March 24, 2021

weekly e-news from Central United Methodist Church

Mission Statement:
"Our purpose is making and nurturing
disciples of Jesus Christ."
The Servant Leader by Tom Norrell
Easter and COVID-19

Well over 500,000 Americans have died of COVID-19; as many or more than died in WWII, WWI, and the Korean War put together. Millions have died, globally. In this context of death perhaps the resurrection makes a little more sense.

In Jesus' day 1/2 of the children died before reaching adulthood. Capital punishment occurred frequently. Plagues were frequent. Since the creation of anti-biotics, refrigeration, and vaccinations we view death as an aberration.

I had an aunt born around 1910. She watched her sister die in the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1919. Polio, world wars, and mothers dying during childbirth were a large part of her life. Yet she enjoyed long visits to the family cemetery, located between Fountain Inn and Simpsonville.

In my ignorance I thought this was odd. She was, to my amazement almost comfortable with death. I attribute this to at least two things. All the people close to her, who had died, loved her and she loved them. She was certain that each day brought her closer to living close to those people. She was certain that heaven awaited her and she was going to heaven by the grace of God in Jesus Christ!

For us to be impressed by the Easter event, we might stop seeking to deny death as we have learned to do, in funeral homes and hospitals.

Bishop Will Willimon has written several times that we are comfortable saying, "He/She died unexpectedly," when death is actually the one thing we can expect." In denying death we short change ourselves emotionally. In not talking about death we miss the joy of believing in the Resurrection of Jesus, and our own wonderful everlasting life to come. Ironically when death becomes an emotional reality, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and His promise of heaven, becomes all the more joyous!

Holy Week and Easter
27 Passover begins
28 Palm/Passion Sunday

April 2 Good Friday (special service of music on-line)
April 3 Holy Saturday/Easter Eve

Sunday, April 4
We will worship in-person on Easter Sunday in the sanctuary at 11am. While most of you have been vaccinated, we will continue to be watchful and observe safety practices.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Pick up your own bulletins.
  • Sit in every other pew.

Wednesday Lenten Gatherings continue at Noon on Zoom

Join Pastor Tom at noon today for a brief Lenten Wednesday zoom at noon devotional gathering. The study is Lent with St. Francis, by Diane M. Houdek. Each lesson emphasizes (via lectio divina) a Bible verse that St. Francis held dear. We will look at an event in Francis' life and finally have a prayer.

March 24 Gospel of Luke 22:24-27
March 31

Below is the Zoom link and information for the weekly Lenten gathering on Wednesdays at noon.

Meeting ID: 861 6506 6944
Passcode: 718527
March 28, 2021
Palm Sunday
Virtual Service streamed at 11 am and on Facebook

Welcome and Announcements
Procession of the Palms
Proclamation of the Entrance into Jerusalem:

Today, we tell an ancient story of a parade, palms and possibilities.
And we bear palms and crosses, reminding ourselves that both ecstasy and agony, joy and disappointment are part of our living.
Today we say: Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna!
This one is Jesus of Nazareth . . . teacher, builder, cornerstone, Messiah!

Chiming of the Hour
Opening Prayer 
Hymn 278 Hosanna, Loud Hosanna (verses 1-3) ELLACOMBE

*Gospel Lesson: Mark 11:1-11

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Concerns and Joys, Pastoral Prayer, and The Lord's Prayer

Offertory: What Wondrous Love Is This . . . arr. Rose M. Lauck
Phil Vernesoni, soloist

New Testament Lesson: Philippians 2: 5-11 NRSV

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Anthem Lord, We Praise Your Glory . . . Heinrich Schutz

Sermon: MONARCH OR MESSIAH. . . Rev. Tom Norrell
Response to the Word:

The Lord is my strength and my power; the Lord has become my salvation. There are joyous songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: "The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, the right hand of the Lord is exalted, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!" I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord. The Lord has chastened me sorely, but has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. Amen.
Hymn 296 Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle (vss. 1, 4 & 5) PICARDY

Chiming of the Hour


Lord, in Your Mercy
Hear Our Prayer for . . .

