Storm Damage Update
It has been a month since the hurricane force winds struck our town. While some members of the community were blessed to have their homes and personal property spared, the structure of All Saints suffered damages to the property including the North and south side windows, piano, carpet, and more. While insurance will cover a large portion of the cost to repair the damages, we still have additional expenses such as the deductible. The funds needed to meet all of the repairs to the church is $4,200. As a congregation All Saints has repeatedly stepped up to the plate to support our financial needs. We are asking for you to prayerfully reflect on what you are able to do. If you are able to give to this cause, please note it on your check as property. 2020 has been a trying year to say the least, with COVID challenges, Ash borers destroying trees, a hailstorm in April, and now the winds of the derecho. If there’s one thing that we’ve learned is that All Saints as a congregation is strong and we won’t be shaken.
Laura McCreery and the Worship Ministry Team
The stewardship committee is looking to the future of All Saints and we need your help. We will be constructing a wordcloud graphic that reflects our positive vision of our future. In order to help out we ask that you fill out the form at https://forms.gle/PGuzhZkX3GrEuNun7 and simply enter the first word that comes to your mind when you think of the future of All Saints. Submissions will continue to be collected until 9/25/20.
A letter from Julie that was shared at worship on 09.20.2020
I’m not able to be with all of you today as I’m preparing for surgery tomorrow (Sept. 21) – a hip replacement – and limiting my exposure to people – my neighbors, my community. This is hard, and I ask that you please send your prayers my way. Please also consider this message of love, understanding and courage that I’m grateful to have shared on my behalf, as our church resumes indoor services.
In the wake of damage from the derecho, inspectors have made recommendations to replace the north and south windows and the carpet. This storm was unpredictable, and these replacements will be expensive, but we will come through it. We will follow the recommendations of these building experts because we value our shared and sacred space. We will make these adjustments to protect the safety of everyone who enters.
In the midst of this global pandemic, public health experts have made recommendations to help us mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Washing our hands, wearing a mask to inhibit the spread of aerosols, social distancing. Like the derecho, we didn’t predict the pandemic. It’s hard, it’s painful, and it’s taking a toll on all of us. But we will come through it together: by following the recommendations of these public health experts because we value our shared and sacred space. We will make these adjustments to protect the safety of everyone who enters.
It takes trust and humility to rely on the recommendations of experts for our safety and well-being. Even if it’s expensive, like the windows. Or painful, like a surgery. Or spiritually challenging, like not singing in church. Unlike the damaged windows and my hip (LOL), every person in this room is irreplaceable. But we will come through this together, with courage and respect for one another, and with attention to expert recommendations. It’s a commandment to love thy neighbor, not a recommendation. I love all of you, and upon my return to this shared and sacred space, I will humbly choose to wear a mask to protect the safety of everyone who enters.
Food Pantry and Clothing Closet
The All Saints Food Pantry and Clothing Closet have 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 always needed: peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, bars of soap, and laundry detergent.
The Clothing Closet has 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.
If you are interested in working in our food pantry or clothing closet on Saturdays, please sign up for a shift at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0e44aca62ea6ff2-food
Every Friday volunteers are needed to help unload food from RiverBend Food Bank from 9:30 – 10:30 am at All Saints.
Contact Anne, Bonnie, or Sheryn if you have questions, would like to donate, or prefer talking to someone about volunteering. Thank you for helping people in need!
From the Financial Officer
The 2020 average monthly amount budgeted for Undesignated Donations (Anticipated) for Ministry Investment is $7,667. You donated $6,285 in August. Thank you! However, donations are down $8,507 for eight months.
You donated $50.00 to mortgage reduction in August (to be applied toward the principal balance). Since inception, a total of $89,787 has been donated to the (Happy Hearts – Hopeful Future) debt reduction campaign.
The mortgage balance was $134,597.22 as of 08.31.2020.
Message by Pastor Pokora – September 27, 17th Sunday after Pentecost
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.
The parable of the two sons brings to mind a modern story.
There were two sisters who worked as babysitters in their community. A young couple recently moved into the neighborhood. They hired the younger of the two sisters to babysit their children. Imagine their surprise when they returned to find their home a complete mess, with their kids looking haggard, and the babysitter half asleep on the couch.
