Dear Floris Family,

This week has been a time of great tragedy in our community. Last night Floris UMC held a candlelight vigil for those grieving the loss of the Peterson family. More than 800 people gathered to pray, comfort each other and light a candle, a symbol of hope in a time of darkness. As the light of the candles was shared and moved from person to person, I gave thanks that our God gives hope and light even in the darkest of times. The shared grief of adults and students alike was present, but the love of community and the mutual prayers of the group for the Petersons and for each other was also powerful. During the service people were given the opportunity to say something to God by writing a short prayer on a notecard. I have spent time this morning reading these cards and have prayed over them. They represent many unanswered questions, words of grief and prayers of thanksgiving for the love they shared for the Petersons.

Many of us are trying to sort out what to say to our children and how to process a tragedy of this magnitude. I know that this is a very difficult time for all of us as we consider how such a tragedy could occur in one of our neighborhoods. This Sunday I have changed our plans and will be sharing a sermon entitled, Why?. The Bible provides insights that will help us talk to our children and help us process what has happened. Sadly, calamities come to our world, nation and even our local community on a regular basis. It is my hope that considering together the nature of such tragedies, how the Bible can guide us through them and how we can respond will be a blessing in the current situation and in the years ahead. I hope you will join me this week for Why? and invite any friends who may benefit from hearing this sermon and participating in the worship service.

Five Talent Academy
On Tuesday, October 2, Floris UMC will host a live streaming event for the Virginia Annual Conference. The event will be held at Floris and will be viewed at four other sites in Virginia. The focus of the event will be on ministry with the poor. The speaker will be Dr. Alan Rice, Executive Director of the Rural Faith Development Community. Dr. Rice is the Director of the Circles National Campaign, an innovative community based model to end poverty. Dr. Rice will give insight to participants on how to move our mission’s work to intentional, holistic and relational ministry with those who are struggling at the edges of our society. Floris members are invited to attend the presentation portion of the day without charge, which will occur from 10:30 AM to 12 PM. Contact Jake McGlothin for more information.

Blood Drive
Thanks so much to those of you who came out Saturday and participated in Floris’ blood drive. More than 40 units of blood were donated which will bless many others in our community.

Church Council Update
Steve Salvatore, who serves as our Council Chairperson, has provided a summary of the September Church Council meeting, along with ministry reports. Read the September Church Council Reports.

This Week in Worship
As I mentioned, I have changed our sermon for this Sunday. Join me as we speak about how the Bible can guide us when we experience tragedy and how we can respond as a community. Scripture: Isaiah 43:1-12.

In Christ,
– Tom

The post eNote from Rev. Tom Berlin – September 27, 2012 appeared first on Today I Saw God.