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adult sunday school— 9:15am / children/youth sunday school—9:15am / fellowship—10:00am Worship Service—10:30am

The latest from Pastor Bill

Letter from the Pastor

by: Keith Howell

09/20/2019

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Dear Friends,

Hope you are well and in good spirit. As I write the tragedy of our east Texas neighbors caught in devastating flood waters is in the national news. All my family in the Houston area are safe. Hope your friends and relatives are as well. Floods are devastating, as Noah and his family in Genesis can attest. So, let us remember not only our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas still crawling out from under Dorian, but let us also remember and look for ways we may be able to assist our fellow Texans from Imelda’s rains.

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Dear Friends,

Hope you are well and in good spirit. As I write the tragedy of our east Texas neighbors caught in devastating flood waters is in the national news. All my family in the Houston area are safe. Hope your friends and relatives are as well. Floods are devastating, as Noah and his family in Genesis can attest. So, let us remember not only our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas still crawling out from under Dorian, but let us also remember and look for ways we may be able to assist our fellow Texans from Imelda’s rains.

The memorial service for LeRay Bobinsky is tomorrow, Saturday September 21, at 1:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. A reception for the family will follow the service in the East Wing of the Sanctuary. Please keep her husband, Ron, and their children Susan, Diane, and Jim in your prayers. Though the circumstances are grief-laden, I have enjoyed getting to know the Bobinsky children and learning more about LeRay as the family has gathered from all over the United States this week. They are a wonderful family. If you are able, and available, I encourage you to come tomorrow and support Ron and the Bobinsky children as we honor the life of LeRay.

Your deacons are an amazing bunch. Day in and day out, week in and week out, the deacons of SGPC do a remarkable job of supporting and encouraging our membership. There is a deacon retreat in the morning, Saturday September 21, at 9:00 a.m. here at the church. The deacons will gather for breakfast and fellowship and some continuing education with me as we welcome a speaker from the Austin Area Agency on Aging to give us a presentation on serving senior adults. Keep your deacons in mind and in your prayers.

Pumpkin Patch is right around the corner! Pumpkins arrive Saturday morning, October 4. If able, you are invited to unload the pumpkins beginning at 9:00 a.m. Saturday October 4. Following the unloading, your Fellowship Committee is preparing a grilled hotdog lunch with all the trimmings. If you are unable to assist with the unloading, you are still cordially invited to attend the event and soak in the wonder of all that orange and a few other colors of pumpkins as well.

If you can volunteer in the Pumpkin Patch this year as Field Hands to occupy the sales tent, or as storytellers to elementary groups that visit the Patch on weekday mornings, please sign up. You may go to www.sgpcvolunteers.org and click on “Pumpkin Patch” to easily and conveniently sign up, or there will be sign-up sheets in the Narthex over the next few Sundays where you may sign up as well. The big Family Fun Day in the Pumpkin Patch is Monday, October 14, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We need volunteers for this big event as well. Come out and enjoy the Pumpkin Patch events and, if able, volunteer to help make this year’s Pumpkin Patch a rousing success. Monies raised from the sale of pumpkins go to our Scouting troops and to our Children, Youth and Family ministries.

Speaking of www.sgpcvolunteers.org, the website is a one-stop shop for easily and conveniently signing up for Sunday morning Coffee Hour Clean Up, Sunday Ushers, Sunday Greeters, Worship Liturgists, and Communion Servers (if you are an active or inactive elder or deacon). Visit the site and see how easy it is to offer to serve from the convenience of your home!

There is a church-wide Potluck Fellowship Luncheon scheduled for NEXT Sunday, September 29, immediately following worship. Though it is not necessary for you to sign up for the Potluck, if you know you are going to attend, please do so on the sign-up sheet in the Narthex. This will give the Fellowship Committee a ballpark figure for ordering sandwiches for the event. So, bottom line, the Fellowship Committee will provide sandwiches for the Potluck luncheon on September 29. But you have a role to play as well. If your last name starts with an A thru O, please bring a salad to share; if you last name starts with a P thru Z, please bring a dessert to share.

