Thursday, December 29, 2016

Happy Friday - Dec 30, 2016

Hi All –

Happy Friday!   Happy New Year’s Eve eve! Hope you’ve had a good week and were able to enjoy some time with family and friends, as well as some down time. And I hope you have plans for a great weekend!

Speaking of great weekends, what a weekend we had last weekend! We had great crowds on Saturday night for our Christmas Eve services! Many thanks to all of you who came, and to all who were involved in any way in the services. It took a cast of thousands and everyone came through with flying colors! It was a great Christmas Eve!

And then on Sunday morning we had a wonderful Christmas Day worship service. I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout, and we had a great time together. There was lots of singing, stories, laughter and joy all around. It was a great way to start Christmas Day!

Now, on to this weekend:
  • Just a reminder that we’ll have ONE WORSHIP SERVICE this Sunday, New Year’s Day, at 10 a.m. We’ll remember together the journey of the magi to see the child Jesus and I’ll offer my sermon, “Kneeling with the Kings.” We’ll also celebrate Holy Communion and mark the beginning of a new year with John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer. If last Sunday’s combined service is any indication, this week promises to be another great and uplifting opportunity for members of both the 8:30 and 11:00 congregations to see each other and worship side by side.

A few bits of information and some reminders:
  • If you give your offering on-line and you changed the amount you’re giving in 2017 from the amount you gave in 2016, don’t forget that you need to enter that information into the computer. Simply go to the church website – elktonumc.org – click on the on-line donations link and it will walk you through the process.
  • If you use offering envelopes, you’ll notice that the first envelope in the box is marked “Initial Offering.” This goes to cover the cost of the envelopes themselves. We suggest a donation of $5.00.
  • We’re still accepting registration for the Men’s Retreat which will be held January 20-22 at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh. Brochures about the retreat are on the table across from the Welcome Center.
  • Women’s Retreat participants should have received an email this week containing information about the weekend. (If you didn’t receive it, let me know at eumc@comcast.net.) Don’t forget to send in your dinner choice as soon as possible!

Finally, an update on our Organ Fund Drive – it’s going great! As of last Sunday, we have given $71,746 (that includes your giving plus the original $26,700 - monies from the Memorial Fund and previous organ donation money). In addition to that, we received pledges for $6150 more – which brings the total up to $77,896. The cost of the organ is $104,500, which means that we’re down to having to raise only $26,604! Isn’t that incredible? I know we’ll do it. We got through Christmas with no major catastrophes with our current organ, thanks be to God! Cross your fingers that it lasts until the new one arrives! In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to give yet to the Organ Fund Drive, it’s never too late! There are offering envelopes in each of the pew racks that you can use – simply make your check out to Elkton UMC and write “Organ” on the memo line. 
Stay up to date with our efforts by reading or subscribing to the EUMC Organ Loft
at http://eumcmusic.blogspot.com/

I think that’s it for now. I hope you have a great Friday, and a wonderful weekend! Enjoy ringing in the New Year with family and friends, and then, come and start that New Year out right by worshiping with us at 10 a.m. on Sunday!

May God bless all of you richly in the New Year ahead!

                                    Grace and Peace,
                                                           Karen

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Thursday

Hi All-

Happy Thursday! My email is coming early this week because the office is closed tomorrow – hope that’s okay! Anyway, I hope you’ve had a good week and are managing to get everything done in preparation for Christmas. I’m checking things off my list one by one! Now, I’m just working on the final details for all of the worship services and sermons, etc., but I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! Yay!

Before I talk about this weekend’s events, I want to say a great big thank you for all of last weekend’s events! Thanks to all of the people who hosted our youth group for their Saturday night progressive dinner – they had a wonderful time! Thanks to all of our fabulous musicians and to Sharon and Steve for the wonderful Advent cantata you offered on Sunday morning – it was so great! And thanks to our children, youth and their leaders for their fabulous Christmas pageant they offered to a full house! What a wonderful Sunday we had!

And what made Sunday all the more wonderful was the incredible thing we did with the Organ Fund Drive! Wait until you hear this! You gave $41,350! Add to that the initial $26,700 we had from the Memorial Fund and monies that were given over the years toward a new organ, and future pledges from others which amount to $6150 – it all adds up to $74,200!! Isn’t that incredible?! And that means, we’re down to having to raise $30,300 more to make the $104,000 price tag of the new organ. If you weren’t able to give last week, it’s not too late. Offering envelopes for the organ are in the pew racks, so if you’re in church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Sunday, you can use those. Make your check out to Elkton UMC and write “organ” on the memo line. We can do this! Hopefully, our good old 82 year old organ will hang in for a few more months – I just remember last Christmas when one of the keys fell off in Sharon’s hand while she was playing, and just a few months ago, when the pedals stopped working. Fingers crossed that the organ will last until Easter! In the meantime, please help in any way that you can to raise the rest of the funds needed.

A couple of reminders before I get to the upcoming worship schedule:

  • We’re still accepting sign-ups for the Men’s Retreat which will take place Jan. 20-22, 2017 at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh. Brochures about the retreat are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.
  • A few people have yet to pick up their 2017 offering envelopes. They’re on the counter next to the Welcome Center.
  • If you give your offering on-line, and if you changed the amount you’re giving in 2017 from what you’ve been giving in 2016, don’t forget to update that information via the church website. You can do it any time after Sunday. Go to the website, elktonumc.org, click on the on-line giving link, and it will walk you through the process. If you have any questions, call the church office.

Now, on to the important stuff – this weekend’s Christmas Worship Schedule!

Saturday, Christmas Eve –
  • 5:00 p.m. – Family Worship Service (no sermons, lots of music, stories, songs, fun!)
  • 7:00 & 9:00 p.m. – Candlelight Services featuring all of our musicians
  • 10:00 – 10:30 p.m. – Silent Communion in the Sanctuary
  • Sunday, Christmas Day – One Service at 10 a.m. – This will be a casual “wear your Christmas sweater” service, with songs, stories, and surprises!

