MINISTER – FRAN HAYES

This September, Littlefield will host an event that will focus on Presbyterianism, as part of a series on Comparative Christianity. This is part of the “Exploring our Religious Landscapes” program offered by the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metro Detroit with the purpose of helping people from various traditions discover our shared faith values. We're hoping that Littlefield people and neighbors from Dearborn will come together with people from around the metro Detroit area. We're also hoping for some volunteers who will help with hospitality, in terms of setting up tables for a catered meal, greeting, clean–up, and doing whatever is needed to make our guests feel welcome.

Those who participate in the series will receive a book, so I'm in the process of writing some information on Presbyterianism. The other events in this series will focus on Catholicism, Non–denominational Evangelicalism, and Unitarian Universalism. As you know, all Christians follow Jesus and are part of the body of Jesus Christ, and we have much in common. But Presbyterians are distinctive in some ways. In our theology, we are Reformed. Our name comes from our polity, the way we govern ourselves and make decisions. The Presbyterian church is governed by “presbyters”—that is “elders.” As our Book of Order states, our leaders are called elders not because they “lord it over” the congregation (Matthew 20:25), but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its faithfulness to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture the congregation's faith and life.

If you've been around for a while, you've probably heard it said that Presbyterians do things “decently and in order.” The way we make decisions is through a process of corporate discernment. For some years, our Littlefield Session has begun each meeting with prayer and a 30–minute Bible study, which centers us for the work that follows. We hear reports from our various committees and teams, and we seek the Spirit's guidance as we try to make faithful decisions about the life and mission of the congregation.

I am very grateful for the gifts and leadership of our Session members. I hope you will all pray for them and their work together. I also hope you will all be praying for our Nominating Committee this summer and early fall, as they seek to fill openings on the Session and our Board of Deacons. Terms are 3 years in length, and after 6 years, the officer is ineligible to serve again until they have had a year's sabbatical. For a congregation to be strong, healthy, vital and ready to meet challenges for a new time, we need to include new leaders with new insights and different gifts.

We know many people are very busy, and some may even wonder if they have the necessary gifts to serve. When we read the stories of how God works in the scriptures, we hear that God has used a lot of imperfect, unlikely people to do amazing, faithful things.

I hope and pray that it will continue to be so with us at Littlefield. If our Nominating committee contacts you, please pray about how God may be calling you to serve in an ordained ministry (elder or deacon) or on one of our committees or teams.

SCRIPTURE READINGS

July 2
Hebrew Scripture–Genesis 22:1–14
Psalm 13
Epistle Lesson–Romans 6:12–23
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 10:40–42

July 9
Hebrew Scripture–Genesis 24:34–38, 42–49, 58–67
Psalm 45:10–17 or Song of Solomon 2:8–13
Epistle Lesson–Romans 7:15–25a
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30

July 16
Hebrew Scripture–Genesis 25:19–34
Psalm 119:105–112
Epistle Lesson–Romans 8:1–11
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23

July 23
Hebrew Scripture–Genesis 28:10–19a
Psalm 139:1–12, 23–24
Epistle Lesson–Romans 8:12–25
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43

July 30
Hebrew Scripture–Genesis 29:15–28
Psalm 105:1–11, 45b or Psalm 128
Epistle Lesson–Romans 8:26–39
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 13:31–33, 44–52

August 6 Worship in the Park
Hebrew Scripture–Genesis 32:22–31
Psalm 17:1–7, 15
Epistle Lesson–Romans 9:1–5
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 14:13–21

August 13
Hebrew Scripture–Genesis 37:1–4, 12–28
Psalm 105:1–6, 16–22, 45b
Epistle Lesson–Romans 10:5–15
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 14:22–33

August 20
Hebrew Scripture–Genesis 45:1–15
Psalm 133
Epistle Lesson–Romans 11:1–2a, 29–32
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 15:10–28

August 27
Hebrew Scripture–Exodus 1:8–2:10
Psalm 124
Epistle Lesson–Romans 12:1–8
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 16:13–20

PRAYER MINISTRY

The Perfect Friend
I came to a moment in my spiritual life that changed my perspective. I realized that God had been with me, loving and caring for me during all the difficult times of my life. These difficult times span the time from infancy, when my parents separated for good, through adolescence, and to adulthood. I, a far–from–perfect human being, have always had a perfect friend ñ the kind of friend we all desire ñ who understood all my grief and every confused, faithless, vacillating, or weak moment. Jesus, I discovered, is the perfect friend who has acted to help me through my difficult times.

