Saturday, July 29, 2017

Short Stories by Jesus

This Sunday we welcome our new pastor, the Rev. Roy Atwood, back to the pulpit after his well-earned family vacation following his graduation from seminary and ordination this past spring.

Sunday, July 30 Pastor Roy starts a new sermon series titled "Short Stories by Jesus." He'll begin with three parables from Luke 15: "Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Son." The youngsters who attended Vacation Bible School will recognize two of those stories from our summer session, "Digging for Treasure."

Here are the themes for the sermon series through mid-September. Please join us as Pastor Roy invites us to look again at these much-loved "short stories by Jesus."

Aug. 6       The Good Samaritan
Aug. 13     The Mustard Seed and the Yeast
Aug. 20     The Treasure and the Pearl
Aug. 27     The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
Sept. 3       The Laborers in the Vineyard
Sept. 10     The Widow and the Judge
Sept. 17     The Rich Man and Lazarus

Thursday, July 20, 2017

'Digging for Treasure' A Big Hit for VBS!

Youngsters help sort seeds to illustrate "The Parable of the Sower" on the second night of "Digging for Treasure" Vacation Bible School. From left are Bishop Moeschler-Varela, Michael Moeschler-Varela, Lola Martindale and Patrick Moeschler-Varela. Photo by Amy Martindale.
Vacation Bible School at St. Stephen UMC has been a wonderful time of summer fun and learning. One thing all the grown-ups learned: Our VBS youngsters are REALLY SMART KIDS!

This year's program was "Digging for Treasure," with a big group of adult volunteers helping our children learn how to find the spiritual "gold" in the parables of Jesus. Some 16 youngsters from preschool through Grade 5 have enjoyed crafts, games, songs, worship and the "Bible Investigation Station," where they learned more about Jesus' parables, memorized the week's Bible verse, and assembled puzzles that represented the parables.

As it turned out, the Bible verse that "Digging for Treasure" uses for memorization is that same Scripture that's on our most recent St. Stephen T-shirts: 1 John 4:7, the heart of which is "God Is Love." VBS volunteers see that coincidence as a "God thing!"

Thanks to all the parents who brought their children to Vacation Bible School. Congratulations to VBS organizers Brian Moeschler, Amy Martindale, Wini Council, Liz Dickson and all the volunteers who helped our children grow in faith.

A Good Friend Comes Home to Preach

Our guest preacher this coming Sunday, July 23, will be our good friend, Pastor Freddie Orr. Freddie and his lovely wife Valarie had been members of St. Stephen Church for many years when God called Freddie into pastoral ministry. Few of us who were present will ever forget Freddie's moving performance of "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" as he announced his decision.

Freddie will preach at the 10:50 a.m. worship service, and is sure to bring us a powerful message. All are welcome to join us at St. Stephen and "feel the love."

Andrew Simpson Sings in Worship July 23

The music never stops at St. Stephen Church, even when the choir takes its July break. This coming Sunday, July 23, we will be graced by offerings from our very own operatic star, Andrew Simpson!

Andrew grew up at St. Stephen and sing in our choir, as well as receiving vocal training from Wini and Tom Council. Andrew made the momentous decision after earning a bachelor's degree in architecture to pursue music professionally. After completing graduate school, he has been successful at building his professional resume and reputation in regional opera companies. Andrew's friends and family at St. Stephen have followed his operatic career with enthusiasm and encouragement.

This Sunday Andrew will sing "Lord God of Abraham" from "Elijah" by Felix Mendelssohn and "The Lord's Prayer" by Albert Malotte. He'll soon be leaving for new professional engagements beyond Dallas, so don't miss his musical offerings during July 23 worship, starting at 10:50 a.m.