SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2014
9:00am Living the Questions class
Sunday School for Children and Youth
18th Sunday after Pentecost
12-2pm Youth OWL Class
MONDAY, OCTOBER 13
6:30pm Consistory (Church Board)
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14
6:30pm New Stewardship Team (Consultant)
7:30pm Foundation Fund
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15
12 noon Worship with Communion
followed by The Largest Table Community Meal
1:30pm Wednesday Bible Study Class
3:00pm CDF Freedom School
4:30pm Statehouse Prayer Rally
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16
12:30pm CSEOA Pastoral Excellence
5:30pm Pastor Parish Relations
Dear Members and Friends of St John’s,
We have had a challenging week at St John’s, as one member compared our experiences this week to being on a roller coaster – the roller coaster of life! We had tremendous “ups” as we experienced transformational worship and mission experiences throughout the week. We also had encouraging news from our financial consultant, Sandy Lindahl, www.ackleyconsulting.com. Sandy is helping us administer our annual giving program to support the mission and ministry of St John’s, and she is helping us design a new planned giving program to support of our church for years to come. Sandy showed us that we are gaining momentum at St John’s, as more people financially pledge to support our church each year as an outgrowth of their faith and trust in God.
Yesterday was another “up” experience when I had the privilege of the delivering the Invocation and Blessing at the luncheon for Mayor Coleman’s “Momentum” Conference for Small Business owners, a sold out event with 1,000 people in attendance at the new Hilton in Columbus to hear local, state, and national speakers encourage new business in our city. It was a tremendous networking opportunity and chance to lift up the renewed ministry of St John’s.
During the luncheon, Mayor Coleman told us that the young people call “Momentum” in life – the big “MO”!
Can you guess what the opposite of the STATUS “QUO” is?
That’s right – the STATUS “MO”!
A city, a business (and I will add, a church) who lives by the status “quo” will die. A city, a business, a church committed to the status “mo” – to momentum – will thrive.
Examples of the Status Quo: Blockbuster video stores, the Blackberry phone, the now-closed Central Presbyterian church.
Examples of the Status Mo: Netflix, the I-Phone, Jeni’s Ice Cream, and St John’s Church!
As I drove back to the church along High Street yesterday, I noticed the number of steel cranes along the skyline, as more new housing is built in downtown Columbus. This new skyline reminded me of our new theme at St John’s: that our church is merely a delivery system of the Gospel. Our church is not the Gospel itself! So our challenge is to be as effective a delivery system for the Gospel as we can be, generation to generation. We must continually update and find our “mo” in order to thrive into a new age.
If we are effective in delivering the Gospel to a new generation of believers, we will thrive. If we are not, we will be relegated to the long list of downtown churches who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) change from being an Eight Track church in an MP3 world. Fortunately, we are on the right path here at St John’s as we continue to find our “mo” and serve as a Beacon of Hope in the Heart of this thriving City.
Sue Ferrell was one of our greatest advocates for finding new “mo” at St John’s and for positively living into the roller coaster of life, with gusto and compassion for all. It was a tremendous loss to our community when Sue lost her battle with cancer this week and was called Home. While we may consider this a “down” part of our church roller coaster ride, Sue would want us to stay positive, wouldn’t she?
Up until her last days on this earth, Sue was sending positive text messages, posting church events on her Facebook page, insisting that Bonnie’s posters go up in the hospital room, and telling her nurses all about the healing and the hope she had found at St John’s church. Sue will always hold a special place in my heart because her first Sunday at St John’s was my first Sunday as your new Senior Pastor almost three years ago. I am deeply grateful to Kathy and Christa Markus for inviting Sue to join St John’s. Sue helped us all see the church, and our power in the community, with fresh eyes. She will be greatly missed, especially by our children and youth. After the worship service on Sunday, we will provide a special cake and punch reception in Sue’s honor, as we continue to make arrangements for her November 1st Memorial Service at St John’s.
We also lost another saint of the church this week, Wendell Swords. Some of you may not know Wendell, because in his last years, he faithfully cared for his wife who was ill, and then he became too ill to attend church regularly. Yet Wendell continued to support our new momentum at St John’s, including our music programs and The Largest Table ministry. We are grateful for the care Nan Tennenbaum showed to Wendell in his last years, and it was a privilege to share Wendell’s last communion meal with Nan and Wendell’s family around the bedside before Wendell’s death. Wendell’s Memorial Service will be held on October 17, with more details to follow by separate e-mail.
Ups and downs. Life and loss. Grief and grace. Our challenge now is to continue the positive “mo” at St John’s, and find our way forward as a church, in the midst of this roller coaster of life. Fortunately our Scriptures and our faith tradition provide guidance and the way ahead. On Sunday our lectionary texts are Psalm 23 and Philippians 4:1-9. My sermon is entitled “Death Valley” as we explore our own journey through the shadow of the valley of death this past week, and seek understanding and hope for our collective future.
Please remember that in two Sundays, on Sunday, October 19, our church will be completely inaccessible due to the Columbus Marathon. So, that weekend we are hosting our weekly weekend worship service on Saturday evening, October 18, at 5pm. By popular request (especially from Sue!), we will offer a creative mix of contemporary music during this service, followed by a casual meal. There will be NO SUNDAY WORSHIP ON OCTOBER 19.
On Saturday, October 18, following the worship service and meal at St John’s, our youth and volunteers will stay at the church overnight. The next morning, decked out in their purple St John’s t-shirts and carrying our new St John’s banner, these wonderful volunteers will cheer on the tens of thousands of runners and supporters who will pass by our church that Sunday morning. If you are interested in participating in this fun event, please contact the church office.
We had a choice this year about what to do on “Marathon Sunday.” Did we want to give up, resign ourselves to the status quo, and just not have church that day? Did we want to look like we were “closed for business” as tens of thousands of people went past our church? Or did we want to find some new “mo” and let the people of our city know that we will do whatever it takes to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I know what Sue Ferrell would say.
As you prepare for worship at St John’s this weekend, please remember in prayer: the family of Sue Ferrell, the family of Wendell Swords, Agnes Wolfe, Barbara Murray, Tom Yost, Dean Coil, Don & Sylvia Yaekle; the Senior Pastor, staff, and volunteers; and the Ministry and Missions of St John's.
In prayer and with thanksgiving for the courageous people of St John’s,