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Reflections for October 12, 2014

We are in a season focused on Joy in Giving, and we have been asked to reflect on the places where we have experienced great joy in giving in and through the church. We have heard stories of the ways in which our gifts are making a difference in the world.

I grew up in a household with very generous parents. We were not wealthy, and in my early years we lived a very simple life in an old, drafty farmhouse that had no running water. We grew most of the food we ate, and we worked hard. Most of my school friends lived in the same environment, and there was little distinction between rich and poor. My dad farmed and worked in town. He also sold crop insurance to farmers to help make ends meet. On Saturdays, he would go out to the farms and visit with his clients.

It wasn’t unusual for Dad to return home from his visits with stories of people in need—a farm family who had experienced a serious illness or a farmer whose crops had failed. There were always stories of families who were struggling to pay bills or to have enough to eat. Without hesitation my mom would fill a couple of bags with groceries, and my dad would go to the bank and get some cash. In our old car, the two of them would head out to visit and offer their gifts to the family in need. Giving to others was natural to them, and it gave them great joy to share what they had with others.

When I was growing up, our church used the envelope system for giving. Every church member had a box of envelopes, one for every Sunday in the year. My parents made a Saturday night ritual of preparing their envelope with a check for their church inside. If they missed a Sunday (which was rare), they’d prepare two envelopes. I am grateful for my parents’ continued witness of generosity.

 

Church-wide pancake breakfast

Join the youth and other Sunday school classes for a pancake breakfast on Sunday, April 19, in Parker Hall from 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Adults and children are welcome to come and enjoy each others company, make new friends, hear about summer mission plans in Memphis and Appalachia, and eat delicious pancakes and fruit prepared by the youth. They will be accepting  a suggested donation of $5 to help fund their mission trips. Mark your calendars now to come early to church for breakfast. You will be glad you did!

   

Belmont News newsletter for 3-15-15

Download March 15, 2015 issue

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Reflections for September 28, 2014

Recently, a church member who had been hospitalized commented on how meaningful the presence of the pastoral staff had been during his hospital stay. He was uncertain and fearful, and the presence of others with him helped calm his spirit and gave him a sense of being cared for and loved.  A church member in one community was preparing to make a visit to a grieving friend. He wanted to know what to say. I assured him that he did not need to say anything, but he needed to show up and be present to his friend and remind his friend of how much he loved him.  

In seminary we learn about the ministry of presence, but I don’t think we fully grasp the meaning and depth of this ministry until we experience it firsthand. Never underestimate the importance of your presence in the lives of others. Social media and email can be efficient tools in our day-to-day activities but nothing can take the place of a person’s physical presence with another. By our presence we are saying, “I am here. I am with you, and you will not face this alone. I love you.”

Never underestimate the importance of your presence in church on Sundays and throughout the week. There is great joy and delight in the community in one another’s presence.  Last week I greeted a younger friend who has been away because of circumstance and illness. It made my heart glad to see him. We embraced each other and smiled and experienced great joy in our reunion. That is why we commit to being present when we join the church. We are the body of Christ; we are community; we are the gathering of the faithful, and in the presence of one another we rejoice!

   

Have an article or photo for the August issue of Belmont News?

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The deadline for the next issue of the Belmont News newsletter, which will come out on August 19, is Monday, August 12. Send news items to Angie Slade. Articles must be 300

Read more: Have an article or photo for the August issue of Belmont News?

   

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