Great Plains Daily Devotional for 12/21/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Salina Trinity UMC
Salina District
Salina Trinity UMC
Salina District
Salina University UMC
Salina District
Solomon Yoked Parish
Salina District

Today's Lectionary Text

Jeremiah 29:7

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

Today's Devotional

As the first church established in Topeka over 165 years ago, Topeka First UMC has remained a “downtown church,” resisting the temptation to move to the suburbs. Our church is just two blocks from the state capitol building and throughout our history, Topeka First UMC has been the religious hub for the central business district and surrounding neighborhoods.
As happened throughout our country, shopping malls and suburban housing developments took their toll on Topeka’s downtown until a revitalization plan in 2012 breathed life back into it. At a church retreat in 2016, three primary strategic areas were identified. One was to position our church as a proactive participant in the revitalization of Downtown Topeka and the Downtown Topeka Engagement (DTE) team was established. Working with Ministry Architects, the team identified three major initiatives:
  1. To create a signature event for our community – We held our first Cocoa, Cookies and Carols following the annual Christmas parade in 2016.
  2. To introduce our church to neighbors – We distributed “Welcome” bags filled with goodies from downtown merchants and our church to the residents in the major downtown apartment buildings.
  3. To create relationships with downtown business owners and employees – We designated quarterly Downtown CONNECTion Weeks. We provided note cards and encouraged our members to patronize downtown restaurants and retail establishments and leave a “thank you” note.
Jeremiah 29:7 has provided our guiding principle for nearly a decade now, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
We use the paraphrase, “for the good of the city,” to drive all our decisions about outreach, missions and ministry. Supporting the revitalization efforts and letting the downtown residents know they are not forgotten is part of our calling as a downtown church.
Topeka First UMC intentionally plays an active role in downtown activities, providing volunteers and support at any opportunity. Rev. Jeff Clinger is on the Downtown Topeka Inc. board, and our church is grateful we remained downtown to serve the spiritual needs of our neighbors and friends.
--Marsha Oliver,
Topeka First UMC


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