reverence to saints canonized and those unknown or known in our own lives and their contributions and sacrifices.
It’s an opportunity for us to give thanks for all those who have gone before us in faith, those famous or obscure, including our loved ones who have passed and who are now part of the ‘communion of saints’ who have gone before us.
One of my favorite hymns is “For All the Saints” written by William Walsham How, an Anglican Bishop living in the latter part of the 1800s. The text of the hymn was published in 1864 and the music most of us are likely familiar with was thought to be added around 1906.
Singing this hymn brings back memories of my beloved grandmother, Ruth Erickson Haas. We sang it at her funeral. Tears in my eyes, I could remember nothing but the love I had for that amazing woman and the saint she was in my life.
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia!
In His Name, Janet
Before there were Walmarts, Starbucks and Costcos, people worked the land and the Lord blessed them each year with a harvest that sustained and nourished them throughout the winter months. My memories of fall take me back to my parents and the dairy farm I grew up on — Mom canning tomatoes, Dad driving the tractor and putting the corn in the silo for the cows, and pumpkins — so many pumpkins! My parents were humble, hardworking, and grateful people, thankful for the harvest and the Creator who provided it.
1st Pres will be celebrating the harvest this year on October 28th with our annual Fall Harvest Celebration, held in the gravel parking lot. We will have cider and hot cocoa served by our youth, tables for children’s crafts, temporary tattoos that celebrate our Lord, a selfie booth, and a petting zoo complete with food for the animals. It will be a chance to show families in our community some fun and what love looks like at our church.
We are still in need of volunteers to set up and take down canopies and assist at the tables and booths. It not too late to get involved. You can call the church office or simply show up on Saturday to lend a hand.
This event is being put on by the Community Outreach committee with the hot cider and cocoa provided by Family Ministries. This will be our last community inclusive event for the year. (We do have a surprise for the congregation planned for December, details to follow).
I hope you can join us on the 28th to celebrate fall, the harvest, and the Creator who provides it!
In His Name, Donna
of the fruit trees as they start to blossom. I enjoy visiting all the nurseries in the area to find the perfect plants. It’s a challenge, because I love them all! I enjoy digging in the dirt of my flower gardens with the sun on my back. The smell of the dirt and the warmth of the sun seems to rejuvenate me. I look forward to fresh summer fruit and vegetables at the farmer’s markets. But my favorite thing about Spring is taking a drive through the Palouse to see the colors of the rolling hills.
Fall means that things around us are dying off, but I love this time of year also. I love watching the squirrels hiding acorns everywhere and the birds flying off in formation as winter draws closer. I love the smell of the crisp morning air and the fragrance of the leaves that are preparing to fall. I like to soak up the sun in the afternoons when the sky is clear, wishing I could absorb the warmth and enjoy it when the winter days get cold and dark. I enjoy the tastes of Fall with all the wonderful fruits and vegetables sold at the orchards. Pumpkin everything! My favorite part of Fall are the leaves on the trees as they change color, just before they fall. The trees almost compete with the beauty of the flowers we enjoyed all summer. The colors of the foliage are like a masterpiece God has completed for the year.
Although I prefer Spring and Fall, each season has their own beauty. The seasons are reminders to me that God is intentional in his love and care for his creation. He cares for all of His creation, but he cares about his children most of all. We are his greatest masterpieces.
Let me tell you about the love and care stitched into every quilt by sharing some words from a group to which I belong, the Quilts of Valor Foundation. QOV awards quilts to thank military veterans for their service, sacrifice, and valor in serving our nation. To make sure the recipient knows how much care is contained in every award, they include this description in their award speech:
The Foundation goes on to explain to the recipient veteran:
Every quilt, and not just Quilts of Valor, contains some measure of the above description. I don’t normally share so much of others’ writings, but the QOV verbiage is so well-worded that my hope is it helps you to more deeply appreciate all that goes into the making of a quilt. Also, I hope you will come to the Quilts and Sweets event next Tuesday. Perhaps as you view each quilt, you’ll have a more thorough understanding and appreciation of the depth of care and love contained in each one — even if every single stitch is not “perfect.” Please come and enjoy the large selection of quilts on display.
King Solomon was the probable author of Ecclesiastes (with Hezekiah as editor). His eloquent words in chapter 3 are often quoted.
