After service this past Sunday, I was discussing with one parishioner my desire that sermons be relevant to today. God intended that his Way of Love, which is the title of our January message series, would be very practical indeed. I had just spoken about how we needed to step out of our own comfort zones and time routines to see the needs of others. Little did I know until after service that the reason my lay leader, Robert Loomis, and a senior parishioner, Dottie Plunske to whom he was giving a ride to church, were late was that they had been doing exactly that. Dottie knew that a friend who usually picked her up was very ill so the two took time to go and check on her and found that there needed to be a 911 call. Of course, this all made them late to church, but it was certainly the right thing to do; it was just what Jesus would have done. How awesome is that, an illustration in our own church before I even begin to speak.
This next week we will continue this practical series by talking about how Jesus’ prioritizing helps us with with the difficult task of figuring out what is most important in our lives. Here is the table describing the series.
The Way of Love
Series Theme Verse: Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV
Hymns & choruses
Jan. 11 Communion and Fellowship
Learning to Look Outward
Mark 10:35-52Malachi 3:1-5
Show a Little Bit of Love and KindnessChrist for the World We Sing UMH #568
Prioritizing our Lives
Mark 1:9-28, 29-39
Come, Thou Almighty King UMH #61God of Grace and God of Glory UMH #577Rise Up O Men of God UMH #576
Learning to Give
2 Cor. 8:1-2; 9:6-15
My Tribute UMH #99Take My Life and Let It Be UMH #399
Christmas Sunday, Dec. 21, after morning service, our congregation gathered outside the front of our church for the completion of the latest step in enhancing our current facility. Not long after Pastor Kelvin arrived, Mike Madry had the idea to put a new United Methodist emblem on our church. The Council considered the idea and decided to purchase a model made by Viscardi Designs. The trustees under the leadership of Harrison Griffin ordered the sign and with coordination by Robert Loomis, arranged for it to be mounted. Pastor Kelvin Jones wrote the prayer of dedication and led the congregation in it as they stood outside in the new fallen snow.
What’s happening at Christmas? We’ve been planning and preparing for weeks already. On of the most popular events of the season is the Children’s Sunday, with the traditional “Hanging of the Greens” liturgy and the children bringing in the manger scene, piece by piece. That will happen on Dec. 14. Music is one of everyone’s favorite things about Christmas. This year, there will be a variety of good music to highlight our worship times. We’re looking forward to Dakota and Josh singing again for us on the 7th. Choirs will be featured on the 21th. On Christmas Eve, JoAnne will play Celtic harp. Since we think a lot about gifts during this time of year, the message series is called Gifts of God’s Grace. It will encourage us to think about the gifts that God wants to give us through his Son. Here is all the info in chart form.
Gifts of God’s Grace
Hymns and Choruses
Advent Wreath Lighting begins
A Light for Revelation
Lift Up Your Heads; O Come, O come Immanuel; For All the World
Music by Dakota and Josh
Joy To the World UMH #246 Angels From the Realms of Glory UMH # 220 For All the World
Children’s Sunday Program including
Hanging of the Greens and bringing in the Manger Set
Fellowship time following
Salvation from Sin
Go Tell It on the Mountain UMH #251 O Come, All Ye Faithful UMH #234 Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light UMH #223For All the World
On Earth Peace
Sing We Now of Christmas UMH #237
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing UMH #240It Came Upon A Midnight Clear UMH #218
For All the World; Away In a Manger UMH #217
Silent Night UMH #239
A New Heart
Luke 1:57-80 Ezek. 11:16-20; 36:24-27
That Boy-Child of Mary UMH #241; O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright UMH #247; Ring the Bells
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s not just the food either. I do admit I’m a fan of cranberry sauce and turkey and stuffing, apple, pumpkin and mince pie, etc. But there’s more to this great holiday than the good food.
I also have many good family memories of this important day. They go way back to my childhood when Uncle Jerry would come for deer hunting at our upstate western NY farm and he and Dad would tell the stories of their youthful deer hunting days. Then Mom and Grandma would put on a feast, except in those days we didn’t eat turkey, we ate roosters we had raised and butchered ourselves. As an adult I remember not only Thanksgiving dinners with my Mom and Dad at their house, but also Thanksgiving times with JoAnne’s family at her younger brother Mark’s house in Bath. We played pool in the basement and watched football while the turkey was cooking.
Over the years as a Pastor, I have developed an affection for what this day stands for through my work with people. So many folks are deeply burdened. They expect the worst and focus most of their energy reciting their troubles. There is no thought of thanksgiving. But by contrast, sometimes I go to the hospital and visit a very sick parishioner and find them giving thanks that things aren’t worse and praying for someone in the other bed who is so much worse off than they are. I’m quite sure right then that person will make a good recovery. They have the attitude of gratitude which is so foundational to spiritual and mental health and affects our physical health as well.
“Thanksgiving is Foundational” will be the theme for our November sermon series at Copper Hill Church. I hope to guide us in reflecting together on how the habit of being grateful can change our lives for the better. Thanksgiving is just so wholesome. Here’s the series outline. It’s only a three week series because the Advent/Christmas season begins on November 30 this year.
