Newsletter: September 2021
The Hospital Church with Rev. Stephen Eyre
I remember my conversion experience with a smile and a wince. Looking back, I see that I was an arrogant college student with a negative attitude. I had a chip on my shoulder so big that I must have listed a little bit to the side!
After my converting encounter with the Lord in May of 1967, my stepbrother invited me to attend his church. I went because I somehow knew what Christians were supposed to do, but I didn’t want to. After all, everyone knew that Christians were bigoted, irrelevant, and old-fashioned. And their music was terrible!
I walked into the church with cut-off jeans and sandals. I expected that most everyone there would be whispering behind my back and eager to see me walk back out the door. I was utterly unprepared for what happened. They were glad to see me! They welcomed me as a lost family member and made me feel at home. This went on week after week. They invited me into their homes. They fed me Sunday dinners. To this day, I have never gotten over it. Their warm welcome trans- formed me and set me on a new course in life.
After finishing college and then seminary, I first engaged in ministry to college students on college campuses and eventually as a pastor in more traditional churches. Along the way, I was engaged in both discipling young Christians and reaching out to those who, like me, didn’t want anything to do with the church. Over these years, I have fallen more and more in love with the church of Jesus Christ and become increasingly concerned about the numbers of people in our culture who reflect the negative attitudes that I had before my con- version. What can be done to reach them?
Not surprisingly, I have returned to my roots in my initial encounter with the church. I have come to believe that the church must be a hospitable community comprised of a warm web of renewing & refreshing relationships into which others are invited to experience the life of Jesus Christ with us.
When I turn to the scriptures, I find this vision of the church as a welcoming community is all over the Bible from beginning to end. In Genesis, God is the host who welcomes Adam and Eve into his world. In the end, in the book of Revelation, we read that Jesus is the great host who welcomes the redeemed to his banquet. The prophet Isaiah writes,“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost,” Isaiah 55:1. Jesus picks up the theme from Isaiah when he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” Matthew 28- 30.
However, surprisingly, over these years of ministry, I have discovered that it is not easy to generate this kind of welcoming worshiping community. For one thing, the closer members in a church become, the harder it is for an outsider to break in. On the other hand, if church members aren’t caring towards one another, or perhaps even at odds with each other, the church can feel cold and dangerous. Ironically, the warm welcome of Christian hospitality begins, not with outsiders but with each other.
How can we become a welcoming worshiping community? It’s a big task and not so easy to do. I invite you to join me in the Sunday Adult Education class to explore this topic and consider our mission.
In November we’ll be publishing an updated church directory. Through October, we’ll be working to confirm we have the right contact information for all our church members. Please help us out by contacting the church office if you have changed your mailing address, email, or phone number in the past year. We’ll have print copies of the current directory available on Sun- days and for our Bible Studies throughout the week. Please take the opportunity to confirm that we have the right contact information.
All Saints Day
This year, we will celebrate our All Saints Day service in the 11am worship on Sunday, October 31. This service will feature a moment of solemn remembrance for loved ones we have lost through the year. We would like to list all of these depart- ed saints in our order of worship. Please contact the church office if you have a name you’d like to add to the list or write it in the memorial book in the narthex October 17-24. On All Saints Day Sunday, you will have an opportunity to light a candle in memory of your departed loved ones, and we have a keepsake candle holder that you will be able to take with you as a remembrance.
Though we grieve the loss of loved ones, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We look to Christ, the founder and finisher of our faith, for our hope of the resurrection and the life everlasting. May our remembrances of departed loved ones be seasoned with encouragement as we look to Christ.
Prayers for Healing
Join us for Prayers for Healing November 7th at 4pm. This is a new date and earlier time. We thought it might give everyone a better time to return home for dinner. The theme will be Moments With Jesus. Don't all of us have special moments with the Lord where we cry out with worry, or concerns or a question of why? Come, spend some time just being in God's presence and perhaps be touched for special prayer. Enjoy the beautiful music and soak up God's love for you.
“If you build it, they will come.” Family Ministry has staffed, planned, and begun providing the following programs:
- Nursery Care: Sunday mornings, the nursery is staffed to take care of infants – 3-year-olds throughout the entire morning.
- Worship Explorers: Children of ages 4-9 years old are released to Room 1/3 during the 9:00 Service for a lesson with Pastor Stephen and a rotation of youth helpers.
- Sunday School Classes: Four classes are offered during the 10:00 Education Hour and taught by teams of teachers who are working together to share the responsibilities.
Pre-School (Ages 3, 4, and 5) in Room 4
Elementary (Grades K – 5) in Room 5/7
Youth (Grades 6-12) in the Youth Room
Adult (All ages) in the Chapel
- Youth Group: The youth group (grades 6-12) has been getting together either at the church or else- where each Sunday, usually from 4:30-6:00 and sometimes right after church.
Thank you so much for the prayerful and sincere response that you have made to help bring these programs back in person. Over and over I am moved by the way the Holy Spirit is working here at MSPC, and I am now praying to see Him inspire our families to bring their children to attend the programs that we are providing. It has been a long eighteen months since the pandemic forced us to change our delivery of children’s education services, and it will be nice to see our in-person attendance grow as our families are ready to attend.
Anyone wishing to be involved with any of these programs is welcome to do so! There are ongoing opportunities to serve as well as one-time needs that I can describe.
One of the simplest ways you can bless another person is by sending them a thoughtful greeting card. Our church has a collection of greeting cards that we would like to share with our congregation, including but not limited to birthdays, weddings, thank you notes, and sympathy messages. Thanks to our Deacons, the cards will be displayed on a stand in the rotunda for you to browse through if you need a card for any occasion. There is absolutely no cost, but if you feel that you would like to donate a dollar or two in exchange for the card, you can do so in the general offering. We encourage you to pick up a card, write a thoughtful note, pray for the recipient, and send it as a bless- ing. You’ll be amazed at what God will do through a small act of kindness.
Life Forward— Thank you for your coin donations for the baby bottles for Life Forward. We raised $1500. We look forward to continuing this mission next year. Thank you for your generosity.
Eagle Scout Project Update
Thank you for your donations to the gravel box that Henry Brown completed for the Madeira Preschool as his Eagle Scout project. The children are loving their new play- ground space!
If you’d like to join one of the musical groups, contact the church.
- Handbell Choir—12:15-1:30 on Sundays (except for the days that we play in worship, starting Sunday, September 19)
- Praise Team—Wednesdays 5:30-6:45
- Women's Ensemble—Wednesdays 7-8 PM
- Men's Ensemble—Thursdays 5:30-6:30
- Chancel Choir—Thursdays 6:30-8:00