CTR has developed a close partnership with the F-V Emergency Food Pantry over the years. In that time, the Food Pantry has been most gracious to us!

Did you know that the Food Pantry does the intake on our IITB recipients, verifying need and clarifying the number of people in each household? Did you know the bakery, deli, and produce items we distribute each Sunday come from Food Pantry volunteers who collect items from local grocery stores especially for us? Did you know that our list of recipients for the Easter ham dinners comes from the Food Pantry? The list of things they have done for us goes on.

Earlier this week I learned of a way we can help the Food Pantry. The Food Pantry offsets the cost of Thanksgiving Dinners they distribute through donations. They ask for a $20 donation, along with a note or letter written to the recipients of the Dinner. Along with their donation to the Food Pantry, each donor is asked to write a message of blessing, encouragement, and God’s love to the family that will be receiving the meal. Food Pantry Director Frances reports the letters mean as much to recipients as does the food!

I have informed the Food Pantry CTR will be happy to take responsibility for 10 meals this year. Will you be one of the 10? Time is short. The Dinners have to be ready by November 19th, which leaves this Sunday alone for responding. Envelopes from the Food Pantry will be available at church this Sunday.

This is not only an opportunity for you to help provide someone in Fuquay with a Thanksgiving meal. It is an opportunity for CTR to support the Food Pantry and give back to those who have given us much over the years!

Texas Church Shootings
We pray for the victims of the Texas shooting and their families. We pray for First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs, Texas, a small congregation like ours now dealing with momentous loss and grief.

Yet another episode of shooting and mass murder, yet this one is different. It comes not from terrorist ideology, but from a domestic dispute and a gunman with a history of violence. This one hits closer to home. It serves as a warning that even churches can be places violence is unleashed. We are not immune from a crazed or hateful person who wishes to do CTR, or a person in our congregation, harm. These are the times in which we live, and we are remiss if we ignore this reality.

I want you to know I have placed gunman preparedness on the agenda for TLT to discuss. We need to have some sort of awareness and rudimentary plan. We don’t want to over-react, either, and I believe the chances of a Texas type church shooting happening here remain remote. I hope we all do.

I hope we all feel safe and can focus on worshipping together without fear or looking over our shoulder. Facilitating security and safety in the face of a most unlikely scenario is what TLT needs to address. Sadly, it now must be done, for the good of all.

Let us pray for the Lord to protect us when we gather. And let us fear not, for the Lord God of Hosts is with us! We will do our small part, too.

It’s That Special Time of Year…
I was in my local Food Lion several days before Halloween and there, with my own eyes, I witnessed store employees taking down fall decor and putting up – you guessed it, Christmas decorations! “It can’t be…” I thought to myself, but it was indeed. On November 1st, the onslaught of Christmas (ok, generic “holiday”) TV ads began in earnest. And Thanksgiving will soon be upon us.

All this can only mean it is that special time of year I have taken to calling “Hallowthankmas”. Jack o’ lanterns and vestiges of Halloween are still plentiful, Christmas insanity is in full swing, and in the middle is poor Thanksgiving, getting eaten up by pre-Black Friday sales. “Hallowthankmas” is the cultural abomination we have created for ourselves. It is a Bride of Frankenstein amalgamated monster of “holiday-ness” from which there is no escape. The Raleigh Christmas Parade is November 18th this year. Seriously?

Hallowthankmas” is simply my way of pointing out and protesting the silliness of it all. I know there is little hope of changing anything at this point, but that isn’t going to stop me from trying to resist the thrust and cultural momentum. In fact, there is something we all can do. We can join the resistance! And the counter-cultural, defiant, resistant thing we can do is called Advent. I will have more to say about Advent in coming weeks – we aren’t even to it yet, for goodness sake!

For now, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, I simply want to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a most Heartfelt Hallowthankmas…

See you Sunday!