I will be here this Sunday, September 22, to lead worship. I will be on vacation Monday September 23 thru Monday September 30, returning to the office on Tuesday October 1. The Rev. Dr. Tom Currie will be leading worship and preaching in my absence on Sunday, September 29. Dr. Currie was pastor of Brenham Presbyterian Church in Brenham, Texas for many years, then First Presbyterian Kerrville. Dr. Currie left Kerrville to pursue a call to Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA, where he became dean of Union Seminary’s Charlotte, NC extension. After ten years of excellent service in Charlotte, beginning that seminary from scratch, Dr. Currie was honorably retired in 2016. Dr. Currie is one of the most respected theologians and teachers today in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Dr. Currie and his wife Peggy reside in Georgetown where Peggy is active at First Presbyterian Church in Georgetown. I know you will give Tom Currie a warm SGPC welcome on Sunday, September 29.

As the Lord’s Day, Sunday, September 22 approaches, a few items of note:

All Sunday School classes begin at 9:15 a.m. The Adult Topics class meets in Room #4. Hector Timourian is leading the class entitled “Images of God in the Old Testament.” The Bible Study Class meets in the church’s Library and is studying the concept of covenant throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Bible Study is led by Joe Ventura.

The Scriptures for this Sunday are Amos 8:4-7 and Luke 16:1-13. The Luke passage is generally referred to as the Parable of the Dishonest Manager. Jesus is quoted in Luke 16:9, “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth (or mammon in the Greek) so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.” This is one of the more “obscure” statements of Jesus in the whole of the New Testament. What does it mean for us? I will attempt to unpack one of its possible meanings for us in Sunday’s sermon.

The Narthex Task Force gave a MFM at last Sunday’s worship service. Please remember that last Sunday also kicked off our mini-capital campaign to raise approximately $14,000 for Narthex upgrades. The campaign will officially run for two more weeks, encompassing Sunday’s September 22 and 29. You will find small giving envelopes in the Narthex on a display highlighting the Narthex upgrades. Please give to this worthy cause through those envelopes so your gift can be adequately tracked on your quarterly giving statements to SGPC. This congregation is a very generous community of faith to causes outside our walls. Now it is time for us to give internally as we give a special monetary gift, over and above our pledges, in order to move this vital project forward. I trust you will give generously as we spruce up the Narthex for a new day and new times. Again, this mini-capital campaign lasts for two more weeks.

That is all for now. Be safe. Do good work. See you Sunday if you are able to attend.

Grace and Peace!

Bill

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Letter from the Pastor

by: Keith Howell

09/13/2019

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Dear Saints of San Gabriel,

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I pray Christ’s fullest blessings of wholeness and peace, despite whatever circumstances you are currently facing in life.

A real quick reminder before you read further: Our new fall semester for Sunday School begins this Sunday. ALL SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES MEET AT 9:15 A.M. Please note the time change to 9:15 a.m. for all ages.

A Memorial Service honoring the life of LeRay Bobinsky is NEXT Saturday, September 21, at 1:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. A reception for the family will follow the service in the East… read more

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Dear Saints of San Gabriel,

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I pray Christ’s fullest blessings of wholeness and peace, despite whatever circumstances you are currently facing in life.

A real quick reminder before you read further: Our new fall semester for Sunday School begins this Sunday. ALL SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES MEET AT 9:15 A.M. Please note the time change to 9:15 a.m. for all ages.

A Memorial Service honoring the life of LeRay Bobinsky is NEXT Saturday, September 21, at 1:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. A reception for the family will follow the service in the East Wing of the Sanctuary.

A few quick notes of interest:

Men’s Fellowship Breakfast kicks off its fall schedule tomorrow, Saturday September 14, at 8:00 a.m. in the church’s Narthex. All Men are welcome. A hot breakfast will be served!

