Jan 12
Visit southlyonfirstumc.org 
for more information
Sundays at 11:00am

  • Livestream Worship at 11AM on YouTube*
  • In-person in the Sanctuary


The Upper Room (Jan/Feb issue) is available on the kiosk and in the outdoor bin next to door #4
Church Family, 

We are in the season of Epiphany. It is an extraordinary season that is before us. On January 5, the eve of Epiphany Day, I spent some time gazing outside. The trees were a silvery white, their branches sparkled in the moonlight against a dark sky. Everything was quiet except the occasional traffic on S. Lafayette. The weather was crisp and I felt it on my lungs with each inhale. As I looked up I wondered: what it is like to dance across the stars?

And that is what Epiphany is — a season of stars. Magic.

Epiphany is a season in the Christian year — the weeks that follow Christmas until Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. In the northern hemisphere, it is the deep winter season, a time of starkness, cold, ice, and snow. Madeleine L’Engle once wrote that winter “reveals structure,” that which is behind the root of leaf and flower of spring. Stripped down to the icy branches, Epiphany manifests a January spirituality helping us see what we cannot otherwise see.

The traditional themes of Epiphany are light, glory, sight, revelation, and enlightenment. The seasonal cycle begins with the story of the Magi — three wise mystics — following a star, a journey that takes them to Jesus, God’s promise birthed into the world, wonder embodied as a tiny child. The most ordinary of human moments — birth — becomes extraordinary.

This is the season of extraordinary time, the in-breaking of creation’s promise. This Epiphany, this seeing, this glory of the cosmos manifested here and now. The season of remembering that God is holding our very lives, we are not alone.

Diane Bass writes, “This extraordinary season induces awe. It reveals that there is more to the world than what we accept as “ordinary.” And there are powers and principalities that will press against Epiphany with fear and great violence. To see the deep structure, to follow the star, to hear the breaking of the ice encasing the earth is threatening to those who benefit from “normal,” the accepted veneer of “ordinary” injustices and oppressions and indignities that bedevil and deceive the human race.”

And thus: Epiphany is the season we need now. We need its clarity, its sharp starkness. We live in awful and awe-filled times. For some of what we know as ordinary has become the gateway to the divine; and some of what we’ve accepted as ordinary is far from ordinary. It takes an epiphany to reveal which is which — to know the deepest love in the world and live in the tailings of the star.

A.E. Stallings wrote, “The poetry of earth is never dead. This Epiphany, let us be alive to the world, the extraordinary mundane.” May we be alive remembering that God holds our lives, we are loved, and the extraordinary presence of the Holy Spirit is all around us. Where are your Epiphany moments? How are you working at remembering that God is holding you? Where have you seen the extraordinary Holy Spirit alive in the world this week?

Just a few things to ponder on this crisp January day.
Love and Peace in Christ, Rev. Mary

“The works of God’s hands are faithful and just.” - Psalm 111

We will begin the new year reminding ourselves that God is holding us up, we are not alone, and we are loved. Life is a series of exclamations from “O No!” to “Help!” to “Oh Yeah!” We can swing between disappointment, helplessness, and gratitude on a daily basis. There are also seasons of our lives when we feel inundated with more of one than the others. As we enter the new year, we had hoped we would be past the “O No!” of the last several months. Instead we find ourselves with ongoing prayers for “Help!” The Book of Psalms knows all about this. Written over a span of time from exile and isolation to the rebuilding of the community, the poetry of the Psalms will accompany us in this series, reminding us that through it all, we can trust and even give our thankful “Oh Yeah!” because God is, indeed, holding our lives, we are loved, and we are not alone. 

January 9 “These Lives are Precious”
“God delivers the needy when they call” - Psalm 72

January 16 “Awe and Wonder”
“My God gives strength to the people and blesses the people with peace.” - Psalm 29

January 23 “Where Can I Go?” (Sue Pethoud will be guest preacher)
“You have searched me and know me.” - Psalm 139

January 30 “In God Alone”
“God alone is my rock and salvation… I shall not be shaken.” - Psalm 62

February 6 “Whole Heart Hallelujah”
“The works of God’s hands are faithful and just.” - Psalm 111

February 13 “We Wait, We Hope, We Stay”
“God heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” - Psalm 147

February 20 “The One is Shining Forth”
“God speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.” - Psalm 50

We are gathering at Third Monk Brewing this Wednesday, January 12th, @ 7:30 pm.
This week we will discuss Being Happy, Becoming a Better Person, and Suffering.
And… anything else that is on your Heart.
Please come and join us for a cold beer (…or pop) and a lively conversation.
The Men's Bible Study meets at 7:30PM on Tuesdays for a study called "ACTS, Catching Up with the Spirit" by biblical scholar Matthew Skinner. We offer the "hybrid" options of in-person in the Friendship Room or virtual via Zoom. Contact Dave Smith, Stu Baker, or the church office for additional info.
Saturday, January 22, 9AM – NOON. Women Renewed: A day for reflection, renewal, and inspiration. Certified Integrative Health Coach and Mindfulness Professional, Andrea Weid (www.onesmallchangecoaching.com), will speak about keeping our reservoirs full. Massage therapist, Erin Beatty (www.hamassage.com), will talk about the healing power of touch. Both will offer encouraging and hope-filled messages along with practical tips for maintaining our well-being. The morning will culminate with an opportunity to connect content with creativity designed to fill our souls. All women are welcome! Masks will be worn. Coffee & water will be provided. Feel free to bring your own snacks to enjoy between sessions. The fee is $49 per person. Click here or use the QR Code to sign up by January 16.  
Check out the next book club book and join Rev. Mary for a discussion on Feb 1st.

From the Publisher: For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.
Wesley Woods Camp is offering Winter Blast for 3-5th graders and a couple of our kids are going. If you are interested, please check out the website to register: 

Wesley Woods Camp is also offering Winter Blast for Middle Schoolers and a couple of our teens are going. If you are interested, please check out the website to register: 

In January, the Mission of the Month will benefit Cass Community Social Services, a Detroit-based agency that works across the city in areas of concentrated poverty providing programs for food, health, housing and jobs. Please prayerfully consider donating to this Mission of the Month.
Please also keep our prayer partners in your devotions:  
Bethlehem Temple UMC – our sister church in Liberia
Helen Roberts-Evans – our covenant missionary in Liberia
Local Ministry Partners – Capernaum Health Clinic & Active Faith
The United Methodist Church

Office Hours
  • Mondays 9am - 3:00pm
  • Tuesdays - Thursdays 9am - noon

Check out our website or our live calendar
for more information about our church or any of these programs!

Do you prefer a printed copy of our Midweek Messenger? Hard copies are available in the tote outside the main doors to the church.