For Easter 2019 First Presbyterian Church of Forney agreed to donate $15 for every Easter plant or lily that was purchased. The Easter plants were used to decorate the sanctuary for Easter morning worship. The sales generated $485! For the second year in a row, the church council voted to send the donations to Camp Gilmont. Camp Gilmont is a Presbyterian camp in east Texas (Gilmer). The church has a long history of sending campers to summer camp and to the various retreats held there. We will have youth attending summer camp there this summer, and are blessed to continue our great relationship with this important ministry!
The church council is working through a visioning process. The process will set up the church with specific steps to work toward as we prepare for our 150th anniversary in 2022. The council expects the visioning to be complete by summer 2019.
We strive to be an inclusive fellowship of disciples serving our community.
For now, the group has adopted a new Vision Statement: We strive to be an inclusive fellowship of disciples serving our community.
Inclusive: We strive to accept ALL of God's people.
Fellowship: Nurturing the Body of Christ. Being together is important. Knowing and being known.
Disciples: We learn from Jesus and desire to be more faithful followers in his Way.
Serving Our Community: We desire to continue the congregation's long tradition of serving our community, with special emphasis on local needs and supporting our schools.
Strive: We don't always get it right, but this is who we hope to be and what we try to do, to the glory of God.
During the Christmas Eve Service 2018, the church's offering collected $508. 100% of the offering was designated as a gift to the Clay Jones Legacy Foundation, which uses part of their funds for college scholarships for graduating seniors of Forney ISD.
In January, the First Presbyterian Church of Forney council voted to add to the $508 to make the total gift $1000 (which equals one scholarship from the Clay Jones Legacy Foundation). The additional funds were drawn from offerings the church receives from the AA groups that meet at the church, receipts from the Kroger Community Rewards Program, and proceeds from our annual Epiphany Celebration Lunch. In total, $1000 was gifted.
The church is blessed to be a blessing to our community, and is especially proud to support the educational goals of Forney students in memory of Clay Jones, who grew up in our congregation and whose legacy continues to impact thousands across the state of Texas.
For the fourth year in a row, First Presbyterian Forney held a celebration for Epiphany. The celebration and meal marks the transition from the Christmas Season (the 12 Days of Christmas from Dec 25 through Jan 5) to the Season of Epiphany. Epiphany is always on January 6, the day that marks the "epiphany" or manifestation of Christ as the Savior of the World. Epiphany Season lasts from January 6 until Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.
Our celebration was held after the morning worship service and included a meal provided by members of the church, a reading of the story of the wise men giving gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, a choir anthem "The First Noel" set to the tune of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," and a reading of the wonderful story "The Legend of Old Befana" who was too busy sweeping her house and porch to go with the wise men to see Jesus.
An offering was received, proceeds of which were given to the Clay Jones Legacy Foundation.
We decorated the tree with ornaments similar to those used on our Sanctuary tree--symbols of Christian faith such as angels, butterflies, and crosses.
In 2018 we expanded our Christmas traditions to include the City of Forney Christmas Tree project. The trees were donated by Lowe's and were decorated by various groups or families from the community.
Our beautiful tree did not win the prize, though we are pleased that the proceeds from the contest were donated to one of our partners, The Sharing the Love Foundation.
Our 2018 Advent Mission Project changed from Shoeboxes to Stockings. This year we stuffed 82 stockings with everyday supplies like shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, and other helpful supplies. We also included free copies of the Gospel of Mark and a list of "Scripture Verses for Graceful Living."
We partnered with Sharing the Love Foundation which delivered the stockings to local nursing homes and the elderly who often go without basic hygiene supplies.
Our "Advent Workshop" tradition has continued for many years. In 2017 we incorporated the mission project into our annual Hanging of the Greens service, which is usually in the evening on the 2nd Sunday of Advent.
The vision of FCM is to build a stronger community in Forney through charitable acts of service.
First Pres Forney is blessed to have become a founding partner and part-owner of a new local non-profit entitled Forney Community Ministries (FCM).
We have joined with Mike and Amanda Lewis of Forney and Sharing The Love Foundation Forney, Tx to create this new entity with the vision to build a stronger community in Forney through charitable acts of service.
Our initial ministry is the School Uniform Exchange which we inherited from Forney ISD Clothing Closet.
