From the Desk of Pastor John

Letter from Pastor John 4/21/17

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Dear Christ Church Family,


Thank you for being a part of our great Easter weekend worship.  More than 2000 people worshiped with us, including approximately 100 people who worshiped with us for the first time.  The hospitality you showed to our guests made lasting impressions. 


Also last weekend, after announcing our Rise Against Hunger campaign, which will take place Friday evening, June 9, and Saturday morning, June 10, 18,147 meals were given.  When combined with a pledge from your church staff to fund a minimum of 15,000 meals, we have a total of 33,147 meals, which is 13.26% of our church goal of 250,000 meals.  Be sure to mark the dates on your calendar now and talk with your family about what you will contribute to Rise Against Hunger.


As many of you know, we have a school in Kenya, “Hope Education Center,” where 280 students attend.  The people of Christ Church bought the land and have built the first floor of the building.  In Kenya, most students never go to high school, which perpetuates a cycle of poverty.  Our school is breaking that cycle.  The students and parents are taught the importance of education.  We, at Christ Church, partner with the parents to send our best students on to high school.  Recently, I received thank you letters from students receiving support from Christ Church.  I want to share two of them with you.  (Note:  English is their third language, and I am typing the letters exactly as they were written.)

Thanks to my sponsors.

First of all I want to take this opportunity to thank you for what you have done.  You have sponsored me and my school in some events and activities.  For example, I never thought of going to an educational trip, but one day I did so because of your assistance.  I appreciate and give plenty of thanks to you and other missionaries who sponsored me and other students.

As you know that in secondary school, I am putting more effort in my studies to attain the best grades.  I got a B- of 780 marks.  I want to put more effort to improve in my studies. I want to be a pilot of what my dreams say.  In school, I attend our Christian Union program.  I am a strong Christian.  My best subjects are English, Chemistry and Mathematics.

In my background I only have my father, but I am not staying in his home.  I am staying in my aunt’s home.  My aunt adopted me when I was a child.  When my father tells me how he did so, it is because my mother had ran away and left me.  Now I have my father, three cousins and my aunt.  My father is not able.  I want to thank you for sponsoring me in high school.  I appreciate so much.

Your’s faithful,
Marley Atoni Arasa

Dear Sponsor,

May I take this brilliant opportunity to thank you for the assistance you have been taking through my schooling.  Since I entered high school, you have been paying my school fees.  May God bless the work of your hands.

My schooling started falling as my mother and younger brother died on the same day.  I have a father, elder brother and younger brother and sister.  You have been building the dreams in my life of knowledge and wisdom and I believe that God shall never forget you.

I am still working hard and achieved a score of 463 at position 189 out of 266.  I promise that I will work harder to achieve my best.  May you receive showers of blessings as you are helping me improve my academic standard.  May God guide you through your paths.  Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
Clifford Kamanda

 I hope that you read those letters and recognize that these students are in school because of your generosity and the grace of God that flows through the Christ Church family.  Over the weeks ahead, I’ll be sharing more letters.

This Monday I’ll be leading a group of 35 from Christ Church on a trip to the Holy Land.  We are going to Jordan and Israel, and some of us are going on to Rome to see significant sites associated with the apostles Peter and Paul.  If the technology works as planned, we will join you in worship on Sunday, April 30, by Skype from the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and on Sunday, May 7, from Rome.  Please join me in praying for a safe and blessed trip. 

 See you this weekend in worship as I kick off a new series we are calling Masquerade.  It is a new, fresh look at the “Seven Deadly Sins” and how we, as Christians, can live out from behind a mask.

Love from your pastor,

Posted by John Speight with

Letter from Pastor John, 4/7/17

Dear Christ Church Family,

This Sunday is Palm Sunday and marks the beginning of Holy Week.  On Sunday in worship, I will be teaching about the events that occurred on that first Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem for the final time of his earthly life.  If you are familiar with the story, you will remember that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.  You know that the crowd that lined the streets waved palm branches and shouted, “Hosanna!”  But why did Jesus ride a donkey?  Why did the crowd wave palm branches?  What does “Hosanna!” mean?  What other parades were going on in Jerusalem that day?  And the number one question that thinking people want to know is:  If Jesus knew that the powerful religious leaders wanted to kill him, why did he go to Jerusalem at all?  If you don’t know the answers to those questions, then you don’t know the whole story.


One of the most powerful, moving and reflective services of the year occurs on Holy Thursday at 7 p.m.  On Holy Thursday we remember Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, his betrayal, his arrest and his crucifixion.  We will take communion together and at the end of the service we will nail our sins and burdens to the cross.  Do not miss this time of holy worship.  Let’s fill the worship center to capacity.


Last Sunday afternoon, 19 of our Christ Church young adults partnered with our Jewish friends from Temple B’nai Shalom and a group of Muslim young adults to do good deeds in our community in two locations.  Half of the group met here at Christ Church and worked together to assemble bags of trail mix to be given to the homeless.  The other half of the group met at The Lamb Center (a homeless shelter in Fairfax) to do some painting and exterior clean up.  Some may ask, “Why should we be involved in a project like that?”  My answer is simple:  Because we are Christians who love the Lord with our hearts, minds, souls and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves.

Recently, 37 folks from Christ Church attended our ALPHA weekend retreat.  ALPHA is one of our discipleship courses that helps participants understand the Christian faith.  It deals with questions such as:

  • Who is God?
  • Who is Jesus?
  • Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • Why is the Bible important?

The class is not only for those who are new to Christianity, but also for those who have been Christians for years.  Every semester, lives are transformed by the Holy Spirit, and many who attend grow closer to God by the end of the class.  This year’s ALPHA retreat proved to be every bit as power-filled.  I want to end this letter with a few quotes and paraphrases from participants:

  • “I have more love, and I thank God for the experience.”
  • “I have a much better understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role [in my life], and this has changed my thinking. I’m trying to discern God’s purpose for me.”
  • “I came to the retreat with a longing, and God blessed me as I was touched by the Holy Spirit. I felt the presence of God more than I have ever felt it before.”

God is clearly at work at Christ Church.

I’ll see you Sunday in worship.

Posted by John Speight with