Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen 1-3-24

January 3, 2024

Dear Friends,

Before I completely turn the corner to begin the New Year, I want to pause and give thanks for Forest Lake Presbyterian Church! FLPC is not a person, or a collection of individuals, but a community or a dynamic gathering. I am constantly amazed at the diversity within our congregation. When I look at you I see a tapestry of people who come from every political point on the spectrum, who come from all sorts of life experiences, and people who, in any other context, might not even talk to each other. There is much that could separate us.

But I take great comfort in the fact that all that separates us pales in comparison to what unites us – a desire to know God, to love God, and to serve God. I have often said that I think the most dangerous place to be is in a like-minded group. When we surround ourselves with those who think/speak/believe just as we do then we make our worst decisions. I know that it can be exhausting to be challenged to think differently, or to be compassionate with someone whose life experience is very different from ours.

But when I look at this congregation, I take heart that there are so many who are willing to bring their own gifts and passions to worship and to work with them. Thank you to the new members who lit the Advent Wreaths in worship on Sundays. Thank you to all those who made our sanctuary beautiful: lit the trees, hung the crismons and banners, arranged the flowers, lit the candles, etc! Thank you to the Wood Shop who created and gave the wooden Advent Wreath Bases. Thank you to those who bought Christmas presents for children who would otherwise have had very little under their trees on Christmas Day! I thank God for those who are willing to serve as Puppeteers, Ushers, or communion servers on Christmas Eve! And I am so grateful for the quiet behind-the-scenes volunteers who make sure that whenever we celebrate communion it is done with grace and elegance! Thank you to those who provided food and comfort to people who struggle with grief and loss during the holidays. For everyone who took advantage of our John 1:5 day and reached beyond themselves to spread light and love, I give God thanks.

We do not know what 2024 will bring us. But at the root of our faith is the conviction that God is in charge of the universe and made every part of creation to reflect God’s goodness. So, every part of creation and every human being was created to reflect God’s goodness, power, and love. I see that light shining in the eyes and hearts of this congregation. It is my privilege to serve, to worship, and to work with you. Thank you.

Ellen Fowler Skidmore

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