A WORD FROM THE PASTOR: NO MORE AWKWARD
Chances are that if you told your friends about a new restaurant that you tried and liked, they would be grateful to hear your appraisal and to know that you served as a guinea pig for them. And chances are that if you told your friends about getting a good deal at a store—or about how you scored some sweet coupons for something you use anyway—they would be ecstatic to get in on the action. And chances are that if you recommended a car or a major appliance to your friends, they would be all ears, thankful to have the real-life, tested feedback so they will be equipped to make similar choices in the future.
But chances are that if you told your friends about how much you like your church—how you feel spiritually satisfied by the worship and fellowship there—and suggested that they visit some time, awkwardness would immediately descend on the conversation. They would tense up and assume that you and your churchy friends are trying to steal their eternal souls and their wallets at the same time, while brainwashing them and their children with your scary doctrine. Chances are they would recoil in horror at the suggestion that they “need” to “go” to “church.”
I’ve never quite figured out why people respond so radically differently to an invitation to church than they do to invitations to other stuff. If someone asks you if you’d like to come to their kids’ basketball game or dance recital, you think about it and say “yes” or “no,” but there’s no harm to the friendship one way or the other. But church is somehow different. Christianity reaches deep and confronts us with ultimate questions about life, death, the world, our humanity, and the existence of God. And people recognize that.
For sure, our friends have had diverse experiences with Christianity, and we must be sensitive to their personal history and baggage. When faced with the prospect of church, especially worship, people are often afraid that they will encounter strange rituals and unfamiliar music, and that they’ll end up feeling weird and left out. People also assume that at the end of the service they will have to go down front and cry in public, and pray with some stranger, and “accept” Jesus “into” their “heart.” They might even feel a twinge of guilt about their hidden sin and say something quasi-jovial to you about not coming to church, lest the “roof” “cave in” on their “heads” when they show up. And all that’s just too awkward to risk!
Unfortunately, churches, pastors, youth leaders, and church members have harmed people spiritually and have only reinforced some of those negative stereotypes about Christianity; they have unwittingly fertilized the awkwardness that surrounds invitations to worship and participate in the life of a congregation, making it harder for all of us.
But I hereby declare a no-awkwardness policy for our church family. Let’s dispel all the weirdness that goes along with an endorsement of and an invitation to our church. And let’s banish all the awkwardness that we might feel when our friends are faced the choice of accepting or rejecting our offer. Coming to our church once or not coming to our church is not life-or-death; it’s not an eternal decision. No one has to cry or go down front. No one’s wallet will be snatched. So relax! Enjoy the fellowship of the saints that God has gathered together, and let that joy overflow to others.
WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY
We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, October 2, in observance of World Communion Sunday.
The session will have its regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m. The deacons are invited to come to the session meeting (at about 7:30 p.m.) and share about their ministry.
The session has called a congregational meeting for Sunday, November 13, following worship for the purpose of approving the pastor’s compensation for 2012 and electing officers.
WE NEED YOU!
Please cruise by the Opportunity Table and sign up if you are interested in providing special music for worship, in hosting Fellowship Time after worship. There are many blanks waiting for your name!
STU BEAR OFFERING
Five years ago our church school began sponsoring a boy from Colombia named Johan through Compassion International. Funds from our church school offering (called Stu Bear, because of the special envelopes given to church school kids) have supported him ever since. It’s time that we re-double our efforts to take care of Johan as he grows up! This fall, all church school kids will be given a box of offering envelopes. They will be encouraged to bring a gift, however large or small, every Sunday to give during church school or worship. Thank you for your efforts!
The High School Youth Group will meet on Wednesday, 10/5, and Wednesday, 10/19, from 7:30-8:30p.m. The Middle School Youth Group will meet on Wednesday, 10/12, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Youth Room.
The Confirmation class invites the congregation to help them package food for Mercy Meals of Nebraska (in the Orphan Grain Train facility) on Wednesday, 10/26, from 7:30-9:00 p.m. We will meet at our church’s building and depart by 6:45 to car pool down to Norfolk. We will return by 9:40 or so. Visit www.mercymealsofnebraska.org for more information.
Last I checked, the Bible and the Creed speak of one church, not many. So let’s start living like it! The high school youth from the congregations in Wayne are coming together to make a difference through a Community Scavenger Hunt on Wednesday, November 9. Everyone wishing to participate should meet at the Wayne Community Activity Center by 7:00 p.m. Each group will be assigned an area of town to go out soliciting food for the Wayne food pantry, and we will finish by 8:00 p.m. We might even mix up the youth groups, just for fun! Everyone will then meet back at the food pantry to drop off collected items. Refreshments provided by each group involved will follow in FPC’s Fellowship Hall. Let’s get together!
YOUTH SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES!
1) Roadside Clean-Up: Sunday, October 16, after worship (11:00 a.m.)
