Thank you for your continued generosity with our Mission of the Month, Fifth Street Ministries. The collection table in the lobby is overflowing with the TOP SEVEN: cooking oil, spaghetti sauce, elbow macaroni, coffee, creamer, sugar, and personal hygiene products. Thank you for continuing to bring in these necessity items for Fifth Street Ministries throughout the next two weeks. I encourage you to go to the website and learn about its ministry in Statesville. (www.fifthstreetministries.com)
Although we just said goodbye to Julia, our summer ministerial intern from Duke Divinity School, I am pleased to announce that Monticello will say hello to another ministerial intern for the academic year from Wake Forest Divinity School. We will welcome Andrea Simmonds for the first time on Sunday, August 27th. Andrea will serve with Monticello from late August into next May, as she completes her final year of seminary. Stay tuned next week for her introduction in the weekly email!
As we welcome Andrea on Sunday the 27th, we also have an exciting day of ministry planned. We will celebrate worship with Sunday School Recognition and Blessing of the Backpacks. Students and teachers!—Bring your backpacks, work bags, messenger bags, or whatever goes with you to school, and we will offer a special blessing of love and prayer for you and a special gift. Congregation!—Invite a friend or neighbor or co-worker to join us, as we pray for and with students and teachers.
Following worship at 12 noon on Sunday the 27th, the Monticello youth will gather at the church for a Back to School cookout. Youth!—Bring a friend and plan to stay for a fun afternoon. At the cookout, we will welcome all rising 6th graders into the youth ministry. If you would like to give your time to serve at this cookout for the youth, contact Tina Yandle. (email@example.com)
As we continue our ministry of prayer, I want to let you know that on Sunday, September 3rd, we start with a clean prayer list. If you currently have a requested name on the list and would like for that person’s name to remain on the new list, please contact Betsy no later than Monday, August 28th at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-924-8322.
We gathered last Sunday as the body of Christ for worship, following the tragic events from Charlottesville, Virginia. As I shared in the message from this past Sunday, it is heartbreaking and deeply troubling to know that many people who claim the causes of the KKK, neo-Nazism, and white supremacy do so in the name of Jesus. These causes of division and terror are antithetical to the way of Christ, and as we claim the name of Jesus, we must make sure with our words and actions that we offer an alternative and bold witness—one that shines light into the darkness and bears witness to love and grace—so that there is no risk of mistaken identity.
Earlier this week our bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference, Bishop Paul Leeland, shared Ephesians 2:14 in a written response—“For Christ is our peace...and has broken the dividing wall of hostility." He offered some thoughts in light of hostility and racism. “Our first response is to pray, and prayer for God's divine presence is essential. We must also act! We are driven not only by the urgency of the moment, but also as people who see the importance of the sacrament of the moment…We can speak up within our churches and communities to denounce hatred…In addition, like Jesus speaking to the Woman at the well or the Roman ruler, we form relationships of hope with people who come from different backgrounds and cultures. This is our true heritage. This is our true nature, saved from sin and transformed into the image of Christ.” As the body of Christ called Monticello, who seeks to make and nurture disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, we can trust God and embody the love of Christ in all that we say and do. We can give and serve in our ministry and mission. We can think creatively about being loving community with one another and with others in Statesville. We can cross invisible bounds and reach out to our neighbors. We can respond in these ways with hope and with God. May it be so! And may the love of Christ be with you so that you may share that love with others. Grace and peace, Amy