May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we will focus on some various topics during this month on Sundays. To prepare for these conversations, I want to share some information, scripture, and what the United Methodist Church believes. “Let’s Talk About It” is the name of our May series, and “tackles a different social stigma each week.” People struggle with mental and physical health daily, but God provides healing and hope instead of criticizing us. Be a good neighbor and look at what I am sharing to help you and your neighborhood during May, and the rest of the year.
The following information is from the General Board of Church and Society of the UMC.
What do the facts say?
What does The United Methodist Church say?
Do not be scared to ask for help or to help someone who needs it. Be the light for those might feel they are in the dark during Mental Health Awareness Month.
Peace be with you. Pastor Matt
Neighborhood Notes from the Pastor’s Desk
Wow, are we celebrating Advent already? Oh, wait a minute, it's Easter that we are about observe. It is incredible how quick the turnaround is from season to season. There are signs of spring in the air, yet it was just over a month ago when we had an ice storm. We go from people losing power to getting our yards ready in a matter of days. So, we go from celebrating the birth of Christ to his resurrection just like that. Happy Easter, everyone!
Throughout Lent, we have been looking at our relationship with God as humans through various cups in scripture. We pause to drink from the fountain of God's grace with each of these cups. We started by looking at the Japanese art form of kintsugi and how we should not try to hide our brokenness. Instead, we should put ourselves back together and let others see are not damaged goods but that those cracks make up who we are. From the beginning, I have enjoyed this series.
In the following weeks, we discussed the cup of living water, the one you choose, discipleship, and compassion. Joy Whitenburg shared a wonderful message with us on March 26th, leading us into Palm Sunday. My prayer has been, whether it is each week or one of the weeks, something has spoken to you to hang on to during this Lenten season. A lot has been thrown at all of you to think about, but will we do something with these cups we have been given to drink with? God blesses us every day and will continue to do so. What will you do with the grace and love God shares with us? Remember to choose wisely.
At the time of my writing this, my heart was heavy once again because there was another school shooting in Tennessee the day before. We are on the verge of proclaiming, "Christ is risen." Unfortunately, there are families whose children will not be returning or resurrected. I could go on an entire rant about my feelings on this matter, but it will not do any good. I/we should be focusing on being a welcoming neighborhood so that ALL may experience God's love and grace. It does not matter if you take five minutes or five hours, bless someone else with what God has blessed you with. Tomorrow is never promised to us. Please do not wait until it is too late, and the opportunity has passed.
I digress, back to what is ahead. Our new Leadership Team shared some great things at our Town Hall meeting last month. The Outreach Team is preparing for Eggstravaganza on April 8th. We have Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services before our two Easter services. April is off to a busy start! Let's make the most of the opportunities God is giving us to love in our neighborhood.
Keep loving your friends, families, and neighbors. Speak up when you need to. Fight for those who need someone to fight for them. Show compassion and empathy to everyone. Make sure you are telling anyone you can that Christ is risen. If we willingly do all these things, we will hopefully have justice, safety, love, and peace.
2 Corinthians 4:5-11 NIV
5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
Peace be with you. Pastor Matt
The season of Lent has begun, and I want to share this message from the President of the Council of Bishops speaking to the future of The United Methodist Church. There is a lot that is still unknown about what is ahead, but this spoke to me, and I pray it does for you as well. – Pastor Matt
Lent Message: Time to Reclaim, Revive and Renew our United Methodist Church
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. - Psalm 51:10
Friends, the journey to Easter has begun today as we once again mark Ash Wednesday. These forty days (not including Sundays) have traditionally been focused on repentance, prayer, fasting, and reflection in preparation for the celebration of Easter and the risen Christ. It is a time to pray that God will create within us a clean heart and a renewed spirit.
There is no doubt that as we absorb the realities of splintering, disaffiliation, and post-Covid, it is time for us as United Methodists to make the pivot away from what was into new and concerted efforts to reclaim, revive and renew The United Methodist Church throughout the world.
The approach to this season of Lent varies from person to person. Some see it as a time to “give up something.” Others see it as a season to “take on something
new.” Perhaps in this unique season of our lives as a church, it is time for us to do both. Could it be that it is time for us to discipline ourselves and to breathe out that which has consumed us and breathe in that which will renew us?