2) Museum Clean-Up: Sunday, October 16, 1:00 p.m. (Lunch will be served in the Fellowship Hall between these events.)
3) Mercy Meals: Wednesday, October 26, 7:30-9:00 p.m. (We will meet at our church building at 6:45 and car pool down to Norfolk.)
MT. ZION FIELD TRIP
The Confirmation class is taking their fall field trip, and you are invited to come along! We will be going to Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, an African American congregation in Sioux City (1421 Geneva St., www.mtzionchurch.us) on Sunday, October 23. We will meet at 9:00 a.m. in the Youth Room, like usual, and then car pool to Sioux City for the 10:45 service. Please bring lunch money. We need drivers, so if you can help, please contact Pastor Ray.
Celebrate God’s goodness at the Heeses’ house (1293 H Ave, Pender) on Saturday, October 8, starting at 5:30 p.m. Please bring a side dish or a dessert to share. The main dish and soft drinks will be provided. Bring an unchurched friend!
Bethany Presbyterian Church, which recently closed, will be hosting an auction for the church building and all its contents Sunday, October 9, beginning at 12:30 p.m. You can examine the items in person the morning before the auction. The Methodist Church of Carroll will be selling lunch. To see pictures and descriptions of the lots, visit http://www.mchjauctioneers.com/oct9.htm.
GREAT PLAINS PRESBYTERIAN PILGRIMAGE
As you travel down life’s highway, it is good to stop and rest a while. Take a break with Great Plains Presbyterian Pilgrimage, a way to seek refreshment, worship, rest, and strength for the journey. Calvin Crest, October 20-23, 2011. Visit www.gpppilgrimage.org for more information.
There has been lots of interest shown in our knitting and crocheting group! This group will meet on the 4th Wednesday evening in October (26th) at 7:00p.m. Come with your project and enjoy some fellowship! The Presbyterian Women will have their regular meeting on Wednesday, October 5th, at 6:30p.m., and Sewing Souls will meet on Wednesday, October 19th, at 6:30p.m.
HARVESTING TOGETHER – PRESBYTERY DAY
“Harvesting Together” (what God has grown) is the theme of Presbytery Day 2011, sponsored by the Congregational Development M&M Task Group of Homestead Presbytery. The event will be held on Saturday, October 8, from 9:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. at Calvin Crest. At the heart of Presbytery Day will be worship, three sections of 50 minute workshops, a Resource Center for Churches, and the Soul Desires bookstore of Omaha. A tour of Calvin Crest will conclude the day. The registration fee for the day is $10 each (lunch provided and child care) if postmarked by Sept. 8. The late fee is $15 (after Sept. 8 – lunch and child care provided). Mail registration and check payable to: Homestead Presbytery, 1135 Eastridge Drive, Lincoln, NE 68510.
FACEDOWN PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS!!
Facedown Productions presents the group Cloverton, featuring their hit single “Take Me into the Beautiful”. Live at First Christian Church, Norfolk, on Sunday, October 2, 2011. Show starts at 6pm – tickets are $7 advance & $10 at door. For ticket information contact the Abbey Christian Store in Norfolk or First Christian Church in Norfolk.
The Wayne City Wide Community Crop Walk is scheduled for Sunday, October 9, 2011. The one, three, or six mile walk will begin at 1:30pm with registration beginning at 1:15pm. The walk will begin and end at Our Savior Lutheran Church. A map of the route will be supplied at the registration table on the day of the walk. If you wish to have a copy of the walk route before then, please contact Deb Hammer at 375-2837 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org . The Crop Walk is a wonderful opportunity for our community to make a difference to help the fight against world hunger.
SOAP FOR LITTLE HANDS
In the past two years we have touched the lives of approximately 1800 young folks with soap, toothbrushes, & toothpaste in their Christmas bags which are distributed by His Hands Ministry, Meadowlark Ministry, & Cristo Rey Ministries. Because of the unrest in Mexico, these ministries have been told not to bring supplies across the boarder because the cartels are watching them. This year all donations will be distributed to children on the U.S. side of the border. If you have hotel soap, shampoo, or conditioners from your travels, please put them in the bucket in the sanctuary. You are welcome to purchase soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, too. Buckets will be picked up and packed on October 31st. This has become a great outreach program for the churches of Wayne, and on behalf of the ministries involved, we thank you for caring for the needs of children in the lower Rio Grande Valley.
MAKE A NOTE!
Mark your calendars! The date for moving your clocks back is Sunday, November 6th. Don’t forget to fall back.
Don’t forget: October is pastor appreciation month.
Show your pastor how much you care! Go to christianbook.com or familychristian.com for great ideas!
There will be a birthday list on the Opportunity Table…please check it out! If your birthday is on there, make sure we have the right date, if it isn’t and you would like it to be, please add it to the list! Happy Birthday!