MINISTER - FRAN HAYES

There is so much hateful speech these days. It's troubling to hear politicians talking about being at war with Islam, or to hear people calling themselves Christian pastors celebrating the shooter's attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people and saying they pray that the surviving victims in the hospital will die.

People tend to find what they want in the Bible, and some especially want to find verses they can lift out to support their own beliefs and agenda. The right-wing, extremist preachers like to cite the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19, which is a troubling story that includes homosexual gang rape. If we believe the prophet Ezekiel, the major sin of Sodom and Gomorrah has to do with pride, gluttony, and failure to help the poor and needy.

I am so grateful that I live and serve in Dearborn. We hear the voices of hatred and fear in the culture around us, but in Dearborn and metro Detroit, a growing number of us have been practicing living in beloved community.

Bob Stead and I represented Littlefield at an interfaith service of lament and prayer sponsored by the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metro Detroit. We said the names of the 9 persons who were murdered at Mother Emanuel AME Church a year ago and the 49 who were murdered at the Pulse nightclub. We were led in prayer by a Sikh woman, several Muslim imams, a Jew, and a variety of Christian leaders who were male and female, black and white, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant.

The next evening, I attended an interfaith Ramadan program at the Islamic House of Wisdom. My friend, Imam Elahi, talked about how dangerous any kind of extremism is and how we need to work together to transform our society. He talked about trying to differentiate between extremist groups like ISIS and true Islam.

In the Christian faith and in any faith tradition, we have the same challenge. People have done terrible things in the name of God and the name of religion. What I do know with increasing certainty is that we have very clear teachings from Jesus that help us differentiate between following Jesus and using isolated scripture verses to support a distorted version of “Christianity”. Jesus made it clear what is most important for those who follow him. When people asked, “What is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus taught that the greatest commandment is to love God completely and also to love your neighbor as yourself, and said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” I see practicing unconditional love as a test of my faith: “Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars, for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. Those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.”

As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “We must learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] or perish together as fools." I pray that we will choose life and love.

Peace – Shalom – Salam.

SCRIPTURE READINGS
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)

July 3
Hebrew Scripture-2 Kings 5:1-14
Psalm 30
Epistle Lesson-Galatians 6:1-16
Gospel Lesson-Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

July 10
Hebrew Scripture-Amos 7:7-17
Psalm 82
Epistle Lesson-Colossians 1:1-14
Gospel Lesson-Luke 10:25-37

July 17 Worship in the Park
Hebrew Scripture-Amos 8:1-12
Psalm 52
Epistle Lesson-Colossians 1:15-28
Gospel Lesson-Luke 10:38-42

July 24
Hebrew Scripture-Hosea 1:2-10
Psalm 85
Epistle Lesson-Colossians 2:6-19
Gospel Lesson-Luke 11:1-13

July 31
Hebrew Scripture-Hosea 11:1-11
Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Epistle Lesson-Colossians 3:1-11
Gospel Lesson-Luke 12:13-21

August 7
Hebrew Scripture-Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23
Epistle Lesson-Hebrew 11:1-3, 8-16
Gospel Lesson-Luke 12:32-40

August 14
Hebrew Scripture-Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19
Epistle Lesson-Hebrew 11:29-12:2
Gospel Lesson-Luke 12:49-56

August 21
Hebrew Scripture-Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
Epistle Lesson-Hebrew 12:18-29
Gospel Lesson-Luke 13:10-17

August 28
Hebrew Scripture-Jeremiah 2:4-13
Psalm 81:1, 10-16
Epistle Lesson-Hebrew 13:1-8, 15-16
Gospel Lesson-Luke 14:1, 7-14

PRAYER MINISTRY

A PRAYER FOR PATIENCE
God, teach me to be patient—
Teach me to go slow—
Teach me how to “wait on You”
When my way I do not know…
Teach me sweet forbearance
When things do not go right
So I remain unruffled
When others grow uptight…
Teach me how to quiet
My racing, rising heart
So I may hear the answer
You are trying to impart…
Teach me to let go, dear God,
And pray undisturbed until
My heart is filled with inner peace
And I learn to know Your will!

