Thursday, August 31, 2017

Happy Friday

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Happy September! It’s hard to believe September is here already – wow! I hope you’ve had a good week and are looking forward to a long holiday weekend. A lot’s going on around church, so I’ll get right to it:

- On Sunday, I’ll preach a sermon about the cost of discipleship based on Matthew 16:21-28. Ed McKeown will share his gift of music, and we’ll share Holy Communion together. I am really looking forward to something new we’re going to do this Sunday – “the Blessing of the Backpacks.” All students in our church are invited to bring their school backpacks with them to worship, and during the service we’ll call them up front for a special blessing, and a small gift. We’ll also invite all who are involved in education to come up as well – teachers, aides, administrators, coaches, substitutes, custodians, cafeteria workers, etc. It’s a great way for us to acknowledge all of their gifts and pray for them as a new school year begins – so I hope all students and everyone involved in education will make a special effort to be in worship on Sunday!

- SPECIAL OFFERING FOR HURRICANE HARVEY RELIEF – We will be taking a special offering on Sunday to help the people of Texas and the Gulf Coast get back on their feet after horrible Hurricane Harvey. There will be a basket up front near the chancel rail where you can put your offering when you come up to receive communion. If you’d like to give by check, please make it out to Elkton UMC and write Hurricane Harvey or UMCOR on the memo line (along with your envelope/account number if you have one!). As you hopefully know, 100% of your gifts will go to hurricane relief – none to administrative costs. We cover those administrative costs annually with our gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.


  • Don’t forget that next Sunday, September 10th is Kickoff Sunday – the day on which Sunday School kicks off again and our Youth Group begins their fall season with the always fun Scavenger Hunt. There’s a brochure in this Sunday’s bulletin in which you can read all about all of the various Sunday School classes. Why don’t you try one this year?
  • The Chancel Choir will sing on September 10th, but their first actual rehearsal is on Wednesday, the 13th, and they would love to have you join them. The Men’s Choir is looking for men to join them as well. Details about all of our musical groups are on an insert in this Sunday’s bulletin – so take a look – and if God has gifted you musically, why not join in?
  • If you’re interested in joining Elkton UMC, there’s a New Member Class coming up on Sunday, September 17th – details are in this Sunday’s bulletin.
  • Don’t forget about the Organ Concert that will take place at 4 pm on Sunday, the 17th featuring a professional organist from the Allen Organ Company. Mark your calendar and start inviting your family and friends. It’s going to be a great event!

- MISSION OPPORTUNITIES – In addition to helping relieve the suffering of hurricane victims through the special offering this Sunday, there are other opportunities coming up to reach out and help.

  • We’re starting to collect goodies for the first College Care Package that will go out at the end of September. So if you’d like to help, bring donations of goodies like granola bars, packets of hot chocolate, ramen noodles, cookies, gum, etc. to the donation box in the Welcome Center area.
  • We’re having another Blood Drive on Sunday, October 15th, and sign-ups to donate will begin in September, so be on the lookout for the table in the Hospitality Area.
  • You can sign up to take part in the 5K Run/Walk/Stroll on October 21st which is being held in memory of the Rev. Jim Jones and which will benefit dementia/Alzheimer’s’ research. Sign-ups begin next Sunday, September 10th.

Phew! I know – there’s a lot going on! And now, one more thing. As I told you in my previous Friday email, the Communications Committee has put together a survey which will help them discern what is working and what isn’t working so well in terms of getting information to members and friends about what’s going on in the church. A good number of you have taken the survey, but we’d like many more to do so. I did it myself and it took only a matter of minutes to complete. So please take a couple of minutes, go to the church website – & Events – and fill it out, or simply click this link- EUMC Survey -

Speaking of communications, the September newsletter is printed and ready to be picked up on Sunday on the table across from the Welcome Center. Don’t forget to pick one up – or read it on-line on our website ( It’s the biggest issue of the year where you’ll get a lot of information of what’s going on this fall at church.  Sept Newsletter

Well, I really do think that’s it for now! I hope you have a great Friday, and an absolutely wonderful Labor Day weekend. Continue to pray for Hurricane Harvey’s victims, pray for students and teachers heading off to school on Tuesday, and pray for workers on Labor Day!

