From Pastor Karen
What a wonderful Advent and Christmas season we shared! The sounds, sights, and smells of the season furthered my amazement and gratitude at the privilege of being appointed to serve at Christ UMC and in the beautiful town of Marietta. Your generosity poured out in a multitude of ways—supporting Wesley Family Services and child fostering and adoption, staff Christmas offering, end of year gifts to shore up our 2019 financial picture, winterwear of all varieties, underwriting of gifts for guests who share their information for the first time. You have continued to demonstrate God’s generous spirit of love and kindness working through you. You embody our mission statement to Share God’s love by example and service.
Looking forward into 2020, we will finalize our unified budget for the year, dedicate church leaders, and look forward to God’s dreams for us. Pastor Cheryl and I are participating in a four-week web class on the book, Dream Like Jesus, by Rebekah Simon-Peter. We will share our learnings and also use them to guide our discernment going forward.
Additionally, officially beginning in August, at least ten congregational leaders and I will embark on a three year coaching and consultative process by Simon-Peter called “Creating a Culture of Renewal.” Over three years, we will be looking at our congregation, community, assets and resources, and charting a course to take us forward for years. There will be multiple opportunities to participate. If you are interested in serving on the team leading through the consultation, please contact me. I have great hopes for what lies ahead for us as we continue in faithfulness and build upon our rich legacy.
Most United Methodists know that General Conference is coming up in May. There is a great chance that there will be a plan passed to spin off a conservative expression of Methodism because of our disagreement of ministry concerning LGBTQ persons. Original sources for more information on denominational conversations are accessible at www.umc.org. A plan released on January 10 has increased hope in an amicable separation. I anticipate that the mission and ministry of Christ UMC will remain unchanged. We have been firmly Methodist, as far as I can tell, believing that we need not all think alike to love alike, and creating and maintaining spaces for persons to faithfully live out God’s call on their life regardless of where they lie on a theological spectrum. We believe God’s dominant ethic is love, as revealed in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We trust the Holy Spirit to empower us in all that we do.
On January 12, we began a six-part curriculum offered three times per week called A Faithful and Inclusive United Methodist Church. The curriculum is video-driven, led by Rev. Rob Fuquay of St. Luke’s UMC in Indianapolis. Fuquay is the son-in-law of Richard and Julia Wilke, who created the Disciple Bible Study curricula. St. Luke’s is a congregation much like Christ UMC, where persons from across the spectrum of belief and experience come together as one—oneness seems to be a value we share with them. Each week, 3-4 videos segments are shared, interspersed with room for conversation. If you have missed the initial session, please contact me so that I can catch you up before you jump into a group who has participated in prior sessions. Each week builds upon the others in an intentional order. Because we know we are not all of one mind, I covet your prayers for me, for our church, and for all who will sit at table and discuss with sisters and brothers in Christ. More information is available here.
Before we know it, Lent will be here! Ash Wednesday is February 26. Keep watch for announcement of a Lenten study on prayer practices.
As always, know that I hold you and our congregation in my heart and prayers. With the apostle Paul, I believe that nothing can separate us from the amazing love of God come in Jesus Christ. It is my personal mission to help persons cast off their feelings that have kept them feeling separated from God, to let all know there is a place for them in God’s heart, and in God’s church here at Christ UMC. I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it!
Looking forward with great hope,
Multiply West Ohio
On March 11 at New City Church in Dayton, a number of West Ohio’s innovative leaders will use the TedTalk style format to introduce you to the variety of diverse and creative new methods being used around the conference to multiply disciples.
How can the church more effectively join with what God is doing in every town, village, and city, with all kinds of people? As you find yourself in one of the stories, you will have an opportunity to explore how your church might utilize one of these options. You’ll not only hear about the newest work in West Ohio, Rev. Christian Coon from Urban Village UMC in Chicago and Dr. Jan Davis from Central UMC in Fayetteville, AR will share how multiplication has impacted their church/community over the past ten years.
Our Administrative Board Chair, Mark Duckworth, and Pastor Karen are planning to attend. Are you able to join them for the day? Pastor Karen’s dream is to take a van full over–to listen, learn, be inspired, and imagine.
For more information click here.
Email Pastor Karen to let her know you’d like to ride along.
From Pastor Cheryl
Thank you for worshiping at Christ Church on November 10th, 2019, for my graduation celebration. I am still overwhelmed by your generosity—your cards, gifts, prayers, and presence—in recognizing my graduation from the United Methodist Church’s Course of Study (COS). COS is a required, 20-course curriculum that allows licensed local pastors in the UMC to receive their seminary training without having to attend seminary full-time. It is the most realistic option for those of us who are second career and/or don’t live near a seminary.
Now that I have graduated, I am allowed to vote at Annual Conference on matters pertaining to General Conference, a privilege and responsibility I take very seriously. All of you were subject (in one way or another) to this whole process: I reflected on my COS experience in sermons, classes, and other gatherings; I interviewed some of you for assignments; I missed some worship and fellowship opportunities due to required class attendance. Thank you for your support and prayers through these last 5+ years—you helped make COS a blessing, and not just something else I needed to do.
