Friday, June 30, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
     Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend!  I know some of you probably have or took Monday off, so it will be a great long four day weekend for you!  Enjoy!
  Well, we’ve just finished a fabulous week of Vacation Bible School!  It was really wonderful partnering with Wrights AME Church!  Between their folks and our folks, we had phenomenal adult and youth leaders, and 65 children and youth taking part!  The theme was “Hero Central” and throughout the week the kids learned what it means to be a hero for God, and how they can be one too!  They spent their evenings moving from an opening gathering, to story time, music time, science time, outdoor activities and wonderful arts and crafts!  And I was blessed to work with them on their mission project – helping to provide food for the Immaculate Conception Food Pantry.  Each night I introduced them to a new hero (or heroes) – people in our community who go above and beyond to care for others.  I had a wonderful time with the whole group this week, and I want to personally thank Katie Sparks and Glenn Davis (from Wrights) for coordinating the whole thing!  It was really, really wonderful – and I can’t wait for next year’s VBS!  If all goes well, we’ll show a video of VBS highlights this Sunday in worship!

 Now, on to what’s coming up this weekend:

-          Tonight at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary, our very own Madeline Funke will offer a recital.  Everyone is invited to come and enjoy her beautiful voice, along with the accompaniment of Sharon Williams.  As you know, Maddy has grown up in our church and now is a student at Shenandoah University (the school Sharon attended as well!).  So come out tonight and enjoy some great music.  It will be a wonderful way to start your weekend!
-          On Sunday morning, we’ll have “A Service of Prayer and Thanksgiving for Our Nation” as we prepare to celebrate America’s birthday on July 4thDon’t forget that there is only one service – at 10 am.  It’s wonderful to get both congregations together every once in a while!  The Providence Brass will be with us again to share their incredible musical talents!  You won’t want to miss Sunday’s service!
-          Also on Sunday, stop by the table across from the Welcome Center to pick up your copy of the July/August church newsletter.  And don’t forget that you can access it as well via our church website – here.
-          Tuesday, of course is July 4th, and as always, our church is going to be a part of Elkton’s Fireworks presentation.  This year we’re not physically giving something away as we have in the past (water, ice pops, etc.).  Rather, we are sponsoring a special event for the kids in the crowd who usually have nothing to do but wait for it to get dark and the fireworks to begin!  We are sponsoring an appearance by Jungle John, who’ll bring an assortment of critters to show the crowd.  The performance will be at 6:30 and we’ll have people and signs around the park directing people to the location.  Before the performance, Jungle John will be making balloon animals for the children as well.  The Town of Elkton is thrilled that we are contributing this to the event!
-          On Wednesday evening, July 5th the youth group will meet at the church.  All youth taking part in the Kentucky mission trip are asked to bring both bags, their tools and their bedding to the meeting that night – and if you volunteered to bring food, bring that as well.  That meeting will take place at 6 pm.
-          At 7 p.m. all youth in grades 6 through 8 and their parents are invited to come to a meeting in the youth room in the basement of Weldin Hall where they will receive an introduction to EUMC’s youth program.  Any questions about either of the above meetings, text Sandy at 443-309-0160.
-          Finally – one last reminder that the Classic Christians are taking a bus trip to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival on July 9th and there are still a few seats left.  Details about the trip are in Sunday’s bulletin, and the sign-up sheet is on the table across from the Welcome Center.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  It’s been a busy week, and it will be a busy, but great, weekend.  I hope you’ll have time this weekend to rest and relax and find some time for yourself, even while tackling all your chores.  Spend time with those you love, and then come and join in our one worship service on Sunday, where together we’ll celebrate and pray for our nation!  I’m so looking forward to it and can’t wait to see all of you there!
                                                                                                                                                                 Grace and Peace,

Friday, June 23, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
 Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and are looking forward to a great weekend.  Not sure how the weather’s going to be, but no matter!  At least it’s the weekend, right?

