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United Church of Christ
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285 West National Drive
Newark, Ohio 43055
(740) 323-2407


Pastor's message

2019 August message

Dear members and friends of St. John’s:

A minister who had been away on vacation asked the sexton how everything went at church on Sunday. “Oh, everything went great,” replied the sexton. “And attendance was up!” Just for the record, I am always glad when attendance is up, no matter who is preaching.

On Sunday, June 24th, while I was away on vacation, I was very glad to have Kirk Homrighouse, a member and dear friend of St. John’s, give a message entitled “Belief”. To Kirk, belief means “God’s persistent faith in us,” and “God’s refusal to give up on us, making our “miraculous, impossible and profoundly blessed lives possible!”

Kirk believes in Jesus as his Lord and Savior and that Christ’s love is “personal”. In his meditation, he recalled conversations as a five-year-old with friend, Jesus. He also spoke of eternal life and a “visit” from his mom after her passing.

As a second-grader, during my first communion, I remember talking to Jesus about how happy I was to receive him into my heart. And I too, am blessed with occasional “visits” from my mother and father after their passing.

The two essential parts of our Christian faith are the universality of God’s love through Jesus Christ and the eternality of God’s promises.

When Jack, one of my four cats, died suddenly and unexpectedly, I was sent a text. It had a picture of the sun breaking through clouds with this message: “And the heavens opened up!” It was a timely reminder that there is a clear and open channel between God and us, and that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)

I believe that there is a faraway heaven that is not so far away. And I believe that there is nearby heaven right here on earth, and that Jack’s spirit is still alive and present with my other cats, Toby, Mork, Mindy and me.

When was the first time you had a conversation with your friend, Jesus? Will you be taking time to speak with him today? And when is the next time you will be visited by some special someone from that “Great Cloud of Witnesses”?

“Believing” means God was having conversations with us before we were formed in the womb. (Jeremiah 1:5)

“Believing” means that one day, we will be in communion with the saints and having conversations with Jesus in a place he has prepared. (John 14:1-3)

And “Believing” means, “With God, all things are possible!” (Matthew 19:26)

In Christ’s love,

Rev. Mark

Rev. Mark Katrick