Friday, April 28, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend. The warm up and sunshine yesterday was just beautiful. I’m hoping it will continue over the weekend.

Like all of you, I’m sure, my heart is heavy over the senseless killing of a Delaware State Police officer. There are no words to describe the sadness and grief over the loss of this young, gifted, committed servant. While we don’t know the answer to the question “why,” we do know this – that Jesus went to prepare a place for Cpl. Ballard, and he is there now nestled in the arms of a loving God. That very same God has his arms wrapped around Cpl. Ballard’s family and fellow officers and a community that is heartbroken. Let us all continue to lift the families and the law enforcement community in prayer in the days ahead. May God heal them and keep them safe as they lay their lives on the line for us.

As we turn now and look ahead to the weekend, here’s what’s up around the church:

- Tomorrow morning, the Prom Boutique will be open from 10 a.m. until noon. Please continue to spread the word about this wonderful opportunity for young women to get a prom dress for free!

- On Sunday, I’ll start a new sermon series entitled “He Never Said It Would Be Easy.” Each week I’ll look at different words of Jesus where he challenges us to live as faithful disciples – challenge being the operative word. For this week, he calls us to “turn the other cheek” and “love our enemies.” What a week for us to be looking more closely at that, in light of the events I spoke of above!

- Also on Sunday, a representative from Camp Pecometh (our Peninsula-Delaware Conference camp) will be with us to tell us about this summer’s camping opportunities for young people. She will be with us to make brief presentations at both worship services, but will make a fuller presentation during the Sunday School hour in Weldin Hall – so if you have a child or grandchild, why don’t you plan on attending?

- If you’re one of the people taking part in the Niagara Falls trip in a few weeks, please see Millie Jones between services on Sunday to get luggage tags, etc. for the trip. She’ll be in the hospitality area.

- Also, don’t forget to start getting together books you want to bring for the Book Swap which takes place on May 21st. You can actually bring in the books you’re going to donate starting on Sunday, May 14th. You can put them in Weldin Hall that day through the following Saturday in preparation for the Book Swap on the 21st.

- Finally, a word about another upcoming bus trip. On Sunday, July 9th, the Classic Christians are sponsoring a bus trip to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival in Ocean Grove, NJ. This festival features nearly 1000 singers performing in the 7000 seat Great Auditorium. It’s always an incredible experience – one you don’t want to miss. The bus will leave at 2 p.m. and return home after the festival at approximately 11 p.m. Cost is $40/person, and a sign-up sheet for the trip is on the table across from the Welcome Center.

Well, I think that’s it for now. Thank you so much for your prayers last week as I dealt with eye, ear and throat infections. Slowly but surely I’m getting better, and hope to get through the services Sunday without having a coughing fit! But seriously, thank you so much for your prayers!

Have a great Friday, and then an even greater weekend. Enjoy the beautiful weather, 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,

Friday, April 21, 2017

Happy Friday- from your faithful church secretary!

Good morning!

Happy rainy Friday! The weather forecast doesn't sound great for the weekend, but hopefully it won't be a complete washout! As most of you know, Karen is taking some well deserved time off this week. So that means she left me, her faithful secretary, with the Friday email! I hope she's having a restful and relaxing week.

Here's what's happening around church this weekend:
  • Our church will have a team walking in tomorrow's Brain Tumor Walk on the Riverfront in Wilmington. If you'd like to take part, it's not too late. Simply contact Joe Tanner at or 443-350-2500.
  • The Prom Boutique will be open tomorrow from 10 a.m. until noon.
  • On Sunday in worship, we'll revisit the story of "Doubting Thomas" with the Rev. Sheryl Allston who will be our guest preacher. Sheryl was the former pastor of Principio United Methodist Church, but is now serving full-time as a Chaplain at Christiana Hospital. She is very excited about coming to be with us on Sunday!
  • The youth group will meet this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. and will have a special presentation on "Vehicle Knowledge" by John Sparks & Richard Jones. If you have any questions, please text Sandy at 443-309-0160.
  • Also, the College Outreach team will be preparing the last mailing of the year to our college students. If you would like to help fill the care boxes, please meet them in Weldin Hall after the 8:30 service. 

