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