Dear Church Family,

This past Sunday was week #2 in our new Welcome Home series. It was a memorable morning as we “welcomed home” several Hillsiders who had recently returned from being away for a few months (snowbirds) or were moving back home after a few years (from as far away as BC!). For them, it was their first service in our new auditorium and they said, “it felt like home!” In addition, there are new people every Sunday who are feeling more and more at home here at Hillside. In fact, many are attending one of our 3 Alpha courses on Sunday nights. Did you know that this past Sunday night we had 331 involved in Alpha? IMAGINE!

Friends, one of the meaningful aspects that really makes a church like Hillside feel like home is that as a family we not only rejoice together, but there are times when we also mourn together. This past Wednesday was one of those times when we mourn together! It was then that we received word of the unbelievably tragic loss of a truly remarkable young woman, Janiva Willis, who had tragically died in a car accident in Texas. A star athlete (both at Harrison Trimble and College) Janiva shone her light not only on the field but perhaps even more brightly, off the field through her incredible work for underprivileged children. For her, this wasn’t just work; it was her calling!

Many of you know about Janiva and you also know that her dear parents, Kathy and Allan Silvea, are part of our Hillside family. Please continue to be in prayer for Kathy and Allan as they are living through a parent’s absolute worst nightmare. Be assured that your continued prayers for them, their family, and all those whose lives were touched by Janiva’s amazing life are deeply appreciated. It will be our privilege to host the funeral in our new auditorium sometime in the week ahead (funeral plans still being finalized). In the midst of life’s greatest sorrows, we, as believers like Janiva, know that a day is coming when He “will wipe every tear from our eyes” (Rev 21:4). What an amazing day that will be!

Looking ahead to this Sunday, I can assure you it’s going to be another fantastic Sunday. Pastor Dave will be bringing the third message in the “Welcome Home” series. Here’s what he’s saying about it:

“I am so fired up for Sunday and as I have been in Acts all week I have been refueled by the INTENSITY of this amazing book of the Bible. For a fresh recap dig out your “Story Bible” and read chapter 28 -New Beginnings.  Like a lamb in the midst of angry wolves the small early church survived and grew.  I’ve been reminded this week that the drama surrounding that growth is stunning.  Did you know Peter was on death row?  The rock upon which Christ was building His Church was one jaded trial away from death (Acts 12).  What was the only weapon available to this weak/outnumbered group of “radicals”?  It was prayer.  Don’t miss this week’s message at 9 & 11 for Welcome Home to a Growing Church”.

In addition to this engaging message (be sure to do your homework to leverage the full benefit!), there will be more God exalting worship as well as a guest appearance from several of the guys from Teen Challenge, one of our strategic partnership ministries. Again, you don’t want to miss this Sunday!

Thanks again to all of you for making Hillside feel like home. I’ve had meetings this week with our board, staff, lead team, transition team and many related chats with so many of you who are all doing amazing ministry together here. What a joy and privilege to serve with all of you. God is working. Lives are being impacted. Let’s keep the momentum going!

Gratefully,

Pastor Jerry

Don’t forget that “Getting Started” takes place on Sunday, April 24th @ 9AM. This is our connect class and a great first step for people who are newer to Hillside. Interested? Here’s the link to sign up. Getting Started. Also, don’t forget that we’re only 2 weeks away from our official Grand Opening on May 1st, 9 & 11am. You don’t want to miss it. Stay tuned for more info next week about this exciting day!