A couple of other things:

- We're having a Nino's Dining Out Day/Night next Thursday, April 27th to benefit our Costa Rica Mission Trip this August. Don't forget to pick up a flyer this Sunday to take with you to Nino's! You have to present the flyer for our team to get the credit.

- Just a reminder to start putting your books together that you want to donate to our upcoming Book Swap on May 21st. You can bring your books in on Sunday, May 14 or anytime that week. Put them in Weldin Hall.

I think that's all for now! Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend! I'll see you on Sunday!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! It seems a little weird to write that since it’s Good Friday, but I do wish all of you a happy Friday on this most holy day. I hope you’ve had a good and meaningful Holy Week. We had a very moving Maundy Thursday service last night, and today we’ll walk the journey to the cross with Jesus on the Crosswalk. So I do hope that this is a prayerful, thoughtful day for you, and a day of rest if your schedule allows.

As you might imagine, we have a lot going on this weekend, so here goes:
  • Today, at noon, the annual Community Crosswalk begins at Wrights AME Church on Booth Street. Over the course of the crosswalk, we’re consider the seven last words of Christ from the cross. Our church is the second stop on the walk, and we’ll consider the words Jesus said to the thief on the cross next to his, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Following our church, the walk goes to Providence UMC, Elkton Presbyterian, then all the way down Main Street, where it ends at Trinity Episcopal Church. I hope some of you will be able to take part.
  • Sunday is going to be a great day, because, of course, it’s EASTER!! We’ll have three identical festival services at 8:30, 9:45 and 11. The music will be wonderful as almost all of our church’s musicians will take part – the Chancel Choir, Men’s Choir, Handbell Choir, Brass Choir, and of course, our wonderful organ! We’ll hear again the greatest story ever told – the discovery of the empty tomb and the appearance of the resurrected Jesus. So please invite your family and friends to come to worship with you. We’ll have plenty of room and remind them that we have a wonderful nursery available should they have small children.
  • There’s also our always-fabulous Easter breakfast on Sunday as well, from 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Jaime and Gerry Treese always put out an incredible spread, so make plans now to start your day with their Easter breakfast!
Just a couple of reminders:
  • This is the last Sunday to bring in donations for the last College Care Package of the year. Please bring donations of things like granola bars, gum, crackers, chips, etc. to the donation box in the Welcome Center area.
  • There’s still time to sign up to be on our church’s walking team for the Brain Tumor Walk, which will take place on Saturday, April 22nd at the Riverfront in Wilmington. And if you can’t walk, you can still pledge your financial support. To do either of those things, please contact Joe Tanner at

Let me say one more thank you to everyone who had a part in this year’s Lenten devotional. I just finished reading it this morning, and it has really been a wonderful addition to my day during these 40 days of Lent. Many thanks to all who shared their thoughts and prayers as contributors to the devotional, and to Sandy Lavelle for putting it all together.

And finally, many thanks to all who have helped in any way with all of the services and events of this Lent/Easter season. It takes so many willing people to do all that we do, and I can’t thank you enough – and I want to send out a special thank you to the world’s greatest church secretary – Kay Mortimer – for keeping all the plates spinning, and making it look smooth in the process! I couldn’t do it without her!

Well, I think that’s it for now. Have a good Friday, and please be sure, sometime along the way today, to stop and remember what Jesus was going through on this day, and remember that it did it for you and me. Then, have a great weekend. I hope it’s filled with time with those you love, and I hope that sometime along the way you’ll find time for rest and relaxation.

I hope to see all of you on Sunday morning as we celebrate the wonder and joy of Easter together! I can’t wait!

                                                                          Grace and Peace,

Friday, April 7, 2017

Happy Friday!