Here’s what’s happening in some of our lay ministries:
- Thanks to everyone who helped lead worship at The Arbors! Jeff Walker, Suzanne Walker, Norma Dennis, Bonnie Hamilton, Bob Westbrook and I led services there on Sunday afternoons during November for residents, their family, and staff. We averaged 14 people each week, with many attending weekly. One resident, Crystal, sent us back with a Christmas card for the entire church; another, Judy, asked us to keep her in our prayers as she undergoes chemo. What a blessing it is to get to know these people, catch up with ones we’ve met before, and hear their stories.
- After School ministry uses people in many different roles—you don’t have to have a teaching background and you don’t have to help every week! Our volunteers prepare healthy snacks, walk the children from Washington Elementary to our church, assist small groups with crafts and fun activities, help kids one-on-one with their homework, greet the parents before dismissal, and oversee everything. We are often short on volunteers in the winter, so if you’re interested and have Wednesday afternoons free, let me know and we’ll get the background checks and Safe Sanctuary training underway.
- Thanks to our musicians for the extra time they put in over the holiday season! Besides our directors (Steve Brown, Beth Payton, and Norma Dennis), volunteers serving in the Sanctuary Choir, Handbell Choir, Children’s Choir, Ukulele Choir, and Brass Choir worked hard and put in many extra hours of rehearsal, both as groups and individually. We also had a small but powerful group of Christmas Carolers! There’s always room for more to make joyful noises—just let the directors know if you want to get involved.
Are you dreaming of a new way to serve God while serving others in 2020? Let us know and we’ll try to help.
Pastor Cheryl Arnold
Ukulele Season Is Here!
Our annual Beginner’s Ukulele Class starts Tuesday, Jan. 20th, 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. This class is for anyone who wants to learn or wants to brush up on their skills, ages 5th grade to infinity. There is no charge for the class, all music is provided. Only requirement is that you have a ukulele, a music stand and tuner are also helpful. To register for this class click here.
Marietta Ukulele Choir rehearsals will begin early March.
From Our Minister of Health
A Song of Peace
It’s December as I write this, but I am thinking already of the challenges our denomination, our country and our world face in the coming year. And so I search for some sign of hope. I think I found a glimmer in the children I work with on Friday’s at Putnam School.
In December the third graders were studying traditions of other countries and cultures. I helped them make latkes as they learned about the Jewish traditions of Hanukkah while crunching on the tasty potato morsels. Maybe this small exercise will help them get to know their neighbors next door and around the world; help them respect and honor the differences that make life diverse and interesting. I believe that with knowledge comes understanding and acceptance.
Last week I was working on a project in the hall as the Kindergarten classes headed for recess. The school principal was chatting with the kids as they went out the door and one little boy told him that his friend in front of him has skin a different color than his! How wonderful that it took half a school year for him to make the discovery that his playmate looks different from himself but even more important was the fact that it was time to get outdoors and play with his buddy.
Often during Advent I turn to a favorite author, Ann Weems and her book Putting the Amazing Back in Grace. It is full of rich stories about her childhood years as a Presbyterian preacher’s kid and the development of her faith. Her perspective on how sharing God’s love can help shape a better world says it better than I can . . .
In recent church assemblies, I’ve witnessed church people ‘having at it’, each side speaking in mean-spirited ways about each other, red-faced men and women raising their voices, pounding their fists on the tables in front of them, as they declared the opposing view was not Christian….We are a divided church, and in our divisiveness we have forgotten who we are and to Whom we belong. We’ve also forgotten our memory work: “be ye kind one to another.”
Of course, I’m aware it’s not the first time the Church has lost its way, and you, the reader, are no doubt saying, “And it’s not the last time, either.” You’re probably right: It’s not the first time, and it’s not the last time, but it’s our time . . .
A few years back, all this fighting reminded me of children yelling irrational and unkind things at one another . . . but the children end up hugging each other and getting along just fine five minutes later. We’re adults, and we’re not getting along just fine, and it’s been years. We seem to have forgotten who we are. No one says of us: “How those Christians love one another!”
I began to think about children and about how children learn about Jesus and God, and I remembered my own growing up and the quarreling that went on in the church when I was a child. And then I remembered the grace of God. No matter what happened then and no matter what happens now, I am the recipient of the grace of God. It is utterly and profoundly freeing.
The grace of God is so profoundly freeing that we can disagree and hold hands at the same time. When we realize how much we have been given, we are no longer slaves to the agony of trying to be God to one another. We are no longer bound to the pile of rules we’ve made to bind one another. We are no longer bound to our insecure little kingdoms, thinking we have earned all that we have. Instead, we are free to live in the kingdom of God. We are free to praise God for the grace bestowed on us. We are so free, we can love one another in the beautiful loving spirit of Christ.
