On All Saints Sunday, we remember the saints who have gone before us and are part of the great cloud of witnesses. This year we would like to create a visual representation of the friends and loved ones who gather with us at the Lord’s Table, not just on All Saints Sunday, but every weekend we worship. You are invited to bring in a picture of your friends and/or loved ones who have died. It can be in a frame or not in a frame, any size or shape you wish. Please put your name on it so we can be sure to get it back to you. Pictures can be dropped off in the church office anytime before November 3, or you can bring them to worship with you the weekend of November 3-4 and put them directly on the altar. If you would rather not bring a picture, you can fill out a name card with your loved one’s name or email the name for us to fill it out. These name cards will be displayed along with the pictures. Pictures and name cards will help all of us experience the power of being surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.
We will also be reading the names of anyone who has died since last All Saints Sunday. If you have a loved one who has died this past year, please email the name along with their date of death (or approximate date of death). We will read these names aloud in worship. Please email all names by Wednesday, October 31.
Wednesday, October 24 from 6:45-7:30 p.m. Looking for a safe, family-friendly way to trick or treat? Children ages 6th grade and under are invited to dress in costume and come trunk or treat in the church parking lot! "Trunk or Treat" cars will be parked in half the parking lot and roped off to incoming cars. Children then walk from trunk to trunk to collect candy. Trunk or treating will be from 6:45 - 7:30 p.m. All are welcome!
Feeling creative? We are also in need of families and individuals who will decorate the trunk of their vehicles for this event! Please let Sara Dyson, Children and Family Minister, know if you can provide a trunk and approximately 300 pieces of candy. Trunks will need to be parked by 6:30 p.m. and will be asked to stay in the lot until 7:45 p.m.
Exciting things are happening at Abiding Presence! Earlier this fall we shared with you the news that Abiding Presence was chosen as one of twelve congregations across the country (and the only Lutheran congregation) to participate in a "Community of Practice" with the Log College Project through Princeton Seminary. We're now getting to work discerning, learning, praying and listening to how God is calling us to innovate our ministry with and to the senior high youth. We're thinking about both the youth who are already at Abiding Presence and the youth in our area who might be searching or longing for a faith community.
Each quarter during the 2018-2019 school year we will be given an activity to help us reimagine our youth ministry. Our first activity has been to research the history of Abiding Presence and to share it with the whole congregation so we can discern, learn, pray and listen to God together. Specifically, we have been looking at the footprint of our church's innovation. The more we have researched, the more we have discovered just how much innovation we have in our history! Whether it was transforming a movie theater into a worship space when we first began, changing the seating direction in the sanctuary, launching three distinct worship experiences, dreaming of playground or launching weekday ministries to children and families such as MOPS and Mainly Music - Abiding Presence has been a church listening to God's bold vision and reimagining what the church might look like.
As you come to church over the course of the next few weeks, please take a look at the timeline running on the walls that tells some of our story. It's not inclusive of every single thing we've done in the past 40 years as it would take a renovation project to give us enough wall space for that! It does, however, offer some highlights of where we've been and how we've responded to God's call.
We need you to please do more than just look at the papers on the wall, though. Please take a moment to prayerfully walk the timeline with one of the "Guides through History." Jot down what surprises you, excites you or where you experience God nudging us into the future. When you're done, place your "Guide through History" in the box in the church office. We'll have a drawing for a special prize "historical prize" from the guides collected.
More than anything else, please join us in praying for our hearts and minds to be open to how God is calling us to be church in the future.
Saturday, October 13 from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Abiding Presence offers a free community fall festival. Lots of volunteers are needed to make this event possible! Please consider volunteering for an hour shift (or more) before or after enjoying the festival by signing up here. The festival is completely FREE and offers food, games, live music, haunted houses, bouncy house, pumpkin paining, balloon artist, face painting and much more.
Sunday, October 14, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Join us at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton for an afternoon of socializing with other adults in the congregation. Meet new people, reconnect with those you haven’t seen in awhile and enjoy tasty food and beverages. We’ve reserved ½ of the picnic grove, which is to the right past the small vineyard as you come into the winery. Please bring an appetizer or dessert to share. Non-alcoholic beverages are welcome as well. You’ll be able to purchase whatever wine you would like from the main tasting room and bring it down to the picnic grove. Feel free to invite a friend or neighbor to come along. RSVPs are helpful, but not necessary.
**While Paradise Springs is a family friendly winery, this particular event is for adults 21+ only.**
We will celebrate the festival of All Saints in worship the weekend of November 3-4. It is a time for us to give thanks for all the saints - the loved ones and friends who have died - and draw strength, courage and faith from them. It is one of the most meaningful weekends of worship of the whole year for me personally. In fact, I wait all year to sing with gusto the hymn “For All the Saints” as I remember the saints in my life.
