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“Do not doubt, but believe.” John 20:27

Sunday, July 21

The Lord’s Day

Minute for Mission: Smaller Membership Church



















Brighton’s garden helps to bring new life.


For most of us, our journeys of faith involve crisis. At the time I write this, the congregation I serve, Brighton Presbyterian Church in Zanesville, Ohio, is journeying through crisis. Like the many other small congregations preparing for life without a full-time pastor, we are renegotiating what it means to be the body of Christ in our neighborhood. In this new configuration, how do we create disciples? How do we study and worship together? How do we carry out our mission and ministry? Our comfortable faith is being challenged.

Though we are journeying through difficult times, Brighton continues to trust in the promise of new life. For four years now, we have offered our neighbors the ingredients for growing their own vegetable gardens. This includes seeds, some plants, and even bags of compost. We have expanded this opportunity by developing a community gardening space for those who have no yard. New community bonds are being forged, and we have a new awareness of God’s providence hard at work.

The transformation of Brighton to a congregation with a part-time pastor also means, of course, a crisis for me. Can I help nurture a new seed that will grow to provide a new model for living in this time of shrinking resources? I don’t know what will come from this moment, but I’ve been through crises before. I know that God is always at work to bring new life, and that is what I expect.

Rev. Suellen Skinner, Brighton Presbyterian Church, Zanesville, Ohio

Let us pray

O God, we offer our small gifts to you. We are grateful for all you have given us, and we want to entrust our futures to you as well. From our moments of crisis, may new life grow, giving us the assurance that you are faithful and will lead us into a future filled with promise. In the name of Jesus, our Lord and example, we pray. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

Amos 8:1–12
O God of Earth and Altar
PH 291, HB 511
Ps. 52
I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art
PH 457, HB 144
Col. 1:15–28
Christ, You Are the Fullness
PH 346
Luke 10:38–42
Blessed Jesus, at Your Word
PH 454

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 19; 150
First Reading 1 Samuel 23:7-18
Second Reading Romans 11:33-12:2
Gospel Reading Matthew 25:14-30
Evening Psalms 81; 113

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