During August, I want to invite each of you take a look into the “good book” with me. Yes, I’m asking you to open your Bible and join me reading through the Gospel of John, chapter 6. This chapter provides the lectionary’s Gospel readings for five consecutive Sundays (July 29 through August 26). These passages provide a healthy discussion about bread, food, satisfaction, and life.
So grab your trusty Bible and dive in. Here is the breakdown of John’s 6th chapter for each Sunday:
July 29 John 6:1-21 Jesus feeds 5000 people with five loaves of bread
and 2 small fish
August 5 John 6:24-35 Jesus teaches about bread from heaven which is
food for eternal life
August 12 John 6:41-51 Jesus declares he is the Bread come down from
August 19 John 6:51-58 Jesus says he is the food for eternal life
August 26 John 6:56-69 Only Jesus has the words of eternal life
I recommend reading the entire chapter and then reading each section week by week as preparation for worship. I will be dealing with these passages as sermon material each Sunday.*
Here’s my suggestion for weekly reading:
Monday read the passage
Tuesday read the passage noting anything of interest or concern to you
Wednesday read the passage imaging you are part of the crowd seeking Jesus
Thursday read the passage seeking its deeper meaning (what’s beneath the
Friday read the passage looking for its meaning in your life
Saturday read the passage enjoying God’s Word in your life
I look forward to hearing from each of you about this month long experience of delving into the Gospel of John, chapter 6.
We have many beautiful outdoor spaces at Northminster, which provide places of respite and quiet spirituality. One, of course, is the Interfaith Labyrinth. As mentioned a couple of issues back in the Northminster News, it has needed ongoing maintenance since its grand opening in spring of 2008. What many don’t realize, is that at the time we began exploring creating this space at Northminster, both Session and the Labyrinth Planning Committee assured the Building and Grounds Committee that it would never be their sole – or even primary – responsibility to keep it up, as they felt they had enough on their plates with the rest of the outdoor spaces at church (not to mention everything inside). The first 10 years, mostly it was Charlotte and Ruth who organized work days, volunteers to water, weed or trim, and there were several “garden elves” who volunteered countless hours without even being asked. Dave Cizmas, Doug and Curt from Building and Grounds offered lots of help, but were never expected to take it on alone.
By the same token, we all are grateful for the beautiful Outdoor Sanctuary provided with the Gazebo and surrounding space, as well as the lovely Memorial Garden in the courtyard. Again, a few steadfast volunteers have maintained these spaces well beyond anything done on our church outdoor workdays. However, some of those volunteers who worked hours each week every spring to fall, need help! There is a sign-up sheet in the hall that Ruth put up for Labyrinth work, but if you are someone who loves gardening and would like to offer regular assistance in maintaining any of our outdoor areas, please speak to Neeta. Perhaps we could create an ad-hoc gardeners group – no meetings required! – which could commit to this project of keeping Northminster property a beautiful place of which we can be proud.
Marth Babcock, Becky Pocisk, and Ruth Turner attended the Hands-on Mission Workshop on June 2 and learned of many worthwhile programs throughout the Detroit Presbytery. We plan to share information on some of these over the next few months.
Kirk in the Hills has many programs supporting the Pontiac Schools: educational assemblies and field trips for the students, and working with the Pontiac Coalition at the August Backpack Rally and Trunk or Treat events, both of which are attended by more than 5,000 Pontiac residents.
For more information, call Kirk in the Hills at 248-626-2515.
Another great program Kirk provides is a tutoring program after school for Pontiac students weekly from October through May. Information on that program can be obtained by contacting Linda Juracek-Lipa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-909-4482.
Be sure to mark your calendars for the South Oakland Shelter program this year, October 14-21 (a week earlier than in past years) at Congregational Church of Birmingham.
Ruth Turner will continue to serve as a general Coordinator, organizing and recruiting volunteers before and supervising the program and its guests during that week. We provide approximately 1/3 of all the food and supplies for about 30 guests, as well as the first Sunday Soup/Chili and Salad welcome dinner. Northminster is also responsible for cooking and serving 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts during the week.
It would be a true blessing if someone was able to help in organizing/supervising in the kitchen for those meals for which we’re solely responsible. Please contact Ruth if you think you can help – even if only partially – in these tasks, and she can tell you exactly what they entail.
The photo here shows the Labyrinth as it appeared when we were almost done with spreading six square yards of mulch last June. An amazing group of people, including many of us from Northminster as well as some friends from TIG, spent lots of time and effort achieving that goal.
In recent years, we’ve had workdays focused totally on the Labyrinth, or sometimes just a few TIG friends did a little weeding; but the vast majority of the weeding, trimming, mulching and weed-prevention treatments were undertaken by Building and Grounds and helpers, along with a few wonderfully faithful “secret gardeners”. Those who worked the most on the Labyrinth on their own - as well as the Memorial Garden - were Curt & Pat Lundy, Peg & Rod Griffard, and Bob Sigler. If you’re also a “secret gardener” we may not know about, we also owe you thanks.
Sadly, we’ve lost Curt, and Bob will soon be moving, but the remaining folks are ready to pass Keeping Our Labyrinth Looking Great: Help Wanted on the mantle to others and take long-deserved rests. Ruth Turner says, “I’ve done what I can for years by carrying gloves and bags in my car for spontaneous spot-weeding, including pulling all those nasty thistles this past week, and am certainly going to continue that, but I really need some help! If we had a cadre of volunteers as we did when the Labyrinth was first installed, each volunteer would only have to weed or trim those bothersome tree ‘shooters’ once or twice from mid-May to midSeptember. It might just entail an hour right after church (keeping gloves and tools in your car makes it easy) or a couple of hours during a weekday, but would make a huge difference in how we present Northminster to the community: thriving, active and involved.”
Let Ruth know if you can help even once and add your name to the sign-up sheet in the hall; if you’re unsure of your schedule, just doing what you can when you can is great, too!
Hunger is not something that happens just in poor communities, it happens all over. Almost 800,000 school-age children receive free and or reduced lunches throughout the state. Did you know that Troy Public schools have just over 1900 students who receive Free or Reduced lunch during the school year? Anywhere from 3% to 30% of students throughout Troy receive food assistance. When school breaks for the summer, these kids will get by with less food. (Taken from Caroline Kondak’s May 13th presentation in worship.)
The Youth of Northminster have joined the Presbytery of Detroit’s Hunger Ministries Program’s Cereal for Summer! campaign. Every box of cereal donated at Northminster from now through Sunday, June 24, will go directly to children in Troy and the Presbytery who face food insecurity this summer.
Fifty percent of the boxes received will go to Morse Elementary School’s Summer Nights program. The other 50% will be shared with the Presbytery’s Hunger Ministries Program that assists 9 food pantries throughout the presbytery.
Let’s help reduce hunger among children with our donations of Cereal for Summer!
Place your donations on the table in the back of the Sanctuary.
The final day to contribute is Sunday, June 24.
You may also make a monetary donation. Check should be payable to Northminster Church with CEREAL in memo line. Thank you!