November-December 2019

From Pastor Karen

Dear Friends,

Looking toward the end of 2019, I am filled with gratitude and deep joy. Since formally making your acquaintance on March 18, I have not stopped giving God thanks for you and praying for you. I am grateful for our journey through the message series, We Are the Church. I am grateful for your faithful witness in our community, and am expectant for new ways God will reveal to us to be in worship, community and service here. I do trust that as we go forward, we will act in even greater ways, with power, generosity, acceptance, creativity, perseverance, courage, and as a witness to all that God is doing among us.

I give thanks for your faith and faithfulness in supporting Pastor Cheryl to and through her journey of completing her Course of Study. You faithfully supported her with your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your encouragement, and more. Your generosity bore fruit as you covered her necessary costs for this five-year course of study. I do trust that there will be even more fruit born from her ministry and leadership among us as we go forward. Make plans to attend our one service celebration November 10 at 10 a.m., with gathering time afterward.

I thank God for your generosity, and for your commitment to mission and ministry at Christ UMC. You have shown confidence in your staff and leadership team as you have pledged to support our budget and ministries through 2020. Your generosity has also kept us in good standing for 2019. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We trust God to lead us forward as we open doors into God’s future for us and our witness in our community.

Your Nominations/Lay Leadership Team has been making efforts to fulfill our leadership roster for 2019. If you expressed interest in a leadership position and have not been contacted yet, first, thank you and forgive me. Second, expect a call very soon.

On Monday, November 18 at 7:00 pm at Rolling Plains UMC, (3350 Moxahala Park Rd, Zanesville) Bishop Palmer will present his address, “You Might Be a Wesleyan Christian If . . .” This will be an evening of teaching, learning, and dialogue for clergy and laity. I expect to leave Christ UMC by 5:30, if you’d like to ride along, or feel free to drive yourselves and meet me there.

Church Charge Conference will be on Sunday, November 24 at Gilman UMC at 6:30 pm. All necessary reports will be presented to District Superintendent Dennis Miller at that time. Dennis will preach, and we will share a time of worship. Prior to that time, we will hold a Church Council meeting to approve the Nominations slate of officers, salary packages for both Pastors, and church budget.

Our Advent Study this year will be Almost Christmas: A Wesleyan Advent Experience. Four authors will share with us about “An Altogether Peace,” “An Altogether Hope,” “An Altogether Love,” and “An Altogether Joy,” following the traditional Advent themes of Peace, Hope, Love, and Joy. We’ll gather on Monday evenings at 6:30, December 9, 16, 23 or Thursdays at noon, December 5, 12, 19.

Our Advent worship theme will be Waiting Well. Advent, the season in which we prepare for Christmas, anticipating God’s coming into the world with skin on, begins on December 1st.

I am looking forward to finishing 2019 well with you and looking forward with hope. We may not know what the future holds, but we are sure of who holds the future. May we be aware of God’s breaking out in our midst today and always. Be of good courage and prepare the way of the Lord!

With love & hope,
Pastor Karen

Advent Study

Almost Christmas: A Wesleyan Advent Experience

How does our Wesleyan heritage play a part in our Advent and Christmas celebrations? Author and pastor Magrey deVega explores this question with a group of Wesleyan authors.

Starting with John Wesley’s famous sermon, “The Almost Christian,” where Wesley encouraged people to follow Christ wholeheartedly, the group explores how we can make the same commitment to Christ during Advent. Through video recordings of their discussions, we can join these authors in their explorations. We will visit sites of Wesleyan history, learn Charles Wesley Nativity hymns, and dig into Wesleyan teachings that expand on the traditional Advent themes of Love, Hope, Joy, and Peace.

Our Advent Study will be held Thursdays at noon starting Dec. 5th or Mondays at 6:30 p.m. starting Dec. 9th. Register in the church office. Books are $13. A book sample is available here. Enjoy a video preview below.

Advent Offering

Wesley Family Services: Assisting Foster Children and Adoptive Families

A ministry of the West Ohio Conference, UMCH (also known as Wesley) Family Services works in areas of children’s mental health, child welfare, family preservation, foster care, and forming new forever families. UMCH works with hundreds of children and parents across Ohio through multiple ministries.

As we wait for the Christ Child this Advent season, consider making a gift to support those children who are waiting to be reunited with their birth families or waiting for their forever family.

If our total Advent giving reaches $1,000, Christ Church will “foster” one child who is in foster placement with one of the 70 UMCH foster families currently serving in Ohio. If we reach $2,250, Christ Church will sponsor the upfront costs for one adoptive home-study so an Ohio foster child can find their forever family.

To give towards this Advent project, click here or give in any Christ Church offering, marking the pew envelope for Advent.

Mary Circle Christmas Auction

Monday, Dec. 2nd at 6:30 p.m.

