Thursday, January 18, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
  Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend! I know of about 25 men who I’m sure are going to have a great weekend, because they’re heading off this afternoon to take part in the Men’s Retreat at Camp Pecometh. If they have half as much fun and inspiration as we women did last weekend in Ocean City, it will be a great success! Send up a few prayers for them that God will grant them traveling mercies, and that it will be a spiritually uplifting and strengthening weekend for them all!

For those of us staying in town, here’s what’s happening this weekend at church:

  • - On Sunday morning, I’ll continue my sermon series “Show Me a Sign,” with this week’s symbol being a shepherd’s staff. We’ll look together at the passage in the tenth chapter of John where Jesus calls himself “the Good Shepherd” and what that means for us. Sue Johnson and the Chancel Choir will inspire us with their music, and during the announcement time you’ll get a little taste of what happened last weekend at the Women’s Retreat through a video presentation.
  • - Don’t forget to come to church prepared to buy your Joy of Faith dinner tickets. They’ll be on sale after both services in the Hospitality Area. The Joy of Faith weekend is Saturday, February 3rd – Sunday, February 4th, and this year’s presenters are former pro-athletes Kevin Reilly and Dickie Noles, both of whom faced adversity and came through it. They have great stories to tell and you won’t want to miss it. You can sign up to take part in Prayer Breakfasts on Saturday the 3rd via an insert in Sunday’s bulletin, and then buy your tickets for the Saturday night dinner which will be at 5 pm. Most importantly, start inviting your family and friends to join you for what promises to be a great, great weekend in our church!
  • - We’re starting to collect goodies for the next College Care Packages which will be sent out mid-February, so if you’d like to donate things like granola bars, microwavable mac ‘n cheese, hot chocolate mix, candy, crackers, gum, etc., please place them in the donation bin in the Welcome Center area. 
  • - As you probably know by now, the Rotating Homeless Shelter has been restarted, and our church is responsible for the week of March 5th. We’ll need drivers, hosts and hostesses and people to stay overnight. There is a sign-up sheet on the Missions bulletin board in the Hospitality Area, so please, if you can, sign up to help!
  • - Finally, it’s time for new Dining Out Groups to form, so if you’re interested in being part of this great activity, fill out the insert in this Sunday’s bulletin and put it in the offering plate. Dinner Groups are groups of eight people who meet once a month to go out to dinner at a local restaurant. The groups pick the dates and locations. This is a wonderful way to get to know more people in the church and have a great night out once a month! Please note that if you’re already a part of a Dinner Group, you still need to sign up again, because all of the groups are being re-formed for the new year.
Well, I think that’s it for now. Let me say a word of thanks to Ray Graham for covering for me last week. I watched the worship video and it was great – he and Joe Buckley were a great team!

Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend! Find some time for rest and relaxation even while you tackle your chores. Spend time with those you love! And then I’ll see you on Sunday morning in worship! Can’t wait!

Oh wait, one more thing! GO EAGLES!!! (Sorry, I just had to do it!)

                                            Grace and Peace,

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Happy Friday

Hi All –

Happy Friday!  Wow, what a crazy week of weather we’ve been through!  Ups and downs, ice and snow, school delays and cancellations, meeting cancellations at church, jacket weather today, and tomorrow rain!  Crazy, huh?  I’m praying for those hurt on the ice, including a couple of people from church, and continuing to pray for those who are battling all the bugs going around right now. 
They’re really knocking people for a loop!

There’s lot going on this weekend, so here goes:
-          This is the Women’s Retreat weekend!  80 of us are heading off to Ocean City to spend time with the Lord and each other looking at some ordinary women who did extraordinary things for and with God.  Please pray for traveling mercies for all of us, and that it will be a time that draws the women closer to God and to each other.
-          On Sunday morning, Pastor Ray Graham will be preaching for both services in my absence.  That will be a treat, especially for the 11:00 congregation, which rarely gets to see him (the 8:30 folks see him on the first Sunday of every month for communion).  Ray is a great preacher, so you won’t want to miss worship this week.  You’ll also be lifted up by the singing of both Sid Bledsoe and the Chancel Choir.
-          This Sunday morning will also be the first time tickets will be on sale for this year’s Joy of Faith dinner (Saturday, February 3rd at 5 pm).  Representatives of the Evangelism Committee will be on hand in the Hospitality Area after worship to sell the tickets.  Please note that this dinner sells out every year, so get your tickets early!  There are only 150 available. 
-          Speaking of the JOF weekend (Feb. 3-4), start now inviting family, friends and neighbors to join you at church that weekend.  It’s going to be an inspirational time listening to two former professional athletes talk about facing adversity in their lives and rising above it.  I particularly invite you to reach out to young people and ask them to come.
-          This coming Monday, January 15th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the pastor and people of Wrights AME Church invite all of us to join them for their annual MLK Day service at 9 am that day.  Their church is located on Booth Street, straight up the street from our parking lot.  In fact, you could park in our lot and walk to the church that morning, since parking is limited there.  It is always an uplifting and inspirational service.  I’ll be there and I’d love to see some of you there as well!
-          Last Call for the Men’s Retreat – The Men’s Retreat takes place next weekend (Jan. 19-21) at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh – and there’s still time to register!  Brochures about the retreat are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.  The theme of this year’s retreat is prayer as reflected in the movie “The War Room.”
-          We’re still looking for a few more writers for this year’s Lenten Devotional.  If you’re willing to write a devotion, please email Sandy Lavelle at  You don’t have to be a professional writer, you just have to speak from your heart.
-          Finally, there is still space available on the Classic Christians’ April bus trip to Norfolk VA to see a military band performance, a NATO parade, a tour of the Norfolk Naval Base, and other things.  Flyers about this trip are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  I’m just about to pack my car and hit the road for Ocean City.  I’m excited about the weekend, but I’ll miss being with you in worship.  My biggest conundrum for the weekend is figuring out how to watch the Eagles’ game on Saturday and lead a retreat at the same time!  Anyway, go Eagles!

Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend!  Try to find some time for rest and relaxation, spend time with those you love, and then come to church on Sunday to give God thanks for all his blessings!
                                             Grace and Peace,


Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy Freezing Friday!

Hi All –
Happy Freezing Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good, safe week and have been able to stay warm as much as possible.  I like cold weather, but this is a bit much, even for me!  Oh well, it can’t last forever, right?  At least the sun is shining beautifully this morning!

We’re going to try to carry on with everything as normal this weekend, but just in case, keep an eye on our website ( and our Facebook page, in the event we have to make any changes.  As of now, the parking lot is like most parking lots around town – a mixture of ice, snow and bare spots.  Our intrepid snow removal crew will, I’m sure, be doing the best they can to get the lot in great shape for Sunday, but even they can’t do much in the face of the incredibly low temperatures.  So, stay tuned and, like I said, if there are any changes for Sunday, we’ll post them on the website and on FB.

Now, on to what’s happening this weekend:
-          A decision is still to be made whether our youth and their leaders will be going to the Conference Youth Rally this weekend.  As you know, Ocean City got totally socked by the storm, but incredible efforts are being made to enable the rally to take place.  Having said that, all persons who were signed up to go should be in contact with Sandy at 443-309-0160 to find out if our group will be going.
-          On Sunday morning in worship, we’ll celebrate the Baptism of the Lord.  We’ll remember Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by John, and we’ll think about what baptism means for each of us.  We’ll also celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion together.
-          Sunday School starts up again this Sunday, after many of the classes took a Christmas break.
-          Some reminders:
o   MEN – There is still space available for the Men’s Retreat taking place at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh, January 19-21.  Brochures about the retreat are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.
o   Space is still available on the Classic Christians’ April trip to Norfolk VA.  Flyers about this trip which includes attending a performance of military bands, a NATO parade, and a tour of the Norfolk Naval Base, among other things, are on the counter across from the Welcome Center as well.
o   DID YOU KNOW OUR CHURCH OFFERS YOGA CLASSES?  Space is still available in the Chair Yoga class which takes place on Wednesdays from 5-6 ($50 for 8 classes).  For more information or to sign up, contact Ali at  First class is this coming Wednesday at 5.  (The other yoga class is full at this time.)
o   LENTEN DEVOTIONAL – It’s hard to believe that we’re already looking toward Lent, but we are, and we’re in need of people to write for our Lenten devotional.  If you’d be willing to contribute, please contact Sandy Lavelle at
-          Finally, a couple of notes about giving:
o   If you use offering envelopes, you’ll notice the first envelope is called “Initial Offering.”  This covers the cost of the envelopes themselves, and the recommended donation is $5.
o   If you give on-line, don’t forget that if you changed the amount you’re giving from 2017 to 2018, you need to change that on-line.  Simply go to the church website ( and click on the on-line donation link, and you can make the change there.  Questions?  Call the church office.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  I hope you have a good Friday, and a great weekend – and that you can stay home, safe and warm most of the time!  If you’re like me, you might still have to de-decorate from Christmas – I always wait until the twelve days of Christmas are over

Anyway, have a great weekend.  Spend time with those you love – and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!  Can’t wait!

                                   Grace and Peace,


Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy Friday

Hi All –
   Happy Friday!  I hope you’ve had a good week and have enjoyed some quiet time in the aftermath of Christmas Day – and I hope you’re staying warm in this bone-chilling cold weather!  It’s been fun to see on Facebook the pictures many of you have posted of your Christmas celebrations – looks like it was great for one and all!  Well, now it’s on to celebrating a new year, but before that, here’s what’s happening this weekend at church:

-          On Sunday, we’ll have one combined service at 10 am.  It was great fun being all together last Sunday for our morning service!  We had a packed house, and a great service together.  So we’ll do it again this week at 10 am and we’ll be treated to the music of Steve Gilmore and our fabulous Chancel Choir.  My sermon, entitled “Follow the Star” will look at the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and how we can reflect on that in terms of our lives in these days. 