Take some time this weekend to put your feet up, spend time with those you love, and I’ll see you in worship on Sunday. It’s going to be a great morning, and I can’t wait to experience it with you!

                                           Grace and Peace,

Friday, August 25, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend!  Sounds like the weather is going to be pretty good, so enjoy!  Here’s what’s happening at church this weekend, and in the days ahead:
-          On Sunday, I’ll preach a sermon entitled “Who Do You Say That He Is?” based on a passage in Matthew, chapter 16 where Jesus asks his disciples exactly that – “Who Do You Say That I Am?”  It’s a question for which all of us need to have an answer.  We’ll explore that together.  In addition, Sue Johnson will be providing the musical offerings, and I’m going to have the honor of introducing to all of you our newest staff member, Sylvia Honesty, at both services.  It’s going to be a great day – you don’t want to miss it!

-          Sunday morning’s bulletin will be filled with lots of useful information for the coming fall season.  The annual Sunday School insert, listing all of the classes and what they’ll be studying, will be one of the inserts, and I pray that you will take it home, look over it, pray over it and consider being a part of one of them.  There will also be an insert telling you how you can get involved in one of our music ministries.  Then, finally, there’s an insert about an upcoming 5K event in October (I’ll say more about that later in this email.)  So make sure you take Sunday’s bulletin home with you and read through it carefully over the next few days!

-          After church on Sunday, our Chancel Choir and Children’s Choir will be having their annual Summer Picnic at the Tanners’ home!  Musicians – don’t forget to bring your swimsuit if you want to enjoy their beautiful pool!

-          On Sunday evening at 5:30 pm, the Senior High Youth Group will gather at the church for their meeting.  Need more info?  Text Sandy at 443-309-0160.

-          SPEAKING OF YOUTH – THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT JUST FOR THEM – If you’re in grades 6 – 12, you are invited (and needed) to attend a meeting this Sunday morning at 10 am in the Youth Room in the basement.  Breakfast will be provided, and Susan Starrett will be meeting with you for a time of discussion and discernment.  Your voice needs to be heard, so please plan on attending – Sunday morning at 10!  Text Sandy at 443-309-0160 to let her know if you’ll be coming, so there can be enough breakfast for everybody!

Upcoming Events:
-          Next Sunday, September 3rd, we’ll have a “Blessing of the Backpacks” at both worship services.  All students are invited to be present and bring your school backpack with you.  We’ll invite you to come forward with your backpack, and we’ll invite all teachers and leaders involved in education to come forward as well – so we can pray for all of you!

-          September 17th will be a big day at church.  After worship, at 12:15 pm, a New Member Orientation Class will be held in Weldin Hall, so if you’re interested in taking part, email or call the church office at 410-398-0933.  Lunch will be served, and childcare will be available, if needed.

-          Later that same afternoon, September 17th, at 4 pm, we’ll have a wonderful Organ Concert in the Sanctuary.  Aram Basmadjian, a professional organist with the Allen Organ Company, will perform on our brand new organ, so mark your calendar now so you can be present!  Invite your family and friends as well.  It’s going to be something you won’t want to miss!

-          Looking further ahead – on Saturday, October 21st, our church, along with our friends from Janes UMC in Rising Sun, will have a 5K Run/Walk/Stroll to Remember the Rev. Jim Jones and raise money for dementia and Alzheimers’ research.  Details are in Sunday’s bulletin and will be in the September newsletter.  You can sign up to participate at a table in the Hospitality Area on Sunday, September 10th.  It’s going to be a wonderful event in memory of a wonderful servant of God, so make plans now to take part!

-          One more thing!  Our Communications crew has put together a survey about our church’s communications, and they would greatly appreciate your input.  So when you get a minute, please click this link (*EUMC Survey),  or  go to our church website, & Events, where you’ll find a link and short description of the survey.  It takes only a few minutes to complete, and your input will help them in their efforts to continually improve communications inside and outside the church.

Phew!  Well, I think that’s it for now!  I hope you have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend!  The days are winding down before school starts again, and the busyness of life ramps up, so enjoy these last few days of what, for many of you, is your summer break.  Try to take time this weekend to rest and relax, spend time with those you love, be sure to remember in prayer the people of Texas as they wait to see what Hurricane Harvey will do, and then, plan to be in worship on Sunday morning.  Can’t wait to see you then!

