Weekly Words - 9/22/17

Happy Autumn Everyone!

I trust this week has been good for you in different ways. You have been in my thoughts and prayers. FBCD is a good place to be and I’m encouraged by the ongoing energy and enthusiasm that is ever evolving. Sometimes, when so much negative news and reality can overtake the news headlines and social media sites, it’s hard to appreciate the good that is happening around us.

Last week I participated in a fund-raiser for a local non-profit that supports women and men who are seeking to transition from being homeless to being housed. In sharing her testimony, one of the program participants, Brenda, said, “You forget there are so many good [things] in the world when what we see seems so bad."

There is much good happening at 1373 Grant Street.

Beginning this Sunday, from 9-9:50 in Fellowship Hall, we will begin a scripture study series called, “Acting Out: A Study Through the Book of Acts.” This will be a 9-week series and is designed so that if you miss a week or two, or can only come for a few sessions, you’ll fit in just fine. Please consider joining me as we explore together how the faith we profess can be lived out through the lives of every day folk like ourselves! You’ll be glad you did.

Whether for the scripture study series or for worship, I hope to see you this Sunday!

Thank you as always for being the people you are. Together, we are doing far more than any one of us could do on our own.

With love and admiration,

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 9/7/17

Special Offering Opportunity CONTINUES...

Dear FBCD Family & Friends:

Thank you to everyone who donated to our “One Great Hour of Sharing” (OGHS) special offering for Hurricane Harvey relief work in Texas and Louisiana. We will continue for the next couple of Sundays to receive over-and-above offerings for these efforts.

As you may know, the southeast region of our country is anticipating Hurricane Irma to make landfall in Florida this weekend. The effects of this storm are yet to be known but we can assume much relief effort and support will be needed there too.

During our services to come, you can give (or given again) to OGHS through FBCD’s weekly offering by noting on the pew envelope and/or your check “OGHS-Hurricane Relief."

UPDATE: Former member and musician of FBCD, Scot Pankey, has been able to return to his home to collect items but his house and neighborhood have sustained major damage. Scot’s spirits are good and he’s grateful for many blessings even in the face of many challenges. Please keep him in your prayers.

Thank you in advance again for your generosity. Let us keep the tens of thousands of people and communities impacted by these storms in our prayers for the days and months to come.

Sincerely,

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Special Weekly Words - 8/31/17

SPECIAL OFFERING OPPORTUNITY 

Dear FBCD Family & Friends:

In response to Hurricane Harvey American Baptist Churches USA has offered the following press release...

American Baptist Churches USA General Secretary the Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer invites all congregations to donate generously to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) in response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

“American Baptists across the country are a generous people, and our hearts are grieved by the human suffering we have seen since the storm made landfall,” Spitzer says. “I ask that every church dedicate time to pray for the safety and well-being of all affected by the storm, and to express our love for them by giving sacrificially to One Great Hour of Sharing.”

Donations designated to “OGHS-Hurricane Harvey” can be made through your church; by visiting www.abc-usa.org and clicking “Give Online” at the top right of the page. In the “Comments” section, type “OGHS-Hurricane Harvey.” Or, mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA, 19482-0851. One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. For more information, contact Wilkins at 1-800-222-3872, x2413, or kim.wilkins@abhms.org.

One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.

In the coming weeks, if you’d like to give to Hurricane Harvey relief directly on Sunday mornings, please note on the pew envelope, “OGHS-Harvey” and your contribution will go directly to disaster relief efforts.

A former member and musician of FBCD, Scot Pankey, is currently watching rising water enter his home. While we are geographically far from the devastation of this storm, I suspect many of us know family and friends like Scot, who are impacted personally and substantially.

Thank you in advance for your generosity. I will be making my contribution this Sunday. Please consider joining me.

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 8/24/17

Mark your calendars!

Mikah Meyer will visit First Baptist Church as a guest speaker and soloist on Sunday, September 17.

Most recently a professional countertenor singer for the Washington National Cathedral Choirs, Mikah is also the founder of the world's largest LGBT Christian Young Adult organization, Queer For Christ, and is currently on a world record-setting journey to all 417 U.S. national parks. The son of a pastor, he is using his parks project to advocate for increased youth involvement in the outdoors, broadened LGBT Christian visibility and acceptance, and to share America's most beautiful places with the world.

Mikah’s story has been featured by NPR, the Washington Post, and the National Park Foundation.

Learn more about Mikah at www.TBCmikah.com.

Please plan now to invite family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers! This will be a good day for FBCD.

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 8/17/17

FBCD Family & Friends...please be aware of how you can connect with our church and greater community...

