MINISTER - FRAN HAYES

Peace be to the whole community,
and love with faith…” (Eph. 6:23)

A few weeks ago our hearts were broken when we saw the photo of the body of the toddler washed up on the beach. During the summer many of us were heartbroken to hear of a Palestinian toddler burned to death in an attack by Israeli settlers. There’s so much in the world that can break our hearts—that should break our hearts.

When we find ourselves mourning all the violence and need and destruction in the world, we can feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to lose sight of the peace Christ promises. Beyond the stress and difficulties of our own lives, we look around and see a world marked by violence around the corner and across the globe.

The ministries of peacemaking and reconciliation witness to the Prince of Peace in areas of human trafficking, violence against women, racism, and gun violence. It is good to be reminded that, with all the discord, pain, and conflict in our communities and in the world, we serve a God who promises harmony and responds to violence with reconciliation and peace.

The month of October offers a number of opportunities for us to grow in our commitment to unity, peacemaking, and mission, including World Communion Sunday / Peacemaking Sunday, the CROP Walk, World Food Day, our presbytery’s Mission Day, and an opportunity to volunteer at Gleaner’s Food Bank. At the Presbyterian Women Mission Night, we will gather an amazing number of baby layette and other items to contribute to our presbytery-wide ingathering and hear a mission speaker.

As a community of faith, we are called to deepen our commitment to peacemaking so that it becomes a visible and profound witness. We give to the Peace and Global Witness offering on World Communion Sunday and participate in these other important missions because we know that every level of our society and our world is in need of Christ’s peace.

We live in the hope of the vision of peace and well-being that is expressed so vividly in the scriptures. Until peace abounds in our world, let us unite with our brothers and sisters throughout the world in praying the International Peace Prayer from the World Council of Churches:

Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our beings, our world, and our universe.

Salam • Shalom • Peace.

SCRIPTURE READINGS
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)

October 4
Old Testament Lesson-Job 1:1:2:1-10
Psalm 26
Epistle Lesson-Hebrew 1:1-4; 2:5-12
Gospel Lesson-Mark 10:2-16

October 11
Old Testament Lesson-Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Psalm 22:1-15
Epistle Lesson-Hebrew 4:12-16
Gospel Lesson-Mark 10:17-31

October 18
Old Testament Lesson-Job 38:1-7, 34-41
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c
Epistle Lesson-Hebrew 5:1-10
Gospel Lesson-Mark 10:35-45

October 25
Old Testament Lesson-Job 42:1-6, 10-17
Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22
Epistle Lesson-Hebrew 7:23-28
Gospel Lesson-Mark 10:46-52

MARK YOUR CALENDARS - OCTOBER 10
Gleaners Food Bank - October 10

Our next volunteer day will be on Saturday, October 10, at the Taylor Distribution Center on Northline Road from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

CHURCH & SOCIETY

In the letter to the Ephesians, we hear the words, “Peace be to the WHOLE community,” a reminder that the peace of Christ is not fully realized in each of us until all of us work for healing and wholeness in every place of violence. How appropriate, then, to hear these words at a time when the effects of violence are so clearly seen. The Peace & Global Witness Offering provides opportunities for Presbyterians to respond to cultures of violence, around the corner and around the world, from our local neighborhood to the Syrian refugees. Gifts to the 2015 Peace & Global Witness offering will support Syrian refugees who still hope for an end to violence and a peaceful future for their children. Because of the work of our church partners in Lebanon, the children of Syrians displaced by war and sheltering in camps will be able to resume their education, disrupted when their families fled the conflict. Your gift makes it possible for children to learn and teachers to teach: these are tools of hope for people struggling to make a life in camps and nourish hope for a return to their homes. Your gift helps these children sing a new song. A violent and broken world calls all of us to play our part in creating and singing this song. Through our gifts, we join in God’s mission of peace and reconciliation. Please give generously to the Peace & Global Witness Offering on World Communion Sunday, October 4, 2015.

