Weekly Contact – November 21, 2019

            This is Christ the King Sunday. Music and a procession will support this special day. As you look forward to worship, remember these six items:

            Sign up for the church picture directory at

                     https://booknow-lifetouch.appointment-plus.com/b2915yly/10

            Pancake breakfast served by the youth this Sunday, Nov. 24

            Support the Angel Tree (Social Hall)

            Pack a Shoe Box for Operation Christmas Child

            Help place Advent/Christmas decorations immediately after worship Sunday

            Buy cookies after worship on December 8 to support the youth mission trip

and

Note that we have received 102 pledges to date compared to 146 pledges last year and total pledges stand at $220,692 with a budget goal of $399,030

The December issue of First Press is available on our website.

 

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            This is the third Thursday I am writing to you about the Confession of Belhar, the one we’re using in worship for our Affirmation of Faith. The text below describes one of the intentions of the leaders of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church as they formulated and adopted it. The highlights are mine.

The Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa (URCSA), the church that succeeded the Dutch Reformed Mission Church after apartheid, has offered the Confession of Belhar to the global Reformed family as a gift, believing that the themes of unity, reconciliation, and justice issue a call from God to the whole church toward holy action, transformation, and life.

The Special Committee on the Confession of Belhar [a committee established by our General Assembly] recommended that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) add Belhar as part of its Constitution because it believed the clarity of Belhar’s witness to unity, reconciliation, and justice might help the PC(U.S.A.) speak and act with similar clarity at a time when it faces division, racism, and injustice.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved the Confession of Belhar as part of the Book of Confessions at the 222nd General Assembly (2016).

            I am struck by the words that the confession is given as a gift on themes of unity, reconciliation, and justice as a call from God. The confession is a gift as we live in such a time witnessed by a resurgence in white nationalism, increased intolerance toward the LGBTQIA community and especially to people who identify as trans, when indigenous people suffer greater poverty than the population as a whole, when children are separated from their parents and imprisoned while seeking recognition as refugees. The passages below are taken from various parts of the Confession.

We believe in one holy, universal Christian church, the communion of saints called from the entire human family.

  • that Christ’s work of reconciliation is made manifest in the church as the community of believers who have been reconciled with God and with one another;
  • that God has entrusted the church with the message of reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ;
  • that the church is called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, that the church is called blessed because it is a peace-maker, that the church is witness both by word and by deed to the new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells;
  • that God’s life-giving Word and Spirit has conquered the powers of sin and death, and therefore also of irreconciliation and hatred, bitterness and enmity, that God’s life-giving Word and Spirit will enable the church to live in a new obedience which can open new possibilities of life for society and the world;
  • that any teaching which attempts to legitimate such forced separation by appeal to the gospel, and is not prepared to venture on the road of obedience and reconciliation, but rather, out of prejudice, fear, selfishness and unbelief, denies in advance the reconciling power of the gospel, must be considered ideology and false doctrine.

May we give thanks to the testimony of the Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa and for God’s call to us this day.

With gratitude,

Terry

he/him/his

 

Upcoming Events

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Navigators

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High School Christmas Party

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