The Mary Circle United Methodist Women invite you to join them for an evening of Christmas treats and gift shopping. The Mary Circle Auction is an annual event supporting the international work of the United Methodist Women on behalf of children, youth, and women around the world. New and handmade items are donated for this event and the bidding is always fun and entertaining. Get some of your Christmas shopping out of the way and support a great cause at the same time! If possible bring an auction item and finger food to share.The Mary Circle Auction will be held at Stephanie Carman’s, 925 Ash Rd., Marietta. Parking is limited. To carpool meet at the church shortly after 6 p.m.

From Pastor Cheryl

Two weekends ago I was blessed to take part in a Youth Retreat at Camp Crossroads. We had 2 girls from Christ UMC, 6 girls from First Williamstown UMC, and 8 adults serving in various ways. During an icebreaker, the youth circled up near the campfire circle—and then answered simple questions as they tossed a huge spool of ribbon back and forth, wrapping it around the waists of those with similar answers each time. The ribbon soon became a web of connections. When the leader wanted to cut them free, the girls weren’t ready yet. They moved up into the lodge for drinks, then down to the outdoor chapel for a talk on prayer, and then back to the lodge. When the ribbon was finally cut before dinner, the girls rearranged tables and chairs so they could all sit together. I watched, amazed, as these 8 individuals became 1 tightly bonded group in the course of about 10 minutes—and stayed that way for the rest of the retreat. Will this combined youth group continue to meet and flourish? I don’t know, but what a great witness to the rest of us about what it means to be united in Christ.

Here’s what’s happening in some of our lay ministries . . .

After School, our tutoring/nurturing ministry with first, second, and third graders from Washington Elementary has begun its 19th consecutive year. To date, we’ve enrolled at least 192 different children from 143 different families—and used 117 volunteers, including 29 youth. This year’s kids include 7 first-graders, 5 families we already know, and 1 set each of twins, regular siblings, and cousins. We’re looking forward to a great year and ask you to keep all of us in prayer.

Thank you to the 55 people who have completed Safe Sanctuary training this fall! This annual training is required of anyone 18 and older who is thinking about working or volunteering with children or youth here at Christ. If you’ve been unable to attend so far, or if you are just now considering being involved in these ministries, please let the main office know and we’ll offer another make-up when we get enough people.

Christ UMC will be leading worship services at The Arbors during November. Services are Sundays at 2 PM in the main dining room. If you would like to lead or assist worship with these residents, their families, and staff, on one or more Sundays, please contact Pastor Cheryl.

Christ Cares and Extended Table will have their joint fall meeting on Sunday, November 17th, at 9:15 AM (during Sunday School) in Pastor Cheryl’s office (Room 208). Christ Cares pairs volunteer visitors who offer spiritual and emotional support with seniors who can no longer easily get to worship; Extended Table serves Holy Communion monthly at The Pines Assisted Living facility and during Children’s Church. Team meetings are used to share our challenges and support one another in these challenging but life-changing ministries. Come and see what we’re all about!

Is God calling you to something else? Want to get involved but not sure how? Get in touch and we’ll try to help.

Pastor Cheryl Arnold
740-373-1512 (church)
740-896-3824 (home)

You Deserve Sabbath Rest!

Encouraging words from your West Ohio Conference Lay Leader, Mitchell Harper.

It’s that time of year. You wake up in the morning, and it’s dark outside. You get to work or school, and it’s still dark outside. You leave work, or whatever extra-curricular activity you may be involved in, and it’s STILL dark outside! The 16+ daylight hours of Summer are gone, and the perpetual dusk of Fall has come upon us. When so much of our “free time’ is shrouded by darkness, it’s easy to feel tired. Frustrated. Depressed. You so desperately want to have that mid-July energy, but sometimes you just can’t muster it. We all want to be at our best all the time; but so often, especially starting in this time of year, it just isn’t possible.

I say all of that to say, the laity of West Ohio are ROCKSTARS. I see the work you all do on a consistent basis. There’s always a community dinner, an after-school program, a meeting, Bible study, or youth group to attend. In a perfect world, we’d have the energy (and scheduling prowess) for ALL of it. But on those days when the weather has you down, the calendar feels like an anchor, you’re prepping for yet another holiday, or you just felt like you haven’t spent any time with your family this week…TAKE A BREAK. Please. The year is long, and the work of the Church is never done, but you are not, nor ever will be, responsible for all of it. We are collectively one body; and in West Ohio, a pretty strong one at that! And sometimes, when your left knee has been over worked, and is feeling a little tired, the right knee must bear a little extra weight. It’s not ideal but thank God he gave us two knees! The body may limp for a bit, but it will allow you to get some much-needed rest. Let your brothers and sisters pick up some of the slack while you recuperate. When the crowds got to be too much, Jesus stepped away. When the cross was bearing down on His shoulders, Simon helped him carry it.

Take your breaks. Reconnect with God spiritually. Be Mary instead of Martha from time to time. People will wonder why you missed this, or that – you can tell them why, and they will have grace for you! Give them the opportunity to bestow that grace. And when you come back stronger, you can be ready when your brother or sister needs a break. It can feel persistently dark outside West Ohio. Just hold the flashlight, and I’ll do the work. We can switch when you’ve caught your breath.