-          A few reminders:
o   All women attending this year’s Women’s Retreat are reminded to send in your meal request to no later than Wednesday, January 3rd.  You can have either crab cakes, prime rib, or vegetable primavera.
o   A reminder to the men in the church that there’s still space available for the Men’s Retreat, which takes place January 19—21 at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh.  A brochure containing all the details about the retreat is available on the counter across from the Welcome Center.
o   If you give your offering on-line, and changed the amount you’re giving in 2018 from that which you’ve been giving in 2017, you need to make that change on-line.  Go to the church website – – click on “On-line donations” then follow the instructions to change the amount for 2018.  Questions?  Call the church office.
o   The January newsletter will be available this weekend – in print and on-line.  You can pick up a copy from the counter across from the Welcome Center or access it on-line via our church website –

Well, I think that’s it for now, except to say a great big thank-you to all who took part in our Christmas Eve services last Sunday.  It was a great day all around, made possible by so many who gave so much to make it happen. 

Have a great Friday – stay warm, if you can!  Then have a wonderful weekend, enjoying the festivities of the dawn of a new year.  Spend time with those you love, and then come and be in worship at 10 on Sunday morning – as we end one year praising God and prepare to start a new one the same way!  I so look forward to being there with you!
                                                                                                Grace and Peace,

Friday, December 22, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Happy weekend before Christmas! I hope you’re having a good week and aren’t too frazzled over all the things you have yet to do before Christmas! I’m trying to just take one thing at a time and trust I’ll get everything done. Fingers crossed!

As you know, Sunday is Christmas Eve and it’s going to be a great day at church, so here’s what’s happening:
  • - Don’t forget that we’ll have just one worship service on Sunday morning at 10 a.m.  It will be a fourth Sunday of Advent service, not a Christmas Eve service. But it will be a wonderful service during which I’ll continue my sermon series, “Do Not Be Afraid,” by focusing on Joseph and an invitation to not be afraid to take risks for God. We’ll be treated to musical offerings by the Children’s Choir and the Chancel Choir. It will be good to worship together as a blended congregation. I’m really looking forward to it, and hope to see many of you there, and especially encourage those of you who can’t come on Sunday evening to be there on Sunday morning. (Oh, by the way, if you want to sit in your “normal” pew, you’d better come early, because the person who has that same pew in the other service might grab it first! LOL! Actually, it might be fun to see who sits in “your pew” at the other service!)
  • - Our Christmas Eve services begin at 5 pm with the always lively Family Service. This service is designed for families with children and it’s about 45 minutes long, filled with lots of singing, a video of the Gospel story, and a book for the kids to hear. There is no sermon at this service. The Children’s Choir and the Ingram brothers will offer special music! Nursery is available.
  • At 7 and 9 pm we’ll have identical candlelight services, featuring wonderful, wonderful music – lots of carols, music by the Chancel Choir, the Handbell Choir, a brass choir, our fabulous organ, and soloist Maddy Funke. Oh yes, there will be a sermon too! It is the last in the “Do Not Be Afraid” series, and it’s entitled “Do Not Be Afraid for Unto You is Born a Savior!” We’ll end the services with the wonderful sharing of candle light throughout the sanctuary, and singing “Silent Night” together. Nursery is available during the 7 pm service only. Why don’t you call some family and friends and invite them to come with you that night?
  • - Finally, from 10 -10:30 pm we’ll celebrate Communion in the sanctuary. It’s a lovely, candlelit time of silent communion where you can come and go as you please.
- Those are all the services of the weekend, but here are some other reminders:
  • There are still a few offering envelopes for 2018 that haven’t been picked up yet. They are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.
  • Attention Women’s Retreat participants: Your final installment is due now. Please turn it in to the church office as soon as possible.
  • Calling All Men! There is still space available on the Men’s Retreat (Jan. 19-21). Pick up a flyer on the counter across from the Welcome Center for all the details.
  • There’s also a flyer on that counter about the next Classic Christians’ bus trip to Virginia in April. Anyone can take part on the trip – you don’t have to be a Classic Christian! A sign-up sheet is there on the counter also.

Well, I think that’s it for now, except to say a few thank you’s:

- To the Chancel Choir for their incredible cantata last Sunday!

- To the children for their delightful Christmas pageant!

- To all of the people who contributed to our wonderful Advent devotional – it has made every day of the journey special!

Have a good Friday, and a wonderful, wonderful weekend! Try not to let your “to do” list take the joy out of the holiday. Find some time to put your feet up a little bit, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you on Sunday – a lot, I hope! I’m so looking forward to it!

                                               Grace and Peace,