We will be halfway through the year at the end of this month. Where does the time go? It feels like Easter was just a couple of weeks ago. Before you know it, we will be getting ready for Christmas again! As time seems to fly by us, we are continuing to work to be the neighborhood church to everyone. New neighbors have joined us for our Modern Worship Service, and our snowbirds have returned to Traditional Service. Spending time with both worship services has been a blessing. I pray that each week the clock seems to slow down for everyone so we can enjoy our time together worshiping God.
Another thing I would like to share is about the work our Church Council is doing. This year, we have been going through a process to move to a Simplified Accountability Structure. We are looking at this model to free up more time for ministry and not spend so much of it in meetings. This is one of the reasons leadership would like to move to this simplified structure. Over the next few months, Church Council will get more information to you explaining what this structure looks like and how it works. I appreciate all the time and effort the council is putting in to create new opportunities for everyone in our church. Keep up the great work!
Let me talk about our other teams and what they are doing. Starting with Trustees, they are continuing to address the needs of our building. The classrooms have been painted, and now they are ready for us to decorate. As we reach more people in the neighborhood, we have the chance to make things look fresh and exciting to them. I can hardly wait to see how things turn out and what people will say when they know what we have done. This month, there will be new and more energy- efficient windows installed. This change should make a big difference come this next winter. Finally, they are looking into some air conditioner issues we are having in Fellowship Hall and the Lounge. At the same time, the trustees are considering our finances as they plan future projects.
The Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) is doing some wonderful things to support our staff. They are also developing ways to support our laity and encourage leaders in our neighborhood. Tools are being implemented to build on the connection between SPRC liaisons and staff members to help with annual reviews. They are using their time also to create new policies to make the workload easier down the road. SPRC is doing an excellent job of looking out for Lisa, Justin and Aby. Thank you for all your efforts!
As for Finance, not everyone likes to talk about money when it comes to the church. Thankfully, this team is tackling the conversation and discussing options to get us back in the black. Finance put together a new way to accept memorials to let us use the money to help carry out our mission and vision. The team is also discussing giving plans and new ways to approach stewardship. While all this is happening, they are working with the money we have to allow us to be good neighbors to everybody. Being on this committee isn't easy, and you are appreciated!
The Outreach Team is supporting and helping organize some awesome events for the rest of the year. 3rd Thursdays are next with Marble hosting the “Kid Zone.” We are looking to bring some high energy out this summer to reach our families in the community and invite them to check out our church. The next thing is getting ready for Church in the Park on August 7th. The team and other churches joining us are discussing an after-worship party. Get ready for a big event day in October and a return visit from Santa after the Christmas Parade. The new Congregational Care Team is up and running and assisting me in caring for the neighborhood. One other significant thing Outreach is working on is a Free Community Dinner. We want to open our doors and invite our neighbors to break bread with us without worrying if they can afford it. Again, these events and activities are steps towards living out our vision and mission at Marble.
Let me wrap things up by discussing a couple of other things we are working on currently. First, we started our Neighborhood Kidz Time during the 10:30 service. Our young neighbors begin worship with us, go out during the message, and come back to enjoy the rest of the service. Joy Whitenburg has taken the lead on this ministry, but we are looking for others to lead or assist with this time each Sunday. We want to train people for their safety and the kids and to love on the future generation of Marble. Second, on August 16th-18th, we will be hosting Vacation Bible School in the evening. “Food Truck Rally” is the theme this year, and we will finish up on a 3rd Thursday to end with a bang! If you are available one day or all three, we would love your help.
Hopefully, I have got everyone up to speed now! I thank you for your continued support and ask that you keep praying for all our teams. God has great things in store for us, but it will take a neighborhood to do all of it. Get involved, invite, engage, and be a good neighbor!
Peace be with you.
