Newsletter – June 12, 2024

Welcome to our weekly e-gram! Read on to discover what’s happening in our church family this week and beyond.

Church News

This week’s parabolic story of seeds and the harvest leads us directly to Jesus’ comparison of the kin-dom of God to a mustard seed. Scholar Don Saliers tells us that  It builds upon the earlier, more extensive parable of the sower and the harvest. There are clues in the plant that grows so large from so tiny a seed. We marvel that birds come next in the shade of this spacious dwelling – so shall the reign of God be. The kin-dom and faith are all about God’s grace. What is God’s kin-dom like?  To what shall we compare it? Rev. Teresa will help us hear the path that Mark leads us down as we place ourselves in the middle of these parables in a sermon entitled, “Small Beginnings Can Yield Great Outcomes,” based on Mark 4: 26-34.

In honor of Father’s Day, we will also celebrate fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and all the other male role models who support us in our growing faith. Join us Sunday, in person or online.

We will hold a congregational meeting immediately after worship service this Sunday, June 16. The purpose of the meeting is to consider a proposal from the church board that the church extend a call to Rev. Dr. Diane Bales and Rev. Teresa Bensch to serve as the settled Co-Ministers of our congregation. Diane and Teresa have been serving as our Interim Co-Ministers for the last year. The proposal is to remove the interim designation and have them continue as our Co-Ministers. We hope that you will all attend this important meeting.

It’s almost time for camp! LFCC has a tradition of sending campers and counselors to camp with letters of support and encouragement. If you would like to send letters to those going to camp, you  are welcome to bring them to church on Sunday and give them to Marilyn Parks. (Be sure the recipient’s name is on each envelope so we can be sure it gets to the right person.) We will also have a letter-writing station set up in the Gathering Space where you can write your letters and cards. Thanks for your help in encouraing our campers, counselors, directors, storytellers, and others who make camp successful.
Here are the people going to the remaining camps of the summer:
Chrysalis  (June 17-19)  
  • Camper: Drew McElhanon
  • Storyteller: Elizabeth McElhanon
Genesis (June 21-23)
  • Campers: Fitz Puckett and Colleen Puckett
  • Director: Marilyn Parks
  • Assistant: Annie Ballew
Junior (June 17-21)
  •  Campers: Harley McElhanon, Maggie Westbrook, and Martha Westbrook
  • Director: Stephen Westbrook
  • Storyteller: Diane Bales
  • Counselors: Riley Ballew and Perry Westbrook
CYF Conference (June 24-29)
  • Campers/Conferees: Molly Ballew, Braxton Holden, Chatham Puckett, Keeley Puckett, Theresa Puckett, and Joshua Yoon
  • Director: Libby Ballew
  • Counselors: Rebecca Thompson, JT Clements, and Rafael Evatt-Machado 
Oasis Day Camp (July 15-19)
  • CIT: Molly Ballew
Andrew Jensen and Karen Jensen delivered three large boxes of donations to the Gwinnett County Bill Atkinson Animal Welfare Center on behalf of our church. Thanks to everyone who donated items as part of the pet blessing service this spring! 


Dear Friends:

In accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia, the following people have been selected and confirmed by the Regional Board to come together to lead the process of calling a Regional Minister:
  • Rev. Douglas M. Ivey, Chair, FCC Macon Mr. Bob Grant, FCC Griffin
  • Rev. Debi Acree, Chestnut Ridge CC Ms. Shania Genovese, FCC Atlanta
  • Rev. Hebert Mallqui, Iglesia Christiana Getsemani, Valdosta.
  • Dolores Trimiew, Ray of Hope, Decatur Rev. Joel Saucedo, Johns Creek CC
  • Rev. Answai White-Burch, FCC Decatur
An orientation was held on Saturday, May 11th with our Regional Minister Search Partner, Rev. John Mobley, retired Regional Minister of The Christian Church, (Disciples of Christ) of Alabama-Northwest Florida.

