Sunday, January 21, 2018, 4-6 p.m.
The Ten O’Clock Band
This wonderful concert will feature music from the big band era (including the hits of Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Benny Goodman) as well as contemporary jazz. Donations will be used to pay the performers as well as help our Community Food Pantry. (Light refreshments will follow.)
And when they received it, they grumbledagainst the landowner, Matthew 20:11
November is the time we give thanks to God for the gift of our lives. It seems to me that there is much discontent in the land. Grumbling and complaining is way up from where it was last year at this time. At least this is true for me. Yet I hear grumbling in the grocery line, at meetings, and even on the golf course where one goes to relax.
I suppose it is easier to focus on the negative rather that to accentuate the positive…to look at what others have that we do not…to feel sorry for ourselves. Yet God has blessed us, and the U.S. with great abundance. This Thanksgiving, can we replace grumbling with giving thanks for the gift of our lives? Might go better for us all!
Contemplation on a July 4 morning leads to thoughts about our Nation, Justice, and Freedom. It is a blessing given us by the Framers of the U.S. Constitution that we live under the Rule of Law, which ensures Freedom and Justice for all. These two ideas of the USA go hand-in-hand. Freedom without Justice leads to anarchy, and Justice without Freedom leads to a police state. What a delicate balance we practice.
In the Christian church, Grace and Law are held in balance. Grace without Law leads to what Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” And Law without Grace leads to legalism within the Christian community.
When freedom and justice is denied for one, it is denied for all. Freedom and Justice is for all, or it is for none. No grey areas here.
Hi. My name is Allan Love and I am an elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Port Richey. I am also the chairman of the Mission Committee. The mission committee has several programs reaching out to our community with an Emergency Food Pantry for families. We also serve a community lunch provided by Metropolitan Ministries for all. If you come at 11:00 AM you will be treated to an informal worship service. A clothing exchange called the Sharing Boutique has all varieties of clothing, shoes, and hats for anyone be it small children or full-sized adults.
In closing, I’d like to invite all of you to our community lunch, and to our church services , Friday at 11:00 AM and on Sunday at 10:00 AM. Come join us as we worship, and after the services, share in genuine Christian fellowship in our fellowship hall. And always remember this: ‘You are a stranger here but once’. We’d love to have you, and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings.
As I write this post, Major League Baseball’s All-star game is being played. It got me to thinking of how often we find ourselves on a team. We may participate in sports, work for a charity or church, join a club, or support a political candidate. In fact, in the business world, committees are now called “teams” and supervisors “coaches.” It’s all about working together to get something done! Yet, how often do we experience our teams losing the game, or simply disbanding?
Watching the game with two teams striving to put more score on the board I came to a not-so-profound insight. They only had a couple of days to come together and will disband forever after tonight. Their simple goals were to provide entertainment and have fun. Our teams are a more complex, and usually last more than a week.
The successful “teams” on which I have participated normally followed a set of rules for success. Here are some of these rules for us to think about as we take up positions on our teams.
DIRECTION: PROVIDED BY LEADERSHIP. TEAM MEMBERS MUST ALL HAVE THE SAME ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS IN MIND AND HEAD IN THAT DIRECTION.
MUTUAL RESPECT: THE TEAM NEEDS THE TALENTS AND GIFTS OF ALL OF ITS MEMBERS. ALL HAVE THEIR ROLES TO PLAY AND THE SUCCESS OF THE TEAM DEPENDS ON ALL THE “PLAYERS” DOING THEIR JOBS.
BREAKDOWNS: THERE WILL BE BREAKDOWNS IN THE TEAM. SUPERSTARS WANTING TO OUTSHINE THEIR TEAMMATES, INJURIES, PERSONAL PROBLEMS, DISAGREEMENTS, HURT FEELINGS. LEADERS MUST PROVIDE THE CULTURE OF OPEN COMMUNICATION, CLEAR DIRECTION, AND PLENTY OF ROOM FOR THE MEMBERS TO DO THEIR JOBS. LEADERS ALSO NEED TO LOOK AT FAILURES AS OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEMBERS TO GROW AND FOR THE TEAM TO PULL TOGETHER.
GROW TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER
I often refer to these rules as I “coach” the First Presbyterian Church team. I was sent the following years ago and I will share this brief paragraph with you in closing. Hope it helps as you lead and participate in the many groups we have meeting at our Church.
PC(USA) Stated Clerk issues statement on Supreme Court’s action on marriage
JUNE 26, 2015
Office of the General Assembly
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
The 221st General Assembly (2014) and the presbyteries ratified the following definition of marriage:
Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives. The sacrificial love that unites the couple sustains them as faithful and responsible members of the church and the wider community. …
If they meet the requirements of the civil jurisdiction in which they intend to marry, a couple may request that a service of Christian marriage be conducted by a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), who is authorized, though not required, to act as an agent of the civil jurisdiction in recording the marriage contract. … (Book of Order, W-4.9000)
Today’s Supreme Court’s decision granting equal protection under the law for same-gender, loving people and allowing their marriages to be recognized in all 50 states is welcomed by many within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Actions of the Supreme Court also allow for religious bodies to continue to teach and practice their faith consistent with their belief system. We recognize that within the PC(USA), there are teaching elders and sessions whose understanding of Scripture and the Will of God will prohibit them from performing or hosting wedding ceremonies between same-gender, loving couples. Neither the actions of the 221st General Assembly (2014), nor today’s Supreme Court decision will require them to do so.
For members within the PC(USA) and the wider society who have prayed and fought for this day both within society and our church, we join you in giving thanks to God for this historic action. We continue to work for the full inclusion of all God’s people in the church and in society and relationships marked by genuine love, commitment, and justice.
