“We know that all things work together for good, to them who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Our trip to the Windy City, Chi-Town, Illinois, in mid-July, was punctuated with dramatic mechanical issues. However, in retrospect, these issues became side interests and financially not-so dramatic as we envisioned.
Thirty representatives of St. Stephen went to Chicago on a Youth Mission Trip. It included middle school and high school church members, college age SPITS (sponsors in training), and experienced and inexperienced sponsors – including one who just returned from his honeymoon…
This last month we received six new members to the church, and we did it in every way that the Spirit and Presbyterian polity allow! Each of them is here for his or her own reason, but each is committed, excited, and wonderful.
Lynda moved here with her husband Tom from Canada. Quite a change from Alberta to Fort Worth! She was not a church-goer at all and had never been baptized, but driving around town one day was taken with St. Stephen. That often happens–the architecture itself speaks to people’s souls. She decided to come to church and was overcome by the friendliness and the sense of God’s presence.
We are studying the story of Jacob and his family in our weekly Bible Study. It’s a story that reminds us why the Bible is a better book than we give it credit for. Jacob is a scoundrel, a liar, and too clever by half. He ends us fathering the Twelve Tribes of Israel because he’s outsmarted by his father-in-law Laban, who tricks him into marrying the daughter he doesn’t want to marry so that he can marry the one he does want to marry. There’s more sex, family dysfunction, and intrigue in this story than there is in Desperate Housewives. God is, at least to the protagonists, almost an afterthought, a bit player in their family drama. But through it all, God is working God’s purpose out. Through Jacob’s line the blessing that God has promised the world through Abraham’s heirs is perpetuated.
I asked everyone, “How does this story affect the way you look at your own dysfunctional family?”
(part two of two – click here to read part one)
by Max Courtney
Our next destination was Selma. Along the way we stopped at the memorial for Viola Liuzzo, the only white woman martyred during the civil rights era. By this time in our trip, the red clover was nearing full bloom, and the sides of the roadway were blanketed in bright red.
by Max Courtney
I was privileged to lead a class at St. Stephen during January and February entitled “Freedom Road: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Black America in the 1950s and 1960s.” After teaching many years in diverse venues (university, police academy, church) I can say without equivocation that this was the most fulfilling class I ever taught. Much of the credit for that goes to the participants whose enthusiasm for the subject was an arterial elixir for me. Much of it also goes to having taken the capstone field trip—Beth Fultz’s suggestion.