A MESSAGE FROM BETSY
The last several weeks of worship have brought me so much joy. It's been fun to welcome so many of you back to worship. The energy of the spirit and the love you share for each other have been palpable. I've gotten comments and questions from many of you about what it means to continue to be church and do church under the looming pandemic cloud. Who are we now? And, who will we be when it's all over? I'm grateful that so many of you are asking those questions. I'm asking those same questions — about my own life, about our world, about the communities I love (Northridge being at the top of the list!), about our denomination, and about the church as a whole.

These questions feel pressing right now, but the questions of who we are and who we are becoming are always before us. Your Session, the leaders you elect to guide Northridge, are charged with giving their hearts and their minds to those two questions. Who are we as a church? And, who is God calling us to become? Your Session wrestles with those questions and seeks to make decisions that allow us to faithfully live into the answers. I love that our denomination doesn't ascribe to rote answers and recognizes that the task of leadership must incorporate the spiritual discipline of wrestling with big questions. Our denomination has always been marked by discernment, thoughtful discourse, and reform so that we seek to live as faithful witnesses for today. In other words, Presbyterians have asked those questions of who we are and who God is calling us to become as individuals and communities since our denomination began! Isn't it a gift to be part of a tradition that not only welcomes questions but also requires them?

These questions took on new life for me this week when I learned a statistic about youth in our denomination.

In 2020, there were only 5,319 youth professions of faith in our denomination. 5,319 youth across the entire country who went through confirmation classes and decided at the end that they wanted to say yes to following in the way of Jesus Christ and claiming the good news of the Gospel. Just one year prior, there were 9,023 youth professions of faith. In 2016, there were 11,243 youth professions of faith. We could read all sorts of things into these numbers. They do give us an answer (not the only answer, but part of the answer) to the question who we are now. The more intriguing question for me, though, is who God is calling us to become in light of this information.

The question of who God is calling us to become leads me to ask so many other questions:
  • What does it mean to nurture youth who are compelled to live out faith in their daily lives after confirmation? (That is what they are saying "yes" to when they profess faith, after all.)
  • What does it mean for a community of faith to say we won't contribute to the continued decline?
  • What does it look like for a community of faith to say that nurturing children and youth for faithful living is one of the most important things we can do at this moment?
  • Have we as a denomination focused so much on getting youth to that milestone of professing faith (the thing that's easy to measure) that we've undervalued or perhaps even overlooked the responsibility to demonstrate a lived faith instead of a professed faith?

I have no answers to these questions, but these are the questions I started asking colleagues and mentors this week. These questions are all bound up in the question of who we are becoming — as a church, as a denomination, as a culture. And, I believe that the good news of the gospel is just that — good news! And I believe it's too good not to pass on to our young people.

If you're interested in asking these questions, I hope you'll reach out. I'd love to get coffee and chat!

You should know that I don't ask these questions void of hope because if you've witnessed what is happening among children and youth in this community then you know that there is reason to hope. Emily Cox takes the task of faith formation seriously, creating spaces for our young people to ask what faithful living looks like and encouraging them to bring their whole selves to church. On Sunday, our Children's Connection Hour was mostly children who are visiting Northridge which says that people see something compelling happening here and want to be part of it. Our Youth Connection Hour had visitors, too. This is good news! And it couldn't be more important. (If you are energized about nurturing our youngest followers during the Connection Hour please reach out to Emily Cox. We could use some more volunteers to assist with our children!)

Friends, the good news of the gospel is too good not to share. I'm glad to be alongside you, discerning together who God is calling us to become and passing on the good news to the generations that will follow us.

With great hope,
Betsy

On a personal note, I will not be with you on Sunday morning. I'll be out of town for a wedding. I don't like to be away in the fall and I always hate to miss worship with you, but I have two weddings this fall that were delayed significantly because of Covid. Both couples have decided to make necessary adjustments and proceed with their plans and I'm grateful I'll get to celebrate with them both.

Rev. Deanna Hollas will return to Northridge on Sunday and lead you in worship. You can read more about Sunday worship below.
MASKS REQUIRED INDOORS
Face Mask 2
Masks are required—regardless of vaccination status—for indoor worship and all other meetings and activities in the building. It is recommended that people practice social distancing when in the building.

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 worshiping from home, then we encourage you to worship via livestream.
THIS WEEK IN WORSHIP
Last week, we began a new sermon series titled Reclaimed. This fall, we'll explore what of our faith needs to be reclaimed by us. Are there words that seem worn or void of meaning? Have we forgotten the worth of some of the gifts of our faith?

This Sunday, we'll welcome Rev. Deanna Hollas, who is the PC(USA) Minister for Gun Violence Prevention. She interned at Northridge years ago and is happy to return. She's going to explore what it means for Christians to reclaim that ubiquitous phrase "thoughts and prayers."