Is it spring? I mean, it's spring! May is here, and warmer days are ahead before summer arrives. Although it was nice to worship in person last year, Lent and Easter were even better in 2022. Thank you to everyone who came and made Holy Week so special! We were blessed with some special music on Palm Sunday as we waved palm leaves and shouted Hosanna. Maundy Thursday allowed me to serve my sisters and brothers with the washing of feet. Milan returned to having a Community Good Friday Service at Peoples Presbyterian Church. Thank you to Peoples for hosting and for Fieldstone Church joining us. The week ended with a beautiful morning for Sunrise Service, breakfast for the neighborhood, and a blessed worship service to celebrate Easter. The fun and celebration continued this last week with Holy Humor Sunday. We have had some new neighbors join us in worship, and we saw some new faces for Easter as well. God is good all the time, and may we continue to move forward this spring and the months ahead.
After finishing our Lent series “Reckless Love” and celebrating the resurrection of Christ, we must keep the excitement up by reaching out to more of our neighbors. Remember, we are to BE LOVE when answering Jesus’ call to love our neighbor. Begin with love every day. Expand your circle by including others who are not like you. Lavish your neighbors with love like God does for us. Openhearted love is key to the process. Value the vulnerable by being curious versus judgmental, along with being kind. Emulate Christ in everything you do. Don't let these lessons and Jesus' sacrifice be for nothing. Momentum is building after the last two years, and we must keep it going! God has big plans for our church, but we are the ones that have to make them come to fruition. Will you answer Jesus’ call to love ourselves, our neighbors, and God with everything we have in every part of our bodies? I pray your answer will be a resounding “Yes!” Let us take the risk necessary to make people say we show reckless love like Jesus did.
Aside from what is happening here locally, there will be a lot happening here in the next couple of months with our conference and denomination. As of May 1st, the Global Methodist Church will be officially launching. I honestly have no idea what this will look like for churches. Especially since the conference or denomination has not decided on an exit strategy for those wanting to leave the United Methodist Church. At the beginning of June, the Michigan Conference will be gathering in person again for the first time in over two years. This year will be a shorter Annual Conference with a lot to discuss and decide before we return home. Please feel free to ask questions about either the GMC or our Michigan Annual Conference. Church Council has continued to have conversations about where we see Marble being and going in the future. You are welcome to approach members of the council and engage in conversation about our neighborhood church. Although these are important matters, let us not lose focus on our mission to meet new neighbors, nurture their relationship with Christ, and transform the world together. This mission will allow us to live out our vision to be a welcoming neighborhood so that ALL may experience God's love and grace.
Peace be with you, neighbors.
Lent is almost over, “Reckless Love” is near the end, and Holy Week is about to happen. May we prepare ourselves for the specific days ahead to observe the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each month, I sit at my desk looking at a blank page and try to figure out what to write. For April, I have decided not to fill the page with words. Instead, I will leave everyone with a small message on the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf and something from our Lent series.
Christ has died;
Christ is risen;
Christ will come again.
Peace be with you.
As we enter the month of March, we are also entering the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday kicks things off, and then we start our Lent series called “Reckless Love”. During the journey to the cross, this series will teach us how to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength by showing us how to love our neighbor. Please join us in the neighborhood to take this journey together this year.
Lent is not the only thing I want to discuss with everyone this month. Last year, at this same time, we were returning to in-person worship after three months of not being together. I have some more exciting news to share as Lent starts this year. The Washtenaw County Health Department decided to lift its mask mandate on February 28th. Considering this information. the current Covid numbers and a discussion during the Church Council meeting, leadership has decided to follow the health department in lifting our masking guidelines starting March 6th. I thought this would be some good news to share as Lent begins.
Being able not to wear masks is not as simple as it sounds. Yes, we no longer require people to wear a mask while in the building. However, we strongly recommend that you still consider wearing one for your safety and protecting others. The choice is yours to make, and no one will be questioned or shamed if they choose to wear one or not. Please be mindful of this last statement. As we live out our vision at Marble, remember that some key characteristics of a good neighbor are being respectful, kind, compassionate, peaceful, and loving. Since the beginning, I have always asked everyone to do everything we can to respect and protect those who come to worship with us. I believe this is something simple we should be able to do.
