Preparing for Worship

mustain-heather_138x197.jpgThis Sunday is Father’s Day, and it’s also the Sunday before World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20. That confluence of events is important to consider as we gather for worship.

World Refugee Sunday, sponsored by the United Nations, commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. It is an expression of solidarity with people who have been uprooted from their homes by war, violence or persecution.

The latest figures from the U.N. Refugee Agency, UNHCR, show at least 65.6 million people have been forcibly displaced within their own countries or across borders. That is one out of every 113 members of the human family. Since October of last year, more than 32,000 unaccompanied minors and close to 60,000 family units have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to Customs and Border Protection. Most of these are coming from what is known as the Northern Triangle (Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala) fleeing violence, political corruption, poverty, drought and food insecurity.

We cannot even begin to comprehend the complexity and vastness of today’s refugee crisis, and numbers like those listed above are hard to know what to do with. Scholars are calling the forced migration of people the largest humanitarian crisis of our time. Images of a boy washed up on shore or toddlers locked in cages with tears streaming down their faces remind us what is truly at stake. Sounds of children struggling to breathe because of another chemical attack or the cries of parents collapsed in grief allow us to enter into the life of a refugee, even if for just a moment.

Good heavens, what if this was Jimmie? How should we respond as mothers and fathers?

I’m not sure my heart can bear one more tragedy, and yet it seems unavoidable these days. I’m struggling to know what to do and who to turn to for information regarding the inhumane separation of families at the border.

May this Father’s Day remind us that although we may not know what to do, we have to search for an answer—not out of civic obligation, but because our faith demands it.

When Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment in the law, he answered: “’Love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

May these words of Jesus guide us in worship today and as we search for answers on the journey. I’ll be praying this week and I ask you to join me.

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Tapestry News Briefs

New pictorial directory. It has been four years since Wilshire’s last pictorial directory, and did you know we have added 308 new members from 219 households in that period? That’s 300 people who did not have the chance to be in the last photo directory. Four years also means that everyone photographed for the last directory—especially the children—has aged and probably looks different now. So it’s time to update our photos and get to know each other. Once again, Wilshire has partnered with Lifetouch for this project. Every household photographed will receive a complimentary directory and an 8-by-10 portrait. There is no sitting fee and no obligation to purchase additional products. You may be photographed as an individual, as a couple, as a family, as an extended family, even as a group of friends. And both pets and props are welcome. Photography dates will be in August and September, and sign-up for the August dates is now open. Follow the link from the homepage of wilshirebc.org or from the registration page there.

Adventurers June program. Join Wilshire Adventurers this Tuesday, June 19, for a program on the theology of food (with maybe a little music included too) led by Leanna Coyle-Carr, who is married to Pastoral Resident Aaron Coyle-Carr and is a recent graduate of Wake Forest Divinity School. The free program starts at 10:30 and will be followed by lunch for $7 and then table games. No reservations required.

Adventurers July outing. Senior adults are invited to join Wilshire Adventurers on a day trip to Fort Worth on Thursday, July 12. The group will visit the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to see how money is made, eat lunch at Rodeo Goat and then visit the Museum District. Sign up with Pat Tilley at the Adventurers table in the South Lobby on Sundays and Wednesdays. The event is free, except for lunch on your own.

Blood drive. The next quarterly blood drive will be next Sunday, June 24, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. All eligible blood donors are encouraged to participate. No reservation is needed. Donors receive a free t-shirt and a BOGO ticket voucher for a Texas Rangers baseball game.

This Wednesday at Wilshire. The normal summer schedule resumes this Wednesday, with lunch served in Koinonia Café beginning at 11 a.m. and the “This Is My Story” program at noon. This week’s speaker is Pat Austin.

Koinonia Café June 20: Fish and chips, smoked sausage with peppers, green peas, buttered rice, parmesan spinach, salad bar, dessert bar.

Youth Choir home concert. Wilshire’s 60-voice Youth Choir left yesterday on a weeklong music and mission tour in Oregon. Everyone is invited to their home concert at Wilshire next Sunday evening, June 24, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Follow the tour online via Wilshire’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Cooking Camp helpers needed. Do you love to cook? Do you love children? If so, you’d probably enjoy serving as a chef for Kids Cooking Camp 2 this summer. Kids Cooking Camp 2 is for third through sixth graders who have completed Cooking Camp 1. The dates are Monday, July 16, through Friday, July 20. Instruction is in rotations from 9 a.m. until noon, and volunteers are welcome to stay and share lunch each day at noon. Even if you’re not available for the whole week, you can serve whatever days you’re available. If interested, contact Julie Girards at (214) 452-3104.

