Welcome to Heart & Home
June 20, 2020
This week’s Summer ACTS of Service focus is the Loudoun County Animal Services. Some may know it as the animal shelter. A place to adopt a pet. While this is true, the Loudoun County Animal Services provides much more to our community.

The Loudoun County Animal Services (LCAS) works each day to ensure a compassionate,
humane community for animals and people. LCAS operates an animal shelter, which provides for companion animals who have been surrendered by their owners or found stray in the county. The shelter also has pets for adoption.

Loudoun County Animal Services team of Animal Control Officers enforce local and state animal laws and investigate reports of animal cruelty. They also respond to calls regarding injured or sick wildlife. LCAS works closely with Blue Ridge Wildlife Center when injured or sick wildlife are considered candidates for rehabilitation.

Below are ways Crossroads is encouraging families and individuals to support the Loudoun
County Animal Services’ important work:

  • Donate handmade dog toys to the LCAS. Watch this tutorial for making dog toys. These simple and easy to make toys are a fun activity for all to enjoy. All you need is a tee shirt! All dog toys can be dropped off at Crossroads Entrance 1 any time before Friday, June 26th at 4pm.
  • Follow LCAS Facebook page for ways they are serving in the community. Wildlife Wednesday and Critter Crafts Friday are weekly features that are educational and fun.
  • Visit LCAS website for more information about other programs they provide.
  • LCAS accepts donations for their food pantry. Check here for a complete list and ways to purchase.
  • Consider adopting or fostering animals or volunteering at the shelter. Click here for details.
Acts of Service
Reflection Guide
Before you SERVE with action, begin by going through the reflection questions below. We go inward to reflect and then we go outward to serve.
Summer Acts of Service Reflections:

Acts 3:1-11: Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.

All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.

SERVE Project: This week, we are serving God’s creation at the Loudoun County Animal Shelter. They help vulnerable animals find the care and love that they need, as well as educating the public on ways they can help different animals in the county. We will be helping to serve these animals by creating homemade dog toys and collecting food and supplies to be donated.

Reflection: God enables us to do incredible things through the Holy Spirit. One of the incredible things that we can do is serve the rest of God’s creation. When we serve others, we are “walking, leaping, and praising God” with one another. As God’s creation, we are all connected together through life with God and through worship. Recall a time where you gained more than you expected by serving creation.

General Reflection Questions:

  • How are you caring for God’s creation? How, by serving, are your actions impacting creation?
  • When you are serving this week, pay attention to how the service makes you feel. Acknowledge and name those feelings.
  • What changes can you make to your lifestyle to better sustain and care for creation?

Reflection Questions for Families with Students:

  • In this story, Peter and John changed the lame man’s life. How are your actions benefiting God's creation?
  • When you see others serving, how does that make you feel? Do you feel motivated to take action? Take a moment to be present with those feelings.
  • What can you do to bless creation around you?
  • What is one of your favorite things about God's creation? Give thanks to God for that.

Reflection Questions for Families with Children:
  • For parents, can you relate this story to how you teach your children? Do you see the benefits to teaching your children a skill instead of doing the task for them again and again?
  • Talk to your children about an example of when they showed initiative to complete a task on their own, and how proud that made you and your child feel.
  • What is a family goal you can set to educate yourselves or grow together in God's love, like traveling to local historical sites for hikes?

Prayer: God, we acknowledge that we are called to care for Your earth. We acknowledge that we are all intricately connected to everyone and everything around us. We acknowledge that we don’t always do the best job at caring for creation. This week help us to see Your beauty and wonder in every piece of Your creation. Increase my love and compassion for the earth and everything in it. Help me to be conscious of how my actions toward creation reflect directly on my love for You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
The Pet Pantry program is a great opportunity to provide supplies to local families that struggle with financial and employment issues. The animal shelter takes these donated items to Loudoun Hunger Relief weekly to help with these efforts. Please watch this video to learn more about how Pet Pantry works and helps the community.
The animal shelter is also taking donations of cat beds. The cats and kittens in foster and shelter care use the beds, and take them home after adoption so that they have something familiar in the new environment. The shelter cats love the no-sew fleece beds and they are easy to make. All you need is some fleece material and scissors. Follow this link for a step by step tutorial . These items can be dropped off at Crossroads also.
For Families with Children
Crossroads Kids Bible Story
The bible story this week is from Acts 3:1-11. Watch this week ' s video of the scripture told with Lego action figures. Discuss with your family ways you can praise God and serve with your hands.

This story tells us of a miracle, made possible because of God's love. It also tells us that serving with our hands and heart is the most important act of love that we can share. Participating in the Summer ACTS of Service activities is a good way to accomplish this task.

Here is a simple prayer to share as a family at dinner time,
"We thank you Lord, for food before us, the shelter around us, the family beside us, and the love between us, Amen."
This Week's Highlighted Resources
The Color of Compromise: An Ongoing Conversation
It's not too late to join us for 10 weekly online sessions (Wednesdays, June 17-August 19 from 7:00-8:30pm) featuring large group presentation and small group conversation focused on the history and legacy of racial injustice in our nation and the church. Through listening, learning, and sharing in conversation, we will reflect on both the painful reality of racism and meaningful steps toward greater levels of justice and reconciliation.

Pastor Jim Melson will lead this weekly series based on the book  The Color of Compromise  by Jamar Tisby who is an African American speaker, theologian, writer and president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective. The book is a challenging and insightful resource to help all of us learn and grow in the call of Jesus to racial justice and reconciliation.  If you can't attend each week, you can watch a recording of the teaching at your convenience.  Please read chapters two and three for the next session on June 24th. To listen to the initial teaching done by Jim Melson, Rudy Fenner and Tony Bond, and to sign up for the ongoing conversation, click  here .
Happy Father's Day! Tune in on Sunday morning at 10 am for online worship to see our special tribute to the dads and father figures. Enjoy your day!