Friday, June 23, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
 Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and are looking forward to a great weekend.  Not sure how the weather’s going to be, but no matter!  At least it’s the weekend, right?

Here’s what’s happening around the church this weekend:

-       Tonight at 6:30 the Classic Christians will have their June meeting.  They’ll gather in Weldin Hall and start off the night with a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share) and then continue on with a program by the Cecil County Tourism Board about hidden gems in Cecil County to explore this summer!  You’re welcome to come and hear the presentation even if you’re not a Classic Christian (50 and over).  We don’t check ID’s!

-       On Sunday, I’ll preach a sermon which will introduce us to the subject of this week’s Vacation Bible School – heroes!  The sermon is entitled “Who Me?  A Hero?” and we’ll explore what it takes to be a hero, and how God can use any of us as heroes in this world.  We’ll also hear a report about Annual Conference from Heidi Gaultney, who was EUMC’s lay member to Conference this year, and we’ll be treated to the music of Bobby Heath on the baritone.  It’s going to be a great morning!

-       Then Vacation Bible School kicks off on Sunday night at 5:30.  We’re thrilled to be having VBS this year along with two other churches – Providence UMC and Wrights AME.  It’s going to be wonderful and we’re sure to have lots of participants!  Each night starts with a kid-friendly dinner, and then I get to spend a few moments with all the kids on a mission project.  After that, they’ll go to storytelling, music, arts and crafts, and activities stations.  It’s going to be a great week – and I can’t wait to see all of the kids on Sunday night.  If you haven’t had a chance to pre-register your child or grandchild, it’s not too late – you can go to the church website,, to do it, and if you can’t do that, just show up on Sunday night!  There’ll be room for everyone!

    Some reminders:
o   We’re still collecting recipes for the new church cookbook to be published in the fall.  Information on how to submit them is in Sunday’s bulletin and also on the church website.  We haven’t received many recipes yet, so please, send us your favorites!
o   There are still a few spots left on the July 9th bus trip to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival.  Again, details are in this Sunday’s bulletin and the sign-up sheet is on the table across from the Welcome Center.
o   Don’t forget that we’ll be having just one service next Sunday, July 2nd.  It will be at 10 a.m. and we’ll celebrate “A Service of Prayer and Thanksgiving for Our Nation.”  The wonderful Providence Brass will be with us as well!
o   We’re still accepting applications for our custodial position.  It’s a 20 hour/week job which involves not only cleaning, but set-up and take-down (so the person needs to be able to do some lifting).  For more information, candidates can call the church office (410-398-0933).

I think that’s it for now.  Have a great Friday, and a wonderful
weekend.  Take some time out for rest and relaxation even while you
tackle your weekend chores.  Spend time with those you love, and
then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!  Can’t wait!

                                                            Grace and Peace,


Friday, June 16, 2017

Happy Friday

Hi All –
  Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week, and have plans for a great weekend! As most of you know, it was a rough week at the church. We lost three members of the church – Ray Runyon, Donny Ewing and Virginia Barnes – so we had all of their funerals over the past seven days. I can’t thank everyone enough for their prayers and support – they have meant so much. And I really can’t thank enough all those who came and helped out in so many ways – whether it was greeting people in the parking lot or in the hallways of the church, offering hospitality, serving the post-funeral meals, caring for the families, providing tech support, ushering, providing music, or helping to clean the church, which, of course, is something Donny would have done. Our church has really been the church in the best possible sense of the word this week, and I couldn’t be more grateful – and neither could the families of those who passed away. My heart is filled with gratitude for all of you.

Now, on to the activities coming up this weekend:

  • Sunday, of course, is Father’s Day, so we’ll be celebrating all the men in our lives. I’ll be preaching a sermon called “O We of Little Faith” based upon the story of God promising to give Abraham and Sarah a child, even though he was 100 and she was 90! We’ll also celebrate the sacrament of baptism at the 11:00 service, and hear the Chancel Choir sing for the last time before they take their summer break!
  •  There won’t be any youth group meeting this week so that the youth can spend time spoiling their fathers! But speaking of youth group, I want to say a word of thanks to all who took time this year to present “life lessons” to our youth. You provided a wonderful variety of lessons in skills that will serve them well in life – car care, sewing, cooking, first aid, painting, using hand tools, gardening and so much more. Thanks to all of you for caring about our youth and giving your time and sharing your talents with them! Youth – stay tuned to the bulletin board in the hospitality area and look for texts regarding the schedule for next weekend.
A few reminders:
    • Vacation Bible School is coming up quickly – June 25th to 29th, from 5:30 – 8 each evening, beginning with dinner. The program is called “Hero” and we are currently in the process of taking registrations. To register your child or grandchild, go to the church website, Questions? See Katie Sparks or email her at
    • We’re still looking for recipes for our new church cookbook which will be published in the fall. Please submit your favorite recipes to the church office, and be sure to include contact information should we need clarification on any of them.
    • There are still a few seats left on the bus trip to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival on Sunday, July 9th. The bus leaves at 2 p.m. and returns around 11, from this wonderful festival featuring 700+ singers performing in a 7000 auditorium – which always is standing room only! Cost is $40/person, and you can sign up on the sheet across from the Welcome Center. If you’ve already signed up, please send your payment into the church office, or drop it by, as soon as possible.
    •  Another reminder that we’ll be having only one service on Sunday, July 2nd. It will be a wonderful service of prayer and thanksgiving for our nation featuring the Providence Brass, and will take place at 10 a.m. It will be great for both congregations to be together that day!
I think that’s it for now, except to say that, sadly, we’re now looking for a new custodian. So if you might know of anyone who would be interested in this 20/hour per week job, that includes not only cleaning, but room set-up (so they need to be able to do light lifting), have them call the church office at 410-398-0933.

