From Pastor Don: Subtle Christianity
Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him. – Psalm 37:7
In the days of my youth there was a belief that the louder the music the better. Whenever a complaint was registered against the volume we would reply:
“It’s not too loud, you’re too old!”
I have arrived at a point in life where everything is too loud. Music, the television, and conversations. I’m not simply referring to noise levels. Something can be “loud” without making a sound. For me, loud describes anything that is over-the-top. Excessive, exploitative, promotional behaviors are all examples of being loud.
This trend toward doing things in a big (if not loud) manner can sometimes find a way into the church. We can be tempted to believe that God is only interested in big things that are done in extravagant ways. I am reminded of this as I reflect on our celebration of Easter. Many Easter Sunday Services are big (loud) productions. Every local church and every pastor wants to be their best on the biggest Sunday of the year. This is understandable. God’s triumph over sin and death deserves to be celebrated and cherished. Easter is a time for praise and pageantry!
It is worth remembering that God is still present, Jesus is still risen, on the Sunday after Easter. Things may be a bit more subtle after Easter, but God is not diminished. Likewise, the work of God’s kingdom does not require that we put forth the biggest, greatest, most spectacular effort. We do not have to be loud in order to get God’s attention. We do not have to raise millions of dollars for some cause or campaign in order to be faithful. Whatever we do, whatever we give, in the name of Jesus, is an act of faith. Whether or not we are noticed for our devotion is not important. The quiet things, subtle expressions of discipleship, can be incredibly powerful.
The world around us is often loud. Our lives can become filled with all sorts of noise. Let us choose to live lives that are subtle … in a powerful and world-changing sort of way.
Grace and Peace,
On April 9th I will begin a three month period of formational and spiritual growth leave. This will be a time of renewal that will include various opportunities for reflection and learning.
This leave has been graciously approved by the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, Administrative Board, and our District Superintendent.
During this period I will be unavailable for pastoral duties. In my absence, Pastor Cheryl, our Lay Leader, Jim Schneider, and others, will be covering for me. You will be in good hands.
I am so grateful for this opportunity and the support of this congregation.
Grace and Peace,
Brown Bag Study: World Religions
Mid-Ohio Valley Interfaith hosts Distilled Wisdom of World Religions: a brief examination of Hinduism, Buddhism, Baha’i, Confucianism, Daoism, Judaism, and Yoruba. This class will be presented by MJ Ebenhack, Martha McGovern, and Carol Sedgwick. All materials are provided, all are welcome, and there is no cost. Class will be held at Christ United Methodist Church in Room 104, meeting nine Thursdays from April 5 – May 31. Feel free to bring a packed lunch.
Mid-Ohio Valley Interfaith works to bring understanding and respect between religions during this time of increased hate speech and fear.
The mission of Kairos Prison Ministry is to share the transforming love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, to impact the hearts and lives of incarcerated men, women and youth, as well as their families, to become loving and productive citizens of their communities.
Our local Kairos team shares God’s transforming love with the men of St. Marys Correctional Center in St. Marys, WV.
The Kairos Prison Ministry not only takes the work of the prison-visiting team, but also countless people behind the scenes. Would you consider being one of those people for the upcoming Kairos weekend? Here’s how you can help:
- Bake cookies. Kairos uses hundreds of cookies during each weekend as a ministry of forgiveness. See the prison-specific instruction in the Narthex or online here. Please deposit your cookies in the church kitchen freezer by Tuesday, May 1st.
- Be a part of the weekend prayer vigil. The weekend requires round the clock prayer. You can sign up for half-hour slots in the Narthex or online here.
- Financially sponsor a prisoner. The ministry cost of each weekend is between $4,000 and $5,000. Just $40 will sponsor one prisoner. Mark your memo line “Kairos” and put in a Christ Church offering, send to Christ Church, 301 Wooster St., Marietta, OH 45750, or give online here.
If you would like more information on the Kairos Prison Ministry, see Bill Beebe (740-374-5135).
Thank you for being a part of this spring’s Kairos weekend!
Shipwrecked! Family Fun Days
Currently, the Sunday School curriculum is “Deep Blue”. Our children have been sailing around the world and docking at various countries. They have been learning what it means to “Learn and Serve”. This year’s’ Sunday School offering is going to the Children’s Hospital in Haiti. On the last Deep Blue Sunday School session, May 29th, their boat crashes onto an uncharted island!
Thus, the VBS program is “Shipwrecked!” We will venture onto an uncharted island where our kids will survive and thrive. The kids will be anchored in the truth that Jesus carries them through life’s storms.
VBS will be held once a month: Wednesdays June 27, July 25, and August 15. Each evening we’ll share a potluck meal and then travel the island singing, playing, learning from the Bible, visiting the theater, and making crafts. Mark your calendars now!