Feed the homeless. Volunteers are needed to serve lunch at The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center in downtown Dallas with a group from Wilshire the first Thursday of every month. You are not required to volunteer every month, but if you are interested in adding your name to the pool, contact Missions Committee member and liaison Ken Adams.

Summer library hours. The Wilshire Library will be open this summer on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., except on Wednesdays when the hours will be 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday hours are 8 to 10:45 a.m. Also on Wednesdays starting June 20 through Aug. 15, Librarian Barbara Peterson will offer a preschool story time beginning at 2 p.m. Wilshire’s excellent lending library is open to the church and our neighbors. So whether you’re a Wilshire member or not, you and your children are welcome to use our library. 

WOW! Summer Bible study. Join in a study of Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor led by Vanessa Vaughter on Fridays, June 22 through Aug. 3 (excluding July 6) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 3301. In this book, one of America’s premier female preachers seeks to rehabilitate what we have learned to fear, the dark. She reflects on how our lives do not work only when everything is fully lit. We can’t always see the light. Sign up at wilshirebc.org/registration.

WOW! Tuesday Book Club. This new group will meet on the second Tuesday of each month beginning Aug. 14, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Wilshire Parlor. For the first meeting, the book is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. The book was made into a hit Broadway play. Contact Tiffany Wright for information.

Wilshire Winds patriotic concert. Bring a friend and come to the annual free patriotic concert featuring guest soloist Laurice Lanier and the Wilshire Wind Symphony. The date is Sunday, July 1, with the concert starting at 6:30 p.m. and a pie and coffee reception afterward.

Free trumpet concerts. Free concerts will be offered in the Sanctuary every weeknight this week as part of the Bert Truax Trumpet Camp. Some of the top trumpeters in the nation serve as faculty for the camp, and they will be presenting concerts each night. All concerts begin at 7 p.m.

Looking for a Sunday School class? If you’re looking to try adult Sunday School for the first time or considering getting a fresh start over the summer, try the new Wired Word Class. This intergenerational class uses a rotation of teachers and a curriculum that draws biblical lessons related to current events. The class meets at 9:40 on Sundays in Room 3201.

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Food on the Move isn't just about food

Food on the Move is one of Wilshire’s biggest summer missions projects. There’s still room for you to sign up to help. Visit wilshirebc.org/registration. The following information has been provided by Dawn Hallman, Wilshire member and children’s education specialist.

Children need to play. Play is to a child’s brain what food is for the body. Play is how children learn new skills, practice new things, relieve stress and grow new brain connections. Play feeds a child’s mind and soul. 

It’s easy to see how much lunch a child has eaten, but it’s much harder to see brain neurons connecting during a game, a story or while creating something with art materials. Research is very clear that the needs of a brain for stimulation and human connection are as important as food. Each interaction with a child this summer changes their brain and gives them more skills while building emotional health.

Here is what happens when you play with a child at Summer Food on the Move:

1.   Vocabularies grow as you talk and listen to children’s thoughts and questions. Children need to hear words used in conversation to be able to learn how to use words to express what they are thinking and wondering about. When you talk and listen to the children who come to get lunch, you are making connections in their brains.

2.   Imagination and the joy of reading develop. The parents of the children you will read a book with love their children, but the price of keeping food on the table and a roof over their heads takes precedence over the time it takes to sit down and read a story. Having an adult who is having fun with words and ideas and imagination is a priceless gift to give a child. It spurs on the love of books and reading in children, a skill they will need for all of their years in school.

3.   Problem-solving and creativity are modeled. When you play with children, you are helping them to build social emotional skills and executive function in the brain. Executive function is the No. 1 predictor of school success. It’s the ability to start something, stop yourself and keep yourself under control. It’s the ability to take turns, follow rules, see someone’s else’s idea and the skill of waiting. These skills don’t come from lectures or from being quiet or sitting still. They come as the brain and body play. Whether you are playing with art materials, science ideas, bubbles, balls, cars, chalk or jumping rope, these brain skills are being strengthened.

