Welcome to Northminster

We are a biblically-based Presbyterian church seeking to experience and share God’s love to transform our homes, community and the world. We hope you will join us.
 

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We have wonderful Sunday School opportunities for all ages at 9:45am. Our worship service is at 11am. We look forward to seeing you!  Click here to find out where we are and get in touch.

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The Latest from our blogs…

Pastor’s Corner – June 2018

“Ordinary” Time

Beginning the day after Pentecost, the church calendar begins it’s longest season of the year: Ordinary Time. After the past six months of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter; and given that it coincides with the beginning of summer; it can be easy to think of “Ordinary Time” as “vacation time,” or “back to our regularly scheduled lives time.” But that would actually miss the opportunity that Ordinary Time gives to us, a gift the Early Church recognized in making this the longest season of the year.
 
Philip Reinders writes, “With all the big holidays and celebrations over, Ordinary Time offers us the space to find our place in God’s story. We’ve celebrated and taken in the momentous life of Jesus; now we need a long stretch of days to absorb and assimilate it. In Ordinary Time, we fully take in the gospel, allowing it to take shape in our daily living, making connections between Jesus’ story and our lives.” (Seeking God’s Face, pg 431)
 
To that end, we begin this season with a brief look at the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes is a masterful book that, at first glance, can seem like a pessimistic pile of skepticism and futility. But in reality, it provides an opportunity to wash us clean of our pretensions and false spiritualities that keep us from knowing Jesus as He really is and following Him as closely as He invites us to do. After a 3 week break, we’ll then take a deep dive into a book of the Bible to see how God’s word is as applicable to our lives today as it was when it was written, 2,000 years ago. Speaking of that 3 week break…
 

“Where’d Pastor David go?”

Due to an unusual and unexpected confluence of events, the Session has been kind enough to grant me 3 Sundays off in a row, June 24 – July 8. Over those three weeks, I’ll be heading to the EPC General Assembly meeting in Memphis, celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary with our extended family in North Carolina, and heading back to St. Louis to preside over the wedding of one of the youth from our time ministering there. I’m looking forward to each of these events, but know that I’ll miss worshipping and partnering with you all in mission and ministry over that time as well. While I’m gone, you will be blessed with the opportunity to hear the Word of God expounded by our own Michael Babcock and Bob Mills, as well as Lowell Sykes. With their excellent preaching, you’ll hardly have an opportunity to know that I was gone!
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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Pentecost Covered Dish Lunch This Sunday, May 20

Plan to join us following the worship service this Sunday for a covered dish luncheon as we celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the Church.  In addition to that, we’ll also be celebrating our confirmands, who will be joining the church that Sunday as well.  Bring your favorite covered dish to share.  We look forward to seeing you there!  Sunday school @ 9:45am, Worship @ 11 am, luncheon immediately afterward.

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Pastor’s Corner – May 2018

After the Storm

Storms are used in fascinating ways in Scripture.  Take a look at Genesis 6-9 (Noah’s flood), Psalm 18, and Matthew 8:23-27 (Jesus calms the storm) for a couple of good examples.  But my favorite “storm story” is in 1 Kings 19.  Elijah has just won a powerful victory over the prophets of Ba’al, but ends up fleeing for his life as Jezebel and Ahab seek vengeance.  He hides in a cave on Mount Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai), and God tells him, Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”  What happens next is incredible:

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11–13)

I think most of us would assume that God would’ve been in the storm, the earthquake or the fire.  But He wasn’t.  God was in the stillness and quiet that came after the storm.  The same is true with the story of the flood – the rainbow came after the waters receded.  And when Jesus calmed the waters?  That’s when the disciples fell down in worship.

“What are you doing here?”

That’s the question God asked Elijah in the silence after the storm.  Through your tireless acts of love and support, God’s presence after the storm has been made real.  I have been overwhelmed with the incredible response of our community in the weeks that have followed the tornado in Elon and Lynchburg.  You have answered God’s question to Elijah with your actions – by faithfully living what Paul calls us to in Galatians 5:  Serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Gal 5:13–14)  The cleanup work for those affected has just begun and will continue long after the tornado has left the news cycle.  May we continue to be God’s hands and feet as we pray without ceasing, give as we are able, and serve as the opportunity presents itself.  You can find some helpful suggestions and guides on our website at www.npcmh.com/blog. 

Blessings,

Rev. David Garrison


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EPC asks churches, individuals to fast and pray May 5-6 ahead of Andrew Brunson trial resumption

This post is reposted from EPConnection.org.
 
The trial of Andrew Brunson, EPC Teaching Elder imprisoned in Turkey since October 2016, resumes on May 7. In an effort to stand with and pray for the entire Brunson family, the EPC is issuing a Call to Prayer and Fasting for the weekend of May 5-6.
 
Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk, suggests praying Scripture in four specific ways:
  1. That Andrew will be strengthened, emboldened, and released: Pray Isaiah 42:3 (A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness, He will establish justice.); Isaiah 40:31 (Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength); and Luke 4:18 (The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free).
  2. That Norine will not grow weary: Pray Exodus 17:12 (When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady until sunset.) and Isaiah 40:29 (He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak).
  3. That the Brunson’s children (Jordan, Jacqueline, and Blaise) would walk in the steadfast love of the Lord: Pray Lamentations 3:22-23 (Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness).
  4. That Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey, would be directed by the Holy Spirit: Pray Proverbs 21:1 (The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases).
 
