Last night I was privileged to gather with other parents for a special meeting designed just for us. Craig Blodgett, our Student Ministries Director, organized the meeting to provide space for parents to connect in, share, and process our grief of Thomas Harabedian's death. Jay Pope, who has a PhD in Clinical Psychology, also shared some great information about suicide, depression, and adolescence (thanks, Jay). It was really an important time for parents to connect and pray together for the Harabedians, our church, and our families.
The stories keep coming in. The launch of Community Groups out into their various parts of the city was a great learning experience and success. I had the privilege of serving at a Senior Board and Care Home just a mile or so from my house. Our team helped with some light maintenance around the house, baked some fresh cookies for the residents and caregivers, and spent time connecting with the residents. It was such a privilege to see folks operating in their sweet spots as they cared and served in these various ways.
Peace of Christ to you today. As I have been preparing for this weekend - Thomas Harabedian's memorial service on Saturday at 3:00 pm & Worship on Sunday - I've been thinking a lot about Christ's peace. I've been praying it for the Harabedian family as they grieve the tragic loss of their youngest, Thomas; and I've been asking God to help us, our church, know it more in these days that can seem so chaotic; and I've been asking God for it in my own heart.
I've missed you! It was a wonderful, restful, and productive time away, but I am super excited to be back with you in worship this weekend. I'm going to be continuing our summer preaching series called Building Christian Community that was started so effectively by Beth Paz, Jameson White, Pastor Lana, and H. Spees. I hope you are going to be here.
A few weeks back, Jeremy concluded his weekly letter to everyone in this way: So, as you come to worship on Sunday morning, will you please ask the Lord to help us lean into this Community Building Initiative rather than lean away from it? Will you pray that God gives you the energy and opportunity to connect in a new way with others in our congregation? Will you pray that God helps us to be flexible and patient? Finally, will you pray that God fills us with a spirit of joy because of the great work that He is doing in us for His glory?
What a thrill it was on Sunday to see almost every person who was in worship walk across the lawn to meet for the first time with their Community Group! All the rooms were buzzing with activity as people made connections, sometimes for the first time. Well done, church, for taking that trek across the lawn! We've arrived together at the start of a grand summer adventure.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. As we enter this summer season, plans are in motion for family reunions, trips to the lake, baseball games, picnics, summer school, and on it goes ... We are entering a new season here at FPC, as we embark on "going public" with our Community Groups this summer - and beyond.
Today is the last day of school for my kids. Yes, they are excited. But, it hasn't ended up exactly as we expected. A week ago today, Andrew fell during school recess and broke his left arm. We hoped, that since the break was close to his wrist, he would only have a cast that came up to his elbow.
I was grateful that so many attended the First Pres Forum. It was a great joy to share with you the journey of discernment that the Session has taken together these past many months to define our core values and purpose statement. It was also fun to begin laying out, in more detail, phase 1 of our Community Building Initiative. In particular, I talked about the idea of Community Groups, and our plan to initiate some special summer community groups on June 22.