MINISTER - FRAN HAYES

“[Followers of Jesus] are to do good, to be rich In good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.” – 1 Timothy 6:18-19

We are in a season of harvest and thanksgiving, which is also the time of our annual stewardship emphasis. Stewardship season can be a gift to us when it helps us to reflect on what is truly important and life-giving in our lives.

We hear so many messages from our culture that tell us we need to pursue wealth, to “store up treasure”, and that this will make us happy and secure├│if we can ever get enough. But one of the other messages we hear is one of scarcity, so there will never really be enough. When we devote our time and energy to acquire and store and protect as much as we think we need to be happy, we end up being possessed by our possessions. That's why Jesus said to the rich young ruler who wanted to inherit eternal life: “Sell all you have and give to the poor. Then come and follow me.” To those who would follow, Jesus gives a message of radical simplicity, and of the freedom of the simple life.

Our faith has important things to say to us about how God provides what we need and about learning to trust. As the people of Israel were wandering around in the wilderness, they worried so much about scarcity that they wanted to go back to slavery in Egypt. But God gave them manna each day├│enough to sustain them for the day, but not enough to hoard for later. They had to learn to trust that God would provide what they needed for each day.

If we strive “first for the kingdom of God and God's righteousness, all these things will be given to us as well.” (Matt. 6:33) Living the simple life doesn't mean we are deprived of good things we need, but it does mean having a different and healthier relationship with them. The good news is that our true needs are less than we thought. We can learn to be more content with what we need and be freed to live generous lives. My hope and prayer for us during this stewardship season is that we may learn to trust more completely in the reliable abundance and generosity of God, “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” May we be freed to live generous and joyful lives. May we be blessed to know the contentment and peace that comes to us in the life that really is life!

Peace – Shalom – Salam.

SCRIPTURE READINGS
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)

November 6
Hebrew Scripture-Haggai 1:15b-2:9
Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21 or Psalm 98
Epistle Lesson-2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
Gospel Lesson-Luke 20:27-38

November 13
Hebrew Scripture-Isaiah 65:17-25
Hebrew Scripture-Isaiah 12
Epistle Lesson-2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Gospel Lesson-Luke 21:5-19

November 20
Hebrew Scripture -Jeremiah 23:1-6
Gospel Lesson-Luke 1:68-79
Epistle Lesson-Colossians 1:11-20
Gospel Lesson-Luke 23:33-43

November 27 First Sunday of Advent
Hebrew Scripture -Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Epistle Lesson-Romans 13:11-14
Gospel Lesson-Matthew 24:36-44

PRAYER MINISTRY

Conversation With God
Lord, how important it is for us to be thankful at all times. It's so easy to fall into the trap of having specific expectations and then despairing when events take an unexpected turn.

You are working in our lives every moment, Lord. We will do our part by working hard and taking full advantage of all opportunities that come our way, but we also know that some matters are reserved for you. We are thankful that nothing is beyond your control and we are grateful that you are our wise lead.

Also, Lord, my other concern is how hard it is to say good-bye to loved ones visiting from thousands of miles away to be with us on the holidays. Help us be mindful that even on days when we can't see their smiles or feel their hugs, you are lovingly watching over all of us. We are connected in a special way through you. Spiritually, we are never far apart.
– A Woman's Daily Prayer Book


Thought For The Day
Corrie ten Boom advised, “Don't worry about what you do not understand. Worry about what you do understand in the Bible but do not live by.” And that's sound advice because our families and friends are watching — and so, for that matter, is God.


Prayer For Holiday Visitors
If you pray for me and I pray for you, God closes the distance between us two.


Scripture Verse
The Lord watch between you and me, when we are absent one from the other.
– Genesis 31:49

TAIZE WORSHIP

November 1 @ 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 Presbyterian Woman of the Presbytery of Detroit (PWPD) will gather on Wednesday, November 2, at the Second Mile Center in Detroit. Registration begins at 9:45 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon. The program topic will be “Information and Resources to Prevent Gun Violence”, and will be presented by the Detroit Presbytery's Gun Violence Prevention Work Group. If you plan on attending, please bring non-perishable food items for the Second Mile Center holiday food baskets. The items needed for each basket are:
  1 - box elbow macaroni
  2 - cans cranberry sauce
  1 - large can of yams
  1 - box of cake mix or brownie mix
  1 - container of frosting
  2 - cans of green beans or corn
  1 - box or bag of white self-rising corn meal

Lunch will cost $8.00 and reservations must be made by Friday, October 28, to the church office.