One of the most powerful things about All Saints Sunday is that it offers us the opportunity to know and trust that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have died and gone before us. When we gather around the altar for Holy Communion, the air between heaven and earth is as thin as it gets. Holy Communion is a foretaste of the heavenly feast to come. It is an opportunity for us to connect with our friends and loved ones in the great cloud of witnesses in the most powerful of ways. We believe that when we share in Holy Communion that we do so with the body of Christ on earth and the saints in heaven.
We’re going to try something a bit different this year as we remember the saints who have gone before us and are part of the great cloud of witnesses. We want to create a visual representation of the friends and loved ones who gather with us at the Lord’s Table not just on All Saints Sunday, but every weekend we worship.
In order to do this, I’d like to invite you to bring in a picture of your friends and/or loved ones who have died. It can be in a frame or not in a frame, any size or shape you wish. Please put your name on it so we can be sure to get it back to you. Pictures can be dropped off in the church office anytime before November 3 or you can bring them to worship with you the weekend of November 3-4 and put them directly on the altar. If you would rather not bring a picture, you can fill out a name card with your loved one’s name or email the name for us to fill it out. These name cards will be displayed along with the pictures. I hope it will be a beautiful representation of pictures and name cards to help all of us experience power of being surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.
We will also be reading the names of anyone who has died since last All Saints Sunday. If you have a loved one who has died this past year, please email the name along with their date of death (or approximate date of death). We will read these names aloud in worship.
If you have any questions or would like to be involved in helping to put together our display of saints, please let me know. I look forward to celebrating all the saints with you next month.
This weekend we will continue our four week congregation wide study of Holy Communion. We are exploring what Holy Communion is, what it means for our lives as disciples of Christ and how it sends us out into the world to share God’s love with others. All of us - from our youngest worshipers to our oldest - can grow in our understanding of the sacrament of Holy Communion.
Adult small group gatherings are underway. Contact Pastor Heidi if you would like to jump into one.
Children are studying about Holy Communion in age appropriate ways in their Sunday School classes. At Abiding Presence we believe children of any age can begin receiving Holy Communion at any time. We recognize, however, that some parents would like their children to learn about Holy Communion and go through the Rite of First Communion before receiving the sacrament.
Children who would like to receive their first Holy Communion should plan to attend Sunday School on Sundays October 7, 14, and 21. Children will receive their first Holy Communion and participate in the Rite of First Communion on Sunday, October 28 at either the 8:45 or 11:00 a.m. service. Pastor Keseley and Sara Dyson, Children & Family Minister, will meet with first communion children on Saturday, October 27 from 4:15-5:30 p.m. for communion bread breaking and conversation. RSVP to Sara Dyson for the October 27 event.
If you have questions about having your child receive Holy Communion, Pastor Keseley would be happy to talk with you.
Sunday, September 30 from 4:00-4:30 p.m. All people and pets are invited to attend our Pet and Stuffed Animal Blessing service. Animals of all shapes and sizes (including stuffed animals!) can participate in this brief, pet and child-friendly service held outside in the fenced area. We will give thanks to God for our pets and enjoy a snack, both for the humans and the pets.
Saturday, October 13 from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Join us for a fun filled afternoon of FREE food, games, live music, haunted houses, bouncy house, pumpkin paining, balloon artist, face painting and much more.
Week after week, Pastor Heidi and stand behind the altar and offer the invitation, "This is the Lord's Table and all are welcome here." Every one in a while someone stops us after the service and asks, "Do you really mean all?" We do! We really do mean that all are welcome to gather around the Lord's Table. You will be welcome regardless of who you are or where you are on your faith journey.
This weekend we're launching a four week sermon series and congregation-wide study of Holy Communion. We will be dwelling in God's word and digging in to what it means to be fed and forgiven at the Lord's Table. Together, I hope we will all grow in our understanding of God's love for us that is manifest in the tangible form of bread and wine. Our preschool and elementary school Sunday School classes will be learning more about what Holy Communion means in age appropriate ways. Our senior high and adults will be gathering in small groups to expand their understanding of the sacrament beyond what they might have learned as children in holy communion classes. I'm excited for us to be on this journey together as we take a step on our discipleship journeys.
Having what is called an "open table" for communion is an important part of not only the faith community of Abiding Presence, but of the whole Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). We are quite clear as a denomination that the altar isn't our table. It's the Lord's Table. We aren't gate keepers of it, but invited guests to it. When we gather around the Lord's Table, we are fed, forgiven and sent out to invite others to come and to be fed and forgiven, too.