From Pastor Cheryl
One of the things I love about Christ Church is how readily and willingly people come together in leadership. We saw this recently when a bout of illness swept through the staff, and all kinds of folks stepped in and stepped up to help. Soon, Pastor Don will be out of the office for 12 weeks. When people ask me how I’m going to cope with his absence, I try to give them my honest response: “Yes, I’m starting to feel the pressure of more things to deal with, but because we have a strong laity, I know that everything doesn’t fall on me. And I thank God for that.”
In the coming months, you will see different people in the pulpit and leading worship on Sunday mornings. Extended Table and Christ Cares team members will be assisting more with pastoral care. Trustees, Missions and Outreach, Christian Education, Staff Parish, Finance, and our other committees will be handling their ministry areas like they already do. And Beth Ann Weber will keep everything running smoothly. We are in good hands; we are in God’s hands. I ask that you join me in regularly praying for our church, our leadership teams, myself, and Don and Sandy, that we all might continue to be a light to others and faithful followers of Christ.
Here’s some lay ministries highlights …
After School will be finishing up at the end of April. We had a great group of children this year and a lot of fun—as always! If you’ve ever considered being part of this life-changing ministry, I invite you to contact me before our year ends so you can see firsthand what we’re all about.
Music Ministries at Christ Church are a meaningful way to share our gifts and our faith. During the school year, our Sanctuary Choir sings nearly every Sunday, while our Children’s Choir and Cathedral Handbell Choir sing and ring about once a month. During summers, we have Special Music during worship. The Marietta Community Ukulele Choir rehearses here Tuesdays nights and performs throughout the year at different venues. If you enjoy music —or at least want to make joyful noise—contact our music directors Beth Payton, Norma Dennis, and Steve Brown for more information.
This summer, we will be trying a new format for our Thursday Brown Bag studies—watching and discussing selected “TED Talks.” TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. TED talks began in 1984 as a way to spread powerful ideas in 18 minutes or less. Today, talks cover all sorts of content areas, many of which explore faith and our faith journeys. Stay tuned for upcoming details about when we will begin this study and how it will work.
Want to serve but don’t know where? Passionate about something and don’t know how to get started? Get in touch and we’ll try to help.
Pastor Cheryl Arnold
South Bend Missions Trip
It’s now been three years of record-breaking floods in South Bend, Indiana. As part of the United Methodist response, we are forming a missions team to work on damaged homes. No previous construction skills are necessary.
Due to the generosity of our church family, there is no fee required to participate. “Free will” contributions to help off-set trip costs are welcome, but not necessary.
Registration is due by Friday, May 12th. Forms are available in the Narthex or church office. For more information contact Randy or Linda Ankrom (740-374-4317).
Our annual Graduation Breakfast for all high school grads and their families will be served on Sunday, May 27th, during the Sunday School hour. This year we have six graduates on our roster: Meredith Coil, Max Garrison, Laura Barnes, Madison Gault, Kate Danford, and Lizzie Lehman.
If we have missed anyone, please notify the church office.
UMW International Assembly 2018
May 18-20 in Columbus, Ohio
At the “Power of Bold” Assembly, learn about our four social justice priorities. Join more than 3,000 attendees to Rally around Economic Equality and Living Wages for All. Attend Community Gatherings with deep spiritual journeys and cutting-edge speakers who will inspire and offer tools to mobilize and activate. Engage and learn from one another in our interactive workshops. Connect with experts in our Ubuntu Networking Library to help shape your action plans. Discover how to mobilize for change at the action tables in our social justice immersion exhibits. Be a leader on our BOLD Talks stage. Encounter women from all generations to understand what they seek and what motivates them to action.
Register here through April 9th. For coordinating travel and hotel plans, contact Beth Morgan (740) 336-7153.
As a part of Assembly 2018, there will be a collection of baby booties and caps by the thousands to be sent all over the world. Even if you are unable to attend, please consider sending some sets with those who are attend. Any knit or crotchet pattern may be used. If you prefer to sew, a fleece pattern can be found here. Please turn in your booties and caps to the church office by Wednesday, May 16th.
God’s Girls Study: Anxious for Nothing
April 22-May 20
God’s Girls begins a new study on Sunday, April 22nd, 5 p.m. They will be studying Max Lucado’s Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World.
When it comes to anxiety, depression, and stress-related illnesses, America is the frontrunner. Thankfully, there’s a practical prescription for dealing with them. Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado, provides a roadmap for battling with and healing from anxiety.
God’s Girls provides a great place for encouragement and relationship building. To register or for more information, contact Shelly Stormes.