My “elementary” education week concluded by attending the Putnam holiday music concert. The second and third graders sang a beautiful song whose melody and lyrics resonated with me. Composed by Teresa Jennings, “A Song of Peace” speaks of a child’s yearnings to write a song that would bring world peace. (If you need a quiet time this winter, I encourage you to listen to the children sing this song.) I leave you with the song’s lyrics that they may provide you with a glimmer of hope for our world too.
that everyone could sing,
I would write of love, of hope and
joy, and things that peace could bring.
And when we sang my magic song,
all hate and war would cease.
If I could write a magic song,
I’d write a song of peace.One song for all of us.
One song could bring us peace.
One song could make a miracle
for all of us. A song of peace.
With just one song, one magic
song that everyone could sing,
we could sing of love, of hope and joy,
and things that peace could bring.
And when we sang our magic song,
all hate and war would cease.
With just one song, one magic song,
the world could fill with peace.
(It’s interesting to note that Ann Weems wrote the book I quoted in this article over 20 years ago.)
Special Project Giving in 2019
The following is your generosity toward missions and special projects of Christ United Methodist Church. Thank you!
Any donations given directly on the UMCOR website, though credited to the church, are not processed through our local software and are not reflected below.
|Human Relations Day Offering||$115||Advent Offering (Wesley Children’s Services)||$1,870|
|UMCOR Day Offering||$1,106.53||Food Pantry Donations||$250|
|Native American Ministries Offering||$389||UMCOR Donations||$7,355|
|Peace with Justice Sunday Offering||$115||Grace Children’s Hospital||$800|
|World Communion Sunday Offering||$287||Pastor’s Discretionary Fund Donations||$8,291|
|Harvest of Hope||$148||In Memoriam Gifts||$1,400|
|Lenten Offering (Grace Children’s Hospital)||$1,732||Trustee Donations||$6,605|
Trustees 2019 Summary Report to the Church Family
It’s not uncommon for folks to wonder what the Trustees of the church do! While we mostly like to be in the background, here is our annual report sharing our efforts to maintain and enhance our church facilities. Funding for all improvements comes from Trustees’ resources which are separate and apart from the church budget. Contributions to the Trustees efforts are always welcomed.
Inside our church building
- Redecorated office for our new pastor.
- Replaced external door along stairwell behind organ to Fellowship Hall.
- Safety & security is critical to all using our facilities. Met with Sheriff’s Dept to discuss safety strategies. Working with Hospitality Committee to be a part of any safety plan.
- Repaired sanctuary walls that had bubbled due to water leaking through the walls.
- Provided funding to Education Committee to decorate classrooms.
- Following annual fire inspection, made all repairs necessary to meet the fire code.
- Provided for annual maintenance and thorough tuning of the organ. With some special gifts, replaced upright pianos used in sanctuary, Fellowship Hall, Children’s Choir, and Music Director’s office.
- Purchased three computers for staff.
- Purchased CD Recorder to replace old malfunctioning equipment.
- Worked with Arrowlift for quarterly maintenance of the elevator.
- Purchased photo use licensure to have access to pictures online.
- Approved recommendations of Hospitality Committee for improved signage within our facility.
- Received approval for non-profit status with the State of Ohio for two of our properties adjacent to the church building. Provided additional information for the application of Serenity House and the parking lot.
- Replaced lock mechanisms and crash bars on several exterior doors.
- Maintained the five HVAC systems. Contracted for semi-annual inspection of those systems.
- Replaced window air conditioners in several classrooms. Updated thermostats.
- Cleaned carpets and tile flooring throughout the church.
- Reviewed insurance coverage for programs conducted in CUMC; special consideration for Safe Sanctuary policy.
- Continue to provide Room 202 as office space for staff of Harvest of Hope.
Outside our church building
- Dedicated a bench in front of church in memory of Dora Kelley, gift of Bob Kelley.
- Replaced front dogwood tree with gifts in memory of Eileen Hutchison.
- Strahler & Sons waterproofed the exterior brick wall of sanctuary along Third St.
- Installed safety fencing adjacent to our ‘garage’ in the alley.
- Maintained contract to have gutters cleaned twice a year.
- Completed annual inspection of roof.
- Maintained landscaping around building and lawn care contracts. Updated plantings in front of our sign.
- Maintained contracts for snow removal of sidewalks and parking lots.
- Maintained contract for pest control.
- Passed the annual back flow test for water and sewer required by city.
- Completed tests of alarm security system.
- Resurfaced and repainted parking lot.
431 Third Street aka Serenity House
- Plumbing repairs were made as necessary.
- Updated agreements with those using the building.
- Maintained landscaping.
Special thanks to all who helped the trustees throughout the year with your concerns, service, gifts, and prayers. Thanks, too, to Bill Beebe, Jim Bir, Rod Carr, Bob Chase, Bob Ferguson, Werner Knight, Barney Ott, Jim Roberts and Vicki Schwartz McCoy for their service in 2019.