Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Friday

Hi All –
Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend! One of the things I did this week was ride down to Havre de Grace to record a radio commercial at WXCY for our Joy of Faith weekend. I always have fun doing that, because I get to work with Blair Thomas, their traffic reporter and on-air personality. He’s a great guy, who calls me his “one-take wonder,” because I’m usually in and out of there in about five minutes. But the best part of going down there is talking to Blair, and especially sharing with him the things we’re doing at Elkton UMC. He’s always amazed and impressed by the things we offer for the community – and I’m glad of it. I hope the WXCY listeners are as well!

Well, on to news of the weekend ahead:
  • Tomorrow morning, members of our Administrative Council (the main leadership team and decision making body of our church) will gather in Weldin Hall for their annual Planning Retreat. They will review the year past and set goals and make plans for this new year. Please include the Council in your prayers as they seek to discern God’s will for our church and our ministries.
  • On Sunday, I’ll conclude my “80s TV” sermon series. This week’s focus show is “The Golden Girls,” and during the sermon I’ll focus on the gifts of growing older. We’ll have the joy of hearing both our handbell choir and Jen Noll at 8:30, and then our handbell choir and chancel choir at 11:00. It’s going to be great!
  • After the 11:00 service, at about 12:15, we’ll have a New Member Orientation Class in Weldin Hall, so if you’re interested in joining the church, join us. Lunch will be provided, and you’re invited to attend even if you haven’t pre-registered. We’ll finish about 2 p.m.
  • You still have time to bring donations of goodies for the next College Care Package which will be sent out on February 19th. Please bring your donations (granola bars, gum, chips, pretzels, crackers, etc.) to the College Care Package bin in the Welcome Center area.
  • Our Joy of Faith weekend is just around the corner – it’s next weekend, February 4th and 5th. Comedian Aaron Wilburn will be our entertainer, and I guarantee you’ll be laughing until tears roll down your cheeks – he’s hysterical! The weekend will start with neighborhood prayer breakfasts (for which you can sign up on the bulletin insert this Sunday), continue on with a yummy dinner served at 5 p.m. in Weldin Hall (prepared by Jamie and Gerry Treese), and then finally move to a performance by Aaron in our sanctuary at 7 p.m. Tickets for the dinner will be on sale this Sunday morning after both services. We can only seat 150 people, so be sure to get your tickets soon. Aaron will also be with us for both services on Sunday morning. This is a good time to invite your family, friends and neighbors to come to church with you!
  • Our Missions team has big plans for a new international mission trip this summer – to Costa Rica! If you are a high school junior or older, you’re invited to be a part of the team. There will be an information/interest meeting on Sunday, February 5th at noon in Weldin Hall, so come and hear more about it. Sign up for the meeting on the sheet across from the Welcome Center.
  •  Here’s the latest on the fund drive for our new organ:

    o Total cost of the new organ - $104,500
    o Funds received thus far - $81,015.85
    o Pledges received - $4650 o Amount still needed - $18,834.35 
It’s never too late to give toward the new organ. Simply use one of the Organ Offering envelopes you’ll find in the pew rack. Make your check out to Elkton UMC and mark “Organ” on the memo line. Every little bit helps!

I think that’s it for now. Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend. Try to carve out some down time for yourself, 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,

Friday, January 20, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend! It’s a bit of a dreary day weather-wise, but I hope nothing dampens the spirits of the 25 or so men of our church who are heading off to Camp Pecometh today for the annual Men’s Retreat! This is the third weekend in a row that members (and friends) of our church have intentionally spent time away seeking to grow closer to Christ – first the youth, then the women, and now the men. What a great way for our church to kick off a new year!