  • Rev. Brian Henderson is on vacation, 8/9 through 8/23. During this time, if you have a pastoral emergency, please contact directly the church office. If assistance is needed outside of office hours, please contact directly Rev. Eric Reagan, Rev. Nancy Darnell, or Deacon Scott Pegues.
  • 5K Pajama Jog for Colorado’s Homeless - Fun run in Denver’s City Park sponsored by Sleep Tight Colorado. All proceeds go toward buying sleeping bags for Colorado’s Homeless. Saturday, August 19 at 8:45. Registration $25; $35 day of event. If interested, contact FBCD member Michael Holmes at mach87@gmail.com or visit the website sleeptightcolorado.org.
  • Sunday Morning Scripture Study - Beginning September 24, Rev. Henderson will offer a new Scripture Study series, from 9:00 am - 9:50 am. The first part is called “Acting Out: A Journey through the Book of Acts.” To help determine the best space to meet, please register for this series by contacting the church office 303.861.2501 or office@fbcdenver.org.
  • Haiti Mission Trip 2018 to help finish the school. Tentative dates are March 2 - 10, 2018. Tentative cost is $1,000 - $1,500. This is a biennial mission trip organized by the Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches. If you are interested, contact Rev. Henderson or Michael Holmes.
  • Volunteers needed...
    • Women’s Homeless Initiative hosted at FBCD every other Friday night. Next event is Friday, August 18 . Help needed to set up cots and prepare simple meals for 24 women. Contact Marcia Meier 303.884.1106, mmeier@iliff.edu.
    • Taste of Colorado Parking Lot Attendants. This is our biggest parking event of the year. Funds raised support the ongoing work and ministry of our congregation. Sign up for a shift after service today. Civic Center Park, Friday, September 1 - Monday, September 4.

Hope to see you on Sunday! Please invite someone to join you! They’ll be glad you did!

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 8/10/17

“When the minister is away...members may be tempted to play."

Dear FBCD Family & Friends:

As many of you know, today begins a two week vacation for me. I’m on my way to New Jersey where I’ll be spending time with my kids and family. Next week, I’ll return to Colorado to welcome one of my brothers to Denver. He and I will be traveling to meet friends in South Dakota to witness the solar eclipse before I return again to our Mile High City.

Honestly, I’m really looking forward to this time off. However, know that I will miss you and the many things that happen at 1373 Grant Street on a daily basis.

Typically, when ministers or pastors take time off it can be tempting for members to take time off too...especially from Sunday services. :-) I want to encourage you to be different than many. You can anticipate meaningful services over the next two Sundays. As I like to say, invite someone to join you. They’ll be glad you did!

Also...while you’re at FBCD on Sunday...or maybe even during the week, see if there’s anything you can do to help out. Check in the office with Shirley during the week. On Sundays...be extra mindful of visitors and guests. If something is out of place or should be taken care of...step up and do what you can to offer assistance.

It is a real privilege to serve as your minister. FBCD is in a season of growth and with this growth comes very good energy. I hope you can sense this. Your presence is helping to make this so.

Between August 10th and 23rd, if you know of a situation within our church community that requires pastoral care, please contact the church office. Shirley will notify Rev. Nancy Darnell, Deacon Scott Pegues, or Rev. Eric Reagan. One of these leaders will respond. If there’s a situation requiring care outside of office hours, please contact one of these individuals directly.

Know I’ll be thinking of you even while I’m traveling. FBCD is a good place and I look forward to returning and hitting the ground running as a new program year gets underway.

Peace and blessings!

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 8/3/17

During last Sunday’s sermon I cited a recent “news” story that was about a mega-church, prosperity gospel preacher who allegedly was going to sign a 6-year contract with another congregation for over 100 million dollars. As it turns out the story was intended to be satire. With the flood of other hard to believe news stories last week mostly related to the current person filling the role of President of the United States, this satirical piece about a preacher seemed to be more real than satire given the seemingly demoralizing political and religious state of affairs affecting communities all throughout our country.

Sadly, this satirical story does highlight how many prosperity-gospel preachers take advantage of people and places for their own personal gain.

As we look ahead to this coming Sunday’s service, we will read together the gospel account of Jesus and the disciples witnessing the multiplication of loaves and fishes. I’ve been struck this week by the verse, "And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full” (Matthew 14:20).

Broken pieces. Broken. Have you ever felt broken?

From some perspectives, much about our country feels broken right now. Every so often, as a human being I feel broken...broken in the sense that I’ve failed or can’t seem to be who I’d like to be or who I want to be. Broken.

This gospel story reminds me that in brokenness there is hope and promise.

Will you join us this Sunday to explore more this thought? Invite someone to join you. They’ll be glad you did!

Peace,

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

 

Weekly Words - 7/27/17

 

Dear FBCD Family & Friends:

While it’s been hot, the summer still seems to be moving along rather quickly. In less than a week we’ll be into the month of August and little by little school and work routines will be gearing up for the Fall.

