Come join us after worship on Sunday, September 15 to put our hands to work to help a member of our congregation with needed yard work. Bring a bag lunch and we will eat together following worship then we will head out to Carol Hyslop’s house to remove some downed tree limbs, remove an old fence, and trim the grass and bushes. We will provide the tools but you may want to bring gloves. All ages are welcome.
The month of September provides our congregation and friends with many opportunities to celebrate and serve. On September 15th, our congregation will participate in a day of service as a part of the ELCA “Gods Work Our Hands” celebration. Our WELCA delegation will travel to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on September 19th for their annual convention. We will end the month with a brunch after worship on September 29th to remember our 147th anniversary as a congregation.
In addition to these planned events, we invite you to help us build a wall…of cereal! For the past several years, our congregation has sponsored children from Marlow Elementary School who have been identified by school personnel as needing nutritional assistance on weekends during the school year. We started helping 6 children and that number has continued to grow. With the financial gifts of our congregation and Thrivent grants we have provided individual sized, easily prepared and nutritious food each week that students can carry home. Each bag contains two breakfasts, main courses, fruits, vegetables, snacks and drinks. These are delivered anonymously by school staff to the students. During September, we would like to collect small packages of cereal to build that wall on the communion rail. Communion will be by intinction during the month and we can watch that wall grow each week. So…start checking out the cereal aisle in your grocery store. Samples are located in the narthex!
Each September, we gather with family and friends of Zion’s congregation to celebrate the blessings God has bestowed upon us. As is our tradition, we will begin our celebration with worship at 11:00 a.m. Our service will be a time to thank God for the many years of service that this church has provided to the community and beyond. It will be a time to pray, sing, hear God’s word and share in the Lord’s Supper.
After worship, we will continue the celebration in the Fellowship Hall with a brunch (provided). Please join us for a special day of remembrance as we rejoice in the past and look forward to an exciting grace-filled future
The church has taken on many roles
throughout its mixed and complicated history, with
various centers in many locations. The early church faced persecution from
local governments and the
Roman Empire. In time the church became intertwined with the Roman Empire and began dominating local governments ending the systematic persecution of Christians. With the decay of the Roman Empire the church began to function as the behind the scenes leader of nations and political figures. With this power came corruption and the church went through reformation to remove corruption from within. After the reformation the church began to lose political influence it once had with the Holy Roman Empire.
With the rise of democracy we
saw a rise in Christian influence, as individual believers began dictating
government policy. These Christians took strong stands on many moral and social
issues from pacifism, alcohol, and public health; to war, prison reform, and education.
What is the role of the church
Our church exists in a culture which continues to grow more opposed to differing views and opinions. So instead of taking a strong stand on one side or the other, we have the opportunity to be the voice of tolerance and peace; a safe place to bring peoples of different opinions together and recognize the humanity within others of differing viewpoints. As church, our mission is to bring everyone under the loving protection of God in Christ Jesus, regardless of political ideology.
With this in mind, we must
strive to open friendly and meaningful conversations with others regardless of
politics, not to change minds but to open hearts to the love God has for all
people. It is not an easy path that God has called us to walk but with His help
and grace we can make the journey together.
“Rally Day/Promotion Sunday/Breakfast” July 28th! We will celebrate Rally Day which is the beginning of the new Sunday School year!! This year we will have a Sunday School “Open House” at 9:45 a.m. A continental breakfast will be served after the open house. During our 11:00 a.m. worship service, we will send our children back to school with our blessings! Pastor Ben will offer a blessing on our children, teachers, school personnel, backpacks, brief-cases, computer cases, etc. Sunday School Teachers will also be commissioned. .A cookout of hot dogs and hamburgers, with all the trimmings, as well as a “Back to School” Celebration with activities such as a “Water Slide” will follow the service. Be sure to bring towels and swimsuits!! The signup sheet for the meal is in the narthex. Hope you can join us for all the fun!!
Grace and Peace to you from Christ our Lord. I hope and pray that you have been able to see God with you this summer. In the spirit of keeping company with God, it is often good for us to take time to do a spiritual self care check in. In the moments of life when we feel most isolated or alone is when we can most appreciate the company of God with us. As the summer heat keeps us more and more indoors hopefully you are able to find some time to cool off and rest awhile. In these moments of short rests you likely find yourself drawn to music, television, or your cell phone. These are well and good to resist the boredom of a break in the day, but every once in awhile it is good to use one of those breaks to check in with your self spiritually. Honestly ask yourself some questions:
1. When was the last time I prayed to God? (other than blessing food)
2. Have I read scripture or a devotional lately?
3. Am I struggling with a topic that God could give some clarity?
Reflecting on these questions will help give you a better picture of your spiritual well being; as prayer, studying the Bible, and bringing our challenges to God are all important pieces of our faith life. In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel God calls out to Samuel who wasn’t expecting to hear God. Samuel was engaged about temple (church) duties when God begins to reach out to him in order to bring about Gods will for the people. Samuel was just going about his business like many of us today but God had other plans for him. Likewise for us, sometimes we aren’t expecting God to engage us and we may not be listening. Its through checking in with ourselves to learn if we might need a little more activity with our faith to help us be better listeners for when God calls. As always God is with us everywhere, we just need to be made aware of the divine presence among us.
Pentecost celebrates the day the Holy Spirit was given to the follow-ers of Jesus so that we have the power and courage to tell others about God’s love. This is why it is called the birthday of the Church. The color of the day is RED.
Wear red as we celebrate and keep the Holy Spirit’s flames of fire burning!
Dear friends in Christ Jesus may God bless you this May, as we continue to celebrate the Easter Season.
Many things are happening in the life of the church and it is an exciting time for the people of Zion. The end of May we will have a New members reception during service followed by food and fellowship. We are quickly approaching Vacation Bible School, which will be the first week in June. Our older youth are preparing for
AFFIRM which is also coming up in June. The Congregational Council has voted to approve the use of the fellowship hall/ education building this June and July to LEAP learning, for summer programming for elementary aged children. They are a private business that was in need of a space to educate and look after children this summer. They will be providing financial reimbursement to the congregation for the use of the space. It will be an amazing opportunity for Zion to experience the joys and struggles of having a school or daycare like group in our space. I am sure we will grow in knowledge from the experience and be able to more accurately discuss any future plans for ways to engage the community through use of our facility.
With so much going on it is easy to get lost in the juggling of all the wonderful opportunities available to us; however, our mission is unchanged. Matthew 28:19-20, is the great commission where the resurrected Jesus sends out his disciples to make disciples of the whole world. This implies meeting people where they are, walking alongside them, loving them as the people God made them. In the midst of doing this we share the driving motivation of our lives; the faith, hope, and love found in Jesus Christ. It is in genuine care and truth that we do anything, not with ulterior motivations for church membership growth or tithing increase. The authentic love of neighbor, for the sake of ministering about the undying love of God for all people.
Sunday, May 5th at 10:00 a.m., everyone is invited to join with other Effingham Churches to participate in the 140th Annual Sunday School Convention at the Methodist Campground in Springfield. Line up is at 9:45 a.m. Zion has a long history of participation in the Sunday School con-vention, but will also observe our regular Sunday morning schedule of Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 11:00 a.m. for those not attending the convention. If you go, please take a covered dish to share for the meal following worship. Those who worship at Zion can make it to the campground in time to be there for the meal. If you have questions about this event, contact Emma Lee Dasher. (912)-658-0431.