Alright, the next thing I would like to talk about is celebrating some of our neighbors. After 2021, Marble has some leaders that have come off various committees, and I would like to thank them for their service. From Trustees, we would like to thank Jim Bolz, Andy Charter, Dave Ludwig, and Sue Sweet for their willingness to help maintain the church's assets. From the Staff Parish Relations Committee, thanks go out to Jane Kartje and Mike Sweet for their time serving the staff and leadership of Marble. Finance also wants to thank Marcia Bolog and Kevin Jarema for working on the budget and finances of the church. If there is anyone that I missed, I apologize, and we thank you for your service as well. I also realize we did not celebrate those who came off in 2021, which was not intentional, but we honor your service. Another characteristic of a good neighbor is being joyful. Moving forward, we will do our best to make sure we celebrate those who serve our neighborhood. Again, thank you.
Finally, “Pastor Matt's Neighborhood” is back on Facebook on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everybody is welcome to watch the latest episodes of “Wrestling Beyond the Pulpit”, too. For our social media fans out there, check out our Instagram and TikTok pages. Thank you to Aby Cryderman for all the work she is putting in to make our social media presence known to the entire neighborhood.
On our journey to the cross, I pray that everyone takes it upon themselves to figure out what this Lenten season means to them. I encourage you to fast from those things trying to separate you from God. Also, add a spiritual discipline or get back into one to deepen your relationship with God. Consider inviting a new or familiar neighbor to join us for worship. Be sure to sign up for a churchwide study of “Reckless Love”, too. Lent is not just about remembering what led to Christ's death or why we celebrate Easter but also honoring the new life we have because of his sacrifice. I look forward to our journey to the cross and learning how else we will love on our neighbors.
Peace be with you.
Recently, I read an adaptation of an article from Rev. Ken Sloane on tithing. This piece also discussed what we teach about tithing in the UMC. Scripturally, we preach to give one-tenth of our income to God. These lessons come from the Old Testament book of Genesis. Part of what we teach comes from John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. This is from Rev. Sloane: “Here is Wesley’s own brief summary which is the foundation of our teaching: ‘Gain all you can.... save all you can... give all you can.’ As he develops each of these points in his sermon, his message is plain. We are to seek to earn all we can in ways that are helpful to ourselves and others, never harmful. We are to “save all we can” by being frugal in our expenses. And then having earned all we can and spent only what we must to care for our own basic needs and those of our family (which we are never to neglect!), we are to give everything else away.”
We went through a series called "The Good Life" and used the Sermon on the Mount to guide us to live a simple life in Christ during January. Many people want to enjoy the fruits of their labor, but giving with a heart for God will provide us with something more significant in return. Along these same lines, another Methodist teaching from Rev. Sloane’s article, “United Methodists value the tithe as a benchmark for giving, one we encourage our members to move toward and, once achieved, move beyond. We believe our giving should be both more challenging and more gracious to the whole world than simply trying to give a tithe of our income. We also believe that there is joy in giving, and the greater the generosity, the deeper the joy.”
I ask everyone to pray on what they give and then consider what God might be asking you to give now. Whether a person is a tither or a regular giver, think about increasing your giving this year by 1%. Sometimes we have to start somewhere instead of solving a more significant issue all at once. Remember, we are to build treasures in heaven, not on earth. Look at giving and tithing as an investment in the future of our church and ourselves. Don't consider giving as just another financial obligation to help pay the bills. Something else to think about is sharing our time and talents as a way of giving back for God's many blessings. A positive take on giving becomes yet another way we can love our neighbors and the neighborhood.
Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” I pray that what I have written will provide everyone with some food for thought and help us re-think how we give in 2022.
Peace be with you.
