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KEEPING THE FAITH | Bless those who protect our freedoms

Also, as we approach another holiday in the upcoming weeks, for many this is not necessarily a joyful time. Even expressing gratitude can be a challenge to those facing mounting losses and trauma.
RevLewisMacklin032020
The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin

We bless our veterans who have served with honor to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. 

Yet it is my hope for the day when we “shall study war no more” I love the third stanza of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” which poetically shares the hope and aspirations that give us hope and purpose. 

In the beauty of the lilies
Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom
That transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy,
Let us LIVE to make men free;
While God is marching on.

As we approach another holiday in the upcoming weeks, for many this is not necessarily a joyful time. Even expressing gratitude can be a challenge to those facing mounting losses and trauma. Give yourself an extra space of grace this year. Grief is complicated and unique for everyone. While accepting loss becomes easier over time, it is often something we carry with us forever. Making new memories does not imply you should erase or eliminate old memories. I hope to provide some encouragement as you reflect upon your purpose. 

Jeremiah 29:11 assures us that God has us on His mind: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Romans 12:2 declares that we should be living sacrifices: “Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Matthew 5:16 encourages all to “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

There is no right or wrong way to approach the holiday season following the loss of any type such as a loved one, employment or whatever you perceive as valued. Be kind to yourself and try to take it one moment, feeling or moment at a time.

Mission  & Ministry Opportunities

The month of November continues to be a season to promote awareness of homelessness and giving to others in need. If we are not directly impacted, we all know someone who has been struggling with these issues.

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week takes place each year during the week before Thanksgiving. This is a time for us all to think deeply about what we are thankful for,  to share our compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness and to work toward a world where no one has to experience hunger or homelessness. In remembrance of a loved one or mentor who was there for you when you needed them the most, consider thanking and offering support to those who illuminate our paths with hopefulness and exemplify kindness even if it is not reciprocated.

The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley recently opened the doors to its new facility which has been designed to address homelessness in our community. The new facility also has more room and amenities to ensure dignified and humane accommodations are available. President and CEO John Muckridge shared that “The goal is so that when folks walk in, it’s a warm, inviting space so that they can feel safe, edified and encouraged.”  

Volunteers are always needed, and they’re encouraged to call the Rescue Mission at 330-744-5486 to learn about the different opportunities.

The Salvation Army is also looking for persons to volunteer as bell ringers for its annual Red Kettle campaign. Please consider sharing your time and treasury to help others in our community. The need is great and does not disappear after the holidays. You can call them at 330-746-8403.

In the spirit of giving, Protestant Family Service, 496 Glenwood Ave, Suite 115, Youngstown, is sponsoring an Adopt A Family for holiday healing. They are collecting gift cards of any amount until Dec. 14. There are several families with children with physical challenges that make it difficult to shop and welcome community angels that could perform this task on their behalf. The agency will also provide grocery gift cards in lieu of bags of food. If you are purchasing to address a food need, it is requested gift cards in increments of $25 are ideal. For information, contact Cathy Pokrivnak, executive director of the faith-based nonprofit agency & pantry at 330-746-4600

A Lasting Legacy

Proverbs 13:22 expresses in part, “Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren.” It is most fitting that the family of the late Rev. Fred Mayhew created a charitable trust in his memory. Rev. Mayhew founded Trinity Fellowship Church, a nondenominational church. It began meeting in the auditorium of the former Woodrow Wilson High School and ultimately expanded to its current spacious edifice on South Avenue.   

The family is guided by his mantra “Find a need and fill it” established the Mayhew Family Foundation fund. Pastor Fred was deeply passionate about serving others in the local community and his priority was connecting with people and being part of their lives. While the family will give direction how funds will be dispersed, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley will provide assistance and oversight. 

Congratulations 

One of our community treasures,  Vicki Vicars, shared that she has begun a new journey with the Ursuline Sisters Mission as director of Mission, Equity and Resilience.  This opportunity will allow Vicki to continue her ministry of community impact while strengthening the legacy of the Ursuline Sisters in the Mahoning Valley. While she has taken on this assignment, she continues to share her faith as a member of St. Patrick Parish and her community organizing role at ACTION! 

Covid conversation 

Join Pastor Todd Johnson of Second Baptist and Pastor Quentin White of Grace AME and myself this afternoon at 5 p.m. for a candid conversation about COVID impact in our community. It will be moderated by Yvonka Hall and is sponsored by the National Council of Negro Women of Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties.  To participate via zoom, HTTPS://tinyurl.com/NCNWCOVIDConversation  Meeting ID: 894 6438589 and Passcode: 519727

Prayers for captured Haiti missionaries

Missionary work has never been safe since the days of the Apostle Paul’s travels recorded in the Book of Acts. The threat of death was constantly a grave possibility for Paul and persecution was always certain. We must continue to pray for the group of Ohio based Christian Aid Ministries workers who were abducted while on a trip to visit an orphanage on Oct. 16. 

Before the kidnapping, their work throughout Haiti included supporting school children, distributing Bibles and Christian literature, supplying medicines for numerous clinics and providing food for the elderly and vulnerable. 

In recent months, they were actively involved in coordinating a rebuilding project for those who lost their homes in the August 2021 earthquake. The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes six men, six women, and five children. We must continue to seek God’s direction for a resolution for a safe return. 

Dear Lord: We pray for the safety of these families as they are guarded and protected by You. We pray for the witness they are making even in their distress. Guard their hearts and protect their minds, undergirding them with boldness so strong that even their captures will see Your hand and marvel. May Your abiding peace, grace and understanding reign stronger than anything fighting against them. May they keep the faith as they share this faith by word and deed. In the power of Your might, it is so! 

The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin II serves as the lead pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, chaplain for the Youngstown Police Department, president of the Baptist Pastors Council and the local coordinator for the African American Male Wellness Walk of the Mahoning Valley. He resides in Youngstown with Dorothy, his partner in marriage and ministry. They share the love and joy of six children and eight grandchildren and their mischievous canine, Sir Winston.

— All biblical citations are New Living Translation unless noted otherwise.



 
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