Service as Worship Sunday – July 24th

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Service as Worship Sunday!

Join us this Sunday for our first Summer Service as Worship Service.  

We will meet in the sanctuary to pray together and read a bit of scripture, then head downstairs to make meals to freeze for Winter Outreach, pack breakfast bags, assemble backpacks for local students, and share in fellowship while serving others, as our worship for the day!  Also, Isaiah 58 Executive Director Rev. Brenda Booth will join us to facilitate the backpack packing and tell us about what’s happening these days at Isaiah 58 Ministries! We’ll have devotional, prayerful discussion materials available for each of the stations. The Mission Committee is taking care to select projects which are accessible for all to participate.  If you have any mobility concerns, please speak to Donna Cook or Dena Roper, or contact the church office.  We want everyone to join in this fun, and sometimes messy, worship service!

 

A message from the PCUSA on this week’s violence.

PC(USA) leadership responds to Dallas shootings, encourages people to “care for someone today”

JULY 8, 2016

LOUISVILLE

Today we are in mourning. As we were still reeling from the distressing news out of Baton Rouge and the Twin Cities area, we watched helplessly as horror unfolded in Dallas. Five police officers now lay dead and a city is yet collecting answers.

Just as we’ve condemned the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, we and Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson II fervently condemn the senseless violence that has stolen the lives of five children of God and wounded at least six others. Additionally, these acts of violence have obfuscated the intent of the peaceful protesters who were being protected by the police. We seek answers, and we have very few at this time. We are simply left with the terror we all feel right now.

Our prayers are with the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit agency as they continue their investigation and prepare to lay their beloved colleagues to rest. We pray for their resolve to continue to be blessed peacemakers. We also lift prayers for all who grieve due to the barrage of difficult news in recent days.

It is never easy when we are so profoundly confronted with the world’s brokenness. Our pastoral wish for you is that you care for someone today. Check on a loved one or colleague for whom these events are particularly personal and painful. Limit your own access to distressing images, if necessary for your health. Provide space for lament in your congregations and worshiping communities. Seek ways to live into the visible unity of Christ’s church, as our newest confession—the Confession of Belhar—calls us to do. Today especially, our communities need to find respite and healing. May they find it in the body of Jesus Christ.

We continue to pray and work for peace in our own contexts, trusting in God’s strength amid our own weakness and resting in the hope that the God who calls us to peacemaking will give us what we need to accomplish that end.

via: https://www.pcusa.org/news/2016/7/8/pcusa-leadership-responds-dallas-shootings-encoura/

PC(USA) Stated Clerk speaks out on police killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile

JULY 7, 2016

LOUISVILLE

Once again the nation, and the African American community, in particular, is faced with two more high-profile killings of African American males. Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota are the latest among a long list of publicized and unjustified killings by law enforcement officers in the United States. The questionable nature of African American males and females dying at the hands of police in our streets and in police custody is so pervasive in the United States that the U.S. Justice Department is leading the investigation in the Sterling case and has been asked to investigate the Castile case.

While these police killings are occurring, it is apparent that we remain a denomination that struggles to engage the truth about our own privilege. As church leaders, we find it easy to offer prayers for the families while mentioning a statement in our Sunday morning sermons about the struggles of racism in the U.S. Yet our depth of commitment to resolve the problem of blatant racism within our own communities is often shallow and meaningless. Therefore, police departments charged with the responsibility to protect and serve remain unchecked by common citizens, because we are not calling powers and principalities into accountability as a response to the gospel message. The Bible reminds us that, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is the one who is in you than the one who is in the world” (I John 4:4). Our ability to overcome the world by the God-bestowed power within us requires faith and courage.

The 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) renewed the denomination’s commitment to eradicating the vestiges of racism in every sector of our society, including the Church. Three significant actions were taken.

  1. The adoption of the Confession of Belhar provides a theological basis to call the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) into repentance for its complicity with the ongoing struggle of historic and current racism in the United States.
  2. The Stated Clerk and Presbyterian Mission Agency have been directed to present to the 223rd General Assembly (2018) a detailed six-year plan with explicit procedures for renewed implementation of the church-wide strategies in“Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community,” approval by the 222nd General Assembly (2016).
  3. The assembly has called for specific efforts – both financial and through direct action – to address the worsening plight of the African American male.

