Thursday, December 31, 2015

“Friday” Email for January 1, 2016

Hi All –

 Well, here I am with another surprise “Friday” email on a day other than Friday!  Hope you’re having a good New Year’s Eve and have some fun plans for tonight!  I also hope that you’ve had some time in this week between Christmas and New Year’s to spend time with family and friends and relax some as well!

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

-          Looking for a fun way to welcome in the New Year tonight?  There’s going to be a Gospel New Year’s Eve gathering in Weldin Hall from 8 p.m. til ?  Ed McKeown and friends (Jack Foreaker, the Reeds, A Mixed Blessing) will be offering the music.  Tickets are $15/person, children under 10 free – and the proceeds go to Tidewater Gospel Relief, which offers relief help during the year to people who are struggling.  Tickets are available at the door.

-          On Sunday, we’ll celebrate Epiphany (when the Magi journeyed to visit Jesus).  We’ll consider together what journeys lie ahead for us in the new year, and how we can follow God’s leading.  We’ll also share holy communion together.

-          If you use offering envelopes, you’ll see that the first envelope in the box is labeled “Initial Offering.”  This offering covers the cost of the envelopes themselves, and we suggest a $5 contribution.

-          We’re still working hard at improving our communications, and we’ve recently made a big leap in that direction.  We now have videos of the Sunday sermons on our website (actually there’s a link on our website to our YouTube Channel).  So if you miss a Sunday or missed Christmas Eve, for instance, go to the church website,, click on “Sermons” and then click on “Video Sermons” – that will take you right to our YouTube Channel.  Right now there are three sermons there – the 3rd Sunday of Advent, Christmas Eve and Dec. 27th.
-          I know a lot of people make New Year’s resolutions to get more exercise, and if that’s you, don’t forget to register that exercise time with our Methodists in Motion challenge personnel.  If you recall, we’re trying to do enough “moving” this year to move us around the world.  As of today, we’ve moved over 13,485 miles which takes us 69% of the way to our goal.  Help bring us home, by sending your activity information (the time you spend each week being active – running, walking, sports, yard work, etc.) to or text it to 443-350-4515.

-          Speaking of New Year’s resolutions – why not make a resolution to come to worship regularly in 2016?  We had a decline in attendance in 2015, not because people left the church, but because members attended less regularly than before (once or twice a month as opposed to weekly).  When you joined, you pledged to support the church with your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service and your witness.  Why not make a renewed effort to do that in the new year ahead?  It’s not the same when you’re not here!

-          January is going to be a really busy month for all of us.  Here’s what’s coming:

o   Conference Youth Rally in Ocean City (8-10)
o   Women’s Retreat at the Dunes Manor in Ocean City (15-17)
o   Men’s Retreat at the Dunes Manor (22-24)
o   Administrative Council Retreat at the church (30)
o   And then, before we turn around, we’ll have the Joy of Faith Weekend (Feb. 6 & 7
    The New Year’s starting off with a bang!

I think that’s it for now.  Have a wonderful day and a festive New Year’s Eve!  Enjoy the day off tomorrow (at least I hope it is, for most of you).  Take some time to rest and relax, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in church on Sunday (for worship and Sunday School)!
                                                                                          Grace and Peace,

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday, Dec. 18, 215

Hi All –

 Happy Friday!  I know there are a bunch of people who are especially happy today – and that’s the students and teachers in Cecil County schools!  Today’s their last day before a wonderful break!  I hope it’s a great day for all of them, and for all of you as well!

 Here’s what’s happening at the church this weekend:
- Tonight at 6:30 p.m. the Classic Christians (age 50 and over) will gather for their December meeting in Weldin Hall.  The night begins with a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share) and then continues with, what promises to be, a rousing game of 50’s/60’s Trivia.  I say rousing because in the past our trivia games at Classic Christians have turned incredibly competitive and loud (of course, I have nothing to do with that!  LOL!).  So, Classic Christians, come, even if you have not signed up ahead of time.  PS – Bring your singing voice too!  You might need it for some of the answers!

- On Sunday morning, we’ll celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent in a spectacular way!  At both the 8:30 and 11:00 worship services, our wonderful choir will offer their Advent cantata.  As you know, if you’ve heard their cantatas in the past, it promises to be a wonderful and moving experience for us all.  Don’t miss it!  Then, in between services at 10 a.m. our Sunday School children will present their Christmas program in Weldin Hall.  Please come and enjoy it!  Last year, we had a great audience – a packed house!  Let’s do it again this year and show the kids how much we love them!

- On Sunday at 4 p.m. we’ll have our annual Blue Christmas service in the sanctuary.  This service is designed for those who are sad or struggling at what is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.”  It’s a quiet, contemplative service and lasts about 45 minutes.  If you know of anyone who has lost a loved one, or is going through a hard time, please invite them to attend this service – better yet, offer to come with them.

