THE GOOD NEWS
June 25, 2020
Daily Devotional
Old Made New

By Dr. Oliver Wagner, Senior Pastor

“Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing,” says the Lord, “do you not perceive it?” - Isaiah 43:18-19

The Presbyterian Church observes two sacraments. At the command of Jesus, we baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and we “eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance” of him in the Lord’s Supper. Among all of the strange and frustrating things we have had to learn and navigate in the public health crisis we continue to face (cases in Georgia are currently rising), changing how we do the sacraments has been at the top of the list!

The session has just voted to include the celebration of the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of the month - as is our typical practice - in the filmed worship services we are sharing. The denomination has ruled this appropriate given our inability to gather together in person. I am grateful to the worship committee and pastors for their flexibility and openness to this need. I’m sure communion at home as you watch our worship video on that first Sunday in July will be one you will always remember! What need you do in advance? Prepare a piece(s) of bread (or gluten free crackers) and have a small amount of red grape juice (I suggest 100% juice) or red wine. At the appropriate time in the liturgy, you will be invited to eat, drink and prayerfully remember Jesus’ saving death. By the hundreds we will be doing the same in each of our homes! Parents, this will be a wonderful way to educate and include children at the table!

We have recently had several children born in the church family and so are considering how and when we might safely celebrate Christian Baptisms. I continue to be in conversation with other pastors and churches as to how we might do this. At present, we are waiting. I look forward to when we can again enjoy those special occasions as a family of faith - even if by digital means.

And though not “sacraments” we have other important life events that we need to creatively and innovatively accomplish as a church family. For example, having the 2020 APC Confirmation Class publicly profess their faith and join the church as members is an important event we postponed this spring. Sharing together in memorial services as witnesses to the resurrection when a church member or friend dies is something we are doing electronically now. We are again conducting brief Committal Services for limited numbers of family members in person in our Memorial Garden (or at some other location). I will officiate my first wedding since the pandemic starting this weekend. It will be a small, outdoor event.

We haven’t yet come upon a congregational meeting or an ordination service… but I trust we’ll figure out a way to do that electronically if we must. Old dogs can learn new tricks, after all! Old practices are being done in new ways. Traditions are being changed to meet contemporary needs. How true the ancient word from Isaiah!

God of the ages, your love is everlasting and so is your faithfulness. Keep us open to the creative leading of your word and spirit that we may follow where you lead. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ who makes all things new. Amen.
June Adult Education Series
FINAL SUNDAY: Please register to attend
June 28: Understanding our Muslim Neighbors . In this second session on her book, Neighbors: Christians and Muslims Building Community, Deanna Womack will challenge us to build understanding with Muslims in our community and stand up against Islamophobia. For details contact Deanna Womack.
Please register through Realm no later than 5pm on Friday, June 26. Zoom information will be emailed to you. Realm link
Previous Class: June 21, Seeking Interfaith Friendship
Use this link to watch the class.
Click here for a transcript of the Q&A session.
In the first of two sessions on her new book, Deanna Womack addressed how interfaith friendship is a Christian calling and what steps we can take to build better relationships with neighbors of all faiths.
Previous Class: June 14, Serving Refugees
Use this link to watch the class.
David Roth from Memorial Drive Ministries in Clarkston discusses the importance of refugee resettlement services in the Atlanta area and what churches can do to support this work. David shared the following resources for more information:
Previous Class: June 7, LGBTQ Inclusion
Use this link to view the class.
During Derek Scheidt and Kevin Isom's presentation, they mentioned Susan Cottrell, an international speaker and prominent voice for faith parents of LGBTQ children. To learn more, visit Susan's website: https://www.loveandinclusion.com/ .
July Adult Education Series
Please register! July Adult Sunday School Series
We invite you to join with us in reading and discussing the book "Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully about Racism" by Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary professor Carolyn B. Helsel. As Christians, we engage in difficult conversations all the time about sin, forgiveness, grace, among many other issues. But, we often shy away from discussing race. We get anxious, nervous, angry, defensive, and we decide it's too hard or it doesn't apply to us. Our pastors want to read this book with you and use it as an invitation to explore our feelings, embrace our discomfort, and own our responsibility to love our neighbors - especially neighbors who have been devastated by the sin of racism.
We encourage you to buy and read the book now in preparation for our four-week class. Sunday 9:30-10:30 am led by our pastors:

July 5 - Rev. Beverly Markham
July 12 - Rev. Ollie Wagner
July 19 - Rev. Anne Fyffe
July 26 - Rev. Erin Noh
August 2 - Rev. Dr. Carolyn Helsel, author of  Anxious to Talk about It and Rev. Steve Miller, founder and CEO of the United States Christian Leadership Organization, will join us for a panel discussion.  Rev. Dr. Helsel  ( website ) teaches at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas.  Rev. Miller ( website)  is the director of the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Truth and Reconciliation Oral History Project. 

