Summertime: We’re here every Sunday!
“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy” – or so said George Gershwin when he wrote that classic song from “Porgy & Bess” back in 1934. Summer is indeed a time to which many of us look forward. Students (and parents) anticipate a break from school, and many of us take time for vacations and other breaks from our routines. The age-old question that pastors and church treasurers and other congregational leaders worry about is whether people will also take a break from church.
I recently came across the story of Pachomius, an Egyptian soldier serving in the Roman army in the Fourth Century A.D. Pachomius became a Christian and after serving in the army, he did what many serious believers who wanted to dedicate their lives to God did in that day. He became a hermit, living alone in the desert, fasting and praying. But after a while, as he was striving to become a more faithful Christian, he began to question his lifestyle:
How can you learn to love if no one else is around?
Can you learn humility if you are living alone?
Is it possible to learn patience, kindness, or gentleness in isolation?
According to Christianity Today, Pachomius realized that in order to develop spiritually, you needed to be part of a community. He abandoned his life as a hermit and formed one of the first communal monasteries. “To save souls,” Pachomius said, “you must bring them together.” And I would paraphrase that to say, “To have a strong, healthy congregation, we need to gather together as a community.” If you take a break from church during the summer months, you miss out on opportunities to be a part of that community and to have the Spirit use that community to shape you.
We all hope for time to rest and relax during the summer, and many of us will enjoy trips together with family and friends. But don’t forget that we will still gather for worship each and every Sunday this summer. It’s an important time to gather together to worship, to build up one another, to enjoy fellowship as we strengthen existing relationships and forge new ones, and to grow in our faith and in our relationship with God. If you are in town and it’s a Sunday, I hope you will join us as we gather together as a community here at Cross of Life.
by Pastor David Rogers
From Pastor David’s Ash Wednesday Sermon
Thought provoking words from the “What the Tide Brings In” blog (seashellseller.blogspot.com), suggesting that the most effective way to “give up” something for Lent is the intentional practice of its opposite:
Fast from judgment, Feast on compassion
Fast from greed, Feast on sharing
Fast from scarcity, Feast on abundance
Fast from fear, Feast on peace
Fast from lies, Feast on truth
Fast from gossip, Feast on praise
Fast from anxiety, Feast on patience
Fast from evil, Feast on kindness
Fast from apathy, Feast on engagement
Fast from discontent, Feast on gratitude
Fast from noise, Feast on silence
Fast from discouragement, Feast on hope
Fast from hatred, Feast on love.
What will be your fast? What will be your feast?
New Year News
New Year News
Wow – so much is happening in the life of Cross of Life, it’s difficult to know what to highlight! But here goes!
Service of Hope
For those who were unable to attend, this time of worship and remembrance was a beautiful experience for all who participated. Recognizing that for many, the Christmas season is a time of increased grief, struggle and loneliness, this service used the candles of the Advent wreath to recognize our common grief, pain, struggle, and fear. The gathered congregation supported one another in song and prayer, lit candles in remembrance of loved ones and then gathered around a full Christmas meal provided by the Stephen Ministers and Fellowship Team. If you’ve had a hard time this Christmas, don’t miss this service next year.
COL Music Concert
Once again, Jon Arnold brought together our diverse and talented musicians for a joint Christmas musical celebration. Each ensemble, The Chancel Choir, Bells and Contemporary Band, shared individual performances and then joined their voices for numerous total group pieces. It was truly a joyful song before our Lord. This is certainly a “don’t miss” for next year!
From Diaconal Minister to Deacon
As of January 1st, we will have a new staff member! Well, sort of. Mary Houck, who works as our Director of Youth and Children’s Ministry, will have a new title. As the result of a vote at the 2016 Churchwide Assembly, all lay rostered ministers (Diaconal Ministers, Associates in Ministry, and Deaconesses) will be united under one title: Deacon. From Biblical times to modern times, deacons have carried out the ministry of Word and Service: caring for the widows and orphans, working in the community, providing education for our children and youth. Deacon Mary will continue that tradition in her work at Cross of Life. Please congratulate Deacon Mary on her new title and use it as often as you can!
Joint Commemoration of the Reformation 500
Plans are underway for our commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation! Our Lenten Small Groups and Devotions will focus on Luther’s Small Catechism. We will have a special commemorative dinner with members of St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church in Roswell in April. There will be a special worship service on April 30th to highlight the journey of Lutheranism to North America, and more! Watch for more details!
Plans for the study portion of my upcoming sabbatical are underway. During January/February, I will be sending an online survey to numerous pastors about their work practices. Out of that quantitative analysis, questions will be formulated for my summer site visits and focus group conversations. Please pray for this study, that God would open our eyes to learn the most effective ways to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our hurting world.
+ Pastor Terri +