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(704) 857-5034,
750 Mount Moriah Church Road,
China Grove, NC  28023
Pastor's Page

JULY, 2007


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Well, the last six weeks have been truly interesting. Some parts of recovery are going more slowly since the right shoulder is also damaged. Running into the deer slowed things up as well. But the sling is now mostly off so I can type again and also begin to drive. I can even ride the mower - but a little slower than usual, at least over rough ground. (However, I still cannot use most yard tools so the edges will remain a bit rough.) In two more weeks the physical therapists will begin the strength training which will take several months but which others who have had the surgery tell me should leave that shoulder good as new if I work at it.

I want to express my sincere thanks for your patience during this extended recovery period. Special thanks go to all those who have helped drive me to therapy and other places: Margaret Feimster, Hazel Garver, Sarah Higgins, Robert Karriker, Don Sebastian, Mike Withers, Pastor MacMurphy, Pastor Beam, and of course Pat. (Thanks also to all those others who offered to help and anyone whose name I omitted.) While the drought reduced the need for lawn mowing it did not eliminate it altogether and we want to thank Gray Dabbs Lawn Service for mowing and trimming the yard. Thanks also for the prayers, cards, calls, visits, and remembrances that meant so much. Very special thanks go to Mike Kotish and Janet Parsons who helped with vestments when Pat wasn't available, to the Worship Committee, to Sarah Bradley who helped me with distribution of the Communion bread when Pat was away, and especially to Mary Ann Lambert who helped in more ways than I can name.

Whether the result of economic hardship or drug dependence or mischief the most recent burglary (in April) was more troubling because they seem bolder. The Property Committee and Council have spent much time discussing the break-ins and hope we can take some actions to improve security. The doors that were kicked in have had their locks reinforced. At the advice of law enforcement we will be recording serial numbers of equipment to help with recovery in case of future thefts. We will probably also put together a photo file of equipment for possible insurance claims in the event of a more substantial burglary.

Property Committee has also been busy trying to complete the renovations to the fellowship hall. A small group spent several days working on finishing up the floor (also in Steve Dabbs Sunday School room) and what a difference it makes. They have finished reconnecting the sound system as well. The movable partitions at the back are the only item remaining. The chair project begun by the Women of the ELCA has come to fruition and the chairs are now in the fellowship hall thanks to the folks, including some youth, who spent several hours unwrapping and placing the new chairs. They look great! 

This week marks the official beginning of summer, though several days this spring have already felt like it! While summer is often seen as a time when not much is going on at church there are plenty of opportunities for learning and fellowship. Though summer is a busy travel time for many people, when you are in town plan to participate. (If you are traveling why not bring back a bulletin from any church you visit and we will find a way to display them?) 

Vacation Bible School with the theme Great Bible Reef comes up next week and looks to be lots of fun. There are classes for all ages this year including youth (who will go on a mystery trip each night) and adults. In July we will have our annual special observance in honor of Independence Day that includes a picnic on the grounds after the service on the first. On July 15th the Worship and Music Committee is sponsoring our annual ice cream social family night. Farmer's Day comes up July 21st and you have the opportunity to share in fellowship with folks by helping staff our water booth and witness to our ministry. The Parish Nightingales are planning a special Sunday morning forum this summer you don't want to miss. On August 12th we will welcome the Rev. Robert Schmeelcke, a retired Lutheran pastor, who will share with us the work of Food for the Poor, an organization which works with some of the poorest of the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean. Also in August we will have Rally Day and our annual Sunday School picnic at Dan Nicholas Park on the 26th. 

Regaining strength and use after surgery will require me to stretch and work on my arm and shoulder muscles. In the same way gaining spiritual strength requires that we stretch and work on our faith. That comes from prayer, fellowship, Bible reading, giving, and serving. Summer offers plenty of opportunities for all those, will you take advantage of them?

In Christ's grace and service, Pastor Joseph