As we reflect and pray fervently this Lent, let’s breathe out anger and disappointment, and breathe in once again our calling and identity as United Methodists. Let’s Reclaim that we are a people called to love all; a people called to serve all; and a people called to openly worship our loving God with joy and anticipation. (John 13:35)
Let’s breathe out hesitations and apathy and breathe in a desire to Revive our belief in the love of God, our creator; the grace of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior; and the communion we have with the Holy Spirit, our ever-present guide and inspiration. (2 Corinthians 13:13) Let’s revive our belief in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Let’s revive our belief in one another and the power of God to use even us to transform a broken world.
Let’s breathe out any focus on our ourselves and breathe in a deep desire to Renew our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Let’s renew our commitment to reach out to all who need the saving grace and love of Jesus Christ with joy and enthusiasm. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Friends, this is the time for The United Methodist Church to pivot away from old behaviors into a new vision for how God can use this church to be a beacon of God’s love for all. It is time to move from division and focus on the unity of the beloved community given to us by our loving God.
It is time to move from a rhetoric that tears down and focus on the life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ. It is time to move from paralysis and fatigue and focus on the life- giving mission and ministry we are called to offer as guided by the Holy Spirit. It is time to move from sadness over what has been and focus with anticipation on the future with the hope that God will open to us.
It is time.
This Lenten Season, may we let go everything that has discouraged us and held us back and pray that God will guide us as we Reclaim, Revive, and Renew our beloved United Methodist Church.
We, in the Council of Bishops, renew our commitment to pray for you as we journey through the days that lie ahead. In turn, we ask for your prayers as we attempt to faithfully lead in your midst.
It is time to once again reaffirm our belief that God has not left us alone and will walk with us as we move forward. So as the liturgy for Ash Wednesday so simply states, “I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to observe a holy Lent.” This is my prayer for you.
May it be so.
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
Peace be with you. Pastor Matt
What does it mean to be a member? At Marble, we have started to use the term neighbor, and other churches use words like partner. Regardless of what term or phrase a church uses, there must be meaning behind the word we use. Member or membership has become a word easily misinterpreted in the church. Membership in the body of Christ is not the same as my Sam's Club or gym membership. Periodically, I will use different resources to speak to who we are as United Methodists. This month, I am using an article from Ask the UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, to answer the question. Be aware that I will switch out some words in the piece to speak to our mission and vision.
So, back to the question, what does it mean to be a neighbor? From Ask the UMC...
The Christian faith was never intended to be a solo journey. The first followers of Jesus came together for teaching, meals, prayers, and more (Acts 2:42). Our understanding of what it means to be a neighbor is deeply rooted in our understanding of baptism. Being a neighbor means becoming as much a part of the church, the body of Christ, as our limbs are members of our own physical bodies. Just as our bodies are formed in the waters of the womb, so we become part of the body of Christ through the waters of baptism. From the beginning, baptism has been a sign of new birth, the door through which one enters the church. To become Christian is to receive a new identity in Christ. Baptism marks our becoming that new person. We are made new people, pledged to live in a new way, “re-membered” into the fellowship of those who are committed to growing in faith. Baptism begins our lifelong journey of faith. It makes no difference whether we are baptized as an adult or as a child; we all start on that journey at baptism. At baptism, we are all “babes in Christ,” whatever our physical age. The meaning of being part of the neighborhood is also deeply rooted in our Methodist heritage. John Wesley was clear that Christianity is a social religion and that our growth in holiness of heart and life is deeply dependent on being in face-to-face community with others who are watching over us (and we over them) in love. Through these face-to-face relationships, we experience what it means to be the body of Christ in the world. For United Methodists, being neighbors requires active participation in a local congregation. When we become neighbors, we profess our faith in God, our desire to live as disciples of Jesus Christ and commit to join with our church community to keep the vows made at baptism. The vows we make include promises to faithfully participate in the life and ministries of our local congregation through our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Throughout our life, as we pray, study the scriptures, worship, and share in fellowship with other Christians, we deepen our knowledge of and love for God. As we respond with compassion to human needs and work for justice in our communities, we strengthen our capacity to love our neighbors. We confess and repent of our sins, ways in which we fall short of God's way. In this way, our inner thoughts and motives, as well as our outer actions and behavior, are aligned with God's will and testify to our union with God. Rev. Mark W. Stamm explains, "What are the benefits of such a commitment? The primary benefit is the presence of the living Christ. Indeed, he promises that we will greet him in the midst of the faithful — '... where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them' (Matthew 18:20). The church continues to insist that our hearts are warmed as we hear the Scriptures read and proclaimed (Luke 24: 32), that the Risen Christ is known in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24: 35). Indeed, the mystery of the Risen Christ is present in the midst of my neighbors. They hear my confession and proclaim God's forgiveness. They embrace me, laugh and cry with me, and God heals me in and through all of that. My neighbors know my shortcomings, and so they keep me honest, but they also know my potential, and so they call forth my gifts. They share their heritage and their wisdom and give me people to teach. I need their commitment to me, and they need me as well."
