This Sunday, I will present Part 2, The Dark of Doubt, in my summer sermon series, The Art of Soul Searching. The psalmist this week cries out, “How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” He feels like he has been left behind, forgotten. Reading between the lines, we can see he is filled with doubts about God, life and love.
Have you found yourself wondering if there really is a God? If you answered yes, please know this: you are not alone. Frederick Buechner writes, “Whether your faith is that there is a God or that there is not a God, if you don’t have any doubts, you are either kidding yourself or asleep.”
Faith and doubt go hand in hand. You are invited this Sunday to join us in a beautiful service of worship as we listen to wise voices, both ancient and modern, for guidance and help in this journey of life. We gather at 9:15 am, North Campus (3777 Dublin Road) and 11 am, South Campus (1320 Cambridge).
Have you been to the South Campus lately? The construction on the Robert S. Crane, Jr. Welcome Center is coming along nicely. Today’s thunderstorms are slowing things down a bit, but the crew is working very hard to finish on time. We are very grateful for the many pledges and gifts that made this happen.
I hope you had a chance last Sunday to see the latest renderings for the new construction at the North Campus. If not please visit FCchurch.com/realize.
As you will see, the new sanctuary and the many additions are both architecturally beautiful and spiritually inviting.
Akita Homecoming, Fill the Church, Feel the Spirit, is set for August 20. We will celebrate another great season at Camp Akita and honor those who attended during some of the first years. Our goal is to fill both services while thanking God for the many ways Akita has richly blessed our lives. Put this date on your calendar and plan now to join in the celebration.
Today, I prayed for our congregation asking God to open our hearts and minds to the leading of the Spirit. That may sound trite and cliched, but it is a rather bold appeal. Even a cursory review of the biblical stories reveals a God who dares to believe in us and our ability to practice love and grace.
That is never an easy path to follow, but it is one that can transform the Church and maybe even the world. Our church is full of many, many people who have practiced these very same acts. No one can say exactly what is next for us or the world, but I firmly believe FCC is ready and willing to walk into the marvelous future God is calling us toward.
With love for all of you, your pastor,
This Sunday, I begin a new sermon series, The Art of Soul Searching: Finding Your Way. Have you ever had a moment when you wondered what your life was really meant to be about? Are there days when you want to know who you are and what your deepest desires are in this world?
Finding our way through the complex maze that is modern life is not very easy, but in this series we will listen for the ancient wisdom of the psalmists as we review our faith, wrestle with doubt and look for patience. The research I’ve done for this series has already spoken to my own spiritual needs. I trust you will be blessed by the sermons, too.
This Sunday, Psalm 27 will remind us to “be strong, and let your heart take courage…” This word will set the tone for the day and indeed for the entire series.
Many of you have been inviting friends and neighbors, former members and acquaintances to join us for worship. Thank you for being on the front edge of this invaluable work! Please be sure to introduce your guest to me if you have the chance. We have such a wonderful faith community here at FCC. I sincerely believe there are hundreds, even thousands of people in the Columbus area who will be blessed by our shared ministry.
I hope you had the opportunity to see my video last week on the exciting new developments for our North Campus. This Sunday, after both the 9:15 and 11 am services, members of the North Campus Design Committee will be sticking around to share information and answer questions about the new design. If you have not yet made a pledge to this important work would you take a moment right now to prayerfully consider doing so? Every gift matters. No gift is too small. We want as many members and friends as possible involved in this effort as we seek to expand our mission and vision in the greater Columbus area.
Did you know First Edition, the weekly televised broadcast of the previous week’s worship service, can now be found on Sundays at 8:30 am on WWHO-TV (The CW)? You may also recall that, when you are away and unable to attend in person, you can watch us live on Facebook or FCchurch.TV. I’ve heard from folks on trips and summer adventures all over the country who have been able to worship online with us.
Here is my prayer for this day:
Loving and Holy God,
The recent storms and rains have provided us with a glimpse of your creative power. The lightning and thunder are awe-inspiring reminders of the way you mysteriously work in our world. There are days when we need glimpses of this power at work within our souls, too. Help us to trust in you in times of ease so that we will also know to trust in times of difficulty and fear. AMEN.