Happy New Year! As we transition from Advent and the celebration of Christ birth, we move into the twelve days of Christmas. Yes, that’s right. The twelve days of Christmas do not actually begin until after Christmas. At the end of the twelve days, we celebrate Epiphany on January 6th. For those that thought everything wrapped up on December 25th, this joyous season continues for a little longer to kick off the New Year.
Last month, I spent some time reflecting on all that God blessed us with in 2021. I believe there are even bigger things on the horizon for us in 2022. One of the challenges still in front of us is the pandemic and its continuation into this next year. I know that 2020 and 2021 have been difficult for many, and it seems unclear when this struggle to end the pandemic will end. Again, I will encourage those who have not been vaccinated to do so. If you are vaccinated, then please get the booster. Please consider others health and wellbeing when making these decisions on how to be good neighbors to those around us. One of the blessings since my arrival, we have not had to close the church due to a reported case of Covid. I certainly would like to keep that gift intact going into the next year.
A couple of thoughts go through my mind as I sit down to write this piece. First, I wrote a couple of months ago about having an inward focus. Second, I think about the townhall meeting we had in December. Despite the pandemic and the challenges that have come with, we have overcome a lot of things. I think some of the struggles we still experience came before the pandemic, but it doesn’t mean we cannot get past them.
Changing culture is not easy and presents a whole other set of problems. In the Bible, we read about how God creates covenants with the people and launches the start of something new. During times where a new covenant is created, it’s like an epiphany showing us that something better is awaiting us and that we can overcome any issues in front of us.
As we move into 2022, let us continue to meet new neighbors, and not only nurture their relationship with Christ but love on them as we transform the world together. Although loving our neighbors seems like a simple message, we must in order to help turn things around in and at Marble. Engage with those around you, love on them as God loves you, and may our neighborhood grow spiritually and physically. I thought our town hall meeting provided an opportunity to talk about those things on our mind, and also a chance to continue moving forward. God is with us, and Christ is working through us, when we let them. I am your neighbor, and I love all of you even when it might be difficult to believe. Won’t you be my neighbor, and continue to walk with me on this journey? If so, then nothing can stop us from building the neighborhood of God’s kingdom.
Let me leave you with a couple of questions to discern during the twelve days of Christmas:
What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
Also, what direction do you truly believe God is leading us in for the New Year?
Let us continue to engage in healthy conversation, show respect to each other, and build the neighborhood as part of God’s kingdom here on earth. Happy New Year, neighbors!
Peace be with you.
The end of 2021 is almost here, and it seems just like yesterday that I wrote a piece for the end of 2020. This
year has seemed to have flown by, but a lot of wonderful things have happened as well. I must admit there
have been some ups and downs along the way for us, our state, and our country. Regardless, God is present
each day of our lives and continues to bless us. Before we move into 2022, let’s look at some of the blessings
January 6th is a day all of us will remember and not exactly how most of imagined kicking off the new year.
We were not worshiping in person still, but with the Coronavirus vaccine becoming available there was
hope. During this month, I was also able to share the vision I have for Marble moving forward. The start of
Lent happened in February, and we launched the start of two worship services. These services allowed us to
provide a traditional and modern worship experience for all our neighbors. The season took us all the way to
April and being able to celebrate Easter together in person. During these first four months, I believe we were
able to get the ball rolling despite the start of the year.
Over the course of the year, we continued to experience the gifts of those amongst us. I am thankful for the
ones that shared a message from the pulpit with us each month. What a blessing to have neighbors willing to speak and provide us with another voice to hear the Good News. As a neighborhood church, we enjoyed the
spring and summer months with special events. We hosted Community Dinners starting with a to-go option
until the last couple of months where we were able to invite our neighbors to dine-in. From a traditional St.
Patrick’s Dinner to good old Turkey Dinner, our hearts and stomachs have been filled. These are just a couple
more of the blessings of this year.
