Lead Article - Bainbridge 1st, Patty Wolff Temp Supply Pastor
First Presbyterian Church Bainbridge
As we begin 2020 (YIKES! ), we here at First Presbyterian Church of Bainbridge have much to be thankful for, as God has continued to support the work we are doing in God’s name.
The Thrift Store, our primary mission and outreach project sent an amazing $17,000 into the Bainbridge-Guilford-Masonville Community and the Bainbridge-Guilford Schools helping people with medical costs, fences, water pumps, turkeys for the holidays, and all manner of need. Several years ago, the Bainbridge congregation decided that all profit from the Thrift Store would go to Mission. In 2019, the Session expanded the parameters around those who could be helped, as well as the issues that could be reviewed and funded. I know this can be scary for people in churches. Money is probably the most anxiety producing topic in all of Christendom! But if we look at the reality of what we have spent and we do the math, we find that indeed, God has been faithful! Our coffers have been refilled. In fact, we have about double what we should have using simple human mathematics. Thankfully, our mathematics are divine! In other words, while we experience and live in a finite world, God is infinite. At the time it is needed, help comes from the most unexpected and unlikely places. The Thrift Store is the gift God built with us - that apparently keeps on giving. So we rejoice in what God has done with our participation, and we look forward to what comes next.
Another outreach program that has likewise been blessed is the work we do with the Bainbridge-Guilford Schools. This year, our Christmas gifts of food and clothing topped last year and made a beautiful picture around the tree. The folks in the community soup kitchen continue to do a wonderful job, and the church community are kept apprised of those who need our prayers by our hard-working deacons. As always, food, in all of its forms, abundantly feeds our community. Carol Roberts even has a small Blessing Box near the Thrift Store, which is available whenever the church is open.
Perhaps the most interesting thing we did this past year was to share joint worship with East Guilford during July and August. In July, worship services were held at East Guilford and in August, we welcomed our East Guilford brethren at 10:00 AM. East Guilford hosted the baptism of Vi and Phil Wade’s UK-based grandson. On July 28, 2019, Cato Unmack splashed and giggled his way into the family of God. It was a glorious sight. All the joint worship services were well received by both congregations which praised their energy, music, and fellowship. Even more exciting was the independent realization by both congregations, that they liked the people in the other church. (OMG!) Folks from Bainbridge helped East Guilford at the Annual Roast Beef Dinner, and one person from East Guilford was a machine in the Bainbridge kitchen at our Harvest Dinner. Our usual leaders did their usual exceptional job and the turkey tasted great! Whether we go forward in this way remains to be seen as we continue our discernment to determine where God is calling us next. Even if we decide to leave things as they are, the summer was fun and energizing: a gift from God in a world where the church has been deemed irrelevant and out of touch with the needs of today’s younger people.
We look forward with hope and anticipation to 2020 as we walk together in faith and love. Our prayer for our churches and all Christians around the world, is that we live Colossians 3:16: “Whatever you do, in word or id deed, do everything in the name of Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through him. In other words: Soli Deo Gloria! [To God alone be the glory!]
Yours in Christ,
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