Rev. Deanna Hollas
will be preaching a sermon titled
Reclaimed: Thoughts and Prayers

You're invited to read
in preparation for Sunday.
THIS SUNDAY: SPEAKER SANDY KRESS
Don't miss our next adult education series with renowned educator Sandy Kress!

He will lead us (in person!) 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 a.m. Connection Hour on September 19 and 26.
OFFICER NOMINATING COMMITTEE
THE OFFICER NOMINATING COMMITTEE WOULD LIKE
TO HEAR FROM THE CONGREGATION

The ONC would like suggestions from the congregation as to who you think would be a good choice for Elder or Deacon. The nominating committee will begin their work this month to put together a slate of officers for the coming term. Please email Anne Raymond with your suggestions. Thank you.
ADULT EDUCATION
Bible Study: Tuesdays - 7:30 a.m.
Join us!
Meeting ID: 954 9571 6184
Passcode: 027540
WIRED WORD - Wednesday, Sept. 22 via ZOOM


Meeting ID: 837 1620 1906
Passcode: 681172

Each week, The Wired Word provides resources on a current event.

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.
KID CONNECTION

We've resumed 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 begins Sunday,
September 19 at 10:00 a.m.
in the Youth Suite.

Teachers Monty Watson, Mike Buchanan, and
Linda Hale Buchanan will be leading the youth. Come join us!
CALLING ALL 4th, 5th, and 6th GRADERS!
4, 5, 6ers Meet this Sunday from 12:00—1:30pm in Quillin Hall
The fourth, fifth, and sixth graders are invited to join in fun and games, eat lunch (provided for them and eaten outside), and complete a Mission Project this Sunday after 11:00 a.m. worship. Meet in Quillin Hall at noon.
ONE & DONE CHOIR: REVISITED!
Northridge is back in full effect with our program year! Most activities are dialed down a bit for COVID-19 concerns—some with slight modifications, others with more constraints—but the bottom line is that we are all currently defining our new normal.

Here is an update on the Music Ministry:

For children and youth, Emily and I are discussing creative and practical ways to involve your kids in music.

For adults, our Chancel Choir and Chancel Bells are rehearsing weekly.

Unfortunately, our beloved One & Done Choir is not ready to come back yet, however we DO have an exciting new singing opportunity similar to One & Done Choir!

The musical ensemble that leads at our 9 a.m. worship service is hearts&hands&voices, and on Sunday, September 26, we will have our first ever hearts&hands&ALLvoices!

(say WHAT?)

For those of you who have participated in One & Done Choir before, it’s a similar drill; for those of you who haven’t, here’s how it works:

1)     Show up on Sunday, September 26 in the lower parking lot at 8:45 a.m.
2)     Learn ONE song
3)     Help lead that song at the beginning of worship
4)     Go sit down with your family for the remainder of the service
           
Yes...it’s THAT simple!

“What will we be singing?” you ask . . . click HERE for a video tutorial of the song, “Bring Forth the Kingdom” by Marty Haugen.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at bryanp@northridgepc.org, or call the church office at (214) 827-5521. I hope to see you all there!
ANNOUNCING: NORTHRIDGE HEROES
NEW SERIES: NORTHRIDGE HEROES

Each week, we will lift up a member of Northridge who works behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. Click below to nominate a hero of your own!

This week, we are kicking things off with Bob Brimer! Bob joined NPC roughly 20 years ago, but it was during construction of the new building that he began to notice hundreds of abandoned nails and screws in the west parking lot. As he also noticed doors left unlocked during the construction process, he began to walk the perimeter daily. Following his afternoon run, you might catch Bob checking the doors, looking out for tree limbs that need to be pruned, or even watching for external lights left on during the daytime. "Frequently, I see neighborhood parents at the playground, which gives me a chance to invite them to join us on Sunday mornings," he says.

Thank you, Bob, for keeping Northridge safe and sound!
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!
NWB BOOK STUDY: SEPTEMBER 29

Join Northridge Without Borders in a discussion about "Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir" by Kao Kalia Yang.

The group discussion will take place here at Northridge at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening, September 29th.
DAY1: CATCH BETSY'S BROADCAST
Our own Rev. Betsy Swetenburg recently recorded a program on Day1, which is available on their website and will be broadcast on WRR radio (101.1 FM) this Sunday, September 19, at 7:00 a.m.
WARNING: BEWARE OF SPAM!
It has come to our attention that a number of you have received false information via text or email asking for a favor from Betsy, usually related to purchasing gift cards.

Please note that this is a scam, and we would never ask you to submit personal or financial information to the church.

-Betsy will never ask you for an ambiguous "favor" via text or email

-Betsy will never ask you to purchase gift cards on behalf of the church

-Betsy will never ask you to share personal financial information via text or email

If you receive a message that you suspect may be false, please contact the church office immediately to verify the information and report the attempted scam.

If you have any further questions, you may contact the church office.