GRACE PRESBYTERY TO INSTALL REV. DAVID IVIE AS PASTOR MARCH 26
SERVICE WILL INCLUDE DEDICATION OF NEWLY-RESTORED STAINED GLASS
First Presbyterian Church of Forney is excited to host the Pastor Installation Service and Stained Glass Dedication at a special evening service on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm.
David has served for the past two years as Designated Pastor—Pastor for a “designated” period of two years. This allowed the church to bypass the interim pastor process. In October 2016, the congregation elected David as Pastor (no specified length of service).
A 7-member commission will represent Grace Presbytery and install David as Pastor. The commission will include David’s friends from Rockwall, Waxahachie, Fort Worth, Garland, Terrell, Brite Divinity School, and of course FPC Forney. Ecumenical representatives will be David’s friend from Iowa Alex Kindred who will preach and Pastor James Jarrett from Water of Life Lutheran (Forney). Musicians are guest tenor Steven Latham and guest organist Margaret Ball.
The service will also include a Dedication of the Stained Glass which was gifted to us from First Presbyterian Church of Teague, Texas when that church closed several years ago. This magnificent piece of art has been completely restored by Willet-Hauser Architectural Glass Company. It depicts the resurrected Jesus at the empty tomb with Mary, based on John 20:11-18. Former Pastor Kathy Collier will be present to share the history of the beautiful work of art. For more info, see: http://teaguechronicle.com/Article/Show/5156
A meal catered by Alfredo’s Steak House will follow the service.
Off lectionary as a response to Dallas and other shootings
Because of the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, we can partner with God to turn toward love, mercy, unity even in difficult times as our country is grappling with the problems of race, guns and violence. This is a Christian response to shootings that occurred by police in LA and MN and on police in Dallas the week of July 4th, 2016. We do not have to live in fear and division. We can use this opportunity to learn about ourselves and reach out to those different from us and to learn from them. This is the work of Christ, bringing down dividing walls and ending hostility. And it is our call as well.
Rev. David Ivie, Pastor
We have a problem with race, guns and violence. This is a statement of fact but also a confession and a lament...
We had 5 of our Children and Youth attend Camp Gilmont Summer Camps in Gilmer this past week.
1 Youth attended Adventure Camp, which involves sleeping in treehouses every night and cooking most meals for themselves. Another youth attended Explorer Camp which is for ages 11 - 14, and three attended Discovery Camp for ages 7-10.
This year's theme was Fearless Faith:
The Courage to Show Up
The Courage to Trust
The Courage to Forgive
The Courage to Change
The Courage to Connect
"We believe that camp is one of the foundational experiences for a healthy faith."
A great time was had by all! Not only did they have a chance to be outside in beautiful East Texas, but they were able to connect with other campers they had met in previous summer camps. They were able to learn more about God, hear important stories from the Bible, and sing great worship and camp songs!
We are grateful to the church for supporting our children and youth by paying their way to summer camp! We believe that camp is one of the foundational experiences for a healthy faith. They will report to the church during worship on Sun., July 10th!
1 Kings 19:1-15a Elijah runs from Jezebel's threat and finds God in the sheer sound of silence
5th Sunday after Pentecost, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
We have options when it comes to dealing with difficult people, and we can do better than sitting around stewing and complaining about others. We can't change others but we can change the way we deal with others. Whether we leave, confront or ignore difficult people, God will find us and lead us in the faithful way, through earthquake, windstorm, fire, or even still small voice.
The 222nd General Assembly adjourned just before noon on Saturday. I had a little bit more committee work to do as part of 02 Bills & Overtures. We looked at the Protests and Dissents that had been filed and made sure they were in order. The GA remains in effect until the next GA (223rd) convenes in St. Louis in June 2018.
Afterwards I went two stops down on the light rail and ate lunch at the Portland International Beer Festival. It was in a beautiful tree-lined park with music, food, games and of course beer from all over. People brought their dogs and I enjoyed so much just being outside in the wonderful weather.
On Sunday I went with a group on a "Mission Tour" to Mount St. Helens, which is just about 1.5 hour bus drive. We had an excellent tour guide who explained the history of the volcano and went into great detail about the events around the explosion in May 1980. We made several scenic stops along the way and ate box lunches at Coldwater Lake. Coldwater Lake is within the blast zone which killed everyone and everything, so everything around us was new growth within the last 36 years. In fact Coldwater Lake didn't exist before the blast, it was formed naturally as a result of it. Previously it was only Coldwater Creek.