Pastor Bunnell Invocation

Hi All,

Wow! What a day we had yesterday! Not the best day to travel to Annapolis, but that’s what a lot of us did. I was privileged to offer the opening prayer for yesterday’s session of the Maryland Senate, and 35 others from the church went along! All of us were hoping for a beautiful day to stroll around Annapolis, but that wasn’t to be, because of the crazy rain and wind. But we had a good time anyway, and it was nice to look up from the floor of the Senate into the gallery and see so many friendly faces!

Now it’s on to the weekend – and it’s going to be a busy one! Here’s what’s happening:
  • Tonight our youth will have an overnight retreat along with the youth from North East United Methodist Church. Youth should meet at the church at 6, and then they’ll head off to North East for the “Unashamed” Retreat. There will be lots of activities and fun, including a nerf gun war. Cost is $20 which covers food and a T-shirt. They’ll be spending the night at our church and their parents can pick them up on Saturday morning. If you haven’t let Sandy know that you’re participating, please text her at 443-309-0160.
  • Our prom boutique will be open on Saturday morning from 10 am – 12 noon, so please let any young woman in your life know about this wonderful opportunity to get an almost-new dress for the prom for free!
  • Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday and we will be blessed by the Chancel Choir as they offer the cantata “Hope in the Shadows” at both services. Since it’s the second Sunday of the month, we’ll also have a “Children’s Time” featuring a delightful book called The Parable of the Lily, so please bring your children to worship.
  • Following the 11:00 service, we’ll have our always fabulous Easter Egg Hunt! It will start with a potluck luncheon (bring a dish to share), continue with some entertainment by our youth, and then the hunt begins! Make sure your child brings an Easter basket or bag to collect the eggs – and believe me, there will be plenty of eggs! Please come even if you have not signed up ahead of time!
A few other things about Sunday:

  • Again, since it’s the second Sunday of the month, it’s Parish Nurse Sunday, so you can have your blood pressure checked in the nurse’s office following both services.
  • This is the last Sunday to place orders for either Easter lilies or a donation toward the purchase of anti-malaria nets. You can make the gift in memory of or in honor of someone you love, and your name and their name will be listed on a special bulletin insert on Easter.
  • We’re still collecting goodies for the final College Care Package of the school year, so if you’d like to contribute, please place your donations of things like granola bars, chips, pretzels, gum, etc. in the donation bin in the Welcome Center area.
  • The Missions team will be in the hospitality area after both services on Sunday signing up those interested in participating in the Brain Tumor Walk in Wilmington on Saturday, April 22nd. You can participate by being part of the walking team, or by making a financial contribution to the team. Too many people in our church family have been affected by this devastating disease, so if you can help fight it, it would be great! The Missions team will also be taking names of those interested in donating blood for the next blood drive which will take place on Sunday, April 23rd.

So, I think that’s it for this weekend (although that’s plenty, huh?) But I want to remind you quickly of the schedule for Holy Week.
  • Palm/Passion Sunday, 8:30 and 11:00 services featuring the Chancel Choir Cantata. Easter Egg Hunt at 12:15.
  • Maundy Thursday, April 13 – 6:00 p.m. Soup and Bread Dinner in Weldin Hall,  Worship in the sanctuary at 7:00 p.m.
  • Good Friday, April 14 – 12:00 noon – Community Crosswalk, beginning at Wrights AME Church.
  • EASTER SUNDAY, April 16, Identical Festival Worship Services at 8:30, 9:45 and 11 a.m. featuring music by the Chancel, Men’s, Handbell, Brass Choirs and the organ, of course!

As you can see, it’s going to be a very full and meaningful week as we remember Jesus’ journey to the cross for us and our salvation – and best of all, his victory over death. I hope you’ll want to be a part of all of the events of the week!

Well, I think that’s it for now. I hope you have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend. Find some time for yourself this weekend, even while trying to get all your chores accomplished. Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Palm/Passion Sunday!

                                      Grace and Peace,