This piece is not intended to help drive up neighborhood (membership) numbers. I want to share this with all my neighbors to remind some of them of the vows they made and for others to understand better who we are as United Methodists. Two of the parts that stood out for me are when they talk about being a face-to-face community and the vows we make include promises to faithfully participate in the life and ministries of our local congregation. Maybe this piece will bring up some other questions for you. If so, please come and talk with me or feel free to speak with those who have taken these vows. Whether you have become a full-fledged neighbor or are a visiting neighbor, we are doing great things here at Marble. Sometimes it is helpful to go back and look at the heritage of the United Methodist Church and why we are trying to be good neighbors.
Peace be with you. Pastor Matt
Neighborhood Notes from the Pastor’s Desk
A new year is upon us, and it's time to be talking about what's to come. Before I get too far ahead, I want to thank everyone for a wonderful 2022. God has blessed us with a lot of new faces in worship. Our children's ministry
is growing thanks to the efforts of those volunteering to make that happen.
We also welcomed two new members into the neighborhood before the end
of the year. Our Free Community Dinner started back in October. We worshiped
in the park again back in August with an excellent turnout. Vacation Bible School made its return to Marble during the summer. These are just some things that have been happening in the neighborhood. I'd like to know what 2023 will look like for us. Things will continue to build upon what we did in 2022.
I want to speak about our recent growth. These last few months have been amazing to see all the people we have in worship. With growth comes change, and we need to take the next step on our journey to continue to grow. The analogy popping up in my head is of a baby and how each phase requires changes. I am not just talking about getting out of diapers but about how they physically and mentally grow. In some ways, 2020 and 2021 felt like we were still in the womb, preparing to come into the world. This past year, we started to see the fruits of our labor from our preparation of returning to things opening more. We need to take the next step if we want to continue growing as a neighborhood.
We have several areas which we need to address to move forward. First, our children's ministry is at a point where we must offer different options based on age levels. This issue means we will be looking for more of our adult neighbors to lead a group of our young neighbors. The next thing regarding this ministry would be staffing the nursery. We have new families with little ones, and I'm sure parents would like to focus more on worship than keeping their children occupied or quiet. We could also use some help with our teens and young adult programming. If you want to help with any of these things, then please speak with Joy Whitenburg.
Before the end of the year, we opened our lounge room for coffee before service. Thankfully, we have had some neighbors (Rose Timbers, Vicky Englebert, and Rod Hill) step forward to organize this ministry. On the flip side, we have some hospitality needs this year. Tammy Balk organizes our greeters but has yet to get enough for consistency and a rotating schedule. To offer proper hospitality each week, I think we need someone at the outside door (parking lot), at the top of the steps, someone helping in the lounge to stand by the entrance to invite neighbors to grab something if they want, and one or two people in the area outside of our worship space. Our vision is to be a welcoming neighborhood so that all may experience God’s love and grace, and it begins with hospitality every Sunday or event we host.
The last ministry we would like some help with is worship. The Praise Team would love anyone interested in singing or playing an instrument to talk with them. Right now, you may speak with Ronni and Rich Brennan until we hire a new music director. If you know anything about sound or someone who does, please let us know. We can always use more folks to run the media part as well. Slides for worship, Facebook Host, and the camera is what I am talking about for media. This ministry is another area that I would like a rotating schedule, too. Then those who have been behind the scenes may want to enjoy worship when they’re not helping. It takes a neighborhood to make everything work in the church!
I am sure there are some of you wondering, "Where will we get all this help that Pastor Matt is looking for?"
My response would be, "It starts with you!" As we grow, there will be more neighbors to assist with all these volunteer opportunities, but until then, we who are here are responsible for maintaining God's house. Yes, I have talked about this subject a few times, but our current neighbors must make this a focus. Also, I plan to set up some dates for training in these areas this month or next. So, whether you are new or someone that's been volunteering for a while, we want to show everybody how we would like to handle things moving forward. These last few months have been an exciting time at Marble, and it is only going to get more exciting if we get the help we are looking for to take care of the church and the neighborhood. Bring it on in 2023 because God has got our backs!
