From Pastor Don
The Expectation of God’s Abiding Grace
Prior to the start of Jesus’ public ministry, there was an air of expectation among the people of first century Palestine. An expectation that God was about to do something wonderful and powerful. There is no reason to doubt that God continues to do wonderful and powerful things in our lives, our church family, and in the world. I want to share with you some of my expectations for this coming year.
I expect that next month the General Conference of The United Methodist Church will decide something about the future of our denomination. I have no idea what will be decided or how it will be decided. I expect that whatever the outcome the church will continue. That is to say that the body of Christ, the work of the kingdom of God, will continue. It is my expectation that the various ministries and missions of this congregation will continue. Not only continue, but grow. That is my expectation because I know you. That is my expectation because for twelve years I have observed your desire, your ability, your gift of being ready to serve Christ regardless of circumstances or situations. There may be a vote, a decision, next month that will split the denomination. It is my expectation that if that is the case, it will not split or divide or diminish the love that is alive in this congregation.
You may be aware that we are facing some challenges related to our 2019 budget. Our financial challenges are by no means insurmountable. It is my expectation that the financial resources that are needed to support the ministry of Christ Church will be forthcoming. I have this expectation because I know that you believe that God is faithful and provides. Our role is to trust that and to be filled with the expectation of good things.
It is my expectation that sometime within the next few months an announcement will be made about the new pastor of Christ Church. I expect that the appointment will be the result of your prayers, the work of our Staff Parish Relations Committee, District Superintendent, Bishop and cabinet. It is my expectation that the new pastor will provide leadership that will inspire and result in an even stronger relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
I have these expectations because I believe that God in Jesus is with us, among us, and working through us. I have the expectation of good things in the days ahead because Jesus is in the water with us. The water of baptism, hot water, troubled waters and when the water is over our head. Jesus chose to enter the Jordan river, along with everyone else, and be baptized. He did not stand on the bank and observe. He did not place himself above those who were responding to John’s call to repentance. Jesus began his ministry of grace and mercy by meeting the people where they were. I believe that is still true.
Let us be people who are filled with expectation. May we continue to be a congregation that meets people (wherever they are) with the good news of God’s grace.
Grace and Peace,
Lenten Study: The Class Meeting
During the season of Lent you are invited to participate in a unique experience called “The Class Meeting”. This is an opportunity to strengthen our walk with Jesus by sharing our stories. This is much more personal than a Bible Study and more focused than most small groups. It is a weekly gathering for the purpose of deepening our discipleship. We will learn to listen to each other, encourage each other, and pray for each other. Our “homework” will be living out our faith in daily life.
The Class Meeting is open to everyone. We will begin on Tuesday, March 12th, at 7 p.m. No books are required. Please contact Pastor Don or sign up in the church office if you are interested.
Grace Children’s Hospital
Lent is a time to offer up – to relinquish certain practices. Personal relinquishment can lead to another form of offering – offering to. Giving to others during Lent can be a spiritual practice of self-sharing that eases the burdens others carry.
This Lent season we once again offer the opportunity to ease the burden of those needing medical care in Haiti. Any gift marked “Lent” will go toward the work of Grace Children’s Hospital in Port au Prince, Haiti. GCH offers outpatient clinics, rural health care training, eye clinics, an inpatient children’s hospital, AIDS treatment, and professional healthcare education. All services are offered for a flat fee of $7 or for free if patients are unable to afford the cost.
International Child Care, the funding agency for GCH, still struggles to provide financial stability for Grace Children’s Hospital. The ICC Board is asking for our help in ensuring the future of Grace Children’s Hospital. Your Lenten offering can be a part of the solution.
To give toward the work of Grace Children’s Hospital, mark your check or your envelope “Lent” or give online here.
Special General Conference Livestream
From umc.org . . .
A Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church takes place February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. The purpose will be to receive and act on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward based on the recommendations of the Council of Bishops. The Commission was authorized to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and to explore options to strengthen church unity.
Christ Church will livestream this event in Room 104 with clergy available to answer any questions. The daily schedule for Special General Conference is still being ironed out. Once we have a definitive schedule, we will share our livestreaming schedule with you.
From Pastor Cheryl
“Do you ever wonder whether you’re really a Christian? Do you feel like an outsider—even among other believers?” These questions, and many others asked by believers, non-believers, and children are pondered by Eric Huffman, UMC pastor of The Story Houston, in 40 Days of Doubt: Devotions for the Skeptic. Join me Thursdays at noon during Lent as we make our way through 40 Days, reflecting on Huffman’s answers and sharing our own stories of faith and doubt. Class format will consist of an introduction on March 7 (the day following Ash Wednesday) and then a weekly meeting where we’ll explore the daily readings that touched us. The study will conclude on Holy Thursday, April 18. A little extra time is built in at the beginning for those of us who might need a few days to get into a daily devotional habit. To register, sign up in the church office. Books are $12.
Here’s what’s going on in some of our lay ministries:
- After School, our tutoring/nurturing ministry with Washington Elementary primary students, is back on track after the Christmas break. Please remain in prayer for the children, families, and volunteers in this life-changing ministry.
- Our Ukulele Choir outreach continues to grow! Director Steve Brown’s beginner class has 25 people registered! If you’ve always wanted to play, or know someone who wants to join, classes are Tuesdays at 7 PM. The full choir will resume rehearsals on March 5.