The time is right to act! However, the time has always been right to act. These assembly actions have no meaning unless we as people of faith act to eradicate racism in our nation. Our efforts must begin in our own communities and require courage. Racism is a cancer that has historically pervaded our society. It blatantly disrupts the flow of building Jesus’ call for the Beloved Community.

Eugene Carson Blake, a former Stated Clerk of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., spoke at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, better known as “The March on Washington.” He spoke chilling words of indictment related to Protestant mainline denominations. He said, “The white Church is late, but we are here now.” It is my prayer that in these critical times we can exclaim that we made significant decisions to engage the historic vestiges of racism in our time. This will require us being spiritually and physically present now, avoiding another institutional sin of being late on arrival. Our silence on the race issue is not an option anymore, and it really never has been. I invite sessions and mid councils to take concrete actions to address this epidemic in local communities and our nation.

Today I am traveling to Baton Rouge to be in solidarity with local and national leaders. I am hopeful to meet with Presbyterian clergy and lay people who are willing to engage this pertinent issue of our time. Please be in prayer for our deliberations and reliance upon the Spirit.

 

via: https://www.pcusa.org/news/2016/7/7/pcusa-stated-clerk-speaks-out-police-killings-alto/

 

 

A Message from the PCUSA on the attack in Istanbul.

Stated Clerk issues statement on the attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport

JULY 1, 2016

LOUISVILLE

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) joins the people of Turkey and the world in expressing our profound sorrow in the aftermath of the attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on June 28, 2016. We deplore this attack and all acts of terror wherever they occur.

We mourn for the people who were killed or wounded in the attack—people from Turkey and from other parts of the world. We pray for family members and friends who grieve the deaths of loved ones; for individuals recovering from wounds; for first responders; for medical care providers; and for the country of Turkey.

As followers of Jesus, we will continue to pursue peace and work for justice, moving toward the day when hope replaces fear.

The Reverend J. Herbert Nelson
Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

(Shared via: https://www.pcusa.org/news/2016/7/1/stated-clerk-issues-statement-attack-istanbuls-ata/)

General Assembly or BUST!

Two years from now, our fair city will be totally overrun with Presbyterians. Really.

In June 2018, the 223rd General Assembly (GA) of the Presbyterian Church USA will be held here in St. Louis. Pastor Erin is serving on our presbytery’s Committee on Local Arrangements (COLA), which has already started meeting and discussing, dreaming and organizing, plotting and planning to welcome elected commissioners- ruling elders and teaching elders, from all over the country, and participants from all over the world.

Every two years, our church gathers in this way to discern where the Spirit is leading us as a denomination, to discuss and vote on the work of our ministry, and deal with matters of common concern for the greater church.  Also we worship and eat and chit-chat and eat and listen to reports and eat and pray and eat and eat, and well, you get the format.

Tomorrow, Pastor Erin will travel to the 222nd General Assembly in Portland, Oregon.  She will observe how they host this gathering and take notes back for when it is our turn.  She’s also being sent as a advocate from our presbytery for an overture we voted to send on racial justice.

If you would like to follow along with the worship and work of the 222nd General Assembly, you can read updates and watch the livestream at: www.pcusa.org/ga222.

The business of the gathering- the overtures, committee actions, and more- are available at www.pc-biz.org.  And you can follow along on social media with #ga222 and like the event’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/spiritofga. Pastor Erin will also be posting updates (although be warned, as some of them may be of the snarky variety) on her twitter: @erincounihan.

Finally, you can read the article below from the Presbyterian Outlook on what to expect from this year’s General Assembly.

As you follow along (or ignore it completely) please do join our church in prayer as we gather June 18-25.  Pray for our leaders and commissioners, for presenters and committee members, for preachers and volunteers, for observers and guests.  Pray for the chefs and cooks and snack machine vendors. Pray for the custodians and cleaning staff. Pray for the coffee makers!! Pray for all who gather and make the work of the church possible. Pray that God’s Spirit will guide us to follow the way of Christ in this season of ministry for our denomination.

 

 

Brief guide to General Assembly: Here’s what to expect

Tuesday Night Foos and Fun!

Erin's iPhone June 23 2015 178

We’re back at it!

