Blog: Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen 7-10-24

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024 Dear Friends, Hidden in my Bible is a quote that I found years ago and saved. “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” The quote is attributed to American author, H. Jackson Brown Jr. The very unexpected death of my beloved brother-in-law three weeks ago has only underscored for me the urgency of choosing to spend the time God gives me on the things that are most important.…

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A Message from Ellen 6-26-24

June 26, 2024

June 26, 2024 Dear Friends, Each night before I go to sleep, I list for myself three or four things for which I am grateful. I began that practice during the pandemic, and it has been a good reframing tool for me. The pandemic taught us all that there is much about our own lives that we do not control. Aging teaches us that a requirement of becoming fully human is to learn to let go of things, people, and circumstances. And I find that a gratitude practice helps me remember how very much I have been given. There is…

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A Message from Ellen 6-5-24

June 5, 2024

June 5, 2025 Dear Friends, Every May, the Session requires a written report from every Ministry and the Board of Deacons outlining what they have done in the past year to prevent, to prepare, and to respond in the case of an emergency. Safety planning seems just theoretical right up until something happens. Several weeks ago, a member fell and EMS had to be called. Our congregation responded beautifully. One member called EMS and stayed outside to guide the paramedics. Another member got the AED, in case it was needed (luckily it was not), and the ushers made sure to…

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A Message from Ellen 5-22-24

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024 Dear Friends, We are about to finish (in June) the capital campaign that began to be discussed in 2018! That campaign has done all sorts of necessary and good things: made our playground safe and accessible, created a functional and code compliant commercial kitchen, added safety measures to our buildings, made the bathrooms that serve our 12-step programs accessible (both ADA compliant and also accessible from inside the Community Room), and it began a partnership with Serve and Connect, now called The Decker Collective, that is making a measurable difference in our near neighbor’s lives. But there…

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A Message from Ed

April 24, 2024

“Your choice of ham or turkey sandwich or chef salad.” Normally my interest is piqued when I see “specify your choice of lunch,” which is something we read in the FLPC write-up about the upcoming senior lunch with Melanie Weathers with Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union. I keep reading anytime I see something that mentions food! However, although I always care about the food at any event, I do realize what’s more important is the content. Melanie will be presenting about a growing issue that (sadly) has affected too many people: Internet scamming. We all have received clever emails (maybe…

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A Message from Ellen 4-10-24

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024 Dear Friends, In Genesis 2, Scripture says that “The Lord God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15 – CEB Translation) All humans are charged with the care of creation. There are no exceptions. I don’t care if you have a “black thumb” or can’t tell the difference between an annual and a perennial. You are still charged by God to care for creation. One of the things that attracted me to FLPC eighteen years ago was the attention this congregation gives…

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A Message from Ellen 3-27-24

March 27, 2024

Dear Friends, I hope this Easter Season finds you renewed and encouraged! The core of the Christian faith is the belief that the God who created all that is, knows us, loves us, and wills love and reconciliation for us. At the heart of our faith is not a list of things we must believe but is the felt and lived experience of the eternal love of God. What we believe is important. But what we believe is not the core of our faith. At the core of our faith is our relationship with God through Christ. And because God…

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A Message from Ellen 3-13-24

March 13, 2024

March 13, 2024 Dear Friends, Each year, for the past five years, our congregation has participated in the work of MORE Justice [Midlands Organized Response for Equity and Justice]. And on Monday, March 18th many from this congregation will gather in the gym of Eau Claire High School to attend the Nehemiah Action. The Nehemiah Action is the big event of the MORE Justice year. All year long, committees of volunteers from local congregations have been doing research and identifying small measurable steps that may be taken to make our community a better place for everyone. Local officials, who have…

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A Message from Ellen 2-28-24

February 28, 2024

Dear Friends, I just returned to church from a meeting of The Decker Collective, and you need to hear the good news! Our partnership with Serve and Connect, to make a positive impact on the neighborhoods on both sides of Decker Blvd., is happening! From a small group of 10 or 12, these once-a-month meetings have grown to FILL the fellowship hall that belonged to Petersen Presbyterian Church! Present at Tuesday’s meeting were RCSD law enforcement, school district personnel, community members, Richland County officials, Mental Health providers, political leaders, Korean and Hispanic community leaders, Richland County Library staff, local business…

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A Message from Ellen 2-14-24

February 14, 2024

Dear Friends, The church staff have been hard at work to prepare for a celebration of Lent and Easter to help us reconnect with God and grow in our faith. We chose a theme, suggested by a Lenten hymn (#314), Christ, Be Our Light. The hymn recognizes that we are longing for light, peace, food, shelter, and many other things. There is a lot of darkness in our world. We need light! The Christian faith believes that Christ is the Light of the World! So, the hymn refrain invites us to pray by singing: Christ, be our light! Shine in…

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A Message from Ellen 1-31-24

January 31, 2024

January 31, 2024 Dear Friends, Do you know what happens on February 14th!? If you said, “Valentines’ Day!” you are partially right. February 14th is also Ash Wednesday! In the celebration of our Christian faith, this day is the beginning of a season of preparation, self-examination, and repentance that is intended to prepare us for the right celebration of Easter! On February 14th, FLPC will be observing Ash Wednesday with a drive-through Imposition of Ashes (you can stay in your car) from 4-5pm. Then, we will hold a brief, interactive Ash Wednesday service at 6:00pm in the sanctuary. If Valentines’…

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A Message from Ellen

January 18, 2024

1/18/24 Dear Friends, This week, we held our second Kirk Night Supper for 2024, and Jodi Beckham led the B365 group that she and I are co-leading. It was a good night! If you haven’t come to eat supper at church on Wednesdays in a while, or if you have never done this, I want to recommend it! Apart from the fact that food is prepared and served that I/we don’t cook (what a blessing!), the chance to talk to friends old and new is truly valuable! In a world that drives division, here is an opportunity – sitting in…

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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…

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A Message from Ellen 12-20-23

December 20, 2023

Dear Friends, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness . . . ” is how Charles Dicken’s begins his novel, A Tale of Two Cities. That is how I have felt these last few weeks. Even as the beauty, joy, and hope of the Christmas season pulls us forward, we have also borne witness to so much loss, grief,…

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12/19/23 Devotional from Ed

December 19, 2023

Text: John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it. Devotional: A childhood sports hero of mine, Eric Montross, died on Sunday after a nine-month battle with cancer. He was one of the truly good guys in sports, something I noticed even as a child while watching him dominate college basketball and never back down against the Blue Devils. I loved watching him play and wished I had just 0.0001 percent of his basketball gifts. It was later in life that I learned about his other gifts. He began working for the University of North Carolina, an institution…

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