In a "Crossroads of Mission" - Right Here!

I am looking forward to tomorrow morning - our church building will be a crossroads of mission!

The Adult/Intergenerational Mission Team will be returning from their week of labor, learning, and love, doing facility repairs (like replacing sidewalks!), working with the repurposing/recycling ministry, and helping serve the clients at Cass Community Center in Detroit, Michigan. They'll have some great stories to share with us!

Also tomorrow morning, the Senior High Mission Team will load the vans and embark on a trip to Charlotte, New York, where they will work on teams with youth from across the country to repair and improve homes for lower-income residents of the town, get to know the families they are serving and hear their stories, and engage in worship, learning and fellowship experiences.

And while these teams are coming and going, our church will be in the midst of  hosting the one-day version of the exciting School of Christian Mission, an annual event designed by our Conference United Methodist Women to educate and inspire United Methodists about people around the world, social issues, and in-depth Bible study. We are expecting 176 people to gather in our church for this event - kudos to our local UMW members and friends who are working hard today to have everything ready for this all-day event tomorrow!

One purpose of all those mission trips and mission education is to help us notice, listen to and grow in understanding of the many people in our world -- and in our neighborhoods --  who may sometimes feel unheard, invisible, alone.

Our scripture includes numerous stories of people who find themselves in the "wilderness" of injustice, or fear, or grief. But new possibilities take shape as they discover that God is there in the wilderness with them -- that God sees them, hears them, and leads them forward right where they are. Implied in each of those stories is the call of God upon all of our lives to serve God by noticing those in the "wilderness places" of today. We will be looking at one such story this Sunday - as we read the Genesis 21:8-21 account of Hagar and Ishmael, who at the moment of greatest need in their lives, are "Heard by God."

Worship Cafés

Thanks to all who came to the first "Worship Café"  last Sunday! We had a good turnout, and lively conversation. Many people who attended commented how much they enjoyed the time to share thoughts about church life with others - both those they knew well and those they didn't. We'll be posting the group notes from various table conversations on the walls near the Sanctuary. As you read the notes, you may notice some common threads and the great variety of perspectives on the question "What makes worship most meaningful to you?"

At each of our next two Worship Cafés -- on August 20 and October 15 - we will open the table conversations with a different question. You are invited to be a part of all three!

Thanks to the World Café planning team of Brian Crowther, Dave Donahue, Carol Lysne, Cindi Roselieb and Kimberley Steele.

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