As always, it is my sincere joy to serve as your pastor.
Our Capital Campaign, REALIZE, is moving right along. Here is a video from me telling you more:
This Sunday, Deb Lindsay, our Executive Minister, will deliver the sermon, Rest for a Weary World, based on Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30. If you’ve heard Deb preach before, you already know she does outstanding work in the pulpit. If you have not, please join her this Sunday and discover for yourself! I know you will be comforted and inspired by her words.
Julie and I are flying back to Columbus today. We had a wonderful week of vacation in the Pacific Northwest. We are ready to be back home with you all, though.
This weekend, I will be participating in the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). As past Moderator, there are a couple of events I must attend. One will be a celebration of Sharon Watkins twelve years as the General Minister and President. Many of you may remember Sharon from her presentations during my Installation Service in May.
On Sunday, July 16, I will begin a new sermon series, The Art of Soul Searching, based on the book of Psalms. The Psalms begin and end with praise but in between nearly every human emotion is addressed. I started working on this series last month. I’m enjoying this study of the psalms and I am looking forward to exploring the wisdom of these ancient poems with you.
I prayed today for First Community Church, thanking God for the many blessings we share with each other as a congregation. You all continue to inspire me in ways too numerous to name!
With love, your pastor,
This Sunday, Rev. David Hett will deliver the sermon The DaVinci Dilema based on Matthew 10:1, 24-31, 40-42 at both the 9:15 am (North Campus) and 11 am (South Campus). David is a fine preacher and an outstanding scholar. He has both a brilliant mind and pastor’s heart.
Plan now to attend worship on Sunday. I know you will be blessed.
Julie and I are headed to Cleveland this weekend to see U2 in concert for the first time! We are really looking forward to watching our favorite band perform. The tickets were one of the going away gifts we received from our friends at Country Club Christian Church.
After our trip to Cleveland, we are flying to Oregon to spend time with Julie’s family and also a few days with our friends, Doug and Kathy Dornhecker. Doug was my first boss after I graduated from college. He and Kathy are two of our finest friends. He’s a brilliant church historian and an ongoing source of support and encouragement for me and my ministry. We will return July 7.
I will be attending the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis, July 8-10. As the former Moderator of the Disciples, I have a couple of events I must attend. I will be back in the office at First Community on July 11.
We are carefully reviewing our summer attendance patterns and schedule. Last week was another great Sunday as we more than doubled the average from same Sunday the year before. The North Campus was practically humming with excitement as a large crowd gathered for worship. The South Campus was alive as well with beautiful anthems and, after the service, two grace-filled baptism services, also.
Have you seen the progress on The Welcome Center at the South Campus? It is really beginning to take shape. The construction crew is working hard to get this work done in time. I think they are going to do it!
Here is my prayer for today:
Holy and Loving One,
The long summer days fill us with energy and hope. They remind us of your creative power as flowers and trees are filled with color and life. Fill us, too, Lord, with the hope of your grace, the tenderness of your love and the goodness of your mercy. Let us become vessels of your Spirit so all we encounter will see a reflection of you within us. Amen.
Julie and I thank you for the opportunity be away for a few days. We will come back renewed, refreshed and ready for the amazing ministry of this wonderful church.
With love, your pastor,
This Sunday, I will conclude my Why Church? sermon series with Part 4: Because You’re Going to Need Forgiveness (Again). The act of giving and receiving forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian faith.
Miroslav Volf, one of he finest theologians in the world today, writes, “We desire forgiveness because we value relationships, and we know that relationships cannot be mended without forgiveness.” Paul, writing to the church in Galatia, declares, “If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore (them), saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.”
Don’t you love the practical nature of his advice? It is essentially a restatement of Jesus’ admonition to love your neighbor as yourself. We’ll take a look at this word more closely on Sunday. I’m looking forward to giving this sermon because I know there is at least one person who needs to hear it – that would be me!
