Thanks for another week of outstanding participation in the ministry of Holy Cross MCC of Pensacola. You contributions of time, talent, treasure and service help our church reach out into the community with the life-changing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us continue to live peacefully together as we live into the role of Jesus’ followers.
Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to all of our married couples who celebrated weddings on January 6, 2015. We officiated over 20 weddings that day and had a grand day of celebration. I thought about every one of you yesterday during the day and prayed that God would continue to bless and grow the love you share. I must say I was appalled by the action of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore yesterday, once again attempting to deny Alabama citizens the right to marry. Alabama has so often been on the wrong side of justice and on the wrong side of the law, it seems par for their course. However, we will stand with our sisters and brothers in Alabama as long as it takes for the Federal Courts to intervene and reverse Judge Moore’s hateful and illegal action. To our Alabama friends, if you have weddings scheduled soon and need help completing them, please contact us right away at email@example.com. There is no waiting period in Florida for out of state couples and I would be honored to help you complete your already scheduled wedding.
Membership Class is scheduled for this Sunday after church. If you’ve been thinking about joining Holy Cross Metropolitan Community Church of Pensacola as a member, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP for Sunday’s class. We would love to have you join our church community. Membership class is required of all new and returning members.
A new Clergy Student is coming to join us on about January 20. Gail Atchison is in her final semester of seminary and will complete her field education here with us. In addition to her seminary training, Gail already has a BS Criminal Justice, an MS in Applied Psychology, and a PhD in Human Behavior and Organizational Management. She is completing her Master of Divinity at Earlham School of Religion, in Richmond, Indiana, with graduation anticipated in May 2016. I will be supervising her both for completion of her MCC Clergy requirements and for her seminary Field Education course. Gail is a very talented professional woman with skills that I believe will help us this year, so I am very happy for her to join us. I’ll make sure she’s well-introduced when she arrives, so get ready to show her a warm welcome to our church.
Just wait until you see the new decorations in church this Sunday. Our team has been busy every day this week taking down Christmas and getting us ready for this time between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday. You’re going to love what they’ve done, so come and bring some friends – pack a row as we consider this week’s lectionary readings. Here they are for your preparation:
Old Testament Reading Isaiah 43:1-7
But now thus says the Lord, the One who created you, O Jacob, the One who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Yahweh your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Gospel Reading Luke 3:15-22
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Finally, take a few minutes and get to know this song, if you don’t already know it. This is a Day of New Beginnings is our Opening Hymn for Sunday. New Beginnings. I can’t wait to hear you sing it like you mean it!
Have a wonderful weekend and remember to be in church on Sunday. Let’s celebrate the Lord ’s Day in the Lord’s way…together.