New Study Bibles awarded to those completing basic beliefs class and being confirmed
There was lots of joy and praise and excitement at Copper Hill United Methodist Church this Palm Sunday morning. Two sixth-graders, Hunter Prevost and Christopher Collins, had completed basic beliefs class with Pastor Kelvin Jones and were ready to be confirmed. Five additional new members were ready to reaffirm their faith and join the local church, Dottie Plunske, Ronald Prevost, Paul Mandirola and Ruth and Christian Robison.
After the reading of the Palm Sunday story and the singing of traditional hymns for this special Sunday, Hunter and Christopher joined Pastor Kelvin in sharing a liturgy of the cross. Pastor Kelvin had written it as a complement to one of the projects of the basic beliefs class, the making of a wire cross. Time spent making the cross had helped class members to have time to talk about the meaning of the cross.
Each confirmand and new member had a sponsor from the congregation. When all the sponsors and new members were gathered at the front of the church, the front was filled. Robert Loomis, lay leader, did not remember more than four people being received into membership at one time and today we were receiving seven. It was a day of celebration. As part of the liturgy, Pastor Kelvin took water and sprinkled it into a crystal bowl, reminding the new members and the congregation to “Remember your baptism.” The sponsors and the congregation in turn promised to encourage and support the new members in their membership covenant.
The celebration continued as the ladies’ and children’s choir, under the direction of JoAnne Jones, sang and signed an upbeat song for the Easter season, “My Redeemer Lives!” The joy of Easter had certainly touched Copper Hill United Methodist on this Sunday morning.
Our Lenten/Easter series of messages, “Footsteps of Jesus” has taken us back to the original life and times of Jesus to help us understand his character, his values, and his concerns. Looking at incidents in the life of Jesus has inspired us to worship him and to follow in his footsteps of love and caring for others. I think sometimes Easter emphases stop too soon and we don’t have a chance to talk about the incidents in Jesus’ life that happened after his resurrection during his appearances to his disciples. So this year, we are planning to spend the two weeks after Easter looking at some of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. Here is the outline for the remaining weeks.
|April 13 Palm Sunday
||From “Hosanna” to “Crucify Him”
||Matt. 21:1-11 Matt. 27:15-26
||Tell Me the Stories of Jesus UMH #277Old Rugged Cross UMH #504
|April 17 Maundy Thursday
||“This is my body”
||How Deep the Father’s Love for UsWhen I Survey UMH #298
|April 20 Easter
||The Empty Tomb
||In Christ AloneChrist the Lord is Risen Today UMH #302
The Day of Resurrection UMH # 303
||Easter People Raise Your Voices UMH#304He Lives UMH #310
|May 4 Communion
||The Emmaus Road
||Christ is Alive UMH #318Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast UMH #339
Winter worship has been great
We have enjoyed our winter season worshipping in our fellowship hall. But, our desire is to get back into our sanctuary before Easter. Now that the weather is finally predicted to warm and it is only a few weeks until Easter (April 20), we are more than ready. As Robert predicted the singing atmosphere in the fellowship hall has been great.
We’re moving back in the sanctuary this week
This coming Sunday, March 30, we plan to move back into the sanctuary for our 9 AM worship service. We will need the added space as Easter approaches. We moved the furniture back after service last Sunday so all would be ready.
Winter attendance up significantly over last year
We want to say thank you to all our worshippers for your faithfulness to services while we were worshipping in the fellowship hall. Council chairperson Judy Holcomb announced in last week’s bulletin that our attendance in January and February was 19% above last year. We are praising God for that exciting news and looking forward to even more folks joining in worship this spring. Let’s discover together the truth of the verse in Psalms, “We are filled with the good things of your house” (Ps 65:4 NIV).
Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Ministry Encourages
During my ministerial training, I interned as a chaplain at a nursing home. I was shocked to learn that many longtime residents of the home received no visitors. Jesus listed visiting the sick as one of those charitable actions that we can specifically do as unto Him. He said when we visit those who are ill, He counts it as if we were visiting Him (Matthew 25:36, 40).
Two people from our congregation at Copper Hill United Methodist Church, JoAnne Jones and Dong Loomis have been visiting folks at the Meadowbrook healthcare facility just outside Granby, CT. JoAnne plays her Celtic harp for the residents who want to hear it, and the two ladies also offer to read Scripture and pray with those who desire it. In coordination with the recreation director, their focus is especially on the “butterfly list”: those who do not leave their rooms often, or are nearing the end of their lives. These people are often the ones avoided by others because normal conversation may be difficult due to their condition.