We had 85 in attendance at our Rally Day Sunday School kickoff last Sunday, September 8! A lot of fun was had by all. We had almost 30 in attendance from the youth and children’s ministries. Toni Howell is doing exceptional work growing SGPC’s ministry to families, children, and youth. It is a joy to see our members interacting intergenerationally. Thanks to all who attended our Rally Day kickoff and made it all possible.

Last Sunday during worship I inadvertently kept mentioning “Bermuda” in our Prayers of the People when I meant “Barbados.” Nancy Weideman, in her gentle way, reminded me after the service that my geography was off! If you don’t know, Nancy and her husband Don lived on a sailboat for many years plying the oceans, and stopping many times in Barbados and Abaco ports. It is the good people of Barbados and Abaco that need our attention. There is widespread devastation from Hurricane Dorian – significant structural damage to homes and businesses, 50 confirmed deaths, and over 1000 people still missing. It is “generational damage” to the island nation of Barbados according to its prime minister – meaning, it will take a generation to put this damage behind them. In response to this disaster, your Missions Committee of SGPC is forwarding $1000 to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) for hurricane relief. PDA will have mission workers on the ground to assist the good people of Barbados for years to come. If you care to give directly to hurricane relief, you may go to www.pcusa.org and follow the links to give to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance hurricane relief. You may also give by writing a check to SGPC and noted “Hurricane Relief” and the church office will get these monies to PDA for you.

Pastor’s Mid-Week Bible Study begins this week, Thursday September 19, at 3:00 p.m. in the East Wing of the Sanctuary. All are welcome as we kick off our fall study. We will be studying the book of Acts.

Pumpkin Patch is right around the corner. Pumpkins arrive Saturday morning, October 5, at 9:00 a.m. All hands on deck! Our Scout troops will be helping to unload pumpkins as well. A hot dog lunch with all the trimmings will be served to workers on October 5. Many volunteers are needed to run the Pumpkin Patch going forward, including selling pumpkins (Field Hands) and story time readers. To signup as a Pumpkin Patch volunteer, go online to www.sgpcvolunteers.org and follow links to “Pumpkin Patch,” or you may sign up in the church’s Narthex at the Pumpkin Patch display. The monies raised in the Pumpkin Patch go to support our children, youth, and family ministries as well as the Scouting groups at SGPC.

There is a church-wide potluck luncheon scheduled for Sunday, September 29, following worship. Sandwiches will be provided by the Fellowship Committee. If your last name begins with an “A” thru “O,” please bring a Salad to share. If you last name begins with an “L” thru “Z,” please bring a Dessert to share.

As the Lord’s Day, Sunday September 15 approaches, a few notes between us:

All Sunday School classes begin at 9:15 a.m. There will be two Adult Sunday School offerings. The Topical Class will meet in Room #4 at 9:15 and will begin a study entitled “The Language We Use to Picture God.” Rush Pierce will be leading the Topical Class for the next two weeks. The Bible Study Class will meet in the church’s Library at 9:15 and will begin a study on the concept of “Covenant” throughout the Old and New Testaments. Joe Ventura will teach the Bible Study Class.

During worship this Sunday we welcome new members, Tony and Martha Myers, who are new to Sun City having moved here recently from Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Also during worship this Sunday, we will have an extended Minute for Mission brought to you by the Narthex Renewal Task Force. The presentation will cover the session-approved upgrades to the church’s Narthex, some of which are already under way. If you have not been to the church this week, you are in for treat! The Narthex has been completely repainted this week in the session-approved color Kilim Beige. I am not a good judge of color, but I must admit that the new color is warmly uplifting and cordially inviting, thus accomplishing in my view one of the goals of the Narthex renewal: that the Narthex be aesthetically welcoming to our members and visitors. I wrote to you in last week’s Friday email that you and I have a role to play in the Narthex renewal. It must be paid for! Thus you will hear this Sunday of the opportunity we all have to give financially to the Narthex renewal in order to completely finish the renewal in as little time as possible. The opportunity to give financially will run Sundays September 15, 22, and 29. The total estimated cost of the renewal is $14,700. I trust you will join me in giving generously to upgrade our building as a tangible symbol of SGPC’s welcome and hospitality in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Scriptures for this Sunday are 1 Chronicles 29:1-9 and Mark 11:11. The title of the sermon is taken from King David’s words in 1 Chronicles: “So I have provided for the house of my God…” I will attempt to preach the point that our building is a house of God and it serves our mission purposes in behalf of Jesus Christ.

