Dear First Pres Family, To kick-off the fall, we’re focusing on how we live into our vision — “To Prepare All Generations To Impact Lives For Christ.” On Kick-Off Sunday we looked at the idea of preparing and how we can do that. As we continue into the fall, and into next year, we’ll continue to explore more aspects of how we live into this vision as a church. One of the questions we’ve gotten is whether we’ll be launching a mission statement — a way to measure our vision and put it into action. While we won’t be unveiling a new mission statement, along with this vision statement, Session did craft three strategic priorities. These are the action statements that help us guide and measure our success in implementing this vision. Through this issue of First Pres Magazine we explore those strategic priorities and provide examples of the way we’re living out this vision. After all, this vision isn’t simply about what new things we’re going to do, it’s a reflection of our past, who we are and who we will continue to be going forward. I hope the pages of this magazine serve as inspiration and a call to action as you find a way to get connected at First Pres and live this vision out in your lives. If you’d like to continue to engage in this vision, we have several ways you can get involved throughout the month of September. The First Pres Road Trip, Wednesday, September 11, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will be a chance for people to mingle, fellowship and learn how to get plugged in at First Pres. Representatives of different ministries will be on hand to share and form connection with those looking for a place to belong. On Sunday mornings there are a variety of communities for adults of all ages and stages of life. An adult Sunday School kick-off will take place on Sunday, September 15. There will be several new places to connect — including the Community Living Room, a place to plug in, connect and share in the Sheldon Jackson Room and a new intergenerational community led by Eugene Luning that will meet at Café 225. Finally I hope you’ll consider attending Growing Together Wednesdays, 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. beginning Wednesday, September 18. This will be a 10-week time to come together and grow as a body of believers. A full list of offerings is available on the First Pres Website, www.first-pres.org. One of the highlights during the first half of the fall GTW will be a course called Impact, which I will be co-leading with Katie Dayton. This course will focus on how we explore the idea of Impact in our world and our culture. No matter what you choose, I hope you’ll find a way to plug in and get involved at First Pres this fall.
In Christ, Graham Baird
Senior Pastor First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs
FIRST PRES M
sept 2013 contents Pathfinders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Owen Perkins Living Mission, Doing Life . . . . . . . . 6 Chuck Fowler Celebrating Solid Rock Christian . . . . . 9 Alison Murray Serving Those in Need Outside Our Church Walls . . . . . . . 10 Nod Mitchell
Serving Springs . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Katie Harris Cultivating a Faith that Sticks . . . . . . 13 Erin Eilmes Good Job, Mama! . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Paula Butcher An Inter-generational Journey on the Mission Field . . . . . . . . . . 15 Matthew Fox
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Contributing Writers: Paula Butcher, Erin Eilmes, Chuck Fowler, Matthew Fox, Katie Harris, Nod Mitchell, Alison Murray, Owen Perkins Contributing Editors: Matthew Fox, Alison Murray Graphic Design: Beryl Glass Proofreading Team: Mary Bauman, Christine Dellacroce, Betty Haney, Daisy Jackson, Marty Kelley, Karen Kunstle, Linda Pung All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, © 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. First Pres Magazine September 2013, Volume Five, © First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs, CO. Published by First Presbyterian Church, a non-profit organization. To contact First Pres Magazine: 719-884-6175 or 219 E. Bijou Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903-1392 or email@example.com. Printed in the U.S.A.
