First Presbyterian Church Blog

News from Mark Barnes in Brazil

One sign of a nation being discipled into it’s God given purpose is it’s name will be great amongst the nations, consider Brazil’s name these days.

Zika, political corruption and crime sadly are the head lines making Brazil famous these days.

But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” On my most recent trip to Brazil I got infected again with renewed hope and vision for Brazil.

There is something brewing in the hard times in Brazil. Failed political and church systems are provoking a new generation of young leaders to imagine reformation, and to re-imagine church, political and economic structures. I see this on the ground in the work my team is doing in a small, real and inspiring ways.

Acts 4:34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet

For many years I have felt that this verse is connected to Brazil’s destiny in the world.  The “Zero %” in “no needy person”, is a token of something bigger going on. If this can be tapped into in Brazil it can flip Brazil right side up and this would be a global spectacle. I think it’s fare to say that in the book of Acts the church was living and giving the gospel of the Kingdom, as one. This is not beyond where God can take us today and surely not more than we can hope and work for.
I have a friend in BH named Cacau, Kaka lead him to the Lord a few years ago. Cacau recently traded his big mansion house for the hotel we used during our outreach in July. We are now making plans to use it as an operational base for the Deck to stage a cultural shift to dislocate criminal culture in communities over run with murder. Some much of the perpetual brokenness is rooted in culture.

New Vision – To pin point a social movement that shoots “to drop murder rates to zero”. This target adds something important to the concept of The Deck, it give us 3 things.  1) A “clear trumpet call” to rally and organize communities for life that are PROVOKED by the blood of children in their streets. 2) A clear plan with 4 broad based maneuvers with long-term and sustainable effect, scaled to move many of players in society.  3)  Zero %  also gives scale to quantify transformation efforts in communities.

With this righteous scale (Mt. 6:33, Prov 11:11) we can be more intentional in the quest to deliver the gospel of the Kingdom that constructs a superior life keeping culture to dislocated and uproot the criminal cultural that perpetuates murder and brokenness all over Brazil. To knock down murder rates many other things will fall. It is for this fight that we have been give might weapons (II Cor. 10:4) , and 4 tested components, integrated into a missional designed that makes room for all hands on DECK.

1)  the circus, 2) “friends for good in schools” (amigos do bem na escola) partnering with public school under much duress , 3) seed projects (Harvest), and 4) the hotel (yellow Axis)  –  U of N / ywam base.

(these are the quantifiable components of the deck that are intentionally applicable and transferable.)
The Outer ring represents the Kingdom community/congregation, living, cultivating and keeping the Kingdom ( Gen
2:15 ), this ring is beyond the deck design. It’s the extended movement not quantifiable but will display “a token” of the overcoming power of the age to come in this present age, “no needy persons among them” or  zero % .  No more shall an infant from there live but a few days Is 65:20, a new count of life.

In august we will be running our circo manifesto outreach in Rio during the Olympic games, together with our local team in Rio. I REALLY hope to take Barbara and Gabriel with me on this trip. This is part of the build up to launch “zero %” in target communities around Belo Horizonte next year.

I hope this short email gives a glimpse of the regions beyond that we are stretching for. Our inspiration is kept alive by God in so many ways. Those he send to stand with us count for double. Thank you for your interest and help, keep it up!

I long to spend more time in Brazil. As good as everything is for us in Fort Mill, I think I am made for Brazil.

This are some pictures of the hotel and a short video of the hotel.

peace,

mark



We have your tickets for Stadium’s Beauty & the Beast!

Stadium High School’s performance of Beauty & the Beast is on stage next week, staring many of our own FPC youth and directed by Liz Jacobsen! Liz has pre-sold us 30 tickets for this soon-to-be sold out show.
Tickets are for 1:30pm matinees on Saturday, April 2nd or Saturday, April 16th at Stadium High School’s auditorium. Email Julie Brownlee or call 253-272-3286 x115 to reserve your tickets for this family friendly show!
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Come and See—Open Sanctuary on Good Friday

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From 5:00 am-5:00 pm on Good Friday, our historic Sanctuary will be open for prayer, meditation, and worship. Throughout the day various people will be sharing their gifts through music and scripture readings. Come and experience the peace of Christ as you reflect on Christ’s amazing love for us and the way he died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and bring us to wholeness. Thank you to Lance Kagey for coordinating this day-long time for prayer and worship. Following the open Sanctuary, we will be having a Good Friday service at 7:00 pm featuring Holy Communion.


April Seminar: Personal Holiness in Times of Temptation

Join us in April for a 4-week Thursday night video seminar on personal holiness presented by Walk Thru the Bible’s Bruce Wilkinson. The class will meet from 7:00-9:00 pm on April 7, 14, 21, and 28 in the Gold Room of our South Building. Cost for materials is $10 per person. Register now. Need more information? Contact Steve Groves, 253-752-2313 or mrfan10@hotmail.com.
 
 

The four sessions cover:

  • Holiness: How to Get There from Here. Discover why the Lord’s call to holiness is so important and what the Bible means when it tells us to be “set apart.”
  • Temptation: Why It Is So Tempting. Walk through the seven stages of temptation and learn how to recognize and avoid traps.
  • Sexuality: The Toughest Temptation. Nothing provides as much opportunity to temptation as one’s sex life. Success or failure has a dramatic impact on everyone, but God’s way provides tremendous rewards.
  • Victory. In the final session, attendees learn to recognize their own personal temptation patterns and find proactive ways to become the man or woman of God they want to be.


FPC Kids Communion Class

Is your child curious about Communion? On Sunday, April 17th, kids 8 and older are invited to come learn about Communion with Pastor Becci! She will help students understand why we celebrate communion and the symbolism of all the elements. A pizza lunch will be served before the class begins. We do ask that one parent attend, and because space is limited, please RSVP to Julie Brownlee.
 