Our summer schedule continues this week through September 3 with services at 9:15 am, North Campus (3777 Dublin Road) and 11 am, South Campus (1320 Cambridge Blvd). We had terrific crowds last week. One year ago, the total attendance on the first Sunday of the summer schedule was 261. Last week it was 522!
I realize our attendance will go down slightly as people travel and fill their weekends with lots of fun summer activities, but it was wonderful to see so many people at each service last week. Remember, this attendance figure is more than a number. It represents people who are making sacred connections with each other, the church and (hopefully) the very Spirit of the God we worship.
The full-day kindergarten at Mary Evans Child Development Center is now enrolling. Children must be 5 by September 30 in order to enroll. The Center’s nature-inspired classroom balances intentional learning activities with age-appropriate play and education. Teacher Terra Gardner has completed Orton-Gillingham reading training. Contact Leigh Anne Easterling at leasterling@FCchurch.com or (614) 777-4099 for more information.
The progress of the Robert S. Crane, Jr. Welcome Center is visually stimulating as it begins to transform. July 4 will begin the process of creating openings into the main building. As a result, Burkhart entrance, Burkhart Chapel and the southwest staircase will be closed until project completion. Directional signs will be posted to control traffic flow. The receptionist entrance facing Cambridge Boulevard and the handicap entrance will continue to be open during our normal workweek schedule.
We are so blessed by the gifts that made this design and dream come to fruition.
Here is my prayer for this week,
Dear God of all,
Open our hearts end eyes so we can see a reflection of your creation in every person we meet. There is great tension in our land. Anger seems to be rising higher and higher everyday. Help us as followers of Jesus to live and love as he taught. Remind us of your grace and mercy and empower us to let pour faith guide us in all we do and say.
In the name of the One who welcomes all, Amen.
It is my great privilege to serve as your pastor. My morning prayers are filled with expressions of gratitude for the opportunity to share with you in the leadership of this great congregation.
With love for all of you,
This Sunday, we will begin our new Summer Worship Schedule: North Campus, 9:15 am and South Campus, 11 am. I’m really hopeful this will help our members and friends stay connected to each other, their church and the Spirit of God.
The 9:15 service will have a more relaxed, slightly less formal feel to it. The 11 am service will continue to worship in the beautifully-traditional style that has been a part of this congregation since our founding.
A note about childcare: At the 9:15 am worship service, a dedicated space in Grace Hall will be arranged where young children will be allowed some freedom to play quietly. Some toys and activities will be provided by the church. Feel free to bring along a favorite quiet activity from home. Parents will be with their children in this space while being able to fully participate in the music and liturgy of the service and listen to the sermon, too. Traditional child care will be offered at 11 am as before.
I’ve really appreciated hearing from many of you regarding my Why Church? sermon series. I’ve received many inspiring notes! The series continues this Sunday, June 18, with Part 3: Because a Scary World Needs Light.
Almost every day this week, there was a frightening and worrisome news story. The shooting near Washington D.C. was just one of many difficult reports to encounter.
I’ve been tempted to tune my television to ESPN and watch nothing but sports. However, the biblical word this week invites us to do something else.
Peter, writing to the early church, suggests we rid ourselves “of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander.” He has a lot more to say, but that is a great place to begin.
Imagine the beauty and power a faith community might have if it could fully achieve that simple list! A place like that would indeed be a source of light in dark and frightening world. I can’t wait to preach this sermon and I look forward to seeing many of you this Sunday.
Congratulations to Ron Jenkins, our choir and the FCC Music Ministry for the beautiful EveningSong service of worship. We had an overflow crowd at Grace Hall, North Campus, last Sunday night for this celebration. If you were unable to attend you can watch it on our Facebook page or FCchurch.TV (click ‘Archives’).
Speaking of overflow crowds, did you know our worship attendance since January 1 is seeing a 23% increase over last year? Much of that good news is due to your willingness to invite friends and family to join us on Sundays.
Almost every week since my beginning as your pastor, I have met someone who was a first-time guest. The staff and I will do all we can to get the word out to Columbus about this great church, but your willingness to take the step of asking someone to join you for church is still the best way to bring guests and visitors to experience this vibrant and lively congregation. Congratulations and keep it up!