PRIORITY PRIORITY one: building and supporting communities that worship, transform, send and serve
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By Owen Perkins
he Pathfinders Sunday School class was started by six couples in October 1965. The class was formed by young married couples to study the Bible and enjoy Christian fellowship. Bob Mitchell started teaching the class in 1968 and has been a leader in our Sunday community for many years. He has been joined by many excellent teachers. The class is now taught by John Stevens with excellent substitutes when he is not available. We have over 200 members in our Sunday community and an average attendance of about 160. All the members of Pathfinders are active in aspects of First Pres, including serving as Elders, Deacons, in Bible studies and as volunteers who serve in various activities throughout the church. Pathfinders supports many missionary groups as well as local non-profits such as ESM, Mission Medical and Hope and Home. We have many social activities outside Sunday meetings to help build lasting Christian relationships. We try to make our new members welcome through dessert groups that last for six months and then rotate. We also have various socials for Christmas, Valentineâ€™s Day, summer picnic, etc. We feel our Sunday community is about teaching the Word of Jesus, enhancing our church body, building Christian fellowship and Christian communities in our neighborhoods. My wife, Lorna, and I have been a part of Pathfinders since 1995. This is our second term serving as co-presidents, and Pathfinders has been a huge part of our lives. The teaching, fellowship and friendships weâ€™ve experienced have strengthened our Christian faith in many ways. When you are a member of a large church, you need the support of one another to grow as Christians. Pathfinders fills this need in many ways through the various members you meet and become involved with socially. Lorna and I both grew up in small farming communities and Pathfinders reminds us of the small churches we attended as children. Everyone shares their love for Jesus as well as a love for each other. Pathfinders is a very caring and supportive family of faith.
More than five decades of doing life together
Pathfinders meets Sundays at 9:35 a.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at the YMCA.
Owen Perkins is a member of Pathfinders. 9/13 | www.first-pres.org | 5
living mission, doing life
By Chuck Fowler
t started under a tree in Cotopaxi, Colorado. It was First Pres’ young adults’ fall retreat. Some of us were new to the church (myself included), and we were looking to join in with something bigger than ourselves. So on the last day of the retreat, we started a conversation in the shade. What does it mean to follow Jesus in today's world? What is God doing in our city, and how can we be part of it? In the 21st Century, is it still possible to “do life” together like the early church? What does it look like to join in with Christ's kingdom mission? Questions like these catalyzed our hearts. So the conversation continued. Leaving behind the tree in Cotopaxi, we started meeting one night each week to discover what it means to participate in Christ’s mission to make all things new (Revelation 21:5). Our community — which in jest we named “Shizbiz” — began to take notice of the places where we saw Jesus at work in our lives and our spheres of influence. Sharing these stories became a tradition that we call “Jesus moments.” We began to experiment with rhythms of participating in Christ’s mission in 6 | www.first-pres.org 9/13
our city, and we looked for ways to support each other in our individual life callings. That was nearly two years ago. Shizbiz continues to meet on Thursday nights in homes around the Springs. Without a doubt some of the most meaningful relationships in my life have been formed in this community. Many of us have since become members of First Pres and serve in various roles in the church. Others have been sent out from our community to serve Christ’s kingdom in places around the world: New Zealand and Kuwait, Shreveport and Roanoke, London and Seattle, Fresno and Nairobi. Still others are sent weekly to serve God’s mission by working with First Pres’ local missions partners, such as Urban Peak. In all this time, we’ve continued to explore what it means that we are sent in the power of the Spirit to be agents of God’s new creation. Each day we seek to participate in Christ’s mission to make all things new. And this I can say with confidence — God has used Shizbiz to make things new inside of me. Chuck Fowler is a member of First Pres and a part of the vibrant young adult community.
First Pres September 11, 5:30 p.m.
us for a night of live music,
food and fun, and discover ways to connect in community, mission and ministry at First Pres. 9/13 | www.first-pres.org | 7
c PRIORITY PRIORITY two: proclaiming and demonstrating Godâ€™s kingdom by engaging our city through opening doors, celebrations of Godâ€™s presence and service
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celebrating Solid Rock Christian
By Alison Murray
his year we celebrate our tenth year in partnership with the Solid Rock Christian Center congregation. In 2003, we began our journey together with a Back-2-School health fair involving First Pres medical professionals providing sports physicals, dental checks, and vaccinations. The Back-2-School fair also provided backpacks of school supplies, haircuts and other support for families in need. Today, many organizations provide access to health care for families in need, so Solid Rock and First Pres looked for another empty niche to fill. We joined Solid Rock in its Play it Forward after-school music program, donating longforgotten musical instruments to students who want to learn and be exposed to the joy of music. In the last three years, our relationship continues to evolve as our two church families find new ways to worship together. In our Journey to the Cross Lenten series, Solid Rock hosts us annually in a Holy Week service of worship. Also Rev. Ben and Rev. Wanda Anderson participated in several of our services of worship at First Pres. “The partnership with Solid Rock has given me the opportunity to build friendships and do ministry together with African American brothers and sisters in Christ who, like me, desire to live into the unity which is already secured for us by Christ,” said local missions team member Carol Galambos. First Pres extended a helping hand through our One Great Hour of Sharing offering in March, providing $16,000 to assist Solid Rock in the renovation of its worship and outreach space.
