From the Pastor

From the Pastor - July 2020 Newsletter Post

Dear RUMC friends,

For the last four months I have been looking forward to joining you as your pastor - praying for you and for our ministry together, and meeting regularly with Pastor Vivian to learn more about the part of Christ’s body known as Reisterstown UMC. 

I’m excited to get to know you, to hear your stories, and to learn how God has moved in your life through the ministries at RUMC. I’m also excited to listen with you for where God is leading us next - particularly during this most unusual season. 

The Book of Acts has become one of my favorites over the last several months, because it paints a picture of a Church that was driven by the Holy Spirit, fully engaged in God’s world-changing work, and doing it all without a building. To be sure, our building is a powerful tool for life-changing ministry and mission, and admittedly it’s a bit strange that we won’t be getting to know each other over potlucks or coffee hour! Yet, during this time when we are limited in our ability to gather physically, it’s encouraging to remember that the early Church was not dependent upon a building to form meaningful relationships with one another or to serve as a powerful instrument of God’s grace. 

And, at a time when everything around us seems to be in flux, it’s also encouraging to see how some of the people who were closest to Jesus were equally challenged by the constantly-evolving nature of “church.” Still they prayed, they listened for God’s Spirit, and they adapted - so that they could continue to be faithful witnesses to the grace that they had received in Jesus Christ. 

Overwhelmingly, we are reminded both by the Book of Acts and this pandemic that we are the church. You. Me. The other people popping up on the Zoom call and those driving in beside us on Sunday morning. We’ve become so accustomed to saying that “we’re going to church” (myself included), that sometimes we forget that we’re the church, and the church exists wherever we are. Through our baptisms we’ve been commissioned to serve as Jesus’ representatives - his witnesses - here in our own community (our Jerusalem), in our region (Judea), and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Right now we have a wonderfully skilled and dedicated team of people looking at what it will look like for us to reopen safely. As they do that, I want to invite us all to look for the gifts in this time - this opportunity to keep wrestling with what it means for us to be the church, together. Together we’ll pray, we’ll listen for the Holy Spirit, and we’ll keep adapting - so that we can continue to be powerful instruments of God’s life-changing and world-changing grace.

Reisterstown UMC, I’m excited to be the church with you, and I’m excited for the ways that God will use us to touch the lives of those in our community, across Maryland, and even in places throughout the world. 

In faith, in hope, and with love,


Posted by Jennifer Eschliman with

December Newsletter Message

Dear Friends,
Imagination is powerful. Just yesterday, someone told me about the next innovation in kitchen appliances: a refrigerator that, with a push of a button and insertion of a K-cup, brews your morning coffee. Voilà! One less appliance cluttering up your counter!

Imagination is a gift that comes from being made in God’s image. Can you imagine God’s imagination!?!

  • The earth was without form and void; and darkness covered the face of the deep. Then, light. (Genesis 1:1)
  • I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (Genesis 9:13)
  • A little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6) 

God’s answers – God’s acts – are pretty much never what we would expect. God’s innovations of love and care are always far beyond the expected or customary. God’s visions and dreams are rich and compelling.

  • Dry bones coming to life.
  • All creation in harmony.
  • A baby boy saving humankind. 

Our Advent celebrations will be a time of challenging our imagination – to reach for God’s imagination for us and for God’s world.

Malaria is a killer. In 2007, the United Methodist Church was invited to form a partnership with the Gates Foundation, The UN Foundation and the National Women’s Basketball League to accomplish a huge dream: end deaths from malaria in Africa. Imaginations stretched, and RUMC joined with others to imagine a world free of this dreaded disease.
At that time, roughly the equivalent of 2 planeloads of people died every day in Africa from this preventable disease.

In less than ten years, we are almost there.

The death rate from malaria in Africa has dropped significantly already, and with the addition to the program of medication and public education, it is expected that malaria will be eradicated in just a few years.

During this time of anticipation, Advent, we will pray daily for our sisters and brothers who live in fear of a mosquito’s sting and raise offerings to combat the disease.

In the first week of December, you will receive a letter inviting you to make a special offering for Christmas. That money will be used as it usually is, in support of the ministries of RUMC. On Christmas Eve, everyone will be invited to make an offering for Imagine No Malaria. Your church leaders have imagined a significant step in faith: that is, all of the Christmas Eve “plate* offering” will be sent to this global ministry.

Christmas Eve is a very special opportunity to reach men, women and children who visit us with the message of God’s love sent in the form of a baby who is the Light of the World – and to give them an inkling of whether the church they choose to attend is alive with imagination or plodding along. We want our visitors to imagine the church in witness and service to the world rather than focused only on its own needs. I am praying that this “business-definitely-not-as-usual” act will connect with those visiting and that they will be inspired to connect – or reconnect – with a faith community where they will be fed and nurtured every week.

I hope you will be part of this journey of prayer and love for our sisters and brothers here and across the globe.

Just imagine!!

*Plate offerings are the cash and checks that come from givers who do not have assigned envelope numbers, usually visitors and guests.

Posted by Vivian McCarthy with
Tags: imagine