Paul’s Message: Time to Believe

“It’s time to believe what we know.”

I heard Rob Davies say this during the opening of last fall’s Bioneers Conference. During this presentation, spoken word was offered, accompanied by the Fry Street Quartet providing original music composed just for the occasion, under a big screen that displayed powerful images of both creation’s beauty and creation’s crisis. This presentation was intended to usher the audience into an experience that not only informs the mind, but moves the soul. It worked … and we need more.

The scientific community has spoken, and continues to confirm what we have long known: the creation is wounded. We know that it will require common action to heal. We know that changes in lifestyle and outlook are needed to build a sustainable future. We know these things. But knowing isn’t believing. Belief draws upon knowing, but is more than intellectual assent; it involves the soul. It involves tapping the deep waters of human identity and relationship to shape life that is in harmony with creation rather than at odds with it.

Over the past year, I have become more and more convinced that as we celebrate creation’s beauty and wrestle with its crisis, there is a need for proclamation that not only informs the mind, but moves our individual and corporate soul. I believe that we need the spoken word. We need original music composed just for this occasion. We need powerful images splashed across screens small and large. We need the kind of proclamation that draws upon science and spirituality, conversation and invitation, grace and justice, deep reflection and meaningful action. The focus of this needed proclamation is to call those who are unaware, educate those who are uninformed, empower those who are ready to work, nudge those who are reluctant, and strengthen those who are losing hope. I believe that we can do that. It leads to believing … living what we know.

When the church is at its best, it empowers individuals and communities to live faithfully in ways that bring peace, healing, and justice. When the church is at its best, it brings life like Jesus did. We at FPC are flawed and sinners like everyone else, but through God’s grace we want to be the church at its best. That’s why over the coming year we are going to work on growing in environmental ministry.

What’s environmental ministry? It’s ministry, rooted in a strong biblical foundation, that seeks to nurture a healthy and sustainable relationship with the creation that God has placed in our care. It’s ministry that seeks to bring healing to the wounds that we inflict upon the world. It’s ministry that seeks justice and wholeness not only for people, but for all of life.

The Session (the governing body of our congregation) has committed our congregation to this ministry. We believe it’s a natural calling for our church. We hope and encourage you to be involved. There will be opportunities small and larger to both learn and share, to be changed and to bring change. Take note of the lunch on May 6. Speak to me or a session member about what we are doing. And together we will make a difference, bringing belief based on what we know. –Peace, Paul

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  • A Season of Resurrection

    Resurrection day has arrived. And with it the reminder of eternal hope because of Jesus Christ. Spring has also arrived here in Cache Valley, and while it’s not over, the end of our year-long pandemic seems to be approaching, thanks be to God. I hope this day finds you well in spirit and body, and also vaccinated (or soon-to be). I saw a sign the other day that reminded me while we’ve all been through the same storm in this last year, we haven’t all been in the same boat. Some people have weathered this storm fairly well, others have struggled mightily in one way or another. In spiritual terms, economic terms, emotional terms, and in health. And of course, not everyone has made it through the storm. I am worried that recent progress in this pandemic could be lost, but I’m thankful so many vaccinations are underway. As I’m sure it has been for you, this has been an emotionally challenging year for me as well. It seems to have contained more “downs” than “ups.” But my belief in God keeps me hopeful. Having spoken to many of you, I am thankful that a large portion of our congregation has received Covid-19 vaccinations or are in process of doing that now. The better our state and local community are doing, the sooner we’ll be able to worship in the building together.

    We’re beginning to worship together (outdoors, for the moment) for the first time in over a year. Your elders and Worship Committee have been hard at work making plans for us to transition from online worship back to in-person worship. I’d like to share with you how this process will work. To begin, we will continue to have online worship in some form, even as we get back to in-person outdoor worship (and eventually indoor). This allows anyone who wishes to continue worshiping from home to do so. We will be purchasing a special camera that allows us to livestream a worship service (which means what we do in worship goes straight to YouTube, with no long hours of editing required).

    Details for May are not yet determined, although we are making preparations and plans for indoor worship, for when Session feels it is safe. Session and the Worship Committee have approved the following plans for April:

    April 4th (Easter Sunday!)—we will worship together outdoors, in the Peace Garden and along the East side of the sanctuary, at 11 a.m.  We will hold this outdoor service (with members of our choir leading us in song) no matter the weather, so bring an umbrella or rain jacket if necessary. Masks will be required. YouTube worship will also be available.

    April 11th—we will worship via YouTube on April 11th, with a sermon delivered by an outstanding preacher named Rev. Brian Ellison. Brian is the Executive Director of the Covenant Network, a national group of church leaders working for a church that is simultaneously faithful, just, and whole, that seeks to support the mission and unity of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and to articulate and act on the church’s historic, progressive vision and to work for a fully inclusive church (particularly concerning the LGBTQIA+ community). FPC Logan is a member of the Covenant Network. Meg and I will lead the service, but Brian will be our preacher.

    April 18th—we will worship together outdoors at Trapper Park in southwest Logan, at 11 a.m. This Sunday is dedicated to Earth Day, and after a service (with music from our Praise Band) you are invited to walk the wonderful Logan River Trail with us. Materials will be provided to collect trash along the trail. There is a pavilion at Trapper’s Park. We will hold this service rain or shine (come dressed for the weather). Masks will be required for the service in the park. A YouTube service will be available for those who wish to stay home.

    April 25th—we will worship via YouTube on April 25th. Going back to YouTube this Sunday allows us to evaluate the recent outdoor services and make plans for future services, which may be outdoor, or if we are fortunate, perhaps indoor.

    I thank you for your grace and patience during this long year, and in coming months. It’s been a difficult one for your pastors and church staff too. I am thankful that we’ve had YouTube worship, but I’m very much looking forward to getting back to seeing each other in person and worshiping the Lord together.

    In this season of resurrection, may your hearts be filled with grace, peace, and joy.

    —Pastor Derek

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