- TED Talk studies are continuing Thursdays at noon through February 14 and in the Explorer Sunday School class until further notice. Join us as we watch enlightening, entertaining talks and discuss what these topics mean for our faith and our lives. No homework is required and each talk stands alone—so come when you can!
Is God calling you but you don’t know what for? Want to get involved but don’t know how? Get in touch and we’ll help.
Pastor Cheryl Arnold
Often people view bridges as the only way to reach a destination, and therefore bridges are a way to overcome obstacles. Bridges also represent transitions. . .Perhaps my favorite bridge symbol, though, is that of hope. If you can just get over that bridge, you may find yourself in a better place on the other side. Some bridges are harder to cross than others. If you’re afraid of heights they can be scary. If feeling the surface shaking below your feet unsettles you, then your crossing can pose a challenge, but trust me, that challenge is deceiving. You do NOT want to be on a rigid and inflexible bridge. Not if you want to live. So in some ways bridges can represent a struggle, but one with the prospect of better things on the far shore. I find that inspiring.
Barb Abelhauser, Bridgetender
The View from a Drawbridge
Many of you have received a congregational letter explaining the challenges and changes that face us in 2019. 2019 will bring us pastoral change, denominational change, and financial challenge. Let’s liken these to a bridge…a bridge that sits before us and asks us, “How will you cross?” Our prayer is that Christ Church will choose to cross together in hope and faith, overcoming the challenges ahead.
As our Finance and Staff-Parish Relations Committees work on the first leg of our bridge-crossing, the budgetary gap, you can come along-side them. One-time donations, increasing your pledge, or raising funds through small group projects can help meet the need. Talk with our Administrative Board Chair, Mark Duckworth; Finance Chair, Jeff Welch; or, SPRC Chair, Bill Adams to share your creative ideas for cutting costs or increasing funds. We will keep you updated on our bridge crossing progress with end-of-the-month bulletin inserts.
Life is full of bridge crossings. Crossings exist in our personal lives when we are faced with obstacles to overcome, unsettling transitions, or an unknown future. Crossings also happen in times of celebration, personal growth, or great achievement. It’s during these bridge crossings that our church family can shine its best. Do you have a bridge crossing story? A time when your faith family here at Christ Church crossed the bridge with you?
Take a few minutes to share your story here. The content of this short form will be kept confidential. But as we read your stories, we may contact you and ask for your permission to share. During this time of congregational bridge crossing, we hope to share stories in weekly emails, bulletins, newsletter, or even from the pulpit. God instructs us to remember and celebrate the bridge crossings we have made…this practice reminds us that God will empower us when we face bridges again.
Food Pantry Hygiene Kits
Our Hygiene Kit Collection was such a success last year that we are doing it again! Our local Food Pantry must prioritize their limited resources toward food. Since food assistance does not cover toiletries, this leaves folks without means of getting these much needed items. Our collection from last year was exhausted within just a few weeks!
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
All items must be new and in their original packaging. Put your kits in the tall hamper basket in the Narthex. Hygiene kits will be collected through March 31st.
NAMI Family-to-Family Educational Program
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Washington County is offering a free 12 week class for families with loved ones with mental illness, or suspect their loved one has a mental illness. This “family-to-family”education program educates about illnesses of the brain, including: Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders. Attendees will gain communication and coping skills and learn to be an advocate for themselves and their loved one.
Classes begin on Tuesday, Feb. 26th, from 6-8:30 p.m. For location and more information call Jane Young (740-885-2115) or Karen Brinkley (740-374-6086).
From our Minister of Health: GO RED!
February is designated as American Heart month and the first Friday is National Wear Red Day- a wave of red from coast to coast to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and to help save lives. It’s also a special reminder for women, as heart disease is the #1 killer of women, taking more women’s lives each year than all forms of cancer combined.
The American Heart Association gives this helpful advice on their website:
If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
- As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
This fall these symptoms became personal. I was awakened in the night with pressure/pain in my upper abdomen on the right side that traveled to my upper back and neck. The symptoms went away in a few minutes and I told my husband I didn’t think we needed to head to the ER. However, when the symptoms returned later in the week I headed to my doctor. Because my symptoms are also associated with gall bladder problems, I underwent a full battery of tests that ruled out any issues in that organ. My doctor felt it was appropriate to make sure I was not having heart related symptoms like you read in #5 above. A treadmill stress test, including the nuclear component, was ordered and I am thankful to report that there are no issues with my heart. (The culprit was determined to be related to gastro-esophageal reflux and treated accordingly.)
So during February, let’s remember how important it is to listen to our body and take charge of our own heart health. Nearly 80% of cardiac events can be prevented, so when something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore the symptoms, head for help!
The Missions & Outreach Committee invites the Church Church family to an after-church potluck luncheon on Sunday, March 17th. Mark your calendars now and start scanning your cookbooks. We hope to see you there!
Special Project Giving in 2018
The following is your generosity toward missions and special projects of Christ United Methodist Church. Thank you!
|Human Relations Day Offering||$115||Advent Offering (Wildfires)||$1,620|
|UMCOR Day Offering||$685||Food Pantry Donations||$1,060|
|Native American Ministries Offering||$150||UMCOR Donations||$8,354|
|Peace with Justice Sunday Offering||$100||Youth Flood Bucket Project||$4,656|
|World Communion Sunday Offering||$138||Pastor’s Discretionary Fund Donations||$6,325|
|UM Student Sunday Offering||$163||In Memoriam Gifts||$11,670|
|Lenten Offering (Food Pantry)||$1,462||Trustee Donations||$3,537|