While the rest of us are staying home this weekend, there’s still a lot going on. So here goes –
  • - Tonight, the Classic Christians (age 50 & over) have their first meeting of 2017. It begins at 6:30 in Weldin Hall with a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share), and continues on with a surprise program! All Classic Christians are invited and encouraged to attend. We’ll also be making plans for the coming months, so you’ll want to add your voice to that!
  • - On Sunday, I’ll offer the second sermon in my “80’s TV” sermon series – this week it’s about “Friends.” At the 8:30 service, we’ll have the joy of hearing the Children’s Choir sing before they move over to the 11:00 service for the rest of the school year. And of course, the 11:00 service will have the joy of hearing the Chancel Choir!
  • - Tickets to the Joy of Faith (2/4) dinner will be on sale Sunday morning as well. As you know, our Joy of Faith weekend is Saturday, February 4th and Sunday, February 5th – this year featuring hilarious comedian Aaron Wilburn. The weekend will begin with prayer breakfasts (you can sign up for one of them via the JOF bulletin insert this Sunday), then continue with the dinner at 5:00 p.m. (only 150 tickets are available, so get yours early!). Aaron will perform at a 7:00 service, and then he’ll be with us for both services on Sunday. All events this year are at the church, because costs at the high school became too prohibitive. So we ought to be able to fill the church!  Info:
  • - This Sunday afternoon, our youth group will be heading out to the movies to see the fabulous and inspiring “Hidden Figures.” Cost for the tickets is $9.75 and youth can bring other money for snacks, if they’d like. A light lunch will be provided at the church immediately following the 11:00 service, before they head out to the movies. It is important that Sandy receive a text today from any youth who wants to go, so she can arrange for the tickets. Text her at 443-309-0160. PS – Parents and other family members are welcome to come along!
  • - It’s time to get working on our next college care packages, which will go out on February 19th. So we’re looking for donations of goodies to fill them (granola bars, gum, hot chocolate packets, microwavable mac n’ cheese and so on). Bring your donations to the bin in the Welcome Center area.
  •  Here’s the latest news on the drive to fund our new organ:
    • Total cost of the organ - $104,500
    • Funds received so far - $79,440.65
    • Pledges received - $5,375
    • Amount still needed - $19,684.35

      We’ve broken through the $20,000 mark, so we’re getting there! If you haven’t had a chance to give yet, or would like to make an additional gift, please use the Organ Offering envelopes that can be found in the pew racks. Make your check out to Elkton UMC and write “organ” on the memo line.The organ is being built by the Allen Organ Company as we speak, so we have about four months to finish this off! Help as you can!
      Info Link:
  • - Finally, the next New Member Orientation Class is just around the corner – Sunday, January 29th at 12:15 in Weldin Hall. If you’re interested in joining the church, or simply learning more about it and its ministries, and what it means to be a member, please come. To sign up to participate in the class, please email or call the church office at 410-398-0933.

Well, I think that’s it for now. Prayers for the men as they head off for the weekend, prayers for our country as a new administration takes office, and prayers for all of you for a good, restful and restorative weekend. I’ll see you on Sunday in worship!

                                                                        Grace and Peace,

Friday, January 13, 2017

Happy Friday

Hi All –

Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend. Looks like the weather might be a little dicey tomorrow, but nothing too bad – so maybe it can be a nice “stay at home and relax” day for you and yours!

It won’t be a stay at home and relax time for 80+ women, because it’s Women’s Retreat weekend and we’re headed off to Ocean City. Please pray for all of us who are traveling to the retreat today. Pray that it will be a great and spiritually uplifting weekend, and that God will grant us traveling mercies.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . here’s what’s happening at church on Sunday:

  • - The Rev. Jim Hawkins, a really good friend of mine, whom I first met at Wesley Seminary, will preach on Sunday morning. He’s a really gifted communicator, and I know that he will be great. Please make a special effort to be in worship – I promised him that even though we are taking a lot of women to Ocean City, there will be a lot of people in worship as well.  Dick Gochnauer will be the Worship Leader, and our wonderful Chancel Choir and Steve will be singing. I look forward to watching the video of the service on Sunday night!
  • - Also on Sunday, you’ll have your first opportunity to see all the details of our upcoming Joy of Faith weekend (Saturday, Feb. 4 – Sunday, Feb. 5). Our entertainer this year is Aaron Wilburn, a hysterically funny comedian who has worked with the Gaithers before. He’ll offer a program on Saturday night at 7 in our sanctuary and speak at both services on the 5th. The weekend will start with neighborhood prayer breakfasts, the details of which are on a bulletin insert this Sunday. Then we’ll have our usual yummy dinner prepared by Jaime and Gerry Treese at 5 in Weldin Hall, before Aaron’s 7:00 performance in the sanctuary.

