Friday, November 16, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
   Happy Friday!  Hope you weathered yesterday’s storm okay.  Boy, it turned out to be more than we thought it was going to be, didn’t it?  Let’s hope the forecast is right for today and we’ll get warmer temps and a lot of melting!
Before I turn to what’s ahead this weekend, I want to think back to last weekend with a word of thanks to the Tanners – Joe and Susan.  When I was not able to be in church Sunday morning, they both rose to the occasion and did an excellent job (I watched the video!)  It’s so nice to know that our church is filled with people like them who are ready at a moment’s notice to help in any way they can.  Thanks so much, Joe and Susan!

Now, on to this weekend’s events and opportunities at the church:
  •          Tonight at 6:30 pm the Classic Christians (age 50 and over) will meet in Weldin Hall. The night will begin with a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share) and then continue with a presentation about the upcoming UMC General Conference and the issues we’re wrestling with over human sexuality.  (By the way, if you can’t come to the same presentation which will be given on Sunday, December 2nd at 9:45 in the sanctuary, you’re welcome to come tonight – even if you’re not a Classic Christian!)
  •           On Sunday morning, we’ll conclude our two-week stewardship emphasis by making our financial pledges for 2019.  My sermon is entitled “Getting in Line,” where I’ll invite all of us to realize that, when we make our pledges Sunday, we join a long line of giving people to the work of the Lord here at EUMC and all over the world.  You should have received your pledge card in the mail already, so please have it filled out and bring it with you to worship on Sunday.  During the service, there will be an opportunity for us to present our pledges to God at the chancel rail.  (If you didn’t get a pledge card, no worries.  The ushers will have some on hand.)  We’ll be treated to the music of our wonderful Handbell and Chancel Choirs, and Paul Humphrey too!  It’s going to be a great service where we realize how much we can do when we open ourselves and give freely to God!  You won’t want to miss it!
  •           On Sunday afternoon at 4, the Greater Elkton Ministerial Association is having its annual ecumenical Thanksgiving service, and this year, it’s a Choir Festival and it’s at our church!  Five different choirs from Elkton churches will be singing and it’s going to be great!  So give yourself a treat and come back to church at 4, as we give God thanks for all the blessings he pours upon us
Now, an update on our giving opportunities:
o   There’s still time to bring goodies for the next College Care Packages which will go out on November 26th.  You can bring your donations to the bin near the Welcome Center.
o   The Angel Tree will be set up this Sunday and Millie Jones and company will help you take an ornament indicating gifts that are needed for children of incarcerated parents.  Millie tells me that there is more need than usual this year, so please help with this great project if you can.  She will give you all the details when you stop by the tree on Sunday.
o   The Mitten Tree project is still underway (sponsored by the Ruth/Sarah Circle).  They’re looking for donations of scarves, hats, gloves, and children’s underwear that will go to the Help Center in time for Christmas.   Their bin is in the Welcome Center area and will be there until the end of November.
o   Heidi and Larry Gaultney will be in the Hospitality Area to talk to anyone who might be willing to help with the Emergency Rotating Shelter the week of December 30th – January 6th.  You can serve in a few different ways – by providing a meal, by serving as an evening host, or serving as an overnight host.  As we saw yesterday, bad weather can come up really quickly and there are many who are at the mercy of the elements unless we help, so if you can help, or just want to learn more about it, stop by and see the Gaultneys on Sunday morning.
o   Sunday is the last possible day to turn in the Christmas Shoeboxes (they need to be at the distribution center by Monday).  Nancy Stubbs reported to me the other day that we’ve had a banner year with the shoeboxes – so far 64 boxes have been turned in!  Thanks so much for caring for the children of our world in this wonderful way!  If you’re bringing a box on Sunday, it can be left on the counter across from the Welcome Center.  If you have any questions, give Nancy a call at 410-885-5373.
o   Members of our Communications Committee will be on hand Sunday in the Hospitality Area to sell our wonderful church cookbooks!  Guess what?  A copy of our cookbook would be a great hospitality gift to take to a Thanksgiving dinner!  Anyway, they’ll be on sale this Sunday, also at the UMW Cookie Walk on December 8th, and then on Sunday, Dec. 9th and 16th.
o   Speaking of the UMW Cookie Walk, Judy Tanner will be speaking to us for a few moments on Sunday on the upcoming walk and how you can help.
o   We’ll also be hearing from Rich Gruebel on behalf of the Men’s Retreat Committee about the retreat coming up in January.

Phew!  There’s so much going on right now!  Isn’t it great?  We are reaching out in amazing ways to touch so many lives with the love and gifts of God to those who are hurting. 
-          One more thing to mention – The monthly Men’s Breakfast would normally have taken place next Wednesday morning, Nov. 21st, but since it’s the day before Thanksgiving and many people are traveling, it’s being cancelled.  The next breakfast will take place on Wednesday, December 19th at 6:30 am at Cracker Barrel.

