Grace and Peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! I am writing to you on Friday, September 15, with another Friday edition of News Note. As I write late morning, rumbles of thunder are approaching and rain has begun falling here at SGPC. What an amazing experience to welcome back rain, even clouds for that matter, after months of near cloudless skies, intense sun, and unparalleled high temperatures. There is a reason why water is the central, visible element in Christian baptism. All we need do is look at the washed-out brown tones of our lawns and our fields, visible evidence of a hot, dry summer, to know biologically water is necessary for life – which provokes theological reflection on the necessity of God for life. The water of our baptism is a visible sign of the life we have from God, the life we owe to God, the life we must live to God. Thank God for the water of life-giving rain. And thank God for our baptismal identity as children of the water.
VERY Important!!!: The church has a new postal address. It is P.O. Box 2078, Georgetown, TX 78627-2078.
Briefly Noted: It was reported at our Finance Committee Meeting this Tuesday that special gifts in July and August from members, to reduce the church’s building mortgage, totaled $57,000! That is in an incredible amount of money. I am deeply grateful for such sacrificial giving to alleviate the debt of the church. Such generosity reminds me that as 2023 enters its last few months, if you are able, please consider giving over and above your pledge through RMD or other estate planning methods. Consult with your financial advisor for best practices in doing so.
- Our Chancel Choir, Gabriel’s Sounds, is performing in the 22nd annual Faith in Action Choral Concert this Thursday, September 21, 7:00 p.m., First Baptist Church Georgetown. Admission is free for this annual fundraiser for Faith in Action. Thank you Choir for participating!
- We are in need of volunteers to work in the Pumpkin Patch for our Family Fun Day on Monday October 9. Georgetown ISD is out that day and traditionally many area families have chosen to come to SGPC for the Pumpkin Patch and fun activities. We need volunteers to be ambassadors of welcome and hospitality as SGPC welcomes the community in one of our most visible, and well-attended, community outreaches of the year. Please help if you can. We are behind on volunteer registration! Call the church office to register to volunteer for Family Fun Day in the Pumpkin Patch on Monday October 9.
- As you look ahead, mark Thursday evening, October 26, at 4:30 p.m., at Dale’s Essenhaus in Walburg, for our annual Stewardship Celebration Dinner. The menu will be turkey and dressing. We will start registration soon for this fun event.
- Deacon Sunday is next Sunday, September 24. During worship next Sunday, we will celebrate the ministry of deacons here at SGPC. I will be here to lead worship along with active deacons who will be ushering and serving as liturgist as well as addressing the congregation during the sermon on why they are deacons.
- Fellowship Catered Meal THIS Sunday September 17: Immediately following worship this Sunday, September 17, your Fellowship Committee is sponsoring a catered meal for our enjoyment and fellowship. The meal is chicken alfredo with pasta and broccoli, salad, and rolls. Cost is $16 for an adult, and $8 for children 12 and under. Pre-registration for the meal was necessary for catering purposes and was closed this Tuesday. However, if you would like to attend the meal and did not pre-register, you are more than welcome to hang around until all registered attendees are served. The caterer usually prepares for some overrun.
- Women of Faith Bible Study Returns This Wednesday September 20, 9:30 a.m., Room #4: Woman of Faith Bible Study will begin its Fall 2023 semester this Wednesday morning, September 20, at 9:30 a.m., in Room #4. WOF will meet the first and third Wednesdays of the month. The curriculum chosen is a reflective, discussion-based curriculum on the New Testament book of James written by Max Lucado. Lucado is a minister and prolific author. All women of the church are welcome to attend WOF Bible Study on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, 9:30 a.m., in Room #4.
- Pumpkins for SGPC 2023 Pumpkin Patch Arrive Sunday, October 8, 4:30 p.m.: Mark your calendars for the 2023 SGPC Pumpkin Patch which will get underway with the arrival of pumpkins on Sunday, October 8. The pumpkins are due to arrive from the Navajo Nation in New Mexico at 4:30 p.m. There is no need to register to unload pumpkins on Sunday October 8, 4:30 p.m. Just show up in loose fitting clothes and bring gloves if you prefer.
- The following volunteer opportunities are necessary to run the Pumpkin Patch each year and you must sign up to serve:
Family Fun Day in the Pumpkin Patch Volunteers – Monday, October 9, 9:00 -12:00 Noon. Volunteers arrive at 8:00 a.m. for instruction and assignment on Monday, October 9. Must call the church office to add your name to the volunteer list.
- Pumpkin Patch Volunteers for Pumpkin Sales – Weekday afternoons and evenings and Weekends October 10 – October 31. Volunteer for 2-hour shifts. Register to volunteer by calling the church office.
- Volunteer Training for Pumpkin Patch Pumpkin Sellers Sunday October 1 at 12:00 Noon: Immediately following worship on Sunday October 1, we will celebrate our First-Sunday Fellowship Gathering in the Narthex as is our custom at SGPC. Following the First-Sunday Fellowship Gathering on Sunday, October 1, at approximately 12:00 Noon, in the Sanctuary, Pumpkin Patch Pumpkin Sales volunteers will gather for an orientation and training. The training is expected to take less than 30-min. But you need to attend this training if you register for pumpkin sales this year. If you cannot be here on Sunday October 1 for the pumpkin sales training, then contact the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 512-868-0902 and Ashley Brown our church administrator will arrange a training session for you. We need several volunteers to run the Pumpkin Patch Sales. I thank you in advance for volunteering for this vital service!