Well, that’s really it for now. Hope you have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend. Make some time for yourself, even while tackling your “to do“ list. Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning. Can’t wait!

                                   Grace and Peace,

Friday, June 9, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
  Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend. As most of you probably know by now, it’s been a tough last few days at the church, since learning on Wednesday of the sudden death of our custodian Donny Ewing. Donny was only 47 years old and on Tuesday I had a couple of conversations with him at church and during our last one at about 5:30 we were laughing and joking together, and he looked wonderful. And then on Wednesday morning came the news of his passing. It is hard to believe and incredibly, incredibly sad for all of us, but especially for his son Devin, daughter Zoe, parents Debbie and Dan, and his twin brother Danny. Please keep all of them in your prayers, as well as the church staff. It’s a really tough time for all of us.

Donny’s viewing and funeral will be at our church on Monday and Tuesday of next week. The viewing will be on Monday evening from 6-8, and then again from 10-11 on Tuesday morning. The funeral will follow at 11, and a luncheon will take place in Weldin Hall following the service. Donny has been a loyal and hardworking member of our church staff for a long time and I’m so glad his services are taking place in the church of which he took such good care for so long.

On Sunday morning, my sermon is entitled “Put One Foot in Front of the Other” and I’ll talk about how we face challenging times in our lives – which turns out to be pretty timely for all of us given the events of the week. Since it’s the second Sunday of the month, we’ll have Children’s Time as well – this week we’ll hear a wonderful classic – The Little Engine That Could! We’ll also hear the Men’s Choir for the final time this spring as they prepare for their “summer break.”

This Sunday is also Promotion Sunday for our Sunday School program, so why not come down to Weldin Hall at 9:45 and help celebrate with all of the students and teachers?

Sunday is also “Compassion Sunday” and Terri Lokey will be on hand at both services to tell us about this wonderful ministry of sponsoring children in need around the world.

On Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. the youth group will gather for another “life lesson.” This week it’s painting – as in house painting – a skill that will come in handy especially for those going on mission trips this summer. The teachers this week – Dick Gochnauer and Ken McCoy! In order for them to make adequate preparation for the lesson, the youth are asked to text Sandy at 443-309-0160 to let her know if they will be in attendance.

A couple of reminders:
  • - Vacation Bible School is just a few weeks away – June 25-29, 5:30-8 p.m. nightly beginning each night with dinner. To register your child or grandchild, go to the church website – Questions? Email Katie Sparks at
  • - The Communications Committee is looking for your greatest recipes for the new church cookbook they’ll be publishing in the fall. Please see the insert in Sunday’s bulletin for directions on how to submit your gems!
  • - There are still spots left on the bus trip to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival on July 9th. Sign up on the sheet across from the Welcome Center if you’re interested. Cost is $40/person.
  • - Finally, I just want you to be making a mental note about worship on the 4th of July weekend. WE’LL BE HAVING ONE COMBINED SERVICE AT 10 AM ON SUNDAY, JULY 2ND – A SERVICE OF PRAYER AND THANKSGIVING FOR OUR NATION. Last year, I advertised it long in advance, but some people still didn’t get the word, so I’m trying harder this year to give plenty of notice!

Well, I think that’s it for now. Many thanks to all of you who have called and expressed concern and condolences over Donny’s passing – it means more than you know.

I hope everyone has a good weekend – sounds like it’s going to be a hot one! Find some time to rest, relax and stay cool. Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!

                                                    Grace and Peace,

Friday, June 2, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! I hope you have had a good week, and have plans for a great weekend. I had a wonderful week serving on the faculty of the Local Pastors’ Licensing School at Camp Pecometh. It was so inspiring to work with sixteen brand new pastors as they prepare to start their ministries on July 1st. They are so eager and optimistic, and can’t wait to share their love of Jesus with others. It was a joy to be with them!

