MINISTER - FRAN HAYES

“Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

We've spent several weeks recently in the Gospel according to John, specifically in chapter 6. The chapter begins with a miraculous story of how Jesus fed thousands of hungry people with just two fish and five barley loaves. But then the chapter moves on to Jesus' teachings about the “bread of heaven,” and the disciples learn that following Jesus isn't a nice picnic.

Jesus speaks plainly: Don't work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which is offered as a gift to you. I am the bread of life. Eat and live. Jesus' adversaries dispute his claims, and the disciples grumble. Jesus addresses the disciples' doubts and asks them plainly, “Does this offend you? Do you also wish to go away?”

I think if we're honest with ourselves, we need to admit our own doubts about some of Jesus' teachings, because these teachings are difficult. If we don't hear that, we may not be really hearing his truth or taking it seriously. Or, if we've lived lives of relative comfort and privilege, we may not want to believe that Jesus' teachings have authority for our lives when they call us to bring news to the poor and proclaim release to the captives, to let the oppressed go free. Jesus' commandment to love puts us in the company of people we might not choose. His challenge to share and not to hoard up for ourselves earthly treasures requires us to trust in God's abundance. These teachings are hard. The Bread of Life is not comfort food that confirms the status quo. Jesus offers us the Bread of Life so that we can be salt and light and leaven in the world. But where else can we go? Jesus has the words of eternal life.

The good news is that Jesus keeps offering himself--the Bread of Life-- to us. Jesus calls us into his community, the Beloved Community. In the Beloved Community, we nurture and challenge and encourage one another to hear Christ's truths, to embody them in how we love one another, and to go out into the world to serve Christ by sharing his love and working for his justice.

Jesus the Christ invites us to follow him in the way of love and life. If we say "yes" to him, not just with our voices, but with our very lives, then we choose the path that leads to eternal life. I pray that we will continue to choose life.

Peace…Salam…Shalom.

SCRIPTURE READINGS

September 2
Hebrew Scripture-Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
Epistle Lesson-James 1:17-27
Gospel Lesson-Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

September 9
Hebrew Scripture-Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
Psalm 125
Epistle Lesson-James 2:1-17
Gospel Lesson-Matthew 7:24-37

September 16
Hebrew Scripture-Proverbs 1:20-33
Psalm 19
Epistle Lesson-James 3:1-2
Gospel Lesson-Mark 8:27-38

September 23
Hebrew Scripture-Proverbs 31:10-31
Psalm 1
Epistle Lesson-James 3:13-4:3; 7-8a
Gospel Lesson-Mark 9:30-37

September 30
Hebrew Scripture-Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
Psalm 124
Epistle Lesson-James 5:13-20
Gospel Lesson-Mark 9:38-50

PRAYER MINISTRY

Time For Prayer
The importance of prayer can't be overstated. It is our lifeline to God. Sure, we can get by without it for a period of time, but we soon find ourselves feeling confused and overwhelmed. Trying to go it on our own may seem strong, but it is futile. If we get in the habit of prayer, we have peace of mind to head off any destructive feelings before they snowball.

Spiritual needs for nourishment and refreshment are very much like physical needs. Our hearts and minds can feel weary and worn for dealing with the “stuff” of life. Connecting with God through prayer brings spiritual renewal—like a shower for our soul and a meal for our spirit. Jesus himself, when he was weary from hunger and tempted by the devil to turn stones to bread, replied, “It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (Matthew 4:4).

Daily prayer does not even have to involve a very large time commitment; some days we may spend just a few meaningful moments in prayer. On days when we have more time to devote to it, we may spend an hour or so in prayer and reflection. The important thing is to make a daily appointment for prayer and keep this appointment. A lapse of one day may lead to one lapse after another.

Take that bit of time every day to feed your soul through prayer. Remember, all things are possible through prayer!
— A Woman's Daily Prayer Book


Thought For The Month
To handle yourself, use your head; To handle others, use your heart.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

TAIZE WORSHIP – SEPTEMBER 4 @ 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!

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 9. 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 lounge, 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

FALL SCHEDULE BEGINS ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9!

