A Word from the Pastor – November 2015

November signals the beginning of stewardship emphasis season for Emmanuel Presbyterian Church. Stewardship is something we are called to practice every day; it is essential to our calling as followers of Christ to be generous people. At EPC, November is the time we designate to focus our attention on living and giving generously.

The first think I want to say about stewardship at EPC is this: Thank you! You are people who know how to give— gladly, faithfully, even sacrificially. It is a blessing to be the pastor of a congregation that has such a generous heart.

As we think about stewardship over the next few weeks, I invite you to consider the following two
questions. Thefirst question is a community question: What is God calling us to do together? Sometimes the first question we ask when it comes to financial issues is, “Can we afford it?” If God means for us to do something then we can trust God to provide the necessary means to accomplish our calling— whether it be talent, expertise, or money. Money follows mission, and when we have a clear sense of our mission God will provide for us to carry it out.

The second question is a personal one: How much of my income is God calling me to give to the work of Christ through my church? Our session gives careful, prayerful consideration to the financial decisions our church makes. One way they do this is by preparing an annual budget. But when it comes to personal giving, I encourage you not to think about how much the church needs to balance the budget, but rather to focus on what God is calling you to do in order to be a faithful and generous steward. If each of us is faithful to honor God with our tithes and offering, the budget will be provided for.

Again, thank you for your faithful support of Christ’s ministry through EPC. I look forward to the next few weeks as we consider how God is calling us to even more generous lives and how we can respond with joy and gratitude for God’s amazing goodness to us.

Blessings,
Mary Saylor

Now Serving Fair Trade Coffee during fellowship hour

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Ever thought about all the people that produce the food you eat? You can help improve the lives of so many across the globe just by voting with your dollar and purchasing fairly traded products. EPC will be serving fairly traded coffee during fellowship hour after our Sunday service.

If your interested in finding out more about how the products you by can effect peoples lives, head on over to Fair Trade USA.

Used Eyeglasses Donations

Do you have used eyeglasses sitting around that you can’t use anymore? The Lions of Illinois Foundation will repair, refurbish and sort them, then send them off to the needy. We will have a box sitting under the flower chart in the sanctuary to collect them for a couple months so we can contribute to this easy-to-do cause.

New Members Class

New to Emmanuel? Wish you knew more about how things work at EPC? Interested in becoming a member? There will be a new member class on Saturday morning, October 24, in the fellowship hall. This will be an opportunity to meet with the pastor and a couple of our elders for coffee and conversation. Contact Jacque Gallup for more information or to register for the class.

A CD of Sacred Piano Music

1000px-CD_icon_test.svg Our Church organist Michael Ellis has created a CD of Sacred Piano Music that is available in the narthex for a suggested donation of $5. Checks should be made out to EPC with “CD” on the memo line. Donations will be used for improvements to the recording system in the sanctuary.

A Word from the Pastor – Oct 2015

What a grand day it was on September 20 when the congregations of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church and Crosswinds Presbyterian Church gathered for worship in Crosswinds’ beautiful sanctuary. There were more than seventy folks from Emmanuel in attendance, and fifteen of our musicians joined the band and choir in leading worship. Pastor Michael Hartwell preached on Ephesians 4, emphasizing verse 3: “Making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

After the service over a hundred people dined on delicious barbecue sandwiches accompanied by every kind of salad and dessert imaginable. People filled the fellowship room and spilled onto the patio outside, sharing food and conversation. Afterward folks from Crosswinds loaded a pickup truck with the 490 pounds of food and water brought by both congregations for local food banks as part of the day’s offering.

The celebration at Crosswinds was the culmination of July’s “food fight” between our two church families. The very friendly competition was held to see which church could collect the most food and water for local food banks. A total of 4,796 pounds was donated, with EPC topping CPC by a mere 99 pounds. As the winners, the congregation of EPC was invited to worship at Crosswinds and to be their guests at a meal following the service.

We had a wonderful day at Crosswinds, and what a delight it was to share worship, food, and fellowship with Presbyterians from one of our sister churches. It was a powerful reminder that we are part of a larger family of brothers and sisters in Christ and that we are better together than we are alone. And while it was a great blessing for us, the larger community was also blessed by the food and water given in Christ’s name to neighbors in need. Thank you to our Mission Committee, our Worship Committee, the choir, and everyone who gave so generously to make this year’s food fight a battle that ended in great celebration!

Blessings, Mary Saylor

Giving Opportunities October – Undie Sundie

New undergarments are collected and distributed to agencies and shelters that assist homeless men, women and children. Each morning as we dress, we take for granted that when we open our drawer, there will be clean undergarments awaiting
us. Undergarments are a luxury item thousands of homeless men and women don’t have.

Memorial Gifts Sent To Emanuel AME Church in Charleston NC

When news arrived about the shootings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston this past June, we were touched not only because our churches share the same name, but because we have another connection through Charleston Southern University. Laurie Van Dyke enlisted the knitting and crocheting skills of members of our congregation to make nine prayer shawls, and Sing Carlson created nine blessing bracelets. These items were blessed in our worship service on August 16 and sent to Charleston with Chrysta Zehr as she returned to Charleston Southern University for her sophomore year.

One of Chrysta’s classmates at CSU is Chris Singleton whose mother, The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, was one of the shooting victims. CSU has created the Singleton Memorial Fund in memory of Chris’s mother. Funds will be used to meet Chris’s educational needs, and any remaining funds will be applied to the CSU baseball enrichment center in memory of Rev. Coleman-Singleton. Anyone wishing to support the fund may contact charlestonsouthern.edu or send a check to:

CSU Advancement Office,
PO Box 118087,
Charleston,SC 29423.