Pastor’s Blog

 
 
October 11, 2017
 
 

Dear Paw Creek,

 

I have been looking forward to meeting you for a long time! And now that time is here. It will be exciting for me to begin to learn your names and faces, and especially your stories. I appreciate your enthusiasm, the basket of goodies, the visits I have already had this week, and the work of the Property Committee as they paint and prepare the study for me to move in.

 

During these first few weeks, I will also appreciate your help in a number of ways. Most importantly, tell me what I need to know. Is there someone in the church family who needs a special visit? Do you have a cherished memory of the church that you want to share with me? Is there a church program or activity that needs some attention? I need to know all those things, so please don’t be shy. Beyond that, please help me get to know you: if you suggest a time for me to stop by, or schedule a visit over coffee or lunch, that’s the best way to help me reach the most people quickly as I can. Or simply stop by the church..  I plan to be in the office or out among the church family every day except Tuesday.  Any time I’m there, the door will be open, so please come on by.

 

Our first time to worship together will be this Sunday, October 15. I’m looking forward to it, and we will have some light refreshments on the porch so that we can stay and visit. It’s a great time for everyone to be together in worship and fellowship. But I want to put out a special invitation to those who may not have been in church so much in recent years. If you are still on the list to receive this newsletter, then we need you at Paw Creek (AND you need your church family!) I hope our new beginning this week will be a good time for you to come and have a look. We are starting a new and exciting chapter in our service to the Lord. Come join us!

 

Blessings, Elliott

 

deh46@columbia.edu

704-502-2143

 

 
 
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September 13, 2017
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church Family,
Well, these are exciting times for both of us. You have called your next pastor in
Elliott Hipp, who I have found to be very kind and thoughtful and will be good
for the church. I have also been asked to serve as Transitional pastor in this next
phase of ministry for Avondale Presbyterian Church. I am excited to begin my
ministry with them and from all indications, they are excited too. I will miss you,
but you will be in great hands. I will miss you, but God has planned out paths for
both us to follow. I will be with you for just a while longer. My final day at Paw
Creek will be October 8, 2017. Elliott will be on board October 9, 2017. I will
begin at Avondale October 16, 2017. God is great and greatly to be praised! God
is blessing all around. I will remember you fondly and pray your strength in the
Lord as God moves mightily in your lives. May our final weeks together be filled
with joy and peace!
 
In Christ,
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
 
 
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August 30, 2017
 
Dear Paw Creek Church Family,
We celebrate the movement of the Holy Spirit in this church. You have voted in your next minister, The Reverend Elliott Hipp. This is a time of great joy for our church. This has been a long journey, I know. But God has been with us every step of the way, guiding our every footstep throughout this process. And now we are ready to welcome your next pastor. You have been faithful and you have remained steadfast. You stood together and remained united in your efforts to find Rev. Elliott and he comes with many gifts and talents and a love for God’s people that will soon find its way into your hearts. My prayer is that you will have a long and lasting relationship
with him that bears much fruit. If all goes well and as planned, he should be in place sometime around mid October. Begin praying for him now; his transition, his goodbyes to the church he currently pastors, his family, his strength and well-being. Pray for Paw Creek as you continue your readiness to receive him. Pray for unity in the body, the willingness to serve, an uplifted spirit, and pray for encouragement to step out on faith. Trust and believe that Paw Creek is truly in God’s hands and know you are blessed. I am excited with you. Your partnership with Rev. Elliott is bound to be a good one…a great one. God brought you together. All praise, honor and glory to God for what God has done is doing and will continue to do in you.
With Jesus joy,
Rev. Veronica E. Cannon
 
 
 
 
 
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August 16, 2017
 
Dear Paw Creek Church Family,
 
What an exciting time in the life of our church! By now, most of you, if not all of you are aware that on the 27th of August, there is a congregational meeting for the stated purpose of calling your next pastor. This has been the awaited time and it is now upon us. I want to encourage you to come to the meeting so that you can be introduced to your next pastor and have the opportunity to vote on his/her coming. No, he or she will not be present that Sunday, but there will be a video or a flyer containing information about him/her. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and then VOTE!
 
I, for one am very excited. This is the moment for which we have all been waiting. God is great and greatly to be praised! So, we give God glory for the things God has done, is doing, and will continue to do through you, the members of Paw Creek Presbyterian Church.
 
This is a time of celebration, expectation and soon…a big WELCOME!
 
Even as we wait for the month’s end to approach, remember to keep the Pastor Nominating Committee in your prayers and thank them for the hard work they have accomplished. They have done wondrous work for the Lord and for you!
 
In Christ,
Rev. Veronica E. Cannon
 
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August 2, 2017
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church family,
 
This past week we bid farewell to a man beloved by God and by us. The Reverend Gary Lee Bryant. He was a man of God who loved his family, his friends and his church. In tribute to a life well lived in service to God for forty four years, of which thirty four were spent at Paw Creek, I want to honor Gary’s name through Scripture.
 
God’s grace is sufficient
Acknowledge Jesus before men and Jesus will acknowledge you before His Father
Righteousness guards the man of integrity
Your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams
 
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom
Run in such a way as to get the prize
You, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High
Accept the word planted in you, which can save you
Nothing is too hard for you
Taste and see that the Lord is good
 
Isaiah 40:31 (NRSV)
31 but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
 
Rest well friend. You have run the race of the Lord and you have finished it.
All praise be to God.
 
In Christ,
Veronica Cannon
 
 
 
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July 19, 2017
 
 
Dear Paw Creek Church Family,
Summer is now well into full swing. Many of you have been on vacation.
Others of you can’t wait to get on your way. Still others of you may have no
desire to travel this summer. Whatever your circumstance, know that Paw Creek Presbyterian Church is still here, still praying for you, still worshiping with you and still seeking, still serving, still praising and still loving Christ, our neighbors, our community and you. As you take your leave this summer and forget about the worries of home, job, and stress, as you remember to get your much needed rest, please remember your church in its need of your support financially. We still have ministries to support, lights to keep on, and people to help. Please consider giving to Paw Creek, even in your absence. The work of the church is never done and we need your continued support. Make the most of what is giving to you and enjoy your summer!
In Christ,
Rev. Veronica E. Cannon
 
 
 
 
 
