Saying good-bye is never easy especially when it it is to someone whom we have loved from many years. On Sunday, September 20, 2015 we gathered around the baptismal font for a service of recognition and thanksgiving for Ruling Elder Norma Campbell who is leaving our congregation and moving to Florida. She has been a member of this congregation for twenty-four years. She has served as an ordained Ruling Elder for 15 years. She has served as secretary of the Women’s Guild, sung in the choir, helped in the yard sales and fellowship meals of the church, she has been active in the prayers and compassionate ministries of the church. Additionally, she has always baked the most incredible and delicious cakes for us to enjoy.
Elder Campbell shared the significance that the church has had on her life. As the living body of Christ, the church, composed of its people have been for her a source of strength in very difficult times. Just a few months after arriving here her husband died, joining the church triumphant and she had to adjust to the challenges of widowhood and single parenthood. More recently there was the brutal death of her son, the torturous days during the court room trial seeking justice for him, and other major and minor challenges that life has presented. Through it all the faithfulness of Christ and the love of her church family at Brentwood Presbyterian Church have been her strength.
Saying good-bye is never easy even though it will be for a season. Some day in eternity we will all be together again. But for now we know that God has a new home church waiting for Norma. There she will continue to bloom and bless others; even as others will be a blessing to her. Go with God our friend. Go with God.
The Fellowship Hall was alive with the sound of conversation and the aroma of delicious food as women and a few gentlemen guests gathered for the Woman’s Guild Communion Breakfast. This annual event marks the beginning of the church calendar year of events for this dedicated and fun loving group. Our theme was Psalm 1: 1-3 – expressing these thoughts – Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and reflect on his Word. They are like tress planted near streams of water. We can learn a lot from the tress. Trees are beautiful in their diversity and without identity crisis. Each one bears its fruit in season in accordance with the divine plan. Each takes it shape and lifts its arms in praise and sings continuously as the wind rustles its leaves or bends itself in humble adoration. They receive from God their nourishment in accordance with God’s provision and live and die by God’s design. We too are like trees when by grace our roots grow deep into God’s Word and we are nourished by the streams of living water provided by Christ our Lord. We too reflect God’s creative diversity, each unique in beauty and gifts imparted to be shared and bear fruit in the garden of our God. May God continue to bless the women of the Guild and may all that they do prosper to the glory of God. May they encourage each our in faith and cherish each other, all who will be added to their number and all to whom they minister in love. The Woman’s Guild meetings are on the fourth Sunday of each month, after the 10:00am worship service. All are welcome.
On September 11, 2015 we held our annual Angel Walk. Twenty-nine people signed-in and others also joined in presence or participative support. By God’s grace and faithful generosity and the hard work of many, we were able to raise $1,700.00, Thanks be to all who graciously contributed time, talent and treasure to this effort. Eight hundred and fifty dollars will go to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund and eight hundred and fifty dollars will go to the Youth Scholarship Fund of the Brentwood Presbyterian Church. Sunday, September 20, 2015 included in the lectionary reading from the gospel the story of Jesus taking a little child into his arms and saying, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’ Children were important to Jesus and they are important to us.
Although our church may be small in size we seek by grace to follow the example of our Lord to love as Christ has loved, to love all whom Christ loves. When asked which was the greatest commandment Jesus responded, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Jesus always sought out those who were the least, those who were marginalized, and those who were cast out because of illness or what was perceived to be unclean. As we look with honest eyes we see that we are all broken and needy before God. Yet God has chosen to love us and make us whole in and through Christ. Therefore with freedom and great joy we can by grace love freely as we see ourselves in the other and the face of Christ in all. Our Angel Walk is just one of the many ways in which we put this truth into practice.
The children of our Sunday School together with enthusiastic adults look forward every year to a day of fun and fishing on the waters. This year the excursion took us out to sea in rocky waters. Nevertheless, there was laughter and excitement as we cheer each fish that was caught and sent back to sea. It’s not easy to get the big ones. But no one seemed to mind as the helpful mates encouraged the participants in the adventure. One of our seniors caught her very first fish. Prizes were awarded just for fun. For course all of the children were winners.
It is always a part of who we are as a community of faith to provide opportunities that promote the intergenerational building of relationship. Everyone has a place within the family of God. For our children it is just another way in which we encourage them to live and develop the fullness of life that is in Christ Jesus. Sunday School and Sunday worship is important. It is what provides the strength and spiritual substance as we gather to worship in the presence of God, to hear God’s word and partake of the sacraments. But being church is so much more. It is a unity of love that makes us a community. This is just one of many events that nurtures friendships, unity and joy.
On September 12, 2015 the Brentwood Presbyterian Church will celebrate its annual Angel Walk. This event is dedicated to the memory of Irene Schreiber and other individuals who have lost their battle with cancer. It is held prayerfully in the hope of continuing progress in the battle against this disease.
Each year several members of our church and community meet for this walk around the neighborhood, ask friends and colleges to sponsor their efforts, and gather at its conclusion for food (hot dogs and cold drinks) and fellowship. This year we will be walking around the church property several times.
The funds collected from sponsors and donors are split evenly between the Children’s Cancer Research Fund and the Church’s Youth Scholarship Program. Both of these programs promote fullness of life, each in its own way. We are grateful to all who have given in the past. Together we have donated over $10,000 to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, praise be to God. Additionally the youth scholarships have enriched the lives of children within our community who have been the beneficiaries of opportunities that encourage spiritual, emotional, cognitive and leadership development.
All are welcome to join with us in this important effort. Participate in the walk or mail a contribution made out to the Brentwood Presbyterian Church and marked for Angel Walk.
How often we hear the self-identification, “I am spiritual but not religious”. This acknowledgment of our spirituality addresses the reality of St. Augustine’s affirmation, “that our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Thee (referring to God)”. Why? Because we are spiritual beings created by God to be in relationship with God and one another. A relationship that finds its fullest expression in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord. Christ came to reconcile us with God and each other in the fullness of God’s love.
We are encouraged by Scripture to “consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another”. Hebrews 10: 24, 25 It is in the interdependence of a communal relationship of faith, grounded in Scripture and empowered by the Spirit of God, that humanity reaches its fullest potential finding both identity and meaning. It is when we understand that “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” James 1: 27. The Christian worldview is filtered through the will of God expressed in scripture and revealed in Christ. It is one of mutual forbearance and compassion. It is one in which peace and joy is the consequence of unconditional love. No we are not perfect but by grace we continue to encourage and support one another as we seek to live out the reality of our spirituality within the expression and the faith of the Christian religion. Therefore, by grace we are both spiritual and religious and encourage others to “taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him. Psalm 34: 8.