It's been fun (though I've been staying up way too late these past two weeks!) to watch portions of the Olympic Games from Brazil. In addition to the breathtaking moments of victory and the sometimes heartbreaking moments that lead to a loss, I've enjoyed hearing about the roots and backgrounds of the individual athletes. In each case, someone had to sense that young athlete's potential and support him or her in their dreams and in the long, slow, training process to become world-class.

This Sunday we'll be hearing words from the opening chapter of the book of Jeremiah, a prophet who was called by God to speak to his nation of Israel during a conflict-filled time, when many of the citizens tried to gloss over the very real problems they were facing. Though Jeremiah was sure he wasn't the right person for the task --  "I'm just a boy! I don't know how to speak in public!" he protested to God - he was reminded that God would be with him. And we get a hint that his whole life up to that point had been a sort of training time for this calling, because he was raised in Anathoth - a town away from the power structures of Jerusalem, raised by a family of faith who helped him, as he grew, to see things differently, and more deeply, than did many of his day.

We continue to have this privilege, as family, friends, and faith community, to nurture in the young people in our midst those possibilities and perspectives that can help them discover a God-given dream for their lives.

And we'll be hearing about some other "dreams" in worship on Sunday. We'll be hearing about the dream of eradicating malaria in Africa, a dream United Methodists have been working on for almost three years through our contributions to Imagine NO Malaria. So far, our denomination has raised $68 million of our $75 goal, and in the process we have impacted 4,600,00 lives, opened or improved 300 clinics or medical outposts (and created roads to make them accessible), trained 11,600 health care workers who continue to educate and treat people in 16 countries in Sub-Sahara Africa, and - oh yes - distributed special medicated bed nets - 2,300,00 of them. The INM campaign continues for just a few more months, and we'll be taking special offerings for it this Sunday, and on the third Sundays of September and October. Read the note of encouragement from our congregation's INM Coordinator, Leah Ostwald, below.

We'll also hear, during our service on Sunday, about the dreams refugees around the world have -- of safety, and home, and a future for their children. Emily Gray, from World Relief, will speak briefly in worship, then share more at a luncheon at 11:15. You are invited - please see the article and invitation below.

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