MINISTER - FRAN HAYES

“You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky...but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” – Luke 12:56

I really struggled with the sermon text in which Jesus said, “Do you think I came to bring peace to the earth? No.” As Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in The Message, Jesus said, “I've come to change everything, to turn everything right-side up. How I long for it to be finished! Do you think I came to smooth things and make everything nice? Not so. I've come to disrupt and confront.”

We live in troubling times, in a broken, divided world. I think a lot of us are deeply concerned about the divisiveness and polarization and lack of civil discourse in the current political campaign and in our culture. So we may think that the last thing we need from Jesus is more division. But as I continue to ponder what he says and try to “interpret the present time,” I really think Jesus was talking about a different kind of peace. He wasn't talking about an easy, superficial peace that tries to cover up the disorder beneath the surface, but a peace “that is not of this world.” (John 14:27) The peace Jesus brings requires a deep re-ordering of our own interior lives and a re-ordering of our relationships with one another. It's a costly and demanding peace that requires transformation of our attitudes and imagination. Sometimes when we allow this costly and demanding peace to transform our lives, it can bring disruption in our lives what we may have thought were settled truths and in our life together in families and in our faith and social communities.

I believe Jesus is calling us into a new life that is not nice or lukewarm, but a life of passion and urgency to be part of the healing and repairing of the world. (If you missed worship on August 14 and you're interested in hearing more about what I mean by this, you can listen to my sermon at Sermons or read it at my blog.

As I write this, we have 75 days left of this election season. We can choose how we will live through these days. We can focus on all the negatives. Or we can see it as a challenge to re-focus our lives and to prayerfully reflect on who we are and who we are called to be in this place, in this moment in time, and to keep asking ourselves where we see God in all this and in all the possibilities. We can remind ourselves that we are not called to be resentful or nostalgic for earlier times, and we can remember that the message God keeps sending through angels is “Don't be afraid.”

As followers of Jesus, we are called to practice living faithfully in the way of Jesus, the way of love and justice for all God's people, the way of a different kind of peace. We worship a God who teaches human beings the righteous and just way to live, as individuals and as a society and then invites us to live in this way.

If some of our worst fears come true, if we elect terrible leaders on November 8, it will matter. But regardless of the election outcomes, God will still be God. Jesus will continue to call us into a life of greater righteousness, to live into the Beloved Community, and promises to be with us always.

Peace – Shalom – Salam.

SCRIPTURE READINGS
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)

September 4
Old Testament Lesson-Jeremiah 18:1-11
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Epistle Lesson-Philemon 1-21
Gospel Lesson-Luke 14:25-33

September 11
Old Testament Lesson-Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
Psalm 14
Epistle Lesson-1 Timothy 1:12-17
Gospel Lesson-Luke 15:1-10

September 18
Old Testament Lesson-Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
Psalm 79:1-9
Epistle Lesson-1 Timothy 2:1-7
Gospel Lesson-Luke 16:1-13

September 25
Old Testament Lesson-Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15
Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16
Epistle Lesson-1 Timothy 6:6-19
Gospel Lesson-Luke 16:19-31

PRAYER MINISTRY


CONVERSATION WITH GOD

Lord, I have had to experience this truth
many times over. How many times has my
anger produced regret? More times than I can
count. Thomas Jefferson advised counting
to ten when angry and
to a hundred when very angry.
I want to take the high road as often as
possible. I want to be patient when frustrated,
dignified when wronged. I confess my
slowness to listen, my quickness to speak, and
my habit of letting anger rule the moment.
Here is a fresh start right now as I receive your
forgiveness. Please lead me forward as one
who is focused on following in your footsteps.


THOUGHT FOR TODAY

When you are offended at any man's fault,
turn to yourself and study your own failings.
Then you will forget your anger.


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

If God is willing to move your mountain, don't
tell him where to put it.


SCRIPTURE

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not
reply on your own insight.
Proverbs 3:5

WORSHIP INFORMATION

FALL SCHEDULE BEGINS ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11!

Adult Sunday School @ 9:00 a.m.
Choir Rehearsal @ 9:15 a.m.
Childcare @ 10:00 a.m.
Worship Service @ 10:30 a.m.
Children Sunday School – when excused from worship

PEACE AND GLOBAL WITNESS OFFERING

The Peacemaking offering has received a new name and is now part of A Season of Peace which begins on Sept 4 and culminates on World Communion Sunday, October 2, with the collection of the offering. A Season of Peace is a four-week pilgrimage designed to deepen the pursuit of peace for congregations, small groups, families and individuals. Through daily peace reflections, family activities such as peace cards, Bible studies and other online resources we are invited to define and deepen our calling as a peacemaker.

