Skip to content

Blog: Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

October 9, 2019

Dear Friends, I love watching the children come down for the Time for Young Disciples on Sunday mornings.  They are so beautiful, so wonderful and so vulnerable.  When we plan for Sunday School, Vacation Bible School or even to hold a nursery, we – as a congregation – accept the terrible and all important responsibility of keeping them safe while they are in our care.  When we hold a youth event, we take on this same responsibility to keep them safe.  We want everyone who comes into our building and fellowship to be safe, and we bear extra responsibility for…

Read More

A Message from Ellen

September 25, 2019

Dear Friends, Mother Teresa is reported to have said, “We cannot all do great things.  But we can do small things with great love.” There is very little we can do, as individuals, when the world feels overwhelmingly chaotic or hostile.  But we have all the control over how we approach that chaos or hostility.  And, over and over again, in the face of chaos and hostility himself, Jesus called for love. Last Monday night, about 35 FLPC souls brought food and welcomed two visitors into our congregation.  Sally Harwood, a financial consultant and the American Board president for Ministry…

Read More

A Message from Ellen

September 11, 2019

September 11, 2019 Dear Friends, It can be difficult to look at the world, read or listen to the news, and not feel overwhelmed.  It is possible for the threat of war, the level of need, and the terrible destruction of natural and man-made disasters to make us want to go back to bed! But Christians are people who have a unique ability to look evil, destruction, need and anger in the face and call it what it is, while at the same time clinging to hope, love and peace.  But that ability to live “in” the world without being…

Read More

A Message from Ellen

August 28, 2019

Dear Friends, For as long as anyone can remember, Wednesday nights were “church” nights.  At Forest Lake, Wednesday nights have been called Kirk Night (the word “Kirk” is a Scottish word for “church”) since the 1970’s!  It has been a time to eat together, to study together and to build community together.  I know of at least one long time couple who met at Kirk Night!  But as with all of life, things change and “business as usual” is under more pressure because of the increasing speed of life and the ever expanding number of responsibilities and choices that our…

Read More

A Message from Ellen

August 14, 2019

Dear Friends, Does your journey of faith feel more like a cul de sac?  Do you wish you had a safe place to ask real questions of faith and talk to others who are thinking about the Christian faith?  Do you wish that you had some help in understanding The Bible, but you have been afraid to ask?  Do you wish you had a group of friends who could pray for each other and eat together?  Or do you already have that group of friends but have a hard time actually finding time to get together? If your answer to…

Read More

A Message from Ellen

August 1, 2019

July 31, 2019 Dear Friends, Sometimes when I drive around town and I see all of the churches in Columbia, I see that they are publicizing all sorts of events that, I assume, are intended to attract people to come to that church.  Lots of the events are what we expect from churches:  Vacation Bible School, a women’s conference or a Bible study.  But then I increasingly see all sorts of odd events:  Family Movie night – “Free Popcorn!” (as if they might charge for it?), or a Jazz music festival (cool, but), or Zumba (really? OK, but is that…

Read More

A Message from Ellen

July 3, 2019

Dear Friends, As we approach the celebration of our national holiday, I have been thinking of the role and the responsibility of the Christian Church in our nation.  As you know, Americans cherish and protect a tradition of separation of Church and State.  And there are many important reasons to keep a distance between these two.  The need for that distance was seared into the collective memory of Protestants who lived with the deadly and evil consequences of having the medieval Roman Catholic Church collect to itself every form of power:  civil, religious, political and wealth/resources.  Our Book of Order…

Read More

A Message from Ellen

June 21, 2019

Dear Friends, The world really is smaller than we think.  Yesterday, Elder Steve Hyman told me that he called William Hunter to ask him a question, and when William answered his cell phone, he told Steve that he was in Mexico!  William is a part of the mission immersion team from our congregation who are visiting and working with our PC(USA) mission partners, Frontera de Cristo on the Mexico/Arizona border.  Then, yesterday, I picked up the phone in the church office and the voice on the other end of the phone said, “Ellen, this is Mark Adams, calling from Mexico…

Read More

A Message from Ellen

June 5, 2019

June 5, 2019 Dear Friends, You have begun to see notices that “H3 Groups are coming!”, and I have had several folks ask me what that means.  I am grateful for the questions.  Because the answer is one that I have wanted to give for a number of years. Beginning this summer, all of us are invited to consider becoming part of a new small group opportunity at FLPC.  The small groups – called H3 (for Head, Heart and Hands) – will meet at a day and time of the group’s choosing and will study, eat, pray, play and even…

Read More

MORE Justice – by Jane Thesing

May 28, 2019

Do you have a negative view of how our government and other institutions deal with problems in our communities?  Do you get tired of commiserating with friends about how unjust policies and priorities affect people negatively, but are impossibly hard to change or improve?  Do you think we might just as well give up before we get started to try to change anything? An organization called MORE Justice is remarkable for taking on unsolvable problems and working to make change.  The Columbia organization is composed of more than twenty churches, synagogues and a mosque who believe that we should do something…

Read More

Session Devotion from Elder Jane Shear

May 22, 2019

Sunday, May 19, 2019 Elder Jane Shear gave the following devotion and reflection on confirmation from earlier that day. Growing up, I really loved almost everything about church—it was Sunday School; it was sitting in the balcony with my friends during the service; it was MYF. But I’m pretty sure I did not consider my friends or myself the church because, as we all knew, the church was the building. Then, not as an “ah ha moment”, but rather as a seeping, creeping feeling, I realized the church was me. It was my husband, my sons, my friends, my extended…

Read More

A message from Ellen

May 1, 2019

Dear Friends, Forest Lake is a founding member congregation of the MORE Justice organization in Columbia.  [Midlands Organized Response for Equity and Justice]  This is a grass roots organization that helps to leverage the people of faith in our community to achieve small, measurable steps towards justice for all of God’s children.  In the last year, MORE Justice has been effective in many areas.  The consistent pressure on local elected officials has resulted in the City of Columbia Police force training more and more of their officers in a de-escalation model called Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) that provides tools and…

Read More

Easter Sunday

April 21, 2019

From Presbyterian Outlook Devotions, Jill Duffield, Editor It is the third day, Lord of all, the third day, the eighth day of creation, the day of resurrection. The stone is miraculously rolled away, the tomb is unquestionably empty and the glorious news of you alive, scarred but breathing, ripples through the world. Reconciliation accomplished. Redemption certain. Death defeated. Sins forgiven. Salvation won. No longer can anything separate us from the love of God, the hope of Christ, the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Alleluia! Christ is risen! Amen.

Read More

Holy Saturday Prayer

April 20, 2019

from Presbyterian Outlook Devotions, Jill Duffield, Editor Jesus, the light that no darkness can overcome, even as the sun rises, the night refuses to relent. We huddle together, afraid, bereft and unsure what to do next. All we can do is cling to each other, assure one another that we heard you correctly, that you did say on the third day you would be raised, that you said plainly that you would not abandon us. Help us to hold fast to your words even when we see no evidence of their truth. Help us to put our hope in you…

Read More

Holy Week – Good Friday

April 19, 2019

Prayer from Presbyterian Outlook Devotions, Jill Duffield, Editor My God, my God, why have you forsaken your Son? How can you tolerate the suffering of the One who came to save?  How can it be that He who brought abundant life has been sentenced to a cruel death? Hear our lament. Stand with us in our sorrow. Sit with us in the dark. Remind us of our Savior’s promise that we will see him again. Grant us the strength to get through the night in the hope of a new day. Amen.

Read More

Subscribe to the Blog

Latest Posts