• published a newsletter

    ReadFirst Church Alert
    September 16, 2021

    5 Things to Know this Week @ First Church

    1 The donuts are ordered

    Join us for Super Sunday, this Sunday, September 19, and please make the extra effort to invite people in our lives who may be missing out on the blessing of faith in Jesus Christ. In worship, we’ll lift up “Ten Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Bible,” and the Chancel Choir will sing, “10,000 Reasons.”  We’ll welcome a guest from Gideon's International. Wear your Broncos gear, and we’ll get you home in time for kick-off against the Jaguars.


    2 ...97 Days until Christmas

    But we’re starting a little early in the A.R.K. (Amazing Redeemed Kids--our new Sunday school experience).  All this month, kids will slide downstairs to learn how Jesus’ birth changed the world.  Please see our Children’s Minister, Aricka Hulsey, if you have any questions.


    3 Seasons

    We want to live so God can use us, but how? Is Kingdom living the same in adolescence as in retirement? In this 6-week worship and small group series, we’ll see how the gospel informs the different stages of our lives: birth to death, adolescence to retirement, marriage and singleness in adulthood to parenthood. Through the lens of Luke’s Gospel, we’ll discover how Jesus leads us to fruitfulness and faithfulness at every age and stage.


    Our “Seasons” small groups will meet on Sundays after worship or midweek as your schedule allows.  Sign up on Sunday before or after worship!


    4 Handyman of the Month: October

    We’re looking for a “Handyman of the Month” for October and November to be on call when light maintenance projects come up around the church.  So far, work has included fixing a light fixture and painting a door.  Larger projects are referred up to the Building & Grounds.  Interested?  Call the Church Office or text Pastor MJ at 719-469-7717.


    5 Youth Groups:  Yea!

    Our youth groups kicked off this past week with a small but hearty effort.  We’re so excited to be back in ministry with our young people.  Don’t forget--High School meets on Sunday nights at 6:30 p.m. and Middle School on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m.  Spread the word!




    Find us!

    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXTs_9jRVMSXuzpfEIJKknA

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lajuntapresbyterians

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/FirstChurchofLJ

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firstchurch_lajunta/?hl=en

    1. published a newsletter

      ReadFirst Church Alert
      September 8, 2021

      5 Things to Know this Week @ First Church

      1 Slide into some fun

      With our Fall Kick Off this Sunday, September 12, as we unveil our new Sunday school rooms! In worship, we’ll introduce our new Confirmation Class, commission our 2021-22 youth group leaders, and bless our adopted classrooms at the La Junta Primary and Intermediate Schools!   Our Bluegrass Quartet will sing, “The Bible Is My Roadmap,” and Pastor MJ will share a message from Matthew 5:17-20.  Stay for brunch and games after worship!  


      2 Youth Groups return

      Our youth groups return this week.  CTW High School Fellowship (gr. 9-12) kicks off on Sunday, September 12, and the AWESOME Middle School Fellowship (gr. 6-8) launches on Wednesday, September 15.  Both groups meet from 6:30-8 p.m.


      3 Super Sunday

      A Super Sunday is a special Sunday when we make the extra effort to invite people in our lives who may be missing out on the blessing of faith in Jesus Christ.  This Super Sunday, September 19, we’ll gather in worship to “Ten Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know about the Bible.”  Wear your Broncos gear, and we’ll get you home in time for kick off against the Jaguars.


      4 Where are you?

      Are you an active follower of Jesus, but struggle to apply your faith to life? Are you growing in fellowship with Jesus and ready to go deeper? Are you ready to make an impact with your faith?  Our new “Pathways” Adult Formation classes and workshops will help all of us identify where we are and how we can grow.


