There have been a couple of times when someone else has come to church and one of the entrance doors has been left ajar or unlocked. It is imperative that if you are the last person to leave the building that you check to see if all the doors are locked and latched. Please allow the door to shut and then gently pull on the doors to see that they are latched. Thank you.
Update on Members Hospitalized or receiving care
Art Raney: Tom spoke with Art this past week. Art is improving and has a few more milestones to reach before he can be released from St. Mary Healthcare. He would love to get phone calls and cards/letters.
Dru Novak: Dru was recently diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. They have set up a Caring Bridge Site to keep friends and family informed. https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/drunovak and would appreciate prayers.
Update: Food Pantry and Clothing Closet
The All Saints Food Pantry has been very busy the last few months and we don’t see it slowing down anytime in the near future. The following is a list of items that are very much appreciated and needed: peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, bars of soap, laundry detergent. The Clothing Closet has now re-opened and is temporarily located in Fellowship Hall to spread out more. We will take donations on a limited basis. If you have donations; clothes, dishes, blankets, shoes, etc. please drop them off at the church any Saturday from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm or contact Sheryn, Bonnie, or Anne.
Thank you for helping people in need!
If you are interested in working in our food pantry, please sign up for a shift at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0e44aca62ea6ff2-food or contact Anne and/or Bonnie.
Ash Tree Removal
Thank you to all who donated money for the removal of the ash trees in the yard at church. The work will be completed in the next few weeks.
Worship Ministry Team
From the Pastor – newsletter article
The Gospel for the last Sunday in July recorded a series of parables Jesus told his disciples about the kingdom of God.
Biblical commentators note the kingdom of God had a very connotation at the time of Jesus from the image we have of it today. We think of God’s kingdom as the equivalent of heaven, as some place out of this world, a celestial place devoid of the human problems and contradictions.
In Jesus day, the Jewish-Christian community thought the kingdom of God would be initiated right down here on earth. The good would be rewarded and the evil punished. A new era would sweep away the old injustices and a time of peace and wellbeing would be forthcoming now and not at some distant place in the future.
Over time the immediacy of the kingdom was lost for the most obvious reason, its seemingly interminable delay. Gradually the church had to adjust to the reality that the kingdom would not be landing on their doorstep any time soon.
The delay of the kingdom brought a monyana attitude to the church. By monyana, I mean the church thought of the immediacy of the coming kingdom as delayed. People lowered their expectations and felt left to their own devices. The concept of Christian discipleship suffered as a result. Discipleship became identified with institutional church membership. Today a church member remains active in a congregation, if they give or commune once in a two-year period. That’s hardly what Jesus suggested in his understanding of discipleship.
The parables Jesus used bring the idea of the kingdom of God down to earth. The kingdom Jesus describes has an immediacy, lacking today. We need to recover that immediacy, as the foundation of our Christian faith.
When I read the parables about discovering a treasure in a field or selling everything to buy a pearl of great value, the immediacy of the kingdom of God comes to mind.
Think about the names of Steve Job, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and the other great entrepreneurs of our time. They started their careers with very little financial resources, but an abundance of vision, energy, commitment and determination. They materially changed human life in the right here and now. They had what it takes to be successful.
Imagine what Christianity would be like, if we all brought an entrepreneurial spirit to our Christian faith. People like Martin Luther, St Francis of Assissi. St. Theresa of Calcutta had that spirit and so can we. We have to clear out the monyana attitude and become entrepreneurs for Jesus. We must bring vision, energy, commitment, and determination to our faith. When we are collectively able to have that kind of discipleship the kingdom of God, as described by Jesus, will be coming down to earth.
Pastor Richard Pokora
Message by Pastor Pokora – August 9, 10th Sunday after Pentecost
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.
Several years ago at the Bettendorf Dog Park I met for the first and only time Trine Breyholtz, a mother of three teen-age children, who lived in Park View near Eldridge. Her husband worked for the corps of engineers. She brought two dogs to exercise at the park.
We slipped into conversation. Trina said she planned to fly from Chicago’s O’Hara Field to Bergen, Norway, where she hoped to live. Trina immigrated to the United States from Norway twenty years ago to obtain a degree in architecture and interior design from Iowa State University. Later she met her husband, eventually had three children and settled down into domestic life in the United States.
For years, Trine intended to return and live in her native land. Finally, she decided to put aside her questions, her fears about such a move, and make the move with her three teenagers and two dogs. That’s quite a decision to make mid-life. It involves some risks.
Trine’s great venture remind me of Jesus and the Apostle Peter walking on water. She was getting out of Park View and leaping across the Atlantic Ocean, just as Peter got out of the boat and walked on water. It’s about taking risks, leaving our comfort zone.
