The month of April brought with it a number of opportunities to return to worship, fellowship, and the sharing of meals with brothers and sisters in Christ. It all began on the first Saturday evening of the month with a “Night of Hope” which included a meal of soup and sandwiches, and worship featuring the Reverend James Pearce and the Four in Christ Quartet. With the unfortunate cancellation of our Spiritual Weekends in both 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, it was a refreshing time which brought together both church and community. It was coined a “Night of Hope” because so many of the circumstances of the past two years have left us feeling down and out and in need of encouragement. While this was a one-night opportunity for the spring, it will certainly not be the last such service this year. Earlier this year, our Deacon Board discussed the possibility of revamping our concept of Spiritual Weekend by considering its purpose and looking at ways to capture its essence throughout the year. Rather than having three services in a row during the fall (as before), this new format will allow for a series of special services divided throughout the year. Each service will be unique and formatted differently each time. The deacons are working on plans for the next such worship opportunity and details will be forthcoming.
Speaking of coming together for worship, food, and fellowship… For the first time in three years, we were able to resume community Holy Week services with Lucama United Methodist Church and Lamm’s Grove Pentecostal Holiness Church. To say that it was a welcomed-experience would be an understatement! Each service was different, but possessed a common spirit of Christian community and enabled brothers and sisters in Christ to rediscover the power of Jesus’ passion and resurrection. In the coming weeks, I will be meeting with Joe Stallings and Tony Hawley to discuss additional opportunities for us to come together throughout the year. The ideas suggested have already included Thanksgiving, Advent, or even something not connected with a special Church season. I look forward to sharing additional information concerning such opportunities as it becomes available.
For the month of May, I anticipate sharing with you a series of sermons based upon the words of Jesus following his resurrection. This four-part series entitled, “After Words,” will focus upon various things which Jesus said to a variety of people before his ascension to heaven. Each is aimed at deepening personal commitment as well as challenging disciples to continue the work established by Jesus. So often, we focus upon all that Jesus said and did leading up to his crucifixion and, in the process, miss out on a number of significant encounters in the days which followed the resurrection. These sermons will help with preparing us for the season of Pentecost which begins in June.
Sunday Fellowship Meals
Not only did the pandemic have an impact on special services at Little Rock, it certainly put on hold a number of fellowship meals following Sunday morning worship. I am pleased to share with the church family that beginning with our 151st Birthday Sunday on May 15, we will be resuming our Sunday covered-dish meals. These meals occur on various occasions throughout the year including Birthday Sunday, Fourth of July, Homecoming Sunday, and Thanksgiving. With the exception of our 2021 reception following the Christmas cantata, our meal opportunities have been greatly limited since 2019. A sign-up sheet for volunteers to assist with setup, decorating, and cleanup will begin circulation on May 1.
In recent weeks, it has been noted that a number of doors have remained unlocked around the church property. Our ushers are really good about double-checking everything following worship on Sunday mornings, but the issue seems to come from those who stop by the church at other times. If you come by the church during the week and unlock a door, please be sure to double-check not only that it is locked, but also that it closes completely. For example, the back door on Heritage Hall has been found locked, but not closed all of the way. Please help us with this matter so that we might keep our facilities as safe as possible and free from damage.
Change for the Children Campaign
The month of May has once again been designated as “OFWB Children’s Home Month” and we will be participating in the “Change for the Children” campaign which supports this denominational ministry. On Sunday, May 1, you will find an insert related to this vital work within your worship bulletin. Also, a small blue or clear storage bag will be provided in order for you to collect your spare change throughout the month to benefit the OFWB Children’s Home. The deadline for the change collection will be Sunday, May 29. Once you fill your bag, you can place it in the Sunday offering plate or give it to our treasurer Terry Ford.
Together in Our Lord’s Work,
The Reverend Kelley Smart