Every morning I try to start my day with a moment or two of devotions.  In past churches my schedule made it impossible to do this am thankful for this precious time of study and prayer.  It has become as essential to me as morning exercises or daily vitamins.  Maintaining a healthy relationship with God is a work in progress and it is important to come to God each day with focus, devotion, and prayer.

The other day while reading my devotional from “Daily Feast” I found myself truly inspired.  The devotion reading focused on Proverbs 9:1-6, highlighting God’s invitation to each and every one of us to a blessed, fulfilled life.  The scripture reading speaks of Lady Wisdom preparing a great banquet for all to share.  The tables are set and filled with fine foods and wines.  For verses 3-6 the invitation is clear:

She has sent out her servants, and she calls
    from the highest point of the city,
 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
   “Come, eat my food
    and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways and you will live;
    walk in the way of insight.”

         This is a good passage to turn to as our days shift from Summer vacations and activities to the more structured moments of Fall.  Lady Wisdom gives us a valuable lesson.  Our walk of faith is a process of both structure and ease, discipline and laughter, focus and joy.  When we give our lives to Christ, we are given a life rich with the beauty of all God’s creation.  Yet in our faith we are also called to search for wisdom and truth and embrace a healthy life, fitting of the body of Christ.

Choosing the feast of Wisdom means searching out what is good and right in our lives, and noting satisfies us better than the grace and love of Jesus.  Knowing this, we must make choices that are healthy and helpful to our own well-being and the wholeness of others.  Simply put, we must ask ourselves if we are investing wisely in the gift in front of us or are we squandering the blessings of God?

In the coming months I will ask the church walk with me on a path of renewal.  I pray as we join in faith and fellowship we can work to be a healthier, happier church as well as stronger people of God.  Together we can support one another to pursue a life of wisdom that satisfies our very soul.  The feast is prepared and ready.  It is our choice to accept the invitation!

The three churches of West End Baptist, Oxford Methodist, and Suffolk Presbyterian have
planned joint worship services during Holy Week. Please join us for the following services:
Maundy Thursday Service:
March 29, 7:00 p.m., at Oxford Methodist Church,
Rev. Julie Sterling (SPC) preaching
Good Friday Service:
March 30, 7:00 p.m., at West End Baptist Church,
Rev. Rita Kanten (OMC) preaching
Easter Sunrise Service:
April 1, 7:00 a.m., at Suffolk Presbyterian Church,
Rev. Bob Pipkin (WEBC) preaching. West End Baptist will provide refreshments after the service

Ash Wednesday Service:  Wednesday, Feb. 14th.  7 pm.  Come join us in worship as we prepare for the Lenten Journey.  This is a service of music, prayer, scripture, message, and imposition of ashes.  Everyone is welcome.

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Lenten Study:  Thursday, Feb 15th.  6 pm.  Church Library.  You are invited to take part in our Lenten Study “Learning forgiveness”.  This is a six week study.  You are welcome to take part in some or all of the sessions.  Everyone welcome.  Please contact Rev. Julie with any questions.

On Sunday afternoon, October 15, the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia installed the Rev. Julie Anna Sterling as pastor of Suffolk Presbyterian Church.  The long-awaited ceremony marked not a beginning but a joyous continuation of Sterling’s ministry in Suffolk.  She and her husband, Eric Sterling, had immersed themselves in the congregation and community in May, after she accepted the call to become our church’s pastor. After PEVA welcomed Sterling at its quarterly meeting in July, a presbytery commission began planning her formal installation.  She opted to wait until fall when her parents, Ron and Mary Ann Sterling, who live in Iowa, were planning to visit.

 

During the installation service,  The Rev. Bill Lamont, PEVA moderator, asked her the constitutional questions of whether she was willing to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination and love.  Elder Don White asked the congregation members if we would support and respect her, share in her ministry and agree to pay her fairly. The Rev. Leigh Gillis, interim pastor at St. Andrew Presbyterian, presented the charge to the pastor, reminding her to take care of herself so she can care for others. The Rev. Lou Ventura, pastor of Franklin Presbyterian, gave an emotional charge to the members of her home church, urging us to love and support our new pastor.     Other members of the installation commission taking part in the service were Commissioned Pastor Billy Ricketts and the Rev. Skip Irby.

 

The choir sang a beautiful rendition of “One Step” as an anthem, the Rev. Larry Ugarte preached the sermon, and the congregation celebrated Communion by intinction.  The Presbyterian Women provided a lovely reception of finger foods and punch. On behalf of the congregation, the Pastor Nominating Committee presented Rev. Julie with a bright blue stole from Guatemala, noting that she shares our dedication to missions.   Susie Stoughton, PNC chair, said that Rev. Julie embraces SPC’s values – being accepting, caring, outreaching, spirit-led and willing to serve. “The congregation asked us to find a pastor who would love us,” she said, “who would care for us and others, who would lead us in serving others, a pastor who would inspire us from the pulpit and share with us in fellowship.” The PNC felt that God had brought the congregation and Rev. Julie together. “It was like God was saying, ‘this is a good fit,’” she said. “‘You all would work well together.’”

 

Come join us as we celebrate the installation of Rev. Julie Sterling to Suffolk Presbyterian Church on Sunday, October 15 at 2 pm.  All are welcome!  Reception to follow.

We welcome our new pastor, the Rev. Julie Anna Sterling,to the Suffolk Presbyterian Church family!

Rev. Sterling, or Rev. Julie as she prefers, began her ministry at SPC on May 1, 2017 after serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Buckhannon, West Virginia.

A native of Pella, Iowa, she received a Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2002. She had served as pastor of small congregations in Hebron, Nebraska, and Sigourney, Iowa, before her previous call.

After a year-long search process, and sifting through hundreds of resumes, the Pastor Nominating Committee enthusiastically selected Rev. Julie as its nominee. Her commitment to pastoral care, missions and our Reformed theology resonated with the PNC’s sense of what the congregation was seeking.

Suffolk seemed like a good match for Rev. Julie, as well.

“I prayed that I would find a church as loving and supportive as my present call,” she said, “and I believe I’ve found it in Suffolk Presbyterian Church.”

She and husband Eric, a Pittsburgh native, have moved in with their menagerie of “fur babies” – a dog and four cats.  They both enjoy being outdoors, particularly fishing, hiking and taking their rescue dog, Cooper, on long trail runs.

“My husband and I feel truly blessed to be invited to be part of your church family,” she said. “We are excited to take this next step in our faith journey with your congregation, the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia, and the larger Suffolk community.  I truly hope I can help the Suffolk Presbyterian Church grow into the church that God has blessed it to be”

The Commission on Ministry enthusiastically welcomed Sterling into the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia on March 7.  She will be formally installed as our pastor this summer after being received at the July meeting of the Presbytery.

Welcome Rev. Julie!