Peace be with you. Pastor Matt
The season of Advent is upon us once again as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. Hopefully, everyone has received their Advent devotional and enjoying them as well. This time of year, many get excited with everything going on. Consider all the cool things we are doing in December. We are hosting Santa again, there will be a children's Christmas program, Christmas ham is on the menu for the Free Community Dinner, and we look forward to seeing everybody at one of our three Christmas Eve Services! As a reminder, we will not be worshipping on Christmas day so that all our neighbors may celebrate with their families and friends.
Before moving on, I'd like to take a minute to give thanks for the time with our Music Director, Justin Murray. If you haven't heard, Justin accepted another position at First Monroe Presbyterian Church as their Music Director. Please pray for him as he takes the next step in his journey. Justin shared his talents with us, brought in friends to help us during a difficult time, and always brightened the room with how he played the piano. Thank you for your time and service at Marble, and may God continue to bless your ministry at your new church.
Now, Advent is a special time of year because of Jesus' birth and because we get to talk about the things surrounding his birth, like peace, hope, joy, and love. As we spend time each Sunday talking about how Jesus made these impossible things seem possible, we are tasked with ensuring the neighborhood knows about them, too. I found this quote from Mother Teresa that speaks to what Jesus asks of us and what we are trying to do here at Marble. Take some time to let this sink in this month. She said, "At this Christmas, when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the Advent season by loving and serving others with God's love and concern."
I mentioned earlier some things going on this month at the church, but we must also remember to reach our neighbors outside of the walls as well. As joyous as this season might be for some, don't forget some are struggling to get through it. 1 John 4:8 states, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
We need to not only share God's love, but we must show it. God sent Jesus to show us love, and he taught us if we believe, then nothing is impossible. Christ's death is important to all his followers, but his birth is just as big, which is why Advent is unique, too.
We have a lot to be thankful for and much more to come. God has blessed us these last few months, but we have just started to get things rolling! Thank you to everyone who has been a part of building up our neighborhood. May we continue to reach those neighbors we do not know yet and love them so that God may find a warm heart in all of us. Make this Advent season more noticeable by being "The Neighborhood Church," where people see that peace, hope, joy, and love are possible for all. Thank you, Lord!
Peace be with you.
At the beginning of October, I shared what was supposed to be a joke regarding Someone Else's death. Based on the response, I believe many missed the humor in the joke! For some others, maybe they were thinking, "This seems a little too weird." If that is the case, then obviously, we are making progress. I found the "joke" online from a website with other Christian jokes. Some of our neighbors might not have been here that Sunday. So, let me share the obituary of Someone Else again.
Someone’s passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years, and for everyone of those years, Someone did far more than an average person’s share of the work. Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or a meeting to attend, one name was on everyone’s list, “Let Someone Else do it.” Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration and results: “Someone Else can work with that group.” It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the most liberal givers in our church. Everyone assumed Someone Else would make up the difference whenever there was a financial need. Someone Else was a wonderful person, sometimes appearing superhuman. Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else. Now Someone Else is gone! We wonder what we are going to do. Someone Else left an excellent example to follow, but who will follow it? Who is going to do the things Someone Else did? When you are asked to help this year, remember – we can’t depend on Someone Else anymore.
What is it about volunteering that makes it so challenging? I understand that we all have busy lives, but are we so busy that we cannot serve our neighbors and God? Each year I must go before the District Committee on Ministry, and there is usually an assignment to go with our interview. This year, I had to write a paper on Character and Call speaking to leading our congregation in loving service to humankind. "The Christian as Minister" is a book for people to help explore God's call to each of us. I used the book's statement that "The heart of Christian ministry is to share Christ's love in the world." Another line I did not include says, "If Christians are not faithful in ministry, the church will lose its impact on the world." These are a couple of powerful statements relating to volunteering and carrying out our ministry here at Marble Memorial United Methodist Church.
As a church, we have a lot of beautiful things going on to be thankful for here as of late. We started our monthly Free Community Dinner in October and look forward to the next one. There was a Fall Carnival where most attendees were from outside our church family. The number of children on a Sunday morning has increased, and it is a joy to hear them throughout the church. Our Sunday morning worship is also drawing more new faces into the church. I applaud and thank those who have been a part of making these things happen. As we continue to grow and offer more at the church, it will take more hands to make our work easier. Someone Else is not here anymore, and we need everyone to be in loving service with us.