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 9
, 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 study is Sacred Texts of the World, a DVD & discussion set. 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 to 10, will sit in the worship service with their family until released for Sunday School, which meets on the second floor of the Education Building.

Music Ministry at Littlefield:
The adult choir will begin on Sunday, September 9, 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.

CHILDREN'S SUNDAY SCHOOL

…Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” Matthew 19:14 NRSV. And so, we begin Sunday School for our youth on Sunday, September 9. Bring your children to worship at 10:30 a.m. and after the choral anthem, those aged 5 – 10 years are invited to join us for Sunday School upstairs in the education building.

We are blessed to have four dedicated Christian educators. This year our leaders will be using the curriculum “Growing in Grace & Gratitude.”

Children from infancy to four years old are invited to the nursery upstairs in the education building on Sunday mornings. The nursery opens at 10:15 a.m.

Let us nurture and feed our children the Word.

MARY CIRCLE – September 10 @ 7:30 p.m.

If you have an interest in this Women's Circle, please contact the church office. The study will cover the introduction and first chapter of God's Promise – I Am with You. This circle normally meets the 1st Monday of every month and shares a devotional, study and dessert. All women are welcome!

EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

Once again, we were blessed with beautiful weather for the Littlefield Annual Picnic on August 12. Many thanks to our cooks and musicians, including our guest that played the bagpipes!

Our Engage! Book Group will meet on Wednesday, September 12. Before the discussion begins at 7:00 p.m., we will gather at 6:15 p.m. for a pizza and salad dinner. We will discuss Colson Whitehead's, The Underground Railroad: A Novel. This is a very creative approach (akin to science fiction) which deals with the horrors of slavery. Amazon.com writes: “As [Colson] Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the terrors of the antebellum era, he weaves in the saga of our nation, from the brutal abduction of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is both the gripping tale of one woman's will to escape the horrors of bondage√≥and a powerful meditation on the history we all share.” We encourage all to come.

Our 2018 Membership Directory has been printed, collated, and distributed. Many thanks to everyone who had a hand in this project. If you need a directory, please contact the Church office.

Good News Sunday is scheduled for September 30. 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.

We are planning an outing to the Holocaust Memorial Center located on Orchard Lake Rd just north of 12 Mile Rd. in Farmington Hills. The date has yet to be determined but we are looking at a Sunday afternoon toward the end of October. We are planning to meet at the Holocaust Memorial Center at 3:00 p.m. The Center closes at 5:00 p.m. If you are interested in going and need a ride, please contact the church office. The admission fees are: Adults – $8.00; Senior Adults (62 and Older) – $6.00; University/College Students (w/ID) – $6.00; Middle and High School Students – $5.00. After our visit, we will meet for dinner at a restaurant in the vicinity of the Center.

The Utica United Methodist Church in Sterling Heights, MI is offering a workshop entitled “Healthy Congregations” on Friday, October 5, (6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.) through Saturday, October 6 (9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). If you would like to attend as part of a group from Littlefield, please contact the church office by Sunday, September 16. The Evangelism and Membership Committee will cover the cost for early registration. The event information states: “The Healthy Congregations workshop uses the insights of family systems theory to help church leaders become more effective stewards of their congregations. ...Many pastors and other church leaders have come to recognize the importance of understanding family systems theory as it relates to congregations. The Healthy Congregations workshop helps both clergy and lay leaders expand their insight into how churches function as emotional systems.”

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN

The PWPD (Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of Detroit) will meet on Saturday, September 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a Fall work day at the Second Mile Center in Detroit. Work projects will include food donations, kitchen cleanup, organizing the pantry and craft room, and preparing craft kits for the children. Presbyterian Men are welcome to join us as we work together. The cost for lunch is $10.00. For reservations please call the church office. Please bring non-perishable food items for the Holiday Food Baskets to this gathering. The items needed for each basket are:

  • 1 Box of elbow macaroni
  • 2 Cans of cranberry sauce
  • 1 Container of frosting
  • 1 Box cake or brownie mix
  • 2 Cans of green beans or corn
  • 1 Box/bag of white self-rising corn meal

If you would prefer to provide perishable items, please bring a $50.00 check payable to PWPD or the Second Mile Center of Detroit, or purchase gift cards from Kroger, Walmart, Sam's Club, or Target. Any amount is appreciated.