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music staff restructuring

The Personnel Committee has approved a partial restructuring of the music staff, in light of Sarah Stafford’s forthcoming retirement as associate minister of music.

A brief called church conference will be held at the conclusion of both morning services on Sunday, June 24, for the purpose of approving one part of this plan. The committee recommends that Jeff Brummel, currently music associate and organist, be named to the full-time position of associate minister of music.

This change will move Jeff from a 30-hour-per-week professional staff position to a full-time ministerial staff position. Jeff already has begun the process of seeking ordination, which is scheduled for this fall.

Among Jeff’s expanded responsibilities will be supervising a part-time children’s choir coordinator and a part-time handbell coordinator. Sarah will move to a part-time role as director of the New Song senior adult choir.

Other members of the music staff whose duties will not change are Doug Haney, minister of music; Barbara Clayton, music and worship administrator; and Shana Gaines, Wilshire Winds director.

Jeff came to Wilshire in 2006 as organist. In addition to that role, he leads the Wilshire Academy of Fine Arts and directs the Youth Choir and the Shekinah youth ensemble.

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jeff earned the bachelor of science degree at the College of the Ozarks in Branson, Mo., majoring in vocal/choral music education, where he competed with NATS as a tenor vocal soloist. He studied organ with Al Travis and Yoon-Mi Lim for the master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees in organ performance and church music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

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Prayer Notes

June 10-15

Congratulations to:

Pastoral Resident Jakob and Alyssa Topper on the birth of their daughter, Friday, June 15.

Condolences to: 

Family and friends on the death of Elaine Coffman, Saturday, June 9.  Service: Tuesday, June 19, 1:30 p.m., McIver Chapel.

Ann Hamm on the death of her brother-in-law, David Adkins of Odessa, Wednesday, June 13.

Others in need of prayer:

Rosalee, Bob, Mary Helen, Ron

*Names in bold indicate Wilshire members.

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Preparing for Worship

wingfield-mark_138x194.jpgHopefully you’ve noticed we’re singing a new text to an old tune for the offertory response now. During these first weeks of Ordinary Time, we’re trying out some new lyrics written by our own LeAnn Hampton, who was a participant in a Wednesday night hymn-writing class this spring.

You know the sturdy old tune—named Old One Hundreth—but you may have tripped over your tongue the first time you were confronted with something other than “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” to accompany it. And that is the point: The juxtaposition of old and new causes us to think anew, to exercise our brains and to live into the very words LeAnn has penned for us: Our God is making all things new, a promise that we know is true. Through eyes of faith we long to see a love-transformed community.

As we prepare for worship this Sunday, pay attention to the art on the cover of the worship folder, painted by the British artist Daniel Bonnell. You’ve likely read or heard the story of Jesus raising the young daughter of Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. Much like Jesus’ experience with his friend Lazarus, Jesus arrived at the home too late. Or so it seemed. And then with a word, “Little girl, get up!” Jesus raised the 12-year-old to new life.

Think again of the words LeAnn has written: Our God is making all things new, a promise that we know is true.

Then pay attention as we sing in the hymn, “Here I am, Lord, I have heard you calling in the night”—inspired by the story of young Samuel in this Sunday’s text from the Hebrew Scriptures.

Once again, think of the words LeAnn has written: Our God is making all things new, a promise that we know is true. How is it that God used Samuel’s own willingness to make all things new?

And then pay attention to the epistle reading for today, where the apostle says: “The one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus.”

How is it that we are raised with Jesus? Is it only after physical death that we are raised into newness of life eternal? Or is it possible that we sometimes are made new while we’re still living?

Perhaps you have known this kind of miracle in your own life, being raised to new and unexpected life after illness or injury or insult or depression or failure or grief. Perhaps you know how it is that our God is making all things new, a promise that you know is true.

Perhaps the deepest desire of your heart is to believe this promise really is true, that God can make you new. Around you stands a great cloud of witnesses, those of us who have firsthand experience with the surprising ways in which God has made us new—often after we’ve stumbled through singing new words to a favorite old tune.

May we all hear the voice of God calling us to newness of life today: Get up, our God is making all things new.

