From Pastor Lara
My Dear Martin Family:

This week, our country observes Independence Day. We have lived into a period in which there seems to be great deal of difference in people's understandings of freedom and what it means to exercise that freedom. To round out a weekend in which most of us will relax, grill, eat cold watermelon and perhaps watch Hamilton broadcast on DisneyPlus (on Friday only), I want to share with you an article written by Jeffrey S. Arrowood as found on his adult catechetical website you can access at . I find it to be very helpful in thinking about how we, as Christians, live intentionally every day as people whose faith informs our patriotism (rather than the other way around).

He writes:

Simply defined, freedom is the function of the will that empowers rational beings (humans, angels, etc.) to choose their actions.

Freedom allows us to:
  • Act contrary to our instincts, emotions and desires
  • Control our emotions and desires
  • Choose among various potential goods
  • Choose between physical and spiritual good
  • Choose who we want to become

There is a strong movement in our culture to leave the definition of freedom there — to see freedom as the ability (and right) to choose to do whatever we want. Living this definition of freedom at first seems fun and easy. We can do what we want and nobody else has the right to tell us our choice is right or wrong. After all, only we truly know what is truly good for us. As fun as it seems, though, in the end this definition of freedom is not livable. What happens when the choices that I want to make for myself interferes with the choices you make for yourself? What happens when we think something such as taking drugs is good for us when it objectively ruins our lives? What happens when someone chooses a path that harms other people? The band-aid solution often used to answer these questions is to define freedom as “the ability to do whatever you want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.”

There is a deeper problem with this simple definition of freedom. While it contains truth in it, it is not a complete definition. Human reason (and therefore natural law) requires more rigor in defining important concepts such as freedom. One of the most important questions to ask ourselves when we are trying to define something is, “What is the thing’s purpose?”

So, what role does freedom play in human nature? What is its purpose? Well, it makes sense that if we are going to choose among possible goods, the goal would be to choose those goods that meet the other goals of natural law – making us more human, choosing and protecting authentic human goodness, being true to our physical and spiritual nature, and enriching human society. For human freedom to fulfill its purpose, we need to have not only the ability to choose, but the ability to choose what can do the greatest good for us as human beings. Put simply,  true human freedom is the ability to choose the best possible good .
Now, a word of caution: bringing up this topic in a Fourth of July gathering may prompt one several reactions: “Yeah, excuse me, I think I’ll have another helping of potato salad!” or it could launch a “fireworks” display (setting someone off on a tirade) or it could generate some excellent dialogue about being disciples and exercising the practice of discipline. You've been warned. Of course, those who founded our nation risked much for freedom. How much are we willing to risk?
With much love,
Pastor Lara
aka "The Vicar"
Worship at home. Save lives.
Love God. Love your neighbor
Beginning June 6th and continuing throughout the summer, Martin UMC will be offering one time opportunities via Zoom or Facebook Live to connect with one another, learn something new and have a bit of fun doing it! Be sure to check this new ZOOM INTO SUMMER section of the newsletter each week to stay in the know about Who and What is coming up and When!
Martin Methodist Church:
Below is a photo of a sample of the food that Faiana and I will deliver to the Project Transformation youth,
at First Methodist Bedford, on July 6.
Food will be delivered to the families on Thursday July 9 and supply them with essentials for the weekend.
This has been an unusual year for Project Transformation.
This group has utilized ZOOM for much of their
learning this year just as our church has done.
I want to thank the church for supporting and encouraging this organization and these youth. A special thanks to individuals and families that donated funds to provide this food.
Apple Corps & Journey Sunday School classes for their tremendous donations.
Thank you to Kari Northup for assisting with the shopping.
Douglas Northup
Director of Mission and Outreach

Apple Corps meets via Zoom at 9:30 every Sunday morning for casual fellowship. Class begins at 9:45.
The Zoom Meeting ID is 293-856-379 or click the link below to go directly to Zoom.
Branches meets via Zoom at 9:45 every Sunday morning. The Zoom Meeting ID is 213-928-173 or click the link below to go register and go to Zoom.
Genesis meets via Zoom at 9:30 every Sunday morning. The Zoom Meeting ID is 937 5166 7725 or click the link below to go register and go to Zoom.
"I CONNECT" meets via Zoom at 9:45 every Sunday morning.The Zoom Meeting ID is 963-430-720 or click the link below for Zoom.
Journey meets via Zoom at 9:30 every Sunday morning.The Zoom Meeting ID is 429-051-096 or click the link below for Zoom.
New Beginnings meets via Zoom at 9:45 every Sunday morning.The Zoom Meeting ID is 387-197-129 or click the link below for Zoom.
The Way meets via Zoom at NOON every Sunday morning.The Zoom Meeting ID is 450-965-323 or click the link below for Zoom.
Sunday School for preschool and elementary school meets via Zoom at 9:45. To maintain a secure site for our children, please email Ms. Robin for login information before Sunday.
Prayer Concerns & Sympathy
Please continue to check the Facebook Prayer Page for daily updates or concerns. To be redirected to the Martin UMC Care Team Prayer Ministry page, click here:

Martin Community: Nancy Cowain and family, Glen Dow, Barb Herbison, Johnny Kelley, Kathi Kohler, Doug Northup, Melissa Norton, Dottie Rust, Marcie Smith, Lee Swann, Joe Turner

Family & Friends: Barbara Bradford , Skip Bradford, Ryan Campanaro, Donna & Taryn Cates, Gwen Caylor, Cory Chalk, Barbara Gorden, Art Grimes, Pat Hern, Barbara Hertz, Brenda Hurlbut, June Ivey, Cindy Jackson, Gloria Jackson, Diane Kunce, Marilyn Long, Emily Manning, Jan Nelson, Monica Miles, Robert Shouse, Bill & Dorothy Standley, Madelyn Toland, Deb & Al Viney

Names remain for two weeks unless otherwise requested.