Life at Littlefield - February 2015
LITTLEFIELD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
7560 Littlefield Boulevard
Dearborn, Michigan 48126-1699
MINISTER - FRAN HAYES
In this season after Epiphany, weíve been hearing the gospel stories about how Jesus
was baptized and began calling disciples to work with him to carry out his mission in the world.
Jesus called them together to form the basis of a new community. Right from the beginning,
they were becoming the church.
The community the New Testament calls, in the Greek, ecclesia, literally means 'called out.' The church is a called-out community whose purpose is to exhibit the kingdom of God to the world." We have a mission in the world. As the theologian Emil Brunner said, "The church exists by mission as a fire exists by burning."
This is a challenging time to be the church because our context is very different in 2015, in this post-Christian era. About a year ago, our Session worked hard to come up with a mission statement that tells why Littlefield Presbyterian Church exists. As you know, the statement they came up with is this: 'Why we exist: To love God, one another, and all people. To show Godís love in our work for peace and justice.'
Since then, weíve had some challenges like General Assembly hospitality and floods to deal with, but the work needs to continue. We believe that Littlefield has an important and unique mission. The congregation is small, and we donít have enough people to do everything, so we need to be good stewards of our people and other resources and set priorities. We need input from the congregation as we try to discern what Littlefieldís core values are and what the priorities are for this point in time. Stay tuned for more information on this in the coming months.
We are approaching the Lenten season, when weíll hear themes of wandering and being tested in the wilderness, and some of us will join an ordinary fictional man on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry at our Tuesday evening simple supper and book study series. The wilderness can be a metaphor for us for a place where we learn again to live in a new way, in our future. I hope that the season of Lent will be a time of refreshment for us, a time of new awareness and discovering new reasons for hope.
We are being re-formed as a new people of God to serve in a new time, with new identity and purpose. We know that the future will be different, but it will be Godís future. The good news is that we can trust in the power of Godís love and guidance to help us through the wilderness and to help us learn how to more fully embody Godís love and peace so that we can help God transform the world.
INTERFAITH RELATIONS -
William G. Gepford, American-Arab Relations
'What was Thomas Jefferson Thinking?'
I have been very fortunate to be on the list of people who receive copies of the Saudi Armco World magazine, since the early 1960ís. It is sent primarily to those in the various fields of education, but any one may request membership, gratis. When it first started in 1949, its name was Armco World.
The magazine carries articles on Middle East history, culture, religion, food, etc. You can imagine my surprise when I ran across a review of the book, 'Thomas Jeffersonís Qurían: Islam and the Founders.' written by Denise A. Spellberg 2013.There is a lot of concern being expressed these days on what our own constitution means, so let me quote what a reviewer says in the September/October 2014 issue.
'The US Constitution, as novel as it was, hardly emerged from thin air. The countryís founders--learned men, all--drew upon their collective knowledge of Roman and English common law and Greek philosophy when composing the document. What may come as a surprise, however, was their consideration of Islam in the process and that Muslims, as Spellberg writes, ëwere deeply embedded in the concept of citizenship in the United States since the countyís inception.í
This appreciation stemmed from the commitment to religious tolerance of Thomas Jefferson, who in particular, was ëuniqueÖ in his desire to understand Islam on its own terms, looking directly to its most sacred sourceí (a 1764 English translation of the Qurían) for guidance. His ownership of the book provides the backdrop for this timely examination of just how much the founders asked, and continue to ask of a nation rooted in religious freedom for all.' (by Tom Verde)
I am sure that many who read this bit of history will admit ignorance of its content and place in the early formation of our own constitution. This is the kind of understanding and knowledge that needs to be shared with others as we move forward to a new visionary time in our own history and that of the rest of the world as well.
May God have mercy upon us.
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)
O.T. Lesson-Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Epistle Lesson-1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Gospel Lesson-Mark 1:21-28
O.T. Lesson-Isaiah 40:21-31
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
Epistle Lesson-1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Gospel Lesson-Mark 1:29-39
O.T. Lesson-2 Kings 2:1-12
Epistle Lesson-2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Gospel Lesson-Mark 9:2-9
February 18 (Ash Wednesday)
O.T. Lesson-2 Kings 2:1-12
Epistle Lesson-2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Gospel Lesson-Mark 9:2-9
O.T. Lesson-Genesis 9:8-17
Epistle Lesson-1 Peter 3:18-22
Gospel Lesson-Mark 1:9-15
Let Godís love bud
within your heart and
bring sweet fragrant flowers,
then spread the seed to many
in their trying hour.
Spread the seed of kindness
when someone seems uptight.
Spread the seed of cheer
when things donít seem just right.
Spread the seed of joy
when sorrow is around.
Spread the seed of peace
where strife seems to abound.
Spread Godís Word to others
each and every day.
Let His Seed of Comfort
bring flowers along the way.
- Donna Bennett Howell
Bear ye one anotherís burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
- Galatians 6:2
Father, help us to see life from your perspective and to view each new day
as an opportunity to serve you and show others a new beginning in Jesus Christ. Amen.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
- Genesis 1:1 (KJV)
TAIZE WORSHIP SERVICE - FEBRUARY 3 at 7 p.m.
Light, prayer and music are woven together in a contemplative prayer service. Short, simple songs, repeated again and again, help one enter into a meditative state. Thus, this meditative singing becomes a way of listening to God. All are invited, regardless of faith background and age, to come and renew your spirit. You are invited to dress comfortably and casually. Invite a friend!