Our morning of volunteering at Gleaners is fast approaching. We will meet at the Taylor Distribution Center on Northline Road on Saturday, October 10, from 9 a.m. till noon. Please join us as we work to help food insecure people in our area.

PRAYER MINISTRY

SCRIPTURE VERSE
Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
When I allow myself to be filled with God’s love,
his love reaches out through me to others in amazing ways.


PRAYER
God, nothing moves me more to love others
than reflecting on how you love me.
I think of all the things you could have held against me
and used as reasons to not love me.
And yet you always look for ways to forgive,
restore our relationship, and move forward.
I want to love like that.

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN

The PWPD will gather at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Detroit at 9:45 am on Wednesday, October 7th. To celebrate the Month of Missions, our speaker will be Tom Neal, Elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Farmington and chair of the Detroit Hands-On Mission Work Group. Tom will share the programs of this group which include three main areas: Hunger - providing food and produce for those in need within our communities. Health Services - sustaining wellness and good health through screenings and education. Mission Groups - hosting inbound mission groups and sending out disaster assistance mission teams. Lunch will be served at noon and will cost $8.00. Reservations should be made by October 1st to the church office.

TAIZE WORSHIP - OCTOBER 6 at 7:00 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 to come and renew your spirit. You are invited to dress comfortably and casually. Invite a friend!

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN OF DETROIT INGATHERING

The PWPD will hold their annual Ingathering of mission donations on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 19, 20, and 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Detroit. Many hands are needed in order to receive, sort, count and distribute items brought in by over 40 churches in the Detroit Presbytery, including Littlefield. These items are then delivered to over 35 agencies in the metro Detroit area and overseas. Both men and women are needed to help. Please contact the church office if you are interested in volunteering.

STEWARDSHIP AND FINANCE COMMITTEE

“Generations of Generosity””
I am a relative newcomer to Littlefield, but I know that many among us are able to relate stories of generous support dating back three or four generations. What a glorious eighty-five year heritage we enjoy!

It is evident from the programs we maintain and the ambitious mission we pursue that our heritage is indeed rich. Within the next few weeks, you will be requested to renew your pledged commitment to Littlefield. Please continue to be generous in support of our special Littlefield family.

“One generation shall laud your works to another.” – Psalm 145:4a NRSV

CHILDREN'S SUNDAY SCHOOL

We will be starting our Sunday School class for children ages 4 and 5 in October. The curriculum is ordered and several teachers are ready, but we could use your help. We need another one or two teachers to rotate Sundays and be subs for the scheduled teachers. Might this be something you could do for 15-20 minutes on a Sunday morning? We all made a commitment to nurture our youngsters in the faith at their baptisms. Do you remember some of your Sunday School teachers with fondness? If you might consider participating in this ministry, please contact the church office.

MISSION NIGHT AT LITTLEFIELD

The Presbyterian Women of Littlefield invite everyone (women and men!) to join us for our annual Mission night on Monday evening, October 5, at 7 pm in the Lounge. At this event we will gather in the items we have been collecting for our mission Ingathering and bless them for distribution. We have also made it a tradition to bring new baby items (with price tags attached) on this night to be distributed to needy mothers and babies in our area.

We will hear about one of our Detroit Presbytery mission programs from our special guest, Diane Agnew. Diane is the new Hunger Action Coordinator. Her job is to educate, enable, and assist the Presbytery and its member congregations in their commitment to the hungry, locally and globally; as well as working with the Presbytery’s hunger outlet programs. Our 2- cents-a-meal collections are donated to these programs. Diane is a Ruling Elder and a member of Grosse Pointe Memorial Church. We will present her with the food donations we have been collecting during the month of September. If you have not yet donated, you may bring your food donations to the Mission night event as well. Light refreshments will be served after the program. Don’t miss this inspiring evening.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

What a wonderful time we had at this annual event on the Sunday preceding International Day of Peace. Friends and neighbors from the Muslim and Christian communities and at least one Buddhist joined us.

