Matthew 25 Initiative Update

At its regular stated meeting on Sunday, June 19, the session of First Presbyterian Church voted to enlist our church as a part of the denomination’s Matthew 25 initiative. This commitment gives focus to current mission efforts which already align with Matthew 25’s goals of building congregational vitality, ending structural racism, and eradicating systemic poverty. Stay tuned for more information about what this means for our church. If you’d like to learn more about this denominational program, start HERE.

Matthew 25 Initiative Update2022-06-21T13:08:01-05:00

Pastoral Call – A Letter to the Congregation – June 12, 2022

 

June 12, 2022

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

We’ve spent the past year reading the Gospel of Luke together, and I’m struck by the ending. Jesus ascends into heaven. But then, as Luke begins the Acts of the Apostles, he tells the same story—the Ascension. Why does he repeat the story? I don’t know. Maybe Luke knows it’s hard to say goodbye to people you love; it takes a couple of tries to get it right.

This is a hard letter to write because it is the beginning of a goodbye. I am writing to let you know that I have accepted a call to become Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. My last Sunday in the pulpit here in Dalton will be July 24.

Let me first say that it has been a joy and a privilege to be your pastor these past eight years. When I showed up for work in July of 2014, I walked into a completely renovated Martin House that was next door to a cement foundation and some steel beams. Since that time we finished a building; but, more important than that, we have grown as a church. We have welcomed new faces and said goodbye to beloved ones. We have studied together, served together, and worshipped together, testifying that God is at work in this place and in each one of your lives.

While our family is excited about our next chapter, we are saddened to leave a place that has meant so much to us. You welcomed Katie and me with a baby in tow, and have made this community our home with so much love and support. You brought us food and help and prayers as we welcomed two new babies and have helped nurture them in their baptisms. You were always eager to share kind words, patient in teaching a young pastor, open and encouraging, and always forgiving.

I have already shared my intention to leave with the session and the Presbytery. Consequently both groups will be at work soon to facilitate a transition—locating an interim pastor, reflecting on congregational identity during a transitional period, and ultimately calling a new pastor. There is already someone out there who God is calling to be with you in this special place.

If you have any questions or concerns about what this process looks like, you are welcome to talk to me or a member of session. Know, too, that representatives from Cherokee Presbytery will be present throughout this transitional period. The Rev. Wilson Kennedy, General Presbyter for Cherokee Presbytery will be preaching in Dalton on July 17, and will be happy to speak with any of you about the transitional process. And while I will be unable to care for you as your pastor beyond July, I look forward to being with you in ministry in the coming weeks and celebrating how far we have come together—and celebrating what’s next.

 

We’ll have a couple of tries to say goodbye. For now, let me just say how much I love you all.

 

Peace,

 

 

Will

Pastoral Call – A Letter to the Congregation – June 12, 20222022-06-15T12:05:48-05:00

Christmas in July – Kid City Block Party

Save the date: Tuesday, July 26th 5:00-7:00

For: Christmas in July Block Party for Kid City and Summer Pre-K participants and families

Christmas in July is a project to support and encourage families who participate in summer learning opportunities at Dalton Public School’s Kid City and Summer Pre-K transition programs. Families have the opportunity to earn free book bags, school shoes, back-to-school outfits, and even bicycles! This project will impact approximately 200 families.

This block party will include inflatables, games, free haircuts, Chick-fil-a meals, books, and prizes. The event is sponsored by First Presbyterian Church, First Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, Crosspointe Church, Rock Bridge Community Church, and Books for Change USA.

Our Mission team has provided funds for gift cards to Academy Sports for back-to-school shoes for each child. There are other ways that you can help as well. We will need volunteers on the day of the event. Look for a link coming soon to sign up for a time slot. Also, we will need cases of water. These can be brought to the church any time before the event.

Thanks so much for being the church!

If you have questions, contact Alice Ensley.

Christmas in July – Kid City Block Party2022-06-07T12:11:10-05:00

Matthew 25 Initiative

Following its May stated meeting, the session has begun exploring what it means for First Presbyterian Church to join the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Matthew 25 initiative. The project focuses congregational work and mission on congregational vitality, eradicating systemic poverty, and dismantling structural racism. Both the Missions Team and Session will be in conversation about how FPC’s priorities can align with this mission. If you have questions about what this initiative might mean for our church, learn about Matthew 25 through the resources provided in the link below. We would love your feedback, too! Talk to an elder, visit a missions team meeting, or pray for our church as we continue to discern where God is leading us next.

 

From the PC(USA)

Matthew 25:31–46 calls all of us to actively engage in the world around us, so our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities. Convicted by this passage, both the 222nd and 223rd General Assemblies (2016 and 2018) exhorted the PC(USA) to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor.

By accepting the Matthew 25 invitation, you can help our denomination become a more relevant presence in the world. We recognize Christ’s urgent call to be a church of action, where God’s love, justice and mercy shine forth and are contagious. And we rejoice how our re-energized faith can unite all Presbyterians for a common and holy purpose: our common identity to do mission.

For more information, click HERE.

Matthew 25 Initiative2022-06-01T10:04:44-05:00
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