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,
  • 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,

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,

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,