- A final reminder that the offering envelopes for 2016 are available to be picked up from the table near the Welcome Center.  Also, another reminder that if you haven’t turned in your financial pledge card for 2016, it’s not too late; and if you need a card because you lost yours or never got one, see one of the ushers on Sunday.  They have extras.

- Also, if you’re an on-line giver, don’t forget to update your account with your 2016 figures.  Simply go to the church website,, click on the “on-line donation” link and it will show you what to do.  I just updated my account today – it was a snap!

- Finally, let me remind you of the services we’ll be offering on Christmas Eve:

 At 5 p.m. we’ll have a service created just for families.  It lasts about 40 minutes and it’s filled with songs and stories and great joy!  There is no sermon in this service – sitting still and listening for fifteen minutes seems a bit too much to ask of excited little children waiting to see what Santa will bring!

At 7 and 9 p.m. we’ll have identical festival Christmas Eve services, featuring fabulous music offered by the Chancel, Men’s, Handbell and Brass Choirs, as well as the organ!  We’ll end those services, as is our tradition, sharing the light of Christ throughout the room, one person to another!  (Note:  The only service of the night with nursery provided will be the 7 p.m. service.)

From 10-10:30 p.m. we’ll have silent communion in the sanctuary.  Come and receive communion in the beauty of darkness and candlelight!

I think that’s it for now.  It is my intent to send a “Friday email” sometime next week – not sure when, and not positive it will happen – so let me just give you a heads up!  You won’t want to miss worship on Sunday, December 27th – Christmas Sunday – because we’ll have some very special music that day.  Our own Madeline Funke, a student at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music will be singing,  a brass quintet from the Elkton Town Band will be playing several musical offerings, and our Chancel Choir will be singing as well – so it will be a wonderful, wonderful morning!

Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend!  I know all of you have a ton of things you need to get done, but do try to find some time for yourself in the midst of it all.  Enjoy time with those you love, and then I’ll see you for our busy, wonderful 4th Sunday of Advent!

       Grace and Peace,

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Email for December 11

Hi All – 

Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week.  Mine’s been a little crazy.  It seems that every group I’m in had a Christmas party/celebration this week – and there’s still two more to come,  tonight and tomorrow night!  Not that I’m complaining, but it’s funny how they all chose this week!

 Anyway, here’s what’s happening at church this weekend:

-          Of course, the first thing on the list is the United Methodist Women’s Cookie Walk
tomorrow morning in Weldin Hall!  The door opens at nine, so to be sure you get the cookies you want, don’t be late!  You’ll be given a box and some gloves, and then you get to walk around an incredible display of cookies to pick out the ones you want.  Cost is $__
for a small box and $___ for a large one.  If you’re one of the bakers, members of the UMW will be in Weldin Hall tonight between 6 and 8 to receive your cookies.  Thanks so much for your help!

-          On Sunday morning, we’ll celebrate the third Sunday of Advent, and I’ll offer the third sermon in my series, “What Can I Get You for Christmas?”  This week it’s “A Place.”  We’ll light three candles on the Advent wreath, and will be led in that by the Zimmer and Czarnecki families.  We’ll also be blessed with music offered by the Men’s and Chancel Choirs, and Vanessa and Alan Foskey!  It’s going to be a great morning in worship!

-          The time to sign up to have a poinsettia put in the sanctuary for Christmas Eve or have an anti-malaria net donated is getting short.  If you’d like to do either one, please fill in the bulletin insert this Sunday and put it in the offering plate.

-          After worship, the Advent Lunch and Learn class will meet again in Weldin Hall.  We’re having a great time together and seeing the events of Christmas in some new ways!

-          A couple of reminders:
o   Don’t forget to pick up your 2016 offering envelopes, if you haven’t already done so.  They’re on a table next to the Welcome Center.
o   Women’s Retreat Participants:  Your final installment payment was due on Dec. 1st, so if you haven’t turned it in, please do so asap since our payment is due to the hotel next week.

-          Our “Methodists in Motion” challenge keeps rolling along!  As of this morning, we’ve logged 3900 hours of activity, which translates into over 12,100 miles, which takes us just about 62% to our goal of making it around the world!  Keep the activity information coming!  Send it to or text it to 443-350-4515.

Finally, just a word about Baldwin United Methodist Church.  All of us were so sad to learn
last Sunday morning that Baldwin Church (at that time) was on fire, and since then, we’ve
come to know that it was completely destroyed.  I spoke with their pastor Charles Rossiter on
Sunday afternoon and offered him our complete support.  As you might expect, he was in a
blur at that point, and didn’t know what they would need.  A few days later, we were able to
help them by supplying them with Advent and Christmas bulletins.  They’ll be worshiping in
the small banquet hall at Singerly Fire Company until the end of the year.  I’ll keep you
updated when we learn more about how we can help, but for now, keep praying for all of the
Baldwin family.

