The accountability and encouragement found in church fellowship anchor us against the tides that work to sweep us away. We can develop a network of relationships with other believers that works to ensure we don’t abandon our faith when the pressure is on to do so. To neglect the regular assembling with other Christians is to miss out on this essential element in the development of our faith.
Research findings confirm that Americans are slowly becoming less Christian and that in recent decades the challenge to Christianity in American society does not come from other world religions or new religious movements but rather from a rejection of all organized religions. All churches think that they are friendly but a large number are friendly primarily to one another. It’s difficult to accept newcomers. It’s difficult for somebody who has been a member of a church for 20 years to understand what it’s like to be a newcomer. Let’s look around the church on Sundays and find that unfamiliar face and make a special effort to seek out that person. Let’s make him/her feel welcome. It could make the difference.
Several of the apostles were great letter writers. They wrote to congratulate, instruct, uplift and update. Instead of a text message, try putting actual pen to the paper and writing a short note to someone today. There’s no better way to spend 49 cents than by spreading God’s love.
In the Gospel reading on Sunday, Jesus tells us, "In the same way, let your light shine before people in such a way that they will see your good actions and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
As we live in the world, our Christianity should be evident to all. Our good deeds ought to draw attention, not to ourselves, but to God. So, as the children’s song reminds us, "This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine….let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!"
Our first impression was that St. James was a beautiful, old church. Not like the churches we saw in England, very old and very formal. We soon realized that the people of St. James are very modern, friendly and outgoing. We have been welcomed at every church function that we have attended.
We love the services and we especially loved the Christmas program. We try to get to the Wednesday Healing Services. We have talked about it being like the ancient worship services; a small group of people in a small room that is hidden, gathered to praise God.
We thank you Father Fred and the congregation for being so welcoming and so supportive.
Faithfulness will be rewarded. God is the Owner, but we are his managers whom he has entrusted with the things of this world. We are accountable to the true Owner to be faithful in our financial transactions. "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine." - Proverbs 3:9-10
The transfiguration moment was a turning point for Jesus. If he is to face the suffering and abuse, if he is to stay resolute in his purpose, he needs a glowing moment, an experience of such glory and affirmation that it can sustain him through all that lies ahead. (John van de Laar)
We, too, have a transfiguring moment when we finally realize the great love God has for us whether it occurs during Baptism, Confirmation or an experience in our daily life. This glowing moment is a time of decision – we have to choose what we will do in response to this great gift.
Definition of: Living and telling the Good News; sharing God in seeking justice, peace, and the integrity of creation in an interdependent universe; wisely employing God-given human resources, abilities, and relationships; sharing the material resources we hold and giving them in service, justice, and compassion; providing for future generations, sharing in the life, worship, and responsible stewardship of the Church and of its mission. Both for the individual and for the community, stewardship is a joyful act for the sake of God's world. (From the Standing Rules of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center)
Stewardship is about being grateful, responsible stewards of the gifts we receive from God. The Episcopal Church sees stewardship as more than simply contributing money to the church; it’s also about contributing time and talents, and volunteering for ministry and mission. It’s about reaching out to build relationships from a perspective of abundance instead of scarcity. www.episcopalchurch.org
Please consider Christian Formation when planning on giving of your time and talent. Volunteers are needed!