May 11, 2017


As Presbyterians who value things being done “decently and in order” we aren’t very adept at celebration.  We don’t hoot and holler.  We don’t normally raise our hands and clap in church.  We have even been labeled “the frozen chosen” at times – referring to our theology of predestination and our cold and impersonal worship style.  (I prefer to call us “cool” not frozen.)  But we could do better at celebrating in church.  Now, don’t get all panicked!  I’m not going to make you raise your hands and clap in church, (unless you want to).  But I am going to encourage us to celebrate the amazing things God is doing in our lives, in our church, and in our community.   

This month, we have a lot to celebrate! 

 May 14 is Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day can be a difficult day for people for many reasons: women who are unable to have biological children, people grieving mothers who are gone, families who have lost a child… Those voids are impossible to fill.  And even in the midst of sadness, God is present and gives us opportunity to celebrate the incredible gift of women in the church.  Let’s take the opportunity this Mother’s Day to celebrate the contribution of “spiritual mothers” in our lives and in our church.  Growing up far from our grandparents was difficult at times, but we had many “church” grandmothers and grandfathers who shared in our lives every week.  The church was truly a “family of God” for us.  (If you would like to know more about my journey to motherhood through adoption, miscarriage and a difficult pregnancy, just ask.)

 May 21 we celebrate God’s work in and through our children!  “God’s Overflowing Love” is the theme for our Youth Celebration Sunday.  We will hear from our young people, confirm new members, celebrate the sacrament of Baptism, and “quilt” our High School Seniors.  Come hear the Sunday School report from our kids and all that God has been growing in them this year.

 May 28 we celebrate and honor our loved ones over Memorial Day weekend.  We will have an infant baptism that day as well which is truly something beautiful to celebrate!  When we baptize our children we recognize that they are a gift from God to us.  We dedicate those children back to God’s care and celebrate that the child is embraced and welcomed into the larger family of God.  As Presbyterians we understand baptism to be more about God’s work in our lives and embracing us into God’s family and less about what we believe.  We participate in infant baptism as well as adult and youth baptism.  We honor and recognize our sister-churches’ baptism.  We don’t believe you need to be re-baptized, once is enough.  Come celebrate the growing of God’s family through baptism!

Come and celebrate the work of God in our lives, in our children, and in our church!

May 16, 2017:  Noah's Ark Preschool and Pastor Hanna will present to the Best Years group next Tuesday. The program starts at 12:00 PM and is held in the First Pres Center.  Bring a dish and come join us!
Please join us for the Celebration of Life of our beloved friend
Sarah Hopkins on Saturday, May 20 at 2 pm in the main sanctuary.  Reception to follow.  
Youth Celebration Sunday on May 21, 2017!
A day to celebrate what God is doing and through our youth and children…

On Celebration Sunday:
  • Our youth will lead us in worship, celebrating God’s overflowing love
  • We’ll receive our Confirmation students and celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism
  • We’ll bless our High School Seniors and present them with their quilts
  • Our kids will share highlights from their Sunday School year and bless their Sunday School teachers
  Caregivers Group

Thursday afternoon from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm a group of individuals who are caregivers, or have been caregivers, meet in the Fireside Room as a support group. Members offer information and strategies to help care for family members or friends.  In reality they offer friendship and respite from the challenges of life. In addition, members maintain confidentiality about what is said in the group. If you have any questions, you can call Kris Kennedy 547-7292.
The Stephen Ministry program started a new training class in January and is now wrapping up the final lessons. The 50 hours of class instruction is providing the caregiver skills to help “care” for individuals who are hurting and facing crisis issues in their lives. Dedicated class members include:   

Carol Ellis, Hailey Ellis, Meegan Garza, Kim Hunting, Robert Robinson, Lee Schmolke, and Becky Tinker

We ask that the congregation continue to keep these faithful participants in their prayers as they finish their training and prepare to be Stephen Minister Caregivers in our community of faith.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Meet our Whitworth Summer Fellows!
Tori Beavin: Tori will be working primarily with our youth ministry this summer. Here's what Tori says about herself:

     "I am someone who loves God and finding new ways to grow in and share my faith. My goal each day is to try to live a life closer to the life that God intended me to live when He created me...While I am unsure of everything that God has in store for me, I am looking forward to unveiling parts of His plan for me throughout my life. I am incredibly excited about being a part of your ministry for the summer!"
Courtney Harrington: Courtney will be working primarily with our children's ministry and our middle school ministry. Here's what Courtney has to say about herself:

   "I have worked within the ministry world for a lot of years, working with kids and doing more administrative work. I am very willing to learn new things and hope to stretch myself in new ways. I am willing to be flexible and will do things with a positive attitude. My goal is to just show others Jesus's love and light!"    
Welcome Rowan Joshua Mehlenbacher! 
Congratulations to the proud parents, Phil and Amanda Mehlenbacher!  Rowan was born on April 30, 2017, weighed 5 lbs 12 oz at 19" inches long.   
Backpack Event August 26th
We have started planning an interactive backpack event.  We will invite our guests into our sanctuary at 9:15 am.  A small worship service will start at 9:30 am and a sing-a- long and or story time will follow as they wait for their turn to select backpacks and have lunch.  Other activities are being considered such as a prayer corner. If you have ideas or want to get involved, please contact Kris Kennedy at 547-7292 or sign up on the information Counter to receive information on further events.
Remember to attach a picture to your newsletter article. We would love to personalize your events!  The newsletter comes out the 2nd & 4th Thursday of every month.  Please send your articles to at least one week in advance and indicate on your email when you want the article to run and how long you want it to run. Thank you to all for your contributions and we strive to do our best to make this an informative and enjoyable newsletter to read.