in the hopes that I might end this cycle of wash-rinse-repeat.
Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, but only told her to go and sin no more. And, then when Jesus spoke to the people at Mount of Olives again, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Well, I DO follow Him, and I DO believe in Him, so I have tried mightily to not repeat the sin of hurting others. I have tried very hard to keep walking in His light.
As to the sins committed against me, every time we recite the Lord’s prayer we ask Our Father, who art in heaven, to not only forgive us our trespasses, but also to forgive those who trespass against us. Oh, my, apparently, I haven’t listened very well as I recited that prayer. I will change my prayer when these recollections resurface (as surely they will) to ask God to help me forgive those who have sinned against me.
Let me try to breathe a bit easier with comfort from these words:
Or, perhaps these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson will help end this cycle for me, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
Your friend in Christ,
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.