From the Pastor

Midweek Message - February 24, 2016

Dear Friends, 

Many, many thanks to all who helped with the Wes Moore visit last week.  Brian Holsonbake set up the Internet link and showed the program in the sanctuary, and he told me we had about 20 people here.  A number of folks have told me that they watched from home, and there were 4 whole rows of our youth and their parents at the school, plus about 15 more folks scattered around the auditorium.  It was a wonderful event that moved the hearts of many people in our community.  Thank you to the Turnbaugh Trust Team for having the vision to make this event possible!  And thanks to the Franklin High School staff and faculty for introducing the young people of this community to a charismatic man who is an amazing role model for them all.  Wes spent almost 2 hours after the presentation, signing books, posing for pictures with everyone who wanted one, and talking to each person who came to the table as if he or she was the only person in the room.  The last 3 young men did not even get to the table to talk with Wes until after 10 pm.  I don’t remember exactly what they said, but it was something like, “we wouldn’t miss this for the world.”  The gathered community that night was diverse in many ways – age, race, ethnic groups, male/female.  You made it possible to bring this community together in a very significant way, and I am grateful to be your pastor!

This coming Sunday, our Essential focus will be Fitness, one of the 5 essentials in living Fulfilled and Free.  We’ll be having a little fun with this one – watching a great clip from The Twilight Zone and moving just a little – something we can all do!  Don’t miss it!

During worship this Sunday, we will also dedicate a new octave of handbells given in memory of Winnie and Bud Garman by their daughter Peggy and her husband Ross Merryman and by Rev. Frank Trotter.  Frank will be with us for the whole morning and will take part in the dedication. Then, during the Grow Hour, from 9:45 to 10:15, the Joyful Noise Handbell Choir will share a concert which will include Winnie’s favorite hymn, On Eagle’s Wings.

There are quite a few events coming up in the next few weeks that offer the opportunity to build our relationships with each other – and with God.  Please take a serious look at the information in each week’s bulletin and in the emailed weekly news update.  The events are also featured on our website, both on the “Featured Events” page ( and the Calendar with all events and meetings page (  Please note that the calendar page is “real time” and is updated constantly.  You can click on any single event to reach the details for that event and to add it to your own calendar!  The church’s events offer an opportunity for us to BE the church as we build relationships with each other.  On February 14, we were reminded by Rick Warren that “Jesus gives a beautiful illustration of [depending on God’s spirit]” when he says, “I am the vine, and you are the branches.  If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit.  But you cannot do anything without me.”  The branches in that image are also connected to each other, and our church leadership has made a commitment to work in such a way that we get connected – related – to each other, by planning special opportunities where we share with each other.  I hope you will consider participating in a few of those events throughout this year and on into the future!

Blessings on you!

Midweek Message - February 11, 2016

Dear Friends,

Fulfilled and Free is our worship, study and devotional focus for the period of Lent, and this Sunday’s “essential” for being fully alive in Christ is Faith.  For those who missed the introductory message on Ash Wednesday, I will share a little of what was shared then so we will all begin in the same place, and then we will be exploring how our Faith is essential to how we live into our relationship with Christ as well as into our best lives.  The Apostle Paul wrote:

Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.  How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.  Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don't squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us, I heard your call in the nick of time; the day you needed me, I was there to help.  2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:2 (The Message)

God’s love for us is unconditional, and God wants us to have a “marvelous life.”  Many times, Lent becomes about shame and guilt.  As we walk through this Lent, it is my hope that we will claim the freedom and powerful, searching love that God offers each of us – and that we will turn away from anything that holds us back from that “marvelous life.”

Each family should take a devotional guide for the season.  They are called The Daniel Plan Jumpstart Guide and will be on the glass-top table where you pick up your bulletins.

Annnnnd…For this Lenten season, we will have a weekly Memory Verse.  This week’s verse is: 

 Christ has set us free for freedom.  Therefore, stand firm and don't submit to the bondage of slavery again.  Galatians 5:1

 A Big Thank You to Mary Morrison, the artist who designed the image for the Fulfilled and Free series.

And finally, as we move through these few weeks, let’s share a witness of how we are becoming fulfilled and free.  Just a sentence posted to Twitter (#fulfilledandfreerumc1777) or a story of how God is working in your life, freeing you from anything that is holding you back or getting in the way of your relationship with God (sent to me via email) can encourage others as well as celebrate God’s love.  The Health Ministry Team has organized a Zumba class on Wednesday nights, and they are asking that we anonymously turn in all of our activity (in minutes or miles) as well as how much weight we may lose during this time.  Once of our members has promised to purchase one pound of food for every pound that we lose during this time – and donate it to our Food Pantry.  Game on! 

Remember that Saturday evening, 6 to 8 pm is our first Coffee House of 2016

Wes Moore – On Thursday night, February 18, at 7 pm, Wes Moore will be sharing his story and his life with students at Franklin High School.  Because the auditorium holds only 750 people, admission to this event is by invitation onlyIf you want to bring a middle or high school student who has not received an invitation from the school, please be sure to get a flyer from Susan Harry this Sunday and tell her how many will be in your group.  Parents or grandparents may accompany their special young people to this event.  We have 150 seats reserved for RUMC family members.  Each young person who attends will receive a copy of Wes Moore’s young adult novel, This Way Home, the story of 3 friends who learn how easy it is for trouble to find them.  This event is sponsored by RUMC, through a grant from the Turnbaugh Trust.  For those who do not have a middle- or high-school-aged student, we are planning to host the event here at church via live-streaming on our sanctuary screen.  Our tech team is working with the high school to make this happen.  Once the details are fixed, we will also publicize how you can log in and watch Wes from home.  If we have that information by Sunday, we will have written notices that you can take home with you.  If not, watch next week’s Midweek as well as the website for further information. 

Finally, I want to thank Susan Harry for her leadership in taking 30 youth and 17 adults to Ocean City last weekend for ROCK2016.  I also want to thank those 17 adult volunteers who gave so much of themselves to make this a wonderful, spiritually filled weekend for our youth.  You should have seen them dancing!  The bands were awesome, and our group chose seats where they had room to get up and boogie, and it was GREAT!  They drew in youth from other groups and the dancing was fabulous!  What great fun!  (Hint for keeping our baptismal pledge to the youth:  Ask some of them about their weekend experience – who was the band, what did they play, tell me about the dancing….)

See you on Sunday!


Blessings on you,