Adult Faith Formation Theme for 2021 – Faith and Action: The Why and How of Christian Life
LPC’s Faith Formation Ministry is excited to announce a year-long effort to link scripture and doctrine with mission outreach and social justice.
For many Christians, “religion” is all about “believing” the right things or simply agreeing with certain doctrines that are part of their specific church tradition. Others are “doers.” They are either more comfortable feeding the hungry or housing the homeless, or more passionate about addressing injustice and social issues but are often unable to articulate any kind of scriptural or theological basis for doing so. Denominations and congregations within them tend to swing toward one of these two views.
In recent years, the gulf between these two extremes is being bridged by people like Roman Catholic theologian Richard Rohr and (formerly) evangelical Protestant leader, Brian McLaren. Both have been calling for a new model of modern Christian living based on solid, historic theology and vital, fervent action based on scriptural calls to address issues of social, racial and environmental justice. In fact, Rohr founded a center in New Mexico (The Center for Action and Contemplation) whose mission is to help the Christian Church (Protestant and Roman Catholic) to see the critical necessity for both in a modern, scientific world. We want to bring this movement to LPC!
Part 1: Welcoming All as Beloved children of God
Following worship on Sunday, September 19, LPC Pastor Jim Butler will kick off the year with a three-part series that looks at the reasons why Christians must be welcoming and hospitable to all people, and how we can practice it even to those who are not Christians or people who may be hostile to the particular tradition within Christianity we profess. One of his primary background resources will be Scott Sauls’ book, A Gentle Answer: Our ‘Secret Weapon’ in an Age of Us Against Them. The series will continue Sundays, September 26 and October 3. Each session will last about 45 minutes and include time for questions and comments.
Part 2 will begin Sunday, October 10 with LPC member Dr. Sheryl Buckley leading a four-part series on how to live out Christ’s command to “love one another as I have loved you,” using Valerie Kaur’s powerful memoir, See No Stranger.
A Message from the Pastor
by the Rev. Dr. James C. Butler
I hope you had a pleasant and restful summer and you were able to enjoy some of the activities that were not possible last summer due to the pandemic. The autumn months are here, and we will do our best to keep our mission and ministry active and forward thinking but continuing in our pledge to keep people safe. So, our usual big fall Gathering Sunday and meal has been trimmed back to a joyous worship service and a very simple coffee hour fellowship with a children’s outdoor chalk fest if the weather cooperates. We have selected a theme for all of our faith formation programming — Faith and Action (see article) — and we are “right sizing” our ministries to children until they can get vaccinated (see article).
The question on many of our minds is: What will we, and won’t we, be able to do in public settings this fall due to the latest surge of COVID-19 and the scary new “delta” variant? Will there be more public mask mandates, school closures, vaccination card admission requirements to restaurants and sporting and cultural events? I don’t know for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there are. What I do know for sure is that lots of good, decent and otherwise kindly people are downright angry and fed up. We are angry because we did our very best to do what public health officials told us to do — we wore masks, social distanced and got vaccinated as soon as we could and then spent a day or two not feeling on the top of our game. It kept most of us from getting the virus and some of us from dying, and I for one would do it all over again if needed. We did all of it because we care not only about our own health but the health of our fellow citizens. We are in this together, and we must all work together. Because many did not, the public health crisis continues. Hospital beds across the country are filled to overflowing with sick people and younger people, most of whom, 95-97%, chose to ignore the warnings, deny the science, resist masks and refuse vaccines. I fear that the days will soon come when we will need to get past our anger. In doing so, we can embrace those who survive and live to regret their resistance and inaction, support those who will lose their loved ones, especially children, and somehow resist the urge to say, “We told you so!” To date, the pandemic ended the lives of three LPC members, and it made another half dozen or so, very, very sick, a few with long-term residual side effects. It could have been much worse, but it was bad enough. So let’s hang together and do the right things — for ourselves, and for our family, friends and fellow citizens.
Sunday Faith Formation Schedule Changes
Welcome back to Faith Formation in person! Thanks to everyone who provided classes virtually for over a year, and thanks to all of you who participated from your homes. We are excited to be able to learn together again.
As COVID-19 continues to present challenges, we are making some changes to our Sunday morning faith formation schedule, which will begin on Sunday, September 19. The Child Care room will be open during worship, and if there are families who want to use it, throughout adult faith formation. For the time being, however, we will not have our Journeys class after worship for children of elementary age. Instead, those children will leave worship after the Children’s Sermon and go to WeeKirk, which will provide more of a directed lesson and activity. It will end when worship is over. The youth class will begin about 11:15 a.m. as will adult faith formation. This schedule change is not permanent; it will be reevaluated as new guidance in health requirements occurs. We are so happy to be able to worship and learn together again, but we want to do it as safely as possible for all concerned.
LPC’s Generosity Recognized
The Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA has recognized Lakewood Presbyterian Church for our 20-year history of generous support of the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) special offering. The offering is promoted during the Lenten season and collected on Palm Sunday. The OGHS offering originated in the 1950s. It is a very important means for Presbyterian congregations like ours to support denominational hunger ministries, the highly regarded Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program, and small grants to under-resourced, faith-based entrepreneurs through the Self-Development of People ministry. Thanks to all of you who so generously bless God’s world through the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering.
September Hand in Hand Meeting
Friday, September 10 from 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. in the Reed Room — This month the group will have a discussion about “Cooking for One” with leaders Sheryl Buckley and Will Limkemann offering ideas. Be ready to share any recipes you have and love. Mask wearing is appreciated. All are welcome.
The Importance of Per Capita
According to the Office of the General Assembly, per capita is a fundamental way in which all of the more than 9,000 congregations and mid councils of the PC(USA) connect, participate and share in the work of the wider church. Per capita is how Presbyterians “mutually and equitably share the costs of coming together to discern the Spirit’s leading for the future.” The expenses of operating our Presbyterian denomination will cost every congregation in our Presbytery $32.41 per member. This amount remains unchanged from 2020. In 2021, the per capita amount is distributed as follows:
- $8.98 goes to support the national work overseen by the General Assembly;
- $3.25 goes to support the work of the Synod of the Covenant, our regional synod; and
- $20.18 supports the administration and mission work in our own Presbytery of the Western Reserve (Northeast Ohio).
Please consider paying your per capita apportionment on top of your pledge amount. Simply note “per capita” on the memo line of your check and mail or drop off at the church office. Thank you for considering this request.