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July 5, 2017
 
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church Family,
A friend was in front of me as we were walking out of the church one Sunday. The preacher was shaking hands as usual. When my friend reached him, he grabbed my friend by the arm and pulled him aside. The pastor said, “You need to join the Army of the Lord.” The friend replied, “I’m already in the Army of the Lord Pastor.” The pastor said, “How come I don’t see you except at Christmas and Easter?” He whispered back, “I’m in the secret service.” 
This week we celebrate the 4th of July, Independence Day. It is a when America celebrates its independence from Britain. There was an army during the American Revolution that fought long and hard for freedom. But there is an army that exists that is still fighting for freedom, freedom from sin, freedom from evil, freedom for all people to live eternally for God…that’s right the Army of the Lord. If you have not joined this army, it is never too late to do so. Come on board, you are welcomed.
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
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June 21, 2017
 
Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NRSV)
11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church Family,
 
Jeremiah the prophet delivered a message to the people of Israel when they were exiled into Babylon.  Because of their sinfulness the Lord told them they were to be subjugated under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar and they would be so for seventy years. It was the beginning of the rule Babylon would have over those who were exiled. Things looked really bleak for them. They were subjected to mistreatment, pagan gods, a foreign land, and new rule. But God loved the Israelites even though they were sinful and God prophesied to them through Jeremiah.  Yes, the people were to endure tough times ahead. Seventy years of separation from their homes, friends, family, familiar surroundings. Yes, they would have to live out their punishment, but
God promised them that when the time was over, and if the people sought Him out with all of their hearts, open and true, God would bring them back. God had a plan for them, but they had to have a change of heart and a change of behavior, and God would hear them.  This is good news for us. When we find ourselves in the bleakest moment, days, weeks or even
years in our lives, if we have led sinful lives or done sinful things, God is never far from us. All God asks is for us to repent, turn to Him, ask forgiveness truly, and God will answer us and deliver us from all that holds us captive. Change your heart and change your character. Then seek
God’s favor and God will deliver you, free you up from all unrighteousness. God has a plan for you! Trust and believe.
 
Love in Christ,
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
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June 7, 2017
 
Dear Paw Creek Church Family,
Pentecost is upon us. We celebrate and commemorate the Jewish feast wherein the disciples of Christ received the Holy Spirit. It is time of great joy. Jesus was now seated at the right hand of God and now the promised Holy Spirit , the third person of the Trinity would reign in the hearts and minds of human-kind. We who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, are recipients of the power and with joy and boldness are called forth to do great works. May the spirit of the season bring you into new and exciting spaces, open you up to bright futures in Christ and fill you anew with joy and great love.
In Christ,
Rev. Veronica Cannon
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May 24, 2017
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church Family, Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. This past week has been a doozy. In the world, a bomb exploded in Manchester England at the end of a concert and around twenty teenagers were killed and many more injured. In our country, there is much discussion on the interference of another country’s engagement in our election and the possible collusion of some of our government officials being involved with them. There is way too much partisan political unrest. There is much violence happening in our state, in our city. There is unrest in our citizenry because of racism and sexism. We cannot turn on the television without being confronted by disturbing or sad news. In our church, we have had loved ones hospitalized or still recovering at home. Even I personally feel despair at times deep within. I wonder will there be no end to this needless noise of pain and discontent. Our people, O God are suffering. Is there joy anywhere? Sometimes it feels like there is none. That is until I am reminded of Jesus. How he suffered, not just physically on the cross at the end of His earthly life, but the suffering he had because of us. God’s creation. How we squander the gifts of God and use them for evil or to hurt others. God incarnate witnessed the absolute worst in us. How He must have despaired seeing us wasting our potential on bickering and backstabbing and fighting and positioning ourselves against one another. That is not what God intends for us. God intends joy for us. But where do we find it? Begin by looking in the playroom of your souls.
 
Rev. Tony Evans tells this story: Someone came up with a great concept—putting playrooms in doctors’ offices. Many parents bring their kids to the doctor because they are sick and they need the doctor to see them. The playrooms are designed to distract the children from the pain of their problem until their problem gets fixed. The playroom gives them joy in a bad situation. That’s the way God works. Even though things may not be going the way we want them to be on the outside, God has designed a “playroom” in our soul. In the midst of our circumstances, His joy can distract us from our pain or discomfort, until He makes provision for our change or healing.
 
Isn’t that good news? Look inward, to your soul’s playground. Commune with God for a time. Let your cares melt away for a time in God’s playroom. Find your joy, find your peace. And may God bless you as you serve in His name.
 
I live for the cross,
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
 
 
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May 10, 2017

Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church Family,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I am taking a week of vacation this week.  I am not doing anything special, not going anywhere in particular.  I am really going to take this week to rest some.  As I reflect upon this week and upon the message I wish to share with you, it revolves around the theme and importance of rest. 

One of the Ten Commandments speaks of keeping Sabbath.  This is the type of rest I plan to have this week.  A Sabbath week.  It is not a time to sit and do nothing, to lay in bed or sit and watch TV.  No, it is a time of communing with God, being with family and friends and doing what one enjoys.  It is a time of singing and dancing, a time of praying, a time of listening and for me, discerning.  It is as active rest.  I encourage all of you to find Sabbath moments, to enjoy family and friends and time with God.  To break bread together and sing together and to find those moments alone to reflect and discern God’s leading.

May God walk with you and carry you when needed.  May you find joy and much laughter for your souls.  May you seek and find the peace that God provides and enjoy one another.  May you find rest in your weariness.  May the love of God surround you.

I live for the cross,

Rev. Veronica E. Cannon

 
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April 26, 2017
 
Psalm 84:1-12 (NRSV) 1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Selah 5 Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion. 8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed. 10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O LORD of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church family, I love Psalms. They are prayers that always bring comfort or joy or peace. This Psalm is one that brings joy. It gives to God what is due: praise and honor. In God’s presence is where we find joy. In God we gain strength. In God, the upright, the faithful find favor and honor. The Lord gives good things (not material things) to those who trust in God. God is great and greatly to be praised. May you find comfort in this Psalm, joy in your heart and peace in your faithfulness to the Creator. Amen and Amen.
 
