Welcome to the first edition of "Pastoral Musings." Sadly, that was the best name that I could come up with! I thought that I'd occasionally send out a church-wide email to keep you informed about what's happening at our church. I'd also like occasionally sharing with you what's on my heart as your pastor.
Last week I completed my "Lewis Fellows" program. It was a wonderful experience where I got to join with other young clergy to visit different churches. We went to Kansas City in October, Miami in January, and the DC-Baltimore area in April. One thing that I learned is that there's no one way to be faithful as a church. It's easy to see a successful church and think, "How can our church be like this one?" But God has called all churches to be unique in how we faithfully serve in our location. Something that I'd like you to think about with me: How are we called to be faithful in Hazlehurst? Not "How can we grow?" or "how can we reach young people?" but how can we be faithful? Because if we are faithful to the task that God has called us, we'll bear fruit!
Last fall I met with one of our own, Dr. Rob Brown. He, Betsy, and Keller have been such blessings to our church and I'm saddened that they'll be moving. Let's be in prayer for our school system as they transition. Anyways, I met with him asking how our church could be helpful and involved in the school system. He told me that the greatest need was for improved literacy among the younger kids (Pre-K and Primary schools). So with that in mind I met with Mrs. Higgins, the Pre-K director (and Shae's daughter!) and asked her how we could help. After a few conversations, here's where we are:
1. During the last week of May, the Pre-K and FUMC with work together to have a Literacy Camp. It's purpose will be to encourage young kids to read and give resources to parents. It will be hosted at the Pre-school with the school doing most of the work. Our responsibility will be to 1) provide snacks during the day, 2)volunteer to be readers. You will hear more about this soon. But if you are interested in being a reader or providing snacks one day, please email me and let me know. I hope that this camp is full of FUMC volunteers so that they know how much our church cares for them.
2. The Pre-K is limited in the number of books that they can give their students. I take for granted the countless books that I have for my two boys. Some parents simply don't have any. So I thought that a wonderful way that we could help would be to have a Book Drive! You will hear more about this soon.
3. You'd be surprised in the number of children who show up for the first day of school without supplies. Without book bags. So before school begins, we will be collecting backpacks for kids at the Pre-K who don't have them. I'd also like for us to think of ways to be supportive to the teachers. If you have ideas, please let me know Again, you'll hear more about this soon.
If you can't tell, I'm beyond excited about partnering with the Pre-K. What better work than helping children read? Than letting children know that there are people who love them? That's what I call the work of the church.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Josh Duckworth