Blessing of the Backpacks is planned for Sunday, Aug. 19, at Conway First United Methodist Church.

First United Methodist Church of Conway will sponsor its annual Blessing of the Backpacks celebration during all three worship services on Sunday.

Students of all ages (preschool through college), teachers, faculty and administrators are invited to bring their backpacks and binders to be blessed for a successful upcoming school year. They will also receive a special backpack tag to remind them of the blessing throughout the year.

Blessings will be given at all three worship services — traditional worship at 8:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the Sanctuary, and the Good News Celebration contemporary worship service at 9 a.m. in the Great Hall. The public is invited.

If you are a guest at the Blessing of the Backpacks services, or to any event at First United Methodist Church, and you have any questions, please seek out a member of the congregation wearing a church nametag. These congregation members are prepared to help guests find the nursery, Sunday school rooms, worship areas and hospitality areas, and to answer other questions as needed.

In conjunction with Blessing of the Backpacks, a new sermon series will begin called "Navigating the 7 C’s: Around the Word in 50 Days." The series is designed to help us see the complete story of the Bible as a whole.

"People struggle to see it as one continuous story," said Assistant Pastor Lynn Kilbourne. "To fully understand the Bible, we must see each story fitting within the whole story. The 7 C’s take us from Genesis to Revelation."

The series will use a concept from Dr. Fred Edie that incorporates the 7 C’s – Creation, Crisis, Covenant, Christ, Calling, Church, Coming Reign of God. These words are a list of theological alliteratives "that look further at the Bible," said Rev. Kilbourne. Each week for 7 weeks, a different "C" will be featured. On the eighth Sunday (Oct. 7), World Communion Sunday will be celebrated as a culmination of the study.

"As we participate in World Communion, we will see that the story transcends time and location; we will see how we claim and are grafted into the story through our baptism. By transcending geography, it ties us together with our brothers and sisters around the world. The whole church will be in celebration on Oct. 7," said Rev. Kilbourne.

On Sept. 2, the church will celebrate One Service Day, coming together as one in worship, fellowship and service. One worship service will be held that day — at 10 a.m. in the Sanctuary. A churchwide meal will be held following worship and then those attending will disperse throughout the community and the church in mission to others. If you would like to participate in a mission project, please contact Kisha Bumpers at the church office at 501-329-3801. There are projects planned that are suitable for all ages.

The church is located at 1610 Prince St. (Clifton and Prince streets). For more information, call the office at 501-329-3801, or visit the church website at www.conwayfumc.org.

One of my favorite verses in all the bible is Psalm 46:10, "Be Still and Know that I am God…". There are so many times in my life that I need to be reminded to stop, take a deep breath, and LISTEN to God’s instructions. I think our church has faced such a time over the last few months. After our beloved pastor of 31 years retired in April, we faced a time of uncertainty, wondering how we would go forward and how God would work in our church and in our lives by sending us a man to continue the strong leadership that we had known for so long. I, for one, believe it was a time for us as a church family to be still, listen and pray for God’s instruction, and to know that He would take care of us, because He IS God. And just as He always does, God was there for us, leading us through our wonderful interim pastor, Bro. Jurl Mitchell, comforting all of us through the heartbreak of losing our dear pastors wife and friend, Mrs. Peggy, and beginning to heal us by sending a true man of God to continue the mission of Immanuel Baptist Church. Bro. Tony Crocker begins his pastorate at our church tomorrow morning and we are very excited to begin this new chapter in Greenbrier. As He always does, we know God will bless our lives and hopefully yours through Bro. Crocker’s service here in this area. Please join us in praying for him, his wife Laura, and their children Lindsey, Mackenzie, Anna, Avery and Isaac as they become a part of our church family and our community.

Speaking of our community, Monday will be a very busy day around this area, as all the kids and teachers head back to school. Please, please take a moment every morning to pray for all these kids, from the ones starting pre-school, all the way up to the ones heading off to college for the first time, that they will be safe in their travels to and from the schools, that their focus at school will not be interrupted by temptations or troubles, and that their minds and eyes will ALWAYS stay focused on God and His instructions for their lives.