Carol Loar (choir member-surgery on March 25 for breast cancer and gallbladder)
David Harrelson (rehabilitation)
Dianne Cantrell (recovering from back surgery)
Dottie Broyles (undergoing treatment for lung cancer)
Grier Diangikes (SRHS - ICU)
James Ellis Griffeth (Prisma Hospital - ICU-Greenville)
Mary Grace Brown (cancer surgery and treatment - she is the wife of Rev. David Brown, Central's Charge)
Pat Hasty (heart)
Ray McLees (heart surgery)
Please Read This Information:
We invite you to worship with us on-line for our Sunday services being held in the sanctuary.
We will return to in-person worship beginning Easter Sunday, April 4.
Continue to join us at our regular time on-line. Any restriction does not apply to S.T.A.R. activities in the Fellowship Hall or the Palmetto Moravian Fellowship which is held in the Cannon Memorial Chapel, and only meets once a month. The next Moravian worship service is scheduled for March 28, 2021. If you have any questions, please contact the church office. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. For those activities that are taking place in-person, masks must be worn that cover both your nose and mouth, and a distance of six feet or greater between yourself and others must be maintained at all times. Remember our "ten commandments" for safety and health.
Upper Room Sunday School Class

You are invited to join the Upper Room Sunday school class on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM on Zoom. If you want to join, click the link below and enter the meeting ID and password!

Meeting ID: 815 9104 7549
Password: 778963
28 - Chris Story - Spartanburg City Manager

Below is the link and the password for the recording of the Upper Room class on Sunday, March 21.
Meeting Recording:
Access Passcode: UpperRoom3.21

Our Giving
In the midst of this time of great challenge:

a/o February 28, 2021   
YTD Budget  $104,418
YTD Received $ 71,769
YTD Expenses $ 83,634
 a/o February 28, 2020          
YTD Budget $ 99,776
YTD Received $ 74,850
YTD Expenses $ 99,332
Financial Statements are available in the hallway outside of the church office.

The work of Central continues and would not be possible without the prayers, generosity and support of our leaders and laity.
Sacred Traditions And Rituals

Sunday, March 28, 6:00 PM
Fellowship Hall

Tranquility with Tea Service
for Palm Sunday
a service devoted to quieting minds, opening hearts, soothing souls

The Strength of Vulnerability

Don't mistake someone's willingness
to show
as weakness.
It takes a great deal of courage
to show vulnerability
And that takes
-Zero Dean

Our service will reflect on this Holy Day and the beginning of Holy Week. Exposing how God becomes vulnerable for us and us, for God . . . and the strength reflected-back into the world at this crossroads in human destiny.
Our Prayerful Meditation and Contemplation will be created and shared by Jennifer Hasty. She teaches at Gaffney High School, is mother to our youngest STAR - two-year old, John, and a member of the S.T.A.R. Planning Council.
A portion of the offering has been designated for Youth Missions at Central UMC - honoring Jennifer for sharing her creative energy with us.

    Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 864 7886 0640
Passcode: 079828 
from the Choirmaster's desk...

I would like to remind Central UMC
members that there will be no installment of Music For At Home Devotions this week. Instead, the Chancel Choir will be completing a recording of excerpts from the "Seven Last Words" section of Arthur Somervell's The Passion of Christ.
This recording will be edited in time for release during Holy Week. It would be an ideal meditation, of course, to listen to these stirring words and beautiful music on Good Friday, April 2nd.
Two of our Chancel Choir members are undergoing surgery this week. Ray McLees is having his aortic valve replaced today (Tuesday), and Carol Loar will have breast and gallbladder surgery on Thursday. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Grace and peace,

Cannon's Memorial Chapel
Palmetto Moravian Fellowship
Worship Service on
Passion/Palm Sunday
March 28, 2021, 9am

Church Announcements for
Central Time or Sunday bulletin
If you have an announcement that you would like to appear in the Central Time, Sunday bulletins, on social media, or on the church's website, please submit that information to: before noon on Mondays. Thank you!
Ways to Give to Central

We continue to be deeply grateful for continued support of the mission and ministry of Central Church. There are a few ways to continue to make offerings extremely easy.

