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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  • Back to School, Not Back to Church…

    …at least not all the way. Some ministries of the church are in action, others are not.

    Ministry is Continuing!

    To date we have shared around $7,000 with our local community to help relieve those affected by coronavirus, and we have another $2,000 we will be distributing now. This has gone toward food, diapers for families in need, rent & mortgage relief, and other purposes.

    Thank you for continuing to worship with us—our YouTube videos get around a hundred views each week, and in some cases, there are multiple people watching one screen. Thank you for listening. And thank you for your continued financial support.

    We are going to be doing some new things in the interest of our own spiritual health, fellowship, and the ministry of the church. The first is drive-through communion (or drive-thru, as it is frequently written).

    Drive-Through Communion — Sept 6th, 9:15-9:45am

    If you wish, you’re invited to drive through our parking lot on Sunday, September 6th from 9:15-9:45am and I will serve communion to you. You are just as welcome to partake of communion from home, as we’ve done the last few months.

    Fellowship Bike Ride — Sept 13th, beginning at 1pm

    On Sunday, September 13th we will have an FPC Bike Ride. We will meet at FPC and go on a 10-mile bike ride led by John and Jean Stewart. Maps of the route will be provided, and a shorter route will be available if needed. Some of the route will be on streets and some on dedicated bike paths. Meet us in the parking lot at 1pm, and we will depart by 1:15.

    Zoom Bible Study — every Tuesday morning from 8-9am

    If you’d like to join us for Bible Study we will begin on Tuesday, Sept 8th, from 8-9am. We will meet via Zoom so you can enjoy breakfast and coffee from home. The zoom link will be available on our First Pres Logan Facebook page each Tuesday morning.

    My role as pastor is to be a spiritual guide, someone who helps each of you on your faith journey (and as you might imagine, you help me just as much). I confess to you that feeling like we are connected and in touch these months has been a struggle. Continuing to not meet in person remains one of the more challenging decisions of my career in ministry. I want to see all of you each week. Worshiping at home via YouTube is certainly just as pleasing to God as when we gather and sing, but it doesn’t feel the same to me, and I’m sure it doesn’t feel the same to you. Hopefully, some of the above activities will help us with that.

    In the Presbyterian system the pastor does not make decisions about all of the activities and happenings around a church. The pastor leads worship, teaches through Bible Study and similar endeavors, provides pastoral care, and participates in many other diverse activities around the church and community. We have Elders and Deacons who take on other responsibilities, including making decisions about church activities (reserved for Elders, who serve on Session). Who does what around a church (and how we do it) is outlined in the Book of Order, which covers all kinds of things. But as you can imagine, there isn’t a chapter titled What To Do in Case of Worldwide Pandemic.

    The Elders that we elect as a congregation (you elect them, Pastor Meg and I do not vote) make many important decisions for each congregation, although pastors frequently share their thoughts and offer guidance for any vote that is taken. The Session of FPC Logan met on Wednesday, August 19 and voted unanimously to continue with online worship for at least the next month (until the next Session meeting, on September 16th).  At that meeting we will reassess the situation and take another vote for the coming month (or months). Session made this decision because we don’t feel it is safe for us to be in the same room for an hour together. Some people may be willing to take the risk. I am not, and neither are your FPC Elders. Of particular interest is the effect that the return to school will have on coronavirus numbers. Public schools and the Utah State University are back in class now, with both online and in-person classes. Also, of great interest is progress in vaccine trials. We are praying that one (or several) of these vaccine trials provides good news in the next few months.

    May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all,

    Derek

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