Blog: Forest Lake Talks

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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A Message from Ellen

April 15, 2020

April 15, 2020 Dear Friends, Our faith teaches this very odd thing, that suffering can be redemptive.  We say that it was, in some way that we cannot fully understand, the suffering of Christ that allowed God to enter into our own suffering and to redeem or use our sin and suffering to save us – to make us holy.  And anyone who has tried to follow Christ for more than a week, knows that this process of “being saved” or made holy is not a quick trip.  It takes a lifetime of suffering and redemption to move us, even…

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Nightly Prayer – April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020

Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life todaythat they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin. Let me use disappointment as material for patience;Let me use success as material for thankfulness;Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;Let me use danger as material for courage;Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering;Let me use praise as material for humility;Let me use pleasures as material for temperance;Let me use pains as material for endurance. Author: John Baillie Source: The Oxford Book of Prayer. Edited by George Appleton.…

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In the Darkness

April 14, 2020

By Jim Rowell Isaiah 42:16-20 John 9:1-41 Since Childhood Helen Keller grew up blind, deaf and unable to speak. Yet, through the patient work of one dedicated person, Helen was able to make a meaningful contribution to the world through her writing, teaching and inspirational example. In her autobiography, Keller records the endless days of anticipation and despair, waiting for someone to draw her out. Then she describes the day she first met the person who would do just that; life-long friend and teacher, Anne Sullivan. She writes: “Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it…

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Christ Is Alive!

April 12, 2020

Martin Luther King was assassinated ten days before Easter in 1968.  The impact of his life and teachings extended far beyond the United States.  Hymn author Brian Wren (b. 1936) was serving at the time in a church in the United Kingdom.  As he prepared for Easter services in 1968, he was dismayed that none of the Easter hymns in the hymnal said what he wanted to say to his congregation in light of King’s death.  So he penned these words to offer Easter hope in response to tragedy. Christ is alive!  Let Christians sing.  The cross stands empty to…

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Prayer for Easter Sunday

April 12, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYER FOR EASTER SUNDAY Alleluia, a new day dawns, all we thought God-forsaken and dead pulses with divine life and light. Risen Lord, we went to the graveyard expecting to mourn and attend to the rituals of death, but instead discovered the tomb empty and your living presence. God’s power to reverse and upend our greatest fears and assumed intractable realities shock us and all we can do is shout for joy. Amen.

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In The Cross of Christ I Glory

April 11, 2020

This hymn text is written by Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), a Unitarian world traveler who could reportedly converse in 100 different languages.  The title of this hymn was engraved on his tombstone. In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o’er the wrecks of time; All the light of sacred story gathers round its head sublime. We tend to associate the cross with darkness, but this hymn is full of references to light.  The cross, which has outlasted and outshone all civilizations, is the focal point of hope for all generations.  As an extensive world traveler, the hymn author would…

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