From the Pastor

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From the Pastor - May 2016 Newsletter Post

As the Great Fifty Days of Easter wind down, the scriptures begin to focus on the work of the Holy Spirit and the power and the excitement of how the church developed. In those early days just after the resurrection, those who had followed Jesus to the cross begin to see themselves as carrying Jesus's message, to a hungry world, offering healing, hope and a place to belong. In short, they were beginning to become the body of Christ.

The Church Council has been dreaming about the next steps we need to take as a congregation, and on the first Sunday in May, one of Paul’s missionary journeys – the one when he responded to the Spirit’s call in a dream after being stymied at least twice – will serve as the basis for a time of sharing where your leaders feel the church must go in the next year.  What an exciting time!

May also brings with it several RUMC Faith Family celebrations. Chief among those celebrations is Pentecost, the birthday of the church, and the Sunday when we celebrate a most precious faith RUMC Faith Family event:  Confirmation.  On that day we will celebrate eight of our youth who will make their own commitment to a life of discipleship and love for Jesus. This is one of the days that we can really show our love and support for the young people of our Faith Family, and I urge every member of the RUMC Faith Family to be present on that special day to show our love and support for our young people. There will be only one service on May 15, so that the whole RUMC Faith Family can worship and celebrate this important occasion together at 10 a.m. The worship service is designed for the Confirmands and will be quite different from our normal Sunday morning.

Other highlights of the month of May will include the introduction of our vision for a new ministry, celebrating our graduating seniors on May 22nd, and a Singing Our Faith Sunday on May 29th.

Dreams – or, in biblical language, visions – often seem unattainable or at the very least, risky.  Yet, when we fail to dream, to reach out into the unknown, to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, we usually get stuck.  Consider a few wise words about dreams and visions:

  • The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Nothing happens unless first we dream. Carl Sandburg
  • Where there is no vision, there is no hope. George Washington Carver
  • Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

So, in this month of considering the work of the Holy Spirit in our congregational life, I invite you to open your hearts and minds to where God may be leading us – dreaming God-sized dreams and God-planted visions!

Blessings,

Posted by Vivian McCarthy 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

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