PASTOR: NANCY BASS, CRE
Pastor's Pen.......

Just what is Interim Ministry? Most people think of interim ministry as transitional ministry, and it is that. A congregation moves from one settled ministry to its next settled ministry with the help of an interim minister, who assists the congregation on this journey. But transitional ministry is different. More intentional. More deliberate.

Today, every faith community is experiencing change and transition. This change and transition may be things like: shifting demographics; decreasing membership, attendance, and finances; a need to restructure staff and/or lay leadership; a no longer vibrant mission/vision; or even the possibility of relocation, merger or closure. This is a difficult, often stressful, and even painful, experience. Add to this list a change of pastors, and the anxiety suddenly increases several fold.

The interim minister is specially trained and equipped to assist the congregation in these types of situations - in moving beyond its previous long-term pastorate and equipping itself for a new, different ministry. This preparation involves looking at pracstices and programs that may or may not be serving the congregation well, evaluating worship structure and practices (placing bets on how many times one hears the dreaded words… “we've always done it that way” – which by the way - may or may not continue), doing an in-depth review of the current financial situation and making honest & realistic recommendations for the future health and wellbeing of the church, and assisting through the emotional process of transition; all the while preaching & presiding in worship and maintaining a spirituality of faith and connectedness to God – not just for yourself – but your congregation as well…in under 30 hours a week!

There is not a clearly defined path that prepares a congregation for its new future. So, we need to remind our congregations that we're on this adventure – together. Let's value taking risks. Let's encourage experimenting and dreaming. It's not just “What's our vision?” but, “What is God up to here?”

Interims also help to normalize conflict. I used to think conflict was bad. What was I thinking? Conflict is inevitable! In fact, conflict is essential for growth in human relationships. Of course, the key thing is learning to do conflict well. Did you know in May, I graduated from the Lombard-Mennonite Conflict Mediation Skills for Pastors?

The work of transitional ministry is not for the faint of heart. Jeffrey Jones sums up the challenge of transitional ministry in his book, “Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple-Forming Congregations,” with these words: “I can never be the pastor they truly need unless I am willing to lead them into the stress that they are experiencing, live with the blame that some want to place on me, continue to pursue God's vision, and stay with it until the time is right to move on.” Until then… courage.

The interim minister is hired by the Session, with the approval of COM (Committee on Ministry) for the Presbytery. God is always finding ways to encourage us into the journey of faith; that journey seems to involve transformation and process as much as specific destinations. I look forward to growing in our spiritual journey together and discerning what God has in store for us at Littlefield.

Grace and gratitude,
Pastor Nancy

SCRIPTURE READINGS

October 6 World Communion Sunday
Hebrew Scripture-Lamentations 1:1-6
Lamentations 3:19-26 or Psalm 137
Epistle Lesson-2 Timothy 1:1-14
Gospel Lesson-Luke 17:5-10

October 13
Hebrew Scripture-Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
Psalm 66:1-12
Epistle Lesson-2 Timothy 2:8-15
Gospel Lesson-Luke 17:11-19

October 20
Hebrew Scripture-Jeremiah 31:27-34
Psalm 119:97-104
Epistle Lesson-2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Gospel Lesson-Luke 18:1-8

October 27
Hebrew Scripture-Joel 2:23-32
Psalm 65
Epistle Lesson-2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Gospel Lesson-Luke 18:9-14

PRAYER MINISTRY

A DAY WORTH WHILE
I count that day as wisely spent in which
I do some good
For someone who is far away
or shares my neighborhood.
A day devoted to the deed that lends a
helping hand and demonstrates a willingness
to care and understand.
I long to be of usefulness in little ways and
large without a selfish motive
and without the slightest charge.
Because in my philosophy there never is a
doubt that all of us here on earth must help
each other out.
I feel that day is fruitful and the time is worth
the while when I promote the happiness of
one enduring smile.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
God is good, and heaven is forever. And if
those two facts don't cheer you up, nothing
will.
      Marie T. Freeman

PRAYER
Thank you, God, for all the blessings and
love you give us day by day. May we always
see them. Amen

BIBLE VERSE
Set an example of good works yourself, with
integrity and dignity in your teaching.
      Titus 2:7 HCSB

TAIZE WORSHIP
OCTOBER 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 to come and renew your spirit. You are invited to dress comfortably. Invite a friend!

MISSION & OUTREACH TEAM

Conversation Circle at Littlefield
The intermediate/advanced ESL students that take classes at Littlefield with Kathy Hall and other teachers are very eager to put their English conversation skills to use. This semester, the Mission & Outreach Team is providing that opportunity through a Conversation Circle – an informal gathering where students can practice discussion with native speakers about day-to-day topics in a nonjudgmental, stress-free environment. Our first circle was a big success. Sixteen students came (most of whom live within walking distance to Littlefield) and they were all so grateful to have the chance to work on their language skills. If you'd like to join us for one of our next circles, the students would love to meet you. Our next meeting dates are Thursdays, October 3 & 17, November 7 & 21 and December 5. The circle runs from 10:20 a.m.-11:20 a.m. in the Lounge. Please contact the church office if you're interested.

Matthew 25 Church
Littlefield has joined almost 200 other PC(USA) churches in the country in answering the invitation to become a “Matthew 25 Church”. The invitation comes from Matthew 25:31-46, in which Jesus asks that we give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned – and that we do this to the least of these. By committing to this invitation, Littlefield pledges to take action in the world around us, to be relevant to the issues our communities and society are facing. This pledge will help us be intentional about how we pursue justice and mercy as a church. The three main focus areas we are called to work toward are: building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism, and eradicating systemic poverty. No small feat, but God calls us to action. The Mission & Outreach team invites you to join us in discussion for how we plan to work toward these goals as a congregation and in our communities.

