A Preview of Summer

It is shaping up to be yet another active summer around Little Rock and for that we are grateful!  Just three years ago, we were severely limited in our offerings due to the impact of COVID-19, but now things look and feel pretty close to normal around here.  The arrival of summertime brings with it many things we have come to enjoy down through the years:  camp, Vacation Bible School, our Fourth of July meal, etc.  I encourage you even as you have various commitments of your own this summer not to forget your church family.  Please remain steadfast in your prayers for and stewardship to the church, meet with us in person as you are able, and, if you are out of place, take in the online Sunday school lessons and worship services.  Whatever your plans involve and wherever the journey takes you, hold close to your heart and mind the words of Jesus, “…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

One of the biggest denominational events of the summer is scheduled for Friday, June 23 when the Carolina Mudcats sponsor their Annual OFWB Children’s Home Supply Drive.  For a number of years, this has been an opportunity for local churches to collect cleaning supplies, paper products, hygiene items, etc. to benefit the children, youth, and their cottage parents throughout the year.  Between now and June 23, you can bring your donations by the church and place them in the conference room.  Suggested items include: laundry detergent, bleach, dishwashing detergent, food storage containers and bags, bathroom cleaner, men’s and women’s body wash, deodorant (non-gel), and sunscreen to name a few.  If you would like to attend the baseball game that evening, please let Marci know as soon as possible.  Box seats are $9 per person and the game will be followed with fireworks.  The plan is for the church van to leave Little Rock at 6:00.

How many times have you said or heard someone else say, “There are some crazy people in this world!”?  Most likely, it has been too many to count.  We often wonder what makes another person tick, why he or she acts as he or she does, and how he or she could do some of what he or she does.  Such actions make us laugh, shake our heads, and may even create some frustration.  However, is being a bit crazy always a bad thing?  There is a song on Christian radio by Casting Crowns entitled “Crazy People” that addresses some of the people of the Bible who took a chance with God and stepped out in faith even when it did not make sense to others.  This song is the inspiration behind this summer’s camp theme of “Crazy People: Racing Toward God.”  During our time at Camp Vandemere June 25-29, we will consider the stories of Noah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as well as others who were unafraid to listen to God and be obedient to God no matter what others may have said, thought, or done to them.  Please be in prayer for our week of camp: the young people, those teaching and preaching, those involved with various activities, and those who are directing the overall process.  We are excited about what God has in store and we are anticipating many seeds to be sown and commitments made which will lead to changed lives.  Do keep in mind that Marci and I are a part of the camp staff, so we will be out of place that Sunday afternoon through Thursday evening.  If any emergencies should arise, please contact your family deacon.

On Wednesday, May 24, the OFWB Convention was held on the campus of the University of Mount Olive for the first time since COVID-19.  Approximately 326 ministers, delegates, and visitors shared in a day filled with worship, fellowship, and conducting the business of our faith tradition.  The focus of this year’s Convention was prayer and the morning session was spent in a “concert of prayer” interspersed with music by the Convention praise team.  Each time of prayer was focused on different aspects of our denomination as well as the Holy Spirit’s work within individual lives and congregations.  Matthew 17:21 offers Jesus’ response to his disciples’ failure to cast out a demon by saying, “This kind comes out only by prayer and fasting.”  One of my takeaways from this year’s Convention is that prayer must come before any act of ministry.  So often, we plan and move forward with those plans without divine consultation and we wonder why things do or do not turn out as they do.  Our actions must be partnered with prayer in order for us to do effective work for the Kingdom of God.

On a final note, please keep in mind that we still have need of yard maintenance and housekeeping sponsors for the remainder of 2023.  You will find notebooks for these services as well as altar flowers in the church conference room.

Together in Christ,

The Reverend Kelley Smart