THE GOOD NEWS
July 2, 2020
Daily Devotional
I Can’t Get No Satisfaction …While Separated

By Ray Appen

"Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord ." - James 5:14

(Today’s devotion is excerpted with permission from Ray Appen’s Opinion column which ran in the Alpharetta-Roswell Herald (NorthFulton.com) on July 2, 2020.)

Working remotely has really gotten under my skin. It bothers me. Remote communication between people just doesn’t satisfy. It doesn’t feel very fulfilling to me. Yes, the remoteness of the connections serves a need through the pandemic; it protects us from exposure to the virus. However, that is exactly what we get—only a remote connection.

For the isolated sick and dying who are separated from their family and friends, screens cannot fill the room with love or confidence or texture of any kind. A video visit is, at best, an impotent proxy to the warm-blooded human connection, no more than a passing shadow. It pains me thinking of those hospitalized who are not allowed a visit from family and friend. It breaks my heart.

We already have enough trouble in our world because of our remoteness—because we are too isolated from the rest of humanity to have empathy or be impacted enough to try to fix our broken world full of broken people whose primary need is a connection to others. Direct personal connection is where we find safety, security and completeness. It is the basis for our tribe. It is also our only true path to any degree of happiness. It fills the holes in our humanity and it is an ingredient for which there is no substitute. Doestoevsky, perhaps, best described our need for humanity when he wrote: “What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.” I would take his thought just one step further and simply say, “hell is the suffering of being isolated from personal contact—face to face—with your fellow human being.”

Lord Jesus Christ, you left the security and distance of heaven and lived in flesh and blood among us on this very earth. You call us into community with yourself and one another. Lead us through this time of our physical separation, we pray, so that we might again safely gather in person—laughing, crying, sharing, touching and embracing—in your name. Amen.
July Adult Education Series
"Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully about Racism"


First Week: Sunday, July 5
9:30-10:30 am via Zoom
Led by Rev. Beverly Markham

Use this link to register through Realm no later than 5 pm on Friday, July 3 . Zoom meeting information will be emailed to you.

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 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. 

June Series Follow Up
June 28: Understanding our Muslim Neighbors .
Use this link to watch the class.
In this second session on her book, Neighbors: Christians and Muslims Building Community, Deanna Womack challenges us to build understanding with Muslims in our community and stand up against Islamophobia. Deanna suggests the following titles for further reading:

  • Daisy Khan, Born with Wings: The Spiritual Journey of a Modern Muslim Woman. Spiegel & Grau, 2018 (368 pages).
  • Ayaz Virgi, Love Thy Neighbor: A Muslim Doctor’s Struggle for Home in Rural America. Convergent Books, 2019 (208 pages).
  • Jacqueline A. Bussie, Love Without Limits: Jesus’ Radical Vision for Love with No Exceptions. Fortress Press, 2018 (195 pages).
  • Amir Hussain, Muslims and the Making of America. Baylor University Press, 2016 (142 pages).
  • John Kaltner, Islam: What Non-Muslims Should Know. Fortress Press, 2016 (151 pages).
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 addresses how interfaith friendship is a Christian calling and what steps we can take to build better relationships with neighbors of all faiths.
Mission Partners
North Fulton Community Charities: School Supply Drive
Did you know? Almost 10,000 children live in poverty in North Fulton. You can help every child in our community feel the excitement of having a new backpack and school supplies to start the year. Due to Covid-19 social distancing requirements, this year's school supply drive will be a little different. Members of our congregation will make monetary donations, then our mission committee members will do the school supply shopping and deliver filled backpacks to NFCC. The estimated cost of backpacks per age group are: $75 (elementary), $90 (middle school), $125 (high school). But ALL dollar amounts will help bring joy and excitement to the student recipients.

To donate, please visit the GIVE page on APC's website , select Electronic Funds Transfer, and select "mission" from the drop-down menu. You may also text the words "alpharettapres" to 73256 and select "mission" from the drop-down menu.
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-19 antibodies as well as cholesterol levels. Since blood plasma containing COVID-19 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-19 sufferers. Donors would be limited to three at a time in the vehicle. The signup link below 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. Check out this sweet deal - a Pint for a Pint. Each person who donates blood will receive a certificate for a pint of ice cream at Publix!
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.
Join a Small Group.....Online!
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.
News and Notes
APC Book Club
Join us on Monday, July 6, at 7 pm via Zoom to discuss "The Library Book" by Susan Orlean in which the author chronicles the Los Angeles Public Library fire of 1986 and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives. Contact Katie VanBrackle for Zoom meeting de tails. Our August book will be "The Quintland Sisters" by Shelley Wood.
Realm Tip of the Week:
Are you trying to register for an upcoming Registration Event on Realm such as the July Adult Education Series “Anxious to Talk About It”   and need help? If so,  please read this brief article for more information: 
"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 .
Children's Ministry
Virtual VBS : The Knights of North Castle
APC's little knights are having a lot of fun with our first ever virtual edition of VBS! We are learning how to put on our full Armor of God through stories, activities, crafts, science songs and much more.
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 meet 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! Upcoming dates -

  • Sunday, July 12 - High School Small Group, 7:00-8:00 pm
  • Wednesday, July 15 - Yoga Night (MS and HS), 7:00-8:00 pm
  • Sunday, July 19 - Middle School Small Group, 7:00-8:00 pm
  • Wednesday, July 22 - Theme Night (MS and HS), 7:00-8:00 pm

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. Contact Anne Fyffe if you have any questions. Make sure you’re in the GroupMe.

Youth Instagram
Hey, APC Youth! Connect with APC Youth Ministry on Instagram: alpharettapresyouth
Our Church Family
We share our Christian love and sympathy with  Gloria and Jack McGinnis , family and friends on the death of Gloria's mother, Cleo Zapata, on June 24 in Abilene, TX.
LeAnn Redmond is at North Fulton inpatient rehab recovering from a broken hip.

We continue to pray for all people who are caregivers in hospitals as COVID-19 cases increase again, for the people who have the virus, and for their families.

We continue to pray for our country as we do the hard work of changing oppressive systems.

We continue to pray for our church as we continue to learn how to be a community even as we are separate. 

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 prepare 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.
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