Saying Farewell...For A Time

Saying Farewell...For A Time

by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/24/14

Did that title get your attention? I’m saying farewell to Highland Hills…but only for a short time. A few years ago, our church adopted a sabbatical policy for staff ministers, which creates an intentional season of rest and renewal every seven years. This year the deacons approved a sabbatical for me. Beginning last Monday, July 21, until August 31, I will be resting and renewing my body, mind, and spirit.
 
The theme for my sabbatical is “singing a new song.” Throughout my time away, I will set a new tempo in my life by resting, studying, worshiping in other churches, moving Chase into Georgia College, and traveling to Germany to visit my brother. Unlike a vacation, sabbaticals offer purposeful rest and intentional vocational renewal. I will take time to renew my vocation by refreshing my conducting, choral, and singing skills. I will peruse new music for the choirs. The hardest part for me will be to simply rest.
 
While I am away, you will be in good hands. Dr. David Keith will be leading the music on Sundays and Wednesdays, as well as directing the choir during rehearsals and worship.

This season of mutual renewal and learning is sponsored partly by a generous grant from the Lilly Foundation through the Center for Teaching Churches. The grant will fund Dr. Keith’s work with Highland Hills, as well as his workshops with me. The grant will also provide funds for a youth internship. Since Caitlin Childers Brown, our present Ministry Associate and Youth Intern, will be leaving for seminary during the sabbatical, a new Youth Intern will be hired to provide leadership in the youth program. The intern will work in conjunction with the Youth Committee.
 
I am excited about this opportunity to get away for a little while and to rest and rejuvenate my ministry with Highland Hills. Please keep me in your prayers as I leave for this season of rest and renewal.
 

What Happens When Change and Cliches Collide

What Happens When Change and Cliches Collide

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/10/14

Cliches, why do we use them? They save time, I guess. They capture common wisdom in a catchy way. They name something that is generally true or perhaps they are a simply a stock response…a knee-jerk reaction, of sorts. Consider a few of well worn cliched responses to change.

Stuck in Your Head, Fixed in Your Heart

Stuck in Your Head, Fixed in Your Heart

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/10/14

It would not be summer without Vacation Bible School. I have enjoyed my first Vacation Bible School at Highland Hills. Songs, lessons, and crafts filled this week with activity. I have been watching as our children learn about the Good News through this year’s theme, Workshop of Wonders. I have been keeping an eye on our volunteers as they use their gifts for God in creative service.

The Best Church Sign

The Best Church Sign

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/3/14

It may not surprise you that we ministers geek out on church talk. We cannot help it. This is not a hobby. This is not just what we do for a living. This is what we do. I think that is why I find the life of any congregation fascinating whether it be mission statements or oddball church signs.

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, July 2014

Posted on the wall in our friend’s home is a hand-made poster with the title “Summer Bucket List.”  The parents, with their two kids, brainstormed a list of all the fun things they wished to do during the summer. Easy things like “make homemade ice cream” and “chill out by the pool” were listed with “climb Stone Mountain” and “build an ultimate slip-n-slide.” No room for boredom there. These summer plans will no doubt offer wonderful memories and shape this family for seasons to come. The appeal of summer that may prompt some of this brainstorming is the idea that summer affords opportunity: time for family, rest, and reconnecting.

Children's Camp Was Amazing!

Children's Camp Was Amazing!

by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 6/26/14

Last week, fifteen of our third through sixth grade children attended our annual HHBC Children’s Camp at Lake Sinclair Village. The children and their counselors enjoyed three days of Bible study, recreation, crafts, and worship. The theme for this year’s camp was The Amazing Race, and we all learned the importance of following God while we are in the race of life.

Through the Eyes of a Preschooler

Through the Eyes of a Preschooler

by Carol Brown

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 6/19/14

If you told me that you had never been afraid of the dark, then I would think you might be lying. Working with preschoolers allows me the pure joy of seeing life through their eyes every now and then. Last Friday, we took a group of excited, energetic preschoolers on a field trip to Dauset Trails. Dauset Trails is one of my favorite places for a summer field trip… it always seems to be 10 degrees cooler at Dauset Trails! As we strolled along the shady walkways, marveled at the bears, cougars, and bald eagles, and enjoyed lunch under the trees, I loved seeing it all through the eyes of a preschooler.

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Things That Go Bump in the Night

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 6/12/14

If you told me that you had never been afraid of the dark, then I would think you might be lying. Most of us can’t see very well in the dark. The simple fear of being alone and bumping into something should make even the bravest among us fearful that you might walk into a wall or lose your way in night. Worse even than the fear of being alone in the dark is the fear that you are not alone, that there are unknown things out there in the dark lurking and waiting for you. Our fear of the dark moves from the rational, to the irrational, and even to the spiritual.