When you think about it, the story of Jesus and Peter walking on water may be viewed from several perspectives. Some commentators focus on the miraculous aspect of this event. Here Jesus walks on water, while Peter attempts to do the same thing, but, for lack of faith, fails. I have read sermons which interpret this text to mean we ought to expect miracles. Miracles happen in life. My good friend, Larry Makoben, had a heart attack and nearly died, but the EMT’s did their work and he lives thankfully years later. That’s a miracle.
A second aspect to this story equally deserves our attention. Let us focus on that second theme. We start by placing ourselves in the boat with the disciples. Scripture tells us Jesus instructed the disciples to climb in the boat and proceed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. He then dismisses the crowd and prays alone by himself on the mountain side.
Unfortunately, events take a turn for the worse with the disciples. The boat they use to cross the Sea becomes caught in a storm, battered by wind and waves far from shore. They were caught in a life-threatening situation. Jesus comes to their rescue in an unexpected manner. He walks toward their boat on the surface of the sea.
Now we can well imagine the frazzled state of mind on the disciples. Here they cling to a boat and fear it will capsize in a storm and suddenly a figure walks toward them. At first they see a ghost approaching them; they cry out in frightened.
Jesus, however, seeks to calm their fears and says, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” The Apostle Peter is so impressed with the sight of Jesus walking on water, he believes he will do the same. Peter says, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
Jesus says to Peter, “Come,” and that is exactly what Peter does. He gets out of the boat and walks toward Jesus. Now this sounds a crazy to us. The last thing we want to do is climb out of a boat in the middle of a storm. Suddenly, however, the violence of the wind causes Peter to rethink his intention. He becomes frightens and sinks beneath the waves.
In his dire predicament, Peter cries to Jesus, “Lord save me!” Jesus immediately reaches his hand and catches Peter, saying to him all the while, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” At this moment, the wind ceases and the water becomes calm. The disciples realize a miracle has taken place. They say of Jesus, “Truly you are the son of God.”
The second great theme of this gospel has to do with confronting fear in life. We recall what Jesus said to his disciples at the Last Supper according to the Gospel of John. Jesus prayed, “As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” He says we continue to live in a conflicted world and living in that world will never be easy.
The other day, for example, a friend of mine told me he collapsed, while outdoors. He went to his doctor and discovered he has a blood disorder. He had no idea. For the time being he is under treatment for his illness. He is bewildered by the problem and faces an uncertain future. His experience repeats itself endlessly in the lives of others. We are all in the same boat.
Life dumps seemingly insurmountable problems in our laps. The problem may be a personal health issue, or one faced by a close relative. It is a storm in our life. Sometimes storms in life take different forms. For example, a woman I know mentioned to me that her niece suddenly faces divorce. The niece has no job, two children and no home. Think of how scary that can be. The divorce is a storm in her life. She feels tossed about, like the disciples in their boat.
Our response to these storms must be like the Apostle Peter’s. Peter places his confidence in Christ. He understands the real threat the waves and the sea and the wind represent. He believes Jesus to be the Son of God who has the power to carry him through the storm.
Peter trusts in the grace, goodness and love of God. That love, grace and goodness gives him the strength and courage to leave the boat. The boat for Peter represents his comfort, security and safety. It is literally his comfort zone. But he gets out of the boat. He sees possibility where others see danger and defeat. Jesus says tor Peter, “Come,” and Peter responds obediently. He knows God is with him.
Many years ago, when I graduated from college, I faced a choice of life directions. One direction led to my decision to enroll at seminary in Chicago. The Lutheran seminary lies on the south side of Chicago in an urban environment, an environment different from the one where I grew up and received my college education. Attending seminary meant leaving my comfort zone, and confronting fears about a very urban environment. Life unfolds in various and unexpected ways. Serving God implies getting out of the boat and trusting in Christ.
So it is for each of us. God calls us out of our comfort zone to do great things. We fear the consequences. May we respond as Peter did and confront our fears with faith obedience and courage. Amen
May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Annual Delegate Assembly: The Annual Delegate Assembly is scheduled for Thursday, August 27th at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church 2601-15th St, Moline, IL 61265. Registration begins at 6:30 pm and the meeting will commence at 7:00 pm. The evening will include music, words of witness from our clients, and special reports.
Because of the partnership with Churches United of the Quad City Area team, we wish to honor you, All Saints, with a special presentation during our program for your service with the ministry. Please RSVP by Friday, August 14, 2020.
Thank you for your contributions and support throughout the years!
Rev. Dr. Melvin Grimes