This summer, all summer, we invite the church, neighborhood and visiting Amen St. Louis mission teams to join in a little Foosball, Fellowship and Fun! 
Every Tuesday Night. 
6:30-8:30pm
Great American Human Foosball
3227 Morganford

It’s totally FREE!!!

Pizza and snacks are provided. 
Remember to wear closed-toe, tie-on shoes. 
Players must be 42″ and taller. 
Younger (and shorter) kids are welcome to come and play the giant chess set, foot pool, and massive connect four. 
Under 18 must have a parent with them the first time to sign a waiver. 
Please don’t forget to bring your neighbors, your friends, foosball June 2016and your fun self! 

See you there! 

And when Summer is done, we’ll keep at it- the first Tuesday of every month! Come and join us, all year long! 

Praying with Orlando.

Pastor Erin sent out this message to the Oak Hill Community on 6/15. 

Dear Church,

Once again news of a mass shooting has reached our homes and ripped through our hearts. As more of the story of that night in Florida is shared, our hearts break over and over again. And even as we weep, I am reminded of the words we read at Oak Hill every Christmas… “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

I find myself repeating those words as a prayer. And so today, I write to invite you to join in prayer for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. I write to invite you to join in prayer to lift up the lives lost, the families who mourn, the survivors, the first responders, the investigators, the medical professionals, and the community leaders in Orlando. I write to invite you to join in prayer for the LGBTQ and Latino/a communities, targeted by this act. I write to invite you to join in prayer for those who seek to harm others, for a society obsessed with violence and hate, and for our policies and laws that make such hate deadly.

Tonight, St. John’s Tower Grove has invited us to share in prayer and worship during a special service for the Orlando massacre at 7pm in their fellowship hall (3664 Arsenal). If you are able to come and join us in person, please do. If you’re not able to attend, please join us in spirit, and offer a few prayers with us tonight.

If you are looking for words to pray, I offer these, from the Presbyterian Mission Agency:
https://www.presbyterianmission.org/story/prayer-nightclub-shooting-orlando/

And also this statement from the elected leadership of the PCUSA:
https://www.pcusa.org/news/2016/6/14/pcusa-leaders-mourn-victims-orlando-nightclub-trag/

May we pray as a community and together witness, even in this time, to the unending love of God in Jesus Christ. And may we pray for Christ’s love to fill this hurting world.

Grace and peace and love to you all,
Pastor Erin

Youth Mission Trip – Update #5


Today was our fun day but despite not doing any service work we still experienced God throughout our day. We spent most of the day at Elitch Gardens, an amusement park similar to Six Flags. Riding the roller coasters and watching a show, even despite the lightening we had a great time enjoying the theme park and each other’s company. 


After returning from Elitches and eating dinner, we had a discussion about our experiences this week and how we could continue to be the face of God beyond this week. 


Ending the day we all did a craft Janelle had created for us, creating our own faith keys. The craft helped us reflect on the influence faith had in our own lives and what the word means to us. Today, and throughout the week, I saw the face of God in everyone in our lovely mission group that we are all so blessed to be apart of. 

By Emily Bischoff 

Youth Mission Trip – Update #4


This morning, we woke up bright and early to head out towards Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, a local organization that rescued mistreated horses and cares for them. With only four paid staff members, the organization relies heavily on volunteer support, so they were very thankful to have us help them muck paddocks and pastures, in addition to grooming horses.


After this, we headed back to Central Presbyterian to play bonding games before going to Casa Bonita for dinner, where divers entertained us while we ate. 
Today, I saw the face of God in those at Zuma’s who have dedicated their lives to the mission that calls them. Their patience, love, and kindness inspired us all to follow our passion and serve God faithfully.
By Carolyn Ream 

Youth Mission Trip – Update #3

  
On Wednesday we visited the Red Rocks Amphitheater a little outside of Denver.We sat on the stairs and recollected the week’s work as we ate lunch. We talked about how we saw God through the service we were doing. Then we went on to have conversations about our world views and recognized the injustices and inequalities in the world. 
We focused on things we could do to help these situations through the work of God. A few people hiked a trail and admired the view around us.

 Afterwards, we went to Arvada Presbyterian Church and painted the preschool room as well as cleaning out an office. I saw God in the beautiful landscape of the Red Rocks and the fascination in people’s eyes as they looked at God’s creation. 
By Gina Civettini 

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