At 3:00 p.m. this Sunday, at SGPC, Toni Howell and the Children and Youth ministries invite you paint rocks to advertise the Pumpkin Patch around Georgetown. Everyone in the church is welcome! Bring a friend.

And last, but certainly not least, I need to apologize for a major mistake by the church office in last week’s worship bulletin. We commissioned Sunday School teachers last Sunday during worship as we celebrated Christian Education at SGPC with Rally Day. The worship bulletin and Power Point slides listed all the names of “Adult” teachers for the 2019-2020 Sunday School year. The names of the nursery staff, children, and youth teachers were not included. I deeply regret this public mistake and take full responsibility for this glaring oversight. Toni Howell works diligently to build and nurture our family ministries. She deserves our wholehearted support and encouragement. Along with Toni is active elder Anne Kenter who oversees the Children, Youth, and Family ministries with Toni. In addition, we have dedicated teachers and workers in this area of the church’s ministry and outreach. Joyce Gill teaches with Toni Howell in our Youth Sunday School class. Judy McCrary and Jan Laughlin diligently and lovingly teach our children. And our childcare workers are second to none. Our Nursery Coordinator is Crystal Rodriguez and she is helped by Aubrey Ford, with support from Jennifer Ford and Hannah Howell. All these good folks deserve our prayers, encouragement, and nurture!

That is all for now. I hope to see you Sunday, if you are able to attend. Be safe. Do good work!

Grace and Peace, Bill

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Letter from the Pastor

by: Keith Howell

09/06/2019

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Dear Friends,

Grace and peace to you from God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ. It is Friday again and time for another note. I trust you are well and at peace in the Lord, despite whatever you may be facing in your lives presently.

A quick reminder, the Bells Workshop begins at 8:30 a.m. in the morning, Saturday September 7, in our Sanctuary. If you have any desire to ring bells in our bell choirs, you are welcome to attend.

The session has reconsidered its time change for Sunday School classes. The session has moved the time… read more

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Dear Friends,

Grace and peace to you from God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ. It is Friday again and time for another note. I trust you are well and at peace in the Lord, despite whatever you may be facing in your lives presently.

A quick reminder, the Bells Workshop begins at 8:30 a.m. in the morning, Saturday September 7, in our Sanctuary. If you have any desire to ring bells in our bell choirs, you are welcome to attend.

The session has reconsidered its time change for Sunday School classes. The session has moved the time change, effective next Sunday, September 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. The rationale for the Sunday School time change from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and now to 9:15 a.m. has several components. Though it may have appeared to some of you that the session was out of its mind in changing a perfectly good Sunday School start time from 9:00 a.m. to initially 9:30 a.m. and now back to 9:15 a.m., the session has to keep before it the totality of the congregation’s life and work. Thus, in the bigger picture, the session’s rationale for changing the start time start time of Sunday School from 9:00 a.m. to now 9:15 a.m. is as follows:

Standardizes our Sunday School start times for all age groups – Adults, Young Adults, Youth, Children

Standardizes our public advertisements concerning SGPC’s Sunday morning schedule – newspaper, website

Provides some of the time for those who want a later start time for Sunday School at 9:30 a.m., thus potentially increasing current Sunday School participation

Does not significantly affect those who like the 9:00 a.m. Sunday School start time

Allows for choir members, ushers, and greeters to attend a full 45 minutes of class before 10:00 a.m. duties begin

Gives those who want to stay an hour in the classroom for further study, conversation, fellowship until 10:15 a.m.