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Tapestry News Briefs

VBS begins this Sunday night, June 10The Bible Marketplace Vacation Bible School begins Sunday, June 10, at 6 p.m. VBS is open to all children who have completed a 3-year-old preschool class through sixth graders. Children will join their tribe as they visit the marketplace, worship and learn about turning tough times into opportunities to trust God and live courageously. This year’s VBS runs three nights: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. You may register on-site even if you haven't registered beforehand.

Schedule change for June 13No regular programming will be offered on Wednesday, June 13, due to Wilshire hosting the annual meeting of Baptist Women in Ministry. The regular Wednesday luncheon and “This Is My Story” program will resume on June 20 with a presentation by Pat Austin.

Special concert and guest choirVoci d’Amici, under the direction of Loyd Hawthorne, will present a concert in Wilshire’s Sanctuary on Saturday, June 16, at 7 p.m. The free event will feature singers from around the region who gather in Dallas each year to enjoy singing with this esteemed conductor. Comprised of professional singers, music educators and church musicians, the choir will sing familiar works as well as many new choral compositions. All are welcome. The choir also will sing in both morning services on Sunday, June 17.

CBF general assembly. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will hold its annual general assembly in Dallas June 13-15. The location is the Hyatt Regency downtown. An opening worship service will be held on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Thursday includes workshops and two general sessions plus other special events. Friday also has workshops and two general sessions, including an evening missionary commissioning. Anyone is welcome to attend. Learn more at www.cbf.net.

littlegirlframe-sm.jpgNew pictorial directory. It has been four years since Wilshire’s last pictorial directory, and did you know we have added 308 new members from 219 households in that period? That’s 300 people who did not have the chance to be in the last photo directory. Four years also means that everyone photographed for the last directory—especially the children—has aged and probably looks different now. So it’s time to update our photos and get to know each other. Once again, Wilshire has partnered with Lifetouch for this project. Every household photographed will receive a complimentary directory and an 8-by-10 portrait. There is no sitting fee and no obligation to purchase additional products. You may be photographed as an individual, as a couple, as a family, as an extended family, even as a group of friends. And both pets and props are welcome. Photography dates will be in August and September, and sign-up for the August dates is now open. When the current dates have been filled, more will be added. Follow the link at wilshirebc.org/registration or sign up here

Adventurers June program. Join Wilshire Adventurers on Tuesday, June 19, for a program on a theology of food (with maybe a little music included too) led by Leanna Coyle-Carr, who is married to Pastoral Resident Aaron Coyle-Carr and is a recent graduate of Wake Forest Divinity School. The free program starts at 10:30 and will be followed by lunch for $7 and then table games. No reservations required.

Adventurers July program. Senior adults are invited to join Wilshire Adventurers on a day trip to Fort Worth on Thursday, July 12. The group will visit the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to see how money is made, eat lunch at Rodeo Goat and then visit the Museum District. Sign up with Pat Tilley at the Adventurers table in the South Lobby today. The event is free, except for lunch on your own.

summer-interns-med.jpgSummer interns. Wilshire has six summer interns this year. They are 1st row, left to right: Leigh Curl (youth), Riley Smith (preschool); 2nd row: Rachel Oney (music), Mallory Hicks (children), Alex Carvajal (children), Emma Donaldson (missions).

Jonathan Merritt luncheon this Sunday. Anyone interested in hearing more from our guest preacher, Jonathan Merritt, is invited to stay for a free luncheon and dialogue in Community Hall at noon on June 10. Child care is not provided.

Generosity update. As of May 31, gifts to Wilshire’s Unified Budget totaled $1,473,096, which was $269,904 or about 18.3 percent below projected revenue for the period. By comparison, gifts to the Unified Budget through May 2017 totaled $1,691,310, which was about 3 percent below projected revenue for the period. Expenses through May 2018 totaled $1,613,594, creating a year-to-date deficit of $140,498. Designated gifts for specific missions and ministries totaled $42,722. The current value of the George A. Mason Pathways to Ministry Endowment stands at $4,667,946, with $40,275 given toward the endowment thus far this year.  

Blood drive. The next quarterly blood drive will be on Sunday, June 24, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. All eligible blood donors are encouraged to participate. No reservation is needed.

Youth Choir home concert. Wilshire’s 60-voice Youth Choir will depart next Saturday on a weeklong music and mission tour in Oregon. Everyone is invited to their home concert at Wilshire on Sunday evening, June 24, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Follow the tour online via Wilshire’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Feed the homeless. Volunteers are needed to serve lunch at The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center in downtown Dallas with a group from Wilshire the first Thursday of every month. You are not required to volunteer every month, but if you are interested in adding your name to the pool, contact Missions Committee member and liaison Ken Adams at grandpa.ken51@gmail.com.