Please register through Realm no later than 5 pm on Friday, July 3. Zoom information will be emailed to you. Realm link
News and Notes
Blood Drive at APC on July 12
APC's Mission Committee is partnering with LifeSouth to offer a Blood Drive in APC's parking lot on July 12, from 9 am to 1 pm. LifeSouth will test for COVID antibodies as well as cholesterol levels. Since blood plasma containing COVID antibodies is being used to save lives, it is exciting to know we might have some donors who will contribute to saving the lives of COVID sufferers. Donors would be limited to three at a time in the vehicle. The signup link limits the number of donors in the Bloodmobile to three. All of the LifeSouth employees will be wearing masks and will sanitize the space used by donors as well as pens and other objects after each use.  Donors must be 16 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, and show photo-iD. 16-year-olds require written parental permission.
 

One Great Hour of Sharing Offering
Thank your for your gifts of $1500 to the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering collected last week to provide food, shelter, job assistance and education worldwide to those in need. You can contribute to this offering by giving online through APC’s website or by texting the word “alpharettapres” to 73256, and selecting “One Great Hour of Sharing” from the drop-down list.
Realm Tip of the Week:

Have you had issues when using Realm? If so, check your browser. For best results, keep your browser updated to the latest version. Realm recommends using the latest version of any of the following internet browsers: 
  • Google Chrome
  • Foxfire
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Safari
Please note Realm no longer supports Internet Explorer.  Not sure if you are using the latest browser? Go to  whatsmybrowser.org/
"APC Family" Private Facebook Group
"APC Family" is a closed Facebook group just for APC members. Posts are NOT visible to the public. Members can share prayers, inspiration, and humor---as well as share information or ask for assistance and support. Simply login in to Facebook and search for "APC Family," then request to join. You may also use this link: www.facebook.com/groups/APCfamily
APC Announcements
If you have information to share in the Good News, please send it by 1 pm on Tuesday to  office@alpharettapres.com .
Join a Small Group.....Online!
The 100-Day Old Testament Challenge
Come along as we read through the entire Old Testament in 100 days, with a Sabbath rest each week. You will be reading 10 chapters a day. The group will begin meeting on Monday, June 22, 2020. Please email Rev. Erin Noh to join the group.
Coffee and Conversation
Thursdays at 10 am
Please join Rev. Beverly Markham for coffee one morning per week. We all need some care right now, we need to talk about what's going on in our world, we need to see one another's faces, and we need to laugh together. So, make your coffee and join in the casual conversation on Thursday mornings at 10 am. Join in for an hour or for 5 minutes - whatever suits you. Email Beverly for the Zoom login.
Faith and Modern Life & Centering Prayer:
Fridays 10 am - 12 pm (Centering Prayer starts 11 am) via Zoom
Leaders: Mary Rogovin & Debbie Engler-Key
Contact Mary Rogovin for instructions on how to join the class.
The group is currently reading "Grounded" by Diana Butler Bass.
Alpharetta Small Group :
Tuesdays at 8 pm via Zoom
Contact Derek Scheidt for instructions on how to join the class. All are welcome and you can join anytime. We are discussing "Anxious for Nothing" by Max Lucado, based on Philippians 4.
Monday Morning Men's Bible Study
Mondays at 8 am via Zoom
Join Rev. Ollie Wagner to discuss the lectionary readings for upcoming Sundays. Contact Ollie for details on how to join the meeting.
Crossroads
The Crossroads Sunday morning class will participate in the Matthew 25 Adult Education Series during the month of June. See the article above for links to sign up for the June classes in Realm.
Mission Partners
Spotlight on: Habitat Aid Initiative and a Special Project

Founded by APC member Walter Dean, Habitat Aid Initiative gives hope to the voiceless and disenfranchised people living in Western Kenya. Focusing on the areas of agriculture, education, health services, and water and sanitation, Habitat Aid’s projects and programs provide effective, sustainable, and long-term solutions that empower human beings to live in dignity with respect.
APC’s financial support is primarily directed to the work of Munyanza Village Health Clinic which provides healthcare to surrounding communities. APC has also had members participate in Habitat Aid trips to Kenya to visit the communities and see the projects in person, including the recently completed dormitory at the health clinic for families of patients and/or visiting medical personnel.

Another special project for all of us at APC, made possible by an anonymous APC donor, is the completion of a water point given in honor and in loving memory of Mary Dantzler in the Emaasi Community. Clean water will affect this community positively for many years to come. Walter also noted that, as is the Kenyan custom in this area, he is sure there will be many healthy newborns who will be named Mary in the future.