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
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April 12, 2017
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church,
I read the following poem on a friend’s Facebook page this past week:
“later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?
it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.”
I could not help thinking how appropriate this poem by Warsan Shire is for Holy Week. We live in a world that is hurting and broken. War is breaking in many parts of the universe. Men are dying, children are starving, women are being abused, parents are unable to support families, jobs are being lost, houses are being foreclosed, our enemies are gaining strength, fear is at an all-time high.
If I could borrow from her poem and add to it, this is what my spirit hears:
God whispers, “where does it hurt?”
Creation cries, “Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.”
Then God says “Remember”
Creation cries “Remember what?”
God says “Not what but who. Remember my Son, Jesus the Christ.”
Creation says, “What has he done?”
God says “He died to save.”
Creation shouts, “Who did he save?”
God cries, “Everyone, everyone, everyone.”
This week we remember Jesus Christ and His saving grace. By His stripes we are healed. By His blood we are redeemed. By His power over sin and death, we are made free. By His sacrifice, we have life eternal. Praise be to God, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
I live for the cross,
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
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March 29, 2017
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church,
 
I was reading the Lectionary for today, and one of the readings came from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel. It was the story where an angel of the Lord brought Ezekiel to the Temple of God and showed him a trickle of water that flowed from the temple east toward the Arabah Sea. The angel took Ezekiel on a walk along the bank of the river to the Arabah. As they walked the water went from ankle deep to waist high depth to the point where Ezekiel would have to swim to cross. The angel pulled his attention to all of the growth and life that teemed all around them. Water of life flowed from the temple and became a great well spring of life. It is all due to the source of the water; God. God is the source of our lives. From our God source flows the river of life that runs through each of us. When we are open, receptive to the source of this water, we too teem with life and growth abounds, surrounding us with we need to survive and thrive. And when we walk along the banks of life, we will admire the new landscape that God carves out and gives to us for our enjoyment. All praise be to God for God’s life giving source of water and power. Amen.
 
I live for the cross,
 
Rev. Veronica E. Cannon
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March 15, 2017

 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church Family,

 

Blessing.  It is a word that means happy or helped by God.  It could also mean approval or that which is said over food.  I have often used this word of blessing myself, usually as it pertains to being helped by God or even as that which is said over food before eating.   I have also understood a blessing to be something you never keep to yourself, but that you share with others around you and beyond you.  If God has helped me, that it is important for me to use that help to help others. 

 

Interestingly enough, I recently read an article on line from a man who teaches leadership skills to corporations and make a decent living doing so.  The article is entitled “The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying: Let’s retire this phrase immediately, and say what we really mean to say instead.” 

He is referring to the use of the word blessing in relationship to material belongings.  He said people should not say “I just bought a house, I am blessed.  I just got a new car, I am blessed.”  We should rather say “I am grateful.”  He believes that when people say I am blessed because I have this job or some material thing, we reduce God to heavenly fairy who grants our every wish.  It is also plain wrong.  God does not prosper people because they have done some great or wonderful thing.  That would be prosperity theology: God blesses you because of something you have done and if others would just do likewise they would receive these blessings.

 

I also do not believe in prosperity theology.  God does not bless us more because we give to the church or we treat others with kindness or sow seed into a particular ministry.  But I do believe that God blesses us to be blessings to others.  God helps us to help others.  So, God may bless us with a house or a car or a job.  But we are to use them to glorify God and help someone else.  Use your car to take someone to the doctor, or shopping for groceries.  Use your house to hold Bible studies or mission stations.  Use the income from your job to help those less fortunate or use your job to help others get work.  Material blessings should not be used for personal consumption or personal good alone.  Be a blessing to someone else. 

 

Use the blessing of your body to help others who may need you.  Your eyes to help a blind person get around, your hands to reach out to someone who needs comfort, your feet to take you to places to carry out ministry, your ears to listen to the concerns of your fellow people. 

But if you really want to know who Jesus considers the blessed among us, read Matthew 5: 3-12.

 

Jesus, in Matthew 5, also gives us some instruction on who the blessed are.  God helps, blesses us, when we are poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted.  In this life we may be torn asunder, but we will receive the blessings of God in the life everlasting.  Our reward will come, so in the meantime just rejoice and be glad.

 

Matthew 5:3-12 (MSG)

3  “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. 4  “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. 5  “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. 6  “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. 7  “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘careful,’ you find yourselves cared for. 8  “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. 9  “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. 10  “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. 11  “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. 12  You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

 

Daily we receive blessings from God.  Accept them and use them to God’s glory.

 

I live for the cross!

Rev. Veronica E. Cannon

 

 
 
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February 15, 2017
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church,
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NRSV)
18 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.
19 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Being held captive is never a good thing. Being unable to leave a situation or a place can be devastating. We think of captivity as being imprisoned behind bars or captivity as being captured by an enemy of war and held in a prison camp. In the passage of Scripture from Isaiah, the chil-dren of Israel had been taken captive by the Babylonians, and God, through the prophet Isaiah, told the people to hold on. God was about to do a new thing. God was going to move and re-deem the people from captivity and free them to go out. The people had suffered long enough due to their sin and God was going to deliver on God’s promise to them.
It is no different with us today. We may not be under the heavy hand of oppression by another nation, but many of us held captive. Some of us are held captive in unproductive jobs, in un-loving relationships or marriages, in life circumstances, in bad health, in our minds, to drugs or alcohol.
To you, God is saying, hold on. God is about to do a new thing. God is going to free you from whatever holds you captive. Only turn to God. Stop turning to others who have no power to free you; moving to stop turning to idols that do nothing. Give your attention to God.
God is doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? God is leading us into a bright and joyous future. God is opening pathways of communication and pathways of hope and pathways of ser-vice. Do you not perceive it? The river of God’s life flowing stream is running through the veins of our church. Through God’s life we are given life. Do you not perceive it?
In our church, the children are singing and getting active. The youth are growing deeper in faith and remain active in the community. The Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) is working hard in ward your next called pastor, the mission committee is seeking and providing more op-portunities for you to serve, the Fellowship committee is gearing up for opportunities for you to spend time together, the Congregational Care Committee is developing more precise ways to engage with and communicate with you. The session and staff will be having a retreat, focused upon church growth. The music program in our church continues to provide uplifting and meaningful music. God is breathing new life in Paw Creek, the church on the hill, a light to the community, a spiritual haven for lost souls. God is moving in your life, in your homes, and in your church. God never stopped moving. Do you not perceive it? No more captivity. You are being freed indeed.
I live for the cross!
Rev. Veronica E. Cannon
 
 
 
