From the Pastor

Dear friends,
It’s almost summer and I am so ready. This South Carolina boy grew up in the heat, so a string of 90 degree days doesn’t phase me one bit. Heck, some thought there was little more than a screen door between my hometown in Columbia and Dante’s inferno!

Sure enough, the second you walked outside in July your clothes would be dripping wet. Every neighborhood had a pool, thank goodness, but come mid-July the pool
water felt like bath water.

So why do I like summer so much? Being outside, for one … and the little bit of freedom that comes along with it. To this day I get excited when Anna’s final day of school rolls around. I vividly remember hearing the bell ring one last time at Seven Oaks Elementary School in the mid 1970s, followed by an eruption of cheers. I can picture Ricky Faulk and me racing to our bikes to see who could get off school grounds first. Summertime!

Summertime is fun around St. John’s, too. Sure, worship attendance slows down a bit because of vacations and trips to the lake. But while some things slow down, other things heat up.

Think about June and July alone: three youth mission trips, one confirmation camp , Summer Strings Camp, Hands and Feet Camp, and a day-long Free Day Camp with the staff of Agape. And that doesn’t even include VBS, which is the first week of August.

It’s busy, but it’s a good kind of busy.

Speaking of heating up, I hope you had the chance to attend Cheerwine’s 100th birthday celebration on May 20. It was hot … but how fun to see our downtown filled to the brim with good cheer. Read Susan’s article on the event and the St. John’s family that still runs the company.

And don’t you know the CDC is heating up these days. School’s almost out, which means the CDC will be welcoming back another year of “summer camp” for school aged kids. Implemented three years ago, summer camp is a blast, loaded with field trips and fun. But the biggest excitement at the CDC has to do with our new executive director, Courtney Bost. Courtney has so much passion, care, and talent.

Another of our ministries that’s heating up: our four Lutheran camps and conference centers in North Carolina.

Just last week we sent Matthew off to be a counselor at Lutheridge. He’s been waiting for this moment since we picked him up from camp after first grade. “I’m going to be a counselor,” he said. That was 12 years ago, and true to his word, Matthew loaded up his Subaru with ratty tennis shoes, a bunch of T shirts, and a guitar. What else does a summer camp counselor need? It’s sure to be the best summer of his life, and we can’t wait to hear all about it.

I sure hope your summer is heating up, too. Maybe it just means extra time to sit on the patio and relax. Maybe you’ll be hiking up Hanging Rock or biking the Virginia Creeper trail. Maybe a beach trip is in your future, or even an outdoor concert.

Whatever summer means for you, may you rejoice in this very precious season of life. Hot though it may be, may you be warmed by the joy each day is sure to bring.

Pastor Rhodes


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