As we move into the cooler days of fall weather, I find myself thinking about the abundance of good gifts with which we are surrounded here in New England. From the colors of the trees to fresh picked apples and the bounty of local farms, we are truly blessed with many precious gifts from God’s creation. We have many activities coming up in the next weeks and months which you can read more about in the newsletter, including the Pumpkin Patch, a YAV Harvest Fundraiser, and the Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration.
At the same time, there are many places in the world that are not experiencing the abundant blessings of creation right now. People and places that are suffering as a result of natural disasters like the recent round of strong hurricanes that impacted much of the Caribbean and the U.S. mainland, particularly in Puerto Rico, causing devastating damage to infrastructure and leaving our siblings there facing months of uncertainty without power or access to clean water. Crises of human creation are impacting huge numbers of people around the globe as well. The Rohingya people fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar; refugees left in limbo in refugee camps around the world; the Venezuelan people who cannot afford the exorbitant prices for food in their own country; and the escalating war of words between the United States and North Korea, just to name a few of the looming crises our world faces.
We look around at all that is happening and wonder, “What can I do?” “I’m just one person.” “I can’t possibly change all this.” And while it is true that one person cannot take on all the problems of the world, there is certainly plenty that each of us can do to respond to the needs of the world, in whatever ways we are able. There are lots of opportunities to give, through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and other relief organizations. We have also taken up a collection for new packages of underwear for men, women, and children that we will send to a relief organization working in hurricane-impacted areas. Bring your donations to church by October 8th!
One other way we can make a difference is by coming together as a community. This fall, we will be asking ourselves the question, “Who is my neighbor?” I invite everyone to join us for a kick-off dinner and discussion on October 14th, from 4 – 7 PM at the church. We will be using the new book “A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community” by John Pavlovitz as a framework and as an opportunity for further small group discussion. I have pre-ordered some copies of the book; if you are interested in getting one, please let me know.
Here is an excerpt from the book description: “Pastor John Pavlovitz invites readers to join him on the journey to find or build a church that is big enough for everyone… He invites us to build the bigger table Jesus imagined, practicing radical hospitality, total authenticity, messy diversity, and agenda-free community.” I hope you will join us as we seek to live into a hopeful, welcoming, and authentic vision of the community Christ calls us to be.