During the interfaith worship service, we heard wisdom from the three Abrahamic traditions and prayed together for peace. Imam Elahi’s 5-year-old son recited the Islamic Call to Prayer, which was followed by a Presbyterian style Call to Worship. Cantor Roger Skully from the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue sang scriptural songs in Hebrew and English and also sang a benediction at the end of the service. Two young brothers from IHW recited and translated verses from the Qur’an. Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi from the Islamic House of Wisdom and Pastor Fran Hayes both preached a message of peace and reconciliation.

After worship, we encouraged conversations and making new friends while people enjoyed refreshments. It’s a good thing Jennifer Elahi brought an additional large tray of baklava, because we polished off two big trays, along with fruit and vegetable trays.

This event is about finding common ground shared by our religious traditions and building bridges of friendship and understanding, and that’s what happens. Cantor Roger Skully and two new Muslim friends had a long conversation about some of the things Islam and Judaism share and about similarities in Hebrew and Arabic languages. Then they exchanged contact information so they can meet up to continue the conversation over Arabic coffee in Dearborn.

The response to this event was very positive. A number of people said, “The music was wonderful!” and had very appreciative things to say about the choir. We heard that people felt very welcome. When we have these events, we are truly witnessing to God’s love and building bridges of understanding.

ON BEING PRESBYTERIAN

To continue from last month, I highlight others church entities. Housed in the Louisville offices are the staff of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC). PPC oversees new books and resources published by Westminster/John Knox Press, These Days and Glory to God Hymnal. (www.ppcbooks.com). Many books and resources are published in coordination with other denominations. PPC takes a lead in providing these resources. You can see the wide variety of publications (print, digital, etc.) that are available at www.pcusastore.com.

Also in the Louisville offices is the staff of the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP). PILP provides loans to congregations for a wide variety of capital improvements and others and usually at a reduced interest rate. (pilp.pcusa.org)

The Presbyterian Board of Pensions offices are located in Philadelphia. It is responsible for overseeing the pension and healthcare plan for all PC(USA) ministers, church professionals – educators, musicians – and many church secretaries and custodians. With this responsibility comes the duty to invest the dues paid by the employees so that beneficial returns are made available to each one; these investments also follow the socially responsible guidelines of the PC(USA).(www.pensions.org)

The Office of History is located in Philadelphia where it keeps track of Presbyterian and Reformed history since 1620. You can find very interesting information on their web page in regards to our Presbyterian family tree. (www.history.pcusa.org)

The offices of the Presbyterian Foundation are located across the Ohio River from Louisville in Jeffersonville, IN. While this sounds sort of silly to have separate offices in such close proximity, the decision for the Foundation location was made because of positive financial regulations in Indiana. The Foundation oversees the many investments of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, congregations, presbyteries and individuals. Founded in 1799, the Presbyterian Foundation has more than 200 years of faith-based investing of funds while observing the socially responsible parameters established by the GA through the years. (www.presbyterianfoundation.org). Have you thought about leaving a portion of your estate to Littlefield Church or some other special program/project? This can be done through the Foundation. There are representatives available to speak with you by phone or in person.

The Foundation article on stewardship, elsewhere in this newsletter, is one of many resources you can find through the Presbyterian Foundation through online and print newsletters, pamphlets, bulletin inserts, etc.

BREAD FOR THE WORLD SUNDAY

Bread for the World Sunday is an opportunity to engage in God’s work to end hunger. In our worship and prayers, we remember all those in need. We join thousands of Christians who speak up for those who struggle to survive. Moved by God’s grace in Jesus Christ, we reach out to help our neighbors—whether they live next door, in the next state, or on the next continent.

Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

In developing nations, one out of four persons lives in extreme poverty—on less than $1.25 per day. In our own country, one of five children lives in a family that struggles to put food on the table.

