Pastor John Barnette

February 2021

Salutations, my brothers, and sisters in Christ! I hope that you are excited about what is to come for Pilgrim Church in the coming year. I know I am! I feel confident that God is still very much at work in our world and has great plans in store for us. Therefore, I’m looking forward to the future with hope and  excitement!

I am thrilled to hear that many in our congregation have already received or have appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. As more of us become vaccinated, we will be able to gradually move back to stable, in-person worship, times of fellowship, and community-wide outreach projects. We will no longer speak of Wednesday night dinners and fall fests as things held in the past, but as activities we will soon enjoy again! Each day, I feel more confident that this pandemic will soon end and we will once again be able to come together as a church community and welcome each other with a hug or a handshake.

I am grateful for you and your commitment to Pilgrim Church. Because of your willingness to support  this church, even when church life was at a standstill, Pilgrim Church survived both pandemic and an 18-month period without a settled pastor – not an easy feat! I want to take this moment to affirm and celebrate your faithfulness to God and to this church community.  

As we move forward into a new chapter, I ask that you prayerfully consider how you can be involved in the part of the body of Christ that is Pilgrim Church. I strongly believe that our post-pandemic world will be different, presenting us with new challenges and new opportunities to share the love of Christ  with our neighbors. Each member’s participation, collaboration and innovation will be key to our success. Therefore, your ideas, questions, time, and labor will be essential and greatly appreciated as we re-energize our ministries.

Also, the ministry of the church requires financial  support. In Luke 8:1-3, we find that Jesus relied on the financial support of His followers. His church is no  different. Our services and ministries are funded by you, as church members. Your support strengthens the body and extends Christ’s reach into our community. Moreover, tithing is a spiritual discipline that benefits the individual, as well. Tithing is a  physical action that brings to life our trust in and  commitment to God. I am appreciative of those who have pledged financial support to the church by turning in a pledge card, as well as those who have made private commitments to support the church financially. As we begin to revitalize our ministries, please prayerfully consider how you may be able to go above and beyond, when you are able, to support both old and new ministry initiatives.

As I said earlier, I am looking to the future with hope and excitement. God has led us this far, and He will continue to lead us into a bright, new future. By His grace, there will be new life at Pilgrim as we begin to come together as a community once more to  fellowship together, support one another, and serve Christ by serving our community. 

Each of you has been grafted into this part of the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit to strengthen it. Therefore, you are vital to the health of Pilgrim Church. So, come and be a part of your community of faith. You are wanted and needed. We celebrate you and what you bring to the table!

By His Holy Spirit, may God continue to inspire us and guide us as we move forward, together.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you His faithful ones, and give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment; His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 40:4-5

Pastor John

Pastor Ken Ewing

Lent

We are fast approaching the Season of Lent. Lent is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is a time of reflection and preparation in the anticipation of celebrating Easter. It also a time of remembering Jesus in the wilderness: a time of withdrawal and sacrifice in preparing to do God’s will.

Last week, Joe asked me, as I entered the Sanctuary, “what are you going to do for Lent?” In past years, when asked that question, my response would have been what I had planned to give up during Lent. In asking the question, “what are you going to do for Lent?”, my response was different. I told Joe and in a few moments later the congregation that I had been struggling with that question. My response was to say that I would Do something that would help me respond to God’s call to love and care for others rather than sacrifice something that did not really matter or lead me to make appropriate preparations to celebrate Easter.

In my response to making preparations, I was reminded of “failed” attempts in the past. My dad, a Baptist minister, said he was going to give up cooked carrots for Lent. Big deal, he did not like cooked carrots in the first place. Another “big deal” that fell flat was the time my colleague and I decided to give up caffeine for Lent. We were hard to live with for at least three days negating our intentions to make good preparations for Easter.

This Lenten Season I will not give up something, but rather Do something that would not only help me reflect on God’s will, but would also impart God’s love on others.

At the heart of the Christian faith is the call to love and serve others thus serving God, in other words it is TO DO. I am not saying making sacrifices is not important, rather I am advocating for making an intentional response in loving, kindness maybe a good way of making preparations and reflecting on the importance of Easter.

For me this Lenten Season will be one of doing, reflecting on God’s call to loving service. In preparing to celebrate God’s grace at Easter, I choose to Do something for others. Even during a pandemic there are ways of showing God’s love. I can write thank you notes to family and friends, including important “thank you”s to folks that serve us. I can contribute to funds for those that serve us at South Port Square, pay for the person behind me in the fast food lane, keep in touch with folks on Zoom. I will continue to share my sense of humor with others, hopefully making their day a little brighter.

These are just few suggestions you may consider, or come up with some of your own. Doing good deeds to gain reward or a word of gratitude, is not what I will be about, rather to serve God. Such will be my time of reflecting on how I should respond to God grace, and make preparations to celebrate Easter. Amen.

Pilgrim Church COVID-19 and Worship Update

Greetings Pilgrim Church: As many of you are aware, Charlotte County is currently experiencing a drastic rise in COVID-19 cases. It has come to my attention that some hospitals in our area are strained by the increase in COVID-19 patients, meaning that access to...

Now Hiring!

Pilgrim Church is ready to hire two new part time staff members. We are looking for a Music Director for our Traditional Service and we are looking for an Organist/Pianist. Please see these job descriptions and share with those you know who may be the right person for...

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Shalom

The Hebrew word “Shalom” is most often translated into the English word “peace.” That is an adequate translation; however, it does not go to the deeper understanding of Shalom as the Jewish people understand it.

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We read in the thirteenth chapter of the John about Jesus’ teachable moment at the Last Supper. He and his disciples were in an upper room preparing to celebrate the Passover Meal. Jesus was aware it was near the end of his days on earth. He used the moment to teach his disciples a valuable lesson of how they should relate to others.