Well, I think that’s it for now. Enjoy the rest of your Thursday, try not to stress out too much about getting everything done before Christmas, find a little time to rest and relax, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you on Christmas Eve in worship, and some of you on Christmas Day as well! I can’t wait to celebrate with you!

                                                             Grace and Peace,
                                                                                   Karen

Friday, December 16, 2016

Happy Friday~

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Last Friday, I started my email with BRRR! Heck, last Friday was balmy compared to yesterday! Let’s hope today is a little better – although the weather forecast for tomorrow looks a little dicey! Oh well, it is that time of year after all! Let’s just make the best of it!

There’s a lot happening this weekend at church, so here goes:
  • Tonight, at 6:30, the Classic Christians (age 50 & over) will have their December meeting in Weldin Hall. It will start with a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share) and then continue on with lots of Christmas fun and games! All Classic Christians are invited to come, even if you haven’t signed up ahead of time.
  • On Saturday night, the youth will have their own fun! It’s their annual Christmas progressive dinner, and the first stop is at the O’Neal’s home at 102 Elkton Boulevard in Elkton Heights. Youth should go directly there at 4:30, and then you’ll carpool to the three other sites together. If you need a ride from the church, please text Sandy at 443-309-0160.
  • Sunday is going to be a busy day. The Chancel Choir will present their Advent cantata at both worship services, and I know it will be wonderful! At 10 a.m., the children and youth in our Sunday School will present their Christmas pageant in Weldin Hall. Please come and support them! Finally, at 4 pm, we’ll have our annual Blue Christmas service in the sanctuary for those who experienced loss or are struggling in any way this year.
  • Sunday is also the big day for our first offerings for the New Organ Drive! Envelopes were included in last week’s bulletin for you to use to make your offering, but if you didn’t get one, we’ll have some available on Sunday morning. You might recall that we set out a challenge to give $500 to cover the cost of one key or pedal, but we ask you to give what you can. If 200 people gave $500, the organ would be paid for! If you want to make a pledge, but can’t give the money right now, please just write that on a card and put it in the envelope and turn it in on Sunday, so we’ll have some idea of how much we’ve received or will receive. This is a work in progress – we’re not expecting to get the whole $100,000 on Sunday – although that would be quite the Christmas miracle! Let’s just see what we can do on Sunday first!
Here’s a reminder of our Christmas Eve schedule –
    • 5:00 – Family Service (no sermon)
    • 7:00 & 9:00 – Identical Candlelight Services
    • 10-10:30 – Silent Communion
    • And on Christmas Day – one service at 10 a.m.
  • Finally, I don’t want to tempt fate, but I just thought I would take this opportunity to remind you of the procedure should we ever have to cancel worship due to bad weather. If we decide to cancel, we’ll post the information on the church website – elktonumc.org, as well as the church’s Facebook page. I’ll call the ushers and the church staff, who will contact the leaders in their ministry areas (Steve and Sharon will take care of the choir, Katie the Sunday School, and Sandy youth). But if you don’t have a computer, or are not a part of any of these groups, and you’re just not sure, give me a call at 410-398-4440.
Well, I think that’s it for now. I’m getting ready to spend the day at Wilmington Hospital where my mother will undergo knee surgery, so if you have a minute, say a little prayer for her. Have a great Friday and an even greater weekend! Try not to stress too much over everything you still have to do before Christmas, just take it one step at a time. Find a little time for rest and relaxation in the midst of it all. Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you on Sunday for an exciting, uplifting day.

                                               Grace and Peace,
                                                                    Karen

Friday, December 9, 2016

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

 Brrr!  Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week, and have plans for a great weekend, hopefully in places you can stay warm!  It may be cold, but at least we’re not dealing with the snowstorms that are hitting a lot of the country right now!  So let’s count our blessings!

 Well, we’re drawing ever closer to Christmas.  And what can make Christmas even better than Christmas cookies!  Yes, it’s time for the UMW’s Annual Christmas Cookie Walk.  It will take place tomorrow starting at 9 a.m. in Weldin Hall.  Come early, because people line up pretty early to get the first shot at the cookies, and sometimes they sell out in pretty quick order!  We’ve got a lot of people baking lots and lots of cookies, so come and take a walk around the tables, and pick out your favorites!  And remember, you’ll not only be enjoying a great treat, you’ll also be helping the United Methodist Women fund their mission projects!

On Sunday, we’ll mark the third week of Advent – the Sunday of joy – by lighting the pink candle on the Advent wreath, as well as the purple candles of hope and peace from Sundays 1 and 2.  I’ll continue my sermon series, “The Things of Christmas,” focusing on “Christmas Carols.”  We’ll remember together Mary’s song of praise to God, “The Magnificat,” that she sang after saying yes to her divine calling to bear the Son of God into the world.  And since it’s the second Sunday of the month, we’ll also have “Children’s Time” at both services – when all the children will be invited to come up front to hear the reading of a wonderful book.  Included in Sunday’s bulletin will be the envelope for next Sunday’s special “Let’s Buy an Organ” offering.  Please be in prayer about what you can give toward this great instrument.  Remember, as Dot Eltzroth told us last Sunday, there are 215 keys and pedals on the new organ, and at $500/key or pedal, we’ll have the whole thing paid for in a snap!  If you can give that or more, it will be great!  And if you can’t give that much, give what you can – every gift matters!  

A few other things to remember about Sunday –
  • If you ordered a Christmas wreath from our Boy Scout Troop 443, they’ll be available for pick-up th1is Sunday morning.
  • If you haven’t already picked up your offering envelopes for 2017, please do so this weekend.  They’re on the counter across from the Welcome Center.
  • Sign-up continues for the Classic Christians’ spring bus trip to Niagara Falls and Toronto.  The sign-up sheet is on the counter across from the Welcome Center.