One of the things I looked forward to is being able to participate in 3rd Thursdays. Milan Main Street brought
these neighborhood event back for 2021, and Marble was able to be the Church for the community by
provide fun and games for families. August brought another one of those turbulent times for our community
in the form a storm that knocked out power for days. Since we didn’t have power, we made the decision to
love on our neighbors by hosting a Free Community Breakfast for everyone in Milan. Not only did we serve
those that came to eat on our front lawn, but we also delivered meals to the various workers trying to get our
city back up and running. Another highlight of August was coming together with Peoples Presbyterian
Church to offer a “Church in the Park” service for our community. Milan certainly looked different from when
I arrived in 2020 to this year with being able to do a lot more things with the church and city.
This fall has been a continuation of the blessings God has provided us with. In October, our kickoff series “Get
In The Game” let us have some more fun with our neighbors. As we discussed how to serve and be helpful
like Jesus, we gave away some football tickets, enjoy some time together with a tailgate party, and some
enjoyed wings and a football game with Melissa and me. Our state has been going through another one of
those rough patches with Covid numbers rising and still being high. We keep striving to respect and protect
those who come to worship with us and will maintain precautions for everyone’s health and wellbeing.
My prayer for the end of this year is for us to be thankful not just during Thanksgiving but every day. Also,
may we love on our neighbors during a time that can be difficult to celebrate the holidays. We have lost loved
ones and good neighbors this year, may we celebrate their lives by not forgetting they are still with us and
the difference they made in our lives. Please take time to enjoy the Advent Devotionals we have sent out to
everybody again this year. If you don’t receive one, let us know and we will make sure we get one to you.
Thank you again for the wonderful year we have been able to share together. I look forward to what God has
in store for us in 2022!
Peace be with you, neighbors.
This month, I want to share with everyone an article written by the Midwest District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Margie Crawford. She speaks to something all of us as individuals and churches are experiencing. We are boldly going where churches have never gone before to reach new people and frontiers. I hope you enjoy what Rev. Dr. Crawford writes for us to think about in the days ahead. Enjoy… Pastor Matt
“One evening as I was channel surfing, I landed on CNN. William Shatner was being interviewed by Anderson Cooper a week before he was due to fly on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin spacecraft. It was a very delightful interview. Shatner spoke about how nervous he was, and yet he couldn’t contain his excitement about the journey he was about to take. I encourage you to watch the interview on YouTube or find Shatner’s New York ComiCon segment, as it was similar.
A week later, I watched the launch of the Blue Origin spacecraft. I was almost as excited as I usually am when I watch a NASA launch. Even though it was only the second flight for Blue Origin, the audience was still able to view some traditions. Each astronaut was dressed in a blue uniform, as was Jeff Bezos. They rode to the launch site in a truck. As they walked toward the capsule, each astronaut rang a bell. Engines ignited, and the rocket lifted off. The main engine separated and returned to earth, only a few feet off its target location. The capsule made its return trip several minutes later. Trucks made the trip to the landing site to escort the astronauts back to the Space Center. And another chapter of pioneering has been written.
As a lifelong Trekkie, I am pleased that William Shatner was able and willing to truly go where few have gone before. The opening words to the original series have played over and over in my mind, and I prefer Spock’s version. In his interviews, Shatner did not share how he was contacted by Bezos to become part of the second suborbital journey. We were able to witness all of the emotions Shatner was experiencing before and after the flight.
Although Michigan United Methodists will probably never reserve a seat on a suborbital space flight, each of us is still a pioneer. This is a very transformative time for our faith and for what it means to be children of the living God. We have been called to serve.
There continues to be much for us to accomplish in the name of our Lord. We are encouraged to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, to make disciples of all nations and to shape our lives to be more like Jesus in all that we say and do.
You and I are the example of selfless love for others to follow. We are the herald, declaring in the wilderness of a pandemic that is still too much a part of our lives, that we are about to give birth to something new, something exciting, something that will bring a new harvest for the salvation of the world. We are the instruments of God, who are meeting others just beginning their journeys of faith. We are called to bear witness and testimony for those who are ignored, forgotten, oppressed, and abused.