The Office of Constitutional Interpretation has prepared a helpful set of FAQs for pastors, sessions, and mid councils to use in response to the decision of the Supreme Court.
The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (USA)
OVERVIEW OF OUR MISSION
We at First Presbyterian believe that one of our duties as followers of Jesus Christ is to care for our fellow human beings without prejudice of race, creed, color, national origin, ideology, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. As disciples of Jesus Christ we welcome to our community all who struggle in this human venture.
The Bible records a story where Jesus fed a multitude of hungry people with only five loaves and two fishes. Jesus performed a miracle! Whether he literally divided the loaves and fishes, or convinced others to give of their own hoarded food, a miracle was brought about on that plain in ancient Israel. We at First Presbyterian believe that a miracle is happening in our midst too. Our mission is as follows:
THE COMMUNITY WE SERVE
Within a five mile radius of the church there are 70,000 people living is this small Florida Gulf community. The average median FAMILY income is under $40K with households made up of several generations for families sharing resources. Our primary user of the Food Pantry, is a 20 something single mother with one to three children. Our schools serve free our reduced meals to 80% of enrolled children
THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Our Shopping Experience has been in operation for seven months, open once a week, and we have given out 9143 pounds of food which has feed 1541 people at a cost of $4520! People are welcomed to come and choose the items they like to eat and are given several well-balanced nutritional meals every visit.
COMMUNITY FAMILY MEAL
In conjunction with the food distribution ministry, First Presbyterian Church of Port Richey, Florida, also serves a weekly hot meal to the community. All are invited and no one has to prove a need. We feed all who come to our door. To date, we have served over 200 hot meals free of charge.
We have all heard the saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. This is also part of our work. When people come in, they not only receive necessities like hot meals, groceries, and clothing, they receive benefit through our partnering with other helping agencies and governmental services. We have contacts with Metropolitan Ministries, Volunteer Way, Feed America, and other non-profits where folks can get help searching for a job, becoming self-sufficient, receive educational benefits, and help for addictions.`
Last but not least, we are equipped to address the spiritual and pastoral needs of all who come for food. Under the guidance of The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey G. Guild, a retired Air Force Chaplain and Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, volunteers are available to be with those in need. Our volunteers receive some training to equip them to listen, pray, and recognize referral needs.
We believe that religion is a personal choice, and people are free to partake of our counseling, prayer, and worship services as offered and food is in no way contingent on attending a worship service or hearing a sermon.
God has more for us to do. I appeal to you to join with us in this important ministry. Consider a donation to The Shopping Experience (the Community Family Meal is fully funded due to the generosity of Metropolitan Ministries of Tampa, Florida and others). You can click the donation page on our website and contribute to this ministry.
WHAT WE NEED
We need funds to buy groceries to stock our food pantry for the summer months. We purchase food from a cooperative food bank called “Feed America, Tampa Bay” and from local grocery stores. One hundred percent of your donations will be used for food to feed our community. None of the donations to The Shopping Experience will be used to fund Church activities.
When we moved to Florida six years ago, I was shocked to see the poverty in the community we choose to make my home. After serving as a chaplain in the United States Air Force for 28 years, West Pasco County Florida would be our “forever” home. I serve a small Christian community that was facing extinction.
We put our long-cherished beliefs to the test and stepped out in faith. It was decided that we either live into our beliefs, or close the church. The focus of First Presbyterian Church is now on the needs of the community in which we live and worship. The abundance of generosity has been overwhelming as has the needs of the community. We are good at getting food into the hands, mouths and stomachs of families who need a little help to make ends meet. Again, 100% of funds received through this drive will be spent on food for the pantry.
Do you suppose that people want their clergy to do the work of faith for them? Doubting has always led me to faith, and faith to assurance. Nothing new here. Scriptures attest to faith as the conviction of things not seen. Faith would be meaningless if we could prove, philosophically, scientifically or by any means the existence of God. Today the sun shines bright overhead, the weather is refreshingly cool, and my sister-in-law has gone home to be with the Lord early this morning “This is most certainly true.” (Martin Luther).
The Meaning of Faith
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Heb 11:1–4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Our first Blessing of the Pets service was a great success, with lots of four-legged furry friends and their owners gathered on a cool day on the front lawn. The SPCA was represented as was Greyhound Rescue of Tampa. We collected a carload of supplies for the SPCA. God was glorified this day.
We will be having a special “Blessing of Pets” worship service on Sunday, Oct 5, at 3:00 p.m. in our parking lot. Please bring Fido and Fluffy (appropriately leashed or confined) to receive a special blessing from our Minister. There will be representatives from the SPCA on hand with information about their services, and a special “treat” for all participants! The SPCA is always in need of donations, so please help them out by bringing a donation that day! Here is a specific list of items they need.
Our Daily Needs
Liquid Laundry Detergent Bleach
Antibacterial Dish Soap Simple Green Cleaner
Garbage Bags (large and kitchen) Paper Towels
Towels- New or used Sanitizing Wipes
Toilet Paper Cat Litter (any kind)
Dog and Cat Food (canned or dried, any kind)
For Comfort and Play
Blankets- New or used (no electric ones please)
Sheets- New or used Bedspreads/Comforters
Sturdy Rubber Chew Toys Cat Scratching Posts
Cat Nip Toys (not loose catnip) Cat Towers
Dog and Cat Beds (new or gently used) Cat Toys (any kind)
Soft, Squeaky Dog Toys Kongs- medium or larger
Hose Nozzles Copy Paper (white)
Crates and Carriers: All Sizes, New or Gently Used
KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement)
Gift Cards: Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club