Creator God, Redeemer God, Sustainer God,

Your word in II Corinthians 9: 6-7 tells us: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. …, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Previous generations have built this worship space and rooms for discipleship and the education of children, have sent teams to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, throughout the United States, and into nearby struggling communities to do your work, sowing generously in your Holy name. They have opened the doors of motel rooms to lift up children, fed and housed the homeless, constructed new homes for deserving families, placed warm winter coats on children’s shoulders, again, sowing generously. And further in Verse 8 you tell us: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Thus, we reap in every way, including the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

We approach you this day in thanks for the blessings bestowed upon each of us and upon us as a congregation. Your bounty has enabled this church to grow and prosper for 175 years and create a legacy of mission and giving leadership in this community and around the world. May your Spirit lead us always to share this bounty with others everywhere.

We offer prayers this day for those who suffer illness and face an uncertain future. May your healing hand be upon them and their families and ease their pain and their concerns. We pray also for those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. May your hand be upon their shoulders and give them comfort in their loss.

We pray this day for your people the world over – those who suffer in poverty, those who suffer from war and oppression, and those who suffer from natural disasters. May your hand be upon them and the missionaries and aid workers seeking to bring relief to those in need.

Lord, as we convene a new Sunday School year, as we seek to plan a new mission year with vigor, as we enter a new Stewardship season, as we focus on experiencing you and your plan for each of us, we ask that you would touch each heart and that each of us would be moved to support the work of this church as you would have us do. We pray for our pastors, staff, Sunday School teachers, leaders in mission, and all those who work each day for your purpose.

Lord, Hear our prayers. May we all go forth from this place uplifted and seeking to fulfill your Great Commission to spread the Gospel throughout the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Now friends, having heard the Word read and proclaimed, let us bring forth God’s tithes and our offerings.

Dr. Leland G. Close, Jr; Ruling Elder and Clerk of Session