MINISTER – FRAN HAYES

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

For those who long for a more peaceful and just world, it's painful to see the injustices, conflict, divisiveness and violence we see in our nation and across the globe. I want to do something to help make a more peaceful world a reality, but it can feel overwhelming. That's why I'm grateful to be part of the church and an interfaith community.

The ministries of peacemaking and reconciliation witness to the Prince of Peace. They remind us that, with all the discord, pain, and conflict in our communities and in the world, we serve a God who promises harmony and responds to violence with reconciliation and peace, a God who desires to work through us to change the world, together with our brothers and sisters in Christ and with interfaith partners.

Littlefield Presbyterian Church has a long–time commitment to mission and connection to all of Christ's Church. In recent decades, Littlefield has been strongly committed to building bridges with our neighbors and making peace and has helped to lead the way in nurturing relationships in the interfaith community. It was wonderful to celebrate our unity with Muslim and Jewish friends on September 17, as we came together for our annual Interfaith Prayer for Peace. We also had the opportunity to host an “Exploring Our Religious Landscapes” program on Presbyterianism through the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metro Detroit (IFLC) that week.

The month of October offers many opportunities for us to grow in our commitment to unity, peacemaking, and mission. We begin with World Communion Sunday and the Peace and Global Witness offering. Presbyterian Women are gathering baby layette and other items to contribute to our presbytery–wide ingathering. We have opportunities to help the people of Puerto Rico through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Also, we will address hunger when we observe World Food Day on October 15.

The letter to the Ephesians tells us that Jesus came to proclaim a peace that is universal and is not limited by time or geography. As followers of Christ, our call to witness and work for peace begins in our own neighborhoods and extends to the ends of the earth. Until peace and well–being for all abounds in our world, let us live into hope as we pray and work for peace.
Salam — shalom — peace!

SCRIPTURE READINGS

October 1 World Communion Sunday
Hebrew Scripture–Exodus 17:1–7
Psalm 78:1–4, 12–16
Epistle Lesson–Philippines 2:1–13
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 21:23–32

October 8
Hebrew Scripture–Exodus 20:1–4, 7–9, 12–20
Psalm 19
Epistle Lesson–Philippines 3:4b–14
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 21:33–46

October 15
Hebrew Scripture–Exodus 32:1–14
Psalm 106:1–6, 19–23
Epistle Lesson–Philippines 4:1–9
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 22:1–14

October 22
Hebrew Scripture–Exodus 33:12–23
Psalm 99
Epistle Lesson–1 Thessalonians 1:1–10
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 22:15–22

October 29
Hebrew Scripture–Deuteronomy 34:1–12
Psalm 90:1–6, 13–17
Epistle Lesson–1 Thessalonians 2:1–8
Gospel Lesson–Matthew 22:34–46

PRAYER MINISTRY

Gifts of Autumn
Autumn brings us misty mornings
With a crispness in the air,
Sapphire–blue skies shining brightly
And a brilliance everywhere.
Autumn brings us painted hillsides
With their foliage all ablaze —
Reds and yellow, scarlet, amber
Set against a purple haze.
Autumn brings us crimson maples,
Aspens that are gowned in gold,
Evergreens that lend their color —
All a beauty to behold!
Autumn brings us mums and asters,
Goldenrod and cattails tall,
Frosty evenings, warmth of fireside,
Full moon that gold–glimmers all.
Autumn brings us fruitful harvest,
Lavish bounty of the land,
Blessings with each day unfolding —
Gifts from God's all–gracious hand.
– Beverly J. Anderson


Prayer
Lord, fill our lives with your love. Then let us
thank you for filling our lives with your peace,
giving us strength to achieve positive
attitudes in our daily living. Amen


Thought For The Day
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
but their echoes are truly endless.”
– Mother Teresa (1910 — 1997)


Today's Chuckle
So many people like golf because it's the
only endeavor that rewards you for a
performance that's under par.

PEACE & GLOBAL OFFERING

On October 1, Worldwide Communion Sunday, we will end our four–week “Season of Peace” by receiving the Peace and Global Witness Offering. Twenty–five percent of this offering stays with our congregation to be used for ministries that our members feel are most important, such as peace education and training for children. The rest will be sent to The Presbyterian Mission Agency to be used where it is most needed throughout this country and the world. As followers of Christ, our call to work for peace begins in our own neighborhoods and extends to the end of the world. Your gifts express your commitment to a more just and peaceful world.

