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Summer at St. James: Faith in Action

Hello St. James Community,

We have had some of the most famous stories of Jesus in our gospels the last couple of weeks. Last week we heard about Jesus feeding 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish–the food that was meant to be the dinner for the disciples. The Bible says it was also women and children–so the crowd was more like 15,000. This week we will witness Jesus walking on water and Peter attempting to do the same–another famous story we get to explore on Sunday without a literal storm raging around us.

As I write this blog, the church is abuzz with the sounds of children, clinking dishes, volunteers and church members sharing their faith stories–and Baxter the dog popping in and out of the scene :) We are having our Faith in Action camp this week with St. James and Grace United Methodist in Lake Bluff. There are folks from both churches and the surrounding community coming together to have conversations, serve, and eat lunch together today. I need to mention, the vegetables in the salads and soups were picked by the kids this morning from the St. James garden! It is a beautiful multi-sensory day here at the church and a rich time of sharing across the generations.

My family was very busy having a blast at church this last weekend as well at the inaugural Family Fun Fest here on the front lawn of St. James! I think if my daughter Maya could live in a bubble machine, she would. We had about 30 people including children join the festivities on Saturday Aug. 5th. There was mild weather and lots of wonderful volunteers gave of their time and talents that day. We also packed all 50 backpacks donated from all of you that will go towards the COOL Food Pantry families in Waukegan. The kids form the Faith in Action week will drop them off to the pantry when they serve there tomorrow! God is good and it feels wonderful to witness our congregation and community giving back in this way.Zooming out a little, this time of year is one of planning and preparing for the fall programming year. Someone told me yesterday, it’s as if we’re setting the table to invite everyone to the banquet and bevvy of Christ’ meal. In that same vein, we’ve been gathering information from families and members related to Sunday children’s ministries.

In conversation with the leadership of the church and the families involved in the children’s ministries, we are moving forward with volunteers leading the Sunday school time this year. We have asked the families to support the ministry with their time and energy as they’re able. I invite anyone who has interest in serving the church in a meaningful and fun way to prayerfully consider volunteering to teach Sunday school, with a curriculum in hand and other volunteer support.

We also have great opportunities to support the Sunday school ministry in other ways like buying supplies and/or bringing your talents to a special Sunday lesson. I know we have some artists, those with science backgrounds and folks that could share their faith journeys and stories with the kids. Thank you for all the gifts you give towards shaping the faith of our current and future children.

In terms of worship, the leadership and worship and music team discussed the best possible timing for worship this fall. We will be going back to worship at 10am to create space for children’s, youth and adult programming prior to worship. With that in mind, the worship and music team is turning our sights towards the fall and Advent planning.

I know, it seems like Christmas and Advent are far off but for the church, there is much planning that goes into crafting the Sunday morning services and Wednesday nights special for this holy season. With some advance planning, we can make a concerted effort to invite friends, family, neighbors and ministry partners to special worship services.Discipleship is alive and growing at St. James! In order to build capacity for our current worship service and future worship services, we are in need of volunteer support. Liturgical worship is the work of the people– “liturgy” means just that: the work of the people. We are finding a need for more people to serve as assisting ministers, lectors, greeters, ushers, nursery attendant volunteers and communion assistants. If you have been curious about getting involved in worship, now is the time to try it out! I will be glad to walk with you and train you in your area of interest. If there is something else you’d be interested in doing in the worship service or a role you would like to know more about, please feel free to reach out to me.

I am praying for all of us as we embark on the next few weeks of following Christ, making disciples, and sharing the gospel. As we feel the shift of seasons in this month and next into the school year, I pray for teachers, parents, grandparents, kids, youth, our outbound college students, our young adults, those who travel to bring them to school, and all who love and care for our children and youth.

I pray for all who find themselves in different places in life–those who provide care for spouses, parents, grandparents and all who feel the affects of age on their bodies and minds but also carry the memories and wisdom of the years inside of them.

I pray for anyone experiencing storms and strong winds in their lives. Know that Christ is with you and you are not alone. Your faith community holds you in prayer and lifts you up to God.

Blessings on the seeds of faith growing in your lives,

-P. Amy


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