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February 1, 2017
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church,
Over the past few weeks, our country and indeed the world has undergone and or been affected by a great deal of change. Some of us are jubilant over the changes that have come upon us, and others of us are absolutely afraid.
This is not the time to gloat nor is it the time to fear. Listen, we are all brothers and sisters, creat-ed by God. We are one in the same, part of the human family, yet we are different based on where we live, how we are raised, what we believe or don’t believe and the list goes on.
It is easy to fear what we do not understand or refuse to try to understand. This has caused a great ripple in the world. But fear is not of God.
Scripture offers many examples and states many times to FEAR NOT. Fear is an instrument of the evil one and Satan will use fear to turn brother against brother and sister against sister. We fear what we do not understand or what we do not agree with. But we cannot let fear rule our lives.
From Isaiah 35:4 (NRSV) “4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.”
From the Gospel of John, Jesus says “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
From Joshua 1:9 (NRSV) “9 I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
And from Psalm 23:4 (NRSV) “4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.”
There are many other Scriptures that speak to the notion of having no fear. We should all heed these words.
Fear causes people to turn on other people, to turn their backs on people and to hate people. You can look at our political climate and see fear coming out of this administration, fear coming out of our country, fear coming out of the people protesting in the streets and it is tearing us apart.
Families are divided over fear, friendships are stressed over fear, actions are taken out of fear.
But our God whom we serve says FEAR NOT. For I AM with you. God is with us. Rejoice if you feel the desire to rejoice, it is your choice. Fight for what you think is right, that is also your choice, but do not fear. God is with us. So, no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, the circum-stance, your feelings or misgivings or jubilance, GOD IS WITH US. Believe that!
God will be the One who rights the wrongs, who makes the everlasting change that really counts. So trust that if nothing else. Peace be with you all!
I live for the cross!
Rev. Veronica E. Cannon
 
 
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January 18, 2017
 
In times of uncertainty, anxiety builds and people can become dismayed. This can be
exasperated even more when we take our eyes off of God and spend more time focused
on problems and issues. We see this in our world, where war rages and families are torn
asunder because of it. We see this in our nation, where the political climate is distressed
and people are uncertain about the future. We at Paw Creek see it here as the search for
your next pastor is underway.
We live in uncertain times and many are filled with apprehension.
But thanks be to God, because the One who created the world and formed it and gave
us life, God has never forgotten us. God is still in control calls us to a sense of calm and
reassurance.
From the Book of Isaiah 51:3 (NRSV) Scripture reads:
3 For the LORD will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will
make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and
gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
The children of Israel were in captivity. They were full of despair, uncertain about the
future. The Jews had withstood great hardship and crushing suffering. But through the
prophet Isaiah, God sent them a message of hope. God told them to remain steadfast
in their faith and to continue to follow. God wanted them to know that their captivity
would be turned to freedom, that their suffering would end and they would be
comforted.
Whatever stress, anxiety you are experience today, listen to the Lord and follow God’s
guidance. Whatever holds you captive, be it circumstance or sin or life lessons, turn it
over to God and God will be your comfort during times of distress, your anchor in the
storm. Joy and gladness will be found in you and thanksgiving in your voice as you sing
your song. Thanks be to God. And may it be so.
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
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January 4, 2017

Dear Paw Creek,

Here’s to you and wishing you the happiest in this new year! Wow, it is 2017 and what an exciting year this will be. On January 11, 2017 we will begin Bible study again. Please come. It is a time to learn more about Christ and understand who God is an what God plans for those who follow and love Him. The youth and children have excited things planned for the Wednesday evening programming to teach them the Bible and to learn more of what it means to be a Christian, how to serve the people of God and how to do it with joy. Please know that the youth pro-gram and the children program are growing and getting stronger. If you have an opportunity to come out and volunteer your services to God to these ministries, you can always contact Evie Landrau the youth director and Victoria Krebs, the children’s director.

There are a few changes this year as well. We have added to the session a new committee, the Fellowship committee. It will be chaired by Beth Joy and you will hear more about it and the work her committee will do in the coming weeks. You will also have ample opportunity to step up and help out as well, both individually and collectively.

Opportunities abound to use your God given talents throughout the church. If you love Christian Education, consider becoming part of the Christian Ed committee. If you love planning for worship, consider your gifts and join the Worship Committee. If you love dealing with finance, consider joining the finance committee. If you have a passion for mission ( the heart of the church) then please join up with the Mission Committee. There are so many opportunities for YOU to live into the talents that God has given you. Your church needs you and God is calling you as you are part of this body to step up and step into God’s Work here at Paw Creek.

Paw Creek Presbyterian Church is the church you love, the church you want to see grow and prosper. Well, YOU are Paw Creek and its sustainability lies within each and everyone of you. So, as you make your New Year Resolutions, resolve to support your church, Paw Creek, with time, your talent, and your money. Your church needs you to survive and prosper.

2 Chronicles 7:14-15 (NRSV) 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.

Let us pray that God will open God’s eyes and ears and be attentive to our prayers.

Happy New Year. This promises to be a good one.

Rev. Veronica Cannon

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December 21, 2016
 

Merry Christmas to you. The birth of Christ is highly celebrated throughout the Christian community at this time of year. It should be. The birth of Christ, God becoming flesh is a really big deal. We have all heard the Christmas story. Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to be counted in the consensus. When they arrive there is no room in the inn. Mary goes into labor and the only place to give birth is in a stable with smelly animals and the only clothing, swaddling or binding cloths. The bed for our Savior, a trough. But I want us to appreciate how special and difficult this was for the mother of the Christ child. Again, you know the story, but do you appreciate how special this story really is?
In the year of our Lord 1990, I traveled from Maryland to Los Angeles, California with my husband and two young sons to attend my youngest sister’s wedding. We traveled by air. I had a comfortable seat, food services, a bathroom, if needed and the ability to lay back and rest if I desired. When we arrived, we were picked up in a car and taken to my oldest sisters house where other family had also gathered. We were going to be there for only a few days. I was Vera’s ma-tron of honor. Did I mention I was also pregnant? Yep…nearly eight months. My doctor would not let me stay for even a week because this was my third child, and they had a tendency to come early by about a week and they came quickly. He did not want me to be away from home for too long. But we traveled there and back safely and my daughter Rosalynn was born six weeks later. So why did I tell you that story? To really appreciate what Mary endured to give birth to Jesus.

From Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 70 miles. Over mountainous terrain you could add another twenty miles. Mary traveled by donkey back, not an airline. She was nine months pregnant with her first child. Her husband led the donkey by foot over some pretty rough and ragged terrain. That journey took about a week to make. Think about the toll this had on Mary. With constant bathroom breaks and needs to rest, to get off that donkey to walk a bit only to climb back upon its back to continue the journey. She is ready to give birth at any time and then they finally arrive in Bethlehem. I am certain she looked forward to a bed to rest upon, an opportunity to have a hot meal perhaps, to be away from that animal. Then they find there are no rooms available and Mary goes into labor. The only place available? A stable? More animals? No comfortable bed? Exactly. A very tired Mary and Joseph arrive to register for the consensus, and the only place to rest was a stable among cows and lambs and sheep and maybe a camel or two. And it is there that she lays on straw and gives birth to a King, the Savior of the world, the Messiah, anointed by God to be our salvation. Christ was born after a long strenuous journey, under very humble conditions, and became the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. What a gift to Mary. What a gift to us all. If never there was a reason to celebrate, this one was and is. What a metaphor for life right? We may have a tough journey, and the road to salvation may not always be smooth flying, but the gift of salvation is well worth it all.

Merry Christmas to you all.
Rev. Veronica Cannon
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December 7, 2016
 
Merry Christmas! This is a greeting that you will hear and deliver to many people you meet both stranger and friend alike. And for most people, it is a merry time of year when we remember the Christ Child’s birth. There will be worship services and sing-a-longs. There will be dinner parties and the joy of breaking bread together. There will be baking and shopping and visiting with fam-ily and friends far and near. There will be traveling and staying put. All sorts of wonderment will accompany this most wonderful time of the year. I say rejoice and be glad in it. Remember those also for whom this time of year is most difficult, who do not get enjoyment or pleasure from this season. Remember those for whom this season is wrought with stress and worry and concern. Remember those families for whom Christmas will not mean gifts under a tree or a nice turkey dinner at the table. Remember to pray for all of God’s children for whom this day means sadness and if you are able spread a little joy in their direction. Let them know of the joy of the Christ child and that his birth brings unspeakable joy because of Emmanuel, God with us!
 
Luke 2:8-14 (NRSV)
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
 
My all your days be merry and filled with the light of Christ. Merry Christmas.
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
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November 23, 2016
 
Happy Thanksgiving! This week people all around the United States will be gathering together to break bread and share time. Men and women, boys and girls will say that for which they are thankful. Some will have turkey, dressing, macaroni and cheese, beans, sweet potatoes, pies, cakes, hot buttered rolls, tea or lemonade. Some will watch football, others will play family tag football. Some will play games, others will tell stories, share memories and spend laughter. These are indeed things for which to be grateful. I will spend time with my husband and chil-dren. We will share a less traditional meal (it’s what they want), play games, and I am sure laugh a lot. I will worship at Paw Creek giving praise to God and thanking God along with many of you for God’s great bounty. It is all good.

But there will be many for whom Thanksgiving will not be a time of thankfulness. Some will spend the day alone and treat it like every other day; nothing special. Some will be in a restaurant eating alone. Some will just be lonely. There will be no laughter, no games, no fun, no good memories to share.

So, I am asking, if you know someone who may not have family or friends, who may spend the day alone, think of inviting them to your home, give them space to be a part of your life and make memories with you. Share your meal, share your laughter, share your fun. Give someone the opportunity to be thankful for you and your kindness. It may not mean a lot to you, but may make the world of difference to someone.
My desire for you is to be grateful all your days and to share your love and life with as many other people as you can. Happy Thanksgiving!

I live for the cross.

Rev. Veronica Cannon

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November 9, 2016
 
Be happy people. God has enriched our lives and gives us meaning. He has provided us
with the best families, the best friends, the best that life has to offer. Do you see it? Be happy
people. God has stretched out God’s hand and covers us with love and grace and peace.
When we have been unlovable, God loved, when we have been unkind, God’s grace
abounds, when we were in turmoil, God granted us peace. Do you feel it? Be happy people.
God has moved hearts and minds to bend to His Will and allows us to discover the best in
ourselves. When we direct our thoughts and actions to doing our own thing to benefit ourselves,
God moves in mighty ways through us. Do you conceive it? Be happy people.
 
Life is way too short to be otherwise.
 
Peace in Christ,
Veronica
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October 26, 2016
 
Don’t focus on what was. Look forward to what can be, and then do all you can to make it a reality. Life is what you make of it, and the challenges that come your way are just opportunities to right what is wrong. Don’t get discouraged, and don’t give up. You have it all inside yourself, and you can overcome anything if you put your mind to it. – Paula Michele Adams
 

I read this reading from the book entitled A Daybook of Gratitude. How to Live Each Day with a Thankful Heart. Living each day with a thankful heart is a beautiful thing to do. It helps us to recognize that which is in our circle, our space, and to see how God is blessing and continues to bless us. It helps us to see the people around us and value them for the gifts of God they share with us. It helps us to appreciate all that God is. But I will admit, that there are days when this seems an impossibility. When ugliness in someone’s attitude darkens your lighted path, it is hard to see the light for the shadow. But seek the light anyway. Hard, but keep trying. When people disappoint you because they claim a love of God and yet spew hate toward you, it is hard to hold on to love. But love anyway. When people gossip about you behind your back, spreading un- truths, it is hard to stand in the midst of them. Stand anyway. Nothing worth having is ever easy.

And when you can live thankfully for the ugliness, the disappointments, the gossip and untruths, your character is built and your resolve is strengthened. Turn a challenge into a possibility. And when things still do not pan out, pray for God to show you new opportunities for which to be thankful. Ask God to bring people into your life whom you can appreciate and who appreciate you. Find the joy and keep it in your life. If it’s not your circus, don’t take their monkeys. Learn the lessons that life is teaching you and move on. Put God in the center of your life, and God will lead your path. Just be thankful for the path. Everywhere that God leads you and brings you is a place in which to be thankful.

