Midweek News - January 18, 2023

A Word from Pastor John

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:


The median age of the United Methodist Church is 57 years. Just a quick math reminder, median means the middle. So, half of the UMC are older and half are younger. That statistic is not decreasing and has been worrying the church for quite a while. Now it turns out that most major US denominations, including the Southern Baptist Convention, are grouped right around that number plus or minus two years. Roman Catholics and Jews are a little younger at 50, and Mormons come in at 43. The median age in the US is 38.5.

 

Let me give some other statistics to give some perspective. The median age of baseball fans is also 57. The NFL is 51, NHL is 49, NBA is 42 and soccer is 39. Which group would you rather be the head of? If you said soccer, you would be correct, and that number includes not just the MLS but also US fans of international leagues.

 

The MLB has been working on trying to make their sport more attractive to younger generations because they know that a median age of 57 and increasing is not sustainable in the long-term. The NFL should be, but, as I said last week and in other articles, because they are king of the hill, they don’t think they have to be, at least not outwardly. Interestingly, the NHL has seen their median age increase one year every year for the past decade.

 

One more set for comparison. When it comes to the major networks, CBS’s median is 66, ABC and NBC are both 61, and Fox is 58. When it comes to the major news networks Fox News is 67, MSNBC is 63 and CNN is 61. None of those are sustainable viewerships for obvious reasons. Netflix, by comparison, has a median age of 40, and Roku users median is 39.

 

Just based on the median, we could also compare church membership, which does not necessarily mean attendance, by generation and my guess would be it would also align with the above statistics. 66% of the Silent Generation (1928-1945) report church membership. For Boomers (1946-1964) it’s 58%. Gen X (1965-1980), down to 50%, and Millennials (1981-1994) are at 36%. We don’t yet know what Gen Z (1995-2012) will be, but all indications are that it will be lower than millennials and Alphas (2013-2025) probably even lower. The median age for agnostics and atheists is 34.

 

But, even though the so called nones, or no religious affiliation, is growing, especially among younger generations, does not mean they are rejecting God or the idea of there being a supreme being of some sort. More than 80% of millennials say they believe in God. So, they aren’t rejecting God, what they are rejecting is the church. They aren’t buying what we are selling, and I apologize for that terrible analogy.

 

So, if we look at the major networks and the major news networks, we can guess that if they don’t make significant changes in the next decade, they will cease to exist, or will be, as I said last week, mere shells of themselves. I read this weekend that it is estimated that more than 30% of churches will close their doors in the next 20 years. But, that number was from pre-COVID, which has exacerbated those trends, and so I would guess that number may be true in the next 10-15 years. And while many of those churches will be more rural, that will represent some major changes in the landscape of the church in America.

 

But here’s the thing. The church itself is not going to go anywhere. The reasons why people need God, the reasons why Jesus was sent into the world, have not changed. People need what we need, and have received in the church, just as much as ever, and God will make a way. If it is not through the church’s work now, other churches will arise that will do that work. As John Wesley said about the future of this movement, “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power."

 

The fundamental issues we face today are not different than what humanity has always faced. But, how we get that message out has to change. And as I said last week, that has always been the case. Unless you were raised in an Eastern Orthodox church, the church that you grew up in is not the same as the church your parents or grandparents grew up in. Styles and music have always changed over time to meet the new realities of the world and to offer the good news to new generations.

 

And that change can be scary. But usually the thing that people worry most about change, and why change can be hard, is what they think will be lost in the change, rather than the change itself. And so one of the things to counter that is not only naming it, but also thinking about what will be gained. And new disciples for Jesus Christ seems like a good thing, after all the shepherd leaves behind the 99 in order to go find the one who is lost.

 

Next week I am going to begin outlining what Carey Nieuwhof has identified as what he thinks will be the seven disruptive trends for the church in the next decade. These trends will build off of the information I have provided these last two weeks, and help us prepare for our Lenten journey as we begin dreaming and visioning the future for this congregation.


What I'm Currently Reading:

  • Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I by Timothy Keller
  • Forgive for Good by Frederic Luskin

Worship News

Sunday, January 22, 2023



Scripture Readings: The scripture readings for Sunday, January 22, are Isaiah 9:1-4; Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 and Luke 6:27-42. The message, "Steps of Forgiveness", will be on the passage from Luke. This week is a contemporary service.


Questions to help you prepareWhy do you think scripture tells us that we should forgive, but doesn't tell us how? Do you think this was a skill that used to be known but has been lost? Why or why not? What do you think forgiving requires? Are there different steps for different levels of forgiveness? Why or why not? What has been your biggest successes with forgiving? What has been your biggest failure?

 

Prayer for the week:

God of Blazing light,

through the power of the cross you shattered our darkness,

scattering the fears that bind us

and setting us free to live as your children.

Give us courage and conviction

that we may joyfully turn and follow you

into new adventures of faithful service,

led by the light that shines

through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen


10 a.m. Worship

streamed online at Facebook.com/FirstInYourHeart,

our website at FirstInYourHeart.org

http://lafumc.churchcenter.com/


For those worshiping in-person masks are optional.

