THE GOOD NEWS
June 11, 2020
Daily Devotional
Naming Injustice and Laying Down Our Lives to Follow Jesus

By Rev. Beverly Markham, Associate Pastor

“I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. To the one who conquers, I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches”
Revelation 3:19-22

Does Revelation’s position at the capstone of scripture take away the power it could hold to teach us how to love one another? Since it gets the last word – the final say – the closing argument – it seems like we’d rather just let it be a really confusing prediction of future (scary) events complete with dragons and locusts and falling stars rather than take the time to understand its symbolism, magnificent apocalyptic narrative form, and its call to love God and love neighbor that is consistent with the rest of scripture.

For example, in the verses above, there’s a reference to Jesus’ conquering. That’s a very militaristic word. When we conquer, we overcome, we overpower, we master, we defeat, we overthrow, we vanquish, we subjugate…get the picture? But, when we read the Gospel stories, we never hear Jesus say, “go out and vanquish in my name” or “overpower one another” or “defeat your enemies.” Are we to believe that the Jesus of Revelation is different from the one who lived the life that taught us who God is and how God loves? Has all of that been erased somehow and replaced with a militaristic messiah who can’t wait to vanquish and subjugate?

Or, are we misreading Revelation? The Lamb (to speak like Revelation) conquered by naming injustice, by laying down his life, and forgiving, and seeing the hurt in other people’s eyes and asking how he could help. Jesus conquered the status-quo of his day by loving people. Jesus conquered the unjust systems of his community by spending time with people who did not look like him or believe like him or live like him and by working to make their lives better.

Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Jesus is standing outside our door, knocking, and if we are brave enough to open the door to this conqueror, he will come in and be with us…come in and lead us to be conquerors, too, in his peaceful image. Can we follow him and conquer in the spirit of love and peace, forgiveness and joy, hope and transformation, laying down our lives for others, naming injustice? Opening the door to let the holy wind of this non-violent conqueror blow through and change us is scary but it is also the only way we come through this time of distress and unrest and replace the unjust systems in our communities in Jesus’ name.

Come, O Holy Spirit. Come as Holy Fire and burn in us, come as Holy Wind and cleanse us within, come as Holy Light and lead us in the darkness, come as Holy Truth and dispel our ignorance, come as Holy Power and enable our weakness, come as Holy Life and dwell in us. Convict us, convert us, consecrate us, until we are set free from the service of ourselves, to be your servants to the world. Amen. (by John Henry Newman)
June Adult Education Series
Please register to attend! June Adult Sunday School Series on PCUSA's Matthew 25 Initiative

The PCUSA’s Matthew 25 initiative challenges us to embrace Jesus’ call in Matthew 25:31-46 to deepen our faith and become more actively engaged in our community and the world. This includes serving people whom our society has oppressed, marginalized, or excluded. Each Sunday in June, APC will offer an adult Sunday school class focusing on ways to be more inclusive, welcoming, and loving in our diverse community and world.

June 14: Serving Refugees . David Roth, from Memorial Drive Ministries in Clarkston, will speak about refugee ministries, the importance of refugee resettlement services in the Atlanta area, and what churches can do to support this work. For details contact Erin Noh .
Please register through Realm no later than 5pm on Friday, June 12. Zoom information will be emailed to you. Realm link

June 21: Seeking Interfaith Friendship . In the first of two sessions on her book, Neighbors: Christians and Muslims Building Community, Deanna Womack will address how interfaith friendship is a Christian calling and what steps we can take to build better relationships with neighbors of all faiths. For details contact Deanna Womack .
Please register through Realm no later than 5pm on Friday, June 19. Zoom information will be emailed to you. Realm link

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
Missed the June 7 Class?
Use this link to watch a video of the June 7 Zoom class featuring Derek Scheidt and Kevin Isom discussing LBGTQ Inclusion.
News and Notes
New Covid-19 Guidelines Approved By Session
Session voted on June 5 to approve recommendations by the APC Public Health Advisory Team in areas such as property use, memorial services, baptisms and music. Read the Session Digest here.
Playing in the Dirt
Members of APC's Property Committee worked in the mud last week moving large amounts of dirt to fill the hole previously occupied by the Omega Trailer. Once the soil is packed and leveled, new grass seed will be applied.
One Great Hour of Sharing Offering
APC will participate in the PC(USA)’s One Great Hour of Sharing this coming Sunday, June 14. This special offering supports Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People, all of which work to serve individuals and communities 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 dropdown list.
Please Update Your Realm Info.....It's Easy!
Realm is APC's online membership database. Realm is also a helpful online directory to look up addresses, email and phone numbers if you need to send a card or call/email a church friend.

