This Sunday, I’m beginning a new sermon series, Conspiracy of Hope: Living Beyond Fear. This four-part series will be an invitation to our faith community to place hope at the center of our lives.
Back in January, after the congregation called me to become the next Senior Minister of this amazing church, I asked the search committee to let me know their ideas for my first few months of sermons. I received a ton of great advice and thoughts! Throughout almost every response, the theme of hope was named or implied.
They wanted to hear about hope for our world, our nation and most especially, our church.
Hope is something more than wishful thinking. Hope is the willingness to push forward believing what we hope for is real and ready to come true. Frederick Buechner writes, “Hope stands up to its knees in the past and keeps its eyes on the future.”
Part One in this series, The Wide Open Spaces of God’s Grace, is inspired by the Apostle Paul’s famous line from his letter to the church in Rome, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint…”
Paul was not some wishy washy preacher writing from an ivory tower. He endured unbearable suffering, wrongful imprisonment and terrible torture. He preached this word from the perspective of one who knew firsthand of the power and strength of real hope.
I am looking forward to delivering this series and I hope you’ll join me for it over the next four weeks!
As always, there is an early service featuring Holy Communion held at 8:30 am in the Burkhart Chapel, South Campus. Jim Long, our marvelous Minister of Pastoral Care, will deliver the sermon, I Send You, based on John 20:19-31.
Did you know our Easter attendance was the highest in five years? One of the reasons is the simple fact that many of you invited a friend to worship with us.
Let’s keep this momentum going.
Take a moment today and make a list of folks you could invite to join us for worship. Maybe there is a neighbor or a family member who comes to mind. Or perhaps you know of a church member who has not been to worship recently. Whoever it is, I think it would be great if you’d give them a call, send them an email or punch out a quick text on your phone, inviting them to join us this Sunday!
There are many things happening at both campuses in the weeks ahead. Be sure to check out our website for all of the latest news and information at FCchurch.com
One of the newest ministries is Safe Place – a gathering for friends and family of people with the disease of addiction meeting on Tuesday nights at 7:30 pm, in Burkhart Chapel. This ministry will provide a safe, nonjudgmental, supportive environment for those who are affected by someone who has the disease of addiction.
The Early Childhood Council’s Down on the Farm event is coming Friday, April 28 from 6-8 pm, North Campus. Pizza, games, activities and crafts are included with admission. Children will have an opportunity to interact with real farm animals and take a wagon ride around the property. Tickets are available by clicking here, or purchase at the door.
Construction of the new Welcome Center on the South Campus began this week! This is exciting news, but it also means parking will be a little more difficult. We will do all we can to make access in and out of the various buildings as easy as possible as this new project is being completed.
Please know Julie and I continue to be overwhelmed by your gracious and kind welcome. We could not have experienced a better beginning.
Last night, Julie and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with one of FCC’s Friendship Circles. I was very encouraged to hear them speak of our shared Season of Prayer. One of them even brought extra copies of the prayer card to be sure every member of their circle had one. I hope you have been praying this prayer too. Would please join me again today? Here is the prayer:
Good and Gracious God,
Bless us, the members and friends of First Community Church, as we begin this new season of ministry and leadership. Remind us daily of Your love and mercy and call us forward in faith and hope toward the future You have set before us.
Give us the strength we need to care for each other in times of pain and sorrow and remind us of the presence of Your Spirit in all we experience.
Bless us now, in the name of the One who welcomes all. Amen.
Thank you for taking the time to pray with me. I am looking forward to seeing many of you in worship.
With love for all of you, your pastor,
First Community Church
I am so looking forward to celebrating the resurrection with you on Easter Sunday. I am certain this Sunday’s services will be a blessing for you and your family and friends.
My sermon, Heart Quake, is based on Matthew 28:1-10. According to this Gospel’s version of the Easter story, an earthquake accompanies the rolling away of the stone from the tomb of Jesus. Matthew is telling us our hearts and minds will be opened up in ways we never dreamed possible. He wants us to see the Spirit of God is ready to create something new in your life and mine, even now.
I am really looking forward to sharing this sermon with you on Sunday.
Our worship times are slightly different from the normal schedule. Here is a list of every service:
South Campus, 1320 Cambridge Blvd.