Mark Your Calendars:
Saturday, November 12, will be our baking day for Christmas cookies. We'd love to have any of you who like baking and enjoy fellowship with one another, to join us from 9:00 am to noon in Fellowship Hall. These cookies will then be sold at our annual Christmas Cookie Sale on Sunday, December 11, (after church). Please let the church office know if you will be “baking” so we can plan on how many baking ingredients to buy. It's a fun morning and gets us in the holiday spirit a little bit early, plus it's all part of the Littlefield PW's missions fund raiser.

Wednesday, December 7, is our annual Advent Tea and program. This is a wonderful way to usher in the Christmas season. Please join us at 7:00 p.m. in the lounge for this special evening of worship, music, fellowship, and refreshment. More details to follow.

Sunday, December 11, following church, in Fellowship Hall, will be our Annual Christmas Cookie Sale. Invite your friends to join you at church that day and following worship help support the PW mission by purchasing some delicious cookies and bars for the holiday season.

EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

On Sunday, October 9, a group of nine from Littlefield went to the Charles Wright Museum in downtown Detroit. Admission to the museum is free every second Sunday of the month. We were all very impressed with the exhibits. The biggest hit was the display of dolls. We all agreed that another trip is in store for our future. After visiting the museum several of us gathered for a time of food and fellowship at the Traffic Jam restaurant on Canfield. A good time was had by all.

Our Engage! Book Group is currently reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich, a Native American novelist. On Wednesday, November 2, our group will meet at 6:15 p.m. for a pizza and salad dinner. Discussion will begin at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome!

The labyrinth walk that some of us participated in last August at the Northminster Presbyterian Church in Troy, MI was a very positive experience. We are planning to bring a labyrinth to Littlefield in February. Beth Delaney (who facilitated our Core Values session last May) makes portable labyrinths. She has graciously offered to lend us her 25-foot octagonal labyrinth. In the coming months we will have more details on our labyrinth event.

Advent is coming soon! This year we will be using the PCSUA's 2016 Advent Devotional: Proclaiming the Good News of God's Peace. This devotional focuses “on the need for Christ's transformative hope amidst the themes of desolation and isolation found in immigrant detention and mass incarceration.” (quote taken from the PCUSA Church Store)

REMINDER:

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ENDS
November 5!
Set your clocks back 1 hour on Saturday night!

FINANCE & STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE

“Take hold of the life that really is life.” — 1 Timothy 6:18-19

The quoted passage is part of a directive to the wealthy; that they need to “do good: be rich in good works, generous and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future.” In truth, most people in our modern society would be considered “wealthy” in biblical times. There is a tendency in our society to cling to possessions rather than to be generous and share our wealth. Most of us have succumbed to the temptation of materialism at some time in our lives. Materialism is the opposite of generosity. How can we cling jealously to our possessions and yet be “ready to share?” To live simply is to rely on less in our day-to-day existence.

In this stewardship season, we have another opportunity to invest in our church home at Littlefield. The dividends we reap from these investments are truly amazing. God bless us all. Please bring your stewardship commitment card to worship on Sunday, November 20.

HANGING OF THE GREENS

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26 At 9:00 a.m.

Ever wondered how the church is transformed each Christmas season? Come lend a helping hand and find out! The more people that come to help, the sooner everyone goes home to enjoy their day. An added bonus, you get to have some great fellowship and laughs!

WARM FUZZIES

With a winter chill already in the air, the need for hats and mittens has become apparent. The Presbyterian Women will again be collecting “Warm Fuzzies” to benefit several local shelters. Please bring your donations of hats, gloves and scarves (men's items are especially needed) and put them in the library on the following Sundays: November 27, December 4 and December 11. Remember to leave on the price tags so we can determine the value of our donations. Thank you!

MEN'S STUDY GROUP

The men will meet on November 28, at 6:30 p.m., for dinner followed by their study. The men will continue their study of “Islam and Christianity” with Session 5, “Practice the Five Pillars.” All men are invited to join the men for dinner and the study.

PW ADVENT TEA

The time draws near to Advent and that means the Presbyterian Women's Advent Tea here at Littlefield. This year we will gather on Wednesday, December 7, in the Church Lounge at 7:00 p.m. to devote some time to setting our hearts and minds on the coming days leading to Christmas. The evening will begin with devotions and will be followed by some caroling. After dedicating our PW Thank Offering we will be entertained. When the music is over and our hearts are filled, we will enjoy some lovely holiday sweets and each other's company.

