Friday, March 30, 2018

A Good Friday Message

Hi All –

I greet you on this Good Friday with hopes that you’ve had a good week and are having a good day. Today is the day on which we remember Jesus going to the cross and dying for us and our salvation. I pray that in the midst of all the busyness that surrounds the Easter holiday weekend, you will find some quiet time today to pray and remember Christ’s sacrifice for you. We had an incredibly moving Maundy Thursday service last night, and today, at noon, we’ll have a service remembering Jesus’ last words from the cross.

Here’s more about that service and other things going on this weekend:
  • Today’s Good Friday service is an ecumenical service sponsored by GEMA (the Greater Elkton Ministerial Association). Preachers from seven churches will each be preaching on one word of Jesus from the cross for about seven minutes, so the service will be about an hour and fifteen minutes long. We so rarely get to worship together, and so rarely get to hear preachers from so many churches, so I hope you’ll make time to come and be a part of it. Noon today in our sanctuary.
  • On Easter Sunday, we’ll have two identical Festival Worship Services at 8:30 and 11 am. They will be filled with music – wonderful Easter hymns, offerings by the Chancel Choir, Handbell Choir and Men’s Choir, and music by a trumpeter and of course, Sharon on our wonderful organ! It’s going to be a great morning that you won’t want to miss!
  • From 7:30 – 10:30 on Easter, Gerry and Jamie Treese will be offering their always-wonderful Easter breakfast in Weldin Hall, so make plans to come and enjoy it either before or after worship!
  • The church office will be closed on Monday in observance of the Easter holiday and to give all of the staff a well-deserved breather!

Let me just say a word of thanks to all who have offered their gifts to make this Lent and Easter season so wonderful this year. I especially thank our Chancel Choir for their phenomenal cantata last week, which was all the more phenomenal considering the fact so many of their rehearsals had to be cancelled due to bad weather! As always, Steve’s and Sharon’s leadership helped pull it all together, and it was truly wonderful.

Thanks also to Krista Gilmore and all who helped with last night’s Maundy
Thursday service and the soup and bread dinner that preceded it.

And a huge thank you goes out from me to Kay Mortimer, who goes above and beyond the call of duty at times like these. The number of bulletins she has to produce, not to mention the monthly newsletter – all at the same time – and while answering calls and doing all of the other parts of her job – well, it’s incredible, and she does it all incredibly well. I’m so glad she’s my partner in ministry! We are blessed to have her!

Finally, I want to thank God for the opportunity I had yesterday to, for the sixteenth year in a row, offer the opening prayer for a session of the Maryland Senate. But what made it so very special this year was that the Tuskegee Airmen were there and being honored. What a thrill it was to be in the presence of these men who made history in World War II! True American heroes!

Well, I think that’s it for now. I’m so looking forward to being with all of you throughout this Easter weekend! So have a good day, and a great weekend. Enjoy the time with your family and friends, try to sneak in some rest and relaxation, and then, please be sure to come and give God thanks on Resurrection Day, Easter Sunday. I’ll be looking for you!

                                          Grace and Peace,

Friday, March 23, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Beautiful sunshine is filling my office as I sit down to write this morning. Quite different from two days ago, huh? What a week it’s been! I don’t know if you realize Wednesdays have been the unlucky days this winter. I know that because of the number of times that we’ve had to cancel Lenten Lunch and Learn, Yoga, Choir Rehearsal and Communion. It’s been crazy! Having said that, I hope you enjoyed the snow day on Wednesday as much as I did. It was great to stay in, to stay warm and cozy, and to get a lot of stuff accomplished. (By the way, I know that I am blessed to stay in and stay warm and cozy because the Trustees make sure my driveway and sidewalks are cleared! Thank you, thank you, thank you, to the Trustees and to John Fetterolf who actually does it!)

