From Pastor Don: The Unexpected
In recent days I have been reflecting on the gift of the unexpected. One of my favorite biblical themes is that of God’s ability to surprise. To do the unexpected. It is a way of reminding us that we are not in control. For me, that is an important reminder.
Let me tell you about a recent surprise that has taken place at Christ Church. A few months ago, I watched a ukulele choir (via live stream) perform at General Conference in Portland, Oregon. I have never been a fan of ukuleles or ukulele music. The truth is, it was not the music or the particular musical instrument, that captured my attention. It was the people in the choir. Such diversity! There were children, teens, young adults, older adults, men, women …the categories seemed endless. Of equal inspiration was the joy on the faces of the ukulele-toting choir members. These church people were having fun!
This image lurked in the nether regions of my mind for several months. Finally, I decided to pursue the idea of trying a ukulele choir at Christ Church. The response has been phenomenal. We are in the early stages of bringing this ministry to fruition. I am looking forward to many more unexpected developments.
In all aspects of our life, may we give God the opportunity to surprise us at every turn.
Grace and Peace,
Lent Study on the Apostles’ Creed
Thursdays at Noon, March 2nd – April 6th
We’re all searching. Sometimes the search is easy: simply type a question and the answer pops up. But sometimes our questions are complicated, and the answers are difficult to see and harder to articulate. How do we discover and examine the truths that give meaning and purpose to life? Adam Hamilton believes that some powerful answers are contained in the Apostles’ Creed, an early statement of foundational Christian beliefs.
In this book for Lent, Easter, and beyond, Hamilton considers important questions of life, reality, and truth. He explores not only what Christians believe, but also why they believe it and why it matters.
- Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit
- The Church at the Communion of Saints
- The Forgiveness of Sins
- The Resurrection of the Body
Bring your lunch and join us Thursdays at noon during Lent as we discuss each chapter and the Scripture on which the Apostles’ Creed is based. This study is also highly recommended for anyone interested in church membership or wanting to learn more about The United Methodist Church.
Sign up for this six-week study in the church office. The book Creed: What Christians Believe and Why is available in church office, cost is $13. If you can not make the study, you are still welcome to follow along in the book on your own.
Funding the Work of Our Trustees
Through behind-the-scenes service of our Trustee Board and generous memorial gifts of those who’ve come before us, Christ UMC continues to welcome those seeking the love of God and God’s people. Our Trustee Board maintains our building, supports our Children’s Ministry, and assists our General Budget with utilities.
This past August, we observed the Trustees at work again when our world-class Klais organ was restored by specialists from Germany. We were blessed as a church that memorial gifts were in place that could cover this very expensive project.
As we look to the future, our Trustees are asking for our help in replenishing their funds so they might continue their work. Their goal is to hand off a well-maintained facility and vibrant ministry to each new generation.
To make a special donation, you can give in any offering designating your gift “Trustees.” Gifts may also be mailed to the church at 301 Wooster St., Marietta, Ohio 45750. The Trustee Board would also be grateful if you would consider the church as part of your estate planning.
From Pastor Cheryl
As a licensed local pastor in the United Methodist Church, I am required to complete 20 “Course of Study” classes designed to provide the needed theological background for ministry without attending seminary full-time. I am completing almost all of my Course of Study classes at Methodist Theological School of Ohio (MTSO) near Columbus. The typical format is for each class to meet two weekends on campus, 3-4 weeks apart, with assignments due before, between and (often) after class meetings. (There is also a Summer Intensive term in which we take 2 classes simultaneously over 2 weeks, which I hope to be able to do at least once.)
This winter I am taking my 9th class, “Worship and Sacraments.” For one of our assignments, students bring a recent worship bulletin to the first class (in February). At the second class (in March), we turn in a different, improved bulletin based on earlier class discussion and course readings. So…before I go tampering with our worship service too much I thought I’d ask you! Are there things you’d like to see us doing in worship that we’re not? Are there things you find too meaningful to give up? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In some of our other lay ministries…
Thank you to everyone who has completed our Safe Sanctuary training! In the two years we’ve contracted with Protect My Ministries, 70 different adults have been trained, background checked, and approved to work with children and youth in Christ Church’s various ministries. If you are 18 years of age or older and would like to volunteer with Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, Children’s Church, After School, or Youth Group, and you haven’t attended yet, contact me about our next make-up.
