From the Pastor
Dear Members and Friends of First Church,
Greetings from beautiful Bonita Springs! This is my first summer email to all those whose addresses we have that spend months away from Florida. I’ll be giving you this brief update monthly (if my name was Garrison Keillor, I would title these “the news from Lake Wobegon”).
The 2018 rainy season started several weeks earlier than usual, around mid-May. We receive rain the majority of days, including some heavy bands of showers that were part of the large tropical storm that made landfall around Pensacola on Memorial Day and then soaked the southeast. The good results of this change of season are that our lakes and streams are back to a normal healthy level, and the wildfire season that sometimes is a big problem in late April and May in southwest Florida is now pretty well over. The only downside to these early rains is that some people are still in the queue to have their roof replaced after damage last fall from the hurricane—and it can be a bit dicey to be replacing a roof at a time when we experience regular rains! In local sports, our minor league pro hockey team, the Florida Everblades, just lost their league’s championship in the final Game 7 at a sold-out Germain Arena. In local politics, Florida’s campaigns will be heating up by the end of summer, with big races for US Senate and Governor on the ballot in November.
The big project in our church building this year is the replacement of the sanctuary sound system, scheduled to be completed in the first couple weeks of August. This is really needed, as our system is original equipment, about 17 years old, and as these sound systems age they develop bad “dead zones.” The project will cost about $200,000, but we have received some wonderful gifts towards it and are more than halfway to raising the entire amount. This should allow us to offer a much better audio experience beginning in the fall. We will also be doing various maintenance projects around the building during the summer months, as usual (Sunday attendance is roughly one-quarter of what it is in the winter, and programming is much reduced). We have received a generous “named gift” for our new library (which was completed last fall) and will have a dedication of that in September. Al and June Barrow are with us much of the summer, which is a great blessing. Brad Rogers begins his Doctor of Ministry studies this month at Fuller Seminary in California. Rebecca Harley and our membership committee are laying plans for photos to be taken starting in the fall for a new directory of church members (all of you will be invited to sit for a free portrait, and then will receive a directory with photos, names and addresses).
Jeanne and I enjoyed a week’s vacation at the end of May, visiting beautiful Jekyll Island in Georgia and then spending a few days in the fascinating city of Savannah. We will travel to visit family and do a tour of historic sites in Philadelphia in July.
Don’t forget that you can share in the messages and music from our worship services on your computers and mobile devices, by logging onto our website. And don’t forget our Summer Reading Challenge books: “Unimaginable” by Jeremiah Johnston and “Seven Lessons from Heaven” by Dr. Mary Neal. Both authors will be with us next January to discuss their books and their personal experiences. I would love to hear from you during the summer months by return email—especially if there are any prayer concerns you wish to share with your Florida church home and pastors.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Doug Pratt