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Dear Congregational Family,

1. Youth Work Camp: Many of our youth are away on our Work Camp Mission Trip to Benton Harbor, MI. this week. It was so good to see them at the 8:30am service on Sunday for their commissioning. Please keep them in your prayers throughout this (hot!) week as they serve others in the name of Jesus and with the love of Jesus! Pray also for Brandon & Bekah Fouks, Pete Huwe, Vern Underwood, Eric Wente, and Barb Roose as they “shepherd” our youth this week. (see pictures below) This is a good time for all of us to remember “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

2. Fourth of July: Tomorrow we will celebrate the Declaration of Independence for our nation, which was declared on July 4, 1776. We have much to be grateful for as citizens of a nation which had so many founding fathers who were strong in the Christian faith, and who intentionally anchored the foundations, institutions, and document of our nation in the principles of the Christian faith. In recent decades, much effort has gone into minimizing and discarding our religious heritage. Let us be diligent in prayer for our nation.

3. The Liberty Bell: The bell is most famous for ringing on July 8th, 1776 to call people to Independence Hall for the public reading of the Declaration of Independence. However, the Liberty Bell was actually designed in 1751 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges, which was Pennsylvania’s original constitution. The Liberty Bell was inscribed with the verse from Leviticus 25:10 which declared: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” The Scriptural context of this verse was that in ancient Israel, God had instructed that every 50th year, everyone’s debt was to be forgiven, land returned to original owners, and people who had been so impoverished that they had sold themselves into servitude, were to be set free! With this vision in mind, the founders (especially of PA) of our nation saw a land of freedom and opportunity! (Unfortunately, however, this freedom was not envisioned by all founders to extend to those who were brought or born as slaves in this new land.)

As we celebrate our blessings of freedom, let us continue to pray for our nation, give thanks for those who (have and who do) sacrifice to secure our freedoms, and labor for the freedom of others. Even as we celebrate our national freedoms, we remember that our greatest freedoms are found in Christ! Share the Good News of Jesus with those around you!

God bless you as we continue,

​ “Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God.”

Pastor Carlson

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