Thanksgiving is Foundational
Hymns & choruses
Gratitude, A Road to a Better Attitude
All Creatures of Our God and King #62For the Beauty of the Earth #92
Thanksgiving and First Fruits
Praise to the Lord, The Almighty #139Praise, My Soul, The King of Heaven #66
Nov 23 Choir & Procession of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Pleases God
Psalm 69:30-32; Col. 1:10-12
Now Thank We All Our God UMH # 102Come, Ye Thankful People Come #694
Here’s a few pictures from the children’s costume party and hayride today. I can put up more if you send them to me.
Seventeen children and twenty-two adults spent the noontime on Sunday celebrating the fall season at Copper Hill Church. The party kicked off with a costume parade led by Pastor Kelvin and his grandson Sam. Pastor Kelvin’s everyday look in jeans and T-shirt didn’t quite compare to Sam’s cute monkey costume. Costumes represented included beautiful butterflies, a Navy special forces man, a baseball player, a surfer, a princess, a beetle, a fox, and many more. Carol Griffin said her clown shoes were the most comfortable she had worn in a while. No one knew JoAnne when she put on her Moroccan clothes. Next was a perfect kids lunch prepared by Judy Holcomb – mac and cheese and hotdogs, with some raw fruit and veggies to keep it healthy. Then JoAnne led in two children’s songs. Since one family spoke Spanish we sang “Jesus Loves Me” in Spanish too. JoAnne gave a short object lesson featuring a glass pumpkin candle that reminded us about the light of Jesus’ presence in our hearts. Then it was time for the hayride. Thanks to Harrison and Jonathan Griffin we were treated to a ride on fresh haybales in a kicker-baler wagon up Copper Hill road to their farm, around the fields and back. The wind was crisp but not really cold. Everyone snuggled in the blankets and had a great time. Afterward, we had cookies and hot chocolate and each child received a bag of candy and a small pumpkin. This wonderfully fun event was organized by JoAnne Jones and Lisa Griffin.
Last week we enjoyed a great report short term missions from Dakota Doney, his friend Heather and their team leader, Sue, from Second Baptist church in Suffield. We could sense their excitement at being able to serve others in need. We enjoyed their photos too, both projected and on the memory boards. Dakota and Heather did a great job fielding questions too. Thank you to Rhonda Doney for arranging for this good report.
This Sunday Sunday we are ready to start a new series. It will be a three Sunday series covering the remaining Sundays in October and the first Sunday in November. It has a dual purpose. One is to take us back into the Old Testament to learn more about a key figure and a pivotal time in early Jewish history. Another equally important purpose is to give us a greater understanding of who God is and what he is doing in our world and in our lives. I’ve titled this series, “The God of Moses.”
Here is the link to a good reference site for basic United Methodist beliefs. This particular page talks about Methodism distinctive take on grace, explaining the three terms used in Wesley’s doctrine — prevenient grace, justifying grace and sanctifying grace. On the left of the page is a menu with links to other helpful info about Methodism.
Who can resist the lure of table after table of items at tag sale prices! This Saturday, September 27, from 9 AM – 2 PM will be the annual fall tag sale and bake sale at Copper Hill Church. Items big and small have been coming in for weeks and more are still arriving. Weather permitting, we’ll have the bigger items displayed outside while the smaller things remain inside the fellowship hall. A pair of skis, a decorative dish, a Christmas decoration, a used book, a piece of lightly used furniture, or just a new-to-you jigsaw puzzle illustrate the breath of choices. Half the fun is in browsing the collection. The other half is in finding a prize or two that work for you! And if you are like me you don’t want to miss the bake sale either. The cooking is excellent!
It’s back-to-school time. That means new beginnings for most of our teachers and school children. Programming at church somewhat follows the school year too. So shortly after school begins, plans are laid for new Bible studies and other small groups. Musical groups start practicing again.
New beginnings are important in our lives. During the month of September, the series of messages is entitled simply, New Beginnings. I took the idea for the series from a book I recently read called No Little Places. Here is the outline for the series as I see it now.
Hymns & choruses
A Spiritual New Beginning
(Philippian Jail Keeper)
Summer Send-off was a fun party! The children at Copper Hill Church enjoyed a great time at church on Sunday, August 24. Organizers JoAnne Jones and Lisa Griffin planned a series of activities bound to please. It began with active outdoor games on our West lawn under Lisa’s direction on a perfect sunny day. After various types of tag, relays and sack races, the children went inside for snacks appropriate for kids– sandwiches, veggies, and watermelon. They even had beach “cupcakes” prepared by Ruth Robison. These had ocean-colored gelatin with a topping that looked like sand on one side and a tiny beach umbrella jutting from the sand. JoAnne Jones led the children in singing some children’s songs. Next there was a skit put on by adults and teen helper, Hunter Prevost. Pastor Kelvin served as narrator and explainer as the children learned about the event in Jesus’ life when he fed 5000 people with just 5 loaves and 2 fish. Finally, it was craft time. Parents helped supervise as the children decorated crosses in honor of Jesus. The gallery of pictures is thanks to Christian Robison and Pastor Kelvin Jones.