A MESSAGE FROM BETSY
A colleague shared some staggering statistics with me this week about the number of candidates for ministry for our denomination. People who are pursuing ministry must enter a process with their home presbytery where they spend time discerning their gifts for ministry and how they might be used for a vocation of ministry. Becoming a candidate for ministry is the last step before becoming "certified and ready to receive a call," meaning you are cleared to speak with pastor search committees at churches.

Last year there were only 51 candidates for ministry in the PC(USA) among all seminary students (Presbyterian-affiliated schools and others). Just several years ago in 2015, there were 198 candidates among all seminary students. Within a few minutes of receiving this email, the "Reply All" messages started to come. Many colleagues wrote back with shock, sadness, and questions of "how do we even begin to address this decline?"

Of course, this is a microcosm of larger trends for mainline Protestants. We've been aware of the decline in church attendance, membership, seminary enrollments, and more, for a long time. And just like the responses from my colleagues, it's easy to be overwhelmed with shock and despair. Recognizing that statistics like those will keep coming, I've resolved to look even harder at what God is doing in our midst when faced with news of further decline in our denomination.

Here are a few observations from recent weeks:

Recently, I received a letter from Doug Fancher, who was a member of Northridge in the 1950s and '60s and was a candidate for ministry supported by Northridge. He reached out to say how formative his years at Northridge had been and though he ultimately didn't pursue ministry as a vocation, he wanted his experience to be an encouragement for the ministry happening in this community today.

Just two weeks ago, I gathered with the Session for our August meeting and planning session for the year ahead. We began with worship and as part of that service, everyone shared their most meaningful Northridge memory. It was a privilege to hear stories of how faith was deepened through acts of service, how this community stepped up to care for people when they were in the valley, memories of worship, and delight in working together on goals as big as building a new facility and starting Northridge Without Borders.

On Sunday morning, I witnessed the joy of 19 youth flocking to the Buchanans and Monty Watson to play Jeopardy. And on Sunday night, those same youth chose to be with each other once again, gathering for fellowship and prayer as they kicked off the year of youth group.

In response to the news, I will continue to give thanks for all that God has done and is doing through the Northridge community, trusting that even though the world around us will continue to change, God doesn't change. God is still using this community to root people in the good news of the gospel and enabling them to live in a way that shares that good news with the world. I'll hope you'll spend some time giving thanks for what God has done through this community and be on the lookout for the sure signs that God is still at work in and through us.

With great hope,
Betsy
MASKS REQUIRED INDOORS
Face Mask 2
Masks are required – regardless of vaccination status – for indoor worship and other meetings and activities in the building (including Sunday school and committee and Session meetings) and also recommends that people in the building for worship or other purposes be strongly encouraged to socially distance.

Worship continues to be available via livestream on our YouTube channel. If you are feeling ill, have been exposed to COVID-19, or simply feel more comfortable worshipping from home, then we encourage you to worship via livestream.
THIS WEEK IN WORSHIP

Rev. Betsy Lyles Swetenburg
will be preaching a sermon titled
Who Are We Now? Blessing

You're invited to read
in preparation for Sunday.

Faith Formation on Labor Day Weekend
Faith Formation opportunities during the Connection Hour this Sunday will be limited due to the holiday weekend. Faith Talks "conversation cards" will be available for adults and youth in the Share Cafe and outside on the porch and lower parking lot. Grab a friend and a card and get to know each other a little bit better. The Wailing Wall and Hopeful Hallway will continue to be available as a spiritual practice for our congregation to reflect, lament, and hope.

Children are invited to do a fun, faith-centered craft in the nursery during the Connection Hour.

We are eager for our full program to start back on September 12th with Sandy Kress in Quillin Hall during the Connection Hour.

Kids and Youth Connection Hour will be back in full swing on September 12. Youth will meet in the Youth Suite and Children will meet on the Children's Wing Porch.
KID CONNECTION

On Sunday, Sept. 12th, we will resume Sunday School for kids with a new twist. We are providing space for many different learning levels and styles through a Montessori-like learning environment where we will continue to offer substantive and meaningful opportunities for faith development.

Children will begin with a combined gathering with music and a Bible story on the children's wing south porch. They will then divide into two groups (preschool and elementary) where they will rotate through various stations at their own pace, learning in various ways about the story for the week.

We will be using the new PC(USA) curriculum, Follow Me. This curriculum helps kids learn about what following Jesus really looks like in daily life. We will begin with a series on Welcoming and head into a series on Following Jesus.
YOUTH CONNECTION

Youth Connection resumes on Sept. 12th
(after the Labor Day holiday weekend)
at 10 a.m. in the Youth Suite.

Teachers Mike Buchanan, Linda Hale Buchanan, and Monty Watson will be leading the youth.
MISSION COMMITTEE: HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Northridge Without Borders is looking for volunteers to help with the coming influx of Afghani refugees:
1.     Become a Welcome Team member via Refugee Service of Texas (RST):  Our welcome team will assist with airport pickup, provide a culturally appropriate welcome meal, set up an apartment, and provide groceries for arriving families. The first step is to complete a volunteer orientation and background check through Refugee Services of Texas. Click here to sign up via the RST website. For more information, contact Clare Stein (clare1234@sbcglobal.net) or MerriLee Anderson (mlandersonphd@gmail.com).
 