Peace & Global Witness Offering Sunday, October 6
The goal of our annual Peace & Global Witness Offering is to address “systems of conflict and injustice across the world.” 50% of the offering goes to the Presbyterian Mission Agency “to advocate for peace and justice in cultures of violence, including our own, through collaborative projects of education and Christian witness.” 25% goes to peace and reconciliation outreach, and the remaining 25% stays with Littlefield for peacemaking efforts. Our portion will go to next summer's Peace Camp outreach, encouraging local neighborhood youth to become peacebuilders. Information taken from click here to go to special peace offering

Fall Service Day
Saturday, October 12, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Zaman International
26091 Trowbridge St.
Inkster, MI 48141

Join the Mission & Outreach Team for a Service Day at Zaman. If you haven't visited this fantastic organization yet, this is a perfect opportunity to see all the good they do for the community – and to help them in their mission. Wear comfortable clothing and closed-toed shoes. Tasks are suitable for all abilities. They do ask that we have a maximum of twelve participants, so please RSVP to the church office if you plan to attend.

MARY CIRCLE October 7 @ 7:30 p.m.

aIf you have an interest in this Women's Circle, please contact the church office. The study will be over Lesson 2, Love Carved in Stone: A Fresh Look at the Ten Commandments. This circle normally meets the 1st Monday of every month and shares a devotional, study and dessert. All women are welcome!

EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

Our next Engage! Book Group meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 16. We will be discussing Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit. We will gather at 6:15 p.m. for a pizza and salad dinner. The discussion begins at 7:00 p.m.

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN OF aDETROIT INGATHERING

The PWPD will hold their annual Ingathering of mission donations on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 21, 22, and 23, 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 28 @ 6:30 p.m.

The group will continue the study of Interrupting Silence: God's Command To Speak Out, Chapter 7-Truth Speaks To Power. Dinner will be provided at 6:30 p.m. and the study will follow at 7:00 p.m. If you have any questions or would like the study material, please contact the church office. All men are invited.

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE SCHOOL KITS

We collected 47 School Kits for Church World Service which will be delivered to a Lansing location during October. 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 $705. Thank you Littlefielders!

Requests were made to share this from our Interfaith Peace Service…

Beatitudes for Modern Times You are re blessed when you hit rock bottom. Because then you can rely on God to work with you.

You're blessed when you mourn. That means
you feel compassion for others. You begin to
understand that we are all one.

You're blessed when you are humble and
authentic. That's worth way more than
fleeting power and material possessions.

You're blessed when you hunger and thirst
after spiritual things instead of worldly things.
You will feel full instead of empty.

You're blessed when you allow God's
presence and goodness to fill your mind &
heart. Then you will see God in the outside world.

You are blessed if you live in peace and
create peace. Then you will understand what
it means to be a child of God. You are
fulfilling God's dream for world peace.

You're blessed when people make fun of you
or ridicule you for my sake. That means you
struck a nerve. Well done!

You are the salt of the earth. Salt is useful! It
preserves and adds flavor. You are the light
of the world! Believe your light can't be
hidden. Shine the light of God into the lives
of others.

Shine brightly!
Be blessed.

WHAT IS THE “DENOMINATIONAL ASSESSMENT” OR “PER CAPITA?”

Every church has a budget from which it works each year. It is always one made with hope and faith that the session is not too far off in its estimate of income and expenses for the coming year. One of the items in Littlefield's annual budget is called “denominational assessment.” For those who are long time Presbyterians, you will know denominational assessment to be per capita. And now, those who have not heard of this before will be wondering just what I am talking about and where you might fit into the picture.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), of which Littlefield is a part, is a connectional church. There are four levels of governing bodies starting with the individual congregation/Littlefield Church and moving up to the Presbytery of Detroit, the Synod of the Covenant (Michigan, Ohio and a little sliver of Kentucky) and then the General Assembly. Littlefield relates most directly with the Presbytery of Detroit and sends ruling elders (based on membership) and teaching elders/ministers to the several regular presbytery meetings held each year. During those meetings, the business of the presbytery is conducted in addition to having educational and missional activities. The Presbytery of Detroit provides support and resources to its congregations. In the same way, the Synod of the Covenant provides support and resources to its eleven (11) presbyteries and the General Assembly provides support throughout the system in the way of resources, financial assistance, mission personnel, etc.

Littlefield Church is supported by our tithes and offerings and the rent received from our rental groups plus some investment income. Occasionally, there are other smaller sources of income but these are the primary ones. The other governing bodies (Presbytery of Detroit, Synod of the Covenant and the General Assembly) are supported through our mission giving and our payments of “per capita.” Per capita is determined by each governing body and transmitted to congregations to include in their budgets.

z Per capita is a way of sharing the costs that equitably belong to the whole Presbyterian community. It has been said that per capita apportionment is like a utility bill. Just as we pay for heat, light, water and telephone in order to remain connected to the utility systems and benefit from the services provided, we also pay per capita so that the Presbyterian system can function on behalf of all of us. It is the necessary linkage in our connectional system.

Per capita is a per member assessment. For 2019, Littlefield Church is obligated to pay $28.55 per member on the rolls at the beginning of the year. In fact, there is an initial offering envelope (a different color than the others) in your offering envelope box for you to consider paying your share each year. While the paying of the per capita is a voluntary activity for members, it is a “must” for Littlefield to pay the amount each year regardless of how many of us contribute to this line item in the budget.

At this time, only about one-third of the per capita amount for 2019 has been received. If you would like to pay your capita and to recognize your place in the shared expenses of the presbytery, synod and General Assembly, we would be happy to receive those donations. Please mark your check “per capita” on the memo line so the amount goes to the correct line in the budget. If you have already paid this amount, we thank you.

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.