From the Desk of Pastor John

Letter from Pastor John 4/6/18

Dear Christ Church Family,

I hope you had a wonderful Easter and experienced joy knowing that because of Easter, sin and death do not have the last word in our lives.  As the scripture says, “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54).

On Easter weekend there were more than 2100 people who worshipped with us.  Roughly 500 people joined us online for worship.  To put that in perspective, there are only 16 United Methodist churches in the state of Virginia that have an annual average worship attendance greater than 500.  We also had more than 40 families who worshipped with us in person at our Fairfax Station campus for the first time.  I am excited to be part of a church that is doing something significant for the kingdom of God.

As you know, Easter weekend was the last of my teaching series on the Apostles’ Creed.  I want to thank all of you who have sent emails and personal notes telling me how this series has helped you understand what it is that we Christians profess to believe.  Some of you have shared personal stories about how you have struggled with certain statements in the creed and how you now have a clearer, richer understanding of the Christian faith.  Others of you have told me that although you still struggle with some aspects of the faith and do not have it all figured out, still you are willing to step out in faith and trust God.  Congratulations to you.  I look forward to walking and growing in this journey of faith with you.

THIS SUNDAY:  “A Whole New World:  Where Faith Meets Disney”
OK. I admit that I’m a bit out of my comfort zone here, but beginning this weekend we are going to examine some of Walt Disney’s timeless and classic tales through the lens of the gospel. Yes, I know that in the world we live in, we do not always live “happily ever after.”  I also know that you and I don’t have a fairy godmother who makes everything work out just right.  The stories are . . . fairy tales.  However, I assert that if you examine the stories you will find some amazing parallels in the gospels.  Our first story will be Snow White.  If you have a chance to stream it or can find a DVD, I hope you will watch it before Sunday.  Look for the biblical parallels.  If you watch it with that in mind, I guarantee you will see things you haven’t ever seen before.

EXPLORE
This Sunday from 12:30–2:00 p.m., in Room 253 (upstairs), Pastors Ryan and Tony will be leading a class to explore some of the key foundations of our faith—everything from growing in our approach of studying the Bible to having conversations about faith with others.  This week the theme is “My Relationship with Others.”  Join them and explore.

I look forward to seeing you in worship this weekend.

Posted by John Speight with

Letter from Pastor John 3/23/18

Dear Christ Church Family,

 As I write to you today I’m looking out at the snow on the ground. Although I am one of those folks who enjoy the snow—around Christmas, January and February—I am not “dreaming of a white Easter!” 

 This Sunday is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. As we continue examining the statements of faith contained in the Apostles’ Creed, we come to “[I believe in . . .] the forgiveness of sins.” Protestants and Roman Catholics around the world stand on that immoveable bedrock of faith. Where we differ is how forgiveness is received and whether or not we play a role in receiving God’s forgiveness. This Sunday I’m going to talk about that as I answer the questions, (1) Who needs forgiveness? and (2) Will God really forgive MY sins?

 This Thursday is Holy Thursday. We will gather for worship at 7 p.m. for our traditional Holy Thursday and Passion service. The worship center is dimly lit, and candles fill the stage as I talk through what was happening when Jesus invited His disciples to join him for his last Passover Seder meal. We gather for communion, and then the service continues as we join Jesus and his disciples on the Mount of Olives, where he was betrayed by Judas, arrested, bound and dragged away to face multiple trials, convicted by Pilate, carried his cross to Golgotha, and nailed to the cross. At this time two large wooden crosses are carried into the worship center and placed on the floor before us. The service ends with an invitation to nail your sins, your worries, or anything that stands in your way of being a fully devoted follower of Jesus. I encourage you not to miss this service.

 Together We Rise Against Hunger is the name of our ministry to provide nutritious meals to hungry people around the world. Last year, in partnership with our friends at Temple B’nai Shalom, we funded, packed and sent 251,808 meals. This year our goal is even more ambitious: 300,000 meals! The cost of each meal is 34 cents and that includes the cost to ship the meals. As of today we have reached 30% of our goal. The packing dates for this year’s event are: 

  • Wednesday evening, May 30
  • Thursday evening, May 31
  • Friday evening, June 1
  • Saturday morning, June 2

 You and your family can register for a shift to pack meals by clicking HERE. This Sunday red stadium cups will be available for you to pick up and take home to collect your spare change. When your cup is full, bring it back to the church and deposit your coins with others’ as Together We Rise Against Hunger.

 Easter is Sunday, April 1. As you know, Christmas Eve and Easter are the two days of the year that we have the opportunity to reach the greatest number of people for the kingdom of God. In order to ensure enough seats for our guests and places to park, we are having four Easter services: 

  • Saturday, March 31, at 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 1, at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. 

I am asking that those of you who are willing and able, please join me on Saturday at 5 p.m. or Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Because we at Christ Church always, always, always put our best foot forward to our guests worshipping with us for the first time on Easter, I respectfully request that you consider worshipping at one service and serving at another. Last year more than 1200 people worshipped with us at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services alone. If you are willing to serve, please click HERE.

 Easter Family Photos will be offered by experienced Christ Church photographers at all Easter Services. The photos are completely free. Special thanks to Luis Aragon, Kym Joseph-Farrell, and Elaine Simonsen for freely giving their talent to make this possible. 

 Read through the Bible with us. Did you know that many of us at Christ Church are reading through the Bible in 2018? You can join us. On the back of your Sunday bulletin you will find the weekly reading plan. You also will find the weekly plan on our Christ Church Facebook page. Like us on Facebook and follow along.

 Finally, I want to tell you that last weekend Pastor Tony Arnold and 35 leaders, helpers, and participants gathered for our latest Alpha Retreat in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Because we are now offering Alpha Online, a couple from Florida made the trip and met their fellow group members in person for the first time. If you are interested in Alpha, either in person or online, email Pastor Tony at .

 I look forward to seeing you this Sunday in worship.

Posted by John Speight with

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