2. Participate in our Toiletry Drive by donating any of the following items for families in need: 
·        Toothpaste
·        Toothbrushes
·        Deodorant
·        Razors
·        Soap/body wash
·        Shampoo
·        Combs/brushes
·        Feminine products
      Look for collection boxes in the narthex.
 
3.   Support RST's Amazon List — click here to purchase other needed items for families.
 
Many thanks from The Mission Committee!
Northridge Mission Work Day
Presbyterian Children’s Homes & Services
Waxahachie, TX
Saturday,  September 18
 
Join us in Waxahachie on September 18 for a day of service and fellowship at Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services, one of our mission partners for more than 20 years. We’ll spend the day working on several projects at the homes to support families and staff. Our projects will be indoors and will allow for social distancing.

Typical Projects:
·        Clean homes in preparation for arrival of new families
·        Organize and sort donated clothing/items
·        Prepare unused donations for other non-profit organizations


Schedule

Morning:
8:00               Depart NR parking lot
9:00               Arrive at PCHS
9:00 – 12:00  Projects as Assigned

Lunch: 12 to 1 pm
(PCHS families may join us pending COVID-19 protocols)

Afternoon:
1:00 – 3:30    Projects as Assigned
3:30 – 4:00    Wrap Up and Depart PCHS
5:00               Arrive NR Parking Lot

We’ll meet in the church parking lot and caravan to PCHS. No special skills required, just open hearts and helping hands. PCHS requires anyone under 17 to be accompanied by an adult. Families are welcome! Please use the sign-up sheet in the church Narthex to help us plan for the projects and lunch. For questions or comments, please contact Allan Tepera (972) 841 4235 or email allantepera@sbcglobal.net
NWB Book Study: "Somewhere in the Unknown World"
Join Northridge Without Borders in a discussion about "Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir" by Kao Kalia Yang.

The group talk will take place at Northridge at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29th.
SAVE THE DATE: SANDY KRESS
Don't miss our next adult education series with renowned educator Sandy Kress!

He will lead us in a discussion on "Patriarchs, Matriarchs, and You: What Can We Learn from the Old Testament Leaders?"

Head to Quillin Hall during the 10:00 connection hour on September 12, 19, and 26.
LITERACY ACHIEVES: VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
LITERACY ACHIEVES VOLUNTEER TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES
FOR 2021 FALL SEMESTER
 
Applications are now being accepted for volunteer teaching at Literacy Achieves, one of Northridge’s primary mission partners, for the fall 2021 semester. Classes start Monday, September 13 (both online and in-person classes are currently planned).
  • You do not need to speak a foreign language or have teaching experience. Literacy Achieves provides the curriculum and training. Opportunities are available for morning, afternoon, or evening classes. 
  • Time commitment is 2 hours per week for a 12 week or 13 week semester. Volunteer teacher opportunities are available at the Vickery Meadow, ELM-East Dallas and West Dallas locations. Additional volunteers needed for office help, tutoring, student registrations and recognition, or other special events. 
  • To learn more about volunteer teaching opportunitiescontact LaTress Peoples volunteer@LiteracyAchieves.org  214.265.5057 x 114 or complete your application online at LiteracyAchieves.org
SIGN UP TO DONATE SANCTUARY FLOWERS


If you would like to provide flowers for worship, please call the church office to see if a date you want is open. 2021 dates open at this printing are Sept. 12th and Sept. 26th. The approximate cost of a flower arrangement that fits the size of our sanctuary is about $100 plus delivery. 214-827-5521.
WIRED WORD RESUMES SEPT. 8th
via Zoom
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 837 1620 1906
Passcode: 681172

Each week, The Wired Word provides resources on a current event. This week the topic is: "As U.S. Leaves Afghanistan, Veterans of the War Have Mixed Emotions."

An email is sent to those interested. Previous participants don't need to sign up again — they're on the list. Those who would like to join or who would like more information are invited to contact Mike Marcotte at marcottem@prodigy.net.
FALL GRIEF RECOVERY WORKSHOP: REGISTER NOW
Faith & Grief Recovery Workshop
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
 
Have you lost a loved one in the last year or two? Or has someone you know? This workshop is open to Northridge members and the community at large with a limited class size. 

In conjunction with the Dallas-based Faith & Griefsm Ministries, Northridge will offer an 8-week Faith & Grief Recovery Workshop, beginning September 13. The workshop is a series of sessions where participants explore sacred stories related to grief, share their stories in small group discussions, and are introduced to spiritual practices designed to promote comfort in grief. The workshop will be facilitated by Faith & Grief cofounder Rev. Wendy Fenn and senior workshop leader Rev. Diane Pennington.

The series will be held in person at Northridge on Monday evenings, September 13—November 1, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. There is no cost to attend*. To learn more about Faith & Griefsm Workshop and to register, use the link at the top, or contact Tony Cummins at tw.cummins@outlook.com.
*Registrations cancelled less than 2 weeks in advance will incur a $20 materials recovery fee. 
ADULT EDUCATION
Bible Study: Tuesdays - 7:30 a.m.
Join us!
Meeting ID: 954 9571 6184
Passcode: 027540