In peparation for an upgrade in office communications, please update your SPC contact data with the new email address below:
Rev. Julie Sterling : firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura (admin. assist): email@example.com
These email address are now active and the old email address will become inactive in mid-July.
Last month we walked the final steps of our Lenten Journey and met Jesus at the cross. Over the past few weeks our worship services have guided us in a better understanding of Easter. What does the cross really mean to
us? How do we use Christ’s sacrifice to grow in faith with God? Above all, how do we take the Easter story and make it personal?
In the days after his death, Jesus came to his disciples to give them comfort and hope. Much of who we are as Christians comes after the “crucifixion experience”. We are challenged as people of faith to believe in what
comes next. For Christ not only died for our sins but also lives eternal!
As the Easter story continues, we encounter Jesus in the upper room with the disciples. In John 20:19-31, Jesus greets his friends with words of peace. This is the first time they experience the risen Lord. Verses 21- 23 call us all to witness Christ’s victory but also challenge us to a greater mission of faith:
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins
of any, they are retained.”
In the coming weeks we will continue to celebrate the Easter season. This is a time toconsider what it means to be witness to the empty cross and called to service to all.
We have an open communion table because we believe that all that have faith are welcome to be part of our church family. It is also a lesson of what could be if we focus on rules and doctrine and forget to notice the workings of the Spirit. If we believe the church is a living presence, then we must also believe that God is giving us new lessons each day. We must have the courage to believe when God is working in our lives. We must be prayerful
when we encounter issues that make our faith waver. We must be open to just how big Christ’s grace and God’s love is!
Our tradition calls us to be people of grace and gratitude. We can share the fullness of Christ through our mission as a church. How will you live out your faith as “Easter People”? What is your story of resurrection and
life? How can your love of God transform others? Even the smallest gifts and bring people to the faith and see just how profound Christ is. He is the Lord of all. It is our job to share this good news and live peace in all that we do!
Rev. Julie Sterling
Lent is traditionally a season of fasting and prayer. During this time, Christians pay close attention to spiritual disciplines that deepen our understanding of what God is doing in our lives and in the world. As a Congregation, we are developing our Lenten discipline through the Daniel Plan and the Walk to Jerusalem.
In the coming weeks we will be hearing about and praying for the ministries of compassion and justice done through our support of One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS). Jesus’ ministry was among those who were most vulnerable. He preached good news to the poor and release to the captives. One Great Hour of Sharing helps us share this same good news to those same vulnerable people in our world today: those who are hungry, who are suffering from disaster, who are dealing with oppression and injustice in society. Every gift made to this offering will meet the needs of people, and you will hear about just a few of these individuals over the coming weeks — in bulletin inserts and minutes for mission. These stories will help us to see the faces of those whose lives have been changed by our gifts, but they are only a few of the thousands and thousands of people served in this important ministry.
I’d like to invite you to visit the OGHS website (www.presbyterianmission.org/oghs) to find out more information on how your gift helps people all over the world, and offer prayers for the people and projects who receive this support. We will have Gracie Fish banks to collect change for OGHS. This offering will be given to our children’s Sunday School class to support a mission of their choosing from the Presbyterian Giving Catalogue. Last year the children were able to help 4 or 5 kids with school supplies.
That brings me to the challenge, which also relates to our support of One Great Hour of Sharing. While we trust our OGHS programs to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors, those programs can only do so to the extent of our generosity. I challenge each of you to give strong consideration to increasing your gift to the offering — you’ll see how giving opens your heart to God’s work in your own life. So I hope that you’ll join us on Palm Sunday and that you’ll join Christians all across the country in opening their hearts to witness tangibly to the abundant love of God through One Great Hour of Sharing. Yours in the love and grace of Jesus Christ, Rev. Julie Sterling
This month our church is going to do something new. Something out of the box. During
our Rally Day last fall, we used the story of Daniel as the theme for the new year. In the Bible we learn that Daniel was strong in faith to God. He was committed to his community and worked hard to develop relationships. He was careful about the food he ate and made sure to maintain a healthy body. Above all, he centered his life on witnessing his faith to others.
With Spring around the corner, the theme of new life is starting to show its face to the world; a reminder of God’s presence in our life. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
Starting March 10, our church will embrace the qualities of Daniel as we make our way to Easter
Sunday. As part of our Lenten focus, the Invitation Team is offering two programs to encourage holistic healing and growth. The first program is the Daniel Plan. Through the Daniel Plan, participants are given tools in order to develop our relationships with faith, food, fitness, focus, and friendships. The wonderful part is that we do it together as community and with the help of God.
The second program is Walk to Jerusalem. Through the Walk to Jerusalem, members track
different activities which have set miles. These activities include physical fitness, fellowship,
spiritual growth, outreach, and worship. Like the Daniel Plan, this is a program we do together,
tracking enough miles to make our way from Suffolk Virginia to Jerusalem. We will have the children help tally miles each week which will help them see our commitment to growth during the Lenten season.
Now you may wonder how these programs fitinto your life. If you are anything like me, your
schedule is filled with things to do. You may be hesitant to take part in what looks like a new “diet fad” or “self-help program”. The great thing about the Daniel Plan is that the focus is on making healthy life choices. The end goal is being the best self you can be and do this together with God. In Jerimiah 32:27 God tells us “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Whenever we let God lead, how fail. Besides, part of Lent is taking time for Sabbath to recommit ourselves to God. These programs give you time throughout the
week to stop and be with God. The best part about both these programs is that they can be used together to complement each other or independently. Also, with the Daniel Program, each week has a new focus. You do not have to go through the whole process to get something out of the plan.
I encourage you to join me in these wonderful programs during the Lenten season. Through the Daniel Plan and the Walk to Jerusalem we can work together to be the best self and a healthier church.
Rev. Julie Sterling
Interested? Please register below or contact the church office:
The Daniel Plan Registration Form
Walk to Jerusalem handout:
Walk to Jerusalem Handout