Here’s what’s happening around the church this weekend:

-       Tonight at 6:30 the Classic Christians will have their June meeting.  They’ll gather in Weldin Hall and start off the night with a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share) and then continue on with a program by the Cecil County Tourism Board about hidden gems in Cecil County to explore this summer!  You’re welcome to come and hear the presentation even if you’re not a Classic Christian (50 and over).  We don’t check ID’s!

-       On Sunday, I’ll preach a sermon which will introduce us to the subject of this week’s Vacation Bible School – heroes!  The sermon is entitled “Who Me?  A Hero?” and we’ll explore what it takes to be a hero, and how God can use any of us as heroes in this world.  We’ll also hear a report about Annual Conference from Heidi Gaultney, who was EUMC’s lay member to Conference this year, and we’ll be treated to the music of Bobby Heath on the baritone.  It’s going to be a great morning!

-       Then Vacation Bible School kicks off on Sunday night at 5:30.  We’re thrilled to be having VBS this year along with two other churches – Providence UMC and Wrights AME.  It’s going to be wonderful and we’re sure to have lots of participants!  Each night starts with a kid-friendly dinner, and then I get to spend a few moments with all the kids on a mission project.  After that, they’ll go to storytelling, music, arts and crafts, and activities stations.  It’s going to be a great week – and I can’t wait to see all of the kids on Sunday night.  If you haven’t had a chance to pre-register your child or grandchild, it’s not too late – you can go to the church website,, to do it, and if you can’t do that, just show up on Sunday night!  There’ll be room for everyone!

    Some reminders:
o   We’re still collecting recipes for the new church cookbook to be published in the fall.  Information on how to submit them is in Sunday’s bulletin and also on the church website.  We haven’t received many recipes yet, so please, send us your favorites!
o   There are still a few spots left on the July 9th bus trip to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival.  Again, details are in this Sunday’s bulletin and the sign-up sheet is on the table across from the Welcome Center.
o   Don’t forget that we’ll be having just one service next Sunday, July 2nd.  It will be at 10 a.m. and we’ll celebrate “A Service of Prayer and Thanksgiving for Our Nation.”  The wonderful Providence Brass will be with us as well!
o   We’re still accepting applications for our custodial position.  It’s a 20 hour/week job which involves not only cleaning, but set-up and take-down (so the person needs to be able to do some lifting).  For more information, candidates can call the church office (410-398-0933).

I think that’s it for now.  Have a great Friday, and a wonderful
weekend.  Take some time out for rest and relaxation even while you
tackle your weekend chores.  Spend time with those you love, and
then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!  Can’t wait!

                                                            Grace and Peace,


Friday, June 16, 2017

Happy Friday

Hi All –
  Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week, and have plans for a great weekend! As most of you know, it was a rough week at the church. We lost three members of the church – Ray Runyon, Donny Ewing and Virginia Barnes – so we had all of their funerals over the past seven days. I can’t thank everyone enough for their prayers and support – they have meant so much. And I really can’t thank enough all those who came and helped out in so many ways – whether it was greeting people in the parking lot or in the hallways of the church, offering hospitality, serving the post-funeral meals, caring for the families, providing tech support, ushering, providing music, or helping to clean the church, which, of course, is something Donny would have done. Our church has really been the church in the best possible sense of the word this week, and I couldn’t be more grateful – and neither could the families of those who passed away. My heart is filled with gratitude for all of you.