TAIZE WORSHIP
SEPTEMBER 6 @ 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 and age, to come and renew your spirit. You are invited to dress comfortably and casually. Invite a friend!

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN

The PWPD (Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of Detroit) will hold an All Cluster Gathering at The New Life Presbyterian Church in Sterling Heights on Wednesday, September 7, from 9:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This will be a Welcome Back Fair. Light refreshments will be served and reservations will not be needed.

The Littlefield Presbyterian Women will be sponsoring a brunch after worship on Good News Sunday, September 25. Members and friends are all invited to attend!

Please mark the evening of Monday, October 3, on your calendars. This is our Annual Mission Night and Baby Shower.
Details to follow.

WORSHIP & CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Christian Education begins for Children and Adults:
Sunday, September 11
, is the first day of our fall schedule of Sunday School classes for children and adults. The Adult Bible Study class will meet at 9:00 a.m. (note time change from 9:15) in the Lounge on the first floor of the Education Building. The class will be studying Proverbs and study books are available from Vic Hess. All are welcome to attend and the time change allows choir members to attend class before choir rehearsal begins.

Children's Sunday School will begin the same day. Children, ages 5 and over, will sit in the worship service with their family until released for Sunday School, which meets on the second floor of the Education Building. Our “One Room Sunday School” curriculum allows children of all ages to participate together. We are in need of some additional Children's Sunday School teachers. Is this a way you could nurture the faith of some of God's children? We rotate teachers and have Leader's Guides with plenty of ideas for you. If you are interested, please see Morag Schang.

Music Ministry at Littlefield:
The adult choir will begin on Sunday, September 11, with rehearsal at 9:15 a.m. and welcomes everyone who wishes to praise God with their voice. If you are interested in joining the vocal choir or sharing your musical talents, please see Lonnie. Thank you to all who shared their musical talents with us during the summer months.

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE SCHOOL KIT COLLECTION

Many of you may know of Church World Service from the local CROP walks. Church World Service, an agency supported by many denominations, responds to the needs of people in poverty situations and in disaster relief all around the world. We have often packed School kits, Hygiene kits and Baby kits in response to disasters such as earthquakes in Haiti and Japan.

However, they are always in need of kits and we hope that the members and friends of Littlefield might respond by packing School Kits this fall and bringing them to the church by Sunday, September 11. We have cloth bags available that you can take home and fill with school supplies. Be sure to take advantage of the sales of school supplies happening now. We have the lists of school kit contents available in the library, or you may find them at cwskits.org.

If you are not able to pack kits, but would like to help with this project, you may contribute to the costs of shipping the kits by making a check out to Church World Service and sending it to Littlefield and we will forward it to CWS with our kits.
Thank you for your help!

CENTS-ABILITY COLLECTION

Our next collection will be Sunday, September 11. It has been 91 days since our last collection. At 3 meals/day x $.02/meal we should have collected $5.46 in our containers. Realizing that many of us eat more than 3 times/day and that food prices have increased, donations of any size are always welcome. Our portion of this offering will be given to the Detroit Presbytery Hunger Program. Please give generously!

INTERFAITH PRAYERS FOR PEACE:
SEPTEMBER 18

On the Sunday before the International Day of Peace, we will be joined by neighbors from the Muslim and Jewish communities, as well as some Christians who care about building interfaith bridges.

People of faith and goodwill need to come together to strengthen bonds of friendship, to increase understanding, and to find ways to pray and work together for peace in our communities, in our nation, and our world. During the 10:30 a.m. worship service, we will practice respectful presence as we share the wisdom of our various traditions and pray together.

May we make new friends and leave with greater hope and resolve to meet again and to work together for peace in our communities and the world.

GOOD NEWS SUNDAY

Be sure to join us on September 25 for Good News Sunday and the Fall Brunch. This is a good Sunday to invite friends, relatives, and acquaintances to worship with us. The theme of the liturgy, scriptures, message, and music will be particularly inviting to a newcomer or someone coming to church after a time away. Our Fall Brunch will follow worship, and guests are invited to stay and enjoy a meal and fellowship with us.

We hope you'll think and pray about whom you would like to invite to Littlefield. Offer to provide a ride for them if they need one or if it would encourage them to come. You can promise them that they'll hear some good news and have a good brunch!

