Stories of Faith Series

 

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We all have a story to tell.  But sharing our faith sometimes proves difficult.  And yet, as we see in Scripture, our stories are the most powerful witness we have.

We just have to learn how to tell it.

Stories of Faith is an opportunity for Christians to discover, refine, & share their own story of faith.

In this series, participants will reflect together on the stories of people from the Bible and explore how these stories relate to their own faith story.

Participants will also receive practical tools and practice sharing their faith by having the opportunity to lead a session on a biblical person of their choosing and by working together on shaping and sharing their own faith stories.

The series will begin with two “introductory” sessions.  The first session, “Stories of Faith,” will explore stories of faith in the Bible.  The following week, “Storytelling as Evangelism” will discuss the elements of a good story and why storytelling is a vital part of our Christian life.  A third introductory session may be held if needed.

Following the introduction, participants will work together to identify a Biblical person, reflect on how the biblical story reflects their own experience (or vice versa), and practice telling their story and inviting others to share their own stories by facilitating the discussion on the Biblical story they have chosen.

After each participant has the opportunity to share, participants will discuss and identify specific ways each of them will share their story with others.

All stories welcome.  Come share your story!

 

Tuesday Night Bible Study meets every week from 6:30p-8:00p at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.  Get directions from Google.

Series Schedule

September 17:            Stories of Faith

Key Text:          Hebrews 11

September 24:            Storytelling as Evangelism

Key Text:          Matthew 28:16-20

October:          Storytelling Groups

October – December  Presentation of Faith Stories

December 10 or 17     Review

Creating Art in Advent

Advent is a time of watching & waiting – of preparation and devotion.  But more often than not, the days leading up to the Christmas holiday are quickly filled with tasks, errands, and obligations.  Expectations – both those placed on us by others and those we place on ourselves – replace moments of anticipation.  Written devotionals, while helpful for some, only fill our minds with more words and worries.  What we desire – what we need – is a call to quietude and permission to enter Advent with imagination, creativity, and wonder.

What if creating art could be a way to enter Advent?  This weekly challenge is a way to allow yourself the space to create, share & inspire.  Each week in Advent, you are invited to create space for yourself to enter Advent by creating art.  Here’s how:

1. Log into Facebook and look up the theme for each week in Advent on the Art of the Passion fanpage.  The current post is a bit late, but future posts will be up on the preceding Saturday.

2. Watch for a word or phrase, image or experience that speaks to you about a weekly theme on Advent.  If you go attend a church, you may have heard or seen something.  Maybe you use a devotional or peruse the appointed Scripture.  Maybe it comes from somewhere else.  Don’t be overwhelmed – choose something you already do, and watch for the Advent theme.

2. Starting from that focus point (or general idea)- sketch, draw, paint, sew, photograph, weave, or otherwise visually explore the theme.  Limit yourself to no more than one hour.  Of course, we won’t know you if you spend more than an hour, but don’t let it be a stressful experience – it’s OK to allow it to be incomplete if the time runs out.

3. Log back into Facebook and share your creative exploration on the Art of the Passion fanpage.  Don’t worry about it being incomplete or imperfect – the whole season of Advent is a kind of “work in progress.”

Our hope is that by participating, you will find a space for your own creativity to be drawn into preparation and devotion; and that we all will be encouraged in our own watching & waiting.

 

Going the extra mile

On June 24, folks from St. Paul’s hit the pavement to intentionally engage the community by walking its streets.

For 12 weeks over the summer, 37 walkers covered more than 147 miles of sidewalks, trails, roads, and alleys, paying close attention to what they saw, heard, and experienced. They were looking specifically for ways at which God is already at work in the world around us.

Sometimes new sidewalks the city provided easy walking, but other times the sidewalks ended or were in disrepair. Many of the neighborhoods contained a variety of single-family and multi-family homes – some needing a little TLC, but many in good condition and under great care.

 

Near the center of the city, small businesses (a few just opening) were contained in houses amidst residential homes.  Of particular interest was the old church building on John & Gentry which has since been converted into a residence.

Walkers didn’t notice or interact much with others for the first few weeks when temperatures reached over 100 degrees.  As the heat began to break, children emerged to play on the sidewalks and ride their bikes down side streets followed by people relaxing on their porches and working in their yards.

For those who didn’t feel physically up for a walk (especially given the high heat!), St. Paul’s partnered with the Paul Phillippe Center to provide a way for them to participate.  The ride-along gave participants a way to see a lot of the city and surrounding areas, guided by a very knowledgeable driver.

During the campaign, participants came up with a few more creative ways to engage the community.  As a way to celebrate the conclusion of the campaign, walkers invited local food industries to join a celebratory meal on Sunday, September 23rd.  The lunch featured locally produced & distributed foods from Schoup’s Country Foods, Frito-Lay, Glover’s Ice Cream, Zachary’s Candy, and Margarita’s Pupusería.

Walkers also wanted to find a way to complement our listening with a way to serve the poor.  So, on August 5th, St. Paul’s began collecting shoes for the shoe-less.  Two large boxes were placed in the narthex outside of the sanctuary and people were asked to search their closet for unused shoes or bring in a pair of new shoes.    Slowly, the boxes began to fill up – and then overflow!   In total, over 180 pairs of shoes were blessed and sent on their way to be distributed by Art for Humanity!  

Overall, the walkers’ response to the walk was one of surprising hope.  We discovered a number of “leads” and “interesting guesses” about where this experience will take St. Paul’s into the future.   The observations made during the walks will help give shape our future engagements, like the one-to-one listening campaign in 2013.  Without question, St. Paul’s is beginning to see itself as part of the community here in Clinton county;  but what we’ve witnessed walking the streets, collecting shoes, and inviting neighbors to share a meal, has helped us see ourselves as part of something even larger – God’s mission in the world, active and alive in our small corner of the world.

Walking the Community

As part of St. Paul’s mission-implementing, partnership grant, members and friends of St. Paul’s are invited to join together as we “walk the community.”  Through this campaign, we hope to learn more about the community in which we live, where God is already working, and how we may be a part of God’s work here, locally.

There are a number of ways to participate.

1. Wednesday Walks – Each Wednesday evening we will walk 1 to 2 miles of the community.  Starting locations are announced each Sunday and listed in the Walking the Community brochure.

2. Ride Alongs – If walking for more than a mile sounds like too much of a physical toll, you can still participate in a ride-along on the third Wednesday of the month.

3. Walking at your own pace – For them, the Wednesday walks may not be the best time of day.  Many people already are walking.  So we’ve made it easy for you to walk at your own pace.  All you need to do is fill out a response card that indicates who you walked with (pairs are great! and a cord with three strands is not easily broken), where you walked, and what you saw or experienced.

Our goal is to have 80% of St. Paul’s participate and cover as much of the area as we can.

We also hope to schedule special walks soon – some of these may include “night walks,” “walks w/ community leaders,” “walking together with other christians,” or in other areas – like Mulberry!  The best way to keep up-to-date is to sign up for St. Paul’s (e)pistle and follow us on facebook.  So take a second to click “like” and then lace up those shoes and come meet us out on the sidewalks!