If you are looking for a church home or a place to worship God, we’d love to invite you to visit us at Immanuel. Our Sunday services begin at 10AM with Sunday School, followed by worship service at 11 a.m. Our youth, grades 7th-12th grade, meet at 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, and evening worship service is at 6 p.m. On Wednesdays, our Sunbeam, GMA and Galilean programs meet for all youth ages, and the ladies group and men’s group meet for Bible Study, all beginning at 7 p.m. Please feel free to join us for any or all of these services, and if you have any questions about them or any of the other programs or activities at Immanuel, please call Bro. Crocker or Lisa at 501-679-2612. Have a very blessed week!

Brother John’s message Sunday morning was on baptism. At the end of the message we were celebrating and praising God as we observed the ordinance of baptism carried out. Husband and wife, Chris and Misty Wilson, were baptized by Brother John Evans Jr. Chris and Misty and their three precious daughters have been attending Holland Baptist Church several months. We rejoice with them in this step of obedience in their Christian life. We were pleased to have several visitors present to welcome this event.

Attendance in our youth and children’s groups was up Wednesday. We anticipate a continued increase as the school year gets underway. Delores Haynes, Shelly Resecker, and Misty Wilson are working with our children and David Garrett is leading the Bible study with our youth. Jim Johnston continues to lead Wednesday night prayer and Bible study with the adults. Several adult volunteers prepare food for the youth and children.

Anyone desiring more information on any of the studies and activities at HBC may call the church at 501-849-3556.

We have been blessed at Bethlehem with series of messages and teaching on Sunday mornings, evenings, and Wednesday evenings. Bro. Martin has been delivering messages on Sunday morning on "Disciplines For Life", Sunday evening, "How To Be An Effective Spiritual Leader" from the book of Nehemiah, and on Wednesday evenings a study of the book of Proverbs. Starting Sept. 9, he will begin a Sunday morning class on "Foundations 4 Life." The subjects will be, "Good News 4 U," "How To Be Certain U R Saved," "Saved 4ever," and "Get Connected." The series will be repeated in the weeks to come, so if you don’t get in on the first class, you will still have a chance to join this study.

On Aug. 5, Bethlehem was thrilled to have as a special music guest Caitlyn Cook, Miss Conway. Caitlyn blessed the congregation singing "We Shall Behold Him."

This past Saturday Bethlehem hosted a "Witnessing Seminar" with about 25 in attendance. It was taught by Jim Swinea.

The ladies of the WMA are sponsoring A Salad Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 25 in the Family Life Center. Maggie Chandler will be the guest speaker. Anyone in the community is invited to attend, just see one of the ladies from Bethlehem to get your name on the list. There is no admission charge.

It has been awhile since I mentioned the Bethlehem Food Pantry. This outreach of our church is still going strong and averaging 120-130 families each time. We have had lots of help this summer with the students helping out, but this is coming to an end and they go back to school Monday, so, if you are looking for something to do on the first and third Monday’s of the month come on out and help morning or afternoon or both. If you can’t help physically the pantry is always in need of monetary donations, canned meats, dried beans, rice and any non-perishable food items.

If you are unchurched or looking for a church home, we welcome you to visit with us at Bethlehem. Services begin at 9:30 on Sunday morning with "The Gathering," which is a time of informal fellowship with donuts, coffee, milk, and juice, followed by Sunday School for all ages at 10 a.m. Morning worship is at 11 a.m. Sunday evening services begin at 6:30 with adult worship, GMA, for girls 3rd grade and up, Galileans, for boys 3rd grade and up and Sunbeams for 2nd grade and under. Wednesday evening is Adult Bible Study, The Way (Youth 7th-12th grade), College Group, and Classes for 6th grade and under. There is something for everyone at Bethlehem, so come check us out.