Anyway, now it’s on to the weekend, and a busy one it is! Here’s what’s happening:
  •  Tonight at 6:30 pm the Classic Christians (age 50 and over) will gather in Weldin Hall for their March meeting. The night will begin with a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share), and then continue on with a program about Milburn Orchards. Evan Milburn will be our guest speaker. All Classic Christians are invited to come, even if you haven’t signed up ahead of time. 
  •  Tomorrow morning, the church will be buzzing as the Chancel Choir meets to rehearse and make up for all those Wednesday rehearsals cancelled due to weather. At 10, the Prom Boutique will open to help young women find beautiful dresses to wear to the prom. They’ll be open until noon, so spread the word! 
  •  Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday, and we will focus in worship on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and then the journey to the cross. The Chancel Choir will lead us as they present their cantata, “Who Do You Say That I Am?” at both services. They always do a wonderful job, and I know it will be very moving, so please invite others to come with you Sunday morning. (I want to add a special note here: Several times over the past few years, after the choir has presented a Lenten cantata, I have received complaints that the congregation did not have the opportunity to applaud after it ended. People felt like the choir didn’t know how appreciative we were. As you know, Lent is a season of quiet contemplation, during which we don’t applaud in worship. That is particularly appropriate after the cantata which reflects the depth of Jesus’ suffering. So I want to suggest that instead you make a special effort to see the choir members after worship in the coffee hour and thank them in person for their musical offering, or better yet, send them a card or write them a note to thank them.) 
  •  At noon on Sunday, our children will enjoy the annual Easter Egg Hunt. They’ll start out in Weldin Hall with a potluck lunch (please bring a side dish or dessert to share), and then the hunt for eggs will be on. I’ve been afraid to look at the weather forecast for Sunday, but be assured the hunt will go on, rain, snow or shine! There are tons of eggs, so please bring your children, grandchildren, neighborhood children with you! It’s going to be a lot of fun! 

As Holy Week continues, our schedule is full:
  •  On Wednesday, at 11 am, our Lenten Lunch and Learn class will have a special extended final session. The group will meet from 11 – 1:15 to try to complete the study which had to be cancelled twice due to bad weather. 
  •  Thursday is Maundy Thursday. Our evening will begin at 5:30 pm in Weldin Hall with a Soup and Bread dinner being offered by our Missions Committee. Worship will take place at 7 pm in the sanctuary, and will feature a very moving service of symbols of the passion and holy communion. 
  •  I’ll mention what will be happening on Good Friday, even though I’ll be sending next week’s Friday email that morning. We’re not having a crosswalk this year, instead the members of the Greater Elkton Ministerial Association will be having an ecumenical worship service at 12 noon in our sanctuary. Seven pastors from seven churches in Elkton will be offering their thoughts on the seven last words of Jesus from the cross. 
  •  That’s pretty much it for the week’s schedule. Just a few more things to mention: 
  •  If you’re interested in joining the church, a new member orientation class has been set for Sunday, April 15th at 12:15 in Weldin Hall. To sign up, email or call the church office at 410-398-0933. 
  •  The next Blood Drive will be held on April 15th from 8-12 noon, and you’ll be able to sign up to donate during the coffee hours on April 1st and 8th. 
- Well, I think that’s it for now, in terms of what’s coming up. But before I sign off, I have to celebrate with you something wonderful that happened this week. Both Brett Pinder and Carlos Reyes appeared before the conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry, and they both were approved! Which means that Brett will be ordained an Elder at the Annual Conference in May, and Carlos will be commissioned as a provisional Deacon (which means he has to serve two years before final ordination). I am a member of the Board, but wasn’t part of the interviews because of my relationship with them. However, I was in the room when they both received the news that they had been approved, and I cried tears of joy! They are both wonderful men whom God is using in powerful ways, and both of them have expressed to me and to the board how much our church helped to make them who they are today. I’m working with them to arrange a day for them to be with us in worship so we can celebrate with them. I’ll keep you posted!

- Speaking of what a great church you are, I want to close by letting you know that, as of today, you have given over $11,000 to UMCOR for the UMCOR Sunday offering! That is incredible! You are an incredibly giving church, both in love to and for people, and in giving so that others might find help in time of need. I am so blessed to be your pastor!

Have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend! Carve out some time to relax and put your feet up even while trying to get all your chores done. Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Palm/Passion Sunday.

                              Grace and Peace,

Friday, March 16, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a good week and have plans for a great weekend. I just looked down at my list of things I need to tell you, and there’s a ton! So let’s get right to it!

  • Just a reminder to all CLASSIC CHRISTIANS that we’re not meeting tonight. We changed our March meeting to a week later, on Friday, March 23rd, because our guest speakers aren’t available tonight. So mark your calendars for next Friday night!
  • The PROM BOUTIQUE will be open tomorrow morning from 10:30 until noon for any young woman looking for a beautiful, no-cost, prom dress. Spread the word!
  • On Sunday morning, I’ll offer the fifth installment in my Lenten sermon series, “Willing to Pay the Price,” entitled “Extravagant Love.” We’ll look together at the story of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointing Jesus with priceless perfume. We’ll be treated to the music of our Handbell and Chancel Choirs. And I can’t tell you what the last hymn will be, but it’s a favorite of a lot of people in the church, so don’t miss it!
In the week ahead:
  • On Wednesday, March 21st the men of the church will have their Monthly Men’s Breakfast at the Elkton Diner at 6:30 am – all men are invited!
  • On Thursday, March 22nd, our Cub Scout Pack 443 is having a “Dining Out Day” at Cuzino’s (formerly Nino’s). A flyer for the event will be in Sunday’s bulletin, and you’ll need to present the flyer (whether you eat in at lunch or dinner, take out, or have something delivered). A portion of the proceeds of the day’s business will go to the Pack. 
Looking further ahead:

- Sunday, March 25 is Palm/Passion Sunday. That day, at both services, our Chancel Choir will present their Lenten cantata. At noon, our children and their families will enjoy the annual Easter Egg Hunt after lunch in Weldin Hall (sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board across from the church office). And our church cookbook will be on sale after both services in the hospitality area ($12).

Looking way ahead!
  • We’ll be having another BLOOD DRIVE. It will take place on Sunday, April 15th, from 8 am until noon in Weldin Hall. You can sign up to donate, or help with the drive, on Sundays, April 1st and 8th during the hospitality hour after both services.
  • If you’d like to learn about Camp Pecometh and the opportunities your child could have there this summer, you’re invited to a presentation on Sunday, April 15th at 9:45 in the sanctuary. A representative from Pecometh will be with us that day.
  • Our church will have a team walking in the Brain Tumor Walk on the Riverfront in Wilmington on Saturday, April 21st. If you’d like to participate with the team, email Mike Foster at
  • If you’re interested in joining Elkton UMC, there will be a New Member Orientation Class on Sunday, April 15th in Weldin Hall at 12:30 pm. To sign up, email
  • The Stewardship Committee needs a favor from you. They’re looking for pictures of creation to use on Earth Day. We know the congregation is filled with wonderful photographers, so please send your pictures to no later than April 8th. Questions? Contact Ellen at
  • A new committee is being formed in our church around social justice issues. It will be called “The Church and Society” Committee. If this is an area of interest to you, and you’d like to serve on this new committee, please send an email to me at The nominating committee is meeting next Thursday night, so if you can email me before that, that would be great!
  • Finally, a great big THANK YOU to all of you for your generous giving to the United Methodist Committee on Relief last week on UMCOR Sunday. In just one day, you gave over $7000! If you didn’t get a chance to give, it’s not too late. Simply make a check out to Elkton UMC and write UMCOR on the memo line! 

Phew! I think that’s it! I warned you ahead of time there was a lot to say, so thanks for bearing with me. It’s an exciting time in the church with lots going on!

Have a great day today! And have a really great weekend! I hope you have plans to do something fun, or at least you’ll take time to put your feet up for a while. Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you on Sunday morning in worship! Can’t wait!

                                         Grace and Peace,

Friday, March 9, 2018

Happy Friday!

Hi All –
 Hope you’ve had a good week in spite of the weather, and that you’re looking forward to a great, relaxing weekend.  I looked back on old Friday emails and I can’t believe how many times over the past few months that bad weather appears in them!  Speaking of bad weather – I think last weekend’s wind storm was one of the most incredible things we’ve gone through.  I was afraid to look out my back window for fear that one of those gigantic trees in the backyard of the parsonage would come down.  Thanks be to God that didn’t happen, but I know many of you endured a lot – like downed trees, and no electricity, etc.  And then, of course, came the snow on Wednesday, and now, I can’t believe it, they’re calling for more snow Sunday night into Monday.  Spring can’t come soon enough, right?

  Oh well, enough of the whining!  On to what’s happening this weekend at church:
-          We’re in the midst of our church’s week hosting the Emergency Rotating Shelter, and I want to say a word of thanks to everyone who has stepped up and helped – either by being at the shelter in person or by providing supplies.  I want to say a special word of thanks to Susan Starrett for coordinating it all, for spending many, many hours there this week, and for working tirelessly to try and get all the tasks covered.

-          The Prom Boutique will be open Saturday morning from 10 am – 12 noon for any young woman looking for a practically-new dress for their prom.  Please spread the word about this wonderful opportunity!  The boutique is also open on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8 pm.

-          DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME begins in the wee hours of Sunday morning, so don’t forget to change your clocks before you go to bed on Saturday night.  Move them ahead one hour or you’ll be late for church on Sunday morning!