Host homes needed. Each summer, Wilshire member Bert Truax hosts a trumpet camp at Wilshire for youth players from across the country learning from some of the top classical and jazz trumpeters in America. Host homes are still needed for two of these students. If interested, contact Bert at (214) 789-3726.

Break the Silence: Abuse hurts at any age. Wilshire will host a luncheon discussion Thursday, June 14, at 11 a.m., on how to advocate for those who have suffered elder abuse or neglect. Mark Smith, investigative producer at WFAA Channel 8, will present recent findings of abuse in the older population of Dallas. A panel of experts will lead a discussion to determine needed advocacy for our vulnerable older adults. Join The Senior Source, AARP and Senior Affairs Commission as we work together to find solutions. For more information and to RSVP, contact Cindy Rubin at (214) 525-6134.

Have you written a book? Barbara Peterson, librarian, and the Wilshire Library Committee would like to know who among our membership are authors with published books of any genre. If you have written a book or books that have been published, email Barbara. Even if you think the church knows about your book, please send an email to confirm. The titles do not have to be “religious” to be included.

Summer library hours. The Wilshire Library will be open this summer on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., except on Wednesdays when the hours will be 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday hours are 8 to 10:45 a.m. Also on Wednesdays starting June 20 through Aug. 15, Librarian Barbara Peterson will offer a preschool story time beginning at 2 p.m. Wilshire’s excellent lending library is open to the church and our neighbors. So whether you’re a Wilshire member or not, you and your children are welcome to use our library. 

Join Summer Choir. Don’t have time to sing in Sanctuary Choir all year but would like to sing part-time? Did you sing in a choir in high school or college and would like to take another swing at it? Here’s your chance. All interested singers are invited to participate in Summer Choir, which will sing at the 11:00 service on Sunday mornings through September 2. Summer Choir has shorter rehearsals, from 7 to 8:15 p.m., and easier music. Show up for rehearsal in Choral Hall or contact Doug Haney for more information.

Wilkinson Center needs volunteers. Volunteers (ages 16 and up) are needed to help with the Wilkinson Center’s annual shoe drive Saturday, July 28, through Monday, July 30. Sign up at wilshirebc.org/registration.

WOW! Summer Bible study. Join in a study of Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor led by Vanessa Vaughter on Fridays, June 22 through Aug. 3 (excluding July 6) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 3301. In this book, one of America’s premier female preachers seeks to rehabilitate what we have learned to fear, the dark. She reflects on how our lives do not work only when everything is fully lit. We can’t always see the light. Sign up at wilshirebc.org/registration.

WOW! Tuesday Book Club. This new group will meet on the second Tuesday of each month beginning Aug. 14, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Wilshire Parlor. For the first meeting, the book is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. The book was made into a hit Broadway play. Contact Tiffany Wright for information. 

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laurice-smller.jpgNew Song concert. New Song senior adult choir presented their season-end concert last Wednesday in the Sanctuary. The community choir will take a break for the rest of the summer, but all interested singers are welcome to join in September.

Wilshire Winds patriotic concert. Bring a friend and come to the annual free patriotic concert featuring guest soloist Laurice Lanier and the Wilshire Wind Symphony. The date is Sunday, July 1, with the concert starting at 6:30 p.m. and a pie and coffee reception afterward.

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WOW summer schedule

WOW! Summer Bible study
Fridays, June 22, through Aug. 3 (excluding July 6)
From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join in a study of Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor led by Vanessa Vaughter. Two copies of the book are available in the Wilshire Library, plus additional copies are available for purchase in the church office for $10. The book also may be purchased through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  In this book, one of America’s premier female preachers seeks to rehabilitate what we have learned to fear, the dark. She reflects on how our lives do not work only when everything is fully lit. We can’t always see the light. What we need is spirituality that works in the nightmare. RSVP for study and for child care at wilshirebc.org/registration.

WOW! Tuesday Night Book Club
Second Tuesday of each month beginning Aug. 14
7 to 9 p.m. in Wilshire Parlor

Aug. 14: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (fiction)
This is a light, humorous yet telling read for anyone who knows someone on the autism spectrum or wants to understand what this looks like. The book was made into a hit Broadway play.