The PWPD (Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of Detroit) will meet at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, February 4, at the Grosse Pointe Woods Presbyterian Church in Grosse Pointe Woods. Kimberly Simmons, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Caroline Quarlis will share the story of her grandmotherís journey on the Underground Railroad at the age of 16 from St. Louis, Missouri to Wisconsin, then through Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan to freedom on the Canadian side of the Detroit River in the summer of 1842. Kimberly will also share stories of other UGRR heroes in Detroit and the ongoing work of the Detroit River Project. Lunch will be served following the program and the cost is $8.00. Please make reservations through the church office before January 30.
The Annual PWPD all day Retreat will take place on Saturday, March 14, from 8:30 a.m. ñ 4:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Royal Oak. The theme will be 'Hospitality of the Heart'. The keynote speaker - Pat Johnson ñ is a spiritual director and chaplain. She plans to inspire us to open our lives more fully to what the Holy Spirit has for us. The cost is $30.00, and reservations should be made by March 5. For more information contact the church office.
Join us on Ash Wednesday (February 18) for a potluck supper at 6:00 p.m. in the Lounge before our worship service in the Sanctuary. A sign-up sheet will be in the Library for those of you who would like to enjoy some home cooking!
PRESBYTERY LEADERSHIP DAY
The Presbytery of Detroit is holding its annual Leadership Day on Saturday, February 7, at St. Paulís, Livonia. This year the theme is, 'Signs of Hope for the Church.' The day begins with check-in at 8:30 a.m. and worship at 9:00 a.m. This year, there is a panel discussion for the morning session and 6 workshops are offered in the afternoon session, followed by a closing session that ends at 3:45 p.m. Cost (including lunch) is $15. Register on- line, by mail or by fax to the Presbytery office at 313-345-7250 before January 30. All are welcome!
On Sunday, February 8, we will have our Annual Ecclesiastical and Corporate meeting as required in our by-laws. Please plan to attend.
ASH WEDNESDAY POTLUCK
& WORSHIP SERVICE - FEBRUARY 18
Our Presbyterian Women will be hosting our annual potluck at 6:00 p.m. with a Worship Service to follow at 7:00 p.m. See Library table for a sign-up sheet a couple weeks in advance.
EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE
Lent is just around the corner, and we have made plans for this time of reflection and spiritual growth. During Lent you will have the opportunity to use the devotional booklet called 'A Wondrous Love'. The publisher has this to say about it: Two of the most widely read and respected spiritual writers of the 20th century, Henri Nouwen and C.S. Lewis, are brought together in this Lenten daily devotional booklet. Nouwen and Lewis offer their deeply personal insights, understanding and pastoral sensitivity in this booklet that is an ideal accompaniment for the holy season of Lent.
Speaking of Lent, we are planning to study the award winning novel entitled 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry'. We will follow the main character's spiritual journey as he walks the length of England. This national bestseller has received the following praise:
'A cause for celebration . . . [Joyce] has a lovely sense of the possibilities of redemption. In this bravely unpretentious and unsentimental take, sheís cleared space where miracles are still possible.'óRon Charles, The Washington Post. 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is not just a book about lost love. It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other.'
ó Janet Maslin, The New York Times.
A sample of the book as well as a sign-up sheet is in the library. Our four week study will begin on Tuesday, February 24 and will conclude on Tuesday, March 17. As with our previous Lenten study groups, we will meet at 6:15 p.m. for a light dinner followed by the study hour from 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Finally, March 22 has been set for our Annual Feather Bowling Event. We will bowl from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner. More details to come as we get closer to the event.
SAVE THE DATE - MARCH 22
Feather Bowling at The Cadieux Cafe
Bowling at 4:00 p.m.
Dinner at 6:00 p.m.
CALENDARS - PEACE CAMP 2015 IS JULY 28 - 30
A WARM FUZZY THANK YOU!
Thank you to everyone who donated hats, gloves and scarves to our baskets in December. They were split between Vista Maria and Fort Street Open Door Program. The total value came to approximately $568. As we experience the cold days of winter, we can know that our gifts are keeping someone else a little bit warmer. Thank you!
WORSHIP & CHRISTIAN
We donated 72 'old blue' hymnals to Christian Resources International (CRI). This group takes donations of Bibles and other religious books and magazines and makes them available to mission workers all over the world. If you have Bible Study books you no longer want or other recent Christian literature, please contact the church office to pass them on to CRI.
Did you know we have an unused piano downstairs in Fellowship Hall looking for a good home? Our piano tuner took a look at it in December and reported that it can be tuned to playable condition and we are offering it free to anyone who might want it. Our church piano tuner can also arrange for piano movers to bring it to you. Please contact the church office if you are interested.
CHURCH & SOCIETY COMMITTEE
The Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center in Birmingham is hosting the exhibit Sacred Treasures: Religious Traditions, Rites & Rituals from January 24 to March 27. The exhibit, organized by the Inter-Faith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, will display about 60 religious artifacts. These sacred objects represent various religions and cultures including Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Native American and Sikh traditions.
Nancy Thayer, show curator and member of the Inter-Faith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, has been researching and tracking down each artifact for about two years. She asked each religious organization, 'What do you consider to be important objects and what would you like us to know about the practice of your religion?' She asked each faith leader to write a brief explanation for each piece to have on display for viewers to better understand the symbolism. Thayer says 'it is my hope that the audience will be able to uncover stereotypes and take away instead an appreciation and understanding of each of the traditions.'
For more information go to http://bbartcenter.org or call 248-644-0866. Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, 1516 S. Cranbrook Road, Birmingham. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
CHURCH MISSION STATEMENT
Who we are:
We are a community of ordinary people
committed to growing together as disciples of Jesus Christ
through worship, fellowship, learning, prayer, and mission.
Why we exist:
To love God, one another, and all people.
To show God's love in our work for peace and justice.