Give Thanks & Holding Thanks

November 1, 2021 - Pastor Cathy Stengel

Dear friends, 

The air has changed this week - colder nights, late fall sunshine, and sometimes gray skies. There are still lots of green leaves, and the grass is still growing… to that, I say enough already!

November always ends with Thanksgiving and almost always the beginning of Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas). This year we are taking the first three weeks to talk about what it means to be Standing on the Promises. You may be familiar with the hymn by that name. On November 7, we will celebrate All Saints’ Day - lifting up the names of those who are no longer with us, those we love and are missing. We stand on many of their promises to be faithful, their investments in our faith, our families, our church, and all that it is and does.

Whose promises are you standing on? Who was/is an inspiration in your life? Who got you here, to the point that you are reading this church newsletter and engaged in a ministry of any type at Pendleton Center? Who first talked about the Bible to you? Or taught you to give your quarter or 50¢ or $50 or $500? We have so much to celebrate - to give thanks for. In a season that still speaks of Covid and its tentacles, we still have so very much! People talk about what this church means to them - for 5 years or 10, 30, 50, 60, and more. Their testimonies about how their lives are better because of the church built by people through the ages are inspiring - and I hope you get to hear them as well.

No one’s promises are greater or deeper or further reaching than the promises of God, and as the hymn says... that cannot fail, no matter how trouble and fear assail, we are standing on the promises of God. Oh yes, there are days when we don’t know what that even looks like or feels like - maybe you wonder about suffering and God’s promises. Here’s one I know - God is always with us, surrounding us with more love than we can know, whether we see it or feel it or can talk about it - and there’s nothing you can do to make it go away. There is nothing the world can do that will rob you or me of that love, and we can’t ditch God; we can say it, we can mean it, but God’s not budging from our side. Those are some of the promises I depend on in my life, how about you?

Let’s stand together on those promises, let’s worship, and let’s give in thanksgiving. We can’t do it without you - the gifts you bring - whatever they are, we need them. We need your financial support to keep everything running; we need your talents and some of your time. God wants your heart, and we want to stand for the promises of God with you.

Peace and grace, and will you stand next to me?

Pastor Cathy