My prayer for this week,
God of All, We seem to be hit everyday with scary and frightening news. Sometimes, we want to run and hide and pretend everything is fine. Remind us good and gracious One, we are not alone. Your Spirit is with us always. Help us to reach out to friend and stranger alike with hands of grace and hearts of love. Amen
As always, it is nothing but a pure joy to serve as your pastor. With love for all,
This Sunday, we will have two worship services; 11 am South (1320 Cambridge Boulevard) and 5 pm North (3777 Dublin Road).
At the 11 am service, I will continue my sermon series, Why Church?
Part 2 is titled, Because We Belong to Each Other.
The sermon is based on John 15:1-11. In this beautiful text, Jesus uses an image from nature – the vine – to describe the intimate relationship God wants to have with each of us. I’ve enjoyed reflecting on this Word this week and I am eager to deliver the sermon. I will look for many of you at 11 am Sunday!
The 5 pm service features EveningSong, including members of the Columbus Symphony Chorus, 45 members of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and dancers from the Nashville Ballet and Columbus Dance Theater.
I will deliver a brief homily, The Eternal Struggle. This service will be a beautiful celebration of American music and a reminder of God’s eternal call on all of us to “humble ourselves” in the pursuit of peace and justice.
Have you heard about our summer worship schedule? Beginning Sunday, June 18, we will gather for worship at 9:15 am, North and 11 am, South.
To help families with young children, Leigh Anne Easterling, Director of Early Childhood Ministries, and Kate Hiser, Coordinator of Sunday Childcare, will provide a dedicated space during the 9:15 am service in Grace Hall.
Young children will be allowed some freedom to play quietly. Some toys and activities will be provided. Feel free to bring along a favorite quiet activity from home. Parents will be with their children in this space while being able to fully participate in the music and liturgy of the service and listen to the sermon too. Traditional child care will be offered during the 11 am service at South.
I am very pleased to report we have received several new pledges, additional gifts and extended pledges for our REALIZE Capital Campaign. Julie and I turned in our new pledge last week. If you have not pledged, I hope you’ll join with the rest of us as we move forward on this historic work.
Every gift matters as we build for the future of our church.
There is so much more happening in the life of our congregation! I hope you will take some time to check us out on Facebook or visit our website, FCchurch.com
This first three months together as pastor and parish have been a whirlwind of dinners and receptions, meetings and lunches, worship and more. As we head into the summer schedule, my calendar will continue to be very full! Please know Julie and I cannot wait to meet more of you. We are so blessed to be here and thank God every day for the new-found opportunities to share in ministry with all of you.
My prayer for today:
God of All,
Thank you for warm temperatures and long sun-filled days. Remind us in this season of growth that you are always ready to help us grow our spirits toward you. Guide our congregation to continually live in the light of your grace, the goodness of your mercy and the graciousness of your love. Amen.
With love for all of you, your pastor,
This Sunday, in connection with the celebration of Pentecost Sunday, I begin my new 4-Part sermon series, Why Church?
The first sermon will focus on Matthew 16:18 where Jesus declares “not even the gates of Hell” will be able to stand against the church!
Part 1 in this series is titled Because Life is Hard.” Life can be very difficult, even hellish. The church is at its best when it stands with people in pain and sorrow, suffering and fear. Jesus’ promise in Matthew is very clear: the church will go anywhere, even to Hell if necessary, to continue to bring the good news of God’s love for all.
I hope you’ll invite a friend or family member to join us for worship this weekend. Over the next few months, we are going to explore new and exciting ways to get the word out about the mission and ministries of First Community Church. However, according to all the research, the best way to help new folks find their way to our church is through a personal invite! You and your love for the church are the best tools we have for bringing folks into our faith community.
