Grace and Peace from our Lord Jesus Christ!
When Paul wrote to the churches in Rome he wanted those churches to unite behind a mission to reach people over in Spain. Often people want to know what the mission of a particular church is, but I’m beginning to appreciate more that this is not thinking large enough. It really struck me this past month in a way that I had not planned.
First, while we did a number of projects in Goshen, New York while staying at Goshen Christian Reformed Church we also were able to serve at Madison Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Paterson, New Jersey. Thus this pastor and several young people from our Presbyterian congregation here in Niagara went and served in Goshen and through that church in Goshen went and served in Paterson. So while it wasn’t something I was really planning on taking away from the trip, one thing that I saw God doing was a collaborative mission between people in different churches. Madison Avenue Christian Reformed Church is doing mission on a number of different fronts in their community but we were able to help them in that mission rather than having a different one. This strikes me as a reminder that we at Niagara Presbyterian Church can continue to serve Christ by helping other churches to fulfill their mission to serve others. Indeed, our mission does not necessarily need to be all that different than the mission of all gospel-believing churches in our community. I expect later this week to be able to help First Presbyterian Church in Niagara Falls as they share free hot dogs and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m hopeful some others might join me in doing so, but again it is an example of people from Niagara Presbyterian Church fulfilling our mission by helping other churches to fulfill their mission.
Another reason for my increasing appreciation of this larger picture of mission is the way that First Presbyterian Church of Niagara Falls came to our Vacation Bible School program. I’ve been making the joke that I invited more people to VBS than anyone else because I invited the children from First Presbyterian, but really it was inspiring to see that church step up to see their children benefit from a VBS this summer. Some time ago they had decided not to run their own VBS program this year but instead of just referring the kids to another church for VBS they went through the work of registering them, running their vans to pick them up, and even helping with our VBS. All this was a reminder to me that no church needs to do everything but that we can benefit from working together. In the future I think there will be many more such efforts at cooperation among churches – even of people at one church sending their youth to the youth group at another church, for example – rather than each church trying to do it all and provide every service that families need.
All this is just to say that I can see us Christians in America moving beyond competing with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ for programs and missions and all the rest, but instead to see what it is that God is doing in bringing us together to reach people in our community and to reach people living somewhere else far away as well. Glory be to God!
16th Sunday after Pentecost
“To Clean House,” Luke 15:8-10
1 Sam 19:23b-20:29
|The Lord’s Supper|
17th Sunday after Pentecost
“The Elder Brother,” Luke 15:11-32
1 Sam 20:30-21:6
The Second Helvetic Confession, ch.15,pt.4
18th Sunday after Pentecost
1 Sam 21:7-23:2
The Second Helvetic Confession, ch.15,pt.5
|National Back to Church Sunday|
19th Sunday after Pentecost
1 Sam 23:3-24:4
The Second Helvetic Confession, ch.15,pt.6
The 2016 Workshop Mission Trip
A group of eight traveled to Goshen, New York on Friday August 5th and returning Saturday August 13th. We were able to stay in the Youth Center at Goshen Christian Reformed Church for the week while doing many things to show the love of Christ to the surrounding community and to migrant farm workers in rural Ferndale, New York a little over 40 minutes away and to inner city children in Paterson, New Jersey a little over 50 minutes away.
Saturday morning we were able to work with Christ Health Care Ministry at their clinic in Ferndale to see that patients without medical insurance (primarily Spanish speaking) got the care that they need. Sunday we were able to worship with the Goshen Christian Reformed Church in the morning and evening and take some time in the afternoon for setting up for their VBS and for sightseeing. Monday we led a one-morning VBS for about 40 African-American children in the day care at Madison Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Paterson. That afternoon and the following morning we did construction work and cleanup for that church’s Crossroads Community Ministries as they repurpose the second floor of an old factory. Wednesday through Friday mornings we helped with the VBS for more than 100 kids at Goshen Christian Reformed Church, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to sand and paint exterior doors to their Youth Center, some also helped a widow by pruning trees and pulling weeds on Friday morning and then we all painted a room for the Goshen Humane Society on Friday afternoon. The trip did include some other excursions as Monday evening we were blessed with tickets to the New Jersey State Fair and Tuesday to see New York City including free tickets to the 9-11 Museum. We give thanks to God for all of your prayers and support!