Celtic Cross 9 am worship

First News April 12 through April 19, 2014

Their Eyes Were Opened…

According to the Gospel of Luke, (chapter 24, verses 13-35, go ahead get your Bible and read the story, it’s really good!)  on the second day of Resurrection, two followers of Jesus were walking on the road to Emmaus from Jerusalem.  They bumped into Jesus, walked and talked awhile, about all the doings in Jerusalem.  When Jesus and the two travelers paused for the night, sat down for a meal, Jesus took bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened and they recognized him.

In the presence of the Risen Christ, crucified and risen, dying and rising, our eyes are open to a new vision of life; of God at work in and through us, dying to self, rising to new life, God’s vision of our salvation.

It is imperative as we walk our road with Jesus, we as a church and as disciples of Jesus die to self, to the past, and embrace God’s vision for our future.  This is the very heart of the good news we proclaim, Christ has died, Christ and risen, Christ will come again.  This is our call.  It requires faith in God’s vision, it grants great hope for the future, and it calls us to sacrificial love.  (might want to read as well, 1 Corinthians 13, it really is not a “wedding passage” as much as it is a  “church passage”,  Paul wrote these words to remind the Corinthians of the love that must be at work within us, through us, and for our community and world.)

On Sunday, April 27, at 10:15 am, we will gather as a congregation to talk about God’s particular mission/vision for First Presbyterian.  Every church has a particular mission to bear witness what it means to be disciples of Jesus; to what we believe, and what we are resolved to do.  Such a witness if both historical and contemporary.  Our witness is not confined to the past, it does not simply express what our church was, what it used to believe and what it once resolved to do.  Our witness, in our time and place in God’s salvation history, must address in an open and honest way, our current faith and life, our strengths and weaknesses, our problems and opportunities, and it must declare our convictions and call to sacrificial actions on behalf of our community and world.

The Session of our church has been working hard at looking at our past and wrestling with where God is leading us into the future.  It is hard work.  It is good work.  We do not have all of the answers.  We ask for your prayers, patience, and for your help in discerning answers to the following; where are we going, how will we get there, how we will know we arrived; Jesus, open our eyes!

Heartland Camp

Last summer, members of our church, folks involved with our Christian education ministries, accepted an invitation by the Heartland Camp and Conference Center to visit a Traveling Day Camp at John Knox Presbyterian Church, to learn more about this ministry, and to consider whether or not we would want to partner with the Heartland Center to host such a camp.  Their enthusiasm for this ministry and our hosting a camp was shared with the Session and their request for us to hold a camp was approved by Session.

The week of July 13th we will host a Travelling Summer Camp as a partner in ministry with the Heartland Retreat and Conference Center. (Visit their web site, www.heartlandcenter.org for more information.  Click on Travelling Day Camp.)  Founded in 1958, the Heartland Presbyterian Center is a mission of the Presbyteries of Heartland and Northern Kansas, Synod of Mid-America, and Presbyterian Church (USA).

Our camp is open to children who have completed grades Kindergarten through Sixth Grade. The cost is $50.00.  Lunch and snacks are provided.  To register your children go to the above web site or use the forms at the church. 

We need your help to serve in the following areas: Check-in/Check-out of kids, Snacks & Lunch, Budget & Finances, Family Night, Site & Special Events, Communications, Worship, Bible Story Tellers, Recreation, Water Time, Junior Counselors, Youth Night, Photographers, Child Care for Volunteers’ Kids, and of course folks willing to pray for the kids and workers.  Contact the church office or visit the sign up tables in the narthex of the church for more information and to volunteer to serve in this most worthwhile ministry.

Reaching Out With Care to Others

Many people in their mature years find themselves in an assisted living community.  It is important for them to know the church is there for them; to love and serve them.  We have an opportunity to do just that with our members and other residence at Vintage Park Assisted Living Center.

Our church has partnered with other churches in the Gardner area to offer our love and serve people at Vintage Park, Meadowbrook and Medicalodge.  The month of May is our turn to offer a worship time (3 pm on May4, 11, 18 and 25) at Vintage Park.  In the past this has consisted of hymns, prayers, brief message, and a time to offer personal support to residence.

We need two people to take on this service and organize people to serve.  They would partner up with others to review what we have done in the past, brainstorm ways we can offer such a service, and call others to help them in this most worthwhile service. 

If you feel called to serve, contact Pastor Koch.  He is most willing to help you craft this ministry of our church.

First to Host the May Meeting of the Presbytery of the Heartland, May 3.

Last year our church agreed to host the May meeting of the Heartland Presbytery.  Our Presbytery consists of 92 churches in the greater Kansas City Metropolitan area, including churches in Kansas and Missouri. 

You can help us be gracious hosts by serving as parking lot guides, greeters, ushers, helping serve refreshments, lunch and serving Communion at worship.  We need 12 to 14 people.  If you can help out all day, some of the day, or just an hour or so, call the church office.

Presbyterian Women 2014 Birthday Offering

The Women of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. have a long tradition of caring and are committed to helping improve the lives of others.  To that cause, this year’s recipient* (below) of the Birthday Offering will receive small gifts from women across our country.   The poster along with a special ‘birthday cake’ will be in the Narthex on Sunday, April 20 and April 27 to receive your offering.  We will also have a short presentation at our Bible study on Monday, April 21.

As you have been blessed, so may you bless others.

Presbyterian Women

Bible Study on Monday, April 21, at 6:45 PM.