We will have KN-95 masks available for those who wish to wear a mask.

Sunday, January 15

"Carrying Stones"

Rev. John W. Nash

Did you miss a Sunday? Maybe you just want to listen to the message again. You can view previous Sundays on YouTube.

Church Community

Programming Night to Return

January 22, 2023


Head and Heart Group for Programming Night


Many months ago, in one of Pastor John’s sermons, he said something that has lived in my head that changed the way I think about a lot of things. I believe it was in his Methodism series; he said we are called to live with our heads and hearts in tension. He didn’t say balanced or equal; he said in tension. 


Many prefer to interact with our faith in some generalized ways, through our heads, intellectually, and through study. Or through our hearts, emotionally and connectionally. One way is not better than another and having a preference and even a specialization is normal. However, as Pastor John said, we must keep these things in tension. 


This concept fuels our adult classes for Programming Night starting January 22nd at 4 pm. Our healthy group of around 16 people will split into two groups for four weeks. Pastor John will lead our “Head” group and will be a Bible 101 class. This will not be a Bible study, but a study of the Bible, pulling from the deep well that is Pastor John’s theological mind. Our “Heart” group will be led by Jeanie Gibson and discuss Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown. We will explore topics like shame, loneliness, and fear based on the author's work and what scripture tells us. 


The head group is not just for head people, and the heart group is not just for heart people. We want to create opportunities to strengthen your strengths and help keep your head and heart in tension. So, please pray about a focus and join us. Do you need help deciding? Speak to Pastor John or me. 


We also have our regular Programming Night activities like dinner, devotional time, and a children and youth opportunity for all ages. And don’t forget Family Circle! 


Finally, it is important to restate that the head and heart groups will be a four-week series. After four weeks, all adult classes will come together for a prayer series.

Lent Worship Planning

Monday, October 23 at 6 p.m.


We had our first meeting and are excited the direction we are going. If you'd like to join our next meeting it's Monday, October 23 in the library.

Martha Circle

Thursday, January 24


Join us for Martha Circle on Tuesday, January 24, at 1:15 at Opal Lee Gill’s home, 2403 Club Road for a program on the Ukraine.

United Women in Faith continues to assist our mission partners in the Ukraine with emergency food, hygiene items, blankets, psychological support, facilitation of self-help groups, and more. We’ll hear an update from a United Women in Faith Voices from the Field podcast to show us how the money from our Love Offering will help those in the Ukraine as members of the Women’s Peace Dialogue Platform share their work.

stack_of_books.jpg

All Booked Up

January 25 at 10 a.m.


The next book we will discuss for All Booked Up is The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.



We will discuss this book in the Social Action category on Wednesday, January 25 (note change of date). The Four Winds is available at Mesa Public Library as a book, a book on CD, Hoopla audio book, Mp3 and Kindle. There is also a copy on the United Women in Faith bookshelf in the church library.

Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White

By Adam Hamilton


Join the Inquirers Sunday school class in our new study, “Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White: Thoughts on Religion, Morality and Politics” by Adam Hamilton. Everyone agrees that America is polarized, with ever-hardening positions held by people less and less willing to listen to one another. No one agrees on what to do about it.


One solution that hasn’t yet been tried, says Adam Hamilton, is for thinking persons of faith to model for the rest of the country a richer, more thoughtful conversation on the political, moral, and religious issues that divide us. Hamilton rejects the easy assumptions and sloppy analysis of black and white thinking, seeking instead the truth that resides on all sides of the issues, and offering a faithful and compassionate way forward.


The Inquirers meets as a hybrid class, on Zoom (contact Carol Mead, cjmead@ansr.biz) and in person as a no-fragrance class in the Friendship Center at 11:30 on Sunday mornings. The book is available as a Hoopla ebook from the library, as a Kindle book and in paper at both Ebay and Amazon.

Missions Team Meeting

February 1 at 6 p.m.


Calling all disciples of Christ! On Wednesday, February 1 , at 6 PM in the church library the missions team will create a vision and goals for the coming year. Bring your ideas, big or small. Attend by Zoom at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88234090707?pwd=TTdCVU1XdkY2ZkY2VUpqZmx1c21mUT09


If you have ideas to share, but cannot be there, please contact Camille Wescott at camilleswescott@gmail.com or (505)695-4418.



Meeting ID: 882 3409 0707

Passcode: 034551  

Matilda Fellowship Opportunity

February 10th at 7:30 p.m.


Many people from our church family will be participating in the Los Alamos Light Opera’s Matilda. We would like to show them, and our community, support by organizing a church wide attendance on February 10th at 7:30 pm. If you are interested in attending, you may purchase your tickets or register through us and reimburse us in the future. There will be a paper sign-up this Sunday. Please register by Sunday, January 29th.


https://lafumc.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/1587042

Lenten Series and Devotionals


The Ecumenical Community Lenten series is returning this year at Bethlehem Lutheran beginning Thursday, March 2. As in the past we will begin the evening with a soup dinner. So start thinking about what soup you want to bring, our church will be hosting dinner on March 9. More information will be available soon.