We are entering a time of year when we tend to focus on being thankful. I thank God daily for being a part of this neighborhood; I hope you do, too. Remember, God calls each one of us to serve. Will you answer the call whenever needed? To help me not to forget, I have a tattoo on my left arm that says, "Till the day I die." This tattoo reminds me to continue to be in ministry in any way possible until I can no longer do it. Let me leave all my neighbors with a final thought for today. Proverbs 3:27 (NIV) says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”
Peace be with you. Pastor Matt
Thursday, September 29, 2022 (9:00 pm)
As I sit in front of my computer writing this piece, I do so with great joy. Earlier tonight, we held a special Church Conference to vote on if Marble would move to a Simplified Accountability Structure. United Methodist Churches have followed the board and committee structure outlined in The Book of Discipline for years. We had 29 people in attendance this evening, with 26 of those people being members in good standing that could vote. Pastor Christopher Butson from Lincoln Community UMC presided over the conference. We handed out ballots, members voted, and the ballots were collected and counted. Pastor Butson then shared the results with us, letting everyone know that the motion to accept the Simplified Accountability Structure passed unanimously.
What happens next? Now, we enter the nominations part of this process. On Sunday, I will share tonight's results with everyone who may not have been in attendance or read this email. As part of this announcement, it will be made known that anyone who wants to be on the new board can take and fill out an Interest Form. There will be a deadline of two weeks from this Sunday to turn in these forms. The Nominations Committee will then discern from these forms which people will be nominated to be on the new board. Those selected will be voted on at our annual Church Conference scheduled for November 5th at 3:00 pm at Tecumseh UMC. Once those nominated are approved, the new board will take effect on January 1, 2023.
Utilizing a Simplified Accountability Structure will be a good and positive thing for Marble, especially as we continue to live out our vision of being good neighbors and the neighborhood church for the community of Milan. I pray this will allow us to spend more time in ministry and loving our neighbors. We have a lot of incredible things on the horizon in October that will require many hands to make the workload lighter. We are currently trying to build up our Youth and Young Adult Ministry and add to our Children's Ministry. For the remainder of the year, there will be an event each month for the youth. We are offering an Orchard Trip on the 29th. As for our younger ones, there is a Fall Carnival set for the 21st. Not to mention our FREE monthly Community Dinners will start on October 22nd. But wait! we will be participating in the Downtown Trick or Treat hosted by the Milan Chamber on the 28th. Carnivals, dinners, orchards, and candy, OH MY! Don’t forget that Advent is right around the corner, too. We will be sharing more information on how you can volunteer for these events and sponsor youth to allow them to participate in some events at no cost to them. God is doing great things at Marble and in Milan.
Please keep your eyes and ears open as our leadership continues to get information out to everyone, so you don't miss anything. Please pray over the next phase of the Simplified Accountability Structure process and all the upcoming events and ministries that Marble is trying to provide. Let us continue to let our faith be bigger than our fear.
Peace be with you. Pastor Matt
"Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you're part of a team. Everything is awesome when you're living out a dream." Some of our neighbors will know where these words came from, and others might wonder, "What is Pastor Matt trying to teach us now?" These awesome lyrics come from "The Lego Movie." In this film, the main character, Emmet, gets up every morning and listens to the song "Everything is Awesome!" For Emmet, it is a great way to start his day before he leaves the house. What if we all left the house each day thinking everything was awesome?
Before anyone says, "Well, not everything is awesome." I want everybody to take a minute to pause and think before making such a statement. God blesses us each day that we wake up. From there, I believe we have a lot to be thankful for and think is awesome, too! Don't let the bad stuff into your head before you get going with your day. Let me share some examples or ways to think about each day differently. Instead of dreading getting up, be thankful you can get up and go out. Try not to think about having to go to work, but rather that you get to go to work. What if we were grateful that it was raining versus being bothered by the rain? Our days will start a lot differently with positive thoughts or believing that everything is awesome!
What are some awesome things going on at Marble? I'm glad someone asked! I think there is a lot of awesome stuff about Marble. We have had some new neighbors recently start attending worship. This summer, we are trying out a new format for Sundays. In August, we will have our first Vacation Bible School since before the pandemic. We have an awesome Mister Roger's Neighborhood-like mural painted in the hall outside the sanctuary. People in Milan are asking more about Marble and our vision. It is awesome that we are becoming and being recognized as "The Neighborhood Church." And the awesomeness is just starting to take off!
When we get down to it, everything is awesome! Things are even more awesome when we come together as neighbors or as a team to lead others to be disciples. With the right attitude and approach, we will live out the dream of building God's kingdom here on earth. My prayer is that this newsletter piece serves as some encouragement and inspiration. Then everyone might wake up each day thinking and singing, "Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you’re a part of a team. Everything is awesome when you’re living out a dream.”
Peace be with you, neighbors.
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.
Pastor Matt West