Prayer for the Week (August 26 – September 1)

Let us pray to God for the courage to be faithful to God: Faithful God, in the daily choices we make, give us the courage to opt always for the way of our example, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Through the Holy Spirit, guide us on the difficult road we sometimes take without seeing where it will lead us. Keep us from making half-hearted decisions where we have not enough faith. Keep us always faithful through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Claretian Publications, alt.)

Sunday Reflection (August 26, 2018)


In spite of all the misery and evil we do to each other, the book of Ephesians tells us that Christ has ultimate Lordship over the world. This happens not through instruments that inflict pain, injury, and death upon others, but through instruments of peace, truth, and righteousness.

Ephesians tell us that our strength is not in force of arms but in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:10-20). We challenge and engage evil by living lives of truth, love, compassion, and faithfulness. These are our instruments of warfare, and in this way, we bring the hope of a greater peace in the world.

Updates on the Work on the Church



As Chair of the Board of Trustees, I would like to update the congregation on the work that has been taking place on the picnic shelter and the interior of Parsonage #1.

The picnic shelter has new siding, new wiring, additional lighting, new switches and outlets, as well as new support beams and trusses. That finishes up the work we started previously when we rebuilt the brick grill, added a new cooking surface and charcoal pan, and replaced the roof shingles. I hope the church can get another 80+ years of use out of it!

Work on Parsonage #1 has taken longer than planned due to the fact that we were unable to get inside the residence when we were supposed to, plus the fact that there have been a couple of unexpected contractor delays. That aside, much progress has been achieved.

The interior of the residence has been painted, the wall-to-wall carpet has been removed, and the hard wood floors have been refinished and sealed.

Further, new water tight flooring was installed in the kitchen and bathrooms, both toilets and a sink were replaced, three ceiling lights were replaced, two ceiling fans were replaced, four window air conditioners were added, the front and rear porch lights were replaced, and the kitchen is being completely renovated.

Aside from fresh paint and a new floor, the kitchen has new oak cabinets and hardware, granite countertops, tile backsplash, a new sink and fixtures, new GE appliances, a garbage disposal, and new over-the-sink lighting.

Unfortunately, this room is not yet complete, but we’re very close to that point. We have no influence over those delays that are out of our control, but we know that all will be well in the end. The work to the pastor’s residence will be completed soon and it will be a source of pride for all of us.

I want the congregation to know that Mark and Glenna McFadden have been wonderful during this renovation process and I thank them again for their patience.

Bill Brannon, Chair
Board of Trustees

Pastoral Ponderings (August 2018)

I look forward to this month. I have always heard of the Fiddler’s Convention in Galax but never attended. Not only do I get to hear it from my lawn, I even have the privilege of saying a prayer at it.

I also checked out the BBQ competition in late July. I sampled about 19 varieties and made a People’s Choice vote. Although a few were already empty by the time I sampled, my vote was #5. If anyone knows what #5 was, let me know. I thought the BBQ teams would sell BBQ during the competition; however, I did learn that you could obtain it later in the afternoon/evening. I went about 7:00 in the evening. I was disappointed. It was too late, but I did purchase a local Brisket sandwich and was culinarily happy.

Life is full of disappointments. Some are minor disappointments and some are major. What do with when we are disappointed? The disciples were sorely disappointed with Jesus. They witnessed the miracles of Jesus and learned what they could of what he taught. They were there when Jesus was gloriously received into Jerusalem. They were also there when he left Jerusalem on the way to crucifixion.

Disappointment perhaps does not describe fully what they must have felt when Jesus was arrested. It was abject disappointment mixed with fear and anxiety. Nevertheless, we know how the story turned out: Resurrection! In light of the resurrection, the disciples made adjustments. They found the courage to not only proclaim the Good News of Jesus. They found the courage to be faithful to God in the midst of difficult painful times.

According to traditions, many disciples suffered martyrdom. Not the type where they died with a weapon in their hand, but the type where they, like Christ, suffered because they chose to follow the way of Christ and its message of non-violence and sharing God’s kindness and love with the world. They glorified Christ with their lives to the degree that what they shared was not their life and legacy but the life and legacy of Christ.

The disappointment, fear, and anxiety of the disciple gave way to courage and hope. Life does not always flow the way we anticipate or the way we wish. Events happen in life that devastate us. May we trust God, especially in those times.

May we be faithful to God and others in the way of Christ; no matter the situation, no matter our disappointment. May we not give up on sharing the love and kindness revealed in Jesus Christ. Christ suffers with us. May we suffer with those going through hard times, and in life, we will all go through hard times where we need one another.

Pastor Mark McFadden