Thursday, November 30, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday and Happy December! Can’t believe it’s here already! Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend. Hope you also “survived” yesterday’s earthquake! Truth be told, I totally missed it. I was sitting at my computer at home working on my sermon with Christmas music playing in the background, and I guess I was so into the writing zone that I missed the earthquake! I saw on Facebook that many of you felt it, even as far over as Colora! Oh well . . .

On to what’s happening this weekend at church:
  • Sunday marks the first day of a new Christian year – the first Sunday of Advent! Thus begins our four week journey to the manger in Bethlehem. On Sunday, we’ll take a look at John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the Lord by calling people to repent. We’ll see what that means for us today. We’ll also begin the lighting of the Advent wreath and we’ll celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion together.
  • Copies of this year’s Advent Devotional are ready and can be picked up at the Welcome Center. I’ve seen it already, and it is filled with really wonderful readings for each day of the season written by EUMC members and friends. You can also access it via the church website – elktonumc.org.  (http://www.elktonumc.org/AdventWorship.html)
  • The December newsletter will also be available on Sunday. It will be on the counter across from the Welcome Center and it, too, can be accessed via our website.(EUMC Dec. Newsletter)
  • Our new church cookbook will be on sale in the Hospitality Area for $12/copy. They make great Christmas presents!
  • If you give your offering via an offering envelope, please pick up your 2018 envelopes this Sunday. They’ll be on the counter across from the Welcome Center. You picking them up saves the church the expense of sending them in the mail. If you can’t find yours there, contact the church office on Monday and we’ll make sure you get them.
  • If you have not turned in your pledge card for 2018, please do so as soon as possible. We’ll be publishing the results of the pledge campaign as soon as all the pledges are in. If you still need a pledge card, please see one of the ushers on Sunday morning,
  • On Sunday night at 5:30, our youth group will be welcoming youth groups from other churches in the area for a wonderful December meeting/Christmas party. Youth are reminded to bring a gift to share in the gift swap ($10 maximum)

I think that’s it for now, except to let you know that the other night we had the initial meeting of a group looking into church security. We reviewed where we are at this time and talked about things we could do to improve the safety of our church. We’re planning on meeting with the police for their insight, but in the meantime, we are looking for more volunteers to serve as hall monitors and parking lot “knights”. So please consider helping out in this way, and then, if you’re interested in helping, please sign up on the sheet across from the Welcome Center. We’ll be having a training session in the near future.

Okay, I think that’s everything I wanted to share with you about the weekend. As I said earlier in this letter, I’ve been listening to Christmas music already and it makes me happy! I’ve also loved driving around and seeing how many people have already decorated their houses and yards with lights and ornaments! It really is the most wonderful time of the year, albeit the busiest as well! So enjoy every minute of it, but every once in a while stop and take a breath and take care of you!

Have a good Friday and a great weekend. Make sure to spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you Sunday morning as together we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent! Can’t wait!

                                                                 Grace and Peace,
                                                                                     Karen

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Friday...on Wednesday!

Hi All –

Surprise! Happy Wednesday! As you probably know, the church office will be closed for the next few days, so I’m sending out the weekend email a little early this week. Hope that’s okay! Like all of you, I’m looking forward to tomorrow and being with family. John and Adelma are coming up from South Carolina, so that’s a treat in itself!

I want to say a word of thanks to all of the EUMC members and friends who took part in last Sunday night’s Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service. It was great to see so many of you there! I was sitting next to another clergyperson and every time I looked up, I saw more and more EUMC people coming in, and sadly, he didn’t see many from his church. I was so excited that so many of you took the opportunity to worship with Christians from many other denominations, and was also very excited that our youth group came to the service!

