Hello Brothers & Sisters,
I hope everyone is staying warm and free from sickness! Thankfully, it looks like we will see some warmer temperatures as the week unfolds.
This past Sunday we began our January series, Inherent Worth: Rediscovering the Image of God in Everyone. Remember that in this series we are addressing various issues related to abuse and exploitation of people made in God’s image. Originally, we wanted to begin the series with the message I’ll be preaching this Sunday; a message that is foundational to our understanding of men and women being made in God’s image. However, Becky McDonald, our guest speaker, could only come last Sunday. So, we made a slight adjustment to accommodate her being with us.
If you missed Becky’s message on human trafficking, you can now listen to her message God’s Plan for Social Justice at our website. I know what Becky shared in Learning Community and in the service was at times tough to hear, but I trust that the Spirit used her in some way to speak to our hearts. As I said in my introduction, our aim with a series like this is to raise awareness and encourage local action. If you’d like some help with how to respond to Becky’s message, you will find some ways to do that at her website for Women At Risk International. Also, if you’re a parent, this video (at 5:50) will give you some guidance with your children.
While I do plan to include ways to respond each week in the Pastor’s Email, and we have some helpful books and resources on the bookshelf in the lobby, please stay tuned for the next Peace Matters newsletter that will likely come out later next month. Our Peace & Social Justice Commission will follow-up the series with reflections and other ways for us to respond to what we’ve heard this month. How do we respond as individuals? How do we respond as a church? The gospel of Jesus calls us to action. Pray for each other as the Spirit guides us.
The series continues this Sunday as we look at the basic biblical teaching that men and women were created equal in God’s image (Gen 1:27). Join us for the combined Learning Community at 9:00 a.m. in C8-12 where we will hear Alan Robinson (National Director of BIC US) talk about our denomination’s view of men and women in leadership. Also, Lynda Gephart (Pastor of Congregational Life at Harrisburg BIC) will share about her journey as a female pastor serving the church over many years. The class was full last week, but we’re doing our best this Sunday to make sure there is space for everyone in a setting conducive to conversation.
Finally, I want to express my thanks for our Peace & Social Justice Commission and the work they’ve done to plan a month-long peace focus, leading up to Peace Sunday on January 28. These are heavy concerns to be sure, but I know God will give us the grace and the wisdom to process and respond in love with the light that drives out the darkness. Thank you for being the sort of church that is willing to walk the Jesus road and confront evil with the light of the gospel. I believe the Lord will surprise us with hope as we listen, reflect, and respond to the brokenness around us.
May God continue to bless Grantham Church as we embody Christ to our neighbors.
Grace & Peace,
P.S. I wanted to make you aware of an opportunity this Wednesday at the regular Friends Over Fences (FOF) meeting that fits well with our January series. FOF has invited a guest speaker to come and share about his journey and ministry. Reese Crane is a former 35 year sex & love and porn addict. He lost his family, ministry and a number of friends because of his addiction. After breaking free, Reese decided to become trained as Christian Counselor, receiving his Bachelor's in Christian Counseling from the International Institute of Christian Counseling in Sarasota, FL. Reese lives in the Harrisburg, PA area and works with those who struggle with love, sex, and porn addiction as well as failing marriages due to the influence of pornography and sex addiction. FOF welcomes our congregation to come listen to Reese on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in C8-12.
* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org