Originally published in the quarterly Explorer – Summer 2013.

They are not recognized as part of the liturgical calendar, but June, July, and August are important months of each year.

Around church the pace changes, but does not stop. We no longer prepare an evening meal on Wednesdays, nor have a full program of children’s choirs and missions activities. Each Wednesday we gather in our Chapel at 7 p.m. for a 30-40 minute Vesper service. We sing hymns, offer prayers, read Scripture, and have it interpreted by a minister from our congregation or staff. These Vesper services begin Wednesday, June 19.

Sunday mornings follow our regular schedule for Sunday school, worship and the post-worship reception. Receptions are sponsored by Sunday school classes instead of by deacons. Our boards stand down during summer months unless an urgent item of business intrudes.

During summer our youth head off to the Passport Camp and Tour, and our children enjoy a week of Vacation Bible School in July. Both weeks are long-anticipated and planned. Along the way there are special events that enable us to experience God in worship, enjoy fellowship, and offer ministry to others.

Summer is a lovely time to take steps to jump-start the life of the Spirit within you. Early sunrises invite you to get up earlier and savor a cup of coffee or tea on the porch before the sun begins to bake the earth. These precious minutes may give you time to ponder a Psalm, read an inspirational book, or walk more slowly through your prayer list.

When you travel away from home, visit another church on Sunday. You may find surprising inspiration in the unfamiliar order of service, anthem from the choir, or voice from the pulpit. Or at the close of the service, you may escape to your car as quickly as politeness allows, having landed that Sunday in a worship service that falls far outside your preferred style. The first will make you grateful you went to church that day; the latter will make you grateful to come home to River Road Church. Either is a blessing.

June is finally here. Welcome the summer quarter and the God who gifts us with seasons of the year and of life.