It was a beautiful clear day. We were able to see a great distance, and I got a sunburn. We got within 6 miles of the mountain, on the north side, near Spirit Lake. It was an incredible experience. The bus was full of Presbyterians who were really enjoying the day of nature after a long week at the Oregon Convention Center.
Monday was travel day. I had a direct flight to DFW but made the mistake of asking the flight attendant on the way in how long the flight was: 3 hours 13 minutes, she said. Instead it turned out to be a 4 hour flight that landed in Lubbock. DFW was surrounded by intense storms around 6 or 7pm last night, so DFW rerouted all the traffic. We few around in circles and finally had to stop in Lubbock to refuel. They did let us de-plane, but the "food court" was only a Pizza Hut, Burger King, and a Bagel Sandwich shop. We got back on the plane and arrived at DFW around 10:30, 3 hours after schedule. I got home around midnight.
"I absolutely loved every bit of it. I loved being a part of the process and having a voice."
Some Reflections on General Assembly Experience:
General Assembly is an overwhelming experience. It is emotionally and mentally draining, but also incredibly inspiring. I absolutely loved every bit of it. I loved being a part of the process and having a voice.
This reaffirmed my love for my denomination. Though I didn't agree with every decision, I gained a new hope for the direction we are going.
I am proud of Grace Presbytery. Our 10 commissioners and YAAD represented us well, making prudent and helpful comments and motions. Grace proved again to be smart and thoughtful.
I was so glad to meet so many new people from all over our denomination. Most of the group dinners and table conversations forced us to eat next to people we didn't know, and I was thoroughly impressed with how we are represented (pastors, elders, etc.)
I was also so glad to catch up with some old friends that I had met at other Presbyterian events in the past. I saw three others who were in my CREDO experience last September, old colleagues from the Presbytery of East Iowa to which I used to belong, other interim pastors. It's nice to know others working across the country, even if we don't keep up with each other on a regular basis.
Five of our Children and Youth attended "Mission Camp" at First Presbyterian Church of Rockwall the week of June 20-24th.
The idea started when First Rockwall approached us about visiting and working in our Garden on the Tuesday of their mission camp. From there, the idea expanded when they invited our children to attend their mission camp for the rest of the week. So it went. Rick drove our kids to Rockwall on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and they came to our church on Tuesday.
On Tuesday they worked in our garden, weeding, harvesting and planting under the direction of Jennifer.
We are grateful to have partnerships with other churches like FPC Rockwall which help us pool our resources and build community!
The rest of the week, Rick drove them to Rockwall where they engaged in other mission activities and had a lesson and devotional time with Pastor Cheryl, who is a good friend of David's. This year's theme was "Feed My Sheep," based on Jesus' instructions to his disciples in John 21.
Mission Camp is a new variation on traditional Vacation Bible School. Rather than spending time inside, Mission Camp engages the children with service activities, followed by a time to reflect on what they did and why they did it.
Besides working in our garden on Tuesday, activities included stuffing pillows for the hospital, making dog biscuits for the animal shelter, and shopping for Helping Hands. Of course there was also time for fun such as swimming and bowling.
the compromise was orchestrated on the floor of the assembly by members of Grace Presbytery
Of special note, we did not vote for full divestment from fossil-free companies. This was a surprise, because the overture had a great deal of concurrences, and the advocacy group Fossil-Free PCUSA ran an excellent grass roots campaign. However, the assembly chose instead to follow the recommendations of the study compiled by the PC(USA)'s Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI). This is described as a middle way, and interestingly the compromise was orchestrated on the floor of the assembly by members of Grace Presbytery working in coordination with the commissioners from New Covenant (Houston area). The MRTI report suggests that we use a "focused engagement process" with oil, gas, and coal companies, working with them through our investments to reduce emissions and reliance upon fossil fuels.
In other business, on Friday morning I spoke on the floor against a recommendation that we change "teaching elder" to "minister of Word and Sacrament." The assembly voted for it anyway, so now it goes to the presbyteries for approval since it is a constitutional change.