  1. The US mail always works. We are at 233 North Church St., Spartanburg, SC 29306.
  2. Contact Ann Darby to set up a recurring gift through an automatic bank draft.
  3. On the homepage on the church's website there is a "Give" link. Once you set up that app any additional gifts are as easy as one or two clicks.

Central United Methodist Church
Tuesday Evening Bible Class taught by Andy Crosland on Zoom, at 6:00 pm. 
 You are welcome to join or to rejoin us. 
The Zoom link information for every class is . . .
Meeting ID: 847 8558 8972
Passcode: 800422
March 21, 2021
To Geneva Aycock by Sam and Joy Knight

Lifelong Learning at Wofford College

Spring Schedule 2021
March 8 - April 30

Jack Lawrence, Chair of Building Committee
March Birthdays
24 Monica Boudreau
25 Shirley Atkinson
26 Sarah Parris
28 Rosalie Atance, Elizabeth Zimmerman
29 Penny Holt, Lynn Proctor
April Birthdays
1 Clara Maultsby, Tom Norrell
2 Jerry Cantrell
5 Lauren Dixon
6 James Ellis Griffeth, Addison Wolfe
7 Barbara Jurs
8 Debbi Herman, Lester Richards, Beverly Skinner
10 Mitch Kyllonen
11 Luther Rickenbaker
12 Joanie Bilton, Joyce Coggins
13 Jordan Clark, Kim Retherford
14 James Ferguson Pryor
15 Paige Wolfe
16 Alexis Wyatt
18 Paul Lansberry
19 Caroline Layne
20 Nancy Welch
21 Daune Teague
22 Carolyn Sparks
23 Claire Younger, Emma Younger
24 Kathy Quackenbush
25 Bralyn Crocker
27 Carl King
28 Donna Treat
29 Thom Henson, Michael Henson

Lenten Offering 2021

This offering helps to support Central mission community projects, such as S.P.I.H.N. (Spartanburg Interfaith Hospitality Network), Aftercare, Soup Kitchen, T.O.T.A.L. (Telling Others They Are Loved) Ministries, Spartanburg Bethlehem Community Center and more. You may give to this special offering through Easter Sunday, online or via check payable to: Central UMC, designated to the Lenten Offering. The Mission Committee sends our sincere thanks and blessings.

-Elaine Crosland, Chairperson
In order to be transparent about our spending we keep copies of the most recent financial statement on the table near the entrance of our office. It is an extensive document and sometimes needs explanation.

The Finance Committee and our staff have been working on our financial situation since last fall. Here are some highlights of our financial situation:

  • In a regular checking account we have about $155,000 to be spent on regular budget items.
  • We have about $251,000 in designated funds. We have $27,000 in an unrestricted C.D.
  • We have $672,000 in a restricted Endowment.
  • Although most of Central's money is designated for specific causes, the total is $1.1 million dollars.

Our Finance Committee has a taskforce working on how we can spend designated funds more easily.
While we have accumulated a lot of money, we still have the problem of not receiving enough money in our general fund offering to meet our annual budget. If you have questions about our finances, please feel free to call us.

Gratefully yours,

Tom Norrell, Pastor
Janet Wilson, Chair of Finance Committee


Central (864) 582-7263

Central United Methodist
founded 1837
Central Office Hours:
Monday through Wednesday
and Friday
9:00 AM - 12 Noon
Get text notifications from Central
To sign up, text the word "Central" to 864-661-4726. After texting the keyword to this phone number, you will receive a reply asking for some simple info. Please click the link, include your name, and submit the form. You will be signed up! Any questions, contact Rev. Paige Wolfe.