Newsletter
July 31, 2020

520 Washington Avenue
Savannah, Georgia 31405
SERVICES FOR THE WORSHIP OF GOD

On-Line Virtual Format


SUNDAY, AUGUST 2
SERMON: “To Buy and Eat Without Price”
TEXT:  Matthew 14:13-21
Will Shelburne, Sr., preaching


SUNDAY, AUGUST 9
SERMON: “Between Fearless and Foolish”
TEXT:  Matthew 14:22-33
Will Shelburne, Sr., preaching


SUNDAY, AUGUST 16
SERMON: “The Day Jesus Insulted the Canaanite Woman” 
TEXT: Matthew 15:21-28
Stephen Williams, preaching


PULLED INTO THE FUTURE BY ISAIAH'S VISION OF
A NEW CREATION



My family first visited this small island 12 miles off the coast of Maine in 1986. I had responded to a notice in a clergy magazine placed by the Maine Seacoast Mission that supports about twenty Downeast congregations. In return for preaching four Sundays, we would be given the use of the church manse. We did that for two summers before a permanent minister was called to serve the church. But by then the hook had been set, and we have been returning ever since, first renting and now occupying our own cottage beside Southern Harbor.


Even in these strange times of exile from the once-familiar patterns of life, we are gathered again to the island where we can let down our guard a bit. We walk along the country roads, bicycle around the island, buy produce at a farm stand, and play a little tennis. There is also a list of chores related to scraping and painting, chain sawing and pruning. Today’s excitement was a long-awaited call from the plumber, he is coming to replace the toilet after a three-week delay. Hurray!


The biblical text can offer even more stirring surprises. Take these words from Isaiah 64 as an example:

“For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth;
         …I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.
         …no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days,
         or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
         for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth…
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
         they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
         …for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be…
Before they call I will answer,
         while they are yet speaking I will hear.”



Reading that passage can bring tears to our eyes. Go back and read these verses slowly, aloud, and see if you find yourself navigating around a lump in your throat.  Is it wanting so much to believe that such a place as this Jerusalem, newly created as "a joy," could exist? Or being surprised, maybe, that ancient words speak with such prescience to a time when suddenly nobody can take the longevity of anybody for granted? Or longing to feel as rooted as a tree in a time of such fearsome storms in our communal, national, global life?


Sometimes scripture knows us so well.  In the 6 th century B.C., the exiles to whom Isaiah was speaking were returning to a beloved city that had been decimated by conquest and neglect. Isaiah was inviting them to come home from exile to a place they had been seeing in hindsight. They knew it with their eyes closed.  Now here it was, such a long way from memory, looking back, and hope, looking forward – and he was urging them to open the eyes of faith and look ahead.


Twenty-six centuries later, the question is still timely. How do you make room in your imagination for the idea that God is at work in this twilight time between exile and homecoming, this time of aching memory and uncertain prospects?


How do you practice believing that God will recreate the familiar city as a place where the infections of disease, prejudice, poverty no longer have power? How might it be that this landscape, both strange and familiar, is becoming the place that you have always remembered that it could someday be? 


Thanks so much for this time away and even more, thank you for the privilege to serve as your minister! --SCW

PRAYER CONCERNS, RECORD OF OUR FAITHFULNESS, ETC.


PRAYER CONCERNS, RECORD OF OUR FAITHFULNESS, ETC.

Congratulations to Phyllis and Gay Mayfield and Carolyn and John Neely upon the birth of their granddaughter, Amelia Mayfield Neely, born July 7, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska...

July offering: $27,442.00... 


Bi-Weekly Announcements


SESSION COMMITS TO RE-OPENING WEEKDAY PRESCHOOL
At a called Session meeting via Zoom on Monday, July 27, the Session received the report of the Preschool Advisory Board chaired by Sharon Eswine. After much study and developing safety protocols and procedures, the Board recommended that the school begin on Tuesday, September 8. The health of the children and staff was deemed a top priority, as well as the need for young children to be together in classroom settings. With appreciation for all the careful work of the Board, the Session approved the proposal. At present, about 25 children are expected to be enrolled in the school.
 
 
 
EXCERPT FROM THE SUMMER READ....
Walter Brueggemann reflects in his latest book,  Materiality as Resistance: Five Elements for Moral Action in the Real World :

"The materiality performed by Jesus is not be be confused with materialism, because the gospel accent on the material is grounded in the conviction that the truth of our life summons us to hope-filled obedience, an obedience that is always referred back in gladness to the goodwill of the creator God. Nobody called Jesus a "materialist" because he healed the sick or brought good Jubilee news to the poor. I judge that, after the manner of his ministry, attention to the material dimensions of our common life and our capacity for critical, honest, faithful thought and action is urgent in our cultural context.'

Copies of the book are available in the church office for $11.



MUSIC SERIES CELEBRATES HYMNODY OF THE CHURCH
The hymn series “When in our Music God is Glorified” began July 5 and will continue through August. Each program in the series is approximately 30 minutes long. The July concerts included music presented by Deanie Strength, Bill McNair, Susan Wilson and guests, John Palmer and Tim Robison. The link to the programs can be found on our Facebook page and in the Constant Contact email about Sunday worship. Each program contains a link to program notes, which includes the hymn history and information on the composers. The August presenters are vocalists Grace Eckmann Imholz, Danny Cohen, Gina Shields, Colin Harrison, and Diane Ricks. Thank you volunteers for enriching this time with beautiful music!


WEEKLY WORSHIP MUSIC
Each week for our worship services a soloist or instrumentalist. In August music will be presented by Diane Ricks, Olivia Roe, Heidi Bindhammer, Danny Cohen, and Lola Gray and Fletcher Gaddy. Thanks to all for sharing their musical talents with us!     
 
 

STAY IN TOUCH BY PHONE OR EMAIL
In this time while we are not meeting in person, we remain committed to living out our care for one another and remaining together while apart. We very much want to hear from you. Do you have prayer requests or pastoral care concerns? Call the church office; 354-7615 or email the ministers:




AUGUST BIRTHDAYS


1 st          Tommy Johnson
2 nd          Frederick Hodge, Pam Daly, David Adams
4 th           Jim Ryan
5 th           Bill Ricks, Max Mills
6 th           Gus Bell, Jackson Walls, Katia Kovacs
7 th           Mark Glendenning, Anne Pappas
8 th           Mary Margaret Brooks, Ben Parker
10 th        Summer Roberts
13 th         Lindsay Norman, Elizabeth Longley
15 th         Billy McKee, Cynthia Szczecinski, Ann Tatum
16 th         Dot McKay, Carolyn Neely, Eliza Brooks, Nick Thios
19 th         Annie Adams
22 nd        Sandy Shirley, Hank Gloss
24 th         Joseph McArthur
25 th         Timothy Kramer, Datie Rogers
26 th         Jane Coslick, Phyllis Mayfield
29 th         John Harris, Talley Kirkland, Louisa Laird
30 th         Peter Foley, Jenell Griffith, Gabe Ross

If we missed listing your birthday, please email judith@savannahfpc.org


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

ALL EVENTS CANCELLED