      5 Update on COVID precautions in worship & church ministries

      As you may know, Otero County has seen an uptick in COVID cases over the past few weeks. We take seriously the threat of COVID transmission to our unvaccinated children and immune compromised worshipers. For the congregation as a whole, however, we recognize that we have a very high number of worshipers who have been vaccinated, and those who have not or cannot do understand the risks.  Therefore, at this time, we do not plan to put in place an indoor mask rule. We are, however, taking some minimal precautions in some ministry areas. Specifically at this time, we’ve asked our children’s volunteers and nursery staff to self-identify as unvaccinated and wear masks when interacting with children under 12. We’re also asking singers in worship to do the same, as there is some indication of increased risk of transmission when singing. We will identify other areas of ministry as needed. If the situation changes and we begin again to see widespread community transmission affecting the congregation, we will revisit the decision.



      Find us!

      YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXTs_9jRVMSXuzpfEIJKknA

      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lajuntapresbyterians

      Twitter: https://twitter.com/FirstChurchofLJ

      Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firstchurch_lajunta/?hl=en

      1. published a newsletter

        ReadFirst Church Alert
        September 2, 2021

        5 Things to Know this Week @ First Church

        1 Fall Kick Off Sunday, September 12

        With the unveiling of our new Sunday school rooms! The return of the Choir!  The introduction of our new Confirmation Class!  The commissioning of our 2021-22 Sunday school and youth group leaders!  A blessing of our adopted classrooms at the La Junta Primary and Intermediate Schools!   Don’t miss our Fall Kick Off Sunday, September 12, with brunch and games after worship!


        2 The Gospel Read a Thon Thank you

        Thank you to everyone who gave of their time and voice to share the Gospels last Saturday:  Kenny, Denise, Gwynn, Patti, Stephanie, Tom, David, Georgette, Don, Karen, Chris, Meredith, Jerry, Greg, Marilyn, Terry, Katy, Melanie, Patrick and Dean.  Through Facebook Live, we were able to reach 223 people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. 


        3 Offering for Haiti

        We have concluded our special offering for Haiti, and we’re excited to share that we collected $2640 for World Renew’s recovery efforts. Your generosity blesses so many who have lost so much. Let’s continue our prayers for that nation and our mission partners there.


        4 A hearty pat on the back

        A big thanks to Joey Gacnik and Angel Saucedo for their work to paint and rehabilitate the doors to our upper parking lot.


        5 Super Sunday

        A Super Sunday is a special Sunday when we make the extra effort to invite people in our lives who may be missing out on the blessing of faith in Jesus Christ.  This Super Sunday, September 19, we’ll gather in worship to “Ten Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know about the Bible.”  Wear your Broncos gear, and we’ll get you home in time for kick off against the Jaguars.




        Find us!

        YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXTs_9jRVMSXuzpfEIJKknA

        Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lajuntapresbyterians

        Twitter: https://twitter.com/FirstChurchofLJ

        Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firstchurch_lajunta/?hl=en

        1. published a newsletter

          ReadFirst Church Alert
          August 26, 2021

          5 Things to Know this Week @ First Church


          1 In Worship:  Our New Testament in 90 Days Celebration

          We celebrate the completion of our New Testament in 90 Days Campaign this Sunday, August 29, in worship, with readings and Pastor MJ’s message (appropriately) from the Book of Revelation and special music from Janell Lorenzo singing, "I Choose Jesus."  God is good!  Come celebrate with us.


          2 The Gospel Read a Thon

          You’re “invited” to the first-ever Gospel Read a Thon as we celebrate the completion of our New Testament in 90 Days campaign.  On Saturday, August 28, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., we’ll take turns--in 20 minute intervals--reading portions of the New Testament.  We’ll continue through 6 p.m. The readings will take place in the Church Sanctuary, and all 8 hours of reading will be broadcast live to Facebook, so we can log in and out over the course of the day to listen to our church family share the Good News!  We have time slots still open on:  3:40, 4:40, 5, 5:20, 5:40.  


          3  Confirmation 2022 

          We’re so grateful for the small group of youth who are committing to Confirmation 2022.  Confirmation 2022 is a program of Christian discipleship for junior high and high school you, leading to an invitation to profess their faith in Jesus Christ and join the congregation. If you missed Sunday’s meeting but still want to participate, please call the Church Office at 384-2852 or email office@lajuntapres.org.