8:30 am Burkhart Chapel, Rev. Chris Rinker, Preaching
10 am Sanctuary, Dr. Glen Miles, Preaching
11:30 am Sanctuary, Dr. Glen Miles, Preaching
North Campus, 3777 Dublin Rd.
8:30 am Grace Hall, Dr. Glen Miles, Preaching
10:30 am Grace Hall, Rev. David Hett, Preaching
This link to our webpage, This Week in Worship, has all of the information you need about this Sunday’s worship opportunities. Please feel free to forward this email to a friend and invite them to join us on this holiest of days!
The story of the resurrection reminds us the future is in God’s hands. This past week’s news cycle has been filled with terror and violence. There is enough fear and worry to keep us spinning with anxiety for the rest of the year. It’s important to remember though that Jesus’ world was just as violent and even more so.
The Romans ruled with a heavy hand. Ideas like freedom and justice seemed to be nothing more than old, faded dreams. And yet, God was at work in the shadow of death creating something new.
This Sunday, come for a reminder of God’s undying desire to make hope live again.
The Easter season fills me with great anticipation not only for the future of our planet but most especially for the days ahead for First Community Church. I will have much more to say about this in weeks to come but for now, please know I could not be more excited about the work of God’s Spirit among us.
You have already become a great blessing in my life. It is a sweet and special privilege to be your pastor.
God’s blessings to you as we run to the empty tomb,
Dr. R. Glen Miles
First Community Church
Thank you very much for the positive feedback on last week’s A Word from Glen.
I appreciated hearing that you found it to be a very helpful way for us to be connected. I received emails from many of you, too. I will always try to reply to every email, but it may take a day or two before I get back to you. I promise to do my best!
This week’s sermon, Shaken, is based on Matthew 21:1-11, the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. I really love this text and the many intriguing details Matthew gives us. Toward the end he notes, “The whole city was in turmoil.” Another translation of turmoil could be “shaken,” as in shaken by an earthquake.
He seems to be saying that when we pay attention to the radically-inclusive message of Jesus and God’s love for all, it will shake us up! In other words, a new life and a new beginning may be just what we need but often times that means we gotta shake things up first. More on Sunday!
I hope you’ll join me for this Sunday’s beautiful worship services. We gather at the North Campus at 9:15 am and 10:30 am and South at 11 am. Kate Shaner is preaching the 8:30 am service in the Burkhart Chapel. I know you’ll love hearing her sermon.
The music will be especially good this weekend, too. I got goose bumps just listening to our Minister of Music, Ron Jenkins, describe the beauty of the anthems and hymns being presented for Palm Sunday.
I’ve been busy this week meeting with a variety of lay leaders and staff members. I’m trying hard to learn names, identify staff roles and more. I continue to be very impressed with all that we do here. Do you know what a great church this is? I’m sure you do, but it has been terrific to continue to discover this first hand on my own.
This Sunday the K-5 Easter Egg Hunt Eggstravaganza will happen at the North Campus beginning at 1 pm. You can register at FCchurch.com/2014/03/egg-hunt
All proceeds from the Egg Hunt go to Missions. I wish I was still in grade school because this sounds like a lot of fun!
This week, Julie and I turned in our pledge card supporting the ministries of First Community Church. We have made this a part of our spiritual practice. It is a way of reminding ourselves all we have received in life is a gift from God.
Our pledge is a simple way to say thank you to the Creator of all that is for the lives we have. I am very grateful for those of you who have made a financial pledge. If you have not yet done so, I hope you will consider joining Julie and me as we add our names to the list of folks who are supporting the church financially.
Go online to make an e-pledge at FCchurch.com/giving, or look for one of the pledge cards at the Welcome Center at each campus.
The new construction at South Campus will begin very soon. Please know this means the parking lot may lose a few spaces at times. It will be exciting to watch the much-needed improvements happening, but it also means we may have to park a little further away than normal. Thank you in advance for your patience and your willingness to get a few extra steps in toward your daily step goal.
Last week in worship, I invited the entire congregation to join me in a Season of Prayer. We printed my prayer for our new beginning on cards and gave them to all who were in attendance. If you missed last week, you can find the prayer cards at both campuses. I am asking us to pray this simple prayer every day during our first month together as pastor and parish.
This week’s First Edition television program, airing at 10:30 am on WWHO-TV (The CW), will feature Deb Lindsay interviewing me about this new beginning you and I are sharing.
