December 21, 2009
Christmas Eve worship
4 p.m. with family choir, children’s time, music led by Tapestry
10 p.m. traditional candlelight worship with sanctuary choir and bell choir
sermon title: “I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On”
Gracious God, the story is full of sweetness and light and many of us bring to this day warm memories of Christmases past – gently falling snow, the smells of a feast, a special gift, family gathered. So nice is all this that we are often tempted to wrap the story up and store it away like some precious ornament. Give us new eyes to see this story, new ears to hear it. May we know that this is not just a once a year story, to be unwrapped with decorations or gifts, but that this story is meant to give us courage and resilience for all of life, day in and day out. You are a God who comes near not just when all is well, but also, and especially, when life is hard and the world seems out of order. You come near to enfold us in love and to help bring to birth in each of us new life and new hope. When life feels like going on will take every ounce of energy we have, you come near to help us go on, not reluctantly, but with vigor and joy, sharing light and love with the world. May it be so. In Christ. Amen.
December 8, 2009
High school and middle school youth from area United Methodist churches put together 100 UMCOR health kits November 13. UMCOR is the United Methodist Committee on Relief; it responds immediately to disasters around America and the world, and is able to do so because church groups like the Twin Ports United Methodist Ministries youth groups prepare these kits in advance.
Health kits provide basic necessities to people who have been forced to leave their homes because of human conflict or natural disaster. They include a comb, nail file or fingernail clipper, a bar of soap, and toothbrush, six Band-Aids, a washcloth, and a hand towel.
Leading up to the November 13 kit assembly, FUMC youth essayed a Halloween-week “tricks for towels” night, stopping off at any of several “towel host” homes and performing one- to three-minute tasks in exchange for towels that had been dropped off there earlier. Towel hosts had the kids washing a sink full of dishes, cleaning the rugs in a car, doing jumping jacks, and singing “Jingle Bells” to the tune of “Happy Birthday,” all at warp speed in the kids’ race to be first back to church with the biggest haul.
Each church’s youth group was responsible for providing 100 of one of the items in the kit. Laura Stahl chose the hand towels for FUMC “because I thought we could have some fun with that,” she said. She received some towels as donations, and purchased others using memorial funds designated for youth activities. Finding a deep discount on newly obsolete Halloween towels was a bonus, and led to some wild and crazy colors and designs.
The TPAUMM youth groups gathered on November 13 at the YMCA for a night of kit packing and fun, including a pizza dinner theater featuring a DVD from UMCOR, praise and worship with 60 kids, walleyball, basketball, Frisbee golf, swimming, and hanging out with friends.
The 100 health kits made their way to the Sager Brown depot in Louisiana, where they wait to be sent anywhere someone is in need.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the not-for-profit global humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church. UMCOR is working in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States. Our mission, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, is to alleviate human suffering—whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster, with open hearts and minds to all people.
UMCOR responds to natural or civil disasters that are interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community’s ability to recover on its own.
United Methodist hearts and hands are part of every school kit, seed, health kit, fresh water and tool distributed in the US and throughout the world, and every new house, well, clinic and school rebuilt after catastrophes of conflict or nature.
Every dollar you give to UMCOR goes to the program you designate. We would be happy to forward your donation to UMCOR.
December 8, 2009
First United Methodist will hold a worship service of comfort and care on Sunday, December 20, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
This service is a time for reflection, prayer and fellowship for anyone experiencing loss, sorrow, grief, pain or any difficulty that makes this season particularly hard. Anyone is welcome to attend, those who are hurting and those who wish to support others with compassion and care.
Together in worship we may find the strength we need for this season, and the strength we need to open our hearts to a measure of healing. Join us.