The  Sower  
Orchards United Methodist Church Newsletter
April 2020 -
1st Edition     
 Dear Church,

 This feeling of isolation is a form of grief.   Grief is NOT just for when someone dies. It   IS for whenever we experience significant   loss. Right now, I am grieving you. And it's   hard to know how to be your pastor. I want   to see you, to hear your jokes, your complaints, your confessions, your hopes and your faith.

Like many losses, this one puts into perspective what is essential. Certainly, we're thinking of essential workers. Can we also consider what is essential in life? Food, shelter, rest, time, play, purpose, education, art, communication, health, exercise, creation...I am learning the essence of these things.

As we close in on Easter, there may be a desire for normalcy. But you know that is not possible right now. We will continue unnormal worship, even for Easter. In this season, can we be patient with each other's unnormal ways. Can we try to see value in unnormal offerings? Can we allow ourselves to be pleasantly surprised by the opportunities and lessons of the limiting time?

The next unnormal thing is our first "First Sunday" without church. I will miss serving you Holy Communion. I want to encourage you in your own settings to host your own "Love Feast". This is a less formal way to share the bread and cup
while praising God and communing with others. John Wesley himself learned this from the Moravians and encouraged it among early Methodists.

A Love Feast can happen during your evening meal. A hymn or simple chorus can be sung to open and/or close the Feast (Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart or Amazing Grace are appropriate). Usually a scripture is read (try 1 John 4:7-21). It is customary to offer bread to one another along with a blessing. The idea is 'holy conversation' characterized by praise, encouragement and blessing. If you're alone, you can do all of these things and substitute a time of journaling or additional singing for the conversation. An additional option is to include an offering for the poor or hungry.

Finally, there are two things included in this Sower. The first is a Holy Week devotional chart. It is adapted from the booklet handed out at the beginning of Lent. It has scriptures, meditations and focus questions for the week to help your spirit during this holy but isolated season. Also included is a paper "child". This is to remind you that there will come a time in the future when we will get back to ministry. It is to remind you that we still have summer ahead of us and a plan to minister to the children at Orchards Glen. I encourage you to place this 'paper child' where you can see it regularly. Make it a new habit to pray regularly for our summer ministry. We're not sure what the future holds. But it is a matter of hope and faith that we look to the future and plan accordingly.

Thanks for hearing these matters from your church. I pray that wherever this letter reaches you that the presence of God surrounds you with grace and peace. I pray that God will send a measure of the Holy Spirit to each other, that we may uphold one another in prayer and rejoice when we see each other again.

- Pastor Christopher
Our mission is to  Love God, Love People and Serve Both!   
"Orchards United Methodist Church  welcomes  and 
affirms people of all  sexual orientations and gender identities and  supports full inclusion in  every aspect of church life."
Contact Information

Website:   www.orchardsumc.com        email: orchardumc.office@gmail.com    
Follow us on Facebook:  Orchards UMC Vancouver  #OrchardsUMC
Orchards United Methodist Youth  #OrchardsUMCYouth

Office Hours: Tues.-Thur., 9:30 am - 3:30 pm         Phone: 360-892-5240        

Pastor:  Christopher Gudger-Raines
 
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Birthdays &
Anniversaries

If we don't have your
birthday or anniversary date,  or if it is incorrect,
please call the office,
892-5240 or   email

Birthdays

   2 Hayley  Kersey
  5 Erin Coats
  8 Steve Walker
      Jean Donovan
 10 Chase Clayton
 16 Suzie Wuitschick
 17 Phyllis Anderson
      Isabelle Dehler
      Ryan Hemphill
      Steve Schmick
      Chris Lawson
 20 Lorrie Schnabler
      Joshua Hanshew
 21 Douglas Dehler
 22 Anna Gudger-
      Raines
 27 Laura Bishop
 30 Bill Roller
   
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Anniversaries

 16 Chris & Wendy
      Lawson
 18 Sandy & Roger
      Carscallen
 25 Debbie & Mike
      Anderson
 28 Steve & Elaine
      Walker
Pray for Our Military

SFC Patrick Walker
Army
Colorado Springs

SPC Gus Jeffries
National Guard
Deployed

1st LT Tom Roller
Air Force
has been deployed