From the Pastor

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Beginning of Lent 2015

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Years ago, I fell in love with the liturgical calendar. It happened when I realized that it actually was a simple re-telling of Jesus’ story – a kind of walking with Jesus through His life. It was like (and still is) I was there, experiencing the amazing story of salvation again and again. Each year we hear and participate in the old, old story.

As Lent begins during the week of Feb. 15, we have the opportunity to walk with Jesus through the crucifixion, all the way to resurrection as usual, experiencing the ups and downs with a very different perspective – that is, by linking the God Story to our personal story.

Small groups are forming to spend time discovering those links together, and each week’s worship will reflect the theme of that week’s small group theme.

The worship teams, United Methodist Women and the Education team are working together to see that every family has a devotional guide (which is the guide for the small groups). The study is organized around the “shape” of a great story or play: Introduction, Suspension of Disbelief, Rising Action, The Inciting Incident, Soundtrack, and Waiting for Resolution. Each week, I will provide a “meditation brief” for use during the service with some suggested conversation starters for use at home, especially written for use with young children. The guide book is easily used with teens, and probably with youth as young as 10 or 11.

My hope is to engage all of us in worship in our own life story, and I hope you will be open to both looking at and sharing your own life story, if only with those closest to you.

Rich and I will be taking a week of vacation, February 8 through 15. We will spend Feb 6-8 with the youth at ROCK and then head to Cape Cod for the week. If there is an emergency, please call Robine in the church office during the week or, if it is on the weekend, please call Sue Wright (410-833-6738) or George Hoffmann (410-526-6967), the lay leaders.  They will be able to help you contact the pastor on call or provide help as the situation warrants.

Thank you for all of your prayers for my brother-in-law Glen and my sister Anita. The cancer he has is very aggressive, and he is truly suffering. We live in hope, praying for an end to the suffering and thanking God for the presence and comfort of Jesus.

Blessings on you,


Posted by Vivian McCarthy with
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Happy New Year!

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Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! Imagine with me a beautiful wooded path, a bit of sunlight shining through the trees, some enticing vegetation (yes, even in the winter) of different varieties – and a fork in the road. Which path will you choose? What will entice you?

A new year is something like that. A clear (open) path lies before you with many choices to be made. I pray that your choices in this coming year will ena-ble you to live your faith fully, to grow closer to God, and to find deep, abiding joy and fulfillment.

Notes of thanks

There is so much that I want to say thank you for!

Thank you all for your generous Christmas gift! It’s always nice to be appreciated, isn’t it?

Thanks to the many “elves” who work with the worship teams to make the Advent and Christmas season so beautiful – the choirs; the decorators, including Joanne Ditto and Judy Wright with special thanks to Tom Caltrider and Barb Rhodes for crafting the spectacular star that lit our way; the parents who escorted our youth on their caroling tour of Reisterstown; Alice Soehnlein, the Blake family and the Raab family for the Chrismon event; Kathleen Goebel and the whole evangelism team for organizing the Chrismon evening; Bill Nash, Rick Fairhurst and the Men’s Fellowship for getting the tree in the front yard; and the church staff who worked extra hard during the last 6 weeks or so to help make all of this happen.

Thanks to Brian Holsonbake for his tireless work to install and break in the new phone system. It is truly a gift to us all, and we deeply appreciate Brian’s expertise and his care in training us to use it well.

Turnbaugh Trust Recommendations

We have come a long way over the last 18 months, and we are finally ready to make the recommendation regarding the Turnbaugh Trust to the Charge Conference. As I’ve shared before, the decisions about this trust must be made by the charge conference, and our district superintendent, Rev. Dr. Laura Easto, will be here for that meeting (date is still to be determined—mid February). Prior to that meeting, the Turnbaugh Trust Recommendation Team will be presenting the proposals to the congregation in video and written format on Sunday, January 25, following each worship service. The plan is for you to have the recommendations as well as some anticipated questions in writing as well as a sheet for you to write your questions. The team will not try to answer questions on that day but will collect the questions for about a week and then will post the answers on the church’s website and will send them out to the whole congregation in a midweek roughly a week before the charge conference. This amazing gift has already enabled us to do some wonderful things, and now the future is wide open!

Coming in January

After Spiritual Gifts, the most-requested topic for sermons that I have received from you all was “current events.” Beginning January 11, our next worship series will be on issues that separate us and even bring us to hate each other. The first two weeks will focus on international issues that threaten world peace, and the second two weeks will focus on homosexuality and same-sex marriage (a specifically requested topic). These are topics that people are talking about in the community, in the media, and in the deli. Remember to invite your friends who may be wondering how the Christian community deals with such complicated issues and still speak to each other. The two weeks on world peace will be capped off by an afternoon service of Prayer for Peace (date and time to be determined), with both musical and spoken prayers and witness to peace-making. (See the flyer in this newsletter about the series and prayer service.) Hope to see you there!

May God’s richest blessings be yours in the new year and always!

Blessings on you,


Posted by Vivian McCarthy with