We’re serving up burrito bowls for dinner this Wednesday, so come join us. There’s something for everyone on Wednesday Nights! Dinner is served at 6:00 p.m. and a freewill donation is collected. Read more for information about the schedule and activities.
Some days go better than others. We know that, right? Still, when those “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” days come (like the title of the beloved children’s book), we struggle. We wonder what went wrong. We replay the day over in our heads analyzing what we might have done differently. Sometimes, we even get angry at God.
I spent this past week immersed in the prophet Hosea in preparation for this weekend’s sermon. If anyone was going to be able to claim he had a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” day, Hosea was the one. His story is one of love, heartbreak and frustration.
You probably could have gone to Sunday School every Sunday for your entire life and never heard of Hosea. He is referred to as one of the “minor prophets” found in the Old Testament. The biblical book of Hosea is short and to the point. If you have a minute this week, dig out your bible and give it a read (or just click on this link and read it online).
The prophet Hosea didn’t just tell the people of God’s great love for them, he felt it. His own story mirrored God’s story of falling in love with the people, having them stray and then desiring them to come back with his whole being. Hosea proclaims to us a God whose desire to be in relationship with us is greater than anything else in all of creation. When all else fails, God is still there reaching out to us, drawing us in and calling us beloved. There is no bad day that can be so bad that God still will not be there calling us back.
Last weekend many of you got to be part of our kick off Sunday as we began a new year of ministry. We launched our largest Sunday School program ever with 12 classes for children ages infants/toddlers through senior high and 100 adults in Bailey Hall for the Abiding Table. We had to pull out a few extra chairs at the 8:45 a.m. worship service and at the Abiding Table to make sure that everyone had a seat, which is always a good problem to have. (Don’t worry, we’ll always have a seat waiting for you when you arrive!) Every available space in our facility was in use.
What many of you might not have had the chance to see was what happened Sunday night when 40 7th—12th graders and 13 adults came back to church to launch our new Youth Group ministry. I had no clue what to expect when I pulled into the parking lot with a carload full of Chipotle. I hoped that there would be a few people gathering. I was shocked to find the parking lot filled and students literally pouring out of cars. It was amazing!
Youth Group is a chance for our students to hang out, play games, engage in a worship experience, eat dinner and spend time in small groups talking about faith and life. Already, there are many powerful stories coming out of this ministry. It is an example of how we are living out are calling Connecting People to Christ through Community.
As we kick off a new year of Sunday School this weekend, I cannot help but think back about my own Sunday School days. Some of my Sunday School teachers were more memorable than others, but they all seemed to have the patience of a saint. One, in particular, still stands out to me all these years later.
Mr Anderson was my Senior High Sunday School teacher. His qualifications for the position were that he loved Jesus, and he allowed himself to get arm-twisted into saying yes when asked. Of course, at the time, most of us high schoolers were less than enthusiastic about Mr. Anderson’s willingness to teach us. We were a tough class!
Yet, Sunday after Sunday, Mr. Anderson kept showing up. He kept talking to us about Jesus. More importantly, he kept showing us God’s love even when we were a pretty unlovable bunch.
When I graduated high school, Mr. Anderson sent me a graduation card. I still remember how shocked I was to open the mail and find that he had sent me a card. It was then I realized how much he cared about all of us teenagers.
As I look around at Abiding Presence, I am grateful for all of the people in our church who are stepping into Mr. Anderson’s shoes for our children and youth. We have an amazing faith family, and I am grateful that my family and I get to be part of it.
Come join us as we kick off the fall and a new year of Sunday School. Our regular worship schedule resumes with services on Sundays at 8:45 and 11:00 a.m. as well as Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. Sunday School Liftoff, a 10 minute opening with songs, puppets and prayers, takes place in Bailey Hall at 9:50 a.m. Sunday School for children and youth ages 3 (and potty trained) through 12th grade takes place in age appropriate classes from 10:00-10:45 a.m. Click here for more details about classes.
Our new Infant, Toddler & Parent/Caregiver Sunday School class is geared towards birth through 3 year old kids and parents/caregivers meets in the nursery after Liftoff from 10:00-10:45 a.m. There is an age appropriate (and brief) lesson followed by time for kids to plan and parents/caregivers to connect with one another.
The Abiding Table is our adult Sunday School class that meets in Bailey Hall from 10:00-10:45 a.m. Adults get to enjoy breakfast, coffee, and faithful conversation about the day’s topic.
Failure. Having Enough Money. Having Enough for Retirement. Being Alone. Aging. Terrorism. Death. The Future. These are all fears we struggle with in our daily lives. Join us this fall for five weeks in small groups as we learn to live beyond our fear and trust in God in the midst of troubled times using the book Unafraid. Small groups are hosted by members of Abiding Presence at their homes, out in the community, or at the church. A book and videos will guide our discussions about how we live with courage and hope in the midst of fear and uncertainty. Sign up, try it out and invite God into your lives while we grow in relationship with God and each other, connecting to Christ through community. Sign up here.
As I shared in July, Abiding Presence was awarded a $10,000 grant by the ELCA for a 6 month mental health ministry partnership with NAMI-Northern Virginia. As we implement our proposal, here’s a few quick updates on our goals and how we are using the grant to change lives and bring hope to our community!