– Showers of Blessings, H. S. Rice

CONVERSATION WITH GOD
Lord, if my hunger and thirst for your
righteousness could be satisfied by
ordering from a spiritual drive-thru,
I'd want to supersize my order! I so
want to be like Christ. I want to have
his courage and humility, his strength
and gentleness. I don't want
substitutes—such as pride that looks
like humility. I want the real deal.
Thank you for the promise that you
will satisfy this craving of mine, this
deep soul hunger to be and do all that
is right, true, and good.
– A Woman's Daily Prayer Book

SCRIPTURE
Be still, and know that I am God.
– Psalms 46:10

WORSHIP INFORMATION

Remember that summer vacations are a wonderful time to bring friends to Sunday Worship in a more casual setting at 10:00 a.m. We will resume our normal worship schedule on September 11 at 10:30 a.m.

In addition, the Adult Bible Study class will resume on September 11 at 9:15 a.m. and the Children's class will resume during worship. Watch your bulletins for more information.

Have a safe and spiritually refreshing summer!

WORSHIP SERVICE AND CHURCH PICNIC IN THE PARK - JULY 17

We hope you will join us for our annual church picnic on Sunday, July 17, at Hemlock Park.

We have rented a shelter and will have our morning worship service there at 10:00 a.m. before the picnic. The shelter is very close to the parking lot, accessible to all and has its own bathrooms. We hope you will come and bring your friends for a unique worship experience followed by the usual food and fun. We will provide the meat and buns for grilling, condiments and beverages; you may sign up to bring salad, chips or dessert.

The city has a “Splash Pad” at Hemlock Park! So, bring a towel and a change of clothes if you want to go play in the water!

For planning purposes, if you are attending, please sign up on the sheet in the library or call the church office.

SAVE THE DATE: JULY 19

The next Engage! Book study is Tuesday, July 19. Please see the Evangelism and Membership Committee article in this newsletter for details.

EVANGELISM AND MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

On Tuesday, May 31, the Engage! book group met for the first time. Eight of us gathered together to discuss, “Lila,” Marilynne Robinson's newest novel. We had some good discussions about grace and being open to those who are unlike us. We were very happy to have two friends of Anna Dewey join us. It was their first experience with a gathering at Littlefield. One said that she always wanted to be in a book group and was excited to get the invitation to join us.

On Tuesday, July 19, we will gather in the church lounge for a pizza and salad dinner at 6:15 p.m. and then begin our discussion of the book at 7:00 p.m. Our next book is “I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity” by Izzeldin Abuelaish. The following is a review from amazon.com:

By turns inspiring and heart-breaking, hopeful and horrifying, “I Shall Not Hate” is Izzeldin Abuelaish's account of an extraordinary life. A Harvard-trained Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and "who has devoted his life to medicine and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians" (New York Times), Abuelaish has been crossing the lines in the sand that divide Israelis and Palestinians for most of his life - as a physician who treats patients on both sides of the line, as a humanitarian who sees the need for improved health and education for women as the way forward in the Middle East. And, most recently, as the father whose daughters were killed by Israeli soldiers on January 16, 2009, during Israel's incursion into the Gaza Strip. His response to this tragedy made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, Abuelaish called for the people in the region to start talking to each other. His deepest hope is that his daughters will be "the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis."

June was a very dry month except for the day that we planned to walk the labyrinth at the Northminster Presbyterian Church in Troy. We had to cancel that event due to the rain. We have yet to reschedule it.

Save the Date! Our Annual Littlefield Worship In The Park is scheduled for Sunday, July 17. We will gather under the Hemlock Park pavilion in Dearborn (near Schaefer Rd and Hemlock St). As in the past, we will first worship under the pavilion and then have our picnic. If you are planning on attending, let us know either by filling out our sign-up sheet in the Church library or by calling the office.

