Friday, January 26, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
 Happy Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week and are getting ready for a great weekend!  Looking out my home office window and the sun is peeking through the trees, so it looks like it’s going to be a nice day!  Enjoy!

 Here’s what’s happening at church this weekend:

  • - On Sunday morning, I’ll conclude my “Show Me a Sign” sermon series with “Burning Bushes and Fishing Nets.”  We’ll think together about the way God calls each of us to do special things with our lives.  We’ll have the joy of hearing both the Children’s Choir and the Handbell Choir, as well as our always wonderful Chancel Choir.  It will be a great morning of music!
  • - On Sunday evening, the youth group will meet, but starting this week, it will be at a new time.  They will now be meeting from 6 – 8 pm.  All youth are invited to come and take part in the fun, fellowship and learning!  Questions?  Text Sandy at 443-309-0160.

- A few reminders:

  • o We’re working on gathering goodies for the next College Care Packages which will go out mid-February, so please bring your donations of things like candy, gum, granola bars, microwavable soup/mac ‘n cheese, etc., crackers and cookies and place them in the donation box near the Welcome Center.  
  • o Our church has responsibility for the Emergency Homeless Shelter the week of March 5th.  We need to provide hosts, hostesses and people to stay overnight.  If you can help with any of these things, please sign up on the poster that is located on the Missions bulletin board in the Hospitality Area.
  • o This is the last Sunday to sign up for this year’s Dinner Groups.  There will be an insert in the bulletin to use if you’re interested in being part of this great fellowship opportunity in our church, where groups of eight people go out to dinner once a month.
  • o JOY OF FAITH Dinner tickets will be on sale again this week in the Hospitality Area after both services.  The dinner will be held on Saturday, February 3rd at 5 pm prior to Kevin Reilly’s presentation in the sanctuary at 7.  Be sure to get your tickets soon, because this dinner almost always sells out, and we only have 150 tickets in total available.
  • - There are a couple of things coming up next week to know about:
  • o On Wednesday, January 31st there will be a presentation in the Elkton Library from 6:30-8:30 about Dreamers and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival).  I’m sure you’ve heard about this on the news, but if you’re not sure you’re clear about it, here’s a good opportunity to learn more.  Our own Carlos Reyes will be on hand that night.  Bishop Johnson and all of the Bishops of the UMC encourage us to learn more and be in prayer about it.
  • o The WIRED WORD discussion group which Pastor Ray leads, is moving their meeting night in the hope that it will work better for more people’s schedules.  They’ll now
  • be meeting on the first Thursday of each month in the Wesley Wing Conference Room at 7 pm.  This Thursday they’ll be looking at the change in tax laws which might affect charitable giving, and what the Bible says about giving and generosity.  All are welcome to come and join in the discussion!
  • o It’s hard to believe that Lent is just around the corner (it starts on Ash Wednesday, February 14th).  But that means that our Chancel Choir is getting ready to start rehearsing for their Lenten cantata, and they’re on the lookout, once again, for singers who’d like to join them for this adventure.  Even if you can’t join the choir altogether, you can sing for just the cantata, and the first rehearsal will be this Wednesday, from 7-7:45 pm.

- Finally, our wonderful and always uplifting JOY OF FAITH WEEKEND is just around the corner – next weekend, February 3rd and 4th.  I hope and pray you are getting the word out to family and friends about it.  The Cecil Whig did a wonderful article about it on Wednesday, and yesterday I recorded a commercial which will play on WXCY this coming week, but now it’s time to do your part, and start inviting people.  Please, especially reach out to young people, because I think the words and witness of professional athletes will appeal to them and challenge them!  Just to remind you:  Kevin Reilly, a former Philadelphia Eagle, who lost an arm to cancer, will speak on Saturday night at 7 in the sanctuary; and Dickie Noles, a former Philadelphia Phillie, who fought and won a battle with addiction, will speak at both of our services on Sunday morning.  It would be great to have the sanctuary filled to overflowing for both days.

- Speaking of the JOF, there’s still time for you to sign up to participate in a JOF prayer breakfast next Saturday morning and help wrap the weekend in prayer.  There are four locations – Elkton, Cecil Woods, the Elk Forest Road area, and the Town Point Road area.  You can choose where you’d like to go, fill out the insert in Sunday’s bulletin and put it in the offering plate.  Early in the week, you’ll be contacted by the host/hostess of your breakfast, letting you know the time and what you can bring.  Last year, we had nearly 70 people at the breakfasts, so come and join in the fun and inspiration!