Many of us enjoyed the Cecil County Choral Society’s concert on Tuesday night in our sanctuary.  There was a great crowd, despite the nasty weather.  Well, you have an opportunity to hear another great concert this Sunday night as the Elkton Town Band has their Holiday Concert in the Elkton High School Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.  If you attend, you’ll see a number of members of our church in the band – among them Sid Bledsoe, Ben Graham and Paul Humphrey.  It would be a great way to end your weekend!

Just want to give you a head’s up for some things coming up next week –
  • Classic Christians’ December Potluck Dinner and Christmas Fun Night – Friday, Dec. 16
  • Youth Progressive Dinner, Saturday, Dec. 17 (for details, text 443-309-0160)
  • Chancel Choir Cantata – both services on Sunday, Dec. 18
  • Children’s Christmas Program – 9:45 in Weldin Hall on Sunday, Dec. 18
  • Blue Christmas Service, 4:00 p.m. in the sanctuary on Sunday, Dec. 18

Well, I think that’s it for now.  Oops – one more thing!  Wishing the Elkton High School football team all the best in their championship game this weekend! 
Okay, that’s really it for now.  Have a great weekend.  Stay warm, try to find some down time for yourself, even while working on paring down your “to do” list for Christmas, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you on Sunday in worship!  Can’t wait!

      Grace and Peace,
                            Karen 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Happy Friday - Dec 2, 2016

Hi All –

Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had a good week and are looking forward to a great weekend. As we prepare to enter the second week of Advent, here’s what will be happening at church:
  • On Sunday, we’ll light two candles on the Advent wreath and I’ll continue my sermon series entitled “The Things of Christmas.” This week, it will be something we’re all too familiar with – Christmas stress! We’ll consider that through the story of Joseph, and the stress he was under as he learned his fiancĂ©e was pregnant. We will also celebrate Holy Communion together.
  • On Sunday, we’ll also begin our official “Let’s Buy a New Organ”
    campaign. You’ll be hearing the full details about our plans, and how you can help. It’s all very exciting, and if all goes well, you’ll actually be able to see and hear a video of this magnificent instrument!
  • Don’t forget that the offering envelopes for 2017 are on the counter in the Welcome Center. If you use envelopes, please pick up the box with your name on it. If it’s not there, give us a call in the office and we’ll get a set for you.
  • You’ll have another opportunity on Sunday to sign up for poinsettias/anti-malaria nets for Christmas Eve. There will be an insert in the bulletin for you to use to do that.
  • Also, I think it’s safe for me to say, that it’s not too late to add your name to the list of people baking cookies for December 10th’s Cookie Walk. We’ve got a good number of bakers, but we can always use more. Judy Tanner, President of UMW, would love to hear from you.

Looking ahead:

  • On Tuesday night, December 6th, at 7:30 p.m., the Cecil County Choral Society will present their holiday concert in our sanctuary. This is always a wonderful, well-attended event, and it certainly adds so much to our holiday season! A bonus is that this is the only one of their concerts in December which features a children’s chorus, and this year, members of our own Children’s Choir are a part of that chorus – so come and support them, and the other members of our church, and Sharon – who are all part of this wonderful group!
  • Sign-up has begun for the Classic Christians’ spring bus trip to Niagara Falls (May 15-19). Flyers about the trip will be on the counter across from the Welcome Center, as is a sign-up sheet.

Just a couple more things:

  • Many thanks to all who have been part of helping out at the Rotating Homeless Shelter this week. It takes a lot of work to take care of all the tasks, so thanks are due to all who selflessly and sacrificially are giving of their time, talents and treasures this week to help those who are struggling.
  • On Monday, I have the privilege of offering the invocation for the Inauguration of our County Officials. It will take place at the Banquet Hall in North East, and I’m particularly excited about having the honor of offering this prayer on a day when one of our “family” is one of those being inaugurated – Bob Meffley. Please join me in praying for all who are taking office next week.
I think that’s it for now. Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend. I know there’s a lot to do in December to get ready for Christmas, but try to pace yourself, and carve out time for rest and relaxation along the way. Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!

                                                Grace and Peace,
                                                                      Karen

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi All –

Surprise!  Happy Wednesday instead of Friday!  Since it’s a holiday week, and the office is closed on Friday, I decided to get my email out to you a little earlier – hope that’s okay – and hope you don’t forget what’s in here by Sunday!  

As we look forward to Thanksgiving, I want to take a moment to thank all who
participated in the Community Thanksgiving Service on Sunday evening.  It was a wonderful gathering – the sanctuary at First Baptist Church was pretty full!  So thanks to all who sang in the choir, and others of you who were in attendance.  It’s always great worshiping with other Christians from our community and to remember that we have so much in common with each other!

I hope some of you have had the opportunity to give away your gift card that we gave you on Sunday.  I’ve loved seeing the stories you’re reporting on Facebook and look forward to hearing even more.  I gave my cards away today to the guys who collect trash on my street.  As luck (or God) would have it, they were right in front of my house when I got home today, and I pulled up and handed them the envelopes and their faces lit up with happiness!  They work in all types of weather and deal with the stuff we throw out.  In some ways, it’s a thankless job, yet they do it all year round and faithfully, come what may.  I’m glad our church helped make their day today!

