This upcoming Sunday is Education Sunday at Good Shepherd. It is the day you are encouraged to wear the colors of your school, college, or university. It is also the day we honor grads, bless backpacks of our kindergarteners, and cherish our congregation's educators. It also happens to be the one day a year I preach. I'm thankful preachers also get to write the Friday Faithprints because when you only preach once a year, you end up having a lot to say. So much, in fact, that if I were to put it all in one sermon, that sermon we be all over the place thematically. So, I will use this Friday Faithprints post to share some thoughts I'm not sure I will be able to cover on Sunday. If I end up repeating myself, then just consider this a primer.

When I was a young guy, upper elementary all the way through college, you could not get me to read. I'm ashamed of that. It's not that I disliked reading; I just didn't like to read what was assigned. Just the pressure of having to read assigned material stressed me out too much to seek out other literature that I actually might enjoy. One of my favorite educators and mentors, Rev. Paul Henrickson, the former chaplain of Roanoke College, would always say that my growing edge was that I needed to become a voracious reader. It was solid advice. Though I'd argue I'm currently only a "eager" reader, every time I dive into a new book (I'm mostly into non-fiction such as memoirs and research findings), I love the feeling of learning something new, something I chose to learn, more so than I remember ever feeling back in school.

The chaplain was an effective educator. I think one of the reasons he was so effective is because he knew how effective moments are as educators. I remember, and take to heart, Paul's lesson on reading because he made a moment out of it. In the book, "The Power of Moments," Chip and Dan Heath explain why people remember the moments they do - moments of elevation, moments of insight, moments of pride, and moments of connection. Not only could Paul connect with me in a unique way, his insight clicked with me that day. I have countless more profound memories of Paul because he was a maker of moments. Similarly, Jesus was a moment maker. He was always lifting up the lowly, dropping truth bombs, connecting with everyone and performing miracles that would never be forgotten.
  
Moments were important to Jesus, and I believe they are important now, especially in faith formation. I love making moments for families in the form of milestone blessings. This Sunday, after the second worship, rising kindergarteners and their parents are invited to the Worship and Wonder room (E-12) for a "Blessing of the New School Year." This will be a moment for our kindergarteners and parents because this will be a special, elevated time, just for them. It will provide insight for parent and child as they both share their excitements as well as fear for the upcoming school year. It will provide pride because the children will be blessed as big, strong kindergarteners with really sweet luggage tag blessings for their backpacks. And it will be a moment of connection as we pray for the upcoming year together. If you desire to bless the new school year in your home but don't have a kindergartner this year, hard copy blessings will be available in the Narthex after each service for anyone to grab. Let's make some moments together!

See you Sunday!

Andrew Buck

Sunday's Readings
Psalm 8
Mark 10:41-45  

This Sunday, we continue our Seasons of Creation sermon series.   We will worship this Sunday with a celebration of Education and Humanity. Proudly wear your high school, college, elementary or middle school alma mater to help us celebrate.

Farewell Reception for David Harrison - Sunday, July 29, immediately following the 9:45 am worship service  Join us for cake and coffee as we say farewell and thank you to David for sharing his musical gifts with us as Good Shepherd's Interim Music Director.

Order Your T-shirts for Rally/Raleigh Days by August 5! On Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9, members and friends of Good Shepherd will go out into our community to serve. To signify your participation in this nationwide ELCA day of service, order a t-shirt to wear when you serve. Order online or complete the form available in the narthex.

Christmas in August
Sunday, August 5  We will kick off August with an off-season Christmas celebration including carols and cookies! We are looking for cookie bakers to share their cookies on this special day. Please send your recipes to lois@gslchurch.org, and then bring in a dozen or two to share on August 5. We will also be collecting school supplies and hygiene items for Families Together. 

Summer Sermon Series - Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, and Prayer
Sundays, August 19 - September 2  Each Sunday, we will highlight a chapter or two from Rowan William's bookBeing Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, and Prayer. By focusing on each of these four elements of ancient Christianity, we find the foundation for our living faith.

Bluegrass Worship
Sundays, August 19 - September 2   While the order of worship remains the same, the lively music during Bluegrass Worship will have you tapping your toes and maybe even clapping your hands!

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's   bulletin announcements.

Health and healing  for Christine Olson, daughter of Lynne Olson; Lou Alfisi, father of Chris Alfisi; Alice DuMond; Margaret Hartline, aunt of Gail Phillips; Carl Parkinson's father; and Melissa, family of John Lavery.

Sympathy  to the  fa mily and friends of June Rodgers, friend of the Neubaum's.

Thanksgiving  for David Harrison's service to GSLC as the Interim Music Director; all participants of Middle School Mission Week at Christ the King; and for safe return of Megan Hutzenbuhler and Bryan Lester from their mission trips.

For the orphans of Mnene Parish , including Chipochashe Mpofu and Likwa Mpofu.  

Chipo, always smiling, is 25.  During her 9 years in our support program she gained confidence & was thriving.  She was well in to her hairdressing course when she left school in 2014.  She has 2 small children & is living with an aunt.  She visited with our 2017 mission team.  Now that her oldest child is starting school, she hopes for more stability in her life & would like to complete her hairdressing classes.  Her Mail For Mnene partner is the Sloop family.

Likwa is 19 & was taking Form 5 classes waiting for his "O" level test results.  He visited with our 2017 mission team at Vic Falls.  In 2006 Annie found him & his 2 brothers searching for food outside the Mnene hospital.  Since joining our support program in 2006, his health has improved & he is well cared for.  His Mail For Mnene partners are the Mac Lewis & Rusincovitch families.


Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.

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