The Mary Circle will meet on Monday, September 10, at 7:30 p.m. We will begin our study on the Horizon Bible Study, “God's Promise – I am with you.”

ALERT!!! To usher in the start of a new season at Littlefield Church, you are all invited by the Presbyterian Women to attend our Annual Fall Brunch. It will be held after the worship service on Sunday, September 16, in Fellowship Hall. It is always a fun time to get together with good food and fellowship ... so don't miss out. See ya there!

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 23. It will have been 224 days since our last collection and at 2 cents/meal per day we should have collected $13.44 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 $13.44, your extra gift will be greatly appreciated.

INTERFAITH PRAYERS FOR PEACE: SEPTEMBER 23

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.

MEN'S BIBLE STUDY GROUP
September 24 @ 6:30 p.m.

The group will begin studying Interrupting Silence, God's Command to Speak Out by W. Brueggemann. Dinner will be at 6:30 p.m. with the lesson/discussion over the Introduction and Chapter One, to follow at 7:00 p.m. in the Lounge. If you have any questions or need a book, please contact the church office. All men are invited!

WANT TO GO FOR A WALK?

Join the Mission and Outreach Team for “Zaman International's Run/Walk Picnic” on Saturday, September 29, at Ford Field in Dearborn. 5K and 10K runners start as early as 8:30 a.m. Walkers, families and the Kid Run begins later, followed by a bar-b-que, picnic, games and more. Sign up or sponsor a walker for $15-$50 to support Zaman. Can't do either of those? Zaman will be collecting gently used shoes and clothing following the race. For more info contact the church office or visit www.runwalkpicnic.org.

GOOD NEWS SUNDAY

Be sure to join us on September 30 for Good News Sunday. 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. 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!

“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)

KROGER REWARDS

Are you a Kroger Rewards customer? You can now earn money for Littlefield while you shop:

  1. Visit www.kroger.com/topic/kroger-community-rewards-3
  2. Scroll down to Michigan and click on “Request Your Kroger Plus Card”
  3. Either sign in to your Kroger online account OR create one for free
  4. Enter “Littlefield” in the Find an Organization search box
  5. When you see the Littlefield box, select “Enroll”
  6. Shop as usual with your rewards card!

Don't forget you can also earn easy money for Littlefield through Amazon Smile. Are you technologically uncertain? Please contact the church office to help you set up either of these accounts!

LITTLEFIELD LOGO

Button, button - who needs a button? A limited amount of new, blue Littlefield logo buttons are available for anyone who would like one (free!). Look for them during coffee hour once we move back to the sanctuary for service. More will be made available at a later date.

MISSION & OUTREACH

The Mission & Outreach Team needs help brainstorming. We have the opportunity to apply for Phase 2 of the Faith in Action grant, which will distribute among applicants the remaining $300,000 for outreach. How can God work through us to serve our community? How could this grant best be used in mission work we initiate? Let's talk. Let's pray. Please contact the church office to discuss your suggestions.

PEACE CAMP 2018

“Peace, Peace, starts with me. Let's be the best that we can be!” Most of you have been witnesses and volunteers to Peace Camp for years, but my boys and I got to experience it for the first time this summer. Through the eyes of new campers, we saw the Fellowship Hall completely transformed with colorful banners and signs, and areas made into stations for check-in, crafts, music, water usage charts, a graffiti wall and an abundance of building supplies and materials. The ESL classroom was converted to a dining room where the campers and families shared meals each night. The Peacebuilder Pledge was displayed proudly, setting the tone - and our purpose.

Over the course of the 3 evenings, the 24 campers (ages 6-12) explored the themes of identifying what peace is; what characteristics make a peacebuilder; understanding conflict and learning tools to resolve it; and how we can make peaceful choices to be peacebuilders in our community. We sang songs, played games, held small and large group discussions and practiced our peacebuilder pledge. We made our own t-shirts with peaceful sayings and symbols, designed pinwheels for peace and decorated picture frames in which each camper could take home a picture of their group build project.