Christ Church has been part of our Mid-Ohio Valley Emmaus (MOVE) Community since its founding. Emmaus trains people in Christian leadership in order to strengthen local churches. The Emmaus experience is built around an initial 3-day Walk, continuing Care/Share/Reunion Groups, monthly Community Gatherings (open to everyone), and Sponsorship. If you are already part of Emmaus we’d love to see you get involved with MOVE. If you’ve never been involved, prayerfully consider being part of the upcoming Spring Walks. Applications are currently being accepted and are available in the Narthex and online. The next Men’s Walk is scheduled for March 30-April 2 and the Women’s Walk for April 6-9. For more information, read Mark Duckworth’s article in this News & Views or talk with Mark, Pastor Don, or me.
Dreaming about another way to share God’s love? Let us know if we can help.
Good News from Christ Radio Broadcast Expands
Due to a generous offer from John Wharff, President of WMOA radio, our radio ministry, Good News from Christ, has expanded its coverage areas and broadcast times.
Since Sunday, January 15th, we are broadcast on three stations at different times on Sunday mornings. The schedule is:
9:30 a.m. – WJAW-AM 630
10:00 a.m. – WMOA-AM 1490
Note that the WMOA broadcast continues in the same time slot we have had for the past 25 years, but begins 5 minutes earlier, on the hour.
By adding the stations in St. Mary’s and McConnelsville, we expand our potential audience to the southeast into West Virginia and northwest as far as Athens and New Lexington. This significantly increases the number of people who could be exposed to our offering of “Good News” each week. You can see a map of the coverage areas here. If you know of people living in these areas who don’t get the WMOA signal, you might want to let them know that our program is now available. Or some people might choose to listen to the FM program at 9:00 a.m. for the improved sound quality or because it’s a more convenient time.
Or course, we will continue to offer our radio broadcasts as podcasts available any time at our church website, www.christumcmarietta.org.
We are doing this as a one-year trial to offer our broadcasts to more people. We will be doing an evaluation in the fall to try to determine whether or not this has been effective. In the meantime, if you hear of any new listeners because of the expanded area, please let someone on the church staff know.
Lent Offering: Global Refugee Crisis
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency the world is now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record.
An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are near 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are children.
The world’s top-hosting countries are Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia, and Jordan. Yet these countries do not have the infrastructure nor resources to deal with the scope of this crisis. There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
In a world where nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day as a result of conflict or persecution, The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working to make a difference. Through international joint efforts, UMCOR helps fund projects in places like:
- Macedonia (which is on the refugee route from Turkey and Greece) – church members and employees of the Miss Stone Center are greeting the travelers and responding to the immediate needs.
- Hungary – United Methodist congregations in Budapest are active in “Christians for Migrants,” a group offering assistance in refugee camps.
- Austria – United Methodists are working with Caritas, a new group called “Train of Hope,” and Diakonie Austria has opened living space for unaccompanied minor refugees.
- Germany is better equipped to handle the influx than in less-highly organized and less-affluent areas. Germany has a long memory of dealing with mass movement of people from the days after World Wars I and II and the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989. For those who do reach Germany, many churches are opening their doors to house them.
Each Lent at Christ Church we offer the opportunity to give toward a special need. Why? Because Lent is a time to become reacquainted with our own need for redemption. At the culmination of Lent, we celebrate that our greatest need is met through the death and Easter resurrection of Jesus Christ. In honor of this 40-day journey to understand our spiritual need, may we reach out and meet the tangible needs of others.
Lent Offering envelopes will be available in the pews starting the first Sunday of March. You may also send your designated gift to the church at 301 Wooster St., Marietta, OH 45750 or give online.
The video below, created by Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in conjunction with UMCOR, is a powerful eight minute look into the world of the refugee and refugee worker. This video was originally intended for use during Advent, but it well worth your viewing during any season of the year.
From Our Minister of Health
Pneumonia Vaccine – Are You Up to Date?