                                                               Grace and Peace,


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All, 
 Happy Friday!  I usually start out my Friday emails by saying that I hope you’ve had a good week, but sadly, that seems improbable, given all that’s happened this week.  So much sadness, so much strife, so much anger.  So my hope is that you have found along the way this week glimpses of goodness and moments of peace.  And I hope that the coming weekend can be a time of rest and restoration for us all.

 Here’s what’s happening at church:

-          Today at 4 pm, the Classic Christians (age 50 and over) are having their summer picnic in Weldin Hall.  It’s going to be a great time of fun and fellowship, so if you’re a Classic Christian, come on over and be a part of the fun!  Just bring a side dish or dessert
– meat and beverages will be provided.  Come, even if you haven’t signed up ahead of time – there will be plenty of room!  (Please note that the starting time is 4 pm, rather than our usual start time!)

-          On Sunday morning, I’ll be preaching a sermon called “The Blind Leading the Blind” based on a conversation Jesus had with a Canaanite woman whose daughter was in need of healing.  We will be richly blessed by the violin playing of Kris Lewman, and Sharon will be back at the organ!

-          Thank you for your incredible generosity with the donation of school supplies!  Joe Tanner, chair of the Missions Committee, was able to deliver many backpacks throughout our community, including places like the Help Center, Clairvaux Farms and the Immaculate Conception Outreach Center.  Thank you for helping to make it possible for children in need to go to school fully prepared!

While I have your attention, let me just throw out a few upcoming dates that you’ll want to put on your calendar:
o   Sunday, September 3rd, we’ll have a “Blessing of the Backpacks” in worship, where children are invited to bring their school backpacks and we’ll pray for our students and teachers that day as they get ready to start a new school year.
o   Sunday, September 10thKICKOFF SUNDAY – Sunday School kicks off for a new year in the morning, and youth group kicks off their fall season in the evening!
o   Sunday, September 17th – We’ll hear from our Costa Rica Mission Team during worship about their recent mission to our brothers and sisters in Christ there.  A New Member Orientation Class will be held at 12:30 for those wishing to join the church.  And an Organ Concert, featuring a professional organist from the Allen Organ Company playing our new organ, will take place at 4 pm. 

As you can see, we have a busy and exciting time ahead, so mark your calendars and make a point to be present for all of these events!
Well, I think that’s it for now.  Have a great Friday and an even greater weekend!  Take advantage of these last few weekends before school starts and things get crazy again!  Carve out some time for yourself 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,


Friday, August 11, 2017

Happy Friday

Hi All –
  Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend!  It’s hard to believe that August is almost halfway over, and before we know it, school will be starting up again.  But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at what’s happening this weekend:

-          Our Mission Team will be returning from Costa Rica.  It sounds and looks like (from the pictures they’ve sent) they have had an incredible experience.  They’ve worked hard, and had wonderful fellowship with their new friends there, and I know have made a tremendous impact during their time there.  Please pray for safe travels for them today.  Maybe, if we’re lucky, and they’re not too exhausted, we’ll see some of them in worship on Sunday.  We’ll be hearing from the team during a worship service sometime in September.

-          Speaking of mission teams, this Sunday we’ll be hearing from the Kentucky Mission Team about their experience there back in July.  They always make an uplifting and moving presentation, so you’ll surely want to be present to hear it.  Sid Bledsoe will add his special touch to the service through his music, and Brian Gilmore will be back one more week, sitting in for Sharon.  It’s going to be a great Sunday morning!

-          This is the last Sunday we’ll be collecting school supplies for our drive.  So please help by donating if you can.  You can leave your donations on the counter across from the Welcome Center.  You’ll find the list of things you can donate on our church website (, but I know that we particularly need backpacks.  After Sunday, we’ll be putting the donations together and delivering them to area schools and agencies.

-          The insert about a new Disciple Bible Study coming in the fall will be in the bulletin again.  This new study is 24 weeks long, with a 1 ½ hour class a week.  Over the course of the study, you’ll cover the entire Bible.  “Disciple” is an outstanding study, and I hope some of you will consider joining the class starting later in September.