 I know that’s a lot, but there’s a lot of exciting things going on right now!  I hope you have a good Friday, and a great weekend!  Enjoy some time off, spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!  And, oh yes, lest I forget, keep the good thoughts coming – GO EAGLES!!!
                                                                       Grace and Peace,

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
  Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend! I know of about 25 men who I’m sure are going to have a great weekend, because they’re heading off this afternoon to take part in the Men’s Retreat at Camp Pecometh. If they have half as much fun and inspiration as we women did last weekend in Ocean City, it will be a great success! Send up a few prayers for them that God will grant them traveling mercies, and that it will be a spiritually uplifting and strengthening weekend for them all!

For those of us staying in town, here’s what’s happening this weekend at church:

  • - On Sunday morning, I’ll continue my sermon series “Show Me a Sign,” with this week’s symbol being a shepherd’s staff. We’ll look together at the passage in the tenth chapter of John where Jesus calls himself “the Good Shepherd” and what that means for us. Sue Johnson and the Chancel Choir will inspire us with their music, and during the announcement time you’ll get a little taste of what happened last weekend at the Women’s Retreat through a video presentation.
  • - Don’t forget to come to church prepared to buy your Joy of Faith dinner tickets. They’ll be on sale after both services in the Hospitality Area. The Joy of Faith weekend is Saturday, February 3rd – Sunday, February 4th, and this year’s presenters are former pro-athletes Kevin Reilly and Dickie Noles, both of whom faced adversity and came through it. They have great stories to tell and you won’t want to miss it. You can sign up to take part in Prayer Breakfasts on Saturday the 3rd via an insert in Sunday’s bulletin, and then buy your tickets for the Saturday night dinner which will be at 5 pm. Most importantly, start inviting your family and friends to join you for what promises to be a great, great weekend in our church!
  • - We’re starting to collect goodies for the next College Care Packages which will be sent out mid-February, so if you’d like to donate things like granola bars, microwavable mac ‘n cheese, hot chocolate mix, candy, crackers, gum, etc., please place them in the donation bin in the Welcome Center area. 
  • - As you probably know by now, the Rotating Homeless Shelter has been restarted, and our church is responsible for the week of March 5th. We’ll need drivers, hosts and hostesses and people to stay overnight. There is a sign-up sheet on the Missions bulletin board in the Hospitality Area, so please, if you can, sign up to help!
  • - Finally, it’s time for new Dining Out Groups to form, so if you’re interested in being part of this great activity, fill out the insert in this Sunday’s bulletin and put it in the offering plate. Dinner Groups are groups of eight people who meet once a month to go out to dinner at a local restaurant. The groups pick the dates and locations. This is a wonderful way to get to know more people in the church and have a great night out once a month! Please note that if you’re already a part of a Dinner Group, you still need to sign up again, because all of the groups are being re-formed for the new year.
Well, I think that’s it for now. Let me say a word of thanks to Ray Graham for covering for me last week. I watched the worship video and it was great – he and Joe Buckley were a great team!

Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend! Find some time for rest and relaxation even while you tackle your chores. Spend time with those you love! And then I’ll see you on Sunday morning in worship! Can’t wait!

Oh wait, one more thing! GO EAGLES!!! (Sorry, I just had to do it!)

                                            Grace and Peace,

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Happy Friday

Hi All –

Happy Friday!  Wow, what a crazy week of weather we’ve been through!  Ups and downs, ice and snow, school delays and cancellations, meeting cancellations at church, jacket weather today, and tomorrow rain!  Crazy, huh?  I’m praying for those hurt on the ice, including a couple of people from church, and continuing to pray for those who are battling all the bugs going around right now. 
They’re really knocking people for a loop!

