by: Keith Howell
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.