We are in this in-between time. We are slowly moving back to normalcy. We are figuring out what does that look like now and how do we live into it? Will everything go back to being completely the same as before? I hope not.
We have been shaken up! We have experienced a disorienting dilemma. I recall being in one of my seminary classes talking about transformation. One of the examples given was about disorienting dilemma that is a catalyst for transformation. The example given was about taking a youth group away on retreat. The normalcy is no longer there. Instead, they are going through a new experience together and this can act as a catalyst for transformation.
These dilemmas usually occur when people have experiences that do not fit their expectations or make sense to them and they cannot resolve the situations without some change in their views of the world.
I think it is only fitting that we won't go back to how everything was before. Sometimes, we have to mourn that loss, that change. Even if the changes are good. Last year, I had hopes that we would have conversations and vision together our goals and missions for Oak Forest. It's been delayed, but I think we are ready to do just that. I am hoping to have a visioning day retreat on June 19th. Everyone who is interested is welcome to attend. We will spend some sharing hopes and desires, calendaring out some things, and spend time in prayer.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts. 24 See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
We have done a tremendous job thriving during a pandemic. I am proud of Oak Forest for all of your heart and dedication. This scripture connects with me as we have searched our hearts this past year. We are learning and discovering what is truly important. We are ready for a transformation. We are ready for God to lead us into everlasting life. I know God has big things in store for us here.
Is it really goodbye?
I have written and rewritten this message to you several times. It is very hard to find the words to say how much you at Oak Forest mean to me. I will miss you very much sharing your stories, sharing your prayers, hearing your laughter, and serving as your associate pastor.
The truth of the matter is that it’s very hard to say goodbye. I don’t believe that it is goodbye. We have been through a pandemic together. We have grown in our faith together. When I entered Oak Forest a couple of years ago, I had never been an associate pastor. I have never served with another pastor, as wonderful as Jana Green, she has been a role model, a mentor, and a friend. All I have grown in the midst of all of you seeing the families and the friendships and the love that is shared between you you have shown me that it’s not a building that brings you together for we were locked out of our building for a year but you Oak Forest, you grew together, you grew closer, you cared for one another. I sought in the ways that you checked on one another, I sought in the brightness that the pink flamingos brought to every yard and everybody knew where they were I felt it in the zoom calls and the personal calls that we shared.
When the subject of racism came up and we did Be the Bridge, I felt the need from all of you to understand what it was like to be in someone else’s shoes that filled my heart with respect, hope, and appreciation for all of you. This can’t be goodbye. We have grown too much together. So, I say to all of you keep being who you are at Oak Forest. Keep loving your neighbors, keep serving those in need keep your doors and your hearts and your minds open for you were answering the call that God has put upon you you were answering the call of love and compassion. And how can I say goodbye to that, I can’t, and I won’t, for you're in my heart, your stories, your laughter, and your tears.
So I say until we see each other again. I hold you in my heart and I carry you all with me know that I have learned and I have grown because of you. I will take all the lessons all the gifts all the laughter I will take those with me and I will see you again God bless you all.
Reverend Trinette S. Barnes
Sunday School and In-Person Resume
We have been having in-person services since April 11th and it has been a joy to be together. Sunday school has also started back up.
We still need to follow these guidelines:
This means that we require participants to wear masks.
We distance in our sitting from people outside of our pods.
Our services will be a shorter – around 30 minutes rather than a full hour.
If you sing, we ask that you would keep your mask on. We can follow John Wesley's directions for singing in the hymnal and sing modestly.
Offering plate will be by the door as you exit or you can give online as an option as well.
Service will be at 10:50 am. You may arrive a little early to check in for contact tracing purposes.
Stephen Snider joined our church on April 25th. Stephen moved from Oklahoma and has been joining us for parking lot services and online during this time. We are thrilled to have him officially be part of the church family.
Send a note of welcome to him!
6410 The Divide Parkway #206
Little Rock, AR 72223
We invite you to pray for these individuals daily. If you have a prayer request that you would like added to our prayer list, contact us.
Sherri Sowa Austin - Debbie Erne's grandson
Kaye - Jean's sister
Roxie, Jana's Sister-in-Law
Family members with Cancer Caregivers
For those in need of healing
For Our Church