 I think that’s it for now.  Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend!  I know this is crazy busy time, when you’re trying to get all the shopping, decorating, wrapping, etc. done, but don’t forget to take some time for yourself as well!  Spend time with those you love too, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!

                                                                                                                Grace and Peace,


Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday, Dec 4th

Hi All –

 Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week!  It looks like a nice morning outside my window – at least those crazy winds from yesterday are gone!  I think the weather’s supposed to be good this weekend, which bodes well for the big Christmas parade in North East tomorrow.  By the way, if you go to the parade, make sure you give a big cheer to our Cub Pack 443 as they pass by!  Speaking of the Cub Scouts, I was blessed to meet with the committees of both our Cub pack and Scout Troop 443 this week, and I was reminded, yet again, how strong both groups are, and what a great job they are doing in helping boys become strong, responsible young men.  We’re blessed to be their Charter Organization!

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

-          On Sunday, we’ll celebrate the 2nd Sunday of Advent, and I’ll offer the next sermon in my “What Can I Get You for Christmas?” series – this week, it’s “A Hug.”  We’ll hear again about Mary’s visit with her cousin Elizabeth and how it encouraged Mary for the journey ahead.  We’ll light two candles on the Advent wreath this week.  Last week, the Slayman and Ingram families led us, this week it will be the Noll and Kovicak families! 

-          You’ll also have the opportunity, once again, to sign up for poinsettias (or an offering for anti-malaria nets) for Christmas Eve.  If you’d like to give a donation for either one, you can do it in memory or in honor of a loved one, and their name will be listed on the Christmas Eve bulletin.

-          At 12:30 on Sunday, we’ll have a wonderful Advent Workshop for families in the Wesley Wing.  Lunch will be served, and then the families will be able to move from room to room and make homemade Christmas ornaments to take home with them.  To sign up, email Katie Sparks at, so that she can have adequate supplies on hand.

-          Also at 12:30 on Sunday, the Advent Lunch and Learn class that I’m leading will meet in Weldin Hall.  We had a great group last week, but there’s always room for more.  Lunch is served, and childcare is available as well.

-          When you’re passing through the Welcome Center area on Sunday morning, you’ll see a table filled with the offering envelopes for 2016 – stop and get yours!  When you pick up the envelopes, it saves the church the expense of mailing them.  If you use envelopes, but don’t see yours there, call Kay in the church office or email her at

-          Speaking of giving, it’s still not too late to turn in a pledge card for 2016!  If you need a card, please see one of the ushers – they have extras!  You can put the pledge card in the offering plate after you fill it out.

-          On Tuesday night, the Cecil County Choral Society will present their Holiday Concert in our sanctuary at 7:30 p.m.  Come and hear their wonderful music, and you’ll see some of our own choir members taking part, as well as Sharon, who is their accompanist.  Be sure to get there early, because it’s always a full house!

-          The United Methodist Women’s Cookie Walk is getting ever closer (it’s Saturday the 12th), but I just wanted to remind you that they’re still looking for more bakers.  If you can help out, please email their president, Judy Tanner at to let her know how many cookies you’ll be baking.
-          A reminder to all women attending the Women’s Retreat that your last installment payment is due now.  Also, a note to others, that there are still a few spots left on the retreat, so if you want to sign up, now’s the time!

-          Finally, a great big thanks goes out to all who helped and are still helping with the Rotating Homeless Shelter this week!  When it was pouring rain this week, I thought how wonderful it was that people had a warm and dry place to stay.  Thanks for making it possible!

 I think that’s it for now, except to say that I invite you to visit our church’s website (elktonumc.rog) sometime soon.  A lot of changes have been made, and there are regular updates.  Also, if you need to know about the church calendar or any upcoming events, you’ll find the information there.  You can sign up for events, sign-up to do on-line giving of your offering, or even sign up to give a poinsettia on line there as well.  The Advent devotional is on there, as are copies of all of my sermons.  And soon, God willing, we’re hoping to post videos of the sermons!  While you’re at it, check out and like our Facebook page as well!

Have a great day, and an even greater weekend!  If you’re like me, part of it will be spent putting up a Christmas tree and decorating – but whatever you do, I hope you’ll find some time to rest and relax in the midst of it all.  Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you on Sunday in worship!
                                                                                                                Grace and Peace,

PS – Oops!  Just before I was getting ready to send this, I got an email letting me know that our Methodists in Motion effort is going great!  We’re 60% of the way around the world!  Keep the activity information coming – send it to or text it to 443-350-4515!