What kind of plans do you have for this summer?  I know some have already gone on trips, either to visit family or just to get away and see different scenery.  Summer is a wonderful time to do some different things, to take the time to enjoy good food and good company.

     We have several opportunities to do just that this month.  On Sunday, July 8th, we are going out to brunch at Blue Goose Run immediately after worship.  Don’t forget to sign up by July 1st so we can call in a  count.  Then on Sunday, July 15th, pack up you lawn chairs and some picnic food and head for Oppold Marina in Sterling.  We will be joining in worship with our sister congregations St. John and St. Paul at 10:00 a.m.  (If you are not comfortable worshiping outside, please come to our Thursday evening worship at 6:30 p.m. on the 12th.  There will not be a worship service at Immanuel on the 15th.)  After worship we will join together in a potluck picnic.  There will be a few grills available, but not very many.  After food and fellowship there will be time for games and frivolity.  We especially want our youth and adults who are going to the Gathering to be at worship for a special sending liturgy and then after lunch our normal 5:33 meeting for the High schoolers will be around 11:33, just to keep the 3’s going.

     The list goes on.  We have the Barbershoppers coming to lead worship on July 22nd.  Vacation Bible School is July 25-27.  Sunday, July 29th worship will be filled with music and stories from both Bible School and our trip to New Orleans.

     As much fun as traveling can be and as much as I enjoy good food and good company, part of summer fun needs to be a time to stop and rest.  To shift gears.  To take time to process stress and to catch up on neglected personal projects.  I am taking several vacation days during this last week in June and in the first part of July.  As much as I love ministry, sometimes the stress and the pain of loss becomes hard to bear.  I am grateful that I have the time to just stop for a little while and let God show me what I need to do for myself.  I encourage all of you to find the time and space to not just have some summer fun, but to have some summer healing.  God longs for us to have abundant life, but that does not mean going 90 miles an hour every day.  (Note to self.  Read this often.)  Setting priorities, developing one’s own pace, and striving for balance are all helpful habits to cultivate.     May God fill our summer with all good things.

                                                                                    Pastor Hank



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