If you would like to learn more about Habitat Aid Initiative and how you can support the important work they are doing, you can visit their website (https://www.habitataid.org/) or contact Walter Dean.
We encourage you to stay connected with all of our mission partners by checking out their websites and newsletters. You can find out more about all of our partners by going to https://alpharettapres.com/give-serve/mission-partners/ . Let us continue to pray for our community and our world, for those who are in need and those who are working to meet those needs every day.
Children's Ministry
Virtual VBS
The Knights of North Castle - Virtual Edition
There is lots of fun ahead for our first ever virtual edition of VBS. We will be learning how to put on our full Armor of God through stories, activities, crafts, science songs and much more. Look for a SignUp Genius email and sign-up to pick up your box of supplies!
Compassion Camp
We will also be holding an additional Camp this summer that we will invite all families to participate in from our friends at Illustrated Children’s Ministries called Compassion Camp. Compassion Camp will help children to better understand compassion for others, ourselves and the World. We will hold Compassion Camp in July. See below how you can help volunteer for compassion camp.
We are looking for a few volunteers to help with compassion camp:
5 families or adults that would be willing to act out and record ahead of time the following Bible stories:
    Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
    Friends bring their friend on a mat to Jesus (Mark 2:1-12)
    The Greatest Commandment ( Mark 12:28-31)
    Ruth and Orpah (Ruth 1)
    God’s Jubilee (Leviticus 25)
One song leader/guitar player! - can be recorded ahead of time.
Helping Children Around Us - Virtual School Supply Drive
One of the things we have been talking about in Sunday school this summer is how we can share the love of Christ and the many blessings that we have with others. Here is an idea for you and your children to do just that. Each year The Place at Forsyth works with Forsyth County Schools to ensure that all children have the supplies they need to begin school. Usually we have a campaign at our church. This year instead they are holding a virtual school supply drive. See details in the link below. It would be easy to just write a check, but I encourage you to allow your children to be a part of the process. Here are a few ideas of how you could get them involved:

Encourage your children to brainstorm about how they could raise money to donate towards school supplies:
• Lemonade stand
• Popsicle stand
• Sell homemade cookies
• Yard work
• Dog walking
• Babysitting

When you are ready to make your donation, use this link:

Let us know how you plan to help with this by posting in the APC Family Facebook group!
Summer Sunday school
Even though school's out for summer, we are still holding Sunday school. Join us each week for Virtual Sunday school wherever you are! – Look for the email from Kristin Hicks each Sunday morning with the video's link along with the parent print out to help families continue to hold Sunday school from home each week. Summer Sunday school will continue for the summer to keep kids connected and remind them that God is with them wherever they are.
Stay in touch
Stay in touch this school year and receive fun faith resources that connect you to APC for the school year– Join our Facebook page!
Facebook: @alpharetttapreschildren
Youth Ministry
Youth Ministry's Summer Schedule
We’re able to start meeting in person for youth group again! We will be meeting outside in small groups (no more than 10 people) with appropriate social distancing, mask-wearing, and other requirements. We’re excited to get together and have fun!

  • High School (rising 9th graders-graduated seniors) will meet on Wednesday, June 24 from 5:00 - 6:00 pm in the APC back parking lot.
  • Middle School (rising 6th-8th graders) will meet on Sunday, June 28 from 5:00 - 6:00 pm in the APC back parking lot.

RSVP using the SignUp Genius in your email to attend! Check your email for more details and a complete schedule for the rest of the summer!

Youth Instagram
Hey, APC Youth! Connect with APC Youth Ministry on Instagram: alpharettapresyouth
Our Church Family
An online Memorial Service for Mary Dantzler will be shared with the congregation on Saturday, July 11, at 11 am. At that time, a link to view the service will be emailed to those who receive electronic communications from the church. The link will also be posted on APC's website. Please note: the service will not be held at the church. This will be a pre-recorded online service, similar to the online worship service links we are sharing each Sunday. Memorial gifts may be made to the APC Memorial Fund.
Please note that the Lord's Supper will be celebrated during this memorial service. Please p repare a piece(s) of bread (or gluten free crackers) and have a small amount of red grape juice or red wine ready. At the appropriate time you will be invited to eat, drink and prayerfully remember Jesus’ saving death.

As summer begins we continue to hold one another in prayer...

for  Sheryl Wentworth , who has begun 5 weeks of radiation treatment;

for all of our members who are undergoing treatments, those who are home recovering from surgeries and hospitalizations;

for our communities in a time of change and for the church as we strive to follow be a place of hope and of transformation that leads us towards radical justice and mercy;

for our congregation as we continue to live into our new way of being faithful to our call to share God's love daily. 
Church Business
Session Digest:


The next Session meeting is July 10, 2020.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com