“The renovation of our multipurpose center into a dual-purpose worship facility has infused our congregation with a level of enthusiasm and energy,” Pastor Ben said. “Thanks to the generous donations from our spiritual partners at First Pres, youth in our community now have a place to learn the arts, and the growing membership of Solid Rock Christian Center now has a place to call home.” It has been a privilege to walk side-by-side with the Solid Rock church family as it has given so much to its own extended family. Pastors Ben and Wanda Anderson invite you to stop by and see their newly-remodeled space at 4198 Center Park Drive, the corner of Fountain and Murray, and join them for worship on Sundays at 10 a.m. Alison Murray is the Executive Director at First Pres.
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By Nod Mitchell
serving those in need outside our church walls
was innocently introduced to the Marian House Soup Kitchen when I became a Deacon at First Pres in 1988. I walked into the old Catholic Charities convent where the kitchen was located at 7 a.m. on a Tuesday and was given the job of buttering bread and serving it. I have been a volunteer at Marian House ever since. The camaraderie of the volunteer team is incredible and the bonding of our group of First Pres volunteers has increased over the years. There are 20 of us, and more than half of the members of the group have volunteered for at least 15 years. Jesus’ command to “feed my sheep” seems to have infected us all. We treat our guests with courtesy and respect, and in turn this is returned by many with smiles and obvious appreciation for what we are doing and how we are doing it. The facility is wonderful, clean and bright. But most of all, the clients feel safe and can socialize with each other when they’re there. Also, our managers are the best and keep everything running smoothly. When I started volunteering, we served about 250 meals. Today, we serve more than 650 meals. The population of Colorado Springs has increased by more than 100,000 people during that time, so the growth at the soup kitchen is no surprise. With the number of daily meals increasing, we were overwhelmed and something needed to be done. Catholic Charities decided to build a new building, and thanks to many generous donations from the community — including a gift from First Pres — they were able to raze the old building and build a new facility in its place. I love the people I work with at Marian House. The clients who appreciate our attitude and efforts give us a warm feeling. On Tuesdays, I can’t imagine being any place else. Nod Mitchell is a member of First Pres and has been a faithful volunteer at Marian House each Tuesday since 1988.
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serving springs Exploring needs in our own backyard
By Katie Harris “Where are you taking the kids on a mission trip this summer?” That’s a common question I get. We have a long history of going on the road — to Mexico, Rapid City, Kansas City and San Diego, to name a few — and having wonderful and life-changing experiences. But two summers ago the Student Ministry staff agreed that we needed to start helping our younger youth experience service in our own community before venturing further away. Our kids need to witness the needs in our own community first-hand since it is so easy to assume the things we encounter in other cities do not happen in our own. First Pres is not alone in focusing on local mission, and our vision is for our kids to join with others and lead the city in ecumenical service. This year we worshipped with the middle school kids of Vanguard Church, and we hope to continue expanding the number of churches we partner with each summer. Each church has its own service partnerships and overnight accommodations, but we worship together in the evenings. Staying closer to home also affords our kids the chance to develop on-going relationships with the people and organizations that we serve alongside — such as Zach’s Place, Family Life Services and Springs Rescue Mission. We are excited to report that some of the positive outcomes that we hoped for are happening. God is at work in many ways through Serving Springs. Many kids took spiritual leadership within our group — volunteering to pray, approaching strangers with the love of Christ, offering honest reflections during small groups and giving words of encouragement to others.
