It's summertime! Or at least that's what the calendar says. Hopefully the weather will soon agree! Here in Alaska, with our comfortable temperatures and long hours of daylight, summer is time to be out and about. People go camping, fishing, and hiking in the wilderness, there are running races or fundraising walks every weekend in town, and festivals and celebrations abound. Alaskan summers may be short, but they are jam-packed with activity and opportunities to get outside.
This summer, I would love to see Immanuel be out and about as well, getting out into the community as a congregation and/or on behalf of the congregation. We can participate in events such as the Pride Parade on June 24, marching together as a congregation. Perhaps a team of Immanuel women could participate in the 25th annual Run for Women on June 10 to support breast cancer research and education. We could host a church picnic in a public park, inviting others to join us for worship. Do you have other ideas for how our congregation could be out and about, helping to meet a community need while also making the congregation's name more known to those around us?
As a congregation, we have much to offer the community, but our offerings can't be put to good use if the community doesn't know about them. For example, as of this past weekend, only half of our garden plots have been claimed for this year, meaning that the other half are still available. Is there someone you know that might like to use one, so that our gardens are truly community gardens which benefit not only our congregants but others as well?
In mid-summer, a youth group from Vancouver, WA, will be staying at Immanuel while on a mission trip to Anchorage. They will be leading Vacation Bible School on July 10-14 (exact days and times to be determined). Although they will certainly need some support and assistance from our members, their leadership means that we won't have to plan and lead VBS on our own. I hope that some of the time and energy that might otherwise be spent planning and leading can instead be used to publicize and promote VBS in our wider community, so that children from the local neighborhood might also benefit from the opportunity to learn about God's love for them.
These are just a few suggestions for how our congregation can get out and about this summer, in order to help support the needs of our community while also enjoying the countless opportunities of an Alaskan summer. Maybe you have some of your own ideas. If so, please take that idea and run with it, letting the rest of us know how we can help.