And now, the weekend’s here, so let’s turn to what’s going to be happening at church:
  • - On Sunday, we’ll celebrate Pentecost, the day on which the Spirit descended and the church was formed. On this special festival day, we’ll celebrate the confirmation of our youth confirmation class (half of the class at the 8:30 service and the other half at 11:00), and we’ll also share Holy Communion together. It’s going to be a very special morning!
  • - On Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m., the youth group will meet and this week’s “life lesson” will be “How to Use Hand Tools”, led by one of our resident master craftsmen, Ted McDowell! It will be a great night and great training especially for those who will be going on mission trips with the church this summer.
- In the bulletin on Sunday you’ll find reminders about:
  • Vacation Bible School, which will be held from Sunday, June 25th through Thursday, June 29th from 5:30 – 8 (dinner included). You can register your children and grandchildren for VBS via our church website – You can find full details there, and also on an insert in Sunday’s bulletin.
  • Church Cookbook – The Communications Committee is excited to be publishing a new church cookbook. It’s been a long, long time since the last one was published. Details about the new cookbook and how you can contribute a recipe will be in Sunday’s bulletin, the newsletter and on the website.
  • Silent Auction for Organ Pieces – The silent auction continues for one more week on the pieces from our old organ. To look at the pieces and perhaps bid on them, go to the hallway behind the sanctuary, the second classroom on the left. The bidding ends on June 11th.
  • The “Wired Word” study group meets for the second time this coming Thursday, June 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel. This month’s topic is isolation and loneliness, and how they are a threat to one’s health. All are invited to take part in the group which is led by Pastor Ray Graham.
  • Ocean Grove Bus Trip – There’s still space available on the bus trip to Ocean Grove NJ on Sunday, July 9th to hear the spectacular Choir Festival featuring nearly a thousand singers! Cost is $40/person. To participate, sign up on the sheet across from the Welcome Center.

I think that’s it for now. Oops – except to say thank you to all who took part in the Memorial Day parade on Monday. I was so sorry to have to miss it, but was delighted to receive so many pictures on my smartphone. The float looked terrific and it was great to see so many church members walking with it. Thanks to all of you! You represented our church well!

Well, that’s really it for now. Have a great Friday, and a wonderful weekend! Enjoy this beautiful weather, try to find some time to rest and relax, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship as together we celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost!

                                               Grace and Peace,

Friday, May 26, 2017

Happy Friday

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week and have great plans for a long holiday weekend! I’ve had a great week. This week was Annual Conference, and this year it was held in Wilmington (as opposed to the previous 15+ years when it was held in Princess Anne, MD on the campus of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore). The Chase Center is a beautiful venue and everything went very well. There were moving worship services, great reports on ministries in our conference, and lots of opportunities for fellowship with clergy and laity alike! Heidi Gaultney was there as our church’s lay representative, and she enjoyed it as well. She’ll be presenting a report in one of our upcoming worship services about the conference.

Before I get into the events of the weekend, let me say a quick thank you to everyone who ate out this week to support two important ministries of our church – those who ate at Chick Fil A on Wednesday night to support the Costa Rica mission trip, and those who ate at Nino’s on Thursday night to support our wonderful Cub Pack 443. Your support means so much!

Now, on to the events of this weekend:

- On Sunday morning, I’ll offer the next sermon in my “He Never Said It Would Be Easy” sermon series. This week, the words of Jesus we’ll consider are “Do not be anxious . . .” – easier said than done, huh? We’ll also be taking some time to honor this year’s graduates with a special video presentation and gifts for them as well.

- Also on Sunday, Dot Eltzroth will be speaking for a few moments at both services about the opportunity you have to buy some of the wonderful wood that came from our old organ. The crew was able to keep a number of pieces of really good wood that woodworkers will love, and Dot will tell us how interested persons can acquire some of it.

- Monday, as you know, is Memorial Day, the day on which we are invited to remember and give thanks for those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Our church is going to have a float in Elkton’s Memorial Day Parade which starts at 10 a.m. If you’d like to walk alongside our float and help give out flag pins, just meet up with the team down on Howard Street (near the ball fields, and behind the old Newberry’s store) around 9:30. If you can’t walk in the parade, please still make plans to attend. It’s a great parade and a great way to remember those who serve that we might live in freedom.

- Just a reminder that our Vacation Bible School will take place from Sunday, June 25th through Thursday, June 29th, from 5:30 – 8 p.m. Dinner will be served each night. For more information, and to sign up, go to the church website,

- Also a reminder that there are still spots available on the bus trip to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival on Sunday, July 9th. The festival features nearly a thousand singers performing in a 7000 seat Great Auditorium. Cost of the bus trip is $40/person. The bus will leave at 2 p.m. and return after the concert (around 11 p.m.). To take part, sign up on the sheet across from the Welcome Center.

Well, I think that’s it for now. I’m busy putting the finishing touches on Sunday’s sermon (I got a late start this week because of Annual Conference), and then I’ll be finishing up my lesson plans for the classes I’ll be teaching this coming week at the Local Pastors’ Licensing School at Camp Pecometh. This school teaches people just entering the ministry, and I’m blessed to be helping them learn about worship, preaching and evangelism. I had a great time teaching last year, and I’m really looking forward to this year as well. The only downside is that I’ll miss the Memorial Day parade.

Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend! Enjoy that extra day, and make sure, no matter what you’re doing on Monday, that you stop at some point and lift a prayer for those who died for our country and the families that mourned their losses.

Have a great weekend – take time for some rest and relaxation – spend time with those you love – and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday!

                                             Grace and Peace,