MINISTER - FRAN HAYES

In the days after Charlottesville, I participated in two vigils: one at Henry Ford Centennial Library and one at UM Dearborn. At both, we mourned the loss of three lives--Heather Heyer, who was killed by a white nationalist who drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, and two VA state troopers who were killed when their helicopter crashed near the protest. The crowds gathered at both vigils included Christian and Muslim clergy, persons of color and white, gay and straight, elected officials, students, and a variety of concerned citizens who wanted to be together, in community, and find consolation, strength, and inspiration together. We lamented the hatred and racism we heard in the chants of the white supremacists in the “Unite the Right” rally. We also heard challenges to work for a nation that includes everyone in the founding dream of “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

As I continue to reflect on the Charlottesville rally, I remember the vivid images in news reports. The white supremacists held torches and chanted phrases such as “You will not replace us!” “Jews will not replace us!” “White lives matter!” “Blood and soil!” In contrast, people of faith who gathered in churches and then walked quietly to Emancipation Park stood with arms locked together, praying and singing, “This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shineÖ” I keep thinking about what makes the difference in how we live our lives. Our lives are shaped and guided by the values and stories that we learn.

As followers of Jesus, our faith teaches us that there is only one race: the human race. The other “races” are social constructs that people have made up to justify dehumanizing other human beings and using and oppressing them. Our faith teaches us that every human being is created in the image of God and is precious in God's sight. Our faith teaches us that we are required to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. Our faith teaches us that there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female, for all are one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28) and that Christ is our peace, who made us one and destroyed the dividing wall (Ephesians 2:14) and entrusted us with a ministry of reconciliation.

When we say that racism is a sin, we may want to protect ourselves and others by limiting “racism” or “white supremacy” to people in KKK hoods or wearing swastikas. Our faith teaches us that “if we claim we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9) So, acknowledging the systemic racism in which we have participated, the privileges from which we benefit because of the color of our skin can be liberating and life-giving. I agree with Jim Wallis when he says, “We can no longer be afraid of the truth about race in this country--past, present, and future--because our fears will keep us captive to all kinds of untruths.” As Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” I believe that the gospel has the power to set us free--as individuals, as a community, as a society--if we have ears to hear the good newsÖif we have faith to trust in God's power to transform us and bind us together in Beloved Community.

May it be so for us, in our time.
Shalom – salam – peace.

SCRIPTURE READINGS

September 3
Hebrew Scripture-Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b
Epistle Lesson-Romans 12:9-21
Gospel Lesson-Matthew 16:21-28

September 10
Hebrew Scripture-Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149
Epistle Lesson-Romans 13:8-14
Gospel Lesson-Matthew 18:15-20

September 17
Hebrew Scripture-Exodus 14:19-31
Psalm 114 or Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21
Epistle Lesson-Romans 14:1-12
Gospel Lesson-Matthew 18:21-35

September 24
Hebrew Scripture-Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Epistle Lesson-Philippians 1:21-30
Gospel Lesson-Matthew 20:1-16

PRAYER MINISTRY

CONVERSATION WITH GOD
Oh 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. Too often, though, I'm more prone to Mark Twain's approach: “When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.”
But I know that's not okay. 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. — A Women's Daily Prayer Book


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
When you are offended at anyone's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger. — Epictetus


SCRIPTURE
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness.
— James 1:19-20


PRAYER OF PRAISE
Dear Lord, today I will focus my thoughts on Your will for my life. I will strive to make decisions that are pleasing to You, and I will strive to follow in the footsteps of Your Son.
Amen

PEACE AND GLOBAL WITNESS OFFERING

“So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those of you who were near.” Ephesians 2:14-17.

This year the Presbyterian Church (USA) is claiming A Season of Peace from September 3 through October 1. This four-week period builds on the Presbyterian commitment to peacemaking established in 1980. As followers of Christ, our call to work for peace begins in our own neighborhoods and extends to the end of the earth. On October 1, we will be receiving the Peace and Global Witness Offering. This offering supports the wide- ranging witness of the whole church, here and abroad, in promoting peace. Twenty-five percent of this offering remains with Littlefield, to be used for local peace-making efforts. Sign up to receive daily reflections, Path of Peace, during A Season of Peace: Click here and scroll down to Path of Peace under Advocacy and Social Justice.