Akita-Session 1 for high school-age young people begins next Tuesday. Earlier this week, Julie and I drove down to Akita to have dinner with the summer staff and to talk with them about the theology and beliefs of our church. We had a great time and came away very impressed by the counselors who will be leading our campers this summer. If you have never been to Camp Akita you may want to plan to head down there this Sunday afternoon for Open House from 1:30-4:30 pm. I guarantee you will be impressed by the beauty of the site, the wonderful facilities and the high quality folks who are leading this ministry.
Sunday, June 11, there will be one worship service at 11 am, South Campus (1320 Cambridge Boulevard). I will present Part 2 in my sermon series that morning. EveningSong (formerly MorningSong) will be presented at North Campus (3777 Dublin Road) beginning at 5 pm. Both services will be beautiful reminders of the graciousness of God and the many blessings we have received.
I hope by now you have received a pledge card for our REALIZE Capital Campaign. Many of you have already made very generous pledges. Please know we are very grateful for your gifts! If you have yet to make a gift or pledge, please join Julie and me in doing so. We turned in our pledge card this week and were very excited to join with the hundreds who have already made gifts and pledges.
Have you heard we will be worshiping at both campuses every Sunday this summer? Our summer schedule, 9:15 am North and 11 am South will begin Sunday, June 18. This schedule will remain in place until Kickoff Sunday, September 10.
As I noted, this Sunday is Pentecost, the day we celebrate the founding of the church. As part of our celebration, I have written a A Prayer for Pentecost. The prayer is printed on a card and will be inserted in your worship bulletin. Please take the card home with you and pray the prayer every day this summer. It is a brief one, but it will serve as a powerful reminder of the ministry we share together at First Community Church.
Copies of the prayer will be available on both campuses throughout the summer.
Our next season of prayer will begin on Kickoff Sunday.
Please join me today in our prayer for Pentecost:
God of Wind and Flame,
Open our hearts and minds to the work of your Spirit. Remove from us the temptation to take the easy way and instead empower us to follow the right way. Give us the courage we need to serve you fully with love and grace at the heart of all we do and say.
Help us to trust in you, heavenly One, so we may live with faith in very moment. Bless us with the reminder of your very breath within us as we live and love together at First Community Church.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
It is such an honor to serve you as your pastor. I continue to be filled with joy by all of the many wonderful things taking place in this beautiful congregation.
With love for all of you,
This Sunday, May 28, our Executive Minister Deb Lindsay will present the sermon, Knowing an Unknown God, based on Acts 17:22-28. You already know Deb is an outstanding preacher, but I am really looking forward to hearing her preach in person for the first time!
This text from Acts is one of my favorites. It could easily serve as a foundational word for our congregation. This scripture notes the way God works in a variety of settings, places and religions. Invite a friend and join us for worship this weekend.
I will be attending all of our morning services so I can see them from the other side of the pulpit. This will also give me the chance to be out among the people of the pews and a little more time to be with all of you. Plus, I will be able to sit next to Julie for worship, a rare treat in my life!
There are many, many people I need to thank for last Sunday’s beautiful installation service. Ron Jenkins and Deb Lindsay helped put together an amazing worship service. Pam Jameson and her team went above and beyond as they dealt with a large crowd, rapidly changing weather conditions, a movable reception and more. All of the participants in the service were great too; from Ginny Barney, Chair of the Senior Minister Search Committee to the Chancel Choir to Anna Obergefell’s beautiful reading of the gospel to so many others.
I’m especially grateful for my friend Adam Hamilton for his powerful sermon. All week, I’ve been practicing “discernment by nausea!” There will no doubt be some tough roads to take in our future together, but I am confident God’s Spirit will be with us every step along the way.
On Sunday, June 4, I will begin a new sermon series, Why Church? Jason Barger, a member of the search committee, inspired this sermon in an email he sent to me asking, “Why does the church exist?” He asks the question with the intent to dive deep into the meaning and relevance of the church today.
In light of this new series, I’d love to read your comments on why church matters to you. Or, on the flip side, I’d also appreciate being able to read why church may no longer be relevant for you. Your thoughts will help me draft sermons that will speak to the needs of our congregation and beyond.
