The Dog Days: Making the most of the hottest days of the year
In this issue:
Pastor David Averill shares this summer’s accomplishments and offers opportunities to get the most out of the Dog Days.
- July 4 Parade Participation
- Meet our pastoral summer interns.
- Volunteer opportunities: Lake Cares Mobile Distribution, Vacation Bible School, and Fifth Avenue Thrift Shoppe.
- Current studies: Men’s Bible Study and book study on Five Means of Grace
- Summer fun nights: Select Wednesday evenings are full of fun for kids and families.
Letter from the Pastor
Have you ever wondered about the “Dog Days” of summer? I used to think it meant that dogs can’t take the heat, so they lay around a lot during the summer heat.
I actually found an article about the dog days of summer on the National Geographic website. The term originates from a connection with Sirius, the so-called “Dog Star”, that follows the constellation Orion (a hunter in Greek mythology) in the night sky.
In terms of the stars in the sky, the Bible teaches us that the “heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). At the same time, the stars are not to be worshipped by us (Deuteronomy 4:19). Also, they will not determine our fate. Yet, the stars point to faithfulness of God, even in the “dog days” of summer. Consider second verse of the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”:
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”
Likewise, I see the faithfulness of God at work in you this summer. A group of 12 adults and youth had a life-changing experience doing the Lord’s work in Costa Rica. The last week in June, our pastoral interns joined our young people and children at the Warren Willis United Methodist Youth Camp at Fruitland Park, Florida. Continuing in this course of God’s faithfulness, we are preparing for a big week of Vacation Bible School when over 100 children will be on our campus from July 18 to 22. Dozens of servants like yourself have been hard at work training, collecting items, and decorating for this wonderful event.
Sometimes, we can get distracted by the heat of the dog days. Therefore, we can forget about the beauty and majesty of God’s handiwork behind it all. I am God’s handiwork. You are God’s handiwork. We are all God’s masterpieces. In this vein, God is both the Great Patron and the Creator behind the Grand Gallery of Life. Having been to a grand art gallery like the Louvre in Paris, I can attest that there are difficult pictures to see. There are some long, dark corridors. However, there is more beauty than there is ugliness or discomfort. If you want to look for the negative, you can find it in life, just like you can in any art gallery. I choose to meditate on the masterpieces when I am in an art gallery. Likewise, in beholding Creation, which is the Grand Gallery of the Creator, I choose wonder, thanksgiving, and appreciation to the God that made all this beauty possible.
The hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth” expresses for me this spirit of awe and gratitude I have for what God has done:
For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies.
Lord of All to Thee we raise
This our hymn of Grateful Praise.
With Gratitude to God,
Pastor David Averill
Current Bible Studies
FIVE MEANS OF GRACE: Dr. Elaine A. Heath helps people discover the power prayer, scripture, communion, fasting, and Christian conferencing in Five Means of Grace: Experience God’s Love the Wesleyan Way. Janet Westlake, Minister of Discipleship continues to lead a video study on the Five Means of Grace on July 6, 13, and 27 from 9:30 to 11:30 am in the chapel. The book is available for $10 in the church office.
MEN’S BIBLE STUDY IS BACK: Join Pastor David and other men in Friendship Hall each Thursday, 5:30-6:30pm, as we grow in our faith and knowledge of God.
July 4 Parade
Mount Dora’s Independence Day parade is Monday, July 4, 10am. We decorate the trailer at 9am and depart for lineup by 9:20. We need volunteers to pass out frozen treats to the crowd, and donations of FlavorIce fruit pops.
Lake Cares Mobile Distribution
On June 1 and 15, our congregation will distribute food to 48 families at the King Center, 803 Florida Avenue in Mount Dora. We need additional volunteers to pull wagons for the clients. Lake Cares provides special food for children during the summer months as well as the regular food they provide. If you can help on the first or third Fridays, please arrive at the King Center between 7:30 and 8:00 am. We finish by 9:30 or 10:00 am. Community service hours are available to students. Children are welcome with their parents.
Vacation Bible School 2022: Jerusalem Marketplace
July 18–22, 9am–12pm
Children ages 3 through fifth grade.
How can you be a part of Vacation Bible School?
- Pick up a donation slip from the Fifth Avenue entrance, purchase the items, and return them by July 10.
- Volunteer as a tribe leader or a center leader – Please plan to attend volunteer training in Sanctuary Hall on Wednesday, July 6 from 4:30-6pm.
- Act in the opening worship – we need several male actors each day of VBS
- Loan us hammers, needle-nose pliers, woven blankets, and pop-up awnings. Please put your name on each item.
- Donate unused yarn, fake fruit, and silk plants.
- Give toward the ministry of VBS. VBS has an average cost of $33 per child.
- Assist in preparations on Sunday, July 17, 2pm for decorating the campus, 3pm for praying for each student by name, 3:30pm for volunteer training for those who have not attended in 2022
- Pray for the impact of VBS. We are planting seeds of faith in young lives that will have an impact on God’s Kingdom.
Summer Fun Nights
Kids are invited to join us for an evening of fun on select Wednesday nights from 6-8pm. Parents are encouraged to participate with the children!
Wednesday, July 6: Spies Unite
Dress like a spy with shoes that allow you to move.
Wednesday, July 13: Praying in the Dark
A time for worship and prayer followed by a hide-n-seek championship
Letter from Pastor Emeritus Gary Upleger
There is a story of the healing of a paralytic man that is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Being paralyzed, the man cannot get to Jesus on his own. Instead, four friends carry the man on his mat to the home where Jesus is staying. When they arrive, they discover that the crowd around the home is so large that they cannot get close to Jesus. They could have just as easily stayed to listen to His teaching and then gone home, but these friends were not going to give in that easily. What do they do? They carry the man on his mat upon the roof, proceed to literally take the roof apart and lower him with ropes right in front of Jesus – where he receives his healing.
I want to thank you for being those friends for me. Thank you for lifting me up for healing before the throne of God’s mercy. Thank you for not being content to simply help me be in the realm of the presence of Jesus, but for weeks now taking the roof off and placing me in the immediate presence of Jesus.
Your love and support of me and our family have meant more than my words will ever be able to express. In the midst of a world that seeks to constantly divide us, thank each of you individually and all of you collectively for being such a great example of what it means to be the Church – “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4: 4-6)
May God richly bless you,