Now, on to what’s happening this weekend:

- On Sunday, we’ll mark the start of a new Christian year as Advent begins
.  Advent, as you know is the four week season leading up to Christmas, and we’ll mark each week by lighting a candle on the Advent wreath.  I’ll start a new sermon series entitled “The Things of Christmas” and this week it is “Christmas Wrap.”  Come on Sunday and find out what that means.  (Hint:  swaddling clothes!)
- Also on Sunday, you’ll have the opportunity to continue your giving.  Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Contribute to the Mitten Tree (by bringing gloves, scarves, etc. for people at the Help Center).
  • Sign up to bake cookies for the UMW Cookie Walk on Dec. 10th.
  • Check out the Missions bulletin board and see if all of the needs have been filled for the Rotating Homeless Shelter that we sponsor starting next Monday, and if they haven’t, sign up to take part.
  • If you’re coming to the 8:30 service, you still have time to bring goodies to be packed in the College Care Packages, which will be stuffed at 9:45 in Weldin Hall.
On Sunday, you can also pick up the following:
  • Your offering envelopes for 2017.  They’re on the counter in the Welcome Center area.
  • A copy of the Advent Devotional.  Of course, you can always access it on-line as well, through our church website, elktonumc.org.
  • A brochure about the Men’s Retreat, which will be in the Sunday bulletin.  Men, the time to sign up is now.  The retreat will take place Jan. 20-22 at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh.
  • And a reminder to the 80 women who have signed up for the Women’s Retreat that your final installment payment is due December 1st.  Also, an invitation to other women that it’s not too late to sign-up – we still have space for you!
  • As usual, you can see that there’s tons of stuff going on at church – that’s why it’s such an exciting place to be!

Well, I think that’s it for now.   I pray that all of you will have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving, surrounded by the people you love.  Enjoy the special time with those you love, give God thanks for all of the blessings in your life, and do find some time to rest and relax.  And then, I’ll see you on Sunday morning as we begin our journey to the manger in Bethlehem.  It’s going to be great, and one of the greatest blessings in my life that I’ll give thanks for on Thanksgiving is the privilege of being on the journey with you!

                                                    Grace and Peace,
Karen

Friday, November 18, 2016

Happy Friday!

Hi All

Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week, and are looking forward to a great weekend! As I sit in my home office looking out at the sunshine through the trees, with classical music playing and a cup of hot coffee warming me up, I know it’s going to be a good day! And it’s going to be a good and busy weekend at church, so here goes:
  • Tonight at 6:30 p.m. the Classic Christians (age 50 and over) will gather in Weldin Hall for their November meeting. The night will begin with a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share) and then continue on with a rousing game of “Name That Tune” hosted by our resident Classic Christians’ DJ Don Frye. If you’re a Classic Christian, come on over tonight – it’s going to be a lot of fun.
  • On Sunday, we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday, and my sermon is entitled “Beyond Blessed” which we’ll consider through the Gospel story of the ten lepers who were healed, while only one returned to thank the Lord for his healing. We’ll be treated to the annual stunning cornucopia display that the Fetterolfs place on the altar for us every Thanksgiving – thanks Ron and Nancy! We’ll also have the joy of hearing our handbell and chancel choirs share their wonderful music! It’s going to be a great and uplifting Sunday morning!
But there’s lots more going on on Sunday as well –

  • We’ll be distributing the Thanksgiving gift cards after worship. Go to the hospitality area and get your family’s gift card, which you’re invited to then give to someone who deserves a special thanks. It can be anybody – a clerk in a store, the person who delivers your mail or paper, a neighbor, a teacher – anybody who you think deserves a pat on the back.
  • The Men’s Retreat 2017 brochure will appear in the bulletin for the first time this Sunday. The retreat will take place the weekend of Jan. 20-22, 2017 at the beautiful Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh. Men – please take a close look at this opportunity. It’s going to be a wonderful weekend, you won’t want to miss being a part of it!
  • The Angel Tree will be up and filled with ornaments this Sunday in the Welcome Center area. The Angel Tree is a mission which provides Christmas gifts for children of incarcerated parents. So you can pick an angel ornament off of the tree this week, buy the designated gift written on it, and then return the gift in time for it to be delivered by our church before Christmas. Details will be provided by the persons at the Angel Tree on Sunday morning.
  • Our week hosting the Rotating Homeless Shelter is rapidly approaching (begins November 28th) and we are in need of help with many tasks (meals, hosts/hostessing, overnight stays). Please take a look at the sign-up poster on the Missions bulletin board, and sign up to help in any way you can.
  • Members of Boy Scout Troop 443 will again be on hand to take orders for Christmas wreaths. You can order them and pay for them this Sunday (this is the last day they’ll be taking orders) and then pick up the wreath in early December when they’re delivered to our church.
  • Don’t forget to read over the “Opportunities for Giving” insert – because we’re still in the midst of collecting for the Mitten Tree and College Care Packages, among other things. And the United Methodist Women are still looking for bakers for their Cookie Walk, which takes place on Saturday, December 10th. So help if you can!
  • I know that seems a lot of “asking for stuff,” but this is the time of year when so many of our ministries and groups are going the extra mile to help those in need. So, as I always say, don’t try to do everything, just pray and listen to your heart and take part in or contribute to the things that speak to you.
  • Don’t forget that on Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. we’ll be having our annual Community Thanksgiving Service. This year, it’s being held at First Baptist Church on Delaware Avenue and will feature the new pastor of Five Rivers Church, Jim Chase, as preacher for the service. Members of our choir are joining voices from all of the other churches around Elkton to provide music. This service is one of the few opportunities we have to worship with fellow Christians from all over Elkton, so come on over to First Baptist on Sunday night to be a part of it.

Phew! I think that’s it for now! It’s a busy, busy time of year, but exciting as well! While I think of it, best wishes to the Elkton High School football team tonight as they continue on their quest for a championship! (Had to put a plug in for my alma mater!)

Well, that’s really it for now! Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend! Hope you can carve out a little time for yourself while still getting all of your chores done. Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday, when together, we thank God for all the ways He has blessed and continues to bless us. See you then!

                                                 Grace and Peace,
                                                                        Karen

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans Day!