This year a new element was added – recognizing water scarcity in the world and valuing the water we use. Campers practiced carrying heavy water jugs across the room, imagining they had to transport water from a well or river to their home. We learned how both natural disasters and human influence can impact water availability anywhere. As a group, we tracked how much water we ended up using daily for things like brushing teeth, washing hands and bathing. We discussed how having (or not having) access to basic needs like water can affect creating a peaceful environment.

The campers imagined what it would be like to start a sustainable community from scratch, and what kinds of resources and facilities would help create a foundation for a peaceful community. As a group, campers decided we needed access to water, livestock and garden space, shelter, a municipal center for police and fire, an emergency building for protection, a cooking area, restroom facilities and a bridge to cross the river. The amount of creativity and imagination that went into each group's build was impressive. Campers worked in teams of various ages to construct their contribution to the community. Glue, tape, colored paper, tubes, markers, sticky letters, beads and more glue transformed regular cardboard boxes into works of art. The campers took ownership and put such thought and care into their designs. The life-size cardboard bridge even had torches with colored tissue paper to light the way. The restroom looked believably usable. One group gave the livestock their own playground.

The campers were a mix of neighborhood kids and relatives and our own Littlefielders. Families and church members joined us on the last evening as we wore our decorated t-shirts and marched in a peace rally around the block. When we returned to the front of the church the campers sang the songs we had learned and planted the pinwheels of peace in our garden. Parents followed us back inside where the campers presented their part of the community build. Everyone enjoyed the ice cream social afterwards.

I'm told this was a smaller group of campers this year and as opposed to previous years, we were unable to get any youth leaders to volunteer. But we didn't have to cancel Peace Camp, and we gained some new campers – two of whom I can assure will be back next year.

I'm not going to lie; it was a lot of work. But every minute of work that went into Peace Camp was investing in the future of our world. I feel very proud and grateful that Littlefield has taken such initiative in molding young peacemakers in our community. By providing this free camp, young kids – who will someday be leaders – have the opportunity to learn by example what it can mean to be a peacemaker.

PEACE CAMP 2018

Well, Littlefielders, you have done it again! Another successful Peace Camp was held in our Fellowship Hall this past July. I am happy to say that this year we used no paint, fewer boxes and less non-biodegradable decorations. We were able to recycle all the used boxes because of the lack of paint, so our footprint was much smaller this year. Congratulations! The other byproduct of this scaling down was that the children were definitely more creative and ingenious!

With the smallest crew ever, we managed to have a wonderful camp with 24 campers from the ages of 6 – 12 years. On behalf of the Peace Camp Team, I would like to thank all of you who helped to make this a big success! Some of you donated cardboard pieces to help with the building. Some of you donated last minute items like paper towels, scotch tape and hand soap. Some of you loaned us small and large equipment. Some of you donated hours of your time to help us transform the fellowship hall and adjoining classroom into Peace Camp Territory and others of you transformed it back! Some of you stayed late to help us clean up. Some of you donated your time to serve as leaders with our campers or servers of food, or sitting at our registration table. All of your volunteer efforts made this year's Peace Camp possible. All of you are appreciated and honored for your service. THANK YOU ALL!

BLOCK PARTY

Thank you to everyone who attended and helped plan and put on Littlefield's Neighborhood Block party Saturday, July 14. The event was made possible by the $1,000 Faith in Action grant, as well as donations, time, talent and labor of many Littlefielders. It was a hot summer day (predicted to be in the low 90s) but fortunately the clouds (and the water misters!) kept us from melting. There were approximately 85 people in attendance throughout the day, a combination of Littlefield members and family, neighbors and many ESL students.

The neighborhood children enjoyed playing in the blocked off area of the street and engaged in corn hole, ladder ball games, soccer and the popular bubble-making craft. The professional face painter was a big hit.

We ate well, with catered food from Roma Bakery and Al Ameer as well as many donated dishes from all attendees. What “made the party” (a guest's comment) was the live music by the Littlefield Folk and others.

The purpose of the event was to reach out to new neighbors and begin forming a relationship of trust and understanding – and to find out how Littlefield could serve the community. As I looked around I saw happy faces and the beginnings of people getting to know one another. Many guests asked and hoped we would be doing this every year. I think that's a good sign.

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.

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.