The integrity of this process requires the participation of the members of the church gathered throughout the Region of Georgia. Your voice is very important. As we begin to organize for this work, the first task will be to develop a profile of our Region that will enable prospective candidates to have a better understanding of who we are and what our hopes and dreams are for the work of the church through our Region.

There will be a series of Regional gatherings and online surveys to enable our Regional church to share in prayer and conversation. We are anticipating that any in person gatherings will last approximately an hour and a half. Online surveys will be brief but will provide space for your comments, discussions, dreams, and concerns. Our goal is to hear from as many people in the Region as possible. More information will be shared in the coming weeks with specific details about these gatherings and surveys.

We will soon be posting updates and other important information about this process and our journey together on the website. We welcome your input and ideas. We covet your prayers as we move forward seeking to honor and glorify God.

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Douglas M. Ivey, MSW, Mdiv
Chair, Regional Minister Search Committee
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia

The sunflower seeds have sprouted, and the beginnings of our sunflower garden are appearing. Thanks to Andrew Jensen for ensuring that the garden stays watered. Next time you’re at the church, go take a look!

Now that the prayer garden has been spruced up, it needs to be maintained. Jeanie Morgan has volunteered to head up a team for prayer garden maintenance, but she can’t do it alone. If you have a green thumb, or are just willing to learn, please reach out to Jeanie or to Rod Baker or Beth Thompson to let them know you would like to help out. 

As we continue our interim co-pastorate, we need all of our prayers to guide our church forward. You are encouraged to pause for a few minutes to pray for God’s guidance as we continue the work of discerning God’s path for our church and following God’s path on our collective journey of faith. For the next few months, we are designating Mondays at 6 pm as a weekly prayer time. You can pray wherever you are, in whatever way feels most comfortable for you. If you are not able to pause and pray Mondays at 6 pm, please set aside a different time to pray for LFCC.

Sunday, June 16
Father’s Day
9:15 am: Choir
10 am: Sunday school
11 am: Worship (Teresa Bensch preaching)
12 pm: Congregational meeting

June 17 – 21
Junior Camp

June 17 – 19 
Chrysalis Camp

June 21 – 23
Genesis Camp

Monday, June 17
6:30 pm: Facilities and Finance Team on Zoom

Tuesday, June 18
6:30 pm: Let’s Eat! at Oyster Bay Seafood Cafe

Sunday, June 23
No choir practice this week
10 am: Sunday school
11 am: Worship (Diane Bales preaching)

Sunday, June 30
9:30 am: Choir
10 am: Sunday school
11 am: Worship (Diane Bales and Teresa Bensch preaching together)

Check the calendar of events on our church website at to stay updated on what’s happening in our church community.  If you have events to add, go to and complete the form. The password is LFCC2023Event. If you have problems with the form, please contact JT Clements or Rev. Diane.
Greeter: Brian Ballew
Scripture: Karen Jensen
Communion Meditation: Elizabeth McElhanon

Elders: Elizabeth McElhanon and Patricia Taylor
Deacons: Dorrie Toth and Riley Ballew

Communion Preparation: Dorrie Toth

*If you are interested in serving as a worship leader or greeter, please contact Rev. Diane.  We are signing up volunteers for worship leadership for July – December. See Rev. Hoyt Huff to sign up as a greeter, scripture reader, or to share a communion meditation, or contact him to let him know when you want to volunteer.
Thanks for all your contributions to the e-gram. Please send any information for next week’s e-gram to Rev. Diane ( no later than Tuesday at 5 pm.
The Revised Common Lectionary is a three-year cycle of weekly readings used by many mainline Protestant churches in Canada and the United States. The lectionary readings will shape much of our preaching, and may be helpful in your own Bible study and devotional life.
Sunday, June 16
  • 1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13
  • Psalm 20
  • Ezekiel 17:22-24
  • Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15    
  • 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17
  • Mark 4:26-34
Sunday, June 23
  • 1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49
  • Psalm 9:9-20
  • 1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 18:10-16
  • Psalm 133
  • Job 38:1-11
  • Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32
  • 2 Corinthians 6:1-13
  • Mark 4:35-41
For Sunday worship and other online meetings, use this link:
Zoom Meeting ID: 628 463 3067 Password: 1234