A particularly meaningful experience for many in our group was meeting a middle school teen who was living with her father at a local homeless shelter. This young lady ended up participating in much more than the park outreach we had planned; she also participated in some of our activities that were for the students involved with Serving Springs, including worship, and our celebration day of miniature golf and roller skating. Our youth reached out with open arms to include this young lady. We are attempting to continue the relationship beyond Serving Springs, and one family in particular has been very intentional about continuing the relationship. We celebrate with this young lady because she and her father now have an apartment. Another way we saw God at work was through the relationships our students formed with youth who have special needs at Zach’s Place. Although most students were very nervous about serving this population, they all ended up embracing these kids and enjoyed playing games, holding hands, giving hugs and talking to one another. Our students are learning compassion and courage through these stretching experiences. Katie Harris leads the I-78 program each Wednesday and Sunday for students in seventh and eighth grade.
If you are interested in hearing more, or if you work with an organization that might like to partner with Serving Springs in the future, please contact the Student Ministries Department at 719-884-6220.
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PRIORITY PRIORITY three: fostering life-on-life relationships between generations that mutually build us up in our faith
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cultivating a faith that
early all my childhood memories of celebrations and gatherings include Grandma Ginny. There was no blood relation, yet she was very much a part of our lives. Grandma Ginny, from the very first time she entered our lives, was intentional with her desire to be a significant part of our growing up. She saw my parents at church with a sweet new baby — my older sister — and entered into a 20-year relationship, not of friendship, but of family. She shared her faith, her love and her time with us. I don’t remember theological discussions, but every time we were with her, she made it clear that she loved Jesus and she loved us. It was that simple. Grandma Ginny was “Sticky.” Of course Sticky Faith wasn’t coined back then, but she knew the gift of fellowship and the importance of adults loving on and pouring into young children for their long-term spiritual growth. Our relationship with Grandma Ginny was organic in nature — no one told her to pursue this young couple and their baby, she just desired to know them, to be known and to enter in with them. This is what I want for my kids and all the kids at First Pres. I want each child to be surrounded by multiple people of all generations who listen, share their stories, pray for them, share interests with them, love Jesus and know them. I want kids to truly know they are loved, not just by their parents and Sunday School teachers, but by their “grandmas,” “aunts” and “uncles.” These intentional relationships with the young people in our congregation will help each child of our church develop a relationship with Jesus Christ that “sticks.” In many regards, our church is already on its way to being a “Sticky Church.” It’s a joy
By Erin Eilmes
to watch these sticky relationships form. The shepherds, teachers and leaders in our children and youth departments who volunteer to teach and love these kids every single week, listening to their stories, praying for them, encouraging them in their faiths and really getting to know them, is an incredible commitment to our kids. Matt, my 9 year-old’s counselor at Camp Elim this summer, has sent two postcards in two months, encouraging my son in his faith and reminding him of the gifts the Lord has given him. A 90 year-old woman and her niece recently helped my 4-year-old daughter and her friend complete a 100-piece Disney Princess puzzle at a Sticky Faith Game Night, casually sharing pieces of their stories as they adjoined pieces of the puzzle. Opportunities to invest in the lives of our younger members are all around, either formally through organized church programming, or informally by simply making contact with a young person in the pew ahead of or behind you, reaching out and learning a name. Then it’s about showing an interest, sharing a prayer request or a goal and gradually growing into a long-term relationship that blesses both individuals and is a true investment in our church family and in the Kingdom. Erin Eilmes is a member of First Pres and a volunteer with the monthly Sticky Faith nights.
