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Greetings from The Downtown Church! This is a bi-weekly email with information about events, updates, and other fun things from the leadership of the church.

When I sit down to write The News from the Pews every other week, I begin by asking myself, “Self, what are you thinking about?”

This morning I am having a hard time sorting out my thoughts and finding focus. So I thought I should be honest about that. After reading the news I look at each morning and listening to NPR as I drove to work, I am caught up once again in the violence in what we call the Holy Land. One group of people invades another, leading to death and retaliation and revenge. As history has proved over and over again, no one wins.

And I am thinking about Old Jerusalem, the most ancient part of the city where Jesus walked. Within the old city today are four sections—the Christian Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter, and the Muslim Quarter. I remember, when I was there in October 2012 and walked those streets and alleys, how one section blended into another. People of different ideologies and religions, people who all traced their faith back to Abraham, chose to live and work within a very tiny geographical area because of how sacred this place was to all of them.

But let me tell you what else is going on in my mind: whenever I get overwhelmed with the chaos of the world, I double down on my determination to follow Jesus Christ. I become even more convinced that The Downtown Church has something important to say to our community about love and grace. I think with gratitude of the people who call this their church home—the young and old, the rich and poor, the believers and nonbelievers—who choose to love God and neighbor.

And today I also find that I can’t wait for Bluegrass Sunday when we will worship together in this small corner of the world. Who do you know who needs a place where they are welcome and accepted? Who could you invite to step away from the chaos into a sanctuary of hope and love? Bring them on Sunday, in person or online, so that they might learn for themselves that love wins.

See you Sunday,

Are you all ready for a clapping and toe-tapping time this Sunday? Our amazing band is going to change it up and go bluegrass with some old hymns, new classics, and lots of fun. We'll have a banjo, fiddle, mandolin. We'll need you to provide the choir, so bring your friends and family, and put on that flannel!
We are sooooo excited to gather together and celebrate all that God is doing at The Downtown Church now, and in the future. Please make plans to join us on Saturday, October 28, at Millsap Farms (just north of Springfield). We'll have pizza, good conversation, maybe some fun music, and a great time. Let us know if you can make it by RSVPing at this quick online form.

The Youth are heading to Camp Galilee on October 20-22. The cost is $75/student. They leave Friday evening and return Sunday afternoon. If you have any questions, email our Youth Coordinator, Cody Williams. This is always a lot of fun, so be sure to get your spot reserved.

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