MARY CIRCLE

October 2 @ 7:30 p.m.
If you have an interest in this Women's Circle, please contact the church office. The study this month will be over Lesson 2 in Cloud of Witnesses, the Horizons Bible Study. This circle normally meets the 1st Monday of every month and shares a devotional, study and dessert. All women are welcome!

TAIZE WORSHIP – OCTOBER 3 @ 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 to come and renew your spirit. You are invited to dress comfortably. Please stay afterward to Walk the Labyrinth. More details are in the Evangelism and Membership article. Invite a friend!

EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

Our Engage! Book Group met on the evening of September 20. Ten people were able to meet for dinner at 6:15 p.m and then four more joined us at 7:00 p.m. for our discussion of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. The discussion was quite engaging as we explored how Yaa Gyasi brings to life the emotional and physical impact of slavery through the lives of 14 characters, spanning several generations. If you have not read this book, we highly recommend it.

Our next Engage! Book Group will be meeting on Wednesday, November 8, to discuss The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. We will gather at 6:15 p.m. for a pizza and salad dinner. The book discussion will begin at 7:00 p.m. The New Jim Crow is available in Kindle as well as hard cover and paperback. In regard to this book, Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO, NAACP states: “For every century there is a crisis in our democracy, the response to which defines how future generations view those who were alive at the time. In the 18th century it was the transatlantic slave trade, in the 19th century it was slavery, in the 20th century it was Jim Crow. Today it is mass incarceration. Alexander's book offers a timely and original framework for understanding mass incarceration, its roots to Jim Crow, our modern caste system, and what must be done to eliminate it. This book is a call to action.”

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 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.

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

BREAD FOR THE WORLD SUNDAY

Bread for the World Sunday is an opportunity to engage in God's work to end hunger. In our worship and prayers, we remember all those in need. We join thousands of Christians who speak up for those who struggle to survive. Moved by God's grace in Jesus Christ, we reach out to help our neighborsówhether they live next door, in the next state, or on the next continent.

Jesus took five loaves and two fish and shared them with more than 5,000 people so that “all ate and were filled” (Matthew 14:20). In the end, there was such an abundance that 12 baskets were full of leftovers. As we rejoice in Christ's abundant grace in our lives, we are called to share in God's vision of a world where all people “will hunger no more” (Revelation 7:16).

In developing nations, 836 million people live in extreme povertyóon less than $1.25 per day. In our own country, one of five children lives in a family that struggles to put food on the table.

We have the knowledge and resources to end widespread hunger. Churches have led the way in providing emergency food here in the U.S.A. and in helping farmers in Africa and elsewhere grow more food. But our nation's decision makers must also change the policies and conditions that allow hunger to persist. Today and in the weeks ahead, you can turn your faith in God's promise of new life in Christ into action when you:

  • Pray for all those who struggle with hunger and poverty
  • Learn more about the causes of hunger in the U.S.A. and abroadó and about how to end hunger
  • Supportówith your time and moneyó local and international efforts that provide food for hungry people
  • Speak up for hungry people by writing or calling your members of Congress. Urge them to create a circle of protection around funding for programs vital to hungry people in the U.S.A. and overseas.

Bread for the World is a collective voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Working with both Republican and Democratic leaders, Bread for the World is supported by all major church bodies. Bread for the World equips and inspires us for being God's agents of love and compassion, encouraging us to use citizenship to change the policies and conditions that allow hunger to persist.

On their website are resources for those that wish to get more involved. Among these resources are: “What You Can Do to End Hunger” booklet and “Exodus from Hunger” a book written by David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and winner of the 2010 World Food Prize. For more information, you can go to www.bread.org. You can also contact them at 1–800–822–7323. You can be God's hands and feet in the worldócreating new hope and opportunity for hungry people.

Prayer for Bread for the World Sunday:
O God, we remember all those who suffer from hunger and hardship. May our faith in Jesus move us to persist in urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger in your world. We give thanks for Bread for the World and all those who inspire and support us to be agents of your love and compassion. In the Spirit of the Risen Christ, we continue to live in joy and hope. Amen.