Now, on to the coming weekend:
  • This Sunday in the United Methodist Church is designated “Student Sunday” and we’ll mark it by having the Rev. Brett Pinder with us. As most of you know, Brett grew up in our church, then went to college and seminary, and is in the process toward full ordination. He’s currently the United Methodist Chaplain on the campus of the University of Maryland College Park, and on Sunday, we’ll hear more about his ministry with students there. Some of our music will be provided by students: the Children’s Choir at 8:30, and Bobby Heath, who along with Paul Humphrey will offer an instrumental duo. And of course, our fabulous Chancel Choir will sing at 11. I hope you’ll be here Sunday, and if you have family or friends visiting for the holiday, bring them along too!
  • Just a reminder of some other things for Sunday morning:
    • Cookbooks will be for sale in the hospitality area.
    • Donations for the College Care packages can be put in the bin in the Welcome Center area (they need to be in by 9:30, because the packages will be assembled between services in Weldin Hall).
    • The box for donations of mittens/gloves/hats/scarves/children’s underwear is in the Welcome Center area also.
  • - Many, many thanks to all of you who turned in your pledge card for 2018 last week. And a reminder to those of you who haven’t, that we’d appreciate receiving yours as soon as possible. You can put it in the offering plate on Sunday or drop it by the church office. And if you lost your card, or didn’t get one, see one of the ushers on Sunday morning. They have extras.
  • The Classic Christians are planning a bus trip in April of next year to the Norfolk, Virginia area, and it’s filled with great activities – like a performance of military bands, a NATO parade, a tour of the Norfolk Naval Base and a dinner cruise, among others. Flyers about the trip are on the counter across from the Welcome Center. Take a look – it might be something you’d like to do! There’s a sign-up sheet there as well!
  • A reminder that sign-ups are still going on for all the winter retreats coming up. Youth can contact Sandy Wherry (443-309-0160) if they’re interested in the YOUTH RALLY in Ocean City, January 5-7; women can sign up for the WOMEN’S RETREAT, which takes place January 12-14 in Ocean City as well (brochures are on the counter across from the Welcome Center), and men can sign up for the MEN’S RETREAT, happening January 19-21 at the Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh (brochures are on the counter across from the Welcome Center). There is still space available for all of these retreats – so sign up soon, if you’re interested!
Well, I think that’s about it for now. Since it’s a holiday week, things slow down at church, which is good, because soon enough Advent starts and then we’re chocked full until Christmas again! So enjoy the down time!

Before I close, let me tell you that tomorrow, on Thanksgiving, when I’m giving God thanks for all of his blessings in my life, all of you will be on my list! I’m blessed to be in ministry with such a wonderful, supportive community of people, gifted in so many ways, and giving in so many ways. My prayer is that tomorrow will be a blessed day for you and yours!

So have a great Wednesday today, a great Thanksgiving tomorrow, and then a great weekend – which, I hope will be topped off by being in worship on Sunday morning! I look forward to being there with you! Happy Thanksgiving!

                                     
Grace and Peace,
                        Karen

Friday, November 17, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend! It’s been a busy week with a lot going on at the church, and it’s going to be a busy weekend as well, so let’s get to it. Here’s what’s happening this weekend at church:

  • Tomorrow night (Saturday the 18th), we’re having a “Kid’s Night In”
    from 5-8 pm. Here’s a chance for the kids to come do some fun things, like watch a movie or do crafts or other activities – and, at the same time, their parents can have a few hours off! Katie Sparks and others will take care of the kids, while you enjoy the evening! If you haven’t pre-registered your kids to take part, it’s not too late – just email Katie at katharine.gravatt@gmail.com.
  • On Sunday morning, we’ll celebrate “Stewardship Sunday” and make our financial pledges for 2018. You should have received a pledge card in the mail, but if you didn’t, just see one of the ushers – they’ll have extras. During the service, you’ll be invited to come forward and lay your pledge at the altar in prayer. As Bill Ferringer told us last Sunday, you’re encouraged to increase your pledge, particularly to the “Ministries” part of the budget, while maintaining your pledge to the “Missions” and “Building Fund,” so that we can fully fund our ministry needs.
  • We’ll also celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday this week, with a focus on gratitude. The Handbell and Chancel Choirs will offer the music, and so will Vanessa Foskey! 

Just a reminder of all the ways to give this Sunday:

  • The Boy Scouts will be back for the final Sunday of taking orders for Christmas wreaths. The wreaths will be delivered in early December and be available to be picked up on a Sunday morning.
  • The Angel Tree will be laden with ornaments to be picked up this Sunday. Those ornaments will tell you what gift you can purchase for a child of an incarcerated parent. Millie Jones and friends will be on hand to assist you and tell you when the gifts are due.
  • The bin for the Mittens/Gloves/Hats/Scarves/Children’s Underwear is located on the counter across from the Welcome Center. The Ruth/Sarah Circle invites you to donate those things, which will be sent to the Help Center for Christmas distribution.
  • We’re still looking for donations for the next College Care Package which goes out right after Thanksgiving. A bin for those donations is on the counter across from the Welcome Center as well.
  • You’ll hear about the upcoming UMW Cookie Walk from UMW President Judy Tanner this week, and you’ll find a sign-up sheet in the bulletin on which you can pledge to bake cookies for the walk – Saturday, Dec. 9th.
  • Our new cookbooks will also be on sale this week in the Hospitality Area. Don’t forget that they’ll make great Christmas gifts!

