Bishops’ letter on our response to the influx of immigrant children

Many have had differing responses to the immigration crisis on the southern border of the United States.   Sometimes the responses have not reflected an understanding of the teaching of Scripture.  Here is an excellent letter from the United Methodist bishops of the Texas area who are close to the problem urging the people of the UMC toward a positive and Christ-like response.

http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=b3ee93eae9e88ccefb73276b3&id=50e4e37fe8

 

Summer picnic a big success

Another fun and  intergenerational  activity
Another fun and intergenerational activity

The weather was great; the food was better;  and the company was the best.   Sunday afternoon, July 13,at Sunrise Park,  children, young adults and grandparents from Copper Hill Church gathered for a fun-filled afternoon.   Swimming was the main activity for most of the children and a few older folks as well.    JoAnne intrigued the crowd by swimming the length of the lake and back.    Several sat and chatted, enjoying the  spacious, well-kept pavilion overlooking the lake.    It was a perfect for the occasion.   Thanks to Judy’s good planning, we had a scrumptious picnic supper at 5 pm with cake, cookies and watermelon for dessert too.     After the meal, Pastor Kelvin led in a short vesper service which included lots of active participation by the children.   JoAnne played accordion to provide the music.

The swimming beach is to the right, the picnic pavilion is to the left.
The swimming beach is to the right, the picnic pavilion is to the left.

Sermon series for July focuses on our church’s heritage and future

My wife and I feel privileged to have served at Copper Hill United Methodist for a year now.   Just as I began my ministry talking about what it means to be the church, so I felt it would be a good thing in this anniversary month to revisit that theme.   Long range planning and our 200th anniversary planning both need to stay grounded in a good understanding of the purposes of the church.   I’ve titled this new series, “Heritage and Hope.”    It begins with a review of history.   All during the month it encourages us to overcome obstacles and stay focused on the Great Commission.   It also challenges us to move ahead as God leads.     I pray that you will take time to come apart to God’s house to hear some of these messages and be encouraged in your faith.

We are using the side entrance while our ceiling is repaired.
We are using the side entrance while our ceiling is repaired.
Heritage and Hope
Date Message title Scripture passage Hymns & readings
July 6 The Heritage of God’s People Isaiah 54 My Country Tis of Thee #697

We’re Marching to Zion   #733

July 13 Facing Challenges Together Nehemiah 4, 5 God of Grace and God of Glory #577

Rise Up, O Men of God #576

July 20 Being the Church in our Community Matthew 28:19, 20 Go, Make of All Disciples #571

Lord, Speak to Me  #463

July 27 Moving Forward Together Haggai 1 Lead On O King Eternal #580

Lord, You Give the Great Commission # 584

Family relationships are the theme for May and June

Our relationships aren't always a picnic.  What do we do then?
Our relationships aren’t always a picnic. What do we do then?

All of us rejoice when our closest relationships are doing well.  And nothing bums us out as much as having tension between us and our best friends or closest family members.     Fortunately for us, the Bible is a great resource for practical how-to ideas that can help us interact with others in healthier ways and recover more quickly when conflicts become a problem.   Over the next two months, my new series called, “Perspectives for Healthy Relationships” will draw on Biblical wisdom to help us.    I kicked it off this last weekend on Mother’s Day with a message explaining how  men and women are equally valued by God.   Here is the outline for the series.

Perspectives for Healthy Relationships
Date Message title Bible Passage Hymns & readings
May 11 Mother’s Day The Value of a Woman Genesis 1:27-31: Acts 2:17,18 Faith of Our Mothers; Happy the Home When God is There UMH #445
May 18 Tips for a Happy and Lasting Relationship 1 Peter 2:11 – 3:12 Love Divine   UMH # 384
May 25 Memorial Sunday Jean Schlaper speaking America the Beautiful  UMH #696
June 1 Jean Schlaper speaking
June 8 Pentecost & Communion Walking in Step with God’s Spirit Gal. 5:13-26 Surely the Presence UMH #328 Spirit of Faith Come Down, UMH #332
June 15 Father’s Day A Father to Look Up to Joshua 24:8-24 O Lord, May Church and Home Combine UMH # 695
June 22 The Work of Loving 1 John 3:11-20 God, Whose Love is Reigning o’er Us  UMH #100

Easter happenings

Easter morning at Copper Hill United Methodist was filled with joy amid a friendly welcoming atmosphere.   Thanks to experienced cook Judy Holcomb and volunteers, we started with a gourmet breakfast.   Service at 9 was filled music, heartfelt and well prepared.   Pastor Kelvin surprised everyone by supplying the brass music.   The Holiday choir sang an upbeat, “We are Celebrating Resurrection Day.”     JoAnne Jones played harp for offertory and then the Men’s quartet sang, “Jesus Came Out Alive.”   Afterward it was Easter egg hunt time for the children while some of the adults enjoyed a second helping of the Easter breakfast for brunch.  Thanks to Nancy Collins, we have some pictures to remind us of the day’s events.

Exceptional Palm Sunday service

 

New Study Bibles awarded to those completing basic beliefs class and being confirmed
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. 

 

 

 

More messages planned in the Lenten/Easter series

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” Matt. 26:26-30  How Deep the Father’s Love for UsWhen I Survey UMH #298
April 20 Easter The Empty Tomb Matt. 28:1-10 In Christ AloneChrist the Lord is Risen Today UMH #302

The Day of Resurrection UMH # 303

April 27 Doubting Thomas John 20:19-31 Easter People Raise Your Voices UMH#304He Lives UMH #310
May 4 Communion The Emmaus Road Luke 24:13-35 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).  

 

JoAnneharpmeadowbrrok1 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.  JoAnneharpmeadowbrook2

During Lenten Messages We Will Follow the Footsteps of Jesus

book the wayLent 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
Message title Bible Passage Hymns & readings
The Temptation of Jesus Matt. 4:1-11 Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days UMH #269
The Healing Ministry of Jesus Matt. 8:1-17 When Jesus the Healer Passed Through Galilee  UMH #263
Proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom Matt. 4:12-5:20 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 Matt. 9:1-13 How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy  UMH #340