A Message from Pastor Sandra

Are you up to the task of exploring what is in Your heart and in Your mind and in Your life?

 

Desmond Tutu has written:

"In the end, what matters is not how good we are, but how good God is! Not how much we love God, but how much God loves us! And God loves us, whoever we are, whatever we've done or failed to do, whatever we believe or can't!"

 
We are here, at this time, in this space, as we begin the celebration of Holy Week, 2016. What are we doing spiritually with our time? How are we showing up for God and the redemption he has promised to each of us? And however tasty they might be, it is not a season about Chocolate Bunnies nor is it about Easter Bonnets, although these are precious memories from my childhood in the South; memories that include wonderful family conversations shared over Easter Dinner. Something special happened as we broke bread together. It was a Holy Time!
 
Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Looking within to discover some of life's deeper meanings and to learn more about ourselves can be life-changing. A life worth living is one that honors all parts of our selves: physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual. Together we're finding ways to connect to God and to give God all that we are.
 
As United Methodists, we spend Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter, in self-examination and reflection, as modeled by Jesus in Matthew 4: 1-11, where he prayed and fasted for 40 days before beginning his ministry. What happened during those 40 days of fasting and praying in the wilderness? Have you ever thought that perhaps Jesus needed a break from his regular routine in order to see God [and himself] more clearly? Maybe he sought more time with God as he searched for direction and answers to the question that we, too, have from time to time: "What are you calling me to do, God?"
 
A lot of people think that "church" is either a building with a steeple or a Sunday morning rock concert. I think it's something different. I believe that Jesus called together a band of people he called "the church" who would know him and follow him, loving God, loving themselves and loving others.
 
This is what Easter is about. It is the whisper in the winter reminding us that spring is coming. It's that one warming breeze amid the snow, bringing a new change of season. What has been dead can live again. God is up to something new...something fresh. In us! Through us, and nothing, no-one is beyond his grace. This is love.
 
God CAN BEGIN anew in you. Through You! And one morning, you awaken and instead of seeing the same dead branches, you see a small purple blossom. There it is. LIFE!!!!!! God has created us to live a new life and to live it abundantly. Why? Why would God give such grace? YOU!!! You are why God gives such amazing grace!
 
Believe that a new beginning is possible! You! You are the new beginning, now, today. That's the miracle of Easter!  
Holy Week and Easter - 2016
Maundy Thursday - March 24, starting at 6:30pm
On Maundy Thursday, we remember and share the Last Supper. Everyone is invited to gather in the Fellowship Hall for a soup supper, Holy Communion, hymns, Holy Week reflections, foot-washing and anointing! Let's remember together!
 
Easter Sunday - March 27,
starting at 10:00am
Easter Sunday is our joy-filled celebration of new life and resurrection, offered to us freely through God's love in the resurrection of Jesus Christ! This Easter, we will also share in the Service of Baptism and Reception of New Members. Please invite your friends and family to attend! All are graciously welcomed! And... our celebration will be concluded with a sing-along finale: The Hallelujah Chorus! Don't miss out!
 
Congregational Cross-cultural Communication Workshop:
Saturday, April 9
9:00am until 2:00pm
HAVE YOU EVER...
  • Wanted to have an authentic conversation with a person of a different race or culture and got stuck?
  • Wondered what changes might take place in your congregation if you have a pastor of a different cultural/racial identity?
IF SO...
  • Would you like to learn some communication tools to help make conversation and understanding easier?
  • Would you like to experience differences as a way to be in relationship rather than to be separated?
Then please join us at the Intercultural training on Saturday, April 9 from 9:00am until 2:00pm in the Fellowship Hall. Taught by members of the I-Relate Intercultural Leadership Institute, the goals of this workshop are:
  • To understand cross-cultural dynamics and their impact on how we see and do church
  • To have more objective ways of describing what is going on cross-culturally
  • To have ways to move through confusion to understanding
  • To have our pastor share from her cultural background and call to ministry
  • To have the congregation share hopes for how this appointment can strengthen the life and ministry of the church
This is a ministry of the California Nevada Annual Conference. Please get this training opportunity on your calendar and RSVP by April 3rd so lunch can be planned. Look forward to seeing you there - this is an important opportunity for all members and friends of First UMC!

Spring UpTown Closet Sidewalk Sale: Saturday, April 23
11:00am to 1:00pm
Volunteers in the UpTown Closet are preparing racks of clothes to be shared at our Spring Sidewalk Sale. Stop by the front of the church on Saturday, April 23 from 11:00am to 1:00pm and browse through some wonderful clothing that will be 50% to 75% off during the sale. We love these items, but thanks to the generous donations we have been receiving, we must reduce our inventory and we want you to be the first to know. Circle the date on your calendar and come on down.
 
Also... this is a date for our Saturday lunch program in the UpTown Café so stop in and have lunch as well!

Spring Cleaning & All Church Cleanout/Cleanup - Saturday, May 7
Just as we do at home, periodically our church needs some deep cleaning. Clutter accumulates, and some things need to be "retired from service." It has been a few years (time does fly!) since we have swept through our beautiful facility with trash bins in hand and cleaning cloths at the ready. On Saturday, May 7, we will tackle the challenge. Areas to be de-cluttered and cleaned will be:
  • Whitfield & Heritage Rooms
  • Fellowship Hall Kitchen
  • Fellowship Hall, Fireside Room and the Stage
  • Church Office and Workroom
  • Council Room and adjoining cubicles
We will work in teams and your help in this endeavor would be greatly appreciated. And, anyway, it can be a lot of fun! And... be assured there will be food involved at some point J ! Details will follow as we get closer to the date. Please mark your calendar now!

UPCOMING EVENTS
Thursday, March 24
Maundy Thursday
Soup supper and Communion Starting at 6:30pm

Saturday, March 26
UpTown Café
    Neighborhood Lunch
Everyone welcome!
Serving 11:30am to 1:00pm

Sunday, March 27
EASTER SUNDAY WORSHIP!
Starting at 10:00am
Sunday, April 3
Communion Sunday
Starting at 10:00am

Thursday, April 7
Trustees Meeting
Starting at 6:30pm

Saturday, April 9
Congregational Cross-cultural Communication Workshop
9:00am to 2:00pm
CALENDAR REMINDERS

 

  • Spring UpTown Closet Sidewalk Sale - Saturday, April 23
  • All-Church Cleanout/Cleanup - Saturday, May 7