The theme scripture for 2017 is Matthew 22:1–14. This scripture is the Gospel's invitation to take part in the banquet of God's mercy and abundance that is ours through Jesus Christ. Our prayerful work to end hunger is a response to this parable.

We will recognize Bread for the World Sunday on October 15.

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN OF DETROIT INGATHERING

The PWPD will hold their annual Ingathering of mission donations on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 16, 17, and 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Detroit. Many hands are needed in order to receive, sort, count and distribute items brought in by about 40 churches in the Detroit Presbytery, including Littlefield. These items are then delivered to over 35 agencies in the metro Detroit area. Both men and women are needed to help. Please contact the church office if you are interested in volunteering.

MEN'S BIBLE STUDY GROUP

October 23 @ 6:30 p.m.
The group will continue the study of The Church and Politics, Session 6, Transformative Politics: Healing our Democracy. Dinner will be provided at 6:30 p.m. Discussion will follow at 7:00 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact the church office. All men are invited.

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN

October is the month of missions for the Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of Detroit (PWPD). However, there will not be a PWPD Gathering in October. Instead, there will be a Mission Gathering at the Second Mile Center in Detroit on Saturday, November 4. We will collect food for Thanksgiving baskets, and work on children's projects. A prayer walk in the community will be included, plus an outdoor clean–up and fix–up. It will truly be a Mission Day! Details will follow.

MISSION ACTIVITIES

* Blessings in a Backpack is now underway for this school year at McDonald School. It is hard to believe but true that 50 children will get a food pack every week. Our donations of $1,200 were matched by a $4,000 grant from the national Blessings in a Backpack organization. This is a Littlefield Church hands–on project. Will you help? Check with the church office to see how.

* The Session approved the contribution of 3 clean–up buckets to help in the aftermath of the hurricanes in Texas and Florida. The buckets were collected by the Presbytery of Detroit and are now being delivered to the site. The need for disaster assistance is very great. It is very easy to give your donation online through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance at www.pcusa.org/pda. If you want to write a check you can give through Littlefield (notation PDA hurricane assistance). This is a very long–term project ahead and much help is need. Can you help?

PROPERTY COMMITTEE

This has been a busy time of the year for this committee. There is lots to do as we prepare for a new program year for Littlefield and then for the various rental groups using our facilities as well. Here are some of what has been going on:

  • Who would have believed a year ago that we would have “growing pains” or have all of our space being used? The Session has tried to balance the needs of our church, our Hispanic congregation, the pre–school program and now the Dearborn Public Schools English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Not everything works perfectly but we can feel blessed that our resources are used 100% again.
  • The Session has approved up to $500.00 for the purchase of new trees to replace some of those that were removed over the last couple years.
  • DTE has completed work on installing new gas lines into our church and in the church neighborhood. Now the gas meter room needs to be cleaned up and everything that belongs in there returned to the right space.

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE SCHOOL KITS

We collected 34 School Kits for Church World Service which were delivered to the CWS depot in Maumee, Ohio on September 15. From there they will be delivered to the CWS warehouse in Maryland to await distribution to children in poverty, disaster or refugee situations who may not be able to purchase even simple school supplies. CWS values each school kit at $15, so our gift total is $510. Thank you Littlefielders!

PW GARAGE SALE

The Presbyterian Women held a garage sale fundraiser on Saturday, September 23. The 90–degree weather wasn't stopping the shopping – we raised a total of $944!

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

What a wonderful time we had at our annual observance of International Day of Peace on September 17. Friends and neighbors from the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities joined us. During the interfaith worship service, we heard wisdom from the three Abrahamic traditions, practiced respectful presence, and prayed together for peace in our communities, our nation, and the world.

Cantor Roger Skully from the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue sang scriptural songs in Hebrew and English and also sang a benediction at the end of the service. Ehsan Karimi from the Islamic House of Wisdom recited and translated verses from the Qur'an. Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi from IHW brought a message of peace, and Pastor Fran preached on themes from the Hebrew prophets and Jesus and challenged us all to work together for a more peaceful, merciful, and just world for everyone.

After worship, we encouraged conversation and making new friends while people enjoyed refreshments.

This event is about finding common ground shared by our religious traditions and building bridges of friendship and understanding. When we have these events, we are truly witnessing to God's love and building bridges of understanding.

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.