The latest news, announcements, and church publications to keep you up to date.
I can’t believe it! The Sabbatical I planned to take in the summer of 2020 is now a reality in the summer of 2022. Finally, after multiple waves of different variants, I made it! I will be gone from May 26 through September 5 and I want to spend a little time laying out for you what you can expect over the next three months while I’m away.
The first thing you need to know is that my family and I will be travelling to the United Kingdom and Europe. During that time, I will be out of contact with all of you. I’m removing my e-mail from my phone and I’m going to be changing my phone number. In other words, you will be unable to contact me and, even if you find a way to do so, I won’t respond.
I don’t mean this to sound harsh, but the church is something I think about 24/7. I never stop thinking about it, so in order to really get some rest, I need to completely detach. While I’m gone, Judy will become the acting head of staff. She will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the church and for making sure everything runs smoothly in my absence. Of course, this means that Judy
is responsible for most of the preaching, along with her husband Ken and other guest preachers. Judy will not be in contact with me, so she can’t deliver any messages on your behalf. It’ll just have to wait until September.
Normally, during a Sabbatical, the pastor uses it as a time for personal study. They usually have some project they are working on while they are away. The Session has given me permission to use the time abroad to finish the last four chapters of a new book I’ve been writing. It’s called Restorative Beauty and the concept of the book is to address the topic of spirituality for those who would not consider themselves to be spiritual. This summer will be a great help in finishing the main body of the text. My hope is that once I have all the academic notes and editing finished, it will be ready for release by the spring of 2023.
I’ll let you know about my progress on the book once I’m back, but in the meantime, I just want to encourage you all with a couple of things. First of all, please don’t check out for the summer because I’m no longer around. Although many people see the church as being about the pastor, the truth is that the church is much more about you. So please make it a priority to come to church and participate in our programs over the summer.
Secondly, please continue your financial support of the church while I’m gone. If I return from this trip and our giving has taken a major nosedive, then that’s going to be an immediate source of stress. Therefore, let me say thank you up front for continuing to support the church in my absence.
The staff here really does need your support while I’m gone. They are going to do their very best to make sure everything happens the way it’s supposed to in a timely manner, but just remember that we are used to working with three pastors and with TC’s departure, we are now down to one, so be kind to Judy.
Judy will have some help, but the truth is, there is only so much she can pass off to the people who are here to help. When Judy was away on medical leave, having Rev. Steve Howery around was great for some things, but when someone died, particularly if it was someone important to our community, I couldn’t pass that off to him. Therefore, I’m just asking for you to have patience and know we are doing our best.
Finally, I just want to say thank you again for giving me the time. There are a lot of churches that cannot afford to allow their pastor to go on Sabbatical. We are in a privileged position where that can happen. I promise I will take lots of pictures and, as is my custom, I will likely put together a short video of my adventures so that upon my return you can get a flavor of what it was like. Have a great summer, get some rest and relaxation for yourself and I’ll see you in September!
Dear First Pres Family,
It is with joy and sorrow that I tell you that I have been offered and accepted a position back in my home state of Michigan. I will be working throughout the school year at a church in Detroit and then in the summers will be working at the camp associated with that church. That camp happens to be the same camp I worked at for seven summers throughout the aughts. This has been a dream of mine to work as the program director full time at Camp Westminster for several years and now that dream is becoming a reality! So, that is the joy.
The sorrow is obviously leaving you all. It has been my deepest delight
to walk with you all for the past decade. I have made more meaningful connections than I can count, grown in ways I couldn’t have dreamed of when I started, and created memories that will never fade, even if I wanted them too (I’m looking at you 24-hour bus ride through Peru’s mountains while deathly ill).
When I started this job, I wanted to stay for four years to see my freshmen graduate. I’ve now seen those who were in 3rd grade when I arrived graduate, and what a blessing to see so many amazing children and youth come through this church and go on to amazing things, as spectacular people.
As we know from Ecclesiastes everything has its season. I am thankful for my season here, and thankful for everyone who welcomed me, embraced me, laughed with me, cried with me, confided in me, picked me up when I was down, allowed me to help them up when they were down, taught me, allowed me to teach them, heard me, saw me, grew with me, supported me, challenged me, and allowed me to walk this path. There are not enough words for me to express how thankful I am to all of you for the past 10 years. It both feels like a lifetime and the blink of an eye.
To all of my youth throughout the years:
Keep being the amazing, inspirational people that you are, as you grow and learn and completely change this world for the better! Know that you are deeply and completely loved, just as you are. Always remember to leave things better than you found them and above all (to steal from one of the greatest teachers I know) love one another, even when it’s hard.
To the parents of all of my youth throughout the years:
They are who they are because of who you are. You should be endlessly proud of that.
Again, thank you all so much for everything. I cannot express how much this place has altered my life for the better. I will miss you all and this place will always have a piece of my heart.
Forever your brother in Christ,
MAY 1–MAY 30
In honor of Memorial Day and as an expression of our gratitude for those who have served our country, First Pres will host a drive to collect new move-in essentials for veterans exiting homelessness.