Well, I think that’s it for now, except to say that I know you join me in grieving the tragic loss of Bettie Murray on Wednesday.  Bettie was such a wonderful person with a beautiful smile and an even more beautiful spirit.  She served as our Financial Secretary and was so dedicated to that work – giving more hours than you can possibly imagine to it.  Please lift in prayer all of the members of her family, and her many, many friends.  Bettie’s funeral service will be on Tuesday at noon in our sanctuary.

Okay, I’ll sign off now.  I pray that you will have a good day, and a great weekend.  I suspect that some of you might be starting some vacation time, so if that’s you, enjoy every minute of it!  Anyway, have a good weekend, and be sure to come to church for Pledge Sunday.  It’s going to be a great day, and I can’t wait to be with you!
                                                         Grace and Peace,

Friday, November 9, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

  Happy Friday!  Wow, it’s been a long week, and I’ll bet that you, like me, are ready for the weekend.  Earlier in the week, we celebrated one of the things that makes America great – the privilege of voting; yet, two days later, we had to face the reality of another mass shooting in our country.    We add prayers for the families and friends of the victims in California, to those we still pray for the people in Pittsburgh and so many other places that have experienced this horrific violence. 

 Yet, even in the midst of sadness, we still have hope, because we follow the Prince of Peace, and know that, one day, all will yet be well.

So, as followers of Jesus, here’s what we’ll be doing this weekend at church:
-          On Saturday evening, we’ll have our always-fabulous Spaghetti Dinner.  It will take place from 4 – 7 in Weldin Hall, and don’t worry if you haven’t purchased tickets ahead of time.  You can buy them at the door!  Don’t forget to visit the bake sale while you’re there!
-          On Sunday morning in worship, we’ll begin a two-week emphasis on Stewardship, as we prepare to make our financial pledges for 2019 on November 18th.  This week my sermon is entitled “Just Imagine!” and we’ll spend time imagining the amazing things our giving can do in the hands of God!  We’ll be treated as Steve Gilmore sings at both services and the Chancel Choir sings at 11. 
-          A couple of reminders about giving opportunities this Sunday:
o   If you took a box for the UMW Christmas Boxes mission, don’t forget that it’s due back in on Sunday.  You can place it on the counter across from the Welcome Center.  I walked by there the other day and the pile of boxes was getting pretty high!  Wonderful!
o   We’re still looking for donations of goodies for the next College Care Packages that will go out right after Thanksgiving, reaching our students just in time for final exams and papers.  Bring things like granola bars, candy, cookies, etc. to the bin across from the Welcome Center.
o   The Ruth/Sarah Circle’s Mitten Tree project is ready to receive your donations of new scarves, hats, gloves and children’s underwear.  There’s a bin near the Welcome Center in which you can put them.  They will be given to the Help Center to distribute for the Christmas season.
-          As you know, our denomination will be holding a special General Conference in February to deal with issues of human sexuality.  You’ll have two opportunities to learn more about the details of that conference.  One will happen at the Classic Christians’ meeting on Friday, November 16th at 6:30 pm and the other will be on Sunday, December 2nd in the sanctuary at 9:45 am.  These will be information sessions, not times for debate or decision making, but I urge you to attend one of these meetings so that you’ll more fully understand the issues at hand.
-          Please keep me and the Staff-Parish Relations Committee in your prayers as we are in the process of conducting interviews for a new church secretary.  Our fabulous Kay Mortimer finished her time with us on Wednesday, so pray also for her as she starts her new job on Monday.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  We’ve got some busy, but exciting few days ahead of us this weekend, so come and be a part of all the fun!  But also find some time this weekend for yourself, and spending time with those you love.  Maybe I’ll see you on Saturday night at the Spaghetti Dinner, but I really hope to see you on Sunday morning in worship!  Can’t wait!

                                                                          Grace and Peace,

Friday, November 2, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend!  I hope you’ve recovered from Halloween!  I was blessed to be with two of my great-nieces and while they were out trick or treating with their parents, Mom and I handed out the candy at their house.  It was great to see all of the kids in their wonderful costumes, and I was pleasantly surprised by how many of them said “Thank you!”   It was a great night!

 Well, now it’s on to the weekend, and here’s what’s happening:

-          Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour before you go to bed tomorrow night, or you’ll be really early for church on Sunday morning.  Daylight Saving Time ends during the wee hours of the morning on Sunday.

-          Sunday is All Saints’ Sunday at church, always a very special day for us.  We’ll remember with thanksgiving the lives of all those we have lost this year.  We’ll show a video presentation about all of our members who have died, but we’ll have a chance to remember others who have died as well.  You’re invited to bring a flower with you to worship if you want to remember a loved one.  During the service, you’ll have the opportunity to bring that flower forward to vases in the front.  Sid Bledsoe will be providing special music, as well as the Chancel Choir at 11.  And, of course, we’ll be celebrating Holy Communion together too.  It will be a very moving service and you won’t want to miss it.