Our special guests are the Cherry Hill Consort (CHC), a group of local hobby musicians who strive to create an awareness of the recorder as a serious musical instrument. CHC plays predominantly medieval and Baroque music on recorders ranging from the great-Bass to the Garklein. They also add voice, guitar and viola da gamba to some of their repertoire. They have performed at local churches, charity events and in concert. What a wonderful way to celebrate the gifts of God!

We know you won't want to miss this special evening so put it on your calendar now and plan to bring your friends. There is no admission and all are welcome.

MEN: SAVE THE DATE

Annual Presbyterian Men's
Communion Advent Breakfast
Saturday, December 10

Come join men from across the Detroit Presbytery to create a network for good in the community. The keynote speaker this year is John George, founder and Executive Director of Motor City Blight Busters. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. with communion, breakfast, and program starting at 8:00 a.m. This year's program is at First Presbyterian, 200 E. Main St., Northville 48167. Tickets are $15 by advanced reservations only by December 1. For more details, please see the Mission Board across from the church office.

PW MISSION INGATHERING REPORT

Once again the Presbyterian Women of Littlefield (with the congregation's help) have met our PWPD Ingathering assignment and have exceeded expectations for additional donations. The value of our 2016 requested assignment was $1,498.50 and the value of our additional donations was $4,579.50 for a total of $6,078! This includes the amount from the "Warm Fuzzies" given last Christmas ($242), the CWS Health and School Kits ($1,250), the donations given to the Mother's Day Card Project ($251) and the cash donations the PW makes to eight local social service agencies from the proceeds of the Spring Tea and Christmas Cookie Sale.

Some of the items donated to the Ingathering from Littlefield were personal kits made with toiletries donated by the congregation (12 kits this year), new clothing, layette items from the PW baby shower, toys, school supplies, bedding, towels, craft supplies, and handmade baby caps. Thanks to everyone who sewed, knitted, purchased and collected items.

All the donated items were collected, sorted and packaged at the PWPD Ingathering, held this year at Westminster Presbyterian Church on October 17-19. The items were delivered to 35 metro Detroit locations such as shelters, hospitals and nursing homes. Everything was very gratefully received. Thank you Littlefielders!

PRESBYTERIAN FOUNDATION

The Christian life is shaped by gratitude – gratitude for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. It is by God's grace that we receive the gift of our own lives, and so we are called to shape the whole of our lives by our grateful response. "The stewardship of all of life" is a common phrase, yet too often stewardship is reduced to an annual program, the annual program is reduced to the means to achieve an end, and the end is reduced to the church budget. "Gratitude for all of life" may be a way to broaden and deepen our understanding and our use of the gifts God has given us.

Taking "The Offering" is not a modern development in Christian worship. From the outset, Christians who gathered for worship shared their resources. But in the early centuries, the offering was not for salaries and buildings, not even for church programs. A fascinating description of the offering is found in Tertullian's Apology, written at the close of the second century. He contrasts Christian use of the offering with the "dues" paid in pagan cultic associations.

“[The offering] is not made up of money paid in entrance-fees, as if religion were a matter of contract. Every man once a month brings some modest coin - or whatever he wishes, and only if he does wish, and if he can; for nobody is compelled; it is a voluntary offering. You might call them the trust funds of piety. For they are not spent upon banquets nor drinking-parties nor thankless eating-houses; but to feed the poor and to bury them, for boys and girls who lack property and parents, and then for slaves grown old and shipwrecked mariners; and any who may be in mines, islands, or prisons.

“Such work of love (for so it is) puts a mark upon us, in the eyes of some. ‘Look,’ they say, ‘how they love one another’ and ‘how they are ready to die for each other’."

What Tertullian doesn't say is that it was common practice in the early churches to share the fruits of their offering not only with fellow Christians, but also with pagan neighbors. They provided food for the poor and burials for the indigent; they opened their homes to orphans and discarded slaves; they rescued sailors; and they provided for prisoners in Roman "gulags." Tertullian doesn't mention that Christians typically cared for victims of Plague and other dangerous diseases. All of these were "thrown-away people" in Greco-Roman society.

We modern Presbyterians would do well to be reminded of the origin of "The Offering" as the plates are passed each Sunday . . . or as we write a monthly check, contribute online, or set up an automatic withdrawal account. We might also pay closer attention to what "The Offering" is for.

(Taken from the June 2016 newsletter, The Pastor's Life distributed by the Presbyterian Foundation)

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.