9 APRIL 2017Image Not Found.
We are entering a great time in the life of the church. There are so many things that are going well. We still have some areas that we need to address. How we address those needs will determine how many lives God will affect through our church. I hope that you will prayerfully consider what God is calling you to do as we enter this time of new beginnings. I hope that you will be able to fully participate in the great opportunities before us.
For all of you who have participated in one or more of the Bible Studies that I have taught, I want to thank you. You have truly blessed my life. I have learned so much from our time together and will cherish these special memories throughout the rest of my life. What a privilege it is to learn God’s Word together.
This Sunday we will be joining with other congregations for our annual Palm Sunday Processional. We will start at the First United Presbyterian Church at 9:30 am and end at the First Christian Church. We will again be led by Mikeal Murray playing the bag pipe. I hope that you will join us.
At 10:30 am on Sunday, April 9, we will begin our worship celebrating Palm Sunday. Our children, youth and anyone else who wishes to come into the sanctuary in our Palm Sunday Processional is invited to meet in our Foyer by the offices and Parlor to receive your palm branch and instructions. Since we are not holding a Maundy Thursday service this year, we will transition from Palm Sunday to Passion Sunday at the Scripture Reading and continue that theme throughout the remainder of the service. We will close our service by stripping our sanctuary. If you would like to assist me in doing this, please let me know. Our choir has prepared two special numbers for our service. I know that their gift of music will bless us and better help us to worship God.
Easter Sunday is April 16. The Guthrie Ministerial Alliance will hold an Easter Sunday Sunrise Service at the Beacon Drive-in at 5:50 am. You may participate in the service from your car or if the weather is nice, you may choose to bring a lawn chair and sit outside.
Our Easter Worship Celebration will continue at 10:30 am. We will begin with the Easter Proclamation, “He Is Risen.” Our Easter Cross will be in the sanctuary and you are invited to bring some cut flowers to place on the Easter Cross during the service. You are invited to think of those loved ones for whom you grieve. As you place the flowers on the Easter Cross, you may share a brief prayer or go to the Altar Rail for a time of prayer thanking God for the blessings of your loved ones and asking for strength and peace as you continue the journey of grieve. As we grieve, we do not grieve as those without hope. Because Jesus lives, so do our loved ones and so will we! Following the Easter Service, the Easter Cross will be placed on our front lawn. If you can help us move the Easter Cross into the Sanctuary on Wednesday night or move it to the front lawn following our worship, please let me know. Following the service, you may take your Easter Lily home if you ordered one in honor or memory of your loved ones.
Sunday, April 23 will be a full day. Our Confirmation Class will be joining the church. It has been a joy for me to be able to be on this journey with our wonderful youth. We will also have two students from the OU Wesley Foundation. One student will be sharing what Jesus Christ means in that student’s life. Another student will bless us with special music. The OU Wesley Foundation is sending out students to as many United Methodist Churches as they can on this Sunday to share with us the profound difference that can happen in the life of college students who choose to be a part of the Wesley Foundation on their campus.
Sunday, April 23 will be my family’s last Sunday with you. What a blessing you have been to us. You have prayed for us, supported us, included us and loved us. We could not have asked more from any congregation than you have given. We love you and will always consider it a blessing that our paths to have crossed.
Rev. Chris Tiger the Conference Director of New Faith Communities will be preaching on Sunday, April 30th.
Rev. Bob Younts will be preaching on the Sundays in May. He will also be providing pastoral care and handling pastoral emergencies during this transition. Please pray for Rev. Younts as he leads you during this time of transition.
Rev. Derek Belase the Conference Director of Discipleship will preach on Sunday, June 4th.
Rev. Alan Nagel and his wife, Debra, will begin their ministry among you on Sunday, June 11th. I believe that you will be blessed through their ministry and presence among you. I know that they will be blessed by your love, support, prayers and presence.
OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE
1. I want to thank Deanna Davenport for being willing to oversee our Acolyte ministry.
OUR NEEDSTHAT REMAIN
1. A substitute Sunday School teacher for our Junior High Youth.
2. A couple of people who would be willing to lead a Junior High Youth Group on Sundays at 4:00 pm. Our Junior High youth are a blessing!
3. A couple of people who would be willing to work with our Senior High Youth to form a youth group and engage in activities.
4. A person who would be willing to open the church when Toni Scheihing is not able to do so.
5. Oscar Berryman is our Financial Secretary and handles the oversight of making sure that our offering count agrees with our deposits and that all funds were appropriately noted. But we need someone who will review Julie’s monthly contribution of funds report that goes to our treasurer. This person would also serve on the Committee on Finance.
6. A person who go over the Registration Pads and track everyone’s worship attendance. This person would keep a record of new guests, mail a letter to our new guests, send the pastor the information regarding our new guests.
7. A person who would be willing to clean up the sanctuary following each worship service. This person would make sure that pencils, offering envelops, prayer cards are in the pews.
8. If you are not serving on a host team that serves for Funeral Dinners and our Monthly Fellowship Meal and would like to serve on such a team two months out of the year, please let me know. We also need two people who are not on a present team who would be willing to serve as a coordinator for their group.
9. People to pray for our church, for our community, for our church leaders and for Rev. Alan Nagel and his wife, Debra as they transition to this loving and supportive church family.
HOW TO SUPPORT THE CHURCH THROUGH YOUR GIFTS
If you are a person who is willing to make a pledge to the church and you have not yet done so, please consider doing this. Your pledge allows our Committee on Finance to better plan for supporting the ministries of our church. We have experienced added costs because we started a children’s and two youth Sunday School classes. We are using more of our church each Sunday. Our scouting ministries have grown and they are using more of church.
This Sunday we will introduce our Adopt-An-Apportionment. This will give you an opportunity to invest in our denomination’s ministries and missions throughout the world.
OUR CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
We will have Capital Campaign cards available this Sunday. We have been blessed with the Sanctuary Renovations that were done. People who enter our sanctuary are awed by the beauty. In that renovation, we addressed our sound system, projection capabilities and electrical needs. Prior to that renovation, we improved our foyer, parlor and offices. We have replaced ½ of our church’s heating and air conditioning systems. We had the funds to pay for half of the cost of replacing the heat and air systems.
We are asking for a one-year Capital Campaign pledge from those who are willing and able. Those funds will go to paying the remainder of the heat and air conditioning upgrades and then will go toward the next phases of our master plan. We will need to replace the other 5 heat and air units over the next couple of years due to their age, inefficiency and use of Freon. We want to remodel our Fellowship Hall and youth rooms downstairs. Our Board of Trustees are working hard on making repairs to our church and parsonage but their funds cannot handle these major projects.
OUR BENEVOLENT MINISTRIES
It is your support of Helping Hands that allows us to help those in need. Over the past months, we have been able to help one family get on their feet. What has happened in the life of this family is a miracle. We helped one person so he could find a job, find a place to live and get back on the right track. We helped on person get home for the first time in years. We help people with the crises in their life because of chronic issues when we can. But, our focus is to help people with a hand up not a hand out.
A person introduced me to this statement, “Not equal gifts, but equal commitment.” We do not have equal gifts. Some can give, some can teach, some can serve behind the scenes. We cannot give what we do not have. But if each of us makes the commitment to give as God has given to us and to serve as God has gifted us, then together, we will change the future. Remember this is not our church but God’s church. God will provide if we respond to God’s call on our life. We just may be the one God is calling to make an eternal difference is someone’s life.