The tasks before us will not be easy. All of us are being asked to see ourselves, our faith, and our relationship with our Lord in a different way. God is with us in all we say and do. How do we tell our Lord’s story in a way that engages rather than rejects? How do we care for all of God’s creation in ways that are helpful rather than destructive? How do we view the world through God’s eyes of steadfast love, rather than seeing it through lenses which divide and separate us? How do we plant seeds of growth and understanding rather than allowing weeds and thorns to choke and strangle what we hope to accomplish?
These are some of the questions before us as we continue our journeys. The words of a Gospel song inspire me, and I hope they will inspire you, to remember who we are and who’s we are. “We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord, trusting in His holy word. He’s never failed me yet.”
Our Lord goes before us in all we do, preparing us to bring others to the new frontier. Michigan United Methodists are rethinking, reimagining, and redefining what it means to serve now and, in the days to come. May we each be blessed as we listen and respond to what God asks of us. “
Amen. Pastor Matt
What is an inward focus? A simple way to explain this is that one is only thinking of themselves and not concerned about what others may want. Every week, I attempt to share what it means to be a good neighbor and how we should strive to live like Jesus. My concern is that not enough people hear this message or vision I am trying to cast. An inward focus destroys churches because of an unwillingness to change, live like Jesus, and continue to do what they have always done. An inward focus causes more of a divide between God and us.
This topic is an uncomfortable one for many because they do not believe it pertains to them. I hate to break it to everyone, but I am talking to everyone when I speak about this topic. I have heard a lot of input from some people about how we or I should do things at Marble. Thank you for the information. Unfortunately, I am not interested in living in the past. Times are different, and if things done in the past worked so well, why have the numbers continued to decline? Marble has continued to have a steady flow of decline over the last several years. I would say a lot of that is attributed to an inward focus that still exists today. I am sure that is not easy to hear or listen to if someone does not think it pertains to them.
We need to focus more on the essential things like the Gospel, spreading the Good News, and loving our neighbors. This way of living is difficult when we focus on things like what we want in service, where we have a coffee hour, making sure the pastor meets all of our personal needs, and willingly offering advice on what to do but not wanting to help make them happen. I am sure by this point; people might be thinking that I am frustrated. Well, I am. As your pastor, I am trying to do things that will address those who are here and those who are not here for the better of the church. I love Milan and enjoy being here. I like the potential I see in Marble. But if we ever want things to get better around here, we must be willing to change who we are and what we do to keep our doors open.
“When we hold an inward focus, it not only separates us from God but also our neighbors.”
Marble Memorial is not a place where membership entitles us to the things we want or how we should be served. Marble Memorial should be a place that all feel welcomed, and they want to stay because we believe in something better so all may experience God's love and grace. People should walk out the doors feeling good about what they have experienced when they worship with us. We do not want them going home and feeling upset or frustrated because of a negative vibe or inward focus being displayed. Jesus did not go after the ninety-nine but instead went after the one. The ninety-nine that are here should care for each other while we chase the one we do not want to getaway. Living like Jesus in plain sight and loving on our neighbors is what will draw us closer to them and God.
Please understand something that I feel is important. God loves you, and so do I! As a pastor, trying to get people to see what the problem(s) might be in the local church context is always a challenge. Again, my job is to make the comfortable uncomfortable. Yes, you can be upset. The question I will ask is, "what are you truly upset about?" Are you upset with me? Are you upset because you are not getting your way? Maybe you are upset because anything new or different makes you uncomfortable. Finally, how does one set aside an inward focus, not be bothered by change, and create a space for all to feel welcome? I wish I had a simple answer for all of you, and I do not. I believe that if we can do everything with love and grace, not just for ourselves but for our neighbors too, we will not be upset and appreciate God's love for us even more.
