First, heavy on everyone's heart right now is the tragedy in Orlando. By now I'm sure you've seen the story of a gunman entering a nightclub and killing 49 people. We've all watched in shock as we hear eye witness accounts and families mourning losing their loved ones. It reminds us a few things. #1, we live in a broken world. #2, people need Jesus. In the darkness of our world, people need to hear the good news of the gospel. They don't need to hear our position on gun control or Islamic terrorism right now. They need to hear about Jesus. They need to hear about how he came into our world of terror, destruction, and darkness and brought us the light. Find comfort in these words for John's gospel:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS, AND THE DARKNESS DID NOT OVERCOME IT."
Let's pray for all of the families of the victims in Orlando as well as a future of peace. Amen.
As you are probably aware, it's summertime! The children are out of school and are looking forward to some time off (as are the teachers!) But If I'm honest with you, I usually dread summers. First because it's really, really, REALLY HOT! Why southerners love the summer I'll never understand. Give me the fall and winter!
Summer is also the low season in the church. We typically call it the summer blues because church attendance is usually way down. Now, I'm not going to guilt you for taking vacations and traveling. You've worked hard all year and deserve some time away! But don't forget to come to worship when you're in town. Maybe even plan your trips in a way that you can arrive back in time for worship on Sunday morning. There's nothing more important that you can do for yourself than worshipping God. I know that you all believe that, so do everything that you can to make it a priority. And when you are out of town, find a church to visit. Here's a link to UMC churches to help you find one when you're out of town:
Wednesday Night Fellowship Supper
Something new that we are planning in the fall is a Wednesday Night Supper. As a church, I don't think that we see each other enough throughout the week. This meal will give us a chance to gather together for fellowship followed by a brief program. In the fall we will be discussing "Top 10 United Methodist Beliefs." We are wanting to make this fun with good, affordable food. For that to happen we'll need everyone to take two Wednesday Nights out of the year to provide food. We hope to have teams of 2 or 3 to work together. You will hear more soon about this. I believe that it's going to be a wonderful thing for our church!
Back to School Sunday
On July 31st we are going to be having a Back2School Sunday. We'll have a blessing of the backpacks, a prayer for those who work in the school system, and a luncheon to follow. We'll also have a waterslide and other fun activities after lunch. Go ahead and start inviting people to come!
In closing, I just wanted to say that I'm excited to be coming back for year two. This past year has been a blessing getting to know you and the Hazlehurst community. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Josh Duckworth