During this coming Sunday’s service we will witness two individuals entering the waters of baptism. This ritual and tradition dates back millennia even for communities outside of Christian tradition. For us, at FBCD, we recognize baptism as an individual’s expression of their desire to follow in the way of Jesus...which we acknowledge as a life that lives for love, justice, and equality.

I hope you will plan to join us at 10:30 Sunday. Please consider who you can invite to join you. (They’ll be glad you did!)

You will experience the good energy and fellowship that continues to grow and evolve at 1373 Grant Street.

Peace,

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

 

Weekly Words - 7/20/17

Dear FBCD Family and Friends:

Looking ahead into the second half of the summer season, please be aware of these opportunities to share in fellowship, faith, and service with our church family...

  • Book Signing & Ice Cream Social. Meet author Emma Eminash, a Ugandan immigrant who built a new life in Colorado. Her book, From Africa to America, documents her story of determination, resilience and strength. The Spring Café, $5 at the door. TONIGHT July 20 at 5:30 pm.
  • Volunteers needed -Women’s Homeless Initiative hosted at FBCD every other Friday night. Next event is TOMORROW, July 21. Help needed to set up cots, supplies and prepare simple meals for 24 women to spend a night off the streets. Contact Marcia Meier 303.884.1106, mmeier@iliff.edu.
  • Baptism Service - Rev. Henderson will be planning a service of baptism July 30 during the 10:30 service. If you are interested or would like to know more about this historic Baptist tradition, please contact him by calling the church office at 303.861.2501 or emailing him at minister@fbcdenver.org. Currently three people are scheduled for baptism.
  • 3rd Annual Pool Party at the home of April Alsup. Please bring a dish to share and your own towels and chairs. Sunday, July 30 after church service. RSVP by calling the church office at 303.861.2501.
  • The Colorado Sacred Harp invites you to join its singing of 4-part hymns and anthems. No auditions, all music is sung a cappella. Miller Hall, Monday, July 31 at 6:30 pm. More information at www.sacredharpcolorado.org.
  • NEW! Scripture Study - Beginning in September, Rev. Henderson will be offering a scripture study on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am. More information to follow.
Please plan to participate in at least one of these opportunities. Also, please consider always inviting at least one person to join you in service on Sundays at 10:30. They’ll be glad you did. If you haven’t noticed, FBCD’s summer attendance has been higher than in previous summers. Good things are happening at 1373 Grant Street.

Peace!

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 7/13/17

American Baptist Churches, USA

2017 Mission Summit Report

Dear FBCD Family & Friends:

Thank you for the opportunity to represent our congregation at the 2017 Mission Summit, a national, biennial gathering of American Baptists from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The Mission Summit was convened in Portland, Oregon. Along with myself, Wayne and Ingrid Dvirnak, Adam McGowen, and Scott Pegues served as delegates from FBCD. Our church was joined by several other congregations from the Evergreen Association. The Evergreen Association was the only American Baptist region to have a booth in the exhibit hall. Over the course of the weekend we were able to share with many about how unique Evergreen is and our Executive Minister, Rev. Dr. Marcia Patton, autographed her recently published book, Intentionally Inclusive: Together at the Table for Ministry. This book tells the story of the history and development of our region and what sets it apart from all others.

During the biennial gathering several national awards were announced and presented. FBCD’s own, Ingrid Dvirnak, American Baptist author and editor, received the Judson Press Ministry Award for commitment to excellence in publishing ministry. She has authored two Judson Press books and an ABHMS (America Baptist Home Missions Society) book. She edits The Secret Place devotional quarterly, creates online workshops for ABHMS’ Church Life & Leadership series, and writes leader’s guides for Judson Press books. She has previously edited The Baptist Leader and has both written and edited Judson Bible Journeys adult study curriculum.

Throughout the event, new leaders of American Baptist Churches USA had the opportunity to preach and address delegates and participants gathered in Portland. Rev. Sharon T. Koh, executive director/CEO of International Ministries, gave the message during the Friday evening Worship Experience; Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, preached during the Saturday evening Worship Experience; and new ABCUSA General Secretary Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer gave the sermon during the Sunday morning Worship Experience. On Friday evening, Spitzer, whose role began on June 1, 2017, was officially introduced to Biennial Mission Summit attendees as General Secretary by ABCUSA President Judy Fackenthal. Members of the General Secretary Search Committee joined Spitzer on stage as he gave his opening remarks, and prayed around him along with those in attendance.

This was an historic gathering for sure. The national leadership of our denomination has entered a new chapter of history with fresh perspectives and people to lead us well into the future. As a local congregation we can pray for them and trust that together, with all of the diversity of our American Baptist family, we can continue to be the hands and feet of Christ to our world, country, and local communities.

Thank you again for the opportunity to represent FBCD and to serve you in the capacities I can.

Peace,

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.


Caring Deeply.    Loving Everyone.    Serving Together.