We'll also need six or seven people to write devotions for the Lenten devotional booklet. It's always inspiring to read these devotions written by our community during the Lent season. If you like to write a devotion please let us know, we will assign scriptures once we receive them.

Enrolling Students Now


New Bears classroom for children 2 years old.


Enrolling ages 6 weeks to 4 years old.


Enrolling for after-school program

ages 5-12 years old.


Register Here


Questions call 505-662-4822


Ark Classroom Door Contest

Sunday, January 22


Sunday put in your vote for the best Winter door. Ark teachers are decorating their doors and the winner will receive $100 gift card to buy classroom supplies. So be sure to check them on Sunday mornin. Ballots will be available in your bulletin.

Missions Update

First United Methodist Food Pantry


Our community food pantry is being used this let's us know that it was needed in our community. We will be collecting food items every month for the food pantry. Below is a list of needed items and you can feel free to drop them off anytime and place them in the pantry. It does have a bear proof handle, so you have to reach inside and push up.


Suggested donations:

Tuna packets Sardines Crackers Canned or Dried Fruit

Cereal Soup Nuts Bottles of Water

Small pasta cups Mac & Cheese Oatmeal packets

Giving

Thank you!


Our Christmas Eve offering went to the Imagination Library for Rio Arriba County. We were able to donate $1100. this year because of your generosity. That will help about 44 families to receive books for their children and help them to read and enjoy books.

There are several ways you can make your
tithe and offering payments.

  1. Go to our website then click on "Give Securely Online" at the top right-hand column. Set up a one time or a reoccurring gift.
  2. "Text any dollar amount to 84321 to give."
  3. In-person drop off your check
  4. You can mail your checks to the church office: 715 Diamond Drive, Los Alamos, NM 87544

We thank you for your faithfulness!
Steps to setup Online Giving

Prayers of the Church

Praise:

  • Praise for our church leaders and Pastor John for their leadership.


New/Ongoing Prayers:


  • For Craig Cockrell, our District Superintendent, on the loss of his wife Susan
  • For Lloyd and Denise Brown on the loss of Lloyd's brother John
  • For the family of Dennis Rhoton
  • For those dealing with mental health issues and family conflict
  • Prayers for Terry Robinson who is hospice care. Terry was a former member of First United Methodist.
  • Prayers for 2 year old, Ryder Armes, relative of Mary Courtright. Ryder is starting chemo for Leukimea.
  • Prayers for Geniece Courtright as she recovers from hip surgery.
  • Prayers for Annique's family and friends, she passed away Sunday from stage 4 incurable Pancreatic cancer.
  • Prayers Lee Weinland recovering from an infection.
  • Prayers for Brian Womack, the Gill's nephew, who has cancer. 
  • Prayers for those who suffer from addictions.
  • For those dealing with mental illness.
  • Our church family and friends at Aspen Ridge: Earlene Seay. 
  • Health: Fred Navier, Amy Cross and Trudy Filer.


If you have a prayer or concern you would like to add to the prayer wall please feel free to stop by and fill out a card, call the church office, or email office and we'll add your prayer to the wall. Don't forget when the prayer is answered to stop by and stamp the back it has been answered.

Calendar for this week


Wednesday, January 18

6:30 p.m. Bell Choir in Sanctuary

7 p.m. Choir practice in Sanctuary

7 p.m. Troop 2 in Fellowship Hall


Thursday, January 19

6 p.m. First Light Practice in Sanctuary

7 p.m. Troop 122 in Fellowship Hall


Sunday, January 22

9 a.m. Bible History Class in Friendship Center/Zoom

10 a.m. Contemporary Worship

In-person and Online

11:30 a.m. Inquirer's Class in Friendship Center/Zoom

2 p.m. Little Class on Zoom

4 p.m. Program Night Begins at First UMC

5:15 p.m. Dinner and Devotions in Fellowship Hall

7 p.m. S.T.A.R.S. support group in Fellowship Hall


Monday, January 23

1:30 p.m. Clubhouse Knitters at Ridge Park Clubhouse, 505 Oppenheimer

3 p.m. Youth Plus in Youth Room

6 p.m. Lent Worship Planning Meeting in Library/Zoom


Tuesday, January 24

1:15 p.m. Martha Circle at 2403 Club Rd., Los Alamos

6 p.m. One Board Meeting


Wednesday, January 25

6:30 p.m. Bell Choir in Sanctuary

7 p.m. Choir in Sanctuary

Dates to Remember

Memorial Services


Saturday, February 4 at 1:30 p.m.

Memorial Service for Herald Kruse

at First United Methodist Church

reception following in Friendship Center.


Cards for the Kruse family can be sent to:

Karen and Deanna Kruse

P.O. Box 52

Embudo, NM 87531-0052


Saturday, February 25 at 1 p.m.

Memorial Service for Frances Naffziger

at First United Methodist Church.


Cards for the Naffziger family can be sent to:

Peter and Robin Naffziger

1 Maya Lane

White Rock, NM 87547

Church Celebrations

Birthdays


Jan. 2 Caroline Johnston