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts. 1:8)

MEN'S BIBLE STUDY GROUP
September 26 @ 6:30 p.m.

The group will continue the study of Islam and Christianity, Session 3, Revere the Holy Book. Dinner will be at 6:30 p.m. with the lesson/discussion to follow at 7:00 p.m. All men are invited.

GLEANERS VOLUNTEER MORNING

We will be volunteering at the Gleaners Distribution Center in Taylor on Saturday, October 8, from 9 a.m. – 12 noon. We never know what we will be doing until we arrive, but the tasks are not back breaking and usually involve enough variety to accommodate everyone's abilities and physical limitations. In the past, we have put together weekend bags of food that children take home from school on Friday, sorted potatoes into plastic bags, measured rice into plastic bags and sorted canned foods and checked for expired cans. Directions to the Gleaners Taylor Distribution Center will be on the library table when we get closer to the day. Everyone is encouraged to join our Littlefield group at Gleaners.

NEWCOMER CONVERSATION

If you're a relative newcomer or anyone who isn't an official member of Littlefield, you are invited to join us for a simple lunch and conversation in the Littlefield Lounge on Sunday, October 23. Included in this conversation will be some other newer people, the pastor, and a few other Littlefield folk. We'll start with a light lunch at 1:00 p.m. and plan to be done by no later than 3:00 p.m.

We look forward to conversation that helps people get better acquainted and learn from one another. People who have been members for a very long time need to hear new perspectives, as we seek ways to reach out to new people. We'll talk about worship and what kinds of learning, fellowship and service opportunities people are interested in. Our leaders need feedback on how we're doing at being inviting and welcoming. We'd love to hear about where people are on their spiritual journeys and how they're experiencing Littlefield.

Nobody is going to twist your arm to try to get you to become an official, on the roll member of Littlefield. That's not the purpose of this meeting. We hope this time of listening and learning will be enjoyable for all who attend. Please watch for more information about this opportunity in the very near future.

EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

On Tuesday July 19, the Engage! book group met for the second time. Twelve of us gathered together to discuss Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish's book I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity. We had a very good discussion about the Palestinian situation and how Dr. Abuelaish is working towards bringing peace to the area. We were very glad to have two new people join our discussion.

Our next book is Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. Publisher Weekly states: “The role of community in the shaping of character is a recurring theme in the work of poet, essayist and novelist Berry, as evidenced once more in this gratifying novel set in Berry's fictional Port William, Ky.” On Wednesday September 7, we will gather in the Church lounge for pizza and salad dinner at 6:15 p.m. and then begin our discussion of Jayber Crow at 7:00 p.m.

We had a great time at the Littlefield Annual Picnic at Hemlock Park on July 17 where we had 61 people. The weather was perfect and the worship service, food, and fellowship were wonderful. We even had a first time visitor who two nights later attended our Engage! book group.

In June, we had planned to walk the labyrinth at the Northminster Presbyterian Church in Troy, but had to cancel due to rain. It is rescheduled for Wednesday, August 31, at 7:00 p.m. Please look for information in the Church bulletin.

Good News Sunday is scheduled for September 25. This is a great time to share the good things that are happening in our lives and give thanks to the Lord for his blessings. There will be a brunch in the Fellowship Hall immediately following the service.

On a final note, we have planned a trip to the Charles Wright Museum in Detroit. The admission is free every second Sunday of the month. So, we are going 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.

CHURCH & SOCIETY COMMITTEE
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL PEACE CAMP

From July 26 -28, we held our 17th annual Peace Camp for children ages 6-12. This year 26 children, 5 youth leaders and 14 adults shared an evening meal, sang songs, played games and learned tools for living peacefully in the community. This year leaders provided a background story of a town being destroyed by natural disaster to get the children thinking about what was really needed for the town to rebuild. This setting of the scene proved to be a good motivator for the children to think about what is really important and needed rather than just what they might like to have. The construction, painting, and decorating of the buildings in our town took on a deeper meaning this year. We had a rally in front of the church on the last night, followed by an ice cream social for the children and their parents. The children enjoyed sharing with their parents about their buildings and why they built them and singing songs about what they learned about peacemaking. A successful Peace Camp involves contributions from many people and we are ALWAYS THANKFUL for the time and energy our members and friends give.

MARY CIRCLE

If you have an interest in this Women's Circle, please contact the church office. This circle normally meets the 1st Monday of every month and shares a devotional, study and dessert. All women are welcome!

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.