April 22, 2020
This week marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! I suspect that is why the creation story has been on my mind these past few days. God made this world and God made this world good. As I went back to read this story again, I heard a familiar rhythm. At the end of each day, God made the world good. New things are made each day: day, night, sun moon, birds, first, animals, plants, and humanity, but at the end of every day, God declares what God has made good. Goodness is the rhythm of the creation story.

Our rhythms in life are changing a bit too fast for my personal liking, but more and more often, a familiar rhythm shines through. This week that familiar rhythm is Youth Sunday!

Back in March, youth sat together on the floor of the chancel in the social hall to brainstorm Youth Sunday 2020. We looked around and were inspired by the doves on the banners hanging on the side walls and framing the chancel. Do y’all remember those doves? We read almost every scripture that mentions doves and we learned how doves are a symbol of God’s peace and presence in the world and the dove is often a symbol for God’s Spirit. We came up with the theme, Led by the Spirit . And then the Spirit led us to a whole different way of worshipping. The Spirit led and equipped us to worship online and outside of the sanctuary, so we are following! On Sunday morning, you’ll find a liturgy and a worship video designed by our youth and led by the Spirit.

For now though, enjoy the rhythm of reading your church newsletter on Wednesday afternoons.

Earth Day
Happy Earth Day!
The sun is shining, everything is turning green and we are sort-of allowed on the beach right now; what a whirlwind way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. I am sure that each one of us has been spending more time in our yards planting, weeding, noticing new growth and enjoying the time spent outside of our house. The lengthiness of our “Shelter in Place” order has been challenging on our minds, our spirits, and, for many, our livelihoods. But even in the midst of the very real hardships so many are living with we could also glimpse a different perspective on the situation, perhaps even a silver lining. While we are resting, the Earth is also in her own way, resting. As human activity has slowed down, we are seeing a dramatically positive effect on pollution , gas emissions and overall air quality - so much so that some scientists have speculated that it will add years back to our lifespan. At the same time, the canals in Venice are showing the life they hold and wildlife across the globe is flourishing. In this crazy start to 2020, it’s almost like mother Earth just sent us all to our rooms to think about what we have done. Earth needed to breathe for a second. We needed to breathe for a second. God needed us to stop. Take a breath. During this Earth Day when you step outside, I encourage you to breathe in the breath that we have been given by the Spirit and remember the beauty that can come from these days.

May the God who dances in creation, 
who embraces us with human love,
who shakes our lives like thunder,
bless us and drive us out with power
to fill the world with her justice, Amen. 
Janet Morley, Earth Gospel

Madelynne Risi
Director of BRIDGE

KidZ & Youth
Sunday Devotional
Midweek Devotion
Christian Education
Office Hours:
An Online Popup Bible Study From Columbia Theological Seminary
Office Hours is designed to meet the needs of pastors and congregants during our season of social distancing. Chris Holmes, from First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, and Brennan Breed, from Columbia Theological Seminary, are teaming up with guest professors to offer an in-depth, spontaneous and unrehearsed five-week study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. During the study, we will engage with scholars such as Beverly Gaventa from Baylor University, Eric Barreto from Princeton Theological Seminary, Shively Smith from Boston University, and Janette Ok from Azusa Pacific Seminary.
Musical Notes
For five weeks we’ve been physical distancing and sheltering in place.  That’s usually the amount of time it takes for the Chancel Choir to fully prepare an anthem.  Sometimes, we read through the piece right away.  I might even go over the hard spots first and then we read through more easily.  Reading.  Not all of our members read music.  Of course, after many years of looking at music, they can see where the patterns are in the notes and rhythms.  Having a good ear and memory for melodies and rhythms is a part of what it takes.  Being able to read music only helps you to access more new songs and sing parts other than the melody at a quicker pace.  I have a feeling that when we are able to raise our voices together again it will be powerful and full of praise.  What if you were to feel more confident in your ability to sing the notes?  

For the next few weeks, I’m offering a class on sight singing beginning on Monday, April 27 at 1:00 pm on ZOOM.  For 30-45 minutes, we will learn what the notes are, how rhythm works, and how to navigate through music.  Here’s where you can get questions answered about singing, etc.  Sign up by sending me an email. ( rhonda@sspres.org).  Those who participate will determine the time and day, the level of the class, and the frequency of meetings.  This is a great time to learn something new.  I can do private lessons online as well for those of you wanting to improve your voice or needing help restoring your voice.  Just email or call me. 

There are many ways to present music online.  I have been using recordings from past services and recording on my own, Amy Bishop and Anne Marie Stirewalt recorded hymns early on for Palm Sunday and Easter, and recent services.  I have asked others to send in recordings or videos.  This is a brand new world of presenting music and there have been some pretty amazing videos out there.  I’m doing the research and trying some of the techniques, so maybe by the time this is all over, I’ll have figured it out!   In the meantime, I’ve so appreciated the notes and cards.
This Youth Sunday, Brayden Neill will play piano for a prelude – Crown Him with Many Crowns.  Brooke Zell will play The Lone, Wild Bird on viola.  We will sing hymn # 285 Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song for our hymn of the day.  

Love and gratitude, 

Email rhonda@sspres.org for Password
Email rhonda@sspres.org for Password
Email rhonda@sspres.org for Password
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Yoga With Pat Heran
SSPC member and in-house yoga guru, Pat Heran, has taken her practice to a digital platform, where you can now join her in peaceful flow from the comfort of your own home. Thank you, Pat!
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