For those who DIAL IN, Call (646) 558-8656
Community News

Did you know about 53% of Gwinnett County Public students receive free or reduced lunch and around 8% are food insecure? While most kids look forward to summer break, many of these students lose access to their free daily breakfast and lunch, making summer a long, difficult season! The Lawrenceville Co-op, in partnership with Village of Hope, provides meals to the areas determined most needed by county social workers. We need your help in “meating” these students’ needs with high protein items like canned tuna, canned chicken, canned pasta, canned beans, peanut butter, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, ramen noodles, mac and cheese cups, and canned Vienna sausages.

Most Needed Food Items
  • Dry pasta
  • Canned corn 
  • Canned green beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned chicken
Most Needed Personal Care Items
  • Size 3 and up diapers
  • Feminine pads
  • Wipes
  • Adult diapers size S-XL
Most Needed Summer Lunch Items
  • Macaroni and cheese cups
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Ramen cups
  • Individual cereals
  • Pop tarts
  • Vienna sausages
  1. Volunteer to help Village of Hope pack and distribute lunches on Sundays between now and July 28. You can sign up to pack bags from 2 – 4 pm or to help deliver to 12 neighborhoods between 4 and 6 pm. Go to to sign up.
  2. Help Rod Baker deliver LFCC food donations to the co-op. We generally take the donations once a month, generally on Tuesday or Thursday mornings. You can go one time with Rod, or sign up to be part of a delivery team on a rotating schedule. Contact Rod to learn more or to volunteer to help with deliveries. 
  3. Learn more about the work of the co-op at

Keep up with the latest news going on in our region and our general church. Click the links below to find the latest news within the Disciples!

Georgia Region:
General Church:

Prayers and Concerns
  • Rev. Peter Yoon has a birthday on June 13
  • Patricia Taylor has a birthday on June 16
  • Mark and Katherine Jensen have an anniversary on June 15
Weekly Prayers
  • For our interim co-ministers Rev. Diane Bales and Rev. Teresa Bensch
  • For the youth and adults going to Junior, Chrysalis, and Genesis camps next week at Camp Christian, that they may grow in faith and love
Immediate Needs (names in bold are newly added)
  • Beth Thompson (healing at home)
  • Sue Ragsdale (Jeanie Morgan’s friend)
  • Tamara Talley (neigbor of church; requested prayer)
Ongoing Needs 
  • Our world, including the people of Gaza and Nigeria
  • Our members and friends at home, including Odessa Adams, Gen Ashby, Barbara Bagwell, David Chamberlain, Bessie Kirby, Bill Phyfer, Bob Powell, and Patricia Saturday
  • Our family and friends with ongoing health challenges
  • Students/teachers/administration of Gwinnett County Public Schools
  • Betty Higdon (healing at home)
  • Dorrie Toth 
  • Chris Klimshuk and her sister Veronica (Veronica is recovering from heart surgery)
  • Neva Maffett
  • Zeta Allen (long-time friend of Mabel Simmons)
  • Peg Morgan
  • Carrie Toth (Dorrie Toth’s daughter)
  • Suzy Santoro (Anna Harrison’s daughter)
  • Connie Worrel’s sister Pat
  • Grace Aguwa
  • Ada Mullinax, Linda Kellman, and Ann Kellman (Ada’s sister and sister-in-law)
  • Jeanie Morgan’s sister, Judy
  • Rev. Peggy Edge (Anna Harrison’s sister)
  • Sadie Severt (Harrison family friend)
If you have an update to the prayers and concerns, please let Rev. Diane know ( 
That’s all we have for this week! Please be in prayer for the church and everyone in it, that we continue to do what the Lord has called us to do. God bless you all! 
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First Christian Church of Lawrenceville (Disciples of Christ)
3495 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
Rev. Dr. Diane Bales, Interim Co-Minister
Rev. Teresa Bensch, Interim Co-Minister
Kim Peeples, Music Director
J.T. Clements, Communications Coordinator