Dear Resurrection Family,
This week we lost two young men in our congregation to suicide, a senior at Blue Valley West and a twenty-one-year-old. The suicides were not connected except by the pain and grief they leave behind.
September is National Suicide Awareness Month. Next weekend’s sermon, as we conclude our series on Joy in the Midst of Adversity, will include a section on suicide. But I wanted you to have some resources today in the event you or someone you know has contemplated suicide.
With many of you, I feel such grief for these families. We, along with a host of other organizations in Kansas City, have been focusing on suicide prevention over the last few years and there’s been a significant decline in suicides the last 18 months. But the climate we’re living in – with social distancing and isolation, along with polarization and conflict – can foster feelings of despair. We’re compiling additional resources and will be sharing those with you next week.
Often when reading, praying and preparing my messages I learn new things or have insights I’d not seen before. I find myself inspired by people and stories that I plan to share with you. All of that happened this week as I was preparing this weekend’s message, the third in our sermon series.
We’ll focus on two key ideas that help us know joy even in adversity: accepting God’s acceptance of you, and having a clear and compelling "why" to your life. My sermon title for this weekend is "Straining Towards the Goal."
You likely know someone who needs this weekend’s message. Invite them to join us online at cor.org/live Saturday at 5 pm, Sunday at 7:30 am, 9:15 am, 11 am or 5 pm, or, if they live in the Kansas City area they can also join us on KMCI, Channel 38, at 8 am and 11 am. For a listing of where KMCI is found on various cable providers, click here.
If you don’t have a church family and are interested in becoming a member of Resurrection, I’d like to invite you to join me this weekend for an HISTORIC Coffee with the Pastors (our joining event).
It is historic in that this is the first time ever we’ve done this online. With over 500 people signed up, this will also be the largest group of people ever to join Resurrection at one time, and likely the largest group to ever join a United Methodist Church at one time. It’s pretty exciting!
The event starts at 2 pm. I’ll be coming to you from my study, our other pastors will join from various places, and you’ll be joining the call via Zoom. We’ll share a bit of the church’s story, what it means to be a follower of Christ, and the expectations for membership. We’ll end by inviting those who are ready to join the church through a brief joining time. That’s this Sunday, September 20, at 2 pm central time ONLINE.
Bring your own coffee! Here’s the link to register. You’ll receive a Zoom link to join the event.
We’re also hosting our first ever virtual Leadership Institute next week. As of this morning we have 3,836 pastors and church leaders joining us (our previous record for attendance was last year with 2,400). One of the foundational visions of Resurrection is that we will be a catalyst to help strengthen other churches. For over 20 years, we have hosted an annual event where we bring together clergy, church staff and lay leaders for two days of inspiration, practical ministry tools and proven strategies to strengthen their churches and their leadership.
In 2020, church leaders are facing extraordinary issues, and I am so excited that we are still able to bring them together through technology.
If you are reading this and would like to join us for Leadership Institute you can do so by registering here. We begin Wednesday night with an optional opening worship event. Then Thursday from 10 am to 3 pm (CT) with plenary sessions (and pre- and post-events before and after) that include leadership expert Ron Heifetz of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, leader of the Episcopal Church. I’ll be sharing as well. On Friday amazing speakers will be sharing in our breakout sessions from 10 am to 12:45 pm (CT). Here’s the link for more information or to register.
We want to surround all our participants in prayer. Pastor Tino has a group of people praying over all the empty seats in the Sanctuary next week (which will have the participant names on them). And volunteers have been praying for each participant by name. Could you spend a few moments each day next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday praying for our Leadership Institute guests?
As we prepare for Leadership Institute, we have a slight change to our Tuesday night schedule. We need to have a tech rehearsal in the Sanctuary for Leadership Institute, so it will not be open for prayer until 7 pm. I’ll share some insights from Philippians in our Vespers service at 7:30 pm. You are welcome to join me for Vespers in person in the sanctuary or on Facebook Live at my Pastor Adam Hamilton page (click here).
Masks are required and because of limited seating we ask you to register by clicking here.
As we prepare to celebrate the Church of the Resurrection’s 30th Anniversary in October, we are collecting stories from congregants, ministry partners, and churches to celebrate the ways God has used Resurrection in the vision of changing lives, renewing churches and transforming the world. We invite you to share your story about the impact Resurrection has had on your life, ministry and church.
We have two ways you can share your story of how Resurrection has changed your life:
As an added incentive, four stories from congregants will be randomly selected and the submitters will be invited to share dinner (either via Zoom or in person) with LaVon and me.
If you work with one of Resurrection's community partners and your organization has been impacted by Resurrection over the past 30 years OR if you are a church leader whose church as been strengthened by ministry ideas and resources from Resurrection over the years, we'd like to hear from you also! You can use the same link to share your story.
When we return to in-person worship at each of our campuses, we will have seats available for about 25-30% of our capacity in order to maintain safe distancing. We have opened up the registration link so you can indicate if you plan to worship in person. Here’s the link. You can review the safety protocols we will have in place at this website. We are continuing to work on plans to begin resuming in-person programs later in October.
Materials have been delivered, and our contractor is getting ready to work on Phase 2 of the Resurrection Memorial Garden at Resurrection Leawood. Plantings will be removed and relocated next week in preparation for the stonework. We are on schedule to complete this section by mid-December. The phase will add an additional 600 niches to the memorial garden.
If you are interested in learning more about the memorial gardens at Resurrection, here is the website.
Confirmation kicks off at Resurrection Leawood this Sunday with over 200 students registered! However, we still need about 6 more adult Confirmation Mentors to make our Confirmation small groups a success. Would you be willing to guide a small group of students through their Confirmation journey as they explore the faith and claim Christianity for themselves? Maybe your kids are grown and out of the house now, but you’d be willing to pour into a new generation. If so, visit the mentor registration page here, or email Confirmation Director Shannon Greene with any questions.
I’ve been asked several times over the last few months if Resurrection is providing funding to the Black Lives Matter organization. We do not. I have had no interaction with any of the BLM organizations and we do not provide funding. For me, the words Black Lives Matter have never been about an organization, but an idea. Black lives matter to God, to me, to our church.
As a congregation we have spent nearly 30 years saying we want to be a part of tearing down the walls or racism in our city, and, in the process, of building bridges. I’m proud of that work, but believe we can and should do more, as individuals and as a church, to help our city look like the Kingdom of God. Every day I pray the Lord’s Prayer, and every time I do I pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” When I pray that, I’m praying about God’s will being done regarding race, poverty, justice and mercy, kindness and compassion and more.
One way you can help build bridges is to join me on Wednesday, September 30, at 6:30 pm in the Sheffield Assembly of God Church parking lot. Sheffield and United Community Believers Church are co-sponsoring an evening to pray for healing for our city and country. The pastors are friends of mine and invited me and you to come out for this gathering.
I will be there and would love you to join me. It's at 5700 Winner Road, Kansas City, MO 64127. People will be able to stay in their cars if they wish. I think there will be food trucks there in advance. More info on this next Friday, I just wanted you to have it on your calendar.
That’s it for today – I want you to know, once more, how proud I am to be one of your pastors here at Resurrection!
In Christ’s love,
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Pkwy
Olathe, KS 66061
1601 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
8412 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
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