-          The Boy Scouts will be on hand in the Hospitality Area again this week to take orders for their Christmas wreaths (which will be delivered on November 25th).

-          We’re starting our collection of items for the next College Care Package which will go out right after Thanksgiving, just in time for final exams and papers.  Please bring donations of things like granola bars, candy, cookies, microwavable mac ‘n cheese, etc. to the donation box in the Welcome Center area.

-          Speaking of the Welcome Center area, that’s where you can put your filled UMW Christmas box when it’s ready.  You only have a couple more weeks to bring it in, and it’s also not too late, if you haven’t done so already, to fill one.  Boxes and instruction sheets are on the counter by the Welcome Center.

-          The Mitten Tree project, sponsored by the Ruth/Sarah Circle, also starts this week.  You’re invited to bring new hats, gloves, scarves and underwear for children to their donation box in the Welcome Center area.  The box will be there until the end of November when all of the items will be taken to the Help Center for distribution to those in need.

-          Thank you so much for your generous giving to our one-time Thanksgiving gift card offering last week.  On just one Sunday, you gave nearly $1400 to the USO to purchase phone calling cards for our military personnel who can’t be home for the holidays!  Thank you so much!

   I think that’s it for now, except for a couple more things I want to address.  The first is church security.  I’ve gotten several phone calls this week in the aftermath of the horrific shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh asking about our church security.  I want you to know that we’re taking this issue seriously, and there is a subcommittee of the Trustees that is working on it as we speak.  Many leaders of the church have already taken Active Shooter training (including myself), and plans will be rolled out soon for actions we will be taking to ensure congregational safety.

  The other thing I want to address is a staff change.  I’m sad (for us) to let you know that Kay Mortimer will be finishing her time with us as Church Secretary next Wednesday, but happy for her.  Kay is moving to a full-time job with full-time benefits, which is wonderful for her.  We will miss her so much – her tremendous gifts, her hospitality to all who visit or call the church, her integrity, and so much more.  She has been a wonderful partner in ministry for me.  I could count on her in every way, and it will be hard to get used to working without her and relying on her.  Please join me in wishing Kay all the best in her new job.  Don’t worry – you’re still going to see her.  She’s not leaving the church, just the job!  She’ll still be in her pew in worship!

 Well, I think that’s it for now.  Have a good day, and a great weekend.  Enjoy the extra hour’s sleep on Saturday night, and then be sure to come to worship on Sunday, as we remember the lives of so many dear ones who left us this year.  It will be an honor to do that with you.  See you on Sunday!

Grace and Peace,


Friday, October 26, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

  Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week, and have plans for a great weekend!  I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve had a meeting (or two) every night, and I want to tell you something I’ve observed.  Every night when I come out of those meetings, our parking lot is full!  One night it’s Scouts, another the Choral Society and Naranon, another choir rehearsals, and still another AA and District Laity Training.  Why do I mention that?  Because it means that we are a gathering place for our community.  We provide a warm, welcoming environment in which people can come and grow in any number of ways – and that, I think, makes us pretty special, and more importantly, makes us ambassadors of the Christ who welcomes all with open arms. 

  Speaking of being welcomed with open arms – here are all the things you’re invited to at church this weekend:
-          On Sunday morning, I’ll finish my Mr. Rogers’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” sermon series with “Say Thank You.”  We’ll look at important people in our lives and how they have helped to make us who we are.  Sandy Wherry will lead us during our children’s time, and then we’ll be treated (for the first time this fall) and at both services, to the music of our wonderful Children’s Choir – soon to be called our Youth Choir!
-          Don’t forget that we’re taking a one-time special offering this Sunday for Thanksgiving gift cards.  A basket will be at both entrances, in which you can put your donation.  This year’s offering will go to the USO who will provide phone calling cards for service personnel who can’t be home at the holidays.  If you’d like to help, make your check out to Elkton UMC and write USO on the memo line.

-          Downstairs in the Hospitality area, you’ll find a lot of great things on Sunday.  The Boy Scouts will be there to take orders for their beautiful Christmas wreaths (which will be delivered in early December).  And tickets will be on sale for our wonderful Spaghetti
Dinner, which takes place on Saturday, November 10th from 4-7 pm.