- On Sunday night, our youth group will meet at its regular time – 5:30 pm. Sandy asks that all youth who want to attend the Youth Rally be present Sunday night so they can discuss plans and preparations for the weekend.

- Also on Sunday night, the Greater Elkton Ministerial Association (of

which I’m currently President) is having our annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service. It will take place at 7 pm at Five Rivers Church on Whitehall Road. The message will be delivered by Mike Brandon, Executive Director of the Paris Foundation, and the service will be led by pastors from different churches around Elkton. This is a wonderful opportunity to worship with brothers and sisters in Christ from all different denominations!

Well, I think that’s it for now. As I said, it’s going to be a busy, but great, weekend at church! Hope you’re planning to be there!

But, in the meantime, have a good Friday and then a great weekend. Take some time to put your feet up and rest a bit. Spend time with those you love, and then I will see you on Sunday in worship! Can’t wait!



     Grace and Peace,
                           Karen

Friday, November 10, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
    Brrr!  Well, the cold weather has finally arrived.  I guess we’ve been lucky it’s held off until now.  Time to get out the warm coats and gloves and enjoy the crisp November weather!  You know what?  I know the cure for this cold snap – come inside the church on Saturday evening and enjoy some nice hot spaghetti!  How does that sound?

    Yep, this is the weekend for our wonderful annual Spaghetti Dinner!  It happens Saturday night from 4-7 pm in Weldin Hall.  I found out tonight that tickets are still available at the door, so come on over and enjoy!  The food’s always great, the bake sale is always tempting, and the fellowship is wonderful!  You won’t want to miss it.

Here’s what else is happening this weekend:
-          On Sunday, I’ll preach a stewardship sermon as we prepare to make our 2018 pledges next week.  It’s entitled “Giving Willingly, Rejoicing Greatly!”  Since it’s the second Sunday of the month, we’ll also have Children’s Time and this month’s book is called Pete the Cat and the New Guy.  So make sure you bring the kids to worship this week!  Carolann Lewis and Jeanette Perkins will be our book readers!  On top of all that, Ed McKeown will share his gift of music with us, as will the Chancel Choir, of course!  It’s going to be a great Sunday, so don’t miss it!
-          A few other things to remember about Sunday:
o   Our Boy Scout Troop 443 will be on hand to take orders for their beautiful Christmas wreaths.  They’ve sold them the past few years, and they really are nice, so why not help support our Troop and their activities and order one this year?  They’ll be at a table in the hospitality area to take your order.  The wreaths will be delivered early in December, and be available on a Sunday morning for pick up.
o   This is the Sunday you need to return your filled-up Christmas box, if you took one.  Nancy Stubbs will deliver all of the boxes to the church in North East that’s serving as the collection headquarters.  Many thanks to all of you who took boxes to fill – you’re going to make a lot of children all over the world very happy!
o   You have two more Sundays to help fill our next College Care Package which will go out right after Thanksgiving.  So please bring your donations of goodies (candy, gum, microwave popcorn, granola bars, etc.) to the donation bin in the Welcome Center area.
o   Speaking of the Welcome Center area, that’s where you’ll find the bin for the Ruth/Sarah Circle’s Mitten collection.  They’re looking for donations of new mittens, gloves, scarves, hats and children’s underwear that they’ll then turn over to the Help Center for distribution at Christmas.
o   Also in the Welcome Center (actually on the counter across from the Welcome Center) you’ll find a sign-up sheet if you can help with the Community Kitchen luncheon on November 17th.  We need donations of soup, sandwiches and fruit, and can also use help serving on that day.  So if you can help with any of these things, please sign the sheet on Sunday.

-          The youth group will meet on Sunday night at 5:30, and Sandy asked me to remind you that if you’re planning to attend the Youth Rally in January in Ocean City she needs to know as soon as possible, so please text her at 443-309-0160.

 LOOKING AHEAD:

o   The Angel Tree “tree” will be up next Sunday, the 19th, so if you’d like to help buy gifts for children of incarcerated parents, plan on stopping by the tree and taking an ornament.  Millie Jones and friends will be there to help you.
o   On the evening of that same day, the 19th, the Greater Elkton Ministerial Association (of which I’m president), is holding our annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service.  This year it’s being held at Five Rivers Church on Whitehall Road, and Mike Brandon of the Paris Foundation will bring the message.  Hope you’ll want to come and join in worship with other Christians from all over the Elkton area!