-          A couple of reminders of things coming up in the next week:

o   On Wednesday morning at 6:30 a.m., all men of the church are invited to the Monthly Men’s Breakfast at the Elkton Diner.  No need to sign up ahead of time, just show up and enjoy the food, fellowship and lively discussion!
o   On Friday, August 18th, the Classic Christians (age 50 and over) have their annual Summer Picnic at the home of Ed and Betty Sprague.  Details about it are included in Sunday’s bulletin and on the church website.  If you plan to attend, it is important to sign up on the sheet across from the Welcome Center so we can make adequate preparations.

Well, I think that’s it for now, except I want to tell you about something wonderful that I did this week.  Most of you will probably remember that back during Lent I told you about getting caught up in the saga of April, the giraffe who lives in the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York.  The impending birth of her baby was announced around Ash Wednesday – they said it would be any day, and it actually happened the day before Easter.  So for all of those days, the whole season of Lent, I joined thousands of others watching and waiting online for the baby’s birth.  When it finally came, I was one of 1 ¼ million people watching it live!
In one of my sermons at that time, I mentioned why I was doing that, why I was so captivated by it – that in the midst of this tense and chaotic world, a world of mean-spiritedness and an “us vs. them” attitude, watching the beauty of these creatures and the care given them by the park personnel touched my soul, made me happy and gave me moments of peace.  
So on Wednesday, I and three others from church (Connie Wilkinson, 

Kim Artrip and Barb Tenney), made the four hour drive up to Harpursville and saw April and her baby Taj in person.  We even got to feed them!
A big bonus was time spent talking with Jordan Patch, the founder, owner and manager of the park.  I actually gave him a copy of the sermon where I talked about why I watched April and we talked about the beauty of the whole thing.  He said that many of the thousands of people who have flooded the park since Taj’s birth have told him the same thing I did – that in the midst of a tense world they are signs of beauty and peace.
My prayer is that all of you will find signs of beauty and peace in your lives as well, as all of us live in this world of ours.  Mine this week was a beautiful mama and baby giraffe eating carrots out of my hand!

Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to come to worship and be inspired by the beauty and peace embodied by our Kentucky mission team!
                                              Grace and Peace,

Friday, August 4, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
     Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend!  I hope you’ve taken some time during the week to click on to our website or Facebook and kept up with the progress of our Costa Rica mission team.  It’s great to see what they’re doing, and the people and places they’re touching.  If you haven’t done that already, or don’t know how, here’s the information:  Either go to or on Facebook,  And be sure to keep praying for them all!

Here’s what’s happening at church this weekend:
-          On Sunday, I’ll preach a sermon entitled “Two Ways of Seeing” during which we’ll look at the feeding of the five thousand.  We’ll also celebrate holy communion together, and once again, be treated to the music of Brian Gilmore, who’ll be sitting in for Sharon for the next two weeks, while she enjoys vacation time.  We’ll be further treated to music by two more Gilmores – Steve and Krista!  What a day it will be!

-          Don’t forget that we’re in the midst of our annual School Supply drive!  You can bring in your donation of school supplies for the next two Sundays and put them on the counter across from the Welcome Center.  If you’re not sure what’s needed, check out our church website ( or our Facebook page.

-          Another reminder to Classic Christians (age 50 and over) that if you’re going to attend the summer picnic on August 18th at 4 pm at the Spragues’, you need to sign up ahead of time on the sheet across from the Welcome Center, so we can be sure to have enough meats and beverages. 

-          Now, here’s an item you’re not going to see every week!  As you know, we’re putting together a brand new cookbook, and as we’re getting down to the final editing, we realized there are four recipes that have no names on them, and we need to have the names of the contributors to use them.  So, here are the dishes.  If you happen to be the person who sent one or more of them in, please email me and let me know (  The recipes are:  Best Greek Quinoa Salad, Sopapilla Cheesecake Dessert, Black Bean Couscous Salad and Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad.

-          Finally, some really good news to report!  We have hired a new church sexton, and she started on the job this past Monday.  Her name is Sylvia Honesty.  She lives in Elkton, works at the University of Delaware, and is a member of Cokesbury UMC in Port Deposit.  And guess who taught her in 8th grade at Perryville Middle School years ago?  Rick Ceresini!  It’s a small world, isn’t it?  Anyway, Sylvia will be in worship with us on August 27th so you can meet her in person, but if you run into her in the church some evening or on a Saturday, give her a warm welcome to the EUMC family.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  Have a good Friday, and a great weekend!  Find some time to rest and relax even while tackling 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,