-          Speaking of the Spaghetti dinner, we’re looking for some help.  If you can help out by setting up, preparing the dinner, or serving it, please contact Faye Camors at or Bethany Buckley at – or see them at church. (
-          Sign-ups continue for our annual Women’s and Men’s Retreats.  Brochures about both retreats are on the Welcome Center.  The Women’s Retreat will be held January 18-20, 2019 at the Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, and the Men’s Retreat will take place the next weekend, January 25-27, 2019 at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Ocean City.
Women's Retreat info: Women's Retreat Info  /Men's Retreat info:  Men's Retreat Info

-          I’m on the lookout for four persons who can help serve dinner at the Paris Foundation on Thanskgiving Day from 4-6:30 pm.  Several churches in Elkton have committed to provide personnel to serve that night (the meal will be provided).  So if you’re available
and want to help, see me at church or give me a call or contact me via

-          Finally – the Nominating Committee began their work last night of naming people to all of the boards and committees of the church for 2019.  If you would like to serve in a particular area, or have a skill you want to share, please let me know. 

Well, I think that’s it for now.  I hope you took your umbrella with you when you walked out the door this morning – sounds like you’re going to need it!  Well, no matter what the weather, have a good day, and a great weekend.  Find some time to put your feet up and relax, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday!  Can’t wait!

                                                          Grace and Peace,

Friday, October 19, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Hope you’ve gotten yourself a little warmed up by now after that chilly night last night! Brrrr! Oh well, it’s fall after all, and I’d so much rather have to put on a sweater than deal with the nasty humidity we had so much a few weeks ago! Anyway, it’s supposed to be a beautiful day so make sure you get outside some and enjoy it!

Here’s what’s happening at church this weekend:

  • - Tonight at 6:30 the Classic Christians (age 50 and over) will gather in Weldin Hall. It’s the group’s first real meeting in a while, since the summer was filled with trips and picnics, etc. Anyway, the night will begin with a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share) and then continue on with “Show and Tell.” Participants are invited to bring something with them to share – part of a collection you might have, an item with a story attached to it – whatever you wish. Please come even if you haven’t signed up ahead of time!
  • - The Homecoming Boutique will be open Saturday morning from 10 am until noon, before closing for the season (it will reopen in the spring as the Prom Boutique!). Send out this last call to anyone you may know who still needs a homecoming dress!
  • - On Sunday, we’ll celebrate Laity Sunday at church. Our lay leaders Nancy Crawford and Phil Czarnecki have designed and will lead both worship services. (I’ve gotten a sneak preview at the sermon, and it’s great – you don’t want to miss it!) We’ll also hear the Handbell Choir for the first time this fall, and Sue Johnson will sing at the 8:30 service as well. And to top it off, at the 11:00 service, we’ll receive new members! It’s going to be a great morning in worship!
  • - But there’s more!!! Don’t forget to visit the Health Fair taking place in Weldin Hall from 9:30 am until 1:00 pm. The room will be filled with tables and people helping us learn more about health and living healthy lifestyles. You’ll have the opportunity to have your blood pressure checked, learn about cooking healthy, get a flu shot from the folks at Walgreens (don’t forget your insurance card), and visit many other tables for valuable information. A lot of people are giving of their time to be with us and help us on the road to good health, so please honor their sacrifice by coming to the Health Fair and talking with them. Many thanks ti the Stewardship Committee for putting this together, and to Linda Kosinski in particular, who chaired the entire effort.
  • - When you come to church on Sunday, a big truck will be at the back entrance to receive your “Harvest Food Festival” bags of groceries. Let’s see what we can do to fill up that truck with our donations. The need for help is great and Immaculate Conception Church will be so grateful if we can fill their food pantry to the brim! (If you didn’t get a bag in worship last week, that’s okay. Just go to the store and get non-perishable food or paper items and bring them with you on Sunday in whatever bags they come in!)
  • - Just a reminder that there is still a good amount of “UMW Christmas Boxes” available if you want to help out with that Christmas campaign. The boxes are on the counter across from the Welcome Center along with instructions and guidance on what to include.
  • - Finally, a reminder that it’s time to register for the Men’s and Women’s Retreats, both coming up in January in Ocean City MD. Brochures about the Men’s Retreat will be in the bulletin on Sunday, and brochures about the Women’s Retreat can be found at the Welcome Center. Don’t wait too long to register for either one – you don’t want them to sell out before you reserve your space! 

Well, I think that’s it for now, except to let you know that, at last night’s Administrative Council meeting, I heard an awful lot about some great things coming up in the next few months at church – a joint performance by the Youth (formerly called Children’s) and Chancel Choirs, plans for a summer mission trip to North Dakota to minister with Native Americans, wonderful performers booked for the Joy of Faith weekend, great plans underway for Advent and Christmas – well, the list went on and on. All of that is to say that, if, for any reason, you’ve slipped away and haven’t been around so much, now is the time to slip back in, and experience the joy of the ministries and community of our church. And while you’re at it, invite someone to come along with you!

Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend. Try to find some down time for yourself, and be sure to spend time with those you love. Then I’ll see you on a busy, but sure to be inspiring, Sunday morning! Can’t wait!

                                                    Grace and Peace,