Now, on to the activities coming up this weekend:

  • Sunday, of course, is Father’s Day, so we’ll be celebrating all the men in our lives. I’ll be preaching a sermon called “O We of Little Faith” based upon the story of God promising to give Abraham and Sarah a child, even though he was 100 and she was 90! We’ll also celebrate the sacrament of baptism at the 11:00 service, and hear the Chancel Choir sing for the last time before they take their summer break!
  •  There won’t be any youth group meeting this week so that the youth can spend time spoiling their fathers! But speaking of youth group, I want to say a word of thanks to all who took time this year to present “life lessons” to our youth. You provided a wonderful variety of lessons in skills that will serve them well in life – car care, sewing, cooking, first aid, painting, using hand tools, gardening and so much more. Thanks to all of you for caring about our youth and giving your time and sharing your talents with them! Youth – stay tuned to the bulletin board in the hospitality area and look for texts regarding the schedule for next weekend.
A few reminders:
    • Vacation Bible School is coming up quickly – June 25th to 29th, from 5:30 – 8 each evening, beginning with dinner. The program is called “Hero” and we are currently in the process of taking registrations. To register your child or grandchild, go to the church website, Questions? See Katie Sparks or email her at
    • We’re still looking for recipes for our new church cookbook which will be published in the fall. Please submit your favorite recipes to the church office, and be sure to include contact information should we need clarification on any of them.
    • There are still a few seats left on the bus trip to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival on Sunday, July 9th. The bus leaves at 2 p.m. and returns around 11, from this wonderful festival featuring 700+ singers performing in a 7000 auditorium – which always is standing room only! Cost is $40/person, and you can sign up on the sheet across from the Welcome Center. If you’ve already signed up, please send your payment into the church office, or drop it by, as soon as possible.
    •  Another reminder that we’ll be having only one service on Sunday, July 2nd. It will be a wonderful service of prayer and thanksgiving for our nation featuring the Providence Brass, and will take place at 10 a.m. It will be great for both congregations to be together that day!
I think that’s it for now, except to say that, sadly, we’re now looking for a new custodian. So if you might know of anyone who would be interested in this 20/hour per week job, that includes not only cleaning, but room set-up (so they need to be able to do light lifting), have them call the church office at 410-398-0933.

Well, that’s really it for now. Hope you have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend. Make some 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. Can’t wait!

                                   Grace and Peace,

Friday, June 9, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
  Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend. As most of you probably know by now, it’s been a tough last few days at the church, since learning on Wednesday of the sudden death of our custodian Donny Ewing. Donny was only 47 years old and on Tuesday I had a couple of conversations with him at church and during our last one at about 5:30 we were laughing and joking together, and he looked wonderful. And then on Wednesday morning came the news of his passing. It is hard to believe and incredibly, incredibly sad for all of us, but especially for his son Devin, daughter Zoe, parents Debbie and Dan, and his twin brother Danny. Please keep all of them in your prayers, as well as the church staff. It’s a really tough time for all of us.

Donny’s viewing and funeral will be at our church on Monday and Tuesday of next week. The viewing will be on Monday evening from 6-8, and then again from 10-11 on Tuesday morning. The funeral will follow at 11, and a luncheon will take place in Weldin Hall following the service. Donny has been a loyal and hardworking member of our church staff for a long time and I’m so glad his services are taking place in the church of which he took such good care for so long.

On Sunday morning, my sermon is entitled “Put One Foot in Front of the Other” and I’ll talk about how we face challenging times in our lives – which turns out to be pretty timely for all of us given the events of the week. Since it’s the second Sunday of the month, we’ll have Children’s Time as well – this week we’ll hear a wonderful classic – The Little Engine That Could! We’ll also hear the Men’s Choir for the final time this spring as they prepare for their “summer break.”

This Sunday is also Promotion Sunday for our Sunday School program, so why not come down to Weldin Hall at 9:45 and help celebrate with all of the students and teachers?

Sunday is also “Compassion Sunday” and Terri Lokey will be on hand at both services to tell us about this wonderful ministry of sponsoring children in need around the world.

On Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. the youth group will gather for another “life lesson.” This week it’s painting – as in house painting – a skill that will come in handy especially for those going on mission trips this summer. The teachers this week – Dick Gochnauer and Ken McCoy! In order for them to make adequate preparation for the lesson, the youth are asked to text Sandy at 443-309-0160 to let her know if they will be in attendance.