The Veteran Exiting Homelessness Program, is a collaborative effort between Military Outreach USA and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The program seeks to provide move-in-essentials to the veteran as they transition to permanent housing. If you would like to find out more about the program visit their website at https://www. militaryoutreachusa.org/veterans-exiting-homeless/.
Beginning May 1, an information table will be in the Narthex at First Pres on Sunday mornings where you can drop off donations, pick up a list of needed items, and get more information. Donated items can be dropped off on Sunday mornings in the Narthex, during the week at the church office, and in the church Parlor during the Memorial Day parade on May 30.
Contact Michele Holifield at [email protected] org if you have questions about the collection. Thank you to all in this congregation for your continued generosity.
SIGN-UP SUNDAY MORNINGS OR ONLINE
Our popular Restaurant Walk program returns for a third session, meeting at Bistro Chen, 10 E. Miner St., Arlington Heights. Come to meet some new friends and support a local restaurant. Sign-up on Sunday mornings, with the QR code in Chimes, or click the button below.
- Sunday, May 1, 6:00 pm (great for those dropping youth off for youth group)
- Thursday, May 5, 6:00 pm
- Thursday, May 12, 6:00 pm
- Sunday, May 15, 12:00 pm
- Thursday, May 19, 6:00 pm
- Sunday, May 22, 6:00 pm (great for those dropping youth off for youth group)
Effective March 1, 2022, mask wearing will be optional throughout the building. Those who wish to continue wearing a mask are encouraged to do so and their decision will be respected, but it is no longer a requirement. This includes worship, gatherings, and programs. Nursery care, preschool Sunday school, K-5th grade Sunday school, and Kids Connect, will follow these mask-optional guidelines as well. Each family’s decision regarding masking will be respected.
The COVID Task Force would like to thank all of you for your cooperation, patience, and support. Collectively, our actions have allowed us to keep our community safe while at the same time gathering as a church family.
Dear Members and Friends of First Pres,
As the eyes of the world witness the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I feel compelled to write a word to you. Like so many, I have been terribly grieved to watch as families flee for safety, men and women take up arms, and the prospect of massive human causalities looms large. I feel a deep sense of dread unlike I have ever experienced in my lifetime.
This moment is reminiscent of September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. The difference is that we are not hearing about the events of the invasion days or weeks later. We are watching the destabilization of the world order unfold in real time. Intuitively, we all know the ramifications of this moment are going to reverberate for years to come. Therefore, how we react now matters, even from our vantage point here in the United States.
I have been greatly heartened by the outpouring of support for the Ukrainian people from around the world. Even in Russia, where protesting is an illegal and jailable offense, members of the public have protested Vladimir Putin’s reckless decision to invade Ukraine.
Similarly, we have a duty as Christians to speak up and speak out about this act of unprovoked aggression as a church, as individuals and as a larger community. We have a duty to offer our resources to the Ukrainians who are being displaced and fleeing into the bordering countries of Europe. We have a duty to pray for the safety of the Ukrainians and hope that, by some miracle, interventions can stop this senseless bloodshed. We need to pray for wise diplomatic decisions by leaders of this country and other NATO countries in Europe.
Ultimately, I believe that more humans on this planet desire peace than war. To achieve that peace, we need to embrace Jesus’ teachings that instruct us regarding how love can triumph over hate. We have to believe that our God of unconditional love can prevail in the hearts of those bound and determined to cause pain and suffering in the world. My prayer is that God would hold up a mirror to Vladimir Putin so that he might recognize how his decisions are destroying the lives of millions of people.
Right now, there are Ukrainians who are praying that someone will come and help them. Remember, we as humans are the answer to those prayers. Let us do our part to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the world for the Ukrainian people.
Rev. Alex Lang
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
|The First Pres PADS site is open. You can support the PADS program by signing up to donate food or make a monetary donation by following the links below. Interested in volunteering at the PADS site? We have shift openings each week, signup below. No experience necessary – a caring heart is all that is needed. If you have questions about the First Pres PADS program, send an email. PADS coordinators for this year are Amy Hempleman, Cathy Mataloni, and Michele Holifield. Thank you for your continued support of this vital program in our community.|
The people of Ukraine have been on our hearts and minds. Beginning this Sunday, any money attached to our bookmarks (in the pews) will be donated to a local Rotary Club that has a relationship with a Rotary Club in Ukraine. We are also providing an online giving opportunity for Ukraine and money from there will go to the Rotary Club and to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance that is providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine. You can donate by clicking the button below and selecting Ukraine Assistance from the dropdown menu.
It is still cold but Easter will be here before we know it! The first sign of spring is the sign up for Easter flowers on March 6 & 13 in the Narthex. Help our church put on a fresh new spring look by supporting PW flower orders. Members will be ready to take your contributions before and after the Sunday service on these two Sundays or just help contribute through the pull down menu on the church website under Easter Flowers. Thank you for bringing some Spring beauty to our church.
Contact Sue Henderson