Late Pentecost 2017
Dear Friends in Christ;
How quickly time seems to be moving along. We are already into the final quarter of 2017. The cooler weather, especially at night, and the changing colors are a reminder that winter is just around the corner. Soon we will enter a new Church Year and be caught up in preparations for Advent and Christmas. But before the time slips away, there are special commemorations and ministry challenges to be heeded. I invite you to share in the ongoing life of St. Paul Church and to commit yourself to the mission Christ has entrusted to us. This periodic Newsletter has information important to you and to the life of the congregation.
As the Church Year draws to a close, two special commemorations call us together to hear God’s Word and to share his presence in the Holy Communion. Reformation Sunday (October 29th) remembers the 500th anniversary of the Posting of the 95 Theses. Luther’s stirring call for renewal and reformation in the church is as timely today as it was then. As heirs of the Reformation, we need to commit ourselves to living our faith in word and deed - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A specially prepared service using materials from the Lutheran World Federation and the ELCA will join us with brothers and sisters around the world as we remember our heritage and commit ourselves to be ever renewed.
All Saints’ Sunday, a week later on November 5th, commemorates the faithful departed and gives thanks for their witness and love in our lives. As a gathered congregation, we will remember James Williams and Glenn London who enter life eternal during the past year. As we celebrate Holy Communion we are reminded of the vast cloud of witnesses who surround our lives and encourage us to be faithful witnesses to the love and mercy of God.
An election for two (2) seats on the Congregation Council will be held at worship on Sunday, October 29th. The Congregation Council continues to follow a 2011 Continuing Resolution changing the number of council members from nine to six and allowing re-election following a completed term. Nominees for Council were secured through an Ecclesiastical Ballot held on October 15th and those willing to serve, if elected, will be included on the October 29th ballot. The Council will hold a Planning Retreat in before the end of the year to set goals and ministry projects for 2018. Please remember your council members and officers in your prayers that they may faithfully fulfill their responsibilities.
On October 28th, St. Paul will participate in the annual Seaboard Festival in downtown Hamlet. Our purpose is to introduce our congregation to the community and to share information about our mission and ministry. We have secured for distribution that day brochures explaining Lutheran Christianity, scriptural portions and other small items as well as an information sheet about St. Paul Church. Volunteers are needed to staff our booth in two hour shifts from 9:00 am
to 5:00 pm. A sign up chart is available in the Narthex or you can call the church office to volunteer. Our participation in the Seaboard Festival is part of our plan to make St. Paul better known in the community.
Feed My Sheep, our monthly food distribution continues to meet the needs of our neighbors in Richmond County. The September distribution provided food for 70 families with over 200 family members. On the third Saturday of this month (October 21st) from 9:00 until 11:30 am, food will be distributed with warm and friendly smiles by a dedicated core of volunteers. You can help in this ministry by providing canned food, monetary gifts, or assistance with picking up food at the Food Bank, organizing and bagging food packages, or at the Saturday distributions. This ministry shares God’s love through our hands for those in need and has completed ten years of service and ministry in the community. Any help you can give will be deeply appreciated.
Sunday Church School with one class meeting at 10:00 AM will begin a new course of study on October 22nd. The New Testament, authored by Professor Bart D. Ehrman from UNC Chapel Hill, provides weekly video segments with follow-up questions for thought and discussion. The first four sessions deal with the religious and social settings for the New Testament. Join us each week as we deepen our understanding of the foundations of our faith.
On November 19th, at 6:00 pm, we will gather for our annual Thanksgiving Dinner and Service. You are asked to bring a main dish and a salad or dessert for sharing. Following the meal, an informal worship service will help us as a church family to give thanks to God for all his blessings. As we gather that evening, please reflect on your personal thanksgivings. I look forward to being with you on this special evening.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this Newsletter there are ministry and mission challenges that need our attention. Our stewardship of God’s gifts - financial as well as time and talent - extend the ministry of our congregation in ways none of us could do alone. Working together we can, with God’s help, accomplish great things. I continue to marvel at your generosity and warm, Christian love. It is a privilege to serve as your pastor.
Peace, love, and joy,
John C. Pfisterer