“Norine was blessed and encouraged by how many people participated in our call to prayer and fasting before the April 16 trial,” Jeremiah said. “On Thursday, April 26, she was able to pass this on to Andrew, with our plan to do it again before May 7. I hope every EPC church will continue to pray for Andrew, Norine, their family, and the rest of the trial as Andrew faces the judges again.”
 
Following opening arguments on April 16, Brunson was returned to prison. Prosecutors in the case have asked for a 35-year prison sentence on charges that Brunson helped terrorist organizations and worked to convert Turks to Christianity.
 
To help facilitate corporate prayer, a printable bulletin insert in pdf format with these prayer suggestions can be downloaded at www.epc.org/news/freepastorandrew. The bulletin insert is available in two sizes and is designed to be printed on standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper and cut in half (either horizontally or vertically).

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How To Support the Recovery Efforts Going Forward

According to a press release from Amherst County, 126 homes have minor damage, 25 are restricted use and 22 are destroyed.  That means at least 47 families are displaced until their homes are repaired or rebuilt.  The recovery needs for these families will be ongoing, long after this event moves out of the news cycle. And many of those in the path of the tornado, whether their home was destroyed or not, are dealing with wounds and hurts that go beyond physical.  So what can we do to support our neighbors and friends in the weeks and months to come?
 

Pray

Make praying for those affected a regular part of your prayer routine. Include in your prayers the contractors and builders, insurance adjusters, police, fire and medical first responders who have and are continuing to step in to help these families rebuild their lives. Here are some practical steps and prayers in the weeks and months to come:
  • Pray for healing.  While certainly praying for physical healing, also pray for emotional and mental healing.  Continue to praise God that no one lost their life, and ask Him to rest His hand of healing on those who need it.  The emotional and mental scars can last far longer than the physical ones, which leads to…
  • Pray for rest.  This might sound trivial, but many of these people, particularly the children but also the adults, could well be having a hard time sleeping.  Nightmares, stress, the internal need to keep working on cleanup, and especially post traumatic stress can negatively impact sleep.  Pray for God’s peace to settle over those trying to piece their lives back together when they sleep.
  • Pray for a smooth process.  Working with insurance companies, contractors, government aid agencies is a difficult and time-consuming process.  It can be its own layer of stress on top of an already stressful and traumatic event.  Pray that God would smooth out the process and that there wouldn’t be any hiccups for these folks.
  • Pray for moments of normalcy:  In the midst of the aftermath of a traumatic event like this, it can feel as if “normal” is a word that will never be used again.  Pray for moments of “normal” for these families and people, That might come in a meal taken as family at a restaurant, to even the regular routine of work and school, or maybe even just going to the store to buy groceries.  A moment of “normal” can go a long way in helping the healing and recovery process.
  • Set a reminder.  Put a reminder in your phone to repeat once a week, and maybe another one in a month or two, to remind you to continuing praying for their recovery.
 

Give

Many have given sacrificially already, but there will continue to be ongoing needs for those affected in the weeks, and especially the months, to come.  Many of them have no idea what they need at this time, so gift cards to grocery and home improvement stores can be very helpful, as they can make use of those as they figure things out.  There are several GoFundMe donation pages set up for these families, if you would like to give directly to them.  Here are some suggested links and ideas:
  • GoFundMe: This link is  a generic search for “Madison Heights, VA fundraisers,’ however at the time of posting (4/24/18), all but one result on the first page of results were for victims of the tornado (there’s another tornado victim fundraiser on the 2nd page of the results as well).  If you would like to give aid directly to the families, this can be a good option.
  • ElonStrong.com: Our friends at River Church have been actively involved in helping those affected from the first day.  Donations made through ElongStrong.com and AmherstStrong.com are primarily going to families with no insurance.
  • Gleaning For The World: GFTW has been partnering with local churches to minister to those displaced by these storms, particularly in providing emergency assistance to those are are victims of the tornado.  They have been distributing food and materials directly to the families and victims.
  • Through Northminster: Please put “Elon Strong” in the memo field of checks made out to Northminster, and we will direct those funds to those in need.
  • Gift Cards: Purchasing gift cards to Food Lion, Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot and various places like that are very helpful.  Many of these families have lost everything and don’t know what they need right now.  A gift card can be very helpful in allowing them to purchase what they need, when they realize they need or are ready for it.  Gift cards can be turned in to the Amherst County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center in Amherst, to the church office, or placed in the offering plate on Sunday mornings.  Gift cards given to us will be passed along to Elon Presbyterian for them to give out directly to the community impacted.
  • Set A Reminder:  As with praying, set a reminder for a month or two, if not longer, from now.  There is always a large influx of donations in the immediate aftermath of disasters like this, but the needs last for months.
 

Volunteer

If you are looking to volunteer, we encourage you to contact Gleaning for the World to see when and where they are distributing materials.  Right now, we are not aware of other organizations that are actively looking for volunteers to help victims rebuild and repair.  If you know families impacted, we encourage you to contact them directly to see how you might be of service.  As we hear of opportunities, we will post them here and on our Facebook page.
 
Thank you for the wonderful ways you have already cared for our neighbors affected by the tornado, may God bless each of us as we seek to continue to be Christ’s hands and feet in caring for and loving them in the weeks and months to come.

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