When I realized Jesus' perfect love for me, I could only desire one thing that would please him: that I cooperate in becoming more capable of returning that perfect love. I prayed that God would search my soul and point out my imperfections. God answers such prayers by providing the grace to overcome faults and to grow in wisdom and favor with our perfect Friend.

We should resolve to pray daily that God search our hearts, help us to know ourselves, and strengthen our resolve to act on the knowledge. Hiding from ourselves is hiding from God. But when God searches the soul, we are given the light to live faithfully.
– Upper Room


SCRIPTURE
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
try me, and know my thoughts.
– Psalm 139:23


THOUGHT FOR TWO MONTHS
As a Christian, my calling is clear. In this life
I don't get to play God, I get to imitate Jesus.
– FaceBook ñ submitted by J. Pavlovitz


PRAYER
O God, thank you for Jesus,
our perfect friend. Amen.
– Upper Room

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 10 at 10:30 a.m.

In addition, the Adult Bible Study class will resume on September 10 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!

PEACE CAMP 2017

Due to low registration numbers, Peace Camp 2017 has been cancelled. We are currently meeting to determine how to move forward with this ministry.

WORSHIP SERVICE AND CHURCH PICNIC
IN THE PARK AUGUST 6, 2017

We hope you will join us for our annual church picnic on Sunday, August 6, 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.

NEXT TAIZE SERVICE—SEPTEMBER 5

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

Join us Tuesday, September 5 @ 7:00 p.m.

EVANGELISM AND MEMBERSHIP

On June 12, the Engage! Book Group met in the lounge to discuss Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli. Although this book is only 100 pages long, we spent a good hour discussing issues surrounding immigration and refugees including the difference between those who are immigrants and those who are refugees. We also discussed how the author became involved with the lives of the children who were refugees from Central America. Luiselli's book does not provide answers; it does present a very moving look into the conditions that lead to social displacement and calls into question America's role in conditions that create refugees in our hemisphere.

For our next book, we will read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Jean Zimmerman in a review of this book for NPR states: “In Homegoing, a first novel that brims with compassion, writer Yaa Gyasi begins where the horrific Middle Passage began for so many, at the ‘glowing white’ Castle, one of about forty commercial fortresses erected by Europeans on the Gold Coast. The structure looms like a curse over Gyasi's sprawling epic of African families exploited by — and at times exploiting — the traffic in human chattel, tracing the 300-year-long repercussions of an original sin.”

The Engage! Book Group will meet on Wednesday, September 20, at 6:15 p.m. for a pizza and salad dinner. The book discussion will begin at 7:00 p.m. Homegoing is available in Kindle as well as hard cover and paperback.

Don't forget to mark your calendars for Sunday, August 6, for our Annual Worship in the Park in the Hemlock Shelter in Dearborn's Hemlock Park. This year our outdoor service falls on the first Sunday of the month, which means that we will also be celebrating communion on that day. Of course, the church picnic immediately follows the worship service. Come rain or shine and enjoy a time of worship, food, and fellowship.

YOUR DONATIONS ARE APPRECIATED!

As you travel this summer, staying at hotels/motels, please remember the Presbyterian Women's Ingathering is in need of personal care items for personal kits. These kits are distributed to homeless shelters around the Detroit area.

We need SAMPLE sizes of: bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, mouthwash and toothpaste. We also need toothbrushes and disposable razors. We do not need shower caps and sewing kits.

There is a basket on the table in the library for donations.
     Thank you.

BLESSINGS IN A BACKPACK

Our new ministry of Blessings in a Backpack, providing McDonald School children with supplementary food for the weekend, is off to a good start but more funds are needed to be ready for the 2017 – 2018 school year. Any size donation would be helpful! The more people who donate, the more we all OWN THE PROGRAM. To contribute, please make the checks payable to Littlefield Church. The church will send on all contributions at one time. Thanks for your help. If you wish to learn more about the program, please see the Michigan website at www.blessingsinabackpackmi.org/.

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.