- SGPC Book Discussion Group Next Meeting Thursday September 28: The next meeting of the SGPC Book Discussion group led by Jarka Pederson will be Thursday, September 28, at 11:00 a.m., in Room #4 in the Education Wing of the church’s building. This date is a change from the date assigned in the last Book Discussion Group. The book to be discussed is entitled “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell” by Robert Dugoni. For planning purposes, registration to attend is appreciated by calling the church office even if you have already attended in the past. All are welcome!
- Adult Sunday School has returned from Summer Break: Adult Sunday School returned last Sunday, September 10, after a several-week break for late summer. Dr. Jim Wayland is facilitating the first six to eight weeks of Adult Sunday School with discussions around several important biblical/theological questions that will form the basis of class discussions. The following questions are what Jim proposes in topical sequence for each successive class: “Why did Jesus have to die?” “What is redemption? Is there any difference between redemption and salvation?” “Are we saved by good works?” “Can someone continue in sin and still be saved?” “A second look at redemption/salvation: to be set free from bondage.” Adult Sunday School meets at 9:15 a.m. in Room #4.
- Pastor’s Bible Study Has Returned on Thursday Afternoons at 3:00 P.M. My Pastor’s Bible Study has returned from summer break. We meet weekly on Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. in the East Wing of the Sanctuary. We are studying and discussing several books in the New Testament: Colossians, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, First and Second Peter, and Jude. These books are short but laden with wonderful theological, spiritual, and pastoral themes. All are welcome!
- Presbyterian Women’s Bible Study Has Returned from Summer Break: Presbyterian Women’s Bible Study returns from its summer break this Friday, September 15, at 1:30 p.m., in the church’s Library. The group will continue meeting once a month on the third Friday of each month. Carolyn Patterson is leading this discussion-based group utilizing the PCUSA’s Presbyterian Women’s curriculum entitled Horizons Bible Study. This year’s Horizons Bible Study is entitled “Sacred Encounters”. Please contact Carolyn Patterson at email@example.com or 512-689-6490 for signing up and for more information on purchasing the book.
- Meals on Wheels Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive Lasts Thru Next Sunday September 24: Through September 15, we have raised 196 jars of peanut butter and 204 jars of jelly! Our goal 250 jars of each. Running through next Sunday September 27, SGPC will engage a mission effort for Meals On Wheels. We are being asked to donate jars of peanut butter and jelly to the cause. Meals on Wheels uses the peanut butter and jelly to give to their clients one Friday a month as a way of bolstering their clients’ food intake on Saturdays and Sundays when Meals On Wheels are not delivered. You will see a table in the Narthex as you enter the Sanctuary with a place for you to drop off your peanut butter and jelly. Please make sure the jars are the smaller size, no larger than 18 oz., due to weight consideration for the volunteers who deliver the meals.
- Georgetown Ecumenical Wholeness Service Gathers Next Sunday September 24: SGPC hosts the Georgetown Ecumenical Wholeness Service every fourth Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. The Wholeness Service is produced by Ginger Mann for the wider Georgetown Christian community and friends. The Wholeness Service is a reflective and meditative worship experience, filled with prayer and music. The theme for next Sunday’s Ecumenical Wholeness Service is entitled “Pursuing Peace”.
- Austin Cluster of Presbyterian Woman at SGPC Saturday September 30: I am pleased to announce that SGPC will be hosting a gathering of the Austin Cluster of Mission Presbytery Presbyterian Women on Saturday, September 30, beginning with registration and breakfast at 9:00 a.m. Presbyterian Women from all over the greater Austin region will gather for worship, fun, fellowship, and learning. General Presbyter of Mission Presbytery, The Rev. Sallie Watson, will be here to lead worship at 11:00 a.m. All women are welcome to attend!
- Sunday Morning Volunteer Opportunities: The church always has need of volunteers to help run our Sunday morning life and work. Needed for Sundays are Ushers, Candle Lighter, Liturgist, and Coffee Helpers. Please call the church office to register for these important service opportunities. I am very grateful for your consideration of these necessary weekly service needs.
Opportunities for Study and Fellowship at SGPC:
Presbyterian Women Bible Study – Returns Friday September 15, 1:30 p.m., in the church’s Library. Meets the third Friday of each month. Contact Carolyn Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-689-6490
Men’s Fellowship – Meets for breakfast the second and fourth Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. at Mulligan’s Restaurant in Sun City. Next meeting is Saturday, September 23. Contact Albert Fox, email@example.com, 512-777-8961
Women of Faith Bible Study – First and Third Wednesdays of each month, 9:30 a.m., in Room #4. Next meeting is Wednesday, September 20, 9:30 a.m., Room #4. Contact Pastor Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastor’s Bible Study – Meets weekly on Thursday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. in the East Wing of the Sanctuary. Contact Pastor Bill at email@example.com
SGPC Book Discussion Group – Next meeting is Thursday, September 28, 11:00 a.m., Room #4. Contact Jarka Pederson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Life in Fellowship Together (LIFT) – Crafts-based fellowship group. Needs someone to lead the group and is currently not meeting. Contact Linda O in the church office at email@example.com if you are interested in leading LIFT.
That is all for now from here. Enjoy the rain and cool down! Do good work!
Grace and Peace, Pastor Bill