Summer Special Music
During the summer months our Sanctuary Choir takes a well deserved break. We use this time to allow other folks to share their musical gifts in worship, whether it be vocal, instrumental, or musical ensemble. To participate, you must be available for both the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services. Accompanists are available upon request.
If you would like to serve the congregation in this manner, our music director, Beth Payton will be scheduling Sundays from Memorial Day through early September. Please schedule early as available dates are on a first-come first-serve basis.
From Our Minister of Health
I have a sister-in-law who ‘gives up’ something during Lent each year, often chocolate or sometimes all desserts. That practice has never seemed to work for me personally, but I felt challenged this year to do something extra during this special season, to ‘take up’ rather than ‘give up’ something. In reading about Lenten practices, two fell into place that challenged me – renewed vigor in my prayer life and justice or love of neighbors.
So the first thing I tried to practice daily was to try to find a way to express God’s love to someone in my life that may not hear that message on a regular basis. Saying a special greeting to our mail carrier for her faithfulness in special delivery even as she is challenged with breast cancer was easier than a pleasant greeting to our neighbor who does not clean up after his large dogs in our yard!
The second practice came in the form of a prayer devotional. Our Sunday school class is studying Phillip Yancey’s book, Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference? The book has led our group to many fruitful discussions on how, when and why we pray as individuals. I was given a book of daily devotions several years ago that has sat on my shelf unopened probably because it was written by a woman who I knew was coming from a different theological perspective than mine. I intentionally, in my daily life, surround myself with family and friends who are like-minded for my own health and emotional support. But I felt in choosing this devotional, I would be challenged daily to look for commonality in our thinking. What I learned from these readings is that our approach to prayer is very much alike. One day’s devotional takes place after a radio interviewer asks her if she has any words of encouragement for his audience. I’m sharing her response here with you:
I used to have an answer for most problems in life. I had a lot to say on almost any subject. I now have fewer answers, and they might be reduced to the simple phrase, God is faithful. I don’t say that lightly or without thought: I say it because I know it is true, and I have discovered that it is true no matter what is happening in my life. With confidence, I add these words to the end of the worst statements in the world: My child is sick and I don’t know what to do…but God is faithful; I lost my job and I don’t know how I will pay my bills…but God is faithful; my husband has left me and my heart is torn in two…but God is faithful.
I don’t mean that he will wave a magic wand and everything will fall into place; far from it. What I mean is that if in the darkest times in our lives we will learn to keep turning our face toward him, he is faithful. Faithful to be with us, faithful to watch over us, faithful to work in us to make us the men and women we are called to be.
Sometimes God does not seem to be faithful, because he doesn’t answer our prayers as we expected him to. I have changed my expectations. If the whole purpose in my life is to learn to love God and to show his compassion to the world, then what he is doing in me is more important than what he is doing for me. I have discovered through many tears that if I will bring every jagged edge of my life to him, he will continue to mold me to become the woman I am called to be.
Whatever is happening with you right now, as your sister in Christ, I urge you to meditate on these words of life: GOD IS FAITHFUL.”
Food Pantry Hygiene Kits
On Sunday, April 15th, our Missions & Outreach Chair, Bob First, will share with us a new missions project: hygiene kits for the Marietta Food Pantry. Food assistance does not cover these much needed items. Plus our local Food Pantry must prioritize their limited resources toward food.
Learning of this need, our Missions & Outreach Committee have chosen to lead a church-wide project in making hygiene kits for the Marietta Food Pantry to disperse.
If you would like to be a part of this project, please pack one each of the following items in a gallon ziploc bag:
- bar of soap
- travel size shampoo
All items must be new and in their original packaging. Be watching for the collection hamper to appear in the Narthex. Hygiene kits will be collected through June 3rd.
Summer Sunday School Planning
It is time to plan for Summer Sunday School! Do you know of a speaker or program that would be educational for our congregation? If so, please forward your idea and needed contact information to Laura Warren. The education committee will then work together to choose an enriching summer program for the church congregation.
Thanks for your input!
Laura and the Education Committee
Marietta Area Spring Ring
Sunday, April 22nd, 7 p.m., at The Basilica of St. Mary’s
Come listen to our Cathedral Handbell Choir along with other groups in the area, as they perform a concert sure to inspire you. The choirs ring en masse, ringing the same pieces together. Then many groups do individual, solo pieces.
This is the 28th year for this event and is always a wonderful evening of music, in a beautiful setting. The choirs have worked hard through their ringing season to prepare the music which culminates in this event. Come out and support Christ Church’s Handbells, you won’t be sorry!
Thanks to everyone for helping carry furniture to the curb! Cleaning is not always a fun job but help is always appreciated. We will be doing some more deep cleaning this summer!