I trust that you are all enjoying a renewing and refreshing summer season. Have you found time to travel to the beach or the mountains? Have you gone swimming in a neighborhood pool, or spent time with family and friends? I pray so. We need time to rest and relax. We need time to rest our body, mind and spirit. We also need time to fellowship with God. Yes, we need time to worship God, and I encourage you, at home or away, to find time to worship.
The “Hills” have been alive with the sound of ministry in July. We have been studying the Sermon on the Mount, and we have provided and celebrated Vacation Bible School “number one”. It was a fantastic week, I am grateful to Dee Wells and Cheryl Spell and the dozens of leaders and volunteers that worked so hard to make VBS week happen!
I used the term Vacation Bible School “number one” purposely, because we have VBS “number two” coming up this month as we invite the children from Overland Gardens to our church. We anticipate a good number, and I know that more people are needed to help out, so if you have a day or two or three that you can give, please see Peggy Kullberg.
Soon the summer season will be over, and it will be time to reconnect. Soon the schools will open and we will be opening the door to a brand new church year, days that are often filled with excitement and enthusiasm. Many who have been away for much of the summer will be returning. Core ministries will begin again.
Back to Church Sunday is one way we can reconnect with members, friends, and with the community at-large and is scheduled for September 16th. Our theme is “You Belong Here”. Please make it a point to be here for Sunday School and worship. Invite a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member to come with you. Let’s grow together in our understanding of what it means, not just to go to church, but to BE the church!
A sad note! Our former organist, Eleanor Allen Flottman passed away on Sunday, June 24th, in Camden, Maine where she has been living for many years. Eleanor began her ministry with MHBC on January 7, 1973 and served for over 28 years. She was an outstanding musician, a remarkably gifted person, but more, she was one who possessed a real sensitivity and understanding of the role of music in worship. She truly helped us to feel the presence of God. I reflect today on the countless worship services, weddings, and funerals that Eleanor provided such beautiful music for. She touched so many lives, young and old alike, and was an inspiration to so many of us. Our prayers and sympathy are extended to her son Billy, her sister Pat, and her nephew Corey.
So, we remember one whom we have loved and lost, but we also look forward to coming back home to the ones we love now. See you in church!
In Christ, Pastor Joel
We are enjoying a productive summer of ministry thus far. Our church has hosted almost 80 teenagers and leaders in our building who were participating in the Mission-Serve project sponsored by our D.C. Baptist Convention, repairing and renovating homes in the District of Columbia. We have also completed another successful Vacation Bible School under the direction of Dee Wells. Our heartfelt thanks go to Dee and the incredibly gifted and enthusiastic ministry team members who served in order that the children in our church and community would hear the good news of Jesus’ love. We also have a group of teenagers who are doing a mini-VBS at Overland Garden Apartments in Landover, Md. Our youth will be responsible for Bible study, arts and crafts, and music for 70 children. Thank you one and all.
Things will slow down a bit in August, and I am hopeful that many of us have the opportunity to enjoy some time away from our busy Washington Metro area. There is a lot to be said for taking some time off and getting out of town to the seashore, or to the mountains, or some other peaceful venue. Walt Whitman famously said that human beings need occasions when they can “loaf and invite the soul.” Amen, Walt!
It is important that we give our best to the work we do, and to the ministry that we engage in, but it is also important to slow down to restore and renew. Sometimes we just need to rest our tired bodies, minds, and spirits. Take time to play! Go fishing, sail, hike, play ball, or play golf. Just have fun. Take some time to grow too. Read that book you have been meaning to read. Look up an old friend! Take time to serve someone in need. Think of new ways to enjoy God’s creation. Grow in your knowledge and love of God. Attend worship wherever you are. My wife and I always do that, and we almost always find a blessing.
Even God rested after six days of creating the universe. And knowing that time to rest is important for the people he created, God instituted the Sabbath. As the old hymn says, “I need Thee every hour.” The 23rd Psalm reminds us that it is God who restores the soul. So, locate a church wherever you are vacationing. Let your hearts be lifted by the praise of God. Listen for God’s Word to be read and applied. Join in the prayers of brothers and sisters in Christ. As the hymn says, “summer and winter and
springtime and harvest . . . join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”
To me, worship is not something we give up in June and pick up again in September. I don’t know if the story is true or not, but it seems that the night before her family was to leave for their annual summer vacation, a little girl was heard to end her bedtime prayer with the words, “Goodbye God, we’ll see you in September!” I encourage you; wherever you are, in the country, or by the lake or sea, find time to worship. When you are in town, come and worship with us. Let God restore your soul. And don’t fret. The work will still be there when you return!
Rev. Dr. Doris Barron-Shell