TAIZE WORSHIP

SEPTEMBER 5 @ 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 its next Gathering at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Detroit on Wednesday, September 6, from 9:45 a.m. through lunch. There will be a panel discussion addressing Justice and Peace concerns. Lunch will cost $8.00 and reservations can be made to the church office by Thursday, August 31.

The Littlefield Presbyterian Women will be sponsoring a brunch after worship on Good News Sunday, September 24. Members and friends are all invited to attend.

FALL SCHEDULE BEGINS ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10!

Adult Sunday School @ 9:00 a.m.

Choir Rehearsal @ 9:30 a.m.

Childcare @ 10:15 a.m.

Worship Service @ 10:30 a.m.

Children's Sunday School – when excused from worship

WORSHIP & CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Christian Education begins for Children and Adults:
Sunday, September 10
, is the first day of our fall schedule. The Adult Bible Study class will meet at 9:00 a.m. in the Lounge on the first floor of the Education Building. The class members will determine the book they will study at the first meeting. All are welcome to attend and the time 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 will continue to provide Childcare for children 4 years old and younger during worship. If you have any questions about Children's Sunday School or Childcare, please call the church office.

Music Ministry at Littlefield:
The adult choir will begin on Sunday, September 10, with rehearsal at 9:30 a.m. and welcomes everyone who wishes to praise God with their voice. We normally rehearse before the service at 9:45 a.m. and after the service from noon to 1:00 p.m.

If you are interested in joining the vocal choir or sharing your musical talents, please contact the church office. Thank you to all who shared their musical talents with us during the summer months.

CENTS-ABILITY COLLECTION

It will soon be time for our next Cents- Ability (Two Cents a Meal), offering, which will take place on Sunday, September 10. It will have been 119 days since our last collection and at 2 cents/meal per day we should have collected $7.14 each. This offering will go to the Presbyterian Hunger Program where it will help feed those who often don't have three meals a day. If you are able to give more than the $7.14, your extra gift will be greatly appreciated.

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 10. 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!
    The Presbyterian Women

MARY CIRCLE

September 11 @ 7:30 p.m.

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!

INTERFAITH PRAYERS FOR PEACE: SEPTEMBER 17

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.

EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

We had a great time at the Littlefield Annual Picnic at Hemlock Park on August 6. The weather cooperated giving us a cool and partly cloudy day. We had 52 people gather together for our worship in the park which this year included the celebration of the Lord's Supper. Many thanks to the grillmasters for cooking and to the musicians for providing some great music. Also, a big thanks for all the refreshments and the great salads and desserts that were brought to the picnic.

Our next Engage! Book Group will meet on Wednesday, September 20, to discuss “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi. We will gather at 6:15 p.m. for a pizza and salad dinner. The book discussion will begin at 7:00 p.m. Jean Zimmerman in a review of “Homegoing” 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 ëglowing 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 ó and at times exploiting ó the traffic in human chattel, tracing the 300-year- long repercussions of an original sin.” “Homegoing” is available in Kindle as well as hard cover and paperback.

Good News Sunday is scheduled for September 24. This is a great time to share the good things that are happening in our lives and to give thanks to the Lord for his blessings. There will be a brunch in the Fellowship Hall immediately following the service.

Come and walk the labyrinth! The Taize Worship Service on Tuesday, October 3, at 7:00 p.m. will be followed by a labyrinth walk in the Fellowship Hall. Beth Delaney once again has kindly allowed us to use a labyrinth that she has created. The labyrinth provides a guided walk toward a center point and back. Many experience calm and peace as they journey in and out of the labyrinth's path.

On a final note, we have planned a trip to the Detroit Historical Museum for Sunday, October 15. We will leave the Church at 2:30 p.m. Admission to the museum is free. In remembrance of the 1967 Rebellion, the museum has a special exhibit entitled Detroit 67: Perspectives. The DHM website states: “Detroit 67: Perspectives begins by looking at the complex, compounding factors that took place across metropolitan Detroit during the 50 years prior to 1967, followed by a review of the unrest that occurred between July 23 and August 1, 1967. Next, the exhibition explores the past 50 years up to the present day, detailing the progress we have made as well the setbacks we have encountered. The exhibition narrative concludes by offering a perspective on what lies ahead and will challenge the community to use what we have learned in the past 100+ years to help create a future for Detroit filled with unparalleled promise and opportunity.”