WOW! Brown Bag Book Club
First Thursday each month
Noon to 1 p.m. in Room 1205-L

Join a potluck lunch on Thursday, June 7. Bring a dish to share as the group discusses A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meisner. The book is available in the main office for $10. You do not need to have read the book to join the group, and participants will pick the next six selections for the year at this time.

WOW! Wine-tasting social
July 12, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
$25; Limited to only 20 women, ages 21 and up.

Vicki Briley-White will lead the participants in a tasting of wines and food that best compliments each wine. Sign up at wilshirebc.org/registration.

More to come from WOW! Women of Wilshire, based on input from 130 women who attended the WOW! kickoff event. All these events above are open to all women. 

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Summer Missions

Food on the Move: This is a partnership between CitySquare and the USDA to make sure children who normally receive free lunch during the school year still receive breakfast and lunch during summer break. More than 125,000 children in our backyard are at risk of going hungry this summer without programs like Food on the Move. For the last five years Wilshire has adopted the Veranda at Midtown Apartments and provided daily stimulating activity for the kids, free camps, Weekend Food Bags and backpacks with school supplies. There are a variety of ways in which you, your kids and your Sunday School class may participate. Volunteers are needed Monday through Friday, June 11- Aug. 3. Sign up at wilshirebc.org/registration or contact Heather Mustain for details.

Wilkinson Center: Volunteers (ages 16 and up) are needed to help with the Wilkinson Center’s annual shoe drive Saturday, July 28, through Monday, July 30. Sign up at wilshirebc.org/registration.

Prison Entrepreneurship: Join others in prison throughout the summer through Prison Entrepreneurship Program events such as “Excellence in Etiquette” on June 29, “Business Plan Workshop” on July 7, “Pitch Day” on Aug. 3. Sign up at wilshirebc.org/registration.

Room in the Inn: Volunteers are needed June 15/16 to provide dinner, breakfast, help with set-up and clean-up, fellowship on Friday evening, stay overnight or provide transportation. This session is hosted by WOW! Women of Wilshire. Contact Room in the Inn ministry team leader Chad Mustain for more information or sign up at wilshirebc.org/registration

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PREPARING FOR WORSHIP

erica-whitaker.jpeg

Today’s Preparing for Worship is drawn from the Wilshire archives, featuring words penned in 2015 by former Pastoral Resident Erica Whitaker, now senior pastor of Buechel Park Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. She wrote to explain the beginning of Ordinary Time in church life.

There is nothing extraordinary about the ordinary. The everydayness of life is not Twitter worthy or any Facebook status sensation. No one is worth following on social media if they only post photos watering the lawn, washing the dishes or walking through the grocery store. We would rather see soulful sunsets, gorgeous grandbabies and powerful protests. Is this not where we find God—in the extraordinary moments of life?

Ordinary time is the longest season in the church calendar. From May to November we see the color green decorating the Sanctuary for 34 weeks. The season can drag on, numbing our tastes buds that desperately crave the savory flavors of Advent and Easter. Our spiritual palates prefer the rich, robust holiday seasons over the mundane, routine of ordinary time. Is God even around before and after the holidays? 

The Church, not God, turned Advent and Easter into extraordinary seasons. Jesus was born on an ordinary day like everyone else. If anything, Jesus’ birth was less than ordinary, taking his first breath in a stable, smelling the everyday animal odors. Jesus also died on an ordinary day like everyone else. Well, not really like everyone else unless you were a Roman criminal flogged and tortured prior to experiencing a humiliating public death. So when and where does God meet us?

What is extraordinary about our God is that God is all about the ordinary. God meets us in the commonplace, the average moments. God put on skin, touching humanity in ordinary ways. Jesus rubbed shoulders with the poor, the wealthy, the honest, the crooks, the holy, the unclean, the powerful and the helpless. The Son of God slept, walked, laughed, ate, sat and even wept on this earth.

In his book Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Thích Nhat Hành  wrote, “People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

The true miracle is that God meets us in the mundane moments. Perhaps we are so busy rushing through the normal routine of our lives that we miss the everyday miracles proclaiming God’s love and grace. Today, will you listen for the voice of the extraordinary God speaking in your ordinary life?

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