As many times as I’ve read Ecclesiastes 3, I had never noticed his reference to sewing before. However, he continued with the following verses:
While designing and constructing a quilt takes much hard work, that toil is pleasurable and brings me much joy. Hopefully, that joy is also shared by the recipient. May you be able to view quilts with more understanding and appreciation in the future.
Your friend in Christ,
reflections from the 9/24 Sent series sermon given by Rev. KurtHeineman, based on the Acts 8:26-40 story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.
The phrase, “God’s grace has preceded our human response”, shared by Rev. Kurt, seemed to cast a beam across my reflections on the sermon. Initially, my thoughts pointed to how the Spirit makes ways through the actions of God’s children for His glory and love to be realized. This led me to recall the repeated awe expressed by many congregants over the past two years, basically consisting of: ‘There is something exciting going on.’ And, ‘The Spirit is moving here.’
It is. The evidence is all about us: our loving and gifted FPC staff; the evolution of the Children & Family and Youth teams into Family Ministry; the Neighborhood Closet ministry; the Deacons refocusing their ministry on care and connection; the Coffeehouse Conversations by the Community Outreach Committee; the Mission Team offering grants to non-profits; the deep investment of congregants in leadership, church participation and financial stewardship; the generous legacy gift from the Gotz estate; and the many new attenders finding welcome and connection. God’s grace is faithful and beyond imagination.
Secondly, in the question Rev. Kurt posed, “Who is the Spirit pressing near me to get to know?” was the challenge to consider those ‘at the edge’ of my personal known world, or a step further- ‘outside the margins’ of community. Again, I see God’s grace preceding our human response to both the personal and the community ‘pressing’. Though it feels out of sequence, I want to first consider our Lord’s call to ‘know, appreciate and join with’ His children ‘outside our margins’, who seem just that bit further from our personal circle. Then, close with a thought about those a reach closer, who are just ‘at the edge’.
So, how can we come to know those in our community the Spirit is pressing us near? FPC has been blessed to have a leader who has dedicated her life and work to understanding this question, Donna Brundage. She and the Community Outreach team have established the Coffeehouse Conversation events for this very question. The intention of these open forums, with speakers who are professionally invested or personally experienced with each topic, is to offer the FPC congregation an opportunity to understand the needs and circumstances of those who are ‘at the edge’. These are community members who are homeless, dealing with mental health concerns, challenged by differing physical or cognitive abilities, overcoming addictions or may be contemplating suicide. Understanding can replace fear and remove biases and could help us to trust that our commitment to being a LOVE 1st church could look like confidently pressing near the ‘outside the margins.”
Ironically, it is often the opportunities and connections that are closer, more personal to us, that require greater trust and confidence in God’s grace to steps toward. Yet, it seems like this is exactly what is going on in our congregational body. So many folks across the church are responding to the Spirit’s pressing to step towards the edge of their comfort zone and such an example, which includes the wisdom of a child, is my closing anecdote.
Since mid-August, it has been announced there is a calling for a Sunday School teacher for the 2nd - 5th grade group. It is so satisfying to learn this important opening has been filled perfectly by the grace of God. There are a few circumstances that make this fill somewhat of an amazing surprise: in addition to being a wife and mother of three young children, this person works full time outside of their home. Though her teaching experience with children has been limited to VBS during a Lima, Peru mission trip and as a co-teacher in Sunday School; she has a strong background of teaching adults in the field of dental hygiene at the collegiate level.
At first glance, these circumstantial conditions seem like challenges that might dissuade a busy young woman from risking a ‘yes’ to pressing herself to a new edge in this teaching ministry. But this is God’s work. His grace has preceded her response. So, just how was her heart open to receiving His grace and gifting in preparation for this calling? The simple answer: the wise and inspired words of a child.
Not just any child, specifically, one of her own. It was her oldest son Alex’s sincere encouragement upon hearing the announcement of the position, which prompted her to consider this ‘edge’ opportunity and to step forward to fill this need. It was a child who gave voice to God’s preceding grace, telling her, “Mom, you should do that!”
Along with encouraging you to take every opportunity to get to know, appreciate and join in with, as many of our wise children and youth that you can, I invite you to join me in welcoming and thanking Tracee Dahm for her courage to say “Yes” to pressing ‘to the edge’.
Peace and every good, Yvette
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.