Now would also be a great time to add a photo to your Realm account. This really helps our new and existing members get to know one another.  
Starting today, all church members will receive an email from the church office with their existing information in Realm. Please read the email carefully and use these short instructions for help on updating your information.

If you don't have a login to Realm yet, you will also receive an email with directions on how to do so.

Thanks so much for helping us keep APC's records up-to-date, so we can all stay connected during this time away from APC!
"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
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.
NEW: 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 22, 2020. Please email Rev.. Erin Noh to join the group.
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.
New Book Discussion Begins This Friday: Join Us!
"Grounded" by Diana Butler Bass
The headlines are clear: religion is on the decline in America as many people leave behind traditional religious practices. Diana Butler Bass, leading commentator on religion, politics, and culture, argues that what appears to be a decline actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God. This shift, from a vertical understanding of God to a God found on the horizons of nature and human community, is at the heart of a spiritual revolution that surrounds us – and that is challenging not only religious institutions but political and social ones as well.
Alpharetta Small Group :
"Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World"
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. In July we will begin a study of Adam Hamilton's "Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White."
Ministry Partners
Spotlight on: Centro Familiar Cristiano

APC shares space with Centro Familiar Cristiano, a Spanish-speaking new church development of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. Led by Pastor Claudia Lopez, Centro Familiar is a vibrant congregation that normally gathers for worship on Sunday mornings and Bible study, prayer groups, and other events throughout the week.

While churches are unable to be together in person because of COVID-19, Centro Familiar has been doing live sermons online on Sundays at 11:00 am and Bible study on Zoom on Wednesdays. They also continue to make time to pray together by phone.

During this time, and in the future, we will be looking for more opportunities for our congregations to be partners in ministry, sharing not only space, but a call to love and serve God and our neighbors in Alpharetta. It’s a blessing to be able to worship and work together in Christ’s name.
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
We are excited to announce that we will be using our original theme "The Knights of North Castle" as a Virtual VBS for our church family the last week of July. You will be able to sign up and then pick up a box for each participant with all the things you need to do VBS at home. Parents will be sent an email with all the details! Get excited to understand the strength of God’s power by exploring how we put on the armor of God. The last day to sign up is this Friday, June 12. We will be placing orders on June 13th for all the supplies.
Here is the link to sign up!
Compassion Camp
We will also invite families to participate in an additional camp this summer from our friends at Illustrated Childrens’ 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 and will send details on that soon.
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 person to lead us in our movement (Basic Yoga Poses and breathing). This can be recorded ahead of time.
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 videos 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
Signs against Racism
Thank you to the APC youth who made signs at home that are now in our church’s front yard. During this time of protest against racism and injustice, these signs show God’s desire for justice. Check them out the next time you are walking or driving by the church!
Youth Ministry's Summer Schedule
While we are still unable to get together in person, we are going to be staying connected virtually this summer. We will send out more information soon about when we will be getting together on Zoom!

Youth Instagram
Hey, APC Youth! Connect with APC Youth Ministry on Instagram: alpharettapresyouth
Our Church Family
We continue to pray for our members as we hold one another in our hearts from a distance. Being apart is difficult on a gathered community, and grief is a natural part of not being together with the ones you love. Please reach out to a pastor to share your grief or to share a laugh together. We are praying for you. We are cheering for you. We miss you, too.

We hold Keith Wagner in our prayers as he recovers at home from surgery last weekend.

We hold Ty Porter in our prayers while he is hospitalized at Northside Forsyth, and we pray for Lee during this difficult time when she cannot be with him.

We pray for families who are living with the uncertainty of a COVID-19 diagnosis, for those who are hospitalized with the virus, and this who are grieving the deaths of those who have died.
Church Business
Session Digest:


The next Session meeting is June 19, 2020.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com