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Dear Friends, April 2018
Grace and peace. I don’t think I have ever desired to see April as much as this year! The weekly March Nor’easters- with so much snow- have worn out many people including myself. I want to see and walk on green pastures and feel the warmth of the sun. The only thing I am thankful for is that the storms came in the middle of the week and preserved our Sunday’s for worship. We celebrate Easter on April 1st for the first time since 1956. Never in my life have I celebrated the resurrection of Jesus on April Fool’s Day. I think it is very appropriate because there are many who call Christians foolish to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. In 1 Corinthians 15:17 Paul writes that “ if Christ has not been raised our faith is futile.” The difficult March weather reminds me that our faith needs to withstand the trials of life and we need to believe in the power of the resurrection. Spring in New England is embraced so lovingly because we know the challenges of winter. We see and experience the resurrection of God’s creation when Spring comes. I often say at graveside services in the winter that if an alien came to earth in the winter and you told them that everything would turn green and blossom the alien from another planet would not believe it! We must have faith in God’s great and precious promises of deliverance especially in times of trial. We must cling to them. 1 Timothy 4:2 says…Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. I thank you all for being bright lights of encouragement this past winter- and during times when I am feeling low. Each of you have touched my heart more than I can say. You have lifted my spirit by being faithful in honoring the sabbath.
This Spring season reminds me of how beautiful the weather was during our Africa mission in February. I am told that it is always green and lush- year round in that part of Africa- and you can plant and grow during the entire year. Yet, the people of faith in Rwanda and the Congo have experienced times of drought and storm spiritually. Our brothers and sisters in Africa are vibrant in the faith because they know the importance of being prepared in all seasons of life spiritually.
Rwanda is a miracle country because of their faith and perseverance. Since the genocide in 1994- when 900,000 people were killed in 100 days- Rwanda has trusted in the process of unity and reconciliation. When you travel there you cannot believe that the genocide happened until you visit one of the thousands of memorials. They remember so they can go forward in faith. We must be faithful and prepared in season and out of season. I feel connected to Rwanda because the genocide begin on April 7,1994 and my father’s birthday is April 10th. April 10th, 1994 was the last birthday my father celebrated on earth as he died on August 9, 1994 at the age of 61. Grief is a stormy, winter season that challenges us to believe in what we have not seen. That there is a Heaven and we will see our loved ones again. The faithful in Rwanda and the Congo (DRC) have helped me immensely in trusting that God will provide. I thank God that I am pastor of a church where people are open to connecting with people through outreach and missions. The faith of the people we serve in our missions- whether in Africa or Appalachia or closer by- have brought to us a richness of the spirit. We who have so much materially have been helped immensely by those who have so much spiritually.
I also have been inspired by the young people who have stepped forward and organized and taken part in the March for Our Lives movement. The younger generation is demanding a change to our violent culture where so many die each day- 90 people each day die of gun violence. The Parkland Students are to be applauded for their commitment to stopping hatred and violence. The power of the resurrection is within each person who fights hate with love and death with life. God is doing a great thing through this movement.
April is an amazing month because God’s creation will be transformed! I promise you that flowers will blossom and grass and trees will turn green. I know you will experience the power of the resurrection if you honor the sabbath and make it to church each week . You will blessed by the greatest SON SHINE of all! That is the shining light of Jesus and his love. You will come alive when you walk with Jesus and trust in his Word!
In Christian Love,
Sunday Worship Schedule
Join us for a traditional worship service @ 9:00am with age appropiate Sunday School classes for kids ages pre-k through high school. Our 10:30am service is a bit more relaxed with a contemporary flair.
Come early and join us for a hymn sing at 8:45 am.
Refreshments and fellowship time at 10 am.