Summer in the City

Every time I sit down to write the month’s newsletter article, I’m amazed by how fast time flies. We have traveled through Advent/Christmas followed by Lent/Eastertide. This month we enter the season of Pentecost, as we celebrate the birth of the church. Pentecost Sunday will be June 9th. It will be a joint celebration with the Cambodian congregation. You all will have a part to play in the celebration so be sure to mark your calendar to be with us for the worship celebration.

In the month of June, we also begin our journey into the summertime. Summer is often seen as a time to slow down and take time to get re-created. Get away trips are often planned and there is a general overall feel of putting our feet up and moving at a slower pace. Our usual monthly fellowship activities shut down for the summer months. Choir takes the summer off and our activities shift elsewhere. As you will see in the newsletter, there is a wide variety of camp opportunities available for you and your family. This is an excellent opportunity to escape into nature and be drawn closer to God and to each other. The last Sunday of June is a “5th Sunday” worship experience for us. For this 5th Sunday, we are planning a good old Hymn Sing. We will spend the worship hour praising God through the songs we have come to love and maybe even a few new songs. This would be a great time for you to invite family and friends to come and worship with you. Looking ahead into the summer, we will continue the tradition of our church picnic. This is another great opportunity to invite friends and family to fellowship with you. More details will be coming regarding the church picnic in next month’s newsletter but put Sunday, July 28 into your calendar. I hope you all find time to re-create this summer.

Even though we are “slowing things down” for the summer, it does not mean that we stop growing as a disciple of Christ. I would like to offer you three “change of pace” growing opportunities for the summer. We will not meet every week, but we will meet on a regular basis. Where and when we meet, will be determined by those who express an interest in the learning opportunities. If you have an interest in one or more of the following opportunities listed below, please let me know. You can talk to me on Sunday or call me at the church office or contact me through email at sbrink@fbc-portland.org.

A book club – Marie just finished reading Anne Lamott’s newest book, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope. Hearing Marie talk about the book made me want to read it. Listening to Marie share about the book, made me think the book might just have something to say to us and our faith journey. Anne Lamott has a very interesting faith journey as she has found God in all situations in her life. Sometimes you will find her words to be a soothing salve for your wounds. Sometimes, her words will challenge you to take our faith seriously, words that may, both make you mad and inspire you at the same time. If you would like to join with others from the congregation to discuss learnings from this book let me know. This would also be an opportunity for you to reach out to family and friends who like to read to join with you in the discussion.

A Writer’s Club – if reading is not your thing, maybe you would like to spend the summer writing. In my own devotional life, from time to time, I do an exercise called a “spiritual verbatim.” Think of it as writing out my prayers to God and then reflecting on what I learned about my faith and myself by doing this. In each gathering, we will have a chance to share our prayer writings with others. Think of it as creating a First Baptist Book of Psalms. So often we walk through life with only a side glance at all the encounters we have with God each day. This group will be an opportunity to discipline ourselves to look for God in our everyday life. If you have friends who like to write and want to explore their faith in a different way, be sure to ask them to join with you in this experience.

The Elephant in the Room club – Politics is one of those subjects that can divide people as easily as unite them. We are living in a world where we form our political views according to the news network or source we follow. It has become very difficult to discuss issues in the present-day climate. We easily fall into the camp of the right or left or have dropped out altogether. Presently we are watching played out before us what some have called a “constitutional crisis” based on the release of the Mueller Report. The problem is, most people have not read the report and only know what it says because “someone said” this or that. I plan this summer to read the report and would invite people from the left or the right or the middle to join me in reading it and discussing what we find and how faith plays a role in politics. This is a very important time in our history. I invite you to join with me in showing the world that people with different positions can still be faithful people. (Warning: this will not be an easy read, but it is important that we read it.)

Two more items to make note of for June. On June 16 we will be offering the Right Hand of Fellowship to Jimmy Jones. Don’t miss it. All through the month of June we will be receiving the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering. By supporting this offering, you are helping people during tragic times in their lives. The One Great Offering is the American Baptist family being prepared in times of emergencies. I look forward to your generosity.
See you in worship.

— Pastor Sam Brink