In these pictures taken by Dong, JoAnne plays her harp for residents during a recent visit.
Lent helps us fix our thoughts on Jesus
As the calendar moves toward Easter each year, our minds automatically focus again on Jesus. We cannot help but think more about his life, his last days, his untimely death and his resurrection. This is even truer this year with the popularity of the new film, “Son of God.”
New Lenten and Easter series announced
It’s natural then that our plans for the message series during Lent and Easter center on the life of Jesus. As I announced in church, I am using Pastor Adam Hamilton’s book, The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus as a resource for several of the sermons during the first half of the series. Rev. Hamilton, a Methodist pastor from Kansas, has traveled in the Holy Land and each chapter relates to a geographical area as well as a subject. The messages will be my own development and writings, but several of the topics will parallel the book and draw some ideas from it. Rather than wait until I have finished the entire plan, I decided to post the first half of the series now and the rest as soon as I finish the plans. Here are the first six titles for the series, “The Footsteps of Jesus.” There will be five more messages in the series including Maundy Thursday, eventually extending it through Communion Sunday May 4.
The Footsteps of Jesus
||Hymns & readings
|The Temptation of Jesus
||Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days UMH #269
|The Healing Ministry of Jesus
||When Jesus the Healer Passed Through Galilee UMH #263
|Proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom
||I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord UMH #540
|Calming the Storm
||Matt. 8 18-27
||Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me UMH #509
|Everything in Parables
||Matt. 13:1-23, 34, 35
||In Christ Alone
|Sinners and Outcasts and the Poor
||How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy UMH #340
I received a message from Bishop McLee with a link to a video. It contains a word of encouragement from the bishop and info about how UMCOR is supported. I found it definitely worth watching. http://goo.gl/VrsYXT
Some of you have been asking me for more info about Ash Wednesday. As I was researching, I ran across this web articled by former pastor, Mark D. Roberts. It is excellent and worth passing on.
I also found an excellent shorter article with more historical details by a Lutheran writer, Richard P. Bucher
UMCOR has provided a 40 day devotional online to coincide with the Lenten offering for disaster relief through UMCOR. I recommend it. It is a great follow-up to our February series of messages on using our resources in godly ways too. http://www.umcgiving.org/atf/cf/%7ba5da7032-3d61-4af7-88b9-96b0e1145ff4%7d/OGHS_DEVOTIONAL_EBOOK_2-10-14.PDFfirstname.lastname@example.org&l=460_HTML&u=2715132&mid=6206185&jb=19
Winter Picnic a success
A week ago last night, our church hosted a winter picnic. We turned the heat up in the fellowship hall so folks could dress in summer clothes if they wanted and had a great time. We ate great fourth-of July food—hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, etc. plus desserts. Somebody brought mango salsa, yumm! It was an intergenerational party and the popular and hilarious games were intergenerational too. A big thank-you goes to our organizers: Judy Holcomb, JoAnne Jones and Lisa Griffin. Thanks to Christian Robison using Nancy Collins’ camera, I have a bunch of pictures to put on our website. There were so many good ones that I decided to make a separate gallery for some of the shots of the children.
Intergenerational games kept everyone’s interest
First there was the dress-up relay. What an ice-breaker! The idea was for each member of your team to don all the over-size clothes in the suitcase over the top of your clothes and then take them off and put them back in the suitcase so the next team member could do the same. I went last on my team but despite the fact that the other team was all finished, I was not spared the challenge, as the photo blog shows. Harrison took his own shirt off first before putting on the multiple suitcase shirts. At this my wife interjected, “Wardrobe malfunction!” More relay races followed. Those who didn’t want to play watched and some cheered. Then there was the egg race. Each team member in turn had to carry eggs on a spoon to a can. The object was to get more eggs in the can in a given time than your competitor on the other team. Last was the over/under ball pass. First back through the line, then forward, over the head of one person, then between the legs of the next. The fact that the game was intergenerational made it even more challenging.
A website that illustrates the UM response to a hurting world.
This morning in the message, I talked about how we respond as Christians to the brokenness of our world with prayer, compassionate action, and proclamation of the Good News. This afternoon, Caroline sent me a link to an interactive map of the “mission” work of the United Methodist church around the world.
I clinked on several of the links and immediately connected in my mind what I was seeing with what we had considered together in the morning sermon. There was a wide range of different activities involved, all part of showing the compassion of Jesus and bringing his Good News to our hurting world.