          4 Appeal for Haiti

          We have a special love for Haiti, having served in support of medical missions in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated the nation in 2010.  Now, Haiti has been devastated by another earthquake. Our help is desperately needed.  We’ll collect for the “Haiti Disaster Relief Fund” through this Sunday, August 29. Please give generously as you’re able, with an offering in worship or online.


          5 Classroom Co-Workers

          We have adopted a total of six classrooms this year:  three at the La Junta Primary School and three at the La Junta Intermediate School.  We need a small team of classroom co-workers who can assist Pastor MJ during the day, leading storytimes in the classrooms or helping to host parties.  We can also use some bakers to put together goodie baskets.  Can you help?  Contact Pastor MJ at 719-469-7717.


          And finally prayers...of comfort for Jeanne and Sam Brittain and family on the death of their nephew, Tom Moore.


          Find us!

          YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXTs_9jRVMSXuzpfEIJKknA

          Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lajuntapresbyterians

          Twitter: https://twitter.com/FirstChurchofLJ

          Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firstchurch_lajunta/?hl=en

          1. Aug
            24
            Tuesday, August 24th  •  6–7 pm (MDT)
            1. published a newsletter

              ReadFirst Church Alert
              August 19, 2021

              5 Things to Know this Week @ First Church

              1 Sunday school renovations continue

              We’re so excited about the changes coming in our Sunday school and nursery.  Stay tuned!  Our new as-yet-to-be-named Sunday school will debut on Sunday, September 12, on our Fall Kick Off Day.  Don’t miss it!  


              2 Appeal for Haiti

              We have a special love for Haiti, having served in support of medical missions in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated the nation in 2010.  For several years, we collected medical supplies and sent mission workers with Health4Haiti. Now, Haiti has been devastated by another earthquake, following a coup, and followed by a tropical storm.  Our help is desperately needed, and World Renew has offered us the opportunity through a special financial appeal.  We’ll collect for the “Haiti Disaster Relief Fund” this Sunday through the end of August.  Please give generously as you’re able, with an offering in worship or online.


              3 The New Testament Read a Thon

              Here’s how it will work:  Beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 27, we’ll take turns--in 20 minute intervals--reading portions of the New Testament.  We’ll continue through 6 p.m., and pick up again on Saturday, August 28, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. again.  The readings will take place in the Church Sanctuary, and all 16 hours of reading will be broadcast live to Facebook, so we can log in and out to listen to our church family share the Good News!  We have time slots still open on Friday: 1, 1:20, 1:40, 2:20, 2:40, 3, 3:20, 3:40, 4, 4:20, 4:40, 5, 5:20, 5:40.  And on Saturday:  1:20, 1:40, 2, 2:20, 2:40, 3, 3:20, 3:40, 4, 4:20, 4:40, 5, 5:20, 5:40.  Thanks to everyone who has already signed up!


              4 Choir BBQ  

              Join Dean Rees for a potluck supper get-together of present and future choir members at the Roots’ house (604 Dixon in North La Junta)  today Thursday, August 19 at 6:30 pm. We’ll discuss future plans and roast marshmallows! Rehearsals will take place on Thursday nights, with a first appearance of the choir in September. Let’s gather and make a joyful noise unto the Lord!


              5 “Stuff” update

              Thank you all sooo much for helping us clear out the stuff that had built up behind the stage and throughout our Sunday school rooms.  What’s left will be going to Global Treasurz, the City Dump, or Clean Valley Recycling. 



              Find us!

              YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXTs_9jRVMSXuzpfEIJKknA

              Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lajuntapresbyterians

              Twitter: https://twitter.com/FirstChurchofLJ

              Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firstchurch_lajunta/?hl=en

              1. published a newsletter

                ReadFirst Church Alert
                August 11, 2021

                5 Things to Know this Week @ First Church


                1 A special celebration

                Join us this Sunday, August 15, after worship, as we host a fellowship coffee in celebration of Jerry and Meredith Bradfield’s 50th wedding anniversary.  Let’s honor two who have been such blessings to our church family.