Take care and God Bless!
Mitchell Harper
#WOC #LaityStrong #SelfCare

Bread Breakers

Our church participates in many worthwhile ministry endeavors. One such ministry is Bread Breakers, a long-standing tradition at Christ Church, whose mission is to bring members of our church closer together in fellowship.

Since most of us enjoy our daily bread, Bread Breakers offers an opportunity to share this act with one another. We meet once a month in an area restaurant for dinner. Please count this as your invitation to join us.

Our first gathering this fall will be on Tuesday, November 19th at Spagno’s Restaurant at 5:30 p.m. If you have never participated, please consider giving Bread Breakers a try. We would love to have you join us.

If you have any questions about Bread Breakers, please contact Jim or Mary Ann Moon (740-434-5309). To get email notifications of future Bread Breakers meetings and locations, sign up in the Narthex or contact the church office.

Standing Under the Maple Tree

Standing under this tree, gathering images of its classic structure, I glean
Some leaf outlines: shabby, tattered, ripped, torn, but others sharply keen.
Yet in the spring and summer, this old tree was majestic, the lawn’s queen.
But now she looks dusty, brown and tired colors, rusty, crusty, no longer green.

Something flitted on my hair, delicate, soft, something feathery lodged there.
Shake and toss my head, and more leaves come flying, scattering everywhere.
I also felt a small splash on my face, like mist, while standing under the maple fair.
Was it morning dew, falling late, a leftover raindrop, or just sap falling in the air?

Raking leaves in autumn sunlight, dappled and quiet shadows all around, I felt free.
Whispering sounds and whimpering soft rustles and slight murmurs under that tree,
A car rushed by and fluffed and fluttered leaves flew away from my growing pile.
The leaves flew up, rolled and tumbled, whishing, making more work for a while.

Stick out my tongue and sense a slight, soft and gentle gustatory sensation today.
Summer’s growing season is now in the delicious taste of stored up farmer’s hay.
I even chew and savor a musty, moldy, crunchy dried up, tart and acidic leaf this day.
Winter is coming, the end of the year, I tasted it in the leaves where I play.

Do I smell the fall? Odor, crisp and bright, earthy with soil and tannins, is near.
Or is it just the sharp and growing sense of coming cold and snow I fear?
Still it is a persistent aroma, moldy, delicate, as I work and sweat, my labor dear.
Yet somehow, someway, I smell the death, the demise, the ending of the year.

Joyce Ricker Kronberg, November 2018

From Our Minister of Health

Positive Thinking

I was fortunate to attend a medical seminar on living with seizures recently at Nationwide’s Children Hospital. Our grandson, Caleb, who lives in Qatar has a history of seizures that thankfully are now controlled by a new medication released by the FDA last November. His doctor at Children’s was involved in the medication’s study and thought it would be ideal for Caleb. Our daughter asked if I would attend the seminar and learn all I could about the subject. I’ve sat through my fair share of medical seminars and I would give this one a high rating in part due to the doctors who did the presentations. Not only were they willing to spend part of their day answering questions, but they were positive in their approach to epilepsy and seizure control, something the professionals and the families affected by this condition needed to hear. I am a firm believer that education helps to empower anyone living with a medical disorder or illness.

The last speaker of the day was Dr. Brandon Kozar, a psychologist from Nationwide Children’s. He teaches positive psychology: If we can assist our brain to be primed in a positive state then we will cope better with stress and have improved relationships in our daily lives. I believe some of his exercises to promote this positive adavantage are worth sharing:

Try ONE of these simple exercises for 21 days:

  • Each day, write down three new things you are grateful for right now in your life. Discuss things that went well each day and why they went well with family or friends.
  • Email a thank you letter to one new person each day, or better yet, do it in person. I’m a fan of ‘snail mail’, and even though email is instantaneous, there is something very special about finding a positive note in the real mail box.
  • Think of one meaningful experience you had in the past 24 hours. Notice a beautiful or positive moment and focus on it for 10 seconds, the time it takes for a positive memory to be stored in the brain. Maybe even chronicle the moment with a photo from your phone camera.
  • Think of something you are looking forward to in very detailed terms.

We are heading into two seasons that are often stress-filled. Try one of these exercises and see if it helps.
Sherrie Hoffman

Mid-Ohio Valley Ringers Christmas Concert

Thank You

Dear friends,

A belated thank you to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, phone calls, and cards during my treatment, for Esophageal Cancer, in May and June.

As I stated in my Bridge Crossing, the end of March, I am thankful that Christ United Methodist Church is a praying church! I received my diagnosis a few days later.

I am doing well, and will return to Cleveland Clinic, in mid November, for a follow up appointment and diagnostic studies.

It is such a blessing to be a part of such a wonderful church family!

Again, Thank You for always being there!

Liz Beymer