We have the knowledge and resources to end widespread hunger. Churches have led the way in providing emergency food here in the U.S.A. and in helping farmers in Africa and elsewhere grow more food. But our nation’s decision makers must also change the policies and conditions that allow hunger to persist. Today and in the weeks ahead, you can turn your faith in God’s promise of new life in Christ into action when you…

  • Pray for all those who struggle with hunger and poverty
  • Learn more about the causes of hunger in the U.S.A. and abroad— and about how to end hunger
  • Support—with your time and money— local and international efforts that provide food for hungry people
  • Speak up for hungry people by writing or calling your members of Congress. Urge them to create a circle of protection around funding for programs vital to hungry people in the U.S.A. and overseas.

Bread for the World is a collective voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Working with both Republican and Democratic leaders, Bread for the World is supported by all major church bodies. Bread for the World equips and inspires us for being God’s agents of love and compassion, encouraging us to use citizenship to change the policies and conditions that allow hunger to persist.

On their website are resources for those that wish to get more involved. Among these resources are: “What You Can Do to End Hunger” booklet and “Exodus from Hunger” a book written by David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and winner of the 2010 World Food Prize. For more information, you can go to www.bread.org. You can also contact them at 1-800-822-7323.

Prayer for Bread for the World Sunday: O God, we remember all those who suffer from hunger and hardship. May our faith in Jesus move us to persist in urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger in your world. We give thanks for Bread for the World and all those who inspire and support us to be agents of your love and compassion. In the Spirit of the Risen Christ, we continue to live in joy and hope. Amen.

You can be God’s hands and feet in the world—creating new hope and opportunity for hungry people.

We will recognize Bread for the World Sunday on October 18.

ON BEING PRESBYTERIAN

Stewardship time is approaching. If you’re a GA “junkie,” as I am, you remember countless moments in which you feel the Holy Spirit moving through the gathered commissioners, staff, and visitors. One of the most memorable for me was in opening worship in 2004, as Moderator Susan Andrews’ term ended: well-planned, carefully choreographed, practiced worship – when Rev. Andrews wildly splashed, shoved, and flung the baptismal waters into the air, proclaiming the amazing abundance of the God’s grace in our lives. Most often, baptism and the promise that it holds both for each of us, is a measured dab of moistness, carefully managed with fingertips and drying cloths. God’s abundance to us is anything but that! Yet our response to God’s unending generosity of gifts and grace, too often, is also measured and carefully managed. Yes, we have amazing tithers and benefactors (thank you!), but statistics show that generally Presbyterians give between 1-2% of their income to the church. We are happier discussing the parameters of wealth that must be included in a mathematical calculation of tithing than working towards it. We’re more joyful about the ending of the annual stewardship campaign than in considering our pledges and gifts.

It’s not a new thing; it seems to be precisely what Paul tells the members of the church in Corinth about the Macedonians! (2 Cor. 8:9.) Those with far fewer resources gave enthusiastically so that the Good News could be shared. The Corinthians were holding back, having to be reminded of their pledge. In statistics of charitable giving today, the best givers are those with Adjusted Gross Income of less than $50,000 (4%). That percentage declines until AGI reaches $500,000 (2.5%), and then gradually grows, but does not match 4% again until AGI reaches over $10 MILLION.

Do we, at some point, forget the foundations of our faith: that we are adopted as children of God in baptism, our salvation is not earned, and that our lives are filled BECAUSE of God’s abundance to us? Do we, at some point, begin to interpret our success as that of our own intelligence, hard work, and cunning alone? Are we, at some point, convinced by the cultural messages that we can create abundance for ourselves with wealth and possessions? What are we showing our children about our faith? What are we showing the world?

Churches are in a unique position to change the narrative from scarcity and self-sufficiency to abundance and generosity. Christians (and churches!) cannot live the fullness of the life God intends for us if we are trapped by fear of failure and scarcity, nor if we measure our self-worth by possessions. Finding joy in giving cannot be taught. It must be experienced. Helping to connect members with mission efforts, through gifts or time and resources, and offering opportunity for reflection on the experience deepen our understanding.

As most churches approach their annual stewardship campaign, do so with joy and purpose. You are inviting members to deepen their Christian experience and to share the joy of life in Christ with other members, your community and the world.

By Minner Servoy
Presbyterian Foundation Newsletter

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.