Hi All –

Happy Friday and Happy Veterans  Day!  What a beautiful day God has given us on which to remember and give thanks to all those who have so faithfully served our country and kept us safe.  I am grateful to my father and three brothers who served in the military, and to the countless others over the years who gave sacrificially to protect our nation.  Today, stop for a moment and lift a prayer of thanksgiving for them, and a prayer too for those who are serving in our military even today.  How blessed we are to have men and women willing to commit their lives in service for our country!

On this Veterans Day weekend, we have a lot going on at church, so here’s the rundown:

-          Tomorrow morning at 8:30, our youth will gather in the church parking lot to take off for their mission project for the day – raking leaves and helping care for the yard of a parishioner.  After they work for a while, they’ll have lunch together, and then be back at the church by 1:00 p.m.

-          On Sunday morning, I’ll offer a sermon entitled “We are One in the Spirit, We are One in the Lord,” in which I’ll invite us to think of ways that we can come together as a nation and as individuals in the aftermath of this week’s election.   Last week, in my Friday email, I spoke a little bit about how we might act after the election was over – that there would be strong feelings of both happiness and sadness – and that has proven to be true.  So we’ll look together at moving forward and what Christ has to say to us about unity and cooperation.

-          Since this is the second Sunday of the month, we’ll enjoy a special “Children’s Time” during worship.  Children will be invited to come forward to hear a wonderful book read to them – it’s called Everyone Matters.  So make sure the children in your life know about Children’s Time this week, so they can be sure to be in worship!

-          During the hospitality hour after both services, members of our Boy Scout Troop 443 will be in the Hospitality Area taking orders for Christmas wreaths.  You can order wreaths this Sunday and next, and then they’ll be delivered to the church on a Sunday early in December, when you can pick them up.  Monies raised by the wreath sale help to fund all of the wonderful activities and outings in which our Scouts take part, so this is a great way to support them and decorate your house for Christmas as well!

-          Just a reminder that it’s not too late to turn in your financial pledge card for 2017 if you have not already done so.  If you didn’t get a card, or lost yours, call the church office at 410-398-0933 and we’ll get one to you.

-         Also a reminder to women taking part in the Women’s Retreat in January, that your second installment payment is due now.  Oh, and also a note to the men in the church about the Men’s Retreat 
– plans are coming together for the retreat which will take place the weekend after the Women’s Retreat (Jan. 20-22) at the beautiful retreat center at Camp Pecometh.  Stay tuned – details will be available very soon!

I think that’s it for now.  Enjoy this beautiful Friday, and have a great weekend.  Find some time for rest and relaxation, even while tackling your “to do” list.  Spend time with those you love.  And then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!

                                     Grace and Peace,                                                                                                                  Karen

                

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy Friday

Hi All –
Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend!  It’s going to be a busy weekend at the church, so let’s get right to it:

-          Tomorrow is our wonderful annual Spaghetti Dinner!  It will take place in Weldin Hall from 4-7 p.m., so come and bring your family and friends!  Tickets are available at the door.  Cost is $10/adults, $5/children under 10 , and a maximum of $30 for an immediate family of six.  Also, plan on making a stop at the fabulous bake sale, where you can purchase wonderful goodies made by members of our congregation! 

-          Then when you get home on Saturday evening, before you go to bed, don’t forget to change your clock because Daylight Saving Time ends overnight.  Turn your clock back one hour and enjoy that wonderful extra hour of sleep!

-          On Sunday, we’ll be celebrating All Saints’ Sunday in worship.  We’ll remember those we have loved who have died in the past year.  We’ll see a special video honoring the members of our church who have died, but we’ll also remember others as well.  If you have lost someone you love and want to remember them this Sunday, please bring a flower with you to worship. During the service, you’ll have the opportunity to bring that flower forward to some vases in the front of the sanctuary in remembrance of that loved one.  This is always a very special, very moving service for us all.

-          Also on Sunday, we’ll be taking a one-time special offering for the gift cards we give away at Thanksgiving.  Baskets will be at both doors as you leave worship, where you’re invited to put your special offering.  As you probably remember, in the past we’ve purchased Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards and handed them out to special people who had to work on Thanksgiving Day – like hospital workers, police and fire personnel and toll workers.  This year, we’re doing a new twist on the giving.  We’re going to give a card to each person in worship on Sunday, November 20th and invite you to give them to special people who deserve some recognition – so the more you give this Sunday, the more cards we’ll be able to hand out for you to share!

-          We got a great return of financial pledge cards last week on Stewardship Sunday, and the early reports are good.  But we’re still missing a fair amount of pledge cards, so if you have not had a chance to turn yours in, please do so as soon as you can.  Also, if you did not get a card, or lost it, see one of the ushers on Sunday – they have extras!

-          On Monday night at 7:00 p.m. we have our annual Charge Conference with the District Superintendent.  This annual meeting provides us with an opportunity to look back on all we have accomplished this year, and set goals for the coming year.  We’ll nominate and elect leadership for the coming years as well.  All members of the Administrative Council are required to attend the meeting, but anyone in the church is welcome to come as well.  The Charge Conference will take place in the sanctuary, and the Rev. Joe Archie, our new District Superintendent will preside.

I think that’s all the upcoming news for now.  But I do have one more thing I want to say.  As you are all well aware, next Tuesday, November 8th is Election Day.  And as you are also all well aware, this has been a very contentious election season.  Feelings are running very high, no matter what side of the political spectrum people are on.  I have yet to talk to a person who doesn’t have a very strong opinion about this election.  So here’s what I want to say.  Come next Wednesday, there are going to be people who are hurting.  We don’t know whose supporters they will be, but for sure, there are going to be people who are hurting.  So please, take care in the way you respond and react to this election.  Please be grace-filled and kind no matter who wins and loses.  In the words of a song that Tim McGraw sings, “Stay humble and kind.”  (How many of you are chuckling now because Karen Bunnell is quoting a country song?  LOL)
     
Anyway, no matter what happens on Tuesday, let’s move ahead together, knowing that God is in control, and all will yet be well. 