The first TV commercial shows a mother with her daughters sitting nearby explaining how she almost died in the hospital from pneumonia. The next commercial reminds you to do this ONE thing for yourself – get a pneumonia shot. And in case you don’t watch TV, most magazines have multiple ads for the various pneumonia vaccines. AND, hopefully every time you visit your primary care physician (PCP), a staff member asks in your intake questions – ‘have you had flu and pneumonia shots?” All these prompts made me wonder if my church family is up to date and protected.
Pneumonia (pneumococcal disease) is an infection that inflames the air sacs of the lungs causing cough, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. It is a serious bacterial infection that sends over 300,000 adults ages 50 and older to the hospital annually. Children under 2 years of age are at high risk also. In the US, more people die from pneumococcal disease than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined. And yet vaccines are available that are 60-70% effective against the infection.
There are two kinds of pneumococcal vaccines and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends that adults over 65 years of age get both.
- PCV13 (Prevnar13) – routinely given to all babies and children younger than 2 years of age and recommended for all adults 65 years and older. It protects against 13 strains of the bacteria.
- PPSV23 (Pneumovax23)- recommended for all adults 65 years and older and those 2-64 years of age with medical conditions that would put them at increased risk for disease.
If these numbers and recommendations all seem a bit overwhelming, check your records with your PCP or the health department where you get shots to see if you are up to date.
It goes without saying that there are other ways to protect ourselves from this disease, like good hand washing, cleaning often touched surfaces (OMG – what about those cell phones!), coughing into tissue or into your elbow area, and limiting contact with cigarette smoke.
While you are checking with your doctor about pneumococcal vaccine, it would be great to discuss vaccines for shingles, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) and other vaccine preventable diseases. In this case, more is better! Are you up to date?
NOTE: I want to thank all of you who donated mugs in 2016. Last year we brightened the lives of over 90 hospice clients and their loved ones with flower arrangements. Keep those mugs coming!
The springtime of the year is a great time for us to be thinking about renewal. We see the budding of the trees and the spring flowers and all the wonderful colors that have been missing all winter. Palm Sunday is coming and we prepare for an Easter celebration, but what about our own spiritual renewal? Do we block off and make time for spiritual renewal and spiritual growth in our lives? Over the years, 75 to 100 members of Christ United Methodist Church have attended the Walk to Emmaus and dozens have worked teams, led music, cooked meals, and worked behind the scenes.
The Walk to Emmaus is one way you can renew your faith. The Mid-Ohio Valley Walk to Emmaus is an wonderful event carefully planned and scripted by the Upper Room. Our church is the sponsor church that has overseen close to 2,000 men and women attend over the past 25 years. The Men’s and Women’s spring walk will be the last weekend of March and the first weekend of April, respectively. With two walks a year, this will be Walk #50!
So what happens on the weekend? The Upper Room program is carefully planned and scripted to show you God’s Grace in a manner that you have never seen before. You will hear a series of 15 short talks that are given by laypeople and clergy. You will have small table group discussions, sing some wonderful songs, witness some amazing entertainment, laugh and smile, eat like a king, and you will experience God’s grace in a manner that you will not forget for the rest of your life.
If you are ready to reevaluate your spiritual life and your faith, or if you need to spend some time alone with the Lord, then the Walk to Emmaus is just what you need. Pastor Don and Pastor Cheryl have been very active in Emmaus and can help get you started. We always have applications in the Narthex and there are Emmaus people all around the church that will be willing to help you. I am available as well and would be happy to get some coffee and talk.
Grace and Peace to all of you as we enter the spring season of renewal!
From Your Finance Committee
The Finance Committee is instituting a new policy and fund (a “contingency fund”) to prevent monies from being “stuck” in old or over-loaded designated funds. Please read below for our Finance Chair’s explanation…
Dear Christ Church Family,
At times the church will embark on a project that requires special accounting. In these cases an account or fund will be set up on the church’s records. Funds collected will be deposited into this account and project expenses will be paid from this account. At the completion of the project or after there is no longer a need for the account/fund all unspent money will be moved into a contingency fund. Church leadership will review the funds established under this procedure annually. Any funds that are no longer needed will be closed and the money moved into the contingency fund.
In some cases more money may accumulate in a fund than is needed for the project. In these cases the excess money will be moved into the contingency fund.
The money in the contingency fund will be used for special events and projects that serve the mission of the church. The decision to take money out of the contingency fund will be made by church leadership.
If you have any questions, please let us know.