The beginning of November will be a very special time for us as a congregation; we will be having a confirmation service on All Saint’s Sunday.
On the day we remember all those who have died in the faith, it is wonderful to recognize that faith lives on in the lives of those we preach and teach. We are pleased that 8 youth from our congregation will be confirmed: Ryan Baier, Gabby Devine, Ryan Dobbins, Angelina Edwards, Raymond Edwards, Alexandra Robertson, Evan Smith, and Vanessa Vance. It is always a great event in the life of the church to have confirmations where youth confirm their faith in public profession and take upon themselves the responsibility of their faith formation.
As their immediate family in Christ by means of the church, it becomes our responsibility to pray for them, encourage them, and help them in their journey in faith with us. This is why I hope to see the whole of the church come Sunday the 3rd of November to witness these young people’s next steps of claiming the Faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as their own.
It’s time for fun and excitement at the county fair this month! Members of our congregation will be active in many different areas. The Church will be directly involved with a float in the Parade on Monday Oct. 21st – we will begin lining up at 4:30pm and start walking at 5pm. All are welcome to ride on the float. You can even help us hand out candy during the parade! It will be a great afternoon to have fun with the community. Zion’s youth will also have a booth – stop by and see what they put together.
Greetings from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I hope this letter finds you securely wrapped in the grace of God.
As our church continues to grow in membership and attendance it seems right to talk in detail about the transition that we have made away from Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) to Narrative Lectionary. For some in the congregation you can remember using Narrative Lectionary before; for others this may be a new experience for you.
First, it is important to answer an often overlooked question; what is the Lectionary? The lectionary is the set of biblical readings that we will use during Sunday service for the year. While some churches function with their pastor crafting sermon series or independent biblical book studies for multiple worships in a row, we use the lectionary to ensure a well-rounded worship experience through the year. In other words, you will not come to church and hear readings on a single topic, such as tithing, for five months of the year.
The RCL is what most mainline protestant congregations use on Sunday. It is made up of 4 different readings, an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, an Epistle reading, and a Gospel reading. These readings are all focused on a similar topic which changes week to week; such as God’s forgiveness one week and the next week God’s promises. The readings have a three year cycle before repeating themselves, in order to get a large portion of the Bible scriptures read during that time. These readings are placed together to inform the congregation’s theological development in regards to God’s grace. For many of us, the lectionary has been the same way since we were children.
However, recently churches across the nation have noticed a steady decline in the biblical literacy of their communities and congregations. With this in mind, the Narrative Lectionary was created to help people hear and learn the stories of the Bible. Many of the people in our wider communities are unfamiliar with foundational Bible stories like Moses and the Egyptians, or David and Goliath. It is the church’s responsibility to teach people the
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
“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!
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.