Our worship service this Sunday is going to celebrate God’s good creation and invite us to reflect on our role in being good stewards of that creation. What better way to understand the connection between our faith and our care for the Earth than to have David Dumaresq–“Farmer Dave”, our Community Supported Agriculture provider–reflect with us on his journey from being a philosophy major at St. Anselm’s College to being a Peace Corps member working with Ecuadorian farmers, returning to the States and being invited by a farmer’s family to take over the farm (where Dave once worked) after the death of the farmer, to working as an advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, back to the States, later on with US AID to Ethiopia, establishing a CSA in Massachusetts, and so on and so on.
I had a wide ranging conversation with Dave last week, and it was remarkable how concepts such as answering the call, using one’s gifts, “coincidences” (“God’s way of remaining anonymous” as the saying goes), and being given a gift for a reason–all good, solid words we often use in church–came up. Add to that a strong sense that Dave has of being a good steward of the land and not abusing it provides lots of “food for thought”.
Our scriptures will be drawn from Psalm 8 and Psalm 104, as well as the Genesis account of the sixth day, where God gives Adam and Eve the responsibility for the earth: “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food… .I have given every green plant for food.”
So, Farmer Dave and Pastor Mike will have a dialogue during the Sermon time, and Dave will also be available at Fellowship Time for conversation and follow up questions. I hope you can join us on Sunday as we celebrate Earth Day (four days late) and commit ourselves to being good stewards of the precious gift we have been given.
The deacons would like to send out care packages to people serving in the military. We would like to mail them in early November, so that they will arrive around Thanksgiving. If you have an address for someone who would like a package, please give it to one of the deacons by October 16.
One Sunday last summer, Elder Brian Davis led the Word for Children. He showed the children several sets of pictures. In each set there was a picture of people worshiping – singing, praying, etc. – and a picture of people doing something to help someone in need. Brian told the children both of these things were important, but asked which was the more important. They all knew the answer – helping others.
That morning, there were more children than usual in the class which followed. At activity time, the leader did not have enough sheets of stickers for everyone. She told the children those who received the sheets of stickers would have to donate 3 items so everyone would be able to do the activity. The donations were mostly small flowers and other things the children did not care about.
This is fairly typical behavior for young children. Unfortunately, many of us have not outgrown the “me and mine” attitude. Our own pleasure comes first. God and neighbor get the leftovers. This is a challenge to consider giving a tithe (10%) of our time, talents, and money up front and trusting God to help us meet our own needs.
Arts and Crafts Fair
There will be an Arts and Craft Fair at our church, October 23. We are in the process of getting crafters who would like to display and sell their art. We need people to help set up and take down tables and set up for Sunday school. Most everything in Fellowship Hall will have to be moved out. Set-up will take place on Friday afternoon and early evening.
This fund raiser is being coordinated by Jane McIninch and Judy Brunner. The proceeds will go to the general fund, 10% will go into our mission fund.
See either Jane McIninch or Judy Brunner if you want to help.
Recently, Hunter Farrell, Director of World Mission for our denomination, wrote about the ministry of Cobbie Palm, a mission worker in the Philippines since 1989. Cobbie, the son of missionaries, grew up in the Philippines. Some of us know his parents, Jim and Louise Palm, from their work at Stony Point Center.
Cobbie and his colleagues at Silliman University‘s Divinity School prepare students for ministry in the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. That church has had 20 pastors and other church workers killed since 2003. Many others have been abducted, tortured, and jailed because they have dared to speak out against injustice and corruption. Despite these threats, Cobbie and his colleagues continue to spread the gospel and work for peace and justice.
Our mission support makes ministries like this possible in more than 50 countries. Supported in part by a grant from the Presbytery of Boston, the Rev. Barton Kelso and his wife, Priscilla, will be spending the next six months in the Philippines teaching at Silliman University. Please keep them and other mission workers in your prayers.
46th Annual Choir Festival
The Choir Festival will be October 24, 2010 at
4:00 p.m., at Gordon College in Wenham. Rehearsals are 1:30 p.m. the day of the service and one other time in the week before. Singers should let me know as soon as possible so that music can be ordered.
As we journey through another season of stewardship at BPC, the Session and I invite you to reflect on this statement:
Stewardship is not about the need of the church to receive; it is about our need to give.
That’s the joyful need of our spirits (not the obligated need of our consciences!) to give in thanks to God. Stewardship is first of all a spiritual matter, about our relationship with God and God’s creation. Stewardship recognizes that all we are and all that is around us are God’s giving; to be in a relationship with such a God involves our care of creation, our responsibility as citizens, our balance of our time and nurture of our families, and yes, our financial giving to church and beyond. That’s the way to true abundance, deeper mutuality with God.
Here’s something else to ponder:
In a new study called Passing the Plate, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith say that Protestant Christians, on average, give 1.8 percent of their after-tax income to the church. They point out that if American Christians were more serious about giving, the impact would be amazing. If regular church attenders or those who describe themselves as “strong” or “very strong” Christians tithed (meaning, gave 10% of after-tax income), that would provide an extra $46 billion a year. They go on to say:
With that, we could basically end poverty, eliminate diseases such as malaria, feed and house and clothe the world’s refugees, provide five million microloans, and have a lot left over.
In other words, we could most definitely change the world.
Maybe it’s not surprising that Jesus talked more about money, and our relationship to it, than just about anything else. Something more to think about in this season of stewardship.
Over the next few weeks, you’ll be hearing more about stewardship, and its relationship to our faith, and abundant living (even in times that can be hard). And yes, also about the ministry and mission of BPC, and the fellowship and service we care deeply about.
On Sunday, November 22, we will celebrate our annual “harvest of offerings,” including our pledges of money, time and talents for the coming year, and bring Thanksgiving food donations for the Burlington pantry.