In Christ,
Rev. Veronica E. Cannon
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October 12, 2016
 
As I reflect upon this life of ours as members of the body of Christ, and I think upon all of the ill will that plagues our world, our country, our community, our church, I can easily despair. But I choose a different path. I ask you to join me as we each, individually find ways to widen our circle of influence in positive and decisive ways. Each of us has an opportunity to influence good, to influence well-being, to influence love and joy. It is done by our words and actions. IN moments when we are unable to find the strength to do change our words and actions to reflect the grace of God, I encourage you to pray. I recently came upon a familiar prayer that reminds me again of the power of prayer and how that which we ask of God can be made manifest in our lives. It is a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. I share this prayer with you now. May it be so.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is dark- ness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be under- stood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

In Christ,
Rev. Veronica Cannon

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September 28, 2016
 
Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church,
 
I would like to give you another update on things that are happening in the church.
First, congratulations to the newly elected Elders of Paw Creek Presbyterian Church for the class of
2019. Please extend your words of affirmation to Jon Kenley, Victoria Krebs, Amy McGee, Melissa
Mullis, David Padgett, Joy Tyler, and Barbara Ullem. We will begin our twelve hours of training
beginning in October and finishing in November. After a written examination at the end of the
training, the newly elected officers will be ordained (if not previously ordained) and installed to of-
fice. The newly elected officers will be ready to hit the ground running in January.
Please remember to thank the Nominating Committee (Eddie McArver, Donna Hall, Peggy Harring-
ton, Grady Cathey, Ken Scott – Chair, and Robin Wodarski for all of their hard work in getting this
important work done. But they are not quite done yet.
 
Second, the Nominating Committee is still hard at work for you Paw Creek. They are beginning the
second charge of their work in getting a slate of names together of individuals to sit on the Pastor
Nominating Committee. During the month of September, they have been receiving names from the
congregation of those individuals who would like to sit on the Pastor Nominating Committee. The
Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) will need to consist of a cross section of the congregation as
to be representative of the congregation. There will be a committee of five. The same process will
be followed as it was for the class of Elder. The committee will confirm with individuals their desire
to serve on the PNC, perform interviews with each agreed participant, develop a slate of names and
will present the congregation with that slate of names on which to vote.
 
We have sent letters out to all members who have not been active here in the last year to confirm
their membership as to meet that requirement from Presbytery. This information needs to be as
accurate as possible as this will go on the Mission Information Form (MIF) that the PNC will fill out
about the church.
 
You will hear more in the coming future as we move further in this process. You may be called up-
on to help out with the mission study that needs to be completed; I hope you will consider volun-
teering to do this work. Some has already been done.
 
We are moving ever forward in finding the next man or woman of God to lead this congregation.
Stay in prayer through this process. We are getting there.
 
In the name of Jesus Christ,
Veronica Cannon
 
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September 14, 2016
 
2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (NRSV)
6
So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are
away from the Lord
7
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
8
Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the
Lord.
9
So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
 
Live the Christian life. Okay. So what exactly is living the Christian life? If we look at this passage
of Scripture from 2nd Corinthians verse 7, it gives us the prescription for doing so. Walk by faith and
not by sight. In so doing we please the Lord. Our aim in life should be pleasing the Lord. Walking
in faith is the way to accomplish this aim. But what does that mean? It means different things to
different people, because walking in faith is individual. However, walking in faith does require us to
move with confidence in this world, relying upon God for guidance and leadership. It means not
relying upon what we see before us as an absolute for right living. We are human and therefore falli-
ble. And what we see can always be changed or moved by the power of God. You see a brick wall
before you and think there is no way I can get through that wall. It is brick, it is high, it is impenetra-
ble. That is what you see. But God says approach the wall anyway. Move toward it, you will get
through. We see a brick wall, God sees a way through. So you approach the wall and realize there is
a spot that is crumbling, weak. You push on the weak spot and it crumbles to the ground. You walk
through to the other side. That is walking by faith and not by sight. Put your trust in God first and
God will remove obstacles from your path. That includes doubts, fears, people, strongholds, and
even sin. Walk with the confidence of God and watch God remove earthly strongholds and make a
way for you.
 
Blessings,
Veronica Cannon
 
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August 31, 2016
 
In my daily devotional reading, I came across one that really speaks to me. It deals with having time of solitude. Slices of solitude allow us to renew and reflect and transform as we enter into ourselves and do the necessary work of gunk removal so that God can fill us with internal peace and joy. Slic-es of solitude allow us to enter into prayer without distraction. We can focus our attention upon God. Spend time listening as God reveals to us The Almighty’s plan. From Charles Swindoll’s book
Wisdom for the Way, one of the readings from Intimacy with the Almighty
says solitude is “an oasis of the soul where we see ourselves, others, and especially our God in new ways. It is where much of the clutter of life is identified and exterminated, thanks to the merciless heat of the furnace. Soul surgery transpires as serenity replaces anxiety”. This speaks to my soul and I hope to yours as well. You know, even Jesus took times of solitude and prayer to spend with God. We all need our tanks refu-eled. I encourage you to find your solitude. If you cannot get away for a time of quiet solitude, look for a time in your day or night to spend with God alone. Just you and our Creator talking things over and seeking direction for you. May you be blessed in that journey.
 
In Christ,
Veronica Cannon
 
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August 17, 2016
 

In my efforts to be forthcoming and transparent with you, I am giving you an update today on where we

currently stand in the process of calling your next pastor. We have held four town hall meetings held by

me and then I requested the Presbytery of Charlotte to come for a fifth town hall meeting to answer

questions and hear concerns that some of you still have. I have completed the report from the four town

hall meetings I conducted and that information is now available to give to the PNC when it is formed. I

would want to express my thanks to all who participated in the town hall meetings. Your voice was heard

and is included in the report. As far as a timeline for where we stand in the process, it is recorded below.

The timeline is also part of my report from the town hall meetings. You will note that in September, the

Nominating Committee will begin taking names of members who desire to serve on the Pastor Nominating

Committee. (With go ahead from Presbytery. I do not anticipate a problem with this) If you desire

to serve on the committee or someone gives your name to serve, the nominating committee will contact

you to confirm your desire to serve in that capacity. The nominating committee will come up with a slate

of names representative of the entire congregation. When that slate of names is complete, the session

will call a meeting of the congregation to vote on said slate. The Presbytery of Charlotte will send someone

in to train the PNC on its scope of work and the newly formed PNC will begin its work. I would

ask that you begin praying now that God will act in the hearts and minds of those who will serve on the

PNC to be discerning and faithful in this work as it is serious business in considering who will next lead

Paw Creek Presbyterian Church. The work is a time commitment and will require full participation from

all involved. So begin praying now. As I have said before, and believe in my heart, God has already chosen

your next pastor. He or she does not yet know it. But in God’s timing they will know and so will

you and you will together form a long and lasting relationship. I pray you God speed.

Peace in Christ,

Veronica Cannon
 
Tentative Timeline:
 

May 21st

Nominating Committee training – complete
 

June – July

Begin taking names for candidate for nomination for office of elder – in process
 

August

Begin interviews of candidates.

Consider needs of the session.

Period of prayer and discernment of candidates.
 