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By Paula Butcher
good job, mama! Good job, Mama! I wonder how many of us heard these encouraging words during our early years of mothering? Some did, but many did not. Mothering newborns to school-age young people brings years of joy and blessing, but sometimes it brings feelings of guilt, defeat, physical fatigue, emotional emptiness and the realization that a once-brilliant mind has turned to oatmeal. In my day, we hid all of that from the world, threatened by the hype that “you can have it all.” We soldiered on silently. Through MOPS, mothers of preschoolers can revel in their reality, find friendship and acceptance, understanding and support, learn and grow together. And Mentor Moms are right there to share the journey. As a Mentor Mom, I have become a cheerleader for mothers of preschoolers. Good job, Mama! — a phrase I heard from a MOPS coordinator several years ago — is my heartfelt mantra. “Say it out loud,” she said, “when you know you’ve done something well, especially if no one else is around to notice.” I have adopted this phrase as my own. Good job to the mom who has held her ground when high-pitched voices were whining and she was almost tired enough to give in but didn’t. Maybe those kids were surprised when mom said yes instead of no. Mentor Moms walk alongside and cheer them on. We listen, encourage, affirm, share Jesus’ love, share experiences when asked, laugh together over poo stories and cry together over heart-stopping loss. We pray
for moms, with moms and over moms through their personal relationship with Christ, their marriage, their families and their every circumstance. Mentor Moms are blessed to be the visual evidence that you can grow through, overcome and experience God’s grace. We’ve got the T-shirt, but not the answers. I say it often. I say it loud or I whisper it. I even write it on Facebook! Good job, Mama! Mothering conversations haven’t changed a lot in 40 years. It’s still about birthing methods, cloth or disposable diapers, when and how to bid adieu to the pacifier, helping an only child become a first born and how to keep a marriage vibrant and alive when some days you can’t find five minutes for a shower and your yawns blow out the candle as soon as it's lit. It’s tough, but it’s glorious. And I don’t want to miss a minute of quietly sharing in their lives and watching these moms grow in every possible way. Serving as a Mentor Mom has made me a better mom, a wowzer of a Nana and a better wife because of what MOPS has taught me through the wonderful, creative and talented moms, speakers, leaders, and the outstanding group of Mentor Moms with whom I have been blessed to serve. All of these women have added to me; they’ve enlarged me. We are blessed to be part of a congregation that values MOPS and provides loving, safe nursery care so moms are free to find the love and support they need to gain a solid footing in this challenging stage of life. Paula Butcher is a Mentor Mom in the MOPS program at First Pres.
To learn more about the MOPS program at First Pres, contact coordinator Ruth Zshoche at 719-884-6138. 14 | www.first-pres.org 9/13
here are a lot of ways generations come together at First Pres, but for Dana Pollitt it happened in a place she never expected. Dana and her husband, Don, moved to Colorado and settled in Woodland Park, but it wasn’t until her daughter, Lorin, prodded that they got involved at First Pres. Finally Dana and Don attended First Pres, and they found it was what they were seeking. They became members in 1989 and have been an active part of First Pres ever since. Among other things, Dana and Don are members of Big Blue. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in September 2005, Dana and Don felt drawn to help. Soon they were part of the team that traveled to Ocean Springs, Mississippi to assist in the recovery efforts. During four trips they were part of the group that ministered to First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs and its neighboring church, Victory Full Gospel Christian Center, where attendees had been hit hard and lacked the financial means to get back on their feet. Those mission trips, where the Pollits were part of the team that helped offer gift cards and assisted with the recovery efforts, were meaningful. But it was their fifth trip to Mississippi — a 2007 spring break trip with First Pres high school students — that made the biggest impression. It wasn’t just the work in Mississippi that made the difference, it was the connection made with a generation of First Pres attendees that has stuck with Dana in the years since. “It’s 11 days of living together, and you get to know people in a different way when you’re living together day and night,” Dana said. “It’s like going away to camp. You get to know each other very deeply.” The bond formed with those students continues today. “I’ll see these kids at church and we’re still so happy to see each other because of the bond that was formed through sharing that experience,” Dana said. Kaylen (Slack) Adragna was one of the students on that trip. She had been part of several mission trips and ministry experiences
an inter-generational journey on the mission field By Matthew Fox
prior to heading to Mississippi, but the intergenerational aspect was life changing. “I will never forget this trip because of the unique relationships that came from it,” she said. “I say unique because up to that point I had not really made friends with people in the older generation at our church.” Kaylen is a proponent of the Sticky Faith concept — which focuses on the idea that kids need adults from all walks of life to pour into their lives — because the inter-generational bonds she formed on that trip helped her faith to “stick.” “I’m 22 years old now, and I’ve recognized that this trip still affects my worship experience,” she said. “That is, when I go to service, I can look up at the choir and see some of my closest friends in the church. Before that trip, my circle of friends did not extend beyond the high school group.” Matt Fox is the Manager of Communications at First Pres. 9/13 | www.first-pres.org | 15
a d d r e ss
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