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