September

Present slate of names to Session.

Session calls a congregational meeting

Congregation votes on slate of names

Nominating Committee begins taking names for members interested in serving on Pastor Nominating

Committee (upon approval of Committee on Ministry – COM)
 

October

Officer Training for newly elected Elders – 6 weeks

Examination of newly elected Elders

If the nominating committee has completed taking names of members to serve on the Pastor Nominating

Committee, Session will call a congregational meeting.
 

November or December

Ordination and Installation of newly elected Elders

Congregation votes on slate of names for Pastor Nominating Committee

Pastor Nominating Committee receives training from Committee on Ministry and begins their work

as outlined above.
 
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August 3, 2016
 

Dear Paw Creek Presbyterian Church Family,

Last week as I was taking my morning walk/run, I looked up at the sky and saw the sun’s rays coming through the clouds. I then began to take in the beauty that was all around me. The flowering trees, the flowers, the green grass, the stillness that was this morning. People were not yet up and about, and things were quiet and still. I wanted to cry. I began to think about God and how awesome are God’s great wonders. And this passage of Scripture came to mind,

“Psalm 46:10 (NRSV)

10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”

Be still. Be silent. Be quiet. Be stationary. And know that I am God. God, Creator, Sustainer, Ruler, Our Defense. Know God, the Great I Am.

I thought of God and great and wonderful God is. To know God is to know stillness, peace, silence. And if God is to be exalted among the nations and in the earth, then there is much work to be done. But, I don’t need to rush ahead of God, I need to wait on God to speak and move and be ready always to lift the name of God through Jesus Christ His Son. God is to be exalted above the nations and in the earth. God has this. God has me. God has you. God has this nation. God has this world.

In the ever shifting sands of this world, our nation, our communities, our churches and our homes, it becomes really easy to get caught up in the winds that blow to and fro and the ground that shakes back and forth. We so easily lose sight of what is most important. God.

In our world, we are asked and called to remember that we are at war with a force of evil by the name of ISIS. And we are afraid and running wild. In our nation, we are asked and called to remember that there is a divide between races of people and creeds and ethnic groups. In our communities, we are asked and called to look upon the divide between blue/black/white. In our church, we are asked and called to remember that we STILL do not have a called pastor in place, and time is ever fleeting. In our homes, we are asked and called to remember that for some of us we are lonely or sad or unhealthy or divorced or troubled by family members or circumstance. Such doom and gloom; fear and unease.

When I got home from my walk/run, I looked at the Psalm 46 in its entirety. And I read these wonderful words.

Psalm 46:1-11 (NRSV) 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Yes, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, I will not fear. I will not worry. God is in control. I will be still and know God. There is room here for you to join me. Be still. No fear, no worries. Know God.

In Christ,

Veronica

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July 20, 2016
 

Psalm 67:1-7 (NRSV)

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah

2 that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon

earth. Selah

5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.

7 May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.
 

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved the Psalms. They are so poetic and beautiful and have always been

a source of comfort for me. Whether I am distressed or confident, in need of deliverance or in need to

praise God, the Psalms always have something upon which to lean. In the past weeks, there has been much

distress in our country and indeed the world. Today, I needed to hear a Word from the Lord that could be

my offering of praise to God. So, I share Psalm 67 with you that you may also offer praise and ask God’s

blessings to reign and rain upon you.
 

As one commentator puts it:

Whatever the circumstances of our lives, God is God and He is worthy of our praise. He loves us and has

made a covenant with us through the blood of His only Son, whom He gave to die for our sins. May we

learn to praise Him at all times, in trials and triumphs, in burdens and blessings, in gains and losses, in good

and bad!
 

Praise be to our God who reigns forever!

In Christ,

Veronica Cannon

 
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July 6, 2016
I received an e-mail today, Tuesday July 5, from a book publisher. One of the books being promoted is a book by William H. Willimon entitled
Fear of the Other: No Fear In Love
.
In this no non-sense book, reliable spiritual guide, Will Willimon, invites readers to consider the gospel command to love (and not merely tolerate) those considered to be Other or outside mainstream Christian culture. Rooted in the faith of Israel and the Christian story and vision, Willimon brings a Wesleyan perspective to bear on what may be the hardest thing for people of faith to do: keeping and loving the “Other” as they are – without any need for them to become like us.

Emphasizing biblical teaching to receive Others for who they are and their differences as gifts and mysteries bearing the grace of God, Willimon also offers a strong critique of the privileged who all too often rush to speak of reconciliation and evade the injustice of huge inequalities faced by foreigners and strangers – as well as the antagonism the stranger experiences. He identifies concrete, everyday ways persons are formed in welcoming others without annihilating their differences.

This is of course a book that I am likely to read. But that is not the point of this article from me.

I am intrigued by this thought of “other”. Who is “other” among us, and how do we treat “other” in our context. The more I thought about this, the more I began to realize that WE are “other”. Look, here is the definition of other. 1)used to refer to a person or thing that is different or distinct from one already mentioned or known about. 2) view or treat (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself. The second definite is “other” as a verb…interesting.

We often think of “other” as someone of a different race, different socio-economic background, different culture, different accent, different theology, different country, different “whatever” (Thanks Karen Cathey). We look at others who are different from us in whatever way we see them and for some reason, those differences bring about fear in many of us. So often in our context, we look at difference as deficient instead of difference as just that…difference. For this, and a myriad other reasons, we are instilled with fear. But God does not give us a spirit of fear. So where does this come from? And more importantly, how do we begin to overcome it?

When I worked for Bank of America some years ago, the bank recognized that there were some pretty big divides among many people who worked in the bank. They began an initiative where bank employees were strongly encouraged to have lunch with someone “other” than themselves. The results for many were staggering. People actually began to communicate and got to know each other in new and exciting ways and for some, lasting friendships were born.

Is it possible that getting over the FEAR of knowing “other” might be as simple as conversation, spending time together, listening, sharing the common bond of humanity? Is it possible that our differences might actually be sufficient, abounding in abundance? Is it possible that we might learn from others as they learn from us? Is it possible to love others as God loves us? After all we are “other” to someone too.