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Summary of Town Meeting on Camp McCullough

Dear Congregation,

 

Last Sunday, our church family celebrated together with an all-church potluck followed by a Town Meeting to hear about the work being done at Camp McCullough and update everyone on what is happening with Camp.

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The meeting was led by Pastor Eric and none other than our own Daniel Heath, supported by members of the Camp task force. Pastor Eric introduced Daniel as a member of the “Heath Dynasty,” a humorous reference to the many years the Heath family has served the church, both as part of the church leadership and through its tireless work for and at Camp. Also present in the audience were the Hayden and the Miller families, both long-standing supporters who have worked tirelessly for Camp. In fact, Pastor Eric mentioned that the Haydens had given 38 years to the ministry of Camp! And Pastor Martin Ives made some humorous observations that inspired a string of fun remembrances from the congregation!

 

Daniel began with a presentation prepared by the team working on a new vision for Camp. The presentation was titled: Towards a new Strength of Vision: the Unique and Compelling Ministry of Camp McCullough. He reviewed some Camp history, reminding everyone that Camp was purchased in 1945 because of a growing feeling among the various ministries of the church that the church needed its own conference grounds. He also reminded everyone that at the time of purchase, the Church had more than 2000 members!

 

After reviewing some of the history, Daniel gave the microphone to Pastor Eric, who described a discernment retreat he led with the Session (our governing body) a little shy of two years ago. One of the outcomes of this discernment was that the Session believed there were three options concerning the future of the Camp. These were:

  • Sell the Camp
  • Do only Camp; let go of other ministries currently supported and resourced by FPC
  • Invite more like-minded churches to share the ministry and management of the Camp

The Session also moved to:

  • Underscore its historic intent to make the Camp self-funding

 

Session decided it did not wish to sell the Camp as it is a treasure that could not be regained in the region. Session also decided not to do only Camp. Session then decided to establish a Task Force to develop a path forward for the Camp given the discernment principles and to invite carefully selected like-minded Churches to partner with us in governing and supporting Camp’s vision and ministry.

 

Daniel went on to explain that over the past few years, several churches have expressed an interest in developing a stronger partnership with Camp. Initial contacts have been made to these churches and some have expressed interest in partnering with us. This has coincided with a view by FPC Elders that our Church, much smaller than it was at the time of purchase 70 years ago, is no longer of a size that it can fully tap and resource Camp’s potential. The operation of Camp has taken an unacceptable toll on a few loyal families who have made a sacrificial commitment to it; Camp has been funded by contributions from FPC, but this resource, both financial and human is not available the levels needed to sustain it; and that the mission of Camp may be best leveraged with a broader group of participating churches. In addition, many of the more recent initiatives at Camp, such as reaching urban and less advantaged kids with mission camps; hosting pastor and ECO Presbytery retreats; offering Spiritual Formation retreats; etc., suggest a broader participation from other churches sharing our faith and essential theology would bring strength. After much prayer and discernment, FPC Elders (our governing body) decided to speak with the Congregation to determine whether a new structure and model for Camp will strengthen its and our collective regional ministry.

 

New Camp Board:

Finally, Daniel explained that the Session has established a new Camp Task Force, which will oversee this transition and work to assure that the new structure supports the mission of the Camp to reach people for Christ and deepen the faith of those who attend; protects the resources of our church and allows for the flourishing of the Camp. The Camp Director will report to the new Camp Task Force and eventually the configured Board. The Task Force has also recommended the creation of a new Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) who would, governed by the eventual Board, have authority for the new Camp operations. The LLC would shield FPC from potential liability, and FPC would lease the Camp land and buildings to this newly formed LLC. Our church would lease the underlying land to the new LLC, and retain ownership of the land. A set of bylaws, approved by the FPC Session will govern the creation of the new Camp Board, and the Board will also put in place a policy governance structure that will determine how the Board operates and how the Camp will operate. Our church will structure a lease agreement with the new LLC to protect all the parties’ interests.

 

In summary, this new vision for Camp:

  • Allows for greater strength through shared ministry resources and support with like-minded partners for greater regional impact for Christ.
  • Continues to offer youth summer camps and retreats as before
  • Frees the newly configured Camp Board to explore other revenue options to enable camp to be self-funding.

 

After the presentation, the new Camp Task Force answered audience questions. These included questions about how the churches would be selected (we will initially focus on those with a similar essential theology and ECO membership); questions about how to protect FPC from unintended liability (through the structure of the LLC and its lease agreement and bylaws approved by the FPC Session and the governance model which will be established); whether our youth would have the same opportunities for discipleship and internship as Camp Staff (yes); and whether the selection of the new partner churches would assure a similar moral and theological framework for Camp (yes).

 

The meeting concluded on an upbeat note, and many of the over 100 members of the congregation in attendance expressed support for the next phase of this plan. Pastor Eric thanked everyone for coming, and said that a more formal Congregational Meeting would take place when more details are known.

 

In Christ,

 

Bill Kellis, on behalf of the Camp Task Force



An Allergy-Friendly Easter Service in 2016—Invite Your Friends!

Easter lilies are beautiful, but a growing number of people are allergic to their fragrance and pollen, making it hard for them to attend Easter worship—and making it difficult for us to distribute the lilies to shut-ins since many nursing homes will no longer accept them. As part of our Inside/Out focus on removing obstacles for people coming to church, this Easter we will be using a mix of live tulips supplemented with some artificial Easter lilies.

So if you know of any people who haven’t been able to attend church on Easter because of Easter lilies, please invite them to our service! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share them with elder John West, chair of the Worship Committee, jwest@fpctacoma.org.




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