Here is a teaser;
Speaking of inviting a friend, did you know the number one methodology for church growth is a personal invitation to a friend or family member? There is research that indicates 80% of people who are personally invited will accept the invitation. That is a pretty good rate!
The week between Palm Sunday and Easter is the perfect time to invite someone to join you in worship at First Community. Other than Advent and Christmas, this is the time of year many are thinking about joining a church. Who knows? You may be the very one who provides the nudge for a friend to check us out.
As we begin this season of holy days, I trust the Spirit of God will be with us all. God’s blessing to you as you prepare to walk with Jesus to the last supper, the cross and the promise of new life.
With an ever-growing love for all of you, your pastor,
Dr. R. Glen Miles, Senior Minister
Greetings from First Community Church!
I am very much looking forward to my first Sunday with you as your new Pastor. Julie and I moved in to our new apartment, our dogs have settled into a nice routine and we can find our way from the South Campus to the North and back with no problem!
The email you are reading is something I will send to all members and friends every Friday. This will be my way to reach out to as many folks as possible in order to discuss the weekend’s worship services, highlight upcoming ministries and programs and offer a word of prayer for you and our community of faith.
Before I go any further, Julie and I want you to know we are very grateful for the warm and inviting welcome we have received since our arrival in Columbus. The church staff, church leaders and many, many others could not have been more gracious.
We’ve also enjoyed getting to know the Columbus area. The restaurants, shopping areas and more are wonderful. This is a great city!
This Sunday, I will deliver the sermon, A Thought that Could Change the World, based on Romans 8:1-8. If you are a fan of the band U2, you may recognize the title is a line from their song, Grace.
The sermon can be summarized in two words, “No condemnation.” The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome makes it clear that the umbrella of God’s grace is wide enough to cover the entire world, including you and me.
I’m very much looking forward to delivering this sermon and I hope you will be in worship as we begin this new time together.
The music for Sunday’s services will be a joy for all. I’m already certain our music ministry is one of the finest in the U.S.A. Julie and I attended the rehearsal for the Requiem a couple of weeks ago. Even though it was the rehearsal, we still found ourselves moved to tears.
Also, if you are a regular attendee of the 8:30 am chapel service, I want you to know I will stop by there to say hello. I’m sorry I won’t get to stay and hear Rev. Chris Rinker’s sermon though. I’m really impressed with Chris and his theological acumen. I’m sure his words will be a blessing to all in attendance.
I want you to know my schedule in the office and how I go about my week.
I will be taking Mondays off. Julie and I have found this gives a great opportunity to reconnect after a busy weekend of worship and ministry. I will be in the office Tuesdays through Fridays. I will reserve 8 am to 10 am as my quiet time for prayer and study.
The rest of the day will be open for the normal work of the church. I’ve already been able to attend several meetings including Governing Board earlier this week. I am very impressed with the lay leadership in this congregation.
This is a thriving and vibrant church, one that is filled with hundreds and hundreds of dedicated volunteers and servants!
One final but very important note: At the beginning of this time together, I am calling for us to share in A Season of Prayer. On Sunday, you will find a prayer card inserted in every worship bulletin. Printed on each card will be a prayer I have written for us. I am asking everyone to take the card home, put it in a place where you will see it and take a moment every day in the month of April to pray this prayer with me.
I believe this will be a very good way for us to connect with each other and the Spirit. If you miss worship this weekend, there will be many prayer cards placed around both campuses for your use. You’ll also be able to find the prayer on the church website and Facebook.
Speaking of social media, if you are on Facebook, please do not hesitate to send me a friend request. On Facebook, I post sermon notes and quotes, interesting articles about life and faith, the occasional commentary on something going on in the life of our country and more.
Once in awhile, I’ll get into sports talk too and trust me, I cannot wait to learn all I can about the athletic programs of The Ohio State University!
Thank you for taking the time to read this note. I will see you soon.
Here is our prayer,
Good and Gracious God,
Bless us, the members and friends of First Community Church, as we begin this new season of ministry and leadership. Remind us daily of your love and mercy and call us forward in faith and hope toward the future you have set before us.
Give us the strength we need to care for each other in times of pain and sorrow and remind us of the presence of your Spirit in all we experience.
Bless us now God in the name of the One who welcomes all. AMEN
Grace and Peace to you,
Dr. R. Glen Miles, Senior Minister