In the meantime, have a great day today, and a great weekend.  Come enjoy some spaghetti, turn those clocks back and enjoy that extra hour of sleep, and then join me in worship as we remember some special people who left us this year. 
                                                      Grace and Peace,

                                                                               Karen

Friday, October 28, 2016

Happy "Windy" Friday!


Hi All –

Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend!  I know there’s a lot going on in everybody’s lives in the next few days, so let’s get right at it:

-          Tomorrow night, we’ll have a fun Family Fall Fest at the church.  It will take place in Weldin Hall at 6:30 p.m. and feature crafts, music, and fun!  Families will make their own scarecrow and candy apples, and don’t forget to have the kids wear their costumes, because trick or treating at the Fall Fest will take place at 7:30 p.m.  Need more information or have questions?  Email Katie at katharine.gravatt@gmail.com.

-          Also on Saturday night, our youth will be attending “Truth or Terror” at a church in Pennsylvania.  Sandy asks that all youth be at the church in time for a 6 p.m. departure.  They should also bring money for a snack, and those who wish to spend the night at our church afterwards should bring their sleeping bag, toiletries, and a pillow.  On Sunday afternoon, the youth will be going to Camp Pecometh for the Hayride and Bonfire.  Those youth taking part should be at the church for a 4:15 p.m. departure.  Questions?  Text Sandy at 443-309-0160.

-          On Sunday morning, I’ll conclude my “Centered Living in an Off-Centered World” sermon series with “How I Make Decisions.”  I thought it would be a timely topic considering this week is Stewardship Pledge Sunday and soon, everyone will be casting votes for leadership in our country, state and county.  In the sermon, I’ll walk us through the way our founder John Wesley made decisions.

-          As I said above, Sunday is Stewardship Pledge Sunday, and I hope you have been in prayer this week about your financial pledge to Christ through our church for 2017.  By now, you should have gotten your pledge card in the mail, so please fill it out and bring it with you to worship on Sunday, where you’ll have the opportunity to place it before God at the chancel rail.  If you didn’t get a pledge card, please see one of the ushers on Sunday morning – they’ll have extra pledge cards on hand.

-          Not too many days from now, we’ll be enjoying our annual Spaghetti Dinner (Saturday, November 5th from 4-7 p.m.).  You can buy tickets for the dinner this Sunday morning in the Hospitality Area, and we’re still looking for people to provide baked goods for the bake sale, so if you can help, please do!

-          This is the final call for names to be listed on an insert in the bulletin for All Saints’ Sunday (November 6th).  If you have lost someone you love this year, and would like their name listed on that insert, please email me your name, their name, and your relationship to them at eumc@comcast.net

-          Finally, starting this Sunday and running through December, you’ll see an “Opportunities for Giving” insert in the bulletin.  I’ve done this for the past several years and it’s been very helpful.  It lists all the giving opportunities from all areas of the church through the end of the year.  The reason I put it together is to let you know the vast scope of the outreach in which you can participate, and to help you make a decision on which ones you can do.  There are far too many opportunities to do every one, and we don’t expect anyone to do that, so read through the list, and ask God to guide and direct you about which ones in which you’ll take part.

I think that’s it for now.  As you can see, there’s a lot going on, and it’s all great!  We’re
getting ready to head into a couple of pretty exciting months, with multiple opportunities for
worship, fellowship and outreach.  I’m so looking forward to it!

Have a great Friday, and an even better weekend!  Take some time out for rest and relaxation, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!

                                                                                  Grace and Peace,

                                                                                                            Karen

Friday, October 21, 2016

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

  Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and have enjoyed this unseasonably warm weather.  Looks like things are going to change this weekend, but with that change will come more color change with the leaves, which will be wonderful!  The trees around the church and parsonage are just beginning to get some color, so the next week or so should be spectacular! 
   
  What a fabulous Sunday we had last week at the church!  The Laity Sunday service was really wonderful!  If you weren’t able to be with us, you can still watch it through the video on the church’s website (elktonumc.org).  The Stewardship Fair was maybe the best one we’ve ever had – great decorations, lots of great displays and presentations, and wonderful fellowship throughout the morning.  And the best news of all – over 85 people signed up for ministry interest and participation!  Add to all of that the tremendous response you showed to the Harvest Food Festival!  Through your generosity, we were able to take 231 bags of groceries to Immaculate Conception Church for their food pantry!  I talked to Dottie Fritz at ICC on Monday and she was nearly crying with joy, because not too long before our gift arrived, their shelves were practically empty.  So thank you so much for your generous giving, and thanks for your participation in a great Sunday at Elkton UMC!

On to this weekend:
-          On Sunday, I’ll offer the fourth sermon in my “Centered Living in an Off-Centered World” sermon series.  This week the theme is “How I Think About Money and Possessions,” which I hope will set the stage for all of us to be in prayer and discernment this week about the financial pledges we’ll make next Sunday for 2017. 
-          This Sunday’s worship will also have a few other highlights:  We’ll take the opportunity to recognize our wonderful acolytes at both services.  We’ll also be treated, for the first time this fall, to the music of both our Children’s Choir and Handbell Choir!  Can’t wait to hear them both!
-          Also on Sunday, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up to help with our upcoming Spaghetti Dinner (Saturday, November 5th) by helping to prepare the meal and set up, serving at the dinner, or providing baked goods for the bake sale.  There will be an insert in the bulletin all about it.
-          Don’t forget that you can also pick up an Operation Christmas Child shoe box if you want to participate in that ministry this year.  This is a wonderful way to help children in need have a Christmas!  The boxes are on the counter in the Welcome Center area.
-          Also don’t forget that on Saturday, October 29th at 6:30 the Sunday School department is sponsoring a “Fall Fest” to which everyone is invited!  There will be crafts, music, games and much more.  To participate, sign up on the sheet posted on the bulletin board across from the church office.