Here is my prayer for today,
Good and Gracious God,
Bless us today with clarity of mind and openness of spirit. As we go about our daily tasks remind us that each step can be a moment of gratitude for the very lives we share with you. In the name of the one who remembers every name, Amen.
With love for all of you, your pastor,
This Sunday, May 21, there will be only one worship service, 11 am, South Campus (1320 Cambridge Boulevard). In this service I will be installed as the new Senior Minister for First Community Church.
Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, will deliver the sermon, Lessons from the Wilderness, based on Exodus 18: 13-23.
Julie and I consider Adam and his wife, LaVon, to be dear friends. We participated with them for many years in a small group of Kansas City pastors and spouses, meeting regularly for good food and wonderful conversation around matters of life and Spirit. I am deeply touched that Adam was available to carve time out of his unbelievably busy schedule to join us this week.
Also participating in the service is my very good friend and colleague, Dr. Sharon Watkins, the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I served alongside her for two years as the Moderator of the General Assembly of the CC(DOC). She is one of the finest church leaders I have ever known. She will be leading the formal acts of installation.
Dr. Richard Wing, our former Senior Minister will also be in the service. I’m very much looking forward to the moment when Dick presents me with a stole. Dick and I have been friends for well over thirty years. He has been an unbelievable source of encouragement and support throughout my ministry. I know you’ll be happy to see him back at South Campus again.
Also early in the service, my friend and colleague Phil Love, Past-Chair of the Congregational Board of Country Club Christian Church in Kansas City, will be there to formally release me from my duties with Country Club Christian and offer his blessing to you and me as we begin this new relationship as pastor and congregation. I hope you’ll find a minute to say hello to Phil and his wife, Patty, who have traveled many miles to be with us.
The music will be amazing. All of the First Community clergy will participate. Connie Johnston, Ginny Barney and Barb Davis, lay leaders in our congregation, will be featured in a variety of roles. Anna Obergefell will read the Gospel and there will be lemonade on the lawn after the service (weather permitting)!
If possible, please arrive early and please park far from the church when you arrive on Sunday, leaving nearby courtesy parking for late-comers and for those with mobility concerns.
We are expecting a large crowd and want to do all we can to help our many guests and members. We will have two golf carts circling around the area, especially on Cambridge Boulevard, Arlington and Lincoln Road, to provide you with a ride from your parked car if needed.
Remember, just one service, 11 am at the South Campus this Sunday.
I hope you remember this is also our Gigantic Garage Sale weekend at the North Campus (3777 Dublin Road)! I learned this week when we say Gigantic we mean GIGANTIC. What an amazing thing it has been to witness the set up and prep being done for this wonderful work. I toured the sale with my sons, Nate and Steven, last night. They were overwhelmed by it all but are planning to do some shopping this evening. The sale opens tonight 6:30 – 9 pm and will be open again on Saturday from 8 am – 3 pm. The money raised during this event goes to support the missions ministry of our congregation.
These first two months together have given me the opportunity to meet hundreds of you. I feel a little like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz because I am most assuredly not in Kansas anymore! During this time, I have become so very impressed with the variety of ministries we support both here in Columbus and indeed around the world.
I cannot begin to express what an honor it is to stand alongside you as your Pastor.
My prayer for today:
Good and Gracious God,
As we begin this new season of ministry together at First Community Church we humbly ask you to send your Spirit to us. Give us the courage we need as a congregation to stand for justice, to reach out in grace and to give ourselves away in loving service wherever we may be found. In the name of the One whose love never ends, Amen.
With love and grace for all of you, your pastor,
My sermon sermon series, Conspiracy of Hope, continues this Sunday, May 7 with Part 3: A Messy Spirituality, based on Psalm 51.
This is one of my favorite texts in the Bible. Traditionally, it is believed this is the confession of King David after being caught in the sin of adultery.
His words, “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me,” speak across the centuries to anyone (and that would be everyone) who has ever fallen or stumbled on the path named sin. In this message, we will explore the messiness of spirituality and the way we move forward in our lives toward God even when we make mistakes, both large and small.
