Blog: Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

August 18, 2021

August 18, 2021 Dear Friends, Almost every day, as I check on this congregation, I find that we are all anxious, stressed, worried about the future, and tired of the political ping pong that seems to be our new normal.  I have talked to couples who are so tired and stressed that they know that they are taking it out on each other or on their children and who want to change that.  Others have realized that they have been “medicating” themselves with food, drink, sleep, or online sites/games to keep the anxiety at bay.  If you feel that way,…

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8/17/21 Devotional from Ed

August 17, 2021

    Weekly Devotional from Ed Black Text: Mark 7:24-30: “From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair…

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A Message from Ellen

August 6, 2021

August 4, 2021 Dear Friends, We had all hoped that this Fall would be back to normal (if we can remember what that means). But the continued uncertainty of having a surge of delta-variant COVID cases in our community and nation is unsettling and makes planning difficult.  But I have decided to take another perspective.  I think it is amazing how resilient and how adept at change we have become!  What might have sent us into massive frustration and chaos two years ago is now more of an opportunity to practice flexibility.  I can move back to wearing masks, because…

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A Message from Ellen

July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021 Dear Friends, Our congregation is a part of an interfaith, non-profit organization called MORE Justice.  This is one of the most racially and religiously diverse organizations of which I have ever been a member.  And our purpose is to come together to fulfill our scriptural mandate to “do justice” (Micah 6:8 and Matthew 23:32-24) and make the Central Midlands a more just place to live for all people. Doing justice is not easy or comfortable.  I have personally squirmed under the weight of asking elected officials to take small measurable steps to address structural issues that need…

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7/19/21 Devotional from Ed

July 19, 2021

Text: Acts 13:44-52 The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the…

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7/12/21 Devotional from Ed

July 11, 2021

Text: Galatians 3:28: There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. “Our society is fragmented and a lot of us like it. Many in this country are demonstrating by the daily choices we make that we prefer to eat, pray, snapchat and even read online news with people who are pretty much just like us. We don’t seem to value pluralism. Some of us resist even thinking about crossing lines of class or race or religion or wealth or…

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A Message from Ed

July 7, 2021

July 7, 2021 Dear Friends, If Forest Lake Presbyterian decided to send out a survey with just the following question, I imagine the response rate would be 100 percent “yes:” Has your life been impacted in some way by COVID-19 over the past two years? And, I believe we would have the highest response rate we’ve ever had from any survey we’ve emailed! The good news is we don’t need to send a survey. We know the answer, so there’s no point in clogging your inboxes and sending another church email. COVID-19 has affected our church family in obvious ways,…

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7/5/21 Devotional from Ed

July 5, 2021

Text: Ephesians 2:10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. Devotional:  “Around 1910, William Temple, the future archbishop of Canterbury and son of Frederick, the archbishop of Canterbury, complained to his father that he did not have the time to do all that needed to be done. “William,’ said his father, ‘you have all the time there is.” Theologian/priest Richard Neuhaus remembers this story in one of his books, but he acknowledges its difficulty: “I tell myself that frequently, especially when I…

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A Message from Ellen

June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021 Dear Friends, “Please fasten your seatbelts and keep your hands inside the moving vehicle!”  Isn’t that what the operators of the carnival rides say just before we get turned upside down on some sort of ride?   Well, Presbyterians are not normally known for quick decisions or speedy change of directions, but “please fasten your seatbelts and keep your hands inside the moving vehicle.”  The Session met on Sunday evening and considered again our congregational practices as our community and nation move further away from the high rates and risks of COVID 19, and Session made some quick…

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6/20/21 Devotional from Ed

June 20, 2021

Text: Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Devotional: Author Parker Palmer writes the following: “I once heard Alan Watts observe that a Chinese child will ask, “How does a baby grow?” But an American child will ask, “How do you make a baby?” From an early age, we absorb our culture’s arrogant conviction that we manufacture everything, reducing the world to mere ‘raw material’ that lacks all value until we impose our designs and labor on it. If we accept the notion that our lives are dependent on an inexorable cycle of seasons, on a play of powers…

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A Message from Ellen

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021 Dear Friends, Sunday felt more like a real celebration of worship than it has in a long time (about 15 months to be exact!).  Having the choir back in the choir loft was exciting and different.  Having so many children and adults show up for Sunday School was amazing.  We heard children’s voices in the halls again.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!  And then, Ed Black did an amazing job of organizing the 2nd graders to receive their Bibles and to lead us in worship.  It was a wonderful day – all the way around. …

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A Message from Ellen

May 26, 2021

May 26, 2021 Dear Friends, As June approaches, all of us are ready for some change.  We anticipate the end of school and time to rest and re-create!  We anticipate the freedom to gather with friends and family in ways that we will never take for granted again!  We are ready for change! And we were amazed and excited to hear the new guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control last week. I will say that while we are ready for change, when the pace of change is so rapid, I sometimes feel like I’m standing in the revolving…

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NEW FLPC COVID 19 GUIDELINES

May 19, 2021

At the Stated Session Meeting of May 16th the Session of FLPC had a long and thoughtful discussion about how to react to the rapidly changing evidence and practices in our community and nation.  As we had previously committed to follow national guidelines, last week’s drastic changes in the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control now mean that we must adjust.  Our concern, as always, is to act not only in ways that are convenient for us as individuals, but to act out of love for our neighbor.  We want to create a culture that encourages and supports individuals…

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A Message from Ellen

May 12, 2021

May 12, 2021 Dear Friends, Sunday, May 23rd is Pentecost Sunday!  That day we will recognize this year’s Confirmation Class and celebrate the sacrament of communion in worship!  Bill Wannamaker and Ed Black have led a group of 11 youth through a process designed to help them think deeply about what they believe and who they are and want to be.  We will receive our youth as adult members, and one young woman will be baptized.  In the Reformed (i.e. Presbyterian) tradition, most of the time we baptize infants.  We do this because we believe that “we love, because God…

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A Message from Ellen

April 28, 2021

April 28, 2021 Dear Friends, I don’t know about you, but I am beginning to feel like we do see a light at the end of the tunnel.  For the last few weeks, we have had more folks in worship, and last weekend I led a Presbyterian Women’s retreat with about 30 women in the Fellowship Hall.  We had some new Members join last Sunday and called the children who were in worship forward for “Time with Young Disciples” for the first time in well over a year!  On Pentecost we will welcome the members of the 2021 Confirmation Class…

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