A version of my “Responding in Faith” during service at FPC Stillwater on August 12, 2016.
To my FPC Stillwater family:
As individuals we each respond differently to crises and accomplishments, but that does not mean we must respond alone. Whatever obstacles or joys you face, you do not face them alone.
I grew up here. I am a child of this church family. For hundreds Sundays, my younger sister and I were at Time with Children at the 8:30 service, even if we were the only ones. I remember when we were baptized together by Pastor Gordon and I had asked Sharon Brown to be there at the baptismal font as well. I remember later when I received the NRSV Bible with my name on the front which is the copy I still use today. I remember painting the themed Sunday School rooms upstairs the first time. I remember lounging on the huge blue couch in the youth room. I remember being confirmed in eighth grade, preparing for Youth Sundays and years of Vacation Bible School. I remember the anticipation of leaving for Dwight Mission. During high school I was a Youth Deacon, Team PYG Relay for Life founder and captain. I remember wearing a name tag each month as an usher alongside my parents and sister.
But what I remember most is you. Every single step along the way I have been accompanied by Christ and seen His light shine and His love pour unconditionally from this congregation. Y’all are my family and I want to say thank you. THANK YOU. Thank you for being the examples I strive to emulate. Thank you for hugging me every time you see me. Thank you for showing me what it means to love God and to love each other.
You have encourage me and challenged me to do the same, to rise to the occasion and respond in faith. I am beginning a year of service while living in Intentional Christian Community as a Young Adult Volunteer at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. The YAV program cultivates hope and offers enormous potential for transformation. It will be a process of growth and goodness, for Katie and Chris (who are my fellow YAVs at Ferncliff), and for many others.
While at Ferncliff we will be focused on environmental sustainability as we work to take better care of God’s creation and encourage others to do likewise. We will work to demonstrate that this Earth was created for all of us and we have a responsibility to protect it for future generations. Ferncliff is home to the Disaster Assistance Center, affectionately called the DAC, where kits are assembled for Church World Services. The CWS school kit supplies in the Narthex will be headed for the DAC. The camp’s Eco Center welcomes Solar Under the Sun and holds Solar School on site. Needless to say, my parents are thrilled that I’ll be living closer to home than I have been for five years.
This journey is not one I embark upon alone. There are dozens of YAVs relocating to sixteen cities around the world; none of us go alone. This is a journey we walk/swim/run/jump/trip/falter in faith and not sight. This is our response to the love we have received, to the injustice we have witnessed, to the disquiet we feel, to the communities we care about. This is our response in faith.