A couple of reminders:
  • - Vacation Bible School is just a few weeks away – June 25-29, 5:30-8 p.m. nightly beginning each night with dinner. To register your child or grandchild, go to the church website – Questions? Email Katie Sparks at
  • - The Communications Committee is looking for your greatest recipes for the new church cookbook they’ll be publishing in the fall. Please see the insert in Sunday’s bulletin for directions on how to submit your gems!
  • - There are still spots left on the bus trip to the Ocean Grove Choir Festival on July 9th. Sign up on the sheet across from the Welcome Center if you’re interested. Cost is $40/person.
  • - Finally, I just want you to be making a mental note about worship on the 4th of July weekend. WE’LL BE HAVING ONE COMBINED SERVICE AT 10 AM ON SUNDAY, JULY 2ND – A SERVICE OF PRAYER AND THANKSGIVING FOR OUR NATION. Last year, I advertised it long in advance, but some people still didn’t get the word, so I’m trying harder this year to give plenty of notice!

Well, I think that’s it for now. Many thanks to all of you who have called and expressed concern and condolences over Donny’s passing – it means more than you know.

I hope everyone has a good weekend – sounds like it’s going to be a hot one! Find some time to rest, relax and stay cool. Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!

                                                    Grace and Peace,

Friday, June 2, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! I hope you have had a good week, and have plans for a great weekend. I had a wonderful week serving on the faculty of the Local Pastors’ Licensing School at Camp Pecometh. It was so inspiring to work with sixteen brand new pastors as they prepare to start their ministries on July 1st. They are so eager and optimistic, and can’t wait to share their love of Jesus with others. It was a joy to be with them!

And now, the weekend’s here, so let’s turn to what’s going to be happening at church:
  • - On Sunday, we’ll celebrate Pentecost, the day on which the Spirit descended and the church was formed. On this special festival day, we’ll celebrate the confirmation of our youth confirmation class (half of the class at the 8:30 service and the other half at 11:00), and we’ll also share Holy Communion together. It’s going to be a very special morning!
  • - On Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m., the youth group will meet and this week’s “life lesson” will be “How to Use Hand Tools”, led by one of our resident master craftsmen, Ted McDowell! It will be a great night and great training especially for those who will be going on mission trips with the church this summer.
- In the bulletin on Sunday you’ll find reminders about:
  • Vacation Bible School, which will be held from Sunday, June 25th through Thursday, June 29th from 5:30 – 8 (dinner included). You can register your children and grandchildren for VBS via our church website – You can find full details there, and also on an insert in Sunday’s bulletin.
  • Church Cookbook – The Communications Committee is excited to be publishing a new church cookbook. It’s been a long, long time since the last one was published. Details about the new cookbook and how you can contribute a recipe will be in Sunday’s bulletin, the newsletter and on the website.
  • Silent Auction for Organ Pieces – The silent auction continues for one more week on the pieces from our old organ. To look at the pieces and perhaps bid on them, go to the hallway behind the sanctuary, the second classroom on the left. The bidding ends on June 11th.
  • The “Wired Word” study group meets for the second time this coming Thursday, June 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel. This month’s topic is isolation and loneliness, and how they are a threat to one’s health. All are invited to take part in the group which is led by Pastor Ray Graham.
  • Ocean Grove Bus Trip – There’s still space available on the bus trip to Ocean Grove NJ on Sunday, July 9th to hear the spectacular Choir Festival featuring nearly a thousand singers! Cost is $40/person. To participate, sign up on the sheet across from the Welcome Center.

I think that’s it for now. Oops – except to say thank you to all who took part in the Memorial Day parade on Monday. I was so sorry to have to miss it, but was delighted to receive so many pictures on my smartphone. The float looked terrific and it was great to see so many church members walking with it. Thanks to all of you! You represented our church well!

Well, that’s really it for now. Have a great Friday, and a wonderful weekend! Enjoy this beautiful weather, try to find some time to rest and relax, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship as together we celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost!

                                               Grace and Peace,