We are in the midst of a very busy but joyful season in Community Ministries at IPC. I want to thank you for your generosity and active participation in so many of our ministries as we seek to serve our wider community and world.

Every December, the Chrismon tree goes up. Wreaths are hung. Flowers are arranged. Freshly baked cookies arrive by the tin. Polished silver is laid out. Independent Presbyterian Church and several homes deck their halls for a beloved Christmas tradition, the Holiday House Tour. The upcoming 70th Annual Holiday House Tour will take place Saturday, Dec. 14 and Sunday, Dec. 15.

Sitting down and hearing what someone has to say is easy, right? Not always. Truly listening to, not just hearing, what someone is saying can be challenging at times, especially when we are listening for God’s voice. This Sunday, the Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, president of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, will join us as our guest preacher and the Barbara Noojin Walthall lecturer. She’ll deliver a sermon during the 8:45 and 11 am worship services entitled “Cacophony & Polyphony,” which will be on passages in both the Old and New Testaments that refer to listening to the voice of God.

Over the summer, youth embarked on their mission trip to Chiapas, Mexico. They worked with members of local churches with light construction and painting. IPC youth Bebe Holloway reflects on the experience and connecting with people there.

This coming Sunday is World Communion Sunday, a day in which we celebrate the Lord’s Supper with churches all around the world. The diversity of the global church is as wide-ranging as the various flavors of breads that will be broken, and yet our one Lord Jesus Christ, our one faith in him, and our one baptism into his Church sustain our unity as the global church.

I found that living a life motivated by faith and good heartedness fixes more problems than any amount of donations or charity work. I was so blessed to be able to experience this once in a lifetime trip at such a young age. Now, I know what living a life as the Lord’s servant really means.

As you go down the stairs to the Day School, you might have noticed a new piece of art. The piece is in honor of our son, James, who died unexpectedly on his first birthday, November 5, 2017. We wanted something that would make adults and children happy while also remembering James. We decided to take a portion of the donation and commission a painting of Heaven from Georgia-based artist Elaine Burge.

Work. It’s a word that evokes many different feelings to different people at different times in their lives. The synonyms for it are not particularly positive -- "toil," "labor," and "drudgery" are not exactly words to inspire, yet we accept work as a means to an end. What that end is, I believe, determines our engagement in and our dedication to the work that we do.

Meet Isaac Toney! The Athens, Ga. native began his own faith formation at First Presbyterian Church in Athens where he was an active participant in the youth ministry and youth choir. He holds degrees from Centre College and a M.Div. from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.

The story begins with a garden with no one to till it, so God forms a mud creature out of the dust and breathes life into it. This mud creature is called “Adam,” the Hebrew word for human. The word is also related to “adamah,” which means ground. The adam, therefore, is a being fashioned from the ground and made in connection to the earth to till the ground and tend the garden.