-          Sunday morning is the fourth Sunday of Lent, and I’ll continue my sermon series entitled “Willing to Pay the Price,” with a sermon called “Righteous Indignation!”  We’ll look together at the day Jesus overturned the moneychangers’ tables in the temple, and what that means for our lives today.  Since it’s the second Sunday of the month, we’ll also have Children’s Time, and the book that will be read to the children will be Have You Filled Your Bucket Today?  It’s a wonderful book with great lessons for children, and for everyone else as well.  So please make a special effort to bring children to worship this week.  Our services will be enhanced by the music of Paul Humphrey on the saxophone, and by our Chancel Choir.

-          This Sunday is also UMCOR SUNDAY (formerly known as One Great Hour of Sharing).  It is our opportunity to give to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for their administrative costs, so that when disasters arise and offerings are taken in response to them, those monies go 100% to disaster relief.  Our church has a strong record of very generous giving to this offering – last year we gave nearly $10,000 – so I’m hoping we’ll give that or more this year.  We passed out the offering envelopes in last Sunday’s bulletin for you to use, but if you didn’t get one, or lost yours, the ushers will have extras on hand on Sunday.  Please give as generously as you can to this special offering!

-          Just a reminder that we’re still looking for donations of individually wrapped Easter candy for the upcoming Easter Egg Hunt.  You can place your donations in the bin across from the Welcome Center.

Here is a video to remind you of all UMCOR provides throughout the year:

-          On Tuesday evening, March 13th, the Cecil County Choral Society will present their Spring Concert in our sanctuary at 7:30 pm.  It’s going to be a great night of music, and you’ll recognize many of EUMC’s choir members in the group, as well as Sharon at the piano and organ.  Invite your family and friends for what promises to be a wonderful night of beautiful music!

-          Finally, we’re getting ready to videotape the next round of greeting videos to be used at the start of our worship services.  If you haven’t already made a video, and would be willing to tape one, please give me a call or email me at asap.  The taping will be on the 18th of March in the afternoon. 

Well, I think that’s about it for now.  I hope you have a great Friday, and an even greater weekend.  Try not to watch the weather forecast, and just enjoy the days.  Carve out some time for rest and relaxation even while you try to get your “to do” list done.  Spend time with those you love, and then I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning (but only if you remember to change your clocks Saturday night!!!)
                              Grace and Peace,

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Happy Friday --on Thursday!

Hi All –

Happy Friday! Actually, I’m writing this email on Thursday night because, like most of you, I just got a call from Cecil County Emergency Services telling me about how treacherous the weather is going to be tomorrow. Sounds pretty scary! So I thought I’d hedge my bets, and send this out tonight, just in case the power goes out tomorrow! Anyway, I’ll be praying for everybody that we all get through the storm in good shape!

On to what’s going on at the church this weekend:

  • On Saturday morning at 10, the Prom Boutique will be open. ‘Tis the season for proms, so don’t forget to tell all your young women friends about the beautiful dresses available for them to have FOR FREE for their proms. The boutique is open on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 - 8 pm and Saturday mornings from 10 am -12 noon.
  • On Sunday, I’ll continue my sermon series entitled “Willing to Pay the Price” with “Broken for You.” We’ll think about the Last Supper and how communion is a constant visual reminder of the price Jesus paid for us and our salvation. We’ll be treated to a piano solo from Sharon, as well as the Chancel Choir at 11. And, of course, we will share Holy Communion together. We’ll also be watching a short video clip about the United Methodist Committee on Relief ahead of being asked to make our annual contribution to UMCOR next Sunday, the 11th.
  • We’ll have a dear friend with us Sunday morning – Cathy Gohlke! She’ll be bringing copies of her new book, Until We Find Home, with her. They will be on sale at the coffee hour after both services. Paperbacks are $15, hardbacks $25 (make checks out to Cathy Gohlke). And Cathy will be delighted to sign them for you! A personal note: I have read the book and it is really, really wonderful! I highly commend it to you!
  • Our week sponsoring the Rotating Homeless Shelter begins on Monday, and we’re still looking for overnight help. Please, please pray about helping, and if you can take one shift, contact Susan Starrett by emailing her at
  • We’re still looking for donations of individually wrapped candy for the annual Easter Egg Hunt, which takes place on March 25th. Please bring your donations to the bin across from the Welcome Center.
  • This Sunday, on the counter across from the Welcome Center, you can grab a copy of the March newsletter, “The Beacon.” It’s chocked full of news and information for this month, and believe me, there’s a lot going on – so pick one up (but remember, you can always access it via our church website as well – 
Well, I think that’s it for now. I hope you have a good Friday, and that all of us weather the impending storm safely. Take good care of yourself and those you love, find some time to rest and relax even while tackling all your chores, and then, I’ll see you in worship on Sunday morning!

                                            Grace and Peace,