On a final note, we have planned a trip to the Charles Wright Museum in Detroit. Admission to the museum is free every second Sunday of the month. So, we have planned to go on the second Sunday of October (October 9). We will leave the Church at 2:30 p.m. The museum is open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. We will have more information about this event in future newsletters.

15th ANNUAL PEACE CAMP - JULY 26-28

Peace Camp will be here soon and for the 15th year! On July 26, 27 & 28 our Fellowship Hall will be transformed into a creative space for children, 6ñ12 years old, to make a neighborhood of peace. We will sing songs, share meals, play games and learn the tools for living peacefully in a community.

As usual, we need YOUR HELP to make this a successful 3 days for the campers. If you are able to help out with set-up, food preparation, registration, crafts, clean-up or working with small groups of children, please place your name on the Peace Camp Volunteer Sheet that you will find on the Library table.

If you are not able to be there to help, you can still participate by sharing registration forms with youngsters you know, or by bringing in some of the following items that we can use: cardboard tubes from inside any paper products, shoe boxes, paper egg cartons, packing corners/supports that the children can use as architectural features and newspaper (no inserts). Just bring these to church and place in the collection boxes in the Littlefield foyer or the narthex. This year we DO NOT NEED: silk flowers, ribbon, yarn, fringe, fabric, beads, wrapping or wall paper, dairy containers, or anything Styrofoam. If you have questions, please contact the church office.

Registration forms in English, Arabic and Spanish will be available from the office, on our web site, or the Library table. We will again be collecting school supplies at Peace Camp for needy children.

Please join us in this intergenerational community experience!

PEACE CAMP 2016 - DATES AND TIMES

Thursday, July 21 :
Registration deadline for children

Monday, July 25 – 10 a.m.
Cover Fellowship Hall floor with Visqueen and set up

Monday, July 25 – 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Orientation for youth and adult leaders

Tuesday, July 26 – 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
First day of Peace Camp

Wednesday, July 27 – 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Second day of Peace Camp

Thursday, July 28 – 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Last day of Peace Camp. Outside rally, parent visitation and Ice Cream Social

PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY

It amazing to me how quickly time can pass ~ especially when you are busy. The Prayer Shawl Ministry at Littlefield church is ten years old this year! In 2006, Barbara Gepford suggested to some of the women in the church that we might want to begin making Prayer Shawls. She had joined a group in another church and wanted to share what she had learned. That circle of women came together once or twice a month and began to knit under Barbara's tutelage. We have said farewell to many of the early members and we have welcomed many new members. Since that time we have made and distributed hundreds of shawls. These shawls have graced new brides and new mothers; they have comforted those who are grieving; they have strengthened those battling infirmity and disease; and in each and every case they have shown the recipient that the love of God is with them. We have received hundreds of thank you notes and cards and heard many wonderful stories of healing and remembrances.

Some of our members had never knit before joining us. Some had not crocheted in years. All are committed to sharing the love of God through the thoughtful, prayerful practice of creating a piece of cloth that will embrace and comfort.

Some of our shawl-makers work from home only and some come to join the circle on the fourth Thursday of each month at 1:00 p.m. in the Tozer Room to create and visit and pray for those who will receive these shawls. Whether you knit, crochet or would just like to learn, you would be very welcome to join this ministry. We have kits available for newcomers and can include basic instruction as well. We can supply the yarn, the pattern and sometimes, the needles.

To begin is simple: just contact the church office for information. For July and August, we will meet on Thursday, July 28, and August 25, at 1:00 p.m. in the Tozer (Brotherhood) Room.

NEXT TAIZE SERVICE - SEPTEMBER 6

Our Taize Worship Service will NOT be offered in July and August.

Join us Tuesday, September 6 @ 7:00 p.m.

SAVE THE DATE - OCTOBER 8

Gleaners Food Bank
Saturday, 9 - 12 Noon

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.