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Glimpses of Grace

It was one of those moments when God reminds you that praising him does not have to be perfect – just joyful.
We had just finished the rousing Malawian praise song,” Palibe Wofana…There’s no One like Him (God)”, as we sang and danced to the praise of God. Now it was time for the Benediction which I would do in Chichewa and Pastor Melany would repeat in English. As we stepped to the center of the chancel, I raised my hands, adrenaline flowing as I wanted to get it right. But as I raised my hands, I smacked Melany right in the face! Actually, it was more of a “whack” than a “smack”. As soon as I felt my hand bump her nose and glasses, I pulled it away in alarm. She was fine, but when she saw the look of horror on my face, she broke into giggles. With every ounce of concentration, I staved off my own laughter, for I had work to do!  Some folks in the very front saw what had happened and chuckled from the safety of their pews. Meanwhile, I proceeded with the benediction doing my very best to bless us all in Chichewa.
Of course, it is God who blesses us, whatever language we use and no matter how clumsily we do it. So may we freely and joyfully praise our great God in our worship and serving, our words and deeds. And if you slip up, God will take it and shape it into glory. Our praise does not have to be perfect, just joyful.
Speaking of praise, we have much to praise in the life of our church:
  • another successful mission trip to West Virginia with reports of hard work and loving impact on the people served.
  • I continue to read through the notes and cards that you have presented me in honor of my 40th anniversary in ordained ministry. I am just now getting to the email messages.
  • so many people have been deeply moved and blessed by the love of the church in their times of need. Some have written notes for the bulletin. One asked me to tell you last Sunday, and I forgot. So now I am honoring that promise: Emily Brady is still at home and progressing. She thanks everyone for your prayers and love. And she will be back in worship with us soon.
  • Melany and I will be away from Tuesday August 22 through Monday August 28 as we make a quick trip to Germany to be present for the baptism of our granddaughter, Emma ( Melany will stay four more days. I will be back in the office on Tuesday, August 29th.). In our absence our friend of Bethany, the Rev. Bill Roemer, will be doing the pastoral care. His contact information is 412-818-9408(cell) and  412-257-8756(home). Please let the office know – or Bill directly – of any pastoral needs.
  • On Sunday August 27th, The Reverend Cinda Isler will be preaching at the 8:15 and 10:00 AM services. Carl Suppo will speak at the 6 PMModern service. He will share more insights and stories from his mission trip in Malawi.
  • And the BIG news! This Sunday is worship in the Park! Come for worship at 10 AM at Chartiers Park. Bring a lawn chair and something to share for our lunch. Games for all ages and the luncheon will follow. Bring swimsuits for the kids – for the water games. Melany is hoping to bring home the prize for the hula hoop contest. So the challenge is on!
  • And remember: the 8:15 service will be held at the church for those who cannot be at the outdoor service.  (No 6:00 PM Modern Service. The Praise Band will be leading the music for the Service in the Park.)
  • This Sunday’s message will continue the Alpha Questions, the basic questions of faith: “How Does God Guide Us?” So come and join us for worship on Sunday…and praise the Lord!
Mulungu akudalitseni…God bless you,
John Hamilton

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