                2 The New Testament Read a Thon

                On August 27 and 28 (Friday and Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, we’ll sign up in 20 minute slots to read the New Testament start to finish in the Church Sanctuary!  All 16 hours of reading will be broadcast live to Facebook, so we can log in and out to listen to our church family share the Good News!


                3 Under Construction

                As we continue our renovation of the Sunday school (former God’s House), you’ll find a large pile of “stuff” at the far end of the Fellowship Hall. All “stuff” is free for the taking.  Please take it!   


                Our new as-yet-to-be-named Sunday school will debut on Sunday, September 12, on our Fall Kick Off Day.  Don’t miss it!  


                4 Choir returns soon! 

                Join Dean Rees for a potluck supper get-together of present and future choir members at the Roots’ house (604 Dixon in North La Junta)  on Thursday, August 19 at 6:30 pm. We’ll discuss future plans and roast marshmallows! Rehearsals will take place on Thursday nights, with a first appearance of the choir in September. Let’s gather and make a joyful noise unto the Lord!


                5 Dr. Don’s Bible Study resumes

                Don Klinkerman’s weekly Bible study resumes live at Casa Del Sol on Monday, September 13, and on Zoom on Wednesday, September 15.  Don and crew will be studying the Book of James. See Don for more info or to get a copy of the book.


                Find us!

                YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXTs_9jRVMSXuzpfEIJKknA

                Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lajuntapresbyterians

                Twitter: https://twitter.com/FirstChurchofLJ

                Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firstchurch_lajunta/?hl=en

                1. published a newsletter

                  ReadFirst Church Alert
                  August 4, 2021

                  5 Things to Know this Week @ First Church

                  1 Update on COVID cases

                  We are so thankful to have nothing to report. Our three cases from last week are recovering well and quickly, and no new cases have been reported to us.  Thanks to everyone who took the necessary precautions last Sunday by staying home or getting tested before returning to worship. We appreciate you!


                  2 Worship, Science Sunday, and Fellowship

                  Our New Testament in 90 Days continues, as we reach 1 Timothy and a warning against false teachings.  Good fences (i.e. doctrines) really do make good neighbors.  We’ll celebrate communion and hear “Peace Like a River” from our Women’s Quintet. Kids will remain in worship to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with us, but afterwards they’ll have a fun Science Science lesson on “Muscles” with Miss Aricka while the rest of the congregation enjoys a coffee fellowship time.


                  3 Under Construction

                  Our Sunday school (former God’s House) and nursery are under construction.  Please avoid the downstairs hallway as the renovations continue.  Our new as-yet-to-be-named Sunday school will debut on Sunday, September 12, on our Fall Kick Off Day.  Don’t miss it!  Note:  Our behind the stage clean up had to be postponed, so please roll up your sleeves after worship and fellowship this Sunday to help us take this next step to beautifying the Fellowship Hall.  


                  4 The New Testament Read a Thon

                  On August 27 and 28 (Friday and Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, we’ll sign up in 20 minute slots to read the New Testament start to finish in the Church Sanctuary!  All 16 hours of reading will be broadcast live to Facebook, so we can log in and out to listen to our church family share the Good News!


                  5 Choir returns soon! 

                  Dean Rees is pleased to announce that a church choir will be returning to worship! He has contacted a number of singers and received 11 responses of, “Yes, I can sing!” as well as others showing interest. With this level of positive interest, he’d like to announce that there will be a potluck supper get-together at Kenny and Denise Root’s house (604 Dixon in North La Junta)  on Thursday, August 19 at 6:30 pm in order to discuss future plans as well as to have fun and fellowship (and roast marshmallows!). Dean anticipates that rehearsals will take place on Thursday nights, with a first appearance of the choir in September. All who love to sing (if only in the shower) are invited! Let’s gather and make a joyful noise unto the Lord!




