Blog: Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

November 11, 2020

Dear Friends,  As we approach the end of 2020, I have heard more than a few folks say that the end of 2020 cannot come soon enough!!  But the good news is that the Sunday after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the new Christian year!  Every year, Christians begin again during Advent.  Sunday, November 29th is the first Sunday of the Advent Season – the four weeks when we set aside time to prepare our lives, hearts, and minds for the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. “An Advent like no Other!” could be our theme this year!  And, although…

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A Message from Ellen

October 28, 2020

October 28, 2020 Dear Friends, We do not know what the future holds.  I guess that is always true, but somehow most of us skate along on a very thin veneer of what we call normal, and we are always surprised when normal comes to an end.  But, as we all try to peer into the fog of the future, perhaps we should instead begin to be surprised when the normal holds, surprised when our plans come to fruition, surprised when what we planned to do we were able to do.  The story of Scripture is a story of both…

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A Message from Ed

October 14, 2020

October 14, 2020 Romans 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Dear FLPC family, When we begin a worship service, we typically say the following: “We continue to be a congregation dedicated to the transformation of our heads, hearts, and hands in the service of Jesus Christ.” Even though we are in the midst of trying times, examples of FLPC members modeling this transformation abound! A few weeks ago, one of our members contacted the church because he needed someone to help him clear some debris from his yard. Within an hour, several of our…

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A Message from Ellen

September 30, 2020

September 30, 2020 Dear Friends, When life gets overwhelming and we feel very small and insignificant, we can choose either (1) to shut down and move into protection mode or (2) to open our hearts and minds, pray to see where God is already at work, and join God in that work. In the next few weeks, I intend to highlight some small, concrete actions you can take to join God at work in the world.  In the last newsletter I invited you to watch a video in order to educate yourself on child abuse (signs and responses) so that…

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A Message from Ellen

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020 Dear Friends, There is a lot in life that we cannot control. [Can I get an “Amen!”?]  But, there are still a lot of things that we can – if not control – affect.  There are things that I can do that only I can do, and I am responsible to do my part – no matter how small.  It is very easy these days to get caught up and spend hours worrying about things over which we have no control.  Instead, what if we agreed together to spend most of our time on the things we…

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A Message from Ellen 8-19-20

August 19, 2020

Dear Friends, This Sunday we will try something never before tried at Forest Lake Presbyterian Church – a virtual congregational meeting!  This pandemic has forced us all to think “outside the box,” and I will admit that getting our Presbyterian polity/government to work in this age is – let’s just say – a challenge.  But, at some point we all have to decide if we are going to get grumpy and brittle, or if we will decide to do the best we can and practice our flexibility.  All of us may find this new age difficult, but I am grateful…

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A Message from Ellen – 8-5-20

August 5, 2020

Dear Friends, On my desk at church I have a prayer that Marian Wright Edelman wrote. Lord, help me to sort out what I should do first, second and third today And to not try to do everything at once and nothing well. Give me the wisdom to delegate what I can and to order the things I can’t delegate, To say no when I need to, and the sense to know when to go home. When life seems to be swirling and so much is uncertain, I find it helpful to look at that prayer.  I cannot control a…

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A Message from Ellen – July 22, 2020

July 22, 2020

Dear Friends, There were 214 of you who responded to the church’s survey on worship re-opening.  Thank you for making the time to tell us how you feel!  Of the 214 who responded, 109 of you said that “it will be a while” before you would be comfortable coming back into an indoor space for worship, even with significant safety measures.  42 people indicated that they were open to the idea, but encouraged the leadership to “wait several weeks.”  Many of those said that they would be willing to come back into the building for worship once the virus numbers…

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A Message from Ellen

July 8, 2020

July 8, 2020 Q.1 When will we be allowed to come back to church!? A.1. I wish I knew! As I write this, SC (and Richland County in particular) is still experiencing what DHEC calls “widespread transmission” of the COVID-19 virus.  And, the number of infections in the zip codes surrounding our physical church building continue to be very high.  The Staff, Elders, and Leadership Team of the Board of Deacons have spent much time in the last months figuring out how we might take the first steps towards re-opening our congregational activities. Currently, the church and office are essentially…

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A Message from Ellen

June 24, 2020

June 24, 2020 Dear Friends, Our Church feels like it is the proverbial duck these days – gliding along with little apparent movement on top of the water, while our feet paddle furiously under the water’s surface.  The Staff and Session of Forest Lake have been working furiously in the midst of changing and no consensus about what is safe and what is not safe.  And increasingly I am hearing of churches who are beginning to re-open.  Some of you have been asking me, “What? When? How? Now?” This Sunday we will hold our second drive-in worship service at 8:30am. …

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A Message from Rev. Dr. Danny Murphy

June 10, 2020

Today, I cede my right to write you a newsletter, because we all need to read, and re-read, this letter from our General Presbyter, Rev. Dr. Danny Murphy.  If you don’t do anything else today, read this article and pray for God’s mercy on us all. Peace and Justice, Ellen Fowler Skidmore My Thoughts on George Floyd One week before Ahmaud Arbery’s death by two white vigilantes, my wife, Judy, and I were walking through our subdivision early in the morning. I pulled my cellphone out of my right pants pocket and my driver’s license fell on the ground. Judy…

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A Message from Ellen

May 28, 2020

Dear Friends, The President of the Montreat Conference Center, Richard DuBose, wrote in an emailed newsletter that our current situation feels like driving in the fog. We can only see a few feet ahead of us and if we turn our bright lights on, in an attempt to see further, it only makes things worse. I resonate with that sentiment.  As the information swirls around us – much of it conflicting and all of it evolving – decisions seem to be made best at a slow speed for only the few feet ahead of us. That is how I am approaching making decisions…

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A Message from Ellen

May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020 Dear Friends, In the last newsletter, I shared a word that helps me describe where we find ourselves.  We are currently in a liminal space.  That means that we are not where we were, and also not yet where we will be.  We know that life will not be the same going forward, but we don’t yet know exactly what the future looks like.  Liminal space can be good or bad but it is always unsettling.  In the case of the pandemic, the liminal space we are in is very stressful and, for many, filled with grief…

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Mother’s Day Offering

May 4, 2020

Mother’s Day has traditionally meant a special offering in our church to support the ministry of Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina (PCSC), which serves older adults at 6 retirement communities across the state. Eric Skidmore and Bick Halligan, two PCSC Trustees, participated in a Zoom call to promote the Mother’s Day offering. Click here to watch the video conference.   The Mother’s Day Offering provides charitable care to residents who have outlived their life’s savings due to old age or costly medical bills, so that they can continue to call PCSC “home.” Although our church cannot gather for worship due…

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A Message from Ellen

April 29, 2020

Dear Friends, There is a great word to describe where we find ourselves right now – liminal space.  To be in a liminal space means that we are no longer where we were, and it is clear that we are not yet where we will be.  To be in a liminal space is to have one door close and to find ourselves in a hallway with no other door open and no clear sense of which way to go.  Liminal spaces are almost never comfortable.  Sometimes we choose a liminal space, as when we graduate from school without a firm…

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