In Christ,

Veronica Cannon

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June 22, 2016
 
In her devotional book Jesus Calling, Sarah Young for June 21 wrote:
 
Wait patiently with me while I bless you.  Don’t rush into My Presence with time-consciousness gnawing at your mind.  I dwell in timelessness: I Am, I was and I will always be.  For you, time is a protection; you’re a frail creature who can handle only twenty four hour segments of life.  Time can also be a tyrant, ticking away relentlessly in your mind.  Learn to master time, or it will be your master.  Though you are a time bound creature, seek to meet Me in timelessness.  As you focus on My Presence, the demands of time and tasks will diminish.  I will bless you and keep you, making My Face shine upon you graciously, giving you peace.  Micah 7:7; Revelation 1:8; Numbers 6:24-26 
 
In a day and age amid much going and coming, amid much running around, take some of your busy time and spend it with God.  We fill our lives with doing THINGS, and forget to just BE.  Be present with God, be present friends, be present with family.  Master that time and you will be master over your life with God’s help.  We live this life we have one time.  We can spend it on a hamster’s wheel going nowhere, being with no one; or we can jump off, take time to take in the beauty that is God’s and share it with others.  Take time to observe your surroundings, talk with God and just see what the Lord will show you.  You will find more time, more time in peace and joy!  What a gift that is from our Lord.  Take time with God and God will bless you in His timelessness.  Now is the time.
 
Rev. Veronica Cannon
December 7, 2016
 
Merry Christmas! This is a greeting that you will hear and deliver to many people you meet both stranger and friend alike. And for most people, it is a merry time of year when we remember the Christ Child’s birth. There will be worship services and sing-a-longs. There will be dinner parties and the joy of breaking bread together. There will be baking and shopping and visiting with fam-ily and friends far and near. There will be traveling and staying put. All sorts of wonderment will accompany this most wonderful time of the year. I say rejoice and be glad in it. Remember those also for whom this time of year is most difficult, who do not get enjoyment or pleasure from this season. Remember those for whom this season is wrought with stress and worry and concern. Remember those families for whom Christmas will not mean gifts under a tree or a nice turkey dinner at the table. Remember to pray for all of God’s children for whom this day means sadness and if you are able spread a little joy in their direction. Let them know of the joy of the Christ child and that his birth brings unspeakable joy because of Emmanuel, God with us!
 
Luke 2:8-14 (NRSV)
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
 
My all your days be merry and filled with the light of Christ. Merry Christmas!
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
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December 7, 2016
 
Merry Christmas! This is a greeting that you will hear and deliver to many people you meet both stranger and friend alike. And for most people, it is a merry time of year when we remember the Christ Child’s birth. There will be worship services and sing-a-longs. There will be dinner parties and the joy of breaking bread together. There will be baking and shopping and visiting with fam-ily and friends far and near. There will be traveling and staying put. All sorts of wonderment will accompany this most wonderful time of the year. I say rejoice and be glad in it. Remember those also for whom this time of year is most difficult, who do not get enjoyment or pleasure from this season. Remember those for whom this season is wrought with stress and worry and concern. Remember those families for whom Christmas will not mean gifts under a tree or a nice turkey dinner at the table. Remember to pray for all of God’s children for whom this day means sadness and if you are able spread a little joy in their direction. Let them know of the joy of the Christ child and that his birth brings unspeakable joy because of Emmanuel, God with us!
 
Luke 2:8-14 (NRSV)
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
 
My all your days be merry and filled with the light of Christ. Merry Christmas!
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
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December 7, 2016
 
Merry Christmas! This is a greeting that you will hear and deliver to many people you meet both stranger and friend alike. And for most people, it is a merry time of year when we remember the Christ Child’s birth. There will be worship services and sing-a-longs. There will be dinner parties and the joy of breaking bread together. There will be baking and shopping and visiting with fam-ily and friends far and near. There will be traveling and staying put. All sorts of wonderment will accompany this most wonderful time of the year. I say rejoice and be glad in it. Remember those also for whom this time of year is most difficult, who do not get enjoyment or pleasure from this season. Remember those for whom this season is wrought with stress and worry and concern. Remember those families for whom Christmas will not mean gifts under a tree or a nice turkey dinner at the table. Remember to pray for all of God’s children for whom this day means sadness and if you are able spread a little joy in their direction. Let them know of the joy of the Christ child and that his birth brings unspeakable joy because of Emmanuel, God with us!
 
Luke 2:8-14 (NRSV)
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
 
My all your days be merry and filled with the light of Christ. Merry Christmas!
Rev. Veronica Cannon
 
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October 12, 2016
 
As I reflect upon this life of ours as members of the body of Christ, and I think upon all of the ill will that plagues our world, our country, our community, our church, I can easily despair. But I choose a different path. I ask you to join me as we each, individually find ways to widen our circle of influence in positive and decisive ways. Each of us has an opportunity to influence good, to influence well-being, to influence love and joy. It is done by our words and actions. IN moments when we are unable to find the strength to do change our words and actions to reflect the grace of God, I encourage you to pray. I recently came upon a familiar prayer that reminds me again of the power of prayer and how that which we ask of God can be made manifest in our lives. It is a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. I share this prayer with you now. May it be so.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is dark- ness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be under- stood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

In Christ,
Rev. Veronica Cannon

 
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October 12, 2016
 
As I reflect upon this life of ours as members of the body of Christ, and I think upon all of the ill will that plagues our world, our country, our community, our church, I can easily despair. But I choose a different path. I ask you to join me as we each, individually find ways to widen our circle of influence in positive and decisive ways. Each of us has an opportunity to influence good, to influence well-being, to influence love and joy. It is done by our words and actions. IN moments when we are unable to find the strength to do change our words and actions to reflect the grace of God, I encourage you to pray. I recently came upon a familiar prayer that reminds me again of the power of prayer and how that which we ask of God can be made manifest in our lives. It is a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. I share this prayer with you now. May it be so.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is dark- ness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be under- stood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

In Christ,
Rev. Veronica Cannon

 
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October 12, 2016
 
As I reflect upon this life of ours as members of the body of Christ, and I think upon all of the ill will that plagues our world, our country, our community, our church, I can easily despair. But I choose a different path. I ask you to join me as we each, individually find ways to widen our circle of influence in positive and decisive ways. Each of us has an opportunity to influence good, to influence well-being, to influence love and joy. It is done by our words and actions. IN moments when we are unable to find the strength to do change our words and actions to reflect the grace of God, I encourage you to pray. I recently came upon a familiar prayer that reminds me again of the power of prayer and how that which we ask of God can be made manifest in our lives. It is a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. I share this prayer with you now. May it be so.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is dark- ness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be under- stood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

In Christ,
Rev. Veronica Cannon

 
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