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Dear Friends in Christ,

This week the lectionary is from Exodus as we read the first telling of the great event of the Israelite nation – the exodus from Egypt. I’m not sure that I believe in the factuality of this story (there is confusion about the sea as the proper translation is “the Reed Sea”). However, it is a story that speaks strongly to our ability to trust in God. When those Hebrews were on the shore of the sea, back packs filled with their belongings, young children clinging to their parent’s hands, probably not knowing how to swim, they were faced with that question. How much do you trust in God? As they looked back and saw the Egyptian army approaching quickly, they cried out in fear. They grew angry with Moses and questioned his plan. Then, the LORD said to Moses “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward” (Exodus 14:15).

Does it feel to you sometimes in the midst of this pandemic that we are the edge of a great sea and can’t imagine how we will cross to the other side? We are impatient with the place in which we feel stuck. Will God lead us to the other side? We live in an age when so many of our neighbors and family don’t see God at all. It is a challenge to remain faithful. Our arguments and speeches on why church is important and why others must believe in God fall on deaf ears, it seems. How will we hold onto our faith and trust that God is always with us?

Often we are called to step out in faith. But first we need a plan! In the next few months session will be working on a budget that reflects our plan. What do we want the staffing to look like after this interim/transitional period? What are our mission priorities? If we weren’t here, what would our neighbors miss about us? How do we reach out to the neighborhood? Are we connected to different social agencies or mission sites that are feeding the hungry and clothing the poor? What do we want our children to know about this faith that to so many of us is life giving?

As summer draws to an end, and our social distancing meetings outside become questionable due to the weather, I want to share with you one of my favorite poems. The poet is Mary Oliver (one of my favorite poets!).

 
THE SUMMER DAY

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean –
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Peace and grace,
Pastor Deb
Families with young children: check out this video illustrating this week's story of the exodus!
PPC Book Group – Today (Saturday)

At 10:30am on Saturday, 9/12 we will continue the discussion that’s emerged from Dolly Chugh’s book, The Person You Mean to Be, specifically focusing on what we will DO. How are we being invited to engage practically and actively in the important work of racial healing and justice? If you have not read the book, no worries! Join us on Zoom:
Sunday Worship and Youth Sunday School
9/13 @ 10am via Zoom


Welcome to online worship with PPC! If there's a problem with zoom, check your email for backup plans.
This Sunday we will restart Sunday School for the youth (6th-12th grades) during worship on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month. Matt Harrison and Mark Pfeiffer will be the lead teachers for the class again this year. We will leave worship after the prayers and concerns, and join a new zoom meeting. The zoom link will be posted in the chat of the PPC worship zoom. We're looking forward to reconnecting again and welcoming some new middle schoolers!

Click here to open/download the worship bulletin and hymns:
Bulletin
 
Receiving of offerings continues to be important to sustain our church community. While it is missing from our order of worship, we hope you will continue to give online or with a check mailed to the church (500 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906) as you are able. Thank you!

We invite you to stay online after worship for our virtual coffee hour.

Transcripts and audio recordings of recent sermons can be found on our website here. Audio recordings of older sermons are available here.
Bible Study 9/15 – 9/29

On Tuesdays, September 15, 22 & 29 at 5:30pm, Pastor Deb will lead a Bible study on "The Women of the Bible." Mark you calendars and join us as we immerse ourselves in God's Word together.
Youth Group Hike 9/20

High schoolers and middle schoolers, join us for a hike on Sunday, September 20, at 2 pm. We will meet at Neutaconkanut Park, 675 Plainfield St, Providence, RI 02909. There is a parking lot between the playground and rec center. We will hike the trails and then toss around a football and frisbee. Bring a water bottle, a mask, and some hand sanitizer! Rain date is Sunday, September 27. Contact Jo Fisher for more information: 617-893-0865 or jo.evonne.fisher@gmail.com.

Continuing Opportunities

Below is a list of ongoing opportunities for fellowship and service. Please contact the leaders listed if you're interested in any of these activities.

Grief Group
Pastor Deb (585) 703-0987 or revdeb02@gmail.com

Wednesday Morning (~8:00–8:30am) Zoom Prayer Gatherings
Suzanne Affigne (401) 523-4907, Jill Moles (401) 241-9812, Dan Blackford (401) 273-2435

Mission and Outreach
Bipen Rai (510) 499-7339 or bipenai@gmail.com

Nurture Committee

Kathy Cooper: kathycooper@aya.yale.edu

Worship Leader
Jill Moles (401) 241-9812

Small-Group Zoom Gatherings
Murray Blackadar: murray.blackadar@gmail.com

Gardening
Suzanne Affigne (401) 523-4907
Resources

If you or someone you know needs help, contact your assigned deacon if possible, or otherwise contact deacon Matt Harrison at morattico@gmail.com or 401-340-9444 and he will coordinate care. If you have a prayer request or would like to be included in the prayer chain, call/text Suzanne Affigne at (401) 523-4907. 

Milton has put together some helpful tips for using Zoom – read them here and here.


Visit our presbytery's website (psne.org) for summer book study info and more. Visit our denomination’s website (pcusa.org) for info about the recently concluded General Assembly, racial justice resources and more.

You may continue to reach the church by phone message (401-861-1136) or email (provpresri@verizon.net), both checked daily. Pastor Deb Packard may be reached at revdeb02@gmail.com.

Submitted by Marianne Harrison, Tech & Communications Committee

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For our full calendar please visit our website.
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