Gives Sunday School attenders who need some time to prepare physically for worship (restroom, etc.) some transition-time cushion in that regard

Whether you agree with the session’s decision to change Sunday School start time or not, keep in mind that the session has broad responsibility given to it in our Book of Order to oversee the life and work of the church. This includes setting the start time for Sunday School, as well as approving teachers and curricula for the classes. In exercising its duty, the session must keep a larger, broader picture in mind for the congregation’s overall health and mission. In the future, should you have issues with any session decision, feel absolutely free to call, email, or drop by my office for a conversation. I am more than willing to discuss session decisions, and rationale for those decisions. We may agree to disagree, and session actions may not be revisited, but you are obligated to me and I am obligated to you in Christian community to speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15-16) to each other since in the body of Christ, the church, we are “members one of another” (Romans 12:5).

So, to reiterate, ALL Sunday School classes will start at 9:15 a.m., beginning next Sunday, September 15.

Narthex upgrades are underway. Painting will begin next week. I call your attention to this week’s church newsletter, The Trumpet, which was published on Wednesday. If you did receive your copy of the The Trumpet via email, you may go to www.sgpcgeorgetown.org and follow the links on the church’s website for The Trumpet. The new edition of The Trumpet has an extended article, complete with pictures, detailing the Narthex upgrades that are on the way. Next Sunday, September 15, there will be an extended Minute For Mission during worship to highlight the Narthex upgrades and to enlist your help in paying for the Narthex refreshment. The total cost is estimated to be no more than $14,000. I know this is a lot of money, but when all of us pool our financial resources together, it is a cost reasonably attainable. I know you will join with me in contributing to the Narthex upgrades – A New Narthex for a New Day!

CALLING ALL MEN OF THE CHURCH!!! Just a quick note that Men’s Breakfast will return next Saturday, September 14, at 8:00 a.m. in the church’s Narthex. The Men’s Breakfast Fellowship has taken a break for July and August. As summer ends and the fall begins, all Men of the Church are welcome to attend the Men’s Breakfast Fellowship Breakfast kicking off its fall schedule on Saturday, September 14, 8:00 a.m.

As the Lord’s Day, Sunday September 8 approaches, a few notes between us.

First, Rally Day is this Sunday, September 8, 9:00 a.m., in the East Wing of the Sanctuary! Sunday School classes will be suspended and ALL age groups – Adult, Young Adult, Youth, Children – will “rally” to celebrate a new year of Christian Education at SGPC. A hot breakfast will be provided of breakfast tacos, fruit, coffee and tea. During breakfast we will engage in some intergenerational fun and fellowship and learn more about the exciting year ahead for Christian Education at SGPC. For our size congregation, we pack a mighty punch when it comes to the quality of Christian educational opportunities available to us in the congregation. Come celebrate the quality of our content and the integrity of our teachers as we rally to celebrate Christian Education this Sunday, September 8, at 9:00 a.m.

The Scripture lessons for this Sunday’s worship are the entire letter of Philemon, verses 1-25, and Luke 14:25-33. The title of the sermon is “Estimate the Cost.” Jesus tells the church that there will be personal costs for following him. Are you ready to pay the price to follow Jesus? For Philemon, this meant giving up his rights to a valued house slave, Onesimus, who has converted to the same Christian faith of Philemon. For others it could mean strained, to broken, relationships with close family. “Are you ready to pay such prices to follow me?” Jesus asks us.

Finally, the session is monitoring any possible coordinated efforts through Mission Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to help those in the Bahamas devastated by hurricane Dorian. I will keep you informed of these efforts. I am certain that our denomination’s disaster relief agency, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), will be on the ground in the Bahamas shortly. You can go online towww.pcusa.org and follow the links to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and give directly to PDA for Bahamas relief efforts. Please be careful of financial scams during this time. I would suggest that you give money either through PDA efforts or through The Salvation Army. Both entities have excellent integrity, practice very lean overhead costs, and provide superb donor to recipient financial ratios for every dollar given.

That is all for now. Be safe, stay cool, and do good work. See you Sunday if you are able to attend.

Gratefully, Bill

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