Fall is Here!

The days of crisp air, fluffy sweaters, beautiful leaves, and plump pumpkins make me sing for joy! This festive time of year fills me with gratitude for the goodness God has shown to me throughout my life. The fall season leads me to pray; deepening my connection to God with thanks and wondering how best to offer my abilities and resources in ways that further God’s work in the world. Creating justice, celebrating loving-kindness, and walking humbly with God are my goals this year as I work to serve and to guide others in serving God.

I’d invite you also this fall to consider all that God has given to you in abilities (your human resources) and in financial well-being that you might offer toward the church’s work in God’s name in our congregation, community, and beyond to those who need it most. What might your goals be for the fall in following God’s leading to give of your time, talents, and gifts this Stewardship season? Keep your eyes peeled soon for a mailing from the church which includes your 2020 pledge card and some colorful reasons to celebrate! We are counting on you to help us continue to live into our promises as the church of Jesus Christ!

Yours in Christ, Rev. Amy

Building Bridges

Did you know we were building bridges last weekend at FPC?

Well, not with hammer and nails, but with our hearts. Last Saturday morning, our Women’s Association reconnected with the Presbyterian Women of New Brunswick Presbytery by hosting the PW breakfast in the Fellowship Hall. First, we welcomed, prayed, and shared fellowship with sisters in Christ. Then we listened and learned from Erlinda Quesada (who spoke Spanish) and Karla Koll (who translated for us). These women are International Peacemakers visiting the presbytery to raise awareness about the vast, lucrative pineapple plantations in Costa Rica and their cost to the well-being of the nearby people. Harm is being done to the land and to the people due to deforestation and the wide use of pesticides which seep into the groundwater, killing fish and causing grave health issues for animals and humans alike. These brave women are telling the true story of how the lives of regular people are negatively impacted by this big business and how the unchecked greed of the powerful is causing pain to those with less power. You can learn more here about how our purchasing choices may help make a difference.

That same morning at FPC, the Robotics Team was working hard upstairs in the youth room, while the Faith in Action workshop was happening in Room 22. The three young women who participated in the Faith in Action workshop learned how to mobilize people’s passions around an issue in the community and then work together toward social change. Casey Aldridge, a student from Princeton Seminary, taught the workshop thanks to our Coordinator of Christian Education, Eric Hearst. They brought a message of empowerment to these young women, teaching them that they can work together to build momentum for social change.

On Sunday after worship, many of you gathered outside for brunch and fellowship, connecting with each other over an abundant potluck feast. Committees brought colorful displays listing opportunities to engage by helping the faith community. Twenty-six of you stepped forward to offer your Time and Talent (T&T) to help with the needs of the church. I am still looking for a couple hundred other yellow T&T forms. Our membership is 523 – where are the others? If you haven’t already, please fill out and return a Time and Talent sheet to Rev. Amy at the church office, so we can know your areas of knowledge and passion to help further the ministry of FPC.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, I walked across the street to the mosque where I was warmly welcomed as I offered our welcome and well wishes to the Islamic Center of Hunterdon County (ICHC) just before the parents had a walk-through of the Creighton building. We are beginning a new friendship as the ICHC will begin holding “Sunday school” on Friday evenings here at FPC. So, if you are at church and see people wearing hijabs or who may look a bit different from you and me, please help them know that they are welcome.

You see, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be bridge builders – to outstretch our hands with warmth and our hearts with welcome to those who speak Spanish, to young people who want to mobilize to improve life for others, and to work hand in hand with our Muslim neighbors teaching love and peace and working for justice. This is our work together in God’s name. Please make the time to engage with your faith community at Flemington Presbyterian and help us to be bridge builders. We need your participation in order to become all that God is calling us to be!

Yours in Christ, Rev. Amy Lincoln

A Pastor Reflection on Spiritual Gifts

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, Serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” (I Peter 4:10)

Dear FPC faithful,

Summer is here and so the brighter, warmer days arrive and hopefully with them some time to down-shift for time with friends and family to reflect on the transitions of life. My prayer for each of you this summer is that you get to carve out a bit of time for yourself, doing those things that bring you joy and sustain you through the year. With the goal of some intentional Sabbath time for myself, I will be reading the book that our Christian Education Coordinator Eric Hearst is inviting us all to read this summer, Wrestling with Rest, by Nathan T. Stucky. On the evening of August 26, the author will then come to FPC to talk about his book.

Summer is a wonderful time to drink in all that God has blessed us with, holding onto it in a spirit of gratitude. Logically, we may also consider reallocating our time and energy once the fall rolls around. I try to actively ask myself: how can I balance all the things I care about in a way that honors each of them and still keep me, at the very least, intact, and even better, thriving?

Here are some questions I offer to you for consideration this summer as they relate to your participation in the life of the church:

  • What do I know how to do/do well?
  • What do I enjoy doing? How do I enjoy serving?
  • What would I like to help make better?
  • What gives me energy?
  • What sort of help may God be calling me to do for our faith community?

Throughout the summer my preaching will focus on spiritual gifts, some of these abilities are given to us by God and some of them we can work on to shape within ourselves through spiritual discipline. Amid the hazy, lazy days of summer, don’t forget to come and worship with us so that your spirit is fed, and you are connected to those who care for you.

Blessings and Peace,

Rev. Amy Lincoln

Hope for the New Year: Epiphany Star Words 2019

You may have heard that last week in worship on Epiphany Sunday each person in the congregation was invited to choose a yellow paper star out of the offering plate with one word written on it as a gift for the new year.

The congregation is encouraged to read your word, think about its meaning, reflect on what that word has meant for you in the past and what it might mean in your life going forward.

Explore how your word connects to who you are and how you live.

Look it up in the dictionary to get a fuller sense of its meaning.

Search for it in the Bible, as part of a story in Scripture, and pray about what God might be telling you through it.

Put it someplace you may see every day – on your mirror, on the fridge, at your desk – so that you can revisit it over time and let it work in you.

My star word last year was “friendship.” What I found through the year is this word helped me to be more intentional about nurturing my important and life-giving friendships. I reached out more often with calls, emails, and texts to my good friends and the blessing that came is the renewal of connections with dear ones in my life.

Perhaps your star word in 2019 will help jump start a blessing for you? Maybe it will challenge you to grow or to begin a new spiritual discipline? Perhaps it will bring a moment of insight or realization? My prayer is that you find some meaning in your Epiphany star word and that it helps lead you towards renewed connection loving God and loving others in 2019. Next year in worship on Epiphany Sunday there will be a chance for volunteers in the congregation to share how their star word connected with and blessed them this year.

{If you were not in worship on Sunday and you would like a star word, please let me know and I will get one to you as there are extras in my office. Email Rev. Amy at pastor@flemingtonpres.org}