After viewing the exhibit, we will gather in a local restaurant for a time of food, fellowship, and reflection.

GOOD NEWS SUNDAY

Be sure to join us on September 24 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 25 @ 6:30 p.m.
The group will continue the study of The Church and Politics, Chapter 5. Dinner will be at 6:30 p.m. with the lesson/discussion to follow at 7:00 p.m. in the Lounge. If you have any questions, please contact the church office. All men are invited.

ADVOCACY IN ACTION: A WORKSHOP ON FAITHFUL ADVOCACY

There will be Advocacy Training for beginners and for all of us. How do we get started? How do we channel our energies into advocacy and action? How do we keep from burning out?

The Rev. Jimmie R. Hawkins, Director of the Office of Public Witness, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will facilitate the workshop.

Monday, September 25 5:30 - 8:00 pm. – Dinner Included

Calvary Presbyterian Church 19125 Greenview Ave., Detroit, MI

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

PRESBYTERIAN 101

From time to time, it seems appropriate to share some basics about Presbyterianism, which can be an introduction to newer people and a review for others. In the Presbyterian Church, we have three ordained offices: Minister of Word and Sacrament/Teaching Elder, Elder, and Deacon. Since we have our election of officers at a congregational meeting in late October, it seems like a good time to focus on the two “non-clergy” ordered ministries.

Our Book of Order states that the Church's ministry is a gift from Jesus Christ to the whole Church. Christ alone rules, calls, teaches, and uses the Church as he wills, exercising his authority by the ministry of women and men for the establishment and extension of God's new creation. Christ's ministry is the foundation and standard for all ministry, the pattern of the one who came “not to be served but to serve.” (Matt. 20:28)

You may have noticed that our worship bulletin declares that every member is a minister. Members and those who have been called, elected, and ordained to ordered ministries serve together under the mandate of Christ. The call to ordered ministry in the Church “is the act of the triune God. This call is evidenced by the movement of the Holy spirit in the individual conscience, the approval of a community of God's people, and the concurring judgment of a council of the Church.” (G-2.0103)

To those called to exercise special functions in the church, God gives suitable gifts for their duties. Those who undertake particular ministries should be “persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Their manner of life should be a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and in the world.” (G-2.0104)

The ministry of deacon is one of “compassion, witness, and service, sharing in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress.” Persons of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brother and sisterly love, sincere compassion, and sound judgment should be chosen for this ministry. (G-2.0201)

In both the Old Testament times and in the New Testament church, persons with particular gifts were chosen to share in the discernment of God's Spirit and governance of God's people. Accordingly, congregations should elect persons of wisdom and maturity of faith, having demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit, to discern and measure the congregation's faithfulness to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. Ruling elders, together with teaching elders, exercise leadership government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships. (G-2.0301)

Why is this important for us all to remember during this season? Because the faithful witness of the congregation depends on faithful leadership and service. Because we need to include newer people in our leadership, to gain new insights and gifts and to ensure that Littlefield's mission is sustainable in the long term.

We hope our minister members will remember that the scriptures teach us that God often calls people who are imperfect or who feel inadequate to do God's work. So, if someone from the Nominating Committee calls you, please don't be too quick to say, “Not me. Not now.” Please keep this in your prayers. Let's be in conversation about whether God may be calling you to use your gifts in service to the Church.

UNFORTUNATELY, PEACE CAMP WAS CANCELLED THIS YEAR!

BLESSINGS IN A BACKPACK

By the end of August, we have reached our goal of $1,200 towards providing weekend backpacks of food to 40 students at McDonald School. This is wonderful news and reaching our goal did not impact the church budget. THANK YOU all for your support!

With our funds in hand, there are several ways that we could still use some help. Each week, folks gather at Christ Episcopal Church to pack 400 backpacks that will go out to schools all over the city. Each week, each sponsoring group is responsible for picking up the packs from Christ Episcopal and taking them to their sponsored school; in our case, to take the filled backpacks to McDonald School. Can you help with either or both of these once in a while? They do not take a lot of time and it would be very helpful.

The food in each backpack is a minimal amount. With more funds, we could include a bit more food in each pack. Can you help?

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.