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Be safe in the snow - Sunday service and related events are on today 3/12

On Being Church - a blog

Last week, Drew Rick-Miller shared research on the importance of adults in the church who invest in the lives of young people. Read the first part of this article here.

What else can we do in order to Grow Young at WRPC? Growing Young provides many ideas – and they don’t require us to exude hip-ness or invest huge sums of money or adopt a mega-church mentality. I encourage you to read these two pieces on the book for a quick summary (see here and here) of their findings. Here are some suggestions I would offer based on this book, Sticky Faith, the National Study of Youth and Religion, and other resources I have read:

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We have all seen the data. Religious ‘nones’ are the fastest growing religious demographic in the US. Every major denomination is in decline, none quite so bad as mainline Protestants. And the numbers all skew young – a full 70% of the ‘nones’ were born after 1980. Add to that this less-known stat – 20% of the American population is between 18-29 years old, but only 10% of church attenders are in this demographic. Something happens between high school and young adulthood that drives away many young people. And the numbers are only getting worse as the percent of American adults who identify as Christian dropped nearly 8 points from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. This paints a pretty grim picture for the American church, one that is most dire for Catholics and Mainline Protestants.

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Early this week, I re-read Frank Dimmock’s most recent letter to the church. Frank’s father Rev. Albert Dimmock served as the pastor of West Raleigh from 1963-1976. Frank spent over 30 years as a PCUSA mission co-worker, working in public health throughout southern Africa. After a short stint with the PCUSA World Mission staff in Louisville, Kentucky, Frank has recently accepted a position with The Outreach Foundation, where he will continue his life-long work in southern Africa. In the personal note at the end of the letter, Frank writes, “I have many fond memories of growing up at WRPC…” .

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Why are the Psalms important?
As a church, we need the Word of God to seep into our bones. We need the support and comfort that the Psalms can bring. We need the continual reminder that God, rather than we humans, is the center of the universe. We need the words of the Psalms so that we might call on God and work with God, perhaps with fist in the air, to bring justice.

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For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.                                    
1 Corinthians 12:12

It is with overwhelming joy and gratitude that I commend to you the 2016 Annual Report. I always appreciate the discipline of re-membering the past year. Sometimes when we are living in the weeds of the day-to-day, it is hard to trace God’s hand, encouraging, guiding and leading us into becoming a more faithful community, but when you look back, it becomes easier to see.

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Sunday, January 8th, while most of Raleigh was either sledding or inside enjoying another cup of coffee, I carefully navigated out of my neighborhood onto Western Boulevard and headed South: destination Orlando and the Stephen Ministry Leadership Training. I missed the opening banquet Sunday evening because of the snow delay, but I was ready to begin the six-day intensive training first thing on Monday morning. One of the promises that I made when I accepted the call to serve as West Raleigh’s pastor was to attend one of six Leadership Training courses that Stephen Ministry offers each year. I knew that I was grateful to be called to a Stephen Ministry congregation. Now I know why and how I can help.

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