Well, I think that’s it for the announcements for now.  I just want to take one more minute of your time to tell you about something our District Superintendent said at last night’s Charge Conference.  He talked about what an excellent church we are, and how we should not take for granted all that we have and do.  He visits every church on the district every year, so he knows what the church landscape looks like, and he assured us that we have something special here – which we know, but it was sure great to hear from him!  So thank you for who you are, and what you do, and how you love each other and the world.  I’m blessed to be your pastor.

   Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend!  Take some time to put your feet up and relax!  Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday (or maybe first at the Spaghetti Dinner!)  Either way, I look forward to it!
                                                                                                                                                                   Grace and Peace,                                                                                                              Karen

Friday, November 3, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week and are looking forward to a great weekend. I’m not sure what the weather is supposed to be like, but yesterday sure was beautiful – like summer again! When I left the house in the morning, I had a heavy sweater on, and later on in the day, when I was leaving Dover after a meeting, it was 79 degrees! Off went the sweater! It’s kind of a roller coaster ride in these early days of fall, isn’t it? Cold one day, warm the next! Oh well, let’s enjoy it while we can, because the cold will come to stay soon enough!

Here’s what’s happening this weekend:
  • Don’t forget that this is the weekend Daylight Saving Time ends! So be sure to turn your clocks back one hour before you go to bed Saturday night, or you’ll be an hour early for church on Sunday morning! Enjoy the extra sleep!
  • Sunday is All Saints’ Sunday – the day we remember those who have died in the past year. We’ll see a wonderful video showing images of our members who passed away, but then you’re invited to remember others who have died as well, by bringing a flower with you to worship to place in a vase up front during the service. This is always a very moving service as we remember those we have loved and lost, and I know it will be this year as well. We’ll also celebrate Holy Communion together.
  •  Downstairs in the Hospitality and Welcome Center areas, there will be a lot going on as well. Our new cookbooks will be on sale ($12/each – make checks out to Elkton UMC and write “cookbook” on the memo line). Tickets for our Spaghetti Dinner, which is next Saturday evening, November 11th, from 4-7 pm, will also be on sale. Speaking of the dinner, we can still use help in the preparation and set up for the dinner, as well as serving. If you can help in any of those ways, please email Faye at flyaway723@comcast.net or Bethany at buckley91@comcast.net. And be sure to invite your family, friends and neighbors to come along to the dinner with you!
  • We’re starting to collect goodies for the next College Care Package which will go out right after Thanksgiving. Please bring your donations of goodies (granola bars, hot chocolate mix, microwavable mac ‘n cheese, gum, candy, etc.) to the donation bin near the Welcome Center.
  • Speaking of the Welcome Center, you can find the November issue of the church newsletter on the counter across from it this Sunday – or – you can always read it on-line on our church website – elktonumc.org/newsletter
  • Sign-ups have begun for this year’s Men’s Retreat, which will take place January 19-21 at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh. Details about the retreat are in a brochure which will be in Sunday’s bulletin.
  • Also a reminder to women who have signed up for the Women’s Retreat (January 12-14 at the Dunes Manor in Ocean City) that your second installment payment is now due. And if you haven’t signed up, please do. There is still space available. Brochures about the Women’s Retreat are available on the counter across from the Welcome Center.
  • It’s not just the men and women going away for retreats this winter, but our youth are as well. They’ll be attending the Conference Youth Rally in Ocean City the weekend of January 5-7. Youth – please let Sandy know as soon as possible if you’re planning to attend. Text her at 443-309-0160.
  • Our church’s Charge Conference takes place next Wednesday, November 8th at 7 pm in Weldin Hall. This annual meeting is presided over by the District Superintendent, the Rev. Joe Archie, and provides us an opportunity to look back at what we’ve done this year, and make plans for the year ahead. All members of the Administrative Council are required to attend, but anyone else who wishes to may attend, as well. 
Well, I think that’s it for now, except I want to share something interesting I saw on the internet the other day. It was an invitation that read: “Watch the skies this weekend. The moon won’t come this close again until 2034.” Sounds amazing, huh? So try not to stay so busy this weekend that you don’t take the opportunity to look up and see this amazing sight from our amazing Creator God!

Have a good Friday and a great weekend! Try to carve out some down time for yourself even while you attack your “to do” list. Spend time with those you love. And then I look forward to being with you on Sunday morning as we remember some very special people during our All Saints’ services. See you then!

                                                                    Grace and Peace,
                                                                                           Karen