I’m really looking forward to preaching this sermon. I believe it is a word that speaks to all of us whether young or old. We will remember God’s love for you and me and the world is always greater than all our shortcomings combined!
Paul Baumer will preach at the 8:30 am service in Burkhart Chapel (1320 Cambridge). Whenever I am around Paul, I feel this deep connection to the Spirit of God’s gracious and welcoming heart. I know those who attend the chapel service will be blessed by his words.
This Sunday is Foundation Sunday. We will take a moment to celebrate the many ministries programs supported by generous grants from the Foundation this past year like Camp Akita scholarships, roof replacement at the Sky Valley and Dogwood Akita cabins, a truck for the Heart to Heart Food Pantry, a new stove for the Dominica school and support of the Homeless Prevention Program and many more. Check out their new website to learn more: FCchurch.foundation
I am very grateful for the many positive comments you have shared with me about our Season of Prayer. This has been a wonderful way for us be connected with each other at the beginning of our new ministry. Because so many have been blessed by this work, I will write a new prayer at the beginning of each liturgical season.
The next prayer will appear in your bulletins on Pentecost Sunday, June 4. This prayer will carry us through to the season of Advent.
I cannot even count how many people the last two weeks have told me they have invited friends and family members to join us for worship! You all have been amazing. Keep up the good work and take a moment right now, if you can, to call a friend, email a co-worker or talk to a neighbor and invite them to join us this Sunday.
Here is my prayer for today:
Good and Gracious God, You know us better than we know ourselves. We sometimes choose fear over faith. Help us, through the power of your ever-forgiving heart, to choose the way of love so that we become a blessing to all we encounter. Amen.
With gratitude and love for all of you, your pastor,
First Community Church
This Sunday, we will continue in my sermon series, The Conspiracy of Hope, with Part 2, The Vision of Far Off Things.
I will focus on Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance for things hoped for…” This fascinating phrase implies that faith is a gift, one which produces hope. I love this text and the way it points us toward the possibility of new life for all of us. I’m looking forward to giving this sermon!
The 8:30 am worship service in Burkhart Chapel will feature Dr. Deb Lindsay delivering the sermon, Come Walk with Me, based on Luke 24:13-24, 28-31. Deb is an outstanding preacher and I know you’ll love her work in the chapel pulpit.
I hope you will plan to attend my installation service on May 21 at South Campus (1320 Cambridge Blvd). We will celebrate in one service at 11 am that day with my very good friend, Rev. Adam Hamilton delivering the sermon.
Adam is the Senior Pastor of the The Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. This 20,000 member church recently completed a $55 million capital campaign. Adam is a dynamic preacher, a prolific author and a gracious pastor.
I am certain you will be inspired by his sermon. I am really looking forward to celebrating our new beginning with all of you on this day of celebration.
Have you made plans to shop at our Mission Council Gigantic Garage Sale at the North Campus (3777 Dublin Road)? The preview sale is 6:30-9:30 pm on Friday, May 19. The sale continues on Saturday, May 20, 8 am – 3 pm.
All proceeds ago to support First Community Church missions. This sale is so big, I heard about it when I was living in Kansas City many years ago. I cannot wait to check it out.
I was very glad to learn last Sunday that many of you invited a friend or family member to worship with us. Many of you took the time to introduce your visitor to me. Thank you for reaching out like this.
The single greatest factor in a church’s ability to continue to grow and thrive in worship is the membership’s willingness to bring a friend. If you bring a friend this Sunday, please be sure to find me so I can say hello.
Speaking of visitors, do you know of someone who may be ready to join our church? Please ask them to contact Kristy Glaser at (614) 488-0681 ext. 161 or email@example.com and she will guide them through the process.
Here is my prayer for this day,
Kind and wonderful God,
As new life springs forth around us give us the courage we need to allow your Spirit to help us grow in grace. Remove the fear that so often clouds our vision and narrows our minds. Help us to simply love our neighbor so that in some way we become a reflection of your love for all. Amen.
I am continually humbled by the beauty of your love, your gracious welcome and your willingness to be a blessing to others.
With love for all of you, your pastor,
First Community Church
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