    Tickets for the dinner will be on sale starting this Sunday morning in the Hospitality Area. Get your tickets early, for the dinner will surely sell out, since we can only serve around 150 people in Weldin Hall. It’s going to be a great JOF weekend – you won’t want to miss a minute of it!
  • - Just a reminder that the men of our church head off on retreat next weekend to the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh. There are still spots available, if you’re interested. Brochures about the retreat are on the table across from the Welcome Center. If you have any questions or need further information, email Bill Graham at
  • - Finally, I wanted to include an update on the status of our Organ Fund Drive. We’re doing great: Cost of the organ - $104,500
    • Funds received thus far - $78,720.65
    • Pledges received - $4975
    • Amount Still Needed - $20,804.35

      Every week, we’re getting closer and closer! Every little bit helps, so if you haven’t given toward the new organ yet, please do. There are “Organ Offering” envelopes in the pew racks. Simply make your check out to Elkton UMC and write “organ” on the memo line.

I think that’s it for now. Have a great Friday, and a wonderful weekend. Pray for us in Ocean City and we’ll pray for you in Elkton! Take some time for yourself this weekend, spend time with those you love, and then come to worship on Sunday. It’s the best way to start your week!

                                                    Grace and Peace,

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week and this little bit of winter hasn’t messed you up too much! I was out last night running some errands just as the snow started and it was really beautiful!

Anyway, I hope your day has started out well, and you’re looking forward to the weekend ahead. Here’s what’s happening at church:
  • This afternoon some of our youth and their leaders will head off to Ocean City MD for the Peninsula-Delaware Conference Youth Rally. It is always a wonderful, Spirit-filled weekend with thousands of young people coming from all over our conference and parts beyond. Please pray for them all that they will have safe travel to and from the beach, and that, most of all, it will be a spiritually uplifting and challenging weekend for them.
  • On Sunday in worship, we’ll remember the Baptism of our Lord. And since it’s the second Sunday of the month, we’ll also have the very special “Children’s Time” during which all the children are invited to come forward to see and hear a book which reflects the theme of the sermon. This week’s book is a really special book written by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu entitled God’s Dream. So if you have children in your family, please make a special effort to be in worship this Sunday, so that they can participate.

- A couple of reminders:

  1. There’s still space available for the Men’s Retreat which will take place January 20-22 at Camp Pecometh. Brochures about the retreat are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.
  2. We’re still taking sign-ups for the Classic Christians’ spring bus trip to Niagara Falls and Toronto, Canada, May 15-19th. Flyers about the trip, and the sign-up sheet are on the counter across from the Welcome Center
  3. Mark your calendar now for our annual Joy of Faith Weekend, coming up soon – February 4th and 5th. This year, we’ll be entertained by the hilariously funny Aaron Wilburn, who has traveled with the Gaithers. There will be prayer breakfasts on Saturday morning, a dinner Saturday night, followed by a performance by Aaron, and then he will be in both worship services on Sunday, the 5th. Full details will be available next Sunday, but mark your calendar now, so you don’t miss a minute of it!

We’re making great progress on the way to our new organ! Here’s the latest info:
  •  The cost of the new organ: $104,500
  •  Funds received thus far: $ 71,015.65
  •  Pledges still to be paid: $ 5,575
  •  Total still needed: $22,909.75
Isn’t that incredible? We’ve done so well, and I’m confident we’ll make our goal. If you haven’t had a chance to give yet, there are “Organ Offering” envelopes in the pew racks to use. Simply make your check out to EUMC and put “Organ” on the memo line. Every offering helps get us closer to our goal!

Well, I think that’s it for now. I’m looking around at my house still full of Christmas decorations (including the Christmas tree still being up) and realize that since today’s the Day of Epiphany, Christmas is now officially over – so I guess that means I have some work to do this weekend. Ugh! I hate taking down the tree – the family room looks so empty without it. Hmmm – maybe I can keep it up and turn it into a Valentine’s tree next month, then an Easter tree a couple of months later. Nah, probably not – just wishful thinking. Guess I’d better get to it!

Have a good Friday, and a great weekend! Try to find some time for rest and relaxation even while getting all your chores done. Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning! Can’t wait!

                                                               Grace and Peace,