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FFC2023 - Blog Post - November 1

Dear First Free Church Family and Friends,

The days grow shorter, and the skies become darker every autumn in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, if we're not careful, the falling leaves, empty trees, chilly temperatures, and more time indoors (away from the cold weather but increasingly awash in the artificial lights of our screens and lamps) can prompt a decline in our mood and overall outlook. This risk seems all the more significant when weighed down by news of wars, rumors of war, economic pressures, and more.

Thankfully, we're not captive to shifting seasons, ever-changing weather, or the latest headlines. We have more enduring reasons for joy and peace, like our Heavenly Father's steadfast love and His myriad forms of care (Matthew 6:25-34; James 1:17; 1 Peter 5:7). This year, like every year before it, we have endless reasons to praise and thank our great and glorious God (Psalm 35:27-28). Let that be our outlook, no matter how dreary, short, or turbulent the days ahead.

This year, we'll observe the Thanksgiving holiday in two ways as a church family. First, we'll gather for our annual Thanksgiving praise service on Sunday evening, November 19 (6:00 p.m.).

If you've been part of First Free for a while, you know that we end this service with a "Pudding and Pie Fellowship." Mark your calendar, plan to praise with us, and then stay afterward for delicious desserts, warm conversation, and fun with your church family. And don't worry: the Steelers play at 1:00 p.m. earlier that day. You won't miss the game!

Secondly, we will receive special, over-and-above offerings throughout November for our "Harvest Home" initiative. The idea behind "Harvest Home" is simple but profound. Every year, we sacrifice to expand the joy of Thanksgiving beyond our church walls and into the homes of those who might need a bit of encouragement and help during the holiday (Philippians 2:4). This initiative reflects the nature of the holiday by sharing the bounty of God's blessings with others facing challenges and hardships (1 Corinthians 12:26). Funds collected will go toward gift cards to encourage some of our brothers and sisters and their families (Galatians 6:10).

We will gather donations throughout November. Whether you donate with cash or check in our offering boxes, online, or by mail, remember to mark your "Harvest Home" donation as such clearly.

May God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving.

With gratitude to God for you,

The Board of Elders
First Free Church