To an outsider, this piece might bring up some questions or make you question why come to Marble. My answer would that we are just as broken and hurting as the next church. We are not perfect, but we are working on what it takes to be the neighborhood church for everyone. So, whether you are someone that attends here already or not, we must support each other as we strive to become a welcoming neighborhood church so that all may experience God’s love and grace.
Peace be with you, neighbor.
With everything going on in our community, I thought it would be good to update everyone on some things happening at or with the church. We have been involved in community events and looking to start interacting outside of Sunday mornings. I will try to catch everybody up, but I may miss a couple of things. Anyway, here we go!...
We are participating in the Milan Area Chamber community project called “The Great Artdoors.” If you
haven’t had an opportunity to check any of the doors out, then get out and look at some of the wonderful art
and ideas that are up and round our lovely town. Marble’s own door, created and painted by Jason & Tammy
Balk, is located in Wilson Park behind the church on the hill. They did a wonderful job and thanks to them for
helping the neighborhood out!
Church in the Park is coming up this Sunday (Aug. 8th) at 10:00am in Wilson Park. This is the first
community service that I have been able to take part in since coming to Milan. What an opportunity to
worship with other churches and our neighbors! We hope everyone will join us and invite everybody they
know to come as well. My prayer is that this becomes an annual event that Milan can look forward to each
I have heard through the grapevine that people are asking about our Traditional service being in-person.
Again, I would be glad to open this up once we have the volunteers to run it properly. When I speak about
volunteers, I’m not talking about for media and sound. Instead, I’m thinking of greeters, ushers, and anything
else that would fall under hospitality. If we are going to invite people into the church, then we have to be
ready for them and not assume that everyone knows what’s going on when they come here. For anyone that is
interested, please contact the office to let us know and we will determine a date to open that service up for
people to attend in-person.
Along with that last item, I want to open up the lounge again or put together something for outside to
offer to those who attend. This is part of those volunteers we are seeking for hospitality. We cannot just sit out coffee and snacks for people and expect them to understand how that all works. Being able to enjoy some time before and/or after service with people again would be nice! As part of what we are looking for, it would be nice if someone would step forward to organize our hospitality volunteers. If that is something you are
interested in and willing to do, then let me know or call the office. Let’s get back to doing more than worship.
Speaking of doing more than worship! I mentioned a couple of Sunday’s ago that I plan to roll out some groups for people to partake in soon. Yes, I want to offer a few small group, Bible studies, and personal interest groups by September with a launch date after Labor Day. If you are interested in leading or co-leading a group, then let me know ASAP, please. We should offer something that everyone can participate in and not feel left out. So, our groups should not only offer variety, but also different days and times for younger or older people to engage with each other. For this fall, I would like to see a women’s group, a men’s group, a Bible study, a book study, and a couple of just-for-fun groups to get together as neighbors.
The last thing I am going to discuss in this piece are the plans to offer a monthly dinner. This type of
program is one that will require volunteers to properly function. The Charters have taken the lead for the two
we have done recently, but we cannot expect them to do it all. We shouldn’t expect those that helped in the
past to just pick up where they left off before the pandemic shut us down. I believe being able to offer a
monthly dinner to our neighborhood and community would be awesome! But as the phrase goes “it takes a
As I wrap us this month’s notes, I will leave everyone with these thoughts:
The possibilities are endless as far as what we can do moving forward. We don’t have to return to what
we did before the pandemic started or do something because that’s we have always done. This is an
opportunity to reinvent ourselves and be something new that all of our neighbors want to be a part of moving
forward. I know there are some that feel they don’t have the energy to do some of these things. My response is,
“Are you inviting others that could help us do those things?” If not, ”why?” Otherwise, I might say, “Do you still
love God? If yes, then don’t you think God will give you the energy to do whatever you want?” God is doing
things for us every day of our lives and we need to do our part in this relationship, too.
Thank you for taking some time to catch up with me this month! Keep your eyes and ears open for anything and everything we might get involved with coming up. We want to continue to love our neighbors and find ways to love on them beyond worship. Enjoy this weather because it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!
Peace be with you,