There’s lot going on this weekend, so here goes:
-          This is the Women’s Retreat weekend!  80 of us are heading off to Ocean City to spend time with the Lord and each other looking at some ordinary women who did extraordinary things for and with God.  Please pray for traveling mercies for all of us, and that it will be a time that draws the women closer to God and to each other.
-          On Sunday morning, Pastor Ray Graham will be preaching for both services in my absence.  That will be a treat, especially for the 11:00 congregation, which rarely gets to see him (the 8:30 folks see him on the first Sunday of every month for communion).  Ray is a great preacher, so you won’t want to miss worship this week.  You’ll also be lifted up by the singing of both Sid Bledsoe and the Chancel Choir.
-          This Sunday morning will also be the first time tickets will be on sale for this year’s Joy of Faith dinner (Saturday, February 3rd at 5 pm).  Representatives of the Evangelism Committee will be on hand in the Hospitality Area after worship to sell the tickets.  Please note that this dinner sells out every year, so get your tickets early!  There are only 150 available. 
-          Speaking of the JOF weekend (Feb. 3-4), start now inviting family, friends and neighbors to join you at church that weekend.  It’s going to be an inspirational time listening to two former professional athletes talk about facing adversity in their lives and rising above it.  I particularly invite you to reach out to young people and ask them to come.
-          This coming Monday, January 15th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the pastor and people of Wrights AME Church invite all of us to join them for their annual MLK Day service at 9 am that day.  Their church is located on Booth Street, straight up the street from our parking lot.  In fact, you could park in our lot and walk to the church that morning, since parking is limited there.  It is always an uplifting and inspirational service.  I’ll be there and I’d love to see some of you there as well!
-          Last Call for the Men’s Retreat – The Men’s Retreat takes place next weekend (Jan. 19-21) at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh – and there’s still time to register!  Brochures about the retreat are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.  The theme of this year’s retreat is prayer as reflected in the movie “The War Room.”
-          We’re still looking for a few more writers for this year’s Lenten Devotional.  If you’re willing to write a devotion, please email Sandy Lavelle at  You don’t have to be a professional writer, you just have to speak from your heart.
-          Finally, there is still space available on the Classic Christians’ April bus trip to Norfolk VA to see a military band performance, a NATO parade, a tour of the Norfolk Naval Base, and other things.  Flyers about this trip are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  I’m just about to pack my car and hit the road for Ocean City.  I’m excited about the weekend, but I’ll miss being with you in worship.  My biggest conundrum for the weekend is figuring out how to watch the Eagles’ game on Saturday and lead a retreat at the same time!  Anyway, go Eagles!

Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend!  Try to find some time for rest and relaxation, spend time with those you love, and then come to church on Sunday to give God thanks for all his blessings!
                                             Grace and Peace,


Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy Freezing Friday!

Hi All –
Happy Freezing Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good, safe week and have been able to stay warm as much as possible.  I like cold weather, but this is a bit much, even for me!  Oh well, it can’t last forever, right?  At least the sun is shining beautifully this morning!

We’re going to try to carry on with everything as normal this weekend, but just in case, keep an eye on our website ( and our Facebook page, in the event we have to make any changes.  As of now, the parking lot is like most parking lots around town – a mixture of ice, snow and bare spots.  Our intrepid snow removal crew will, I’m sure, be doing the best they can to get the lot in great shape for Sunday, but even they can’t do much in the face of the incredibly low temperatures.  So, stay tuned and, like I said, if there are any changes for Sunday, we’ll post them on the website and on FB.

Now, on to what’s happening this weekend:
-          A decision is still to be made whether our youth and their leaders will be going to the Conference Youth Rally this weekend.  As you know, Ocean City got totally socked by the storm, but incredible efforts are being made to enable the rally to take place.  Having said that, all persons who were signed up to go should be in contact with Sandy at 443-309-0160 to find out if our group will be going.
-          On Sunday morning in worship, we’ll celebrate the Baptism of the Lord.  We’ll remember Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by John, and we’ll think about what baptism means for each of us.  We’ll also celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion together.
-          Sunday School starts up again this Sunday, after many of the classes took a Christmas break.
-          Some reminders:
o   MEN – There is still space available for the Men’s Retreat taking place at the Riverview Retreat Center at Camp Pecometh, January 19-21.  Brochures about the retreat are on the counter across from the Welcome Center.
o   Space is still available on the Classic Christians’ April trip to Norfolk VA.  Flyers about this trip which includes attending a performance of military bands, a NATO parade, and a tour of the Norfolk Naval Base, among other things, are on the counter across from the Welcome Center as well.
o   DID YOU KNOW OUR CHURCH OFFERS YOGA CLASSES?  Space is still available in the Chair Yoga class which takes place on Wednesdays from 5-6 ($50 for 8 classes).  For more information or to sign up, contact Ali at  First class is this coming Wednesday at 5.  (The other yoga class is full at this time.)
o   LENTEN DEVOTIONAL – It’s hard to believe that we’re already looking toward Lent, but we are, and we’re in need of people to write for our Lenten devotional.  If you’d be willing to contribute, please contact Sandy Lavelle at
-          Finally, a couple of notes about giving:
o   If you use offering envelopes, you’ll notice the first envelope is called “Initial Offering.”  This covers the cost of the envelopes themselves, and the recommended donation is $5.
o   If you give on-line, don’t forget that if you changed the amount you’re giving from 2017 to 2018, you need to change that on-line.  Simply go to the church website ( and click on the on-line donation link, and you can make the change there.  Questions?  Call the church office.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  I hope you have a good Friday, and a great weekend – and that you can stay home, safe and warm most of the time!  If you’re like me, you might still have to de-decorate from Christmas – I always wait until the twelve days of Christmas are over

Anyway, have a great weekend.  Spend time with those you love – and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!  Can’t wait!

                                   Grace and Peace,