I think that’s it for now.  So have a great Friday and an even greater weekend!  Take some time off to rest and relax even while you try to get your “to do” list done.  Make sure to spend time with those you love.  And then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning.  Can’t wait!
                                                                                                Grace and Peace,

                                                                                                Karen

Friday, October 14, 2016

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

 Happy Friday!  What a beautiful week God has given us!  I love the chill in the air, watching the first touch of color appear on the trees, and seeing fall decorations by front doors everywhere!  Add to that baseball playoffs and football season in full gear – life is good! 

Speaking of life being good – there’s tons of good things going on at the church, especially this weekend.  Here goes:

-          On Sunday, we’ll celebrate Laity Sunday.  Our lay leaders Kim Artrip and Faye Camors have planned an exciting worship service, highlighting the ministry of lay people and how they use their gifts in the church and in the world.  You won’t want to miss it!

-          After listening to that message, head on down to the Stewardship Fair which will be held in Weldin Hall.  All of the different ministry areas of the church will have tables so you can learn about what they do and how you might possibly help them.  The theme of the fair this year is “Untie the Ribbon” – in other words, open the gifts God has planted within you and find ways to use them for his kingdom. 

-          Don’t forget to bring your filled grocery bags with you to church on Sunday.  We distributed the empty Harvest Food Festival bags last week, but if you didn’t get a bag, it’s okay just to bring a bag of groceries – all gifts are welcomed!  A big truck will be parked at the back entrance of the church in which you can put your donation of groceries.  At about 11:15, after everyone has arrived at church, the truck will be driven over to Immaculate Conception Church, where their Scout troop will unload the hopefully over 200 bags to help stock their food pantry.  Please help as you can – the need is great!

-          In just a few weeks, we’ll be having our annual wonderful Spaghetti Dinner!  It will be held on Saturday, November 5th from 4-7 p.m. in Weldin Hall.  Tickets for the dinner will be on sale starting this Sunday (in Weldin Hall at the Stewardship Fair).  We’re also looking for bakers to help stock the bake sale at the dinner.  Details about all of this will be on an insert in this Sunday’s bulletin.

-          Operation Christmas Child is back for another year.  As you know, we’ve participated in this “shoe box” project for a number of years, providing gifts for children in need throughout the world at Christmas.  The boxes will be available in the Welcome Center area, and details about the project will be available on a bulletin insert on Sunday.

-          As you can see by much of what I just wrote, “giving season” has started at EUMC.  To that end, in a couple of weeks I will start including the “Opportunities for Giving” insert in the Sunday bulletin.  On that insert, I will list every week all of the opportunities for giving that will occur between now and Christmas – and as you will see, there will be a lot of them!  I want to say to you now what I’ve said for many years – you can’t do them all, so please don’t try to!  Read over the list of everything that’s available and then pray and ask God to guide you in what to do.  Pick the ones that really touch your heart, and go for it.  But please don’t feel that you have to do them all.  We have enough people that, if everyone chooses something to take part in, we’ll cover the waterfront, and get them all accomplished. 

-         A couple more things – thank you to all who donated blood last week.  We had another really successful Blood Drive.  And secondly, when you watch all the news of the devastation from Hurricane Matthew and you see how communities are struggling with flood waters, remember that the United Methodist Committee on Relief is already working to help them and they can do that because of gifts like ours, which we gave on the One Great Hour of Sharing Sunday. 

Phew! I think that’s it for now – I know, that’s a lot!  I told you at the beginning that there were great things going on!  So you don’t want to miss all the excitement this Sunday!  Make sure you come and take part in a great day with your church family!
       
 In the meantime, have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend.  Enjoy the fall weather, find some down time for yourself, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you on Sunday for a great morning together!  Can’t wait!
                                                                 Grace and Peace,
                                                                                      Karen

  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
 Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week, and are looking forward to a great weekend.  Like you, my mind and heart are with everyone in the path of Hurricane Matthew.  What a terrible storm, and how great the devastation.  Please continue to lift all of those affected in your prayers.  It is such a scary time for so many people.  Pray that they will rest in God’s peace even in the midst of the storm.

We will surely pray for all of them in worship on Sunday.  Here’s what else will be happening at the church this weekend:

-          On Sunday, I’ll offer the second sermon in my “Centered Living in an Off-Centered World” series.  This week the topic is “How I Speak and Act.”  We’ll have the joy of hearing the Men’s Choir for the first time this fall, and we’ll also have our monthly “Children’s Time” at both services.  So make sure to spread the word to all the families in church to be in worship so their children can come forward to hear a great children’s book which speaks to the theme of the service!

-          All morning long on Sunday we’ll have our third “Blood Drive” for the Delmarva Blood Bank.  We’ve had a lot of people sign up for donation slots ahead of time, but if you’d like to give and haven’t signed up, please still come to Weldin Hall.  There will be a place for you!  We’d like to top our previous giving of 40 units of blood, but we cannot do it without more donors.  If you can give, please do – the need is great, and you’ll be saving lives!

-          Also on Sunday, as you leave worship, you’ll be given a grocery bag for the annual Harvest Food Festival.  On the bag is attached a list of grocery items needed at the Food Pantry at Immaculate Conception Church (our mission partners).  You’re invited to fill your bag with some of those items and bring it back with you next Sunday, October 16th.  When you do, there will be a truck parked at the parking lot door in which you can place your donation.  Over the past few years, we’ve donated 200 or more bags of groceries – let’s do that or more this year!  Help as you can!