The next day, however, the children excitedly told their parents how they had fun with the new babysitter, and how she helped them do some assignments including saying their prayers. But this did not change the parent’s decision to fire the babysitter.
The next time the couple needed a babysitter they hired the older sister. They were greatly impressed when they got home this time to discover the house was tidy and the kids were already asleep. “The kids have been like angels,” the older girl announced, and, gratefully, the couple gave her extra tip. The next morning the kids came complaining to their parents, accusing the babysitter of yelling at them with swear words, calling her boyfriend, instead of helping them with their assignments, and then forcing them to go to bed early, while she went outside and smoked and talked with her friends.
Now, if you were in the shoes of these parents, which of the babysitters will you hire the next time? The question is who really did the job of taking care of the children. The one who acted like she did, but didn’t. Or the sister who made the mess, but worked with the children.
In our Gospel this Sunday, the second son said, “Yes, sir, but did not go.” His response reminds me of the military. Sir, yes Sir! or Yes Ma’am! He spoke well, but did not do what he was supposed to do.
In contrast, the first son, who was strong-willed, said “I will not go and work in the vineyard today.” This first son represented the tax collectors and prostitutes who had hit rock bottom and realized their lives were empty and meaningless. Then they had a change of mentality, a change in how they see, which is what repentance is. Those who initially refuse to stay yes to Jesus and do the will of God can still change their minds.
It’s painful to have someone you trust tell you that they are going to do something for you—and they don’t. Many of us can tell stories about people who have let us down by making promises and then not following up on them. For example, there is a story of a young widow whose husband died suddenly and left her to raise their two children. She told her minister that during the wake for her husband, a lot of family and close friends came up to her and told her that they would be there for her. During the following years, some people were there for her when she needed them, including some people who never made that promise, but there were others who were so eager during the wake to offer help and never called or visited.
Life teaches us to be wary of certain people, and it is a lesson we learned the hard way. These people include not just blatant liars but those who are all talk with no follow-through. There is an old saying that “a promise made is a debt unpaid”. We expect family and friends to keep their word and come through for us when we have a pressing need, but sometimes they don’t. When a friend disappoints us we are not terribly upset. When someone close to us makes a promise and then fails to fulfill it, we are blind-sided because often we do not see it coming.
At the same time, we must acknowledge there have been times when we have made promises and then not kept them. There might also have been times when, in order to avoid discomfort or confrontation, we’ve given a half-hearted “yes” to someone or something which we never planned to follow up on. Whether we have been on the receiving end of broken promises, or have given a half-hearted investment of ourselves to commitments we have made, we are in need of the healing and the challenge the Word of God offers us today.
If we profess that Jesus is our Lord, we must do what he tells us to do. The religious people were the ones who were a problem for Jesus. They were oblivious to the true demands of God’s righteousness. They just didn’t get it. They did not see that God was not so much interested in the pious rhetoric and ceremonial formality.
Tax collectors and prostitutes were prepared to change their ways, but the religious leaders were not, even though they had time to change. In the parable of the two sons, the older son represented the religious leaders and the younger son represented outsiders such as tax collectors and prostitutes. The faithful son represents the faces of people such as a recovering alcoholic, a small band of worshippers in a storefront, a church that reaches out to the needy in the community, a church member who decided to tithe-all of whom, however reluctantly or painfully, obey Christ. The second son is the person in the pew who refuses Christ entry to the deepest recesses of his or her heart—a preacher whose sermon is designed to please people rather than to please God; the Christian who refuses to obey God in the sensitive areas of sex, money or power; a church that ignores issues of justice and mercy. In other words, they are the people who appear to be faithful but, deep down, are not.
When we look over our recent past and notice the trend our lives have taken, with the thoughts and deeds that speak of lukewarm disciples, we want the second chance this parable offers us. We want to be able to change our minds, repent and do the good things we know we are called to do—and do them with the wholehearted “Yes” the gospel requires of us.
What we learn from the parable of the two sons is this. Like the sons God has called us to work in his vineyard. His vineyard is the ministry of the church. The problem is we are also of two minds about this call to discipleship. We respond with a yes and a no. We want to do God’s work, but the will is weak or confused. We say will do it and then we allow other things to get in the way. Or we respond after saying no to the call. Let us be of one mind and say and do what God asks of us. Let the grace and power of God strengthen our resolution to be God’s people in this world. Amen.
May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.