                  Find us!

                  YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXTs_9jRVMSXuzpfEIJKknA

                  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lajuntapresbyterians

                  Twitter: https://twitter.com/FirstChurchofLJ

                  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/firstchurch_lajunta/?hl=en

                  1. published a newsletter

                    ReadCOVID update! Please read!
                    Saturday, July 31, 2021

                    Update on COVID cases in the congregation

                    Dear Church Family and Friends,


                    Please read this letter carefully and in its entirety.


                    As I shared with you on Thursday, two of the youth who participated in our youth mission trip and who led worship on Sunday, July 25, became ill and tested positive for COVID this past week.


                    Despite our best hopes, it appears that transmission did take place in worship. A child who went forwarded for the children's message has become ill and tested positive this morning, Saturday, July 31. While it is, of course, possible that the child contracted the virus elsewhere, we know that there were only 5 COVID cases recorded in Otero County this week, of which 2 were our own youth. The most reasonable conclusion to make is that the child contracted COVID here in the sanctuary.


                    I have been in conversation today with Dr. Patrick Smith. I have been unable to get in touch with the Otero County Health Department, since it is the weekend.


                    We have determined that these are the most reasonable actions moving forward:


                    1. Parents of all other children who came forward for the children's message have been notified to watch for symptoms.
                    2. Science Sunday has been cancelled for Sunday, August 1, only.
                    3. Given that the greatest risk of transmission is within unvaccinated individuals, we are asking that any unvaccinated person who was in worship last Sunday, July 25, who has not tested negative in the last three days, please participate in worship online this Sunday, August 1.


                    The families of the three sick kids (the two youth and one child) covet your prayers for a speedy recovery.


                    Please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. My email is pastor@lajuntapres.org, the office phone is 384-2852, and my cell phone number is 469-7717.


                    Every blessing,


                    Pastor MJ



                    1. published a newsletter

                      ReadImportant Announcement
                      July 29, 2021

                      Note to Church Family

                      Dear Church Family and Friends,


                      Please read this letter carefully and in its entirety.


                      Late yesterday afternoon, I was notified that two of the youth who participated in our youth mission trip tested positive for COVID.  Both exhibited early symptoms on Monday, July 26, so they were certainly contagious on the drive home and during worship on Sunday morning, July 25.


                      I spoke immediately yesterday with Dr. Patrick Smith as well as staff at the Otero County Health Department.


                      The mission trip participants and their families have been notified. Given the close quarters in which they travelled back from Nashville, vaccinated participants have been advised to monitor for symptoms. Unvaccinated participants have been advised to quarantine for 10 days or be tested after 5 days of last exposure.


                      On Sunday morning in worship, the interaction between the youth and the rest of the congregation was minimal. The group stayed largely in the choir loft and did not greet people during the welcome time. After worship, the youth interacted only briefly with the congregation in the Fellowship Hall before heading out to vacuum the vehicles.


                      I have described the nature of the interactions to the health department. I even had the YouTube stream to show them.  They are confident that the risk of exposure to the congregation is negligible, and no quarantine is recommended for any of us.


                      I am in contact now with Group Mission Trips to advise them of the situation.


                      I am writing, in large part, to get ahead of any rumors that may begin circulating about these circumstances.  There is no need for alarm.


                      I would ask you to keep the two youth and their families in your prayers for a full recovery.  


                      I am reminded this morning of the words of Isaiah 43:2:


                      When you pass through the waters,

                          I will be with you;

                      and when you pass through the rivers,

                          they will not sweep over you.

                      When you walk through the fire,

                          you will not be burned;

                          the flames will not set you ablaze.


                      God is with us always, and all shall be well.


                      Please, please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.  My email is pastor@lajuntapres.org, the office phone is 384-2852, and my cell phone number is 469-7717.


                      Every blessing,


                      Pastor MJ