-          Just a reminder to the women in the church that registration and the first payment for the Women’s Retreat is due now.  The retreat will be on Martin Luther King weekend (Jan. 13-15, 2017) at the Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City MD.  Brochures about the retreat can be found on the table across from the Welcome Center.
-          Finally, I want to say that I hope you’re enjoying the “greeting videos” at the beginning of our worship services.  I have heard many positive comments about them.  People are telling me that they can’t wait to see who appears on the screen every week.  Well, we’re getting ready to set up filming the next set of videos for the winter and spring worship services.  If you’d like to do one, we’d love to have you.  Just let me know, and we’ll put you on the videotaping schedule!

I think that’s it for now.  I hope you have a great Friday.  Enjoy this beautiful fall weather!  Then have a great weekend.  Find some time to rest and relax, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning. In the meantime, pray, pray and pray some more for those in the path of the hurricane!
                                                           Grace and Peace,

                                                                                Karen

Friday, September 30, 2016

Happy Friday

Hi All –

Surprise!  No, it’s not Friday, but for various reasons, it’s easier for me to get this email out to you today – so Happy Thursday! - well, as happy as you can get on a dreary, wet and really windy day!  Anyway, I hope you’re having a good day and have had a good week – and have plans for a great weekend!

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

  • On Sunday, we’ll celebrate World Communion Sunday, the one day on which Christian churches throughout the world all celebrate communion together.  I’ll start a new sermon series this week entitled “Centered Living in an Off-Centered World,” with this week’s topic being “How I Think of Others.”
  • On Sunday, you’ll also have the opportunity to sign up to be a donor for next Sunday’s Blood Drive.  This is the third blood drive we’re having, and we hope to top the donation totals of the first two.  Members of the Missions Committee will be on hand in the Hospitality Area after both services to help you sign up to donate.  If you cannot donate for some reason, we could still use your help next Sunday by greeting donors, holding hands for reassurance, or working in the refreshment area.  If you can help in any of those ways, please let Joe Tanner know on Sunday – he’ll be at the donation sign-up table.
  • Also on Sunday, at 3 p.m., we’ll have our annual Blessing of the Animals service.  This is always a wonderful service as members of the church bring their furry friends for a special blessing.  If you’re coming, please remember a leash for your pet and a lawn chair for yourself.  We’ll be on the lawn in front of Weldin Hall and the service will be about 20 minutes long.

Just a couple of other things:

  • We’re phasing out the Scrip Card program, but we still have a number of gift cards on hand that we need to sell.  On the bulletin board as you enter the Hospitality Area, you’ll see index cards indicating what gift cards we still have on hand.  If you’d like to buy one of those, simply remove the index card, fill in the information on it, put it and a check in an envelope and take it to the youth office, where the request will be processed.  
  • In just a few weeks, on the first Sunday of November, we’ll be celebrating All Saints’ Sunday.  As you probably know, on that day we remember the members of our church who have died in the past year.  We also provide an opportunity to remember others who have died, as people are invited to bring a flower in memory of them.  But this year, we’re adding one more thing.  We’ll be running a list on a bulletin insert of all of the people we have lost this year.  So if you have experienced the loss of a loved one and want their name included on the list, please send that information to me at eumc@comcast.net.  Please include your name, their name and your relationship with them.


I think that’s it for now.  Try not to blow away today!  Have a great rest of the week, then a wonderful, hopefully restful weekend.  Take some time out for yourself, even while tackling your list of chores.  Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you on Sunday in worship!
                                                                                     
                                                                                         Grace and Peace,
                                                                                                        Karen

Friday, September 23, 2016

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
 Happy Friday and Happy Fall!  What a beautiful morning God has given us!  I hope you’ve had a good week and are ready for a great weekend.  I, for one, am ready for some downtime after a crazy busy couple of weeks.  Plus, I have to store up my energy for the Eagles-Steelers game on Sunday!  LOL

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

-          Tonight, the Classic Christians will have their monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. in Weldin Hall.  The night begins with a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share) and will continue on with a program by Rich Juergens and Lee Collins on “Collecting.”  Both of them are great history buffs and collectors and it will surely be a great program, so all Classic Christians, come on over, even if you haven’t signed up ahead of time.

-          On Sunday, I’ll offer the third sermon in my “Not Church as Usual” series.  This week it’s “Start with the Story,” which reflects the theme of Christian Education Sunday, which we’ll be celebrating.  We’ll present Bibles to our 2nd graders, and recognize our wonderfully dedicated Christian Education teachers and leaders.

-          Sunday is also the last day to bring in goodies for the first College Care Package.  Those packages will be stuffed at 9:45 in Weldin Hall.  If you’d like to help prepare them, just show up in Weldin Hall and the team will be glad to welcome you!

-          Also on Sunday, our wonderful Cub Scout Pack 443 will be selling popcorn in the hospitality area.  This is their biggest fundraiser of the year, and they count on our support.  They’ll have a variety of popcorn flavors and several different size bags for sale.  Prizes range from $10-$20.  They’ll also accept donations!  The money they raise will help pay for their wonderful activities throughout the year, and also provide scholarship money to Scouts who might need it.

A couple of other bits of information:

-          The Nominating Committee is getting ready to meet for the first time to put together a slate of nominees for leadership and service in our church in 2017.  If you’re interested in serving on a particular committee or in a particular ministry area, we’d like to hear from you.  You can send that information to me via my email, eumc@comcast.net

-          As many of you know, our church organ shut down last week – none of the pedals worked, so Sharon had to use the piano instead.  The organ is now 82 years old, and we’ve known for some time that we have to do something about it.  The need for repairs happens more and more frequently and the costs keep adding up.  The Finance Committee met last night and will move forward with looking into the purchase of a new organ.  Right now, we’re gathering information about costs/timing/financing, etc., so stay tuned.  Over the next few months, you’ll be hearing more about it.  In the meantime, we’re trying to patch the organ together, so we can use it again!

I think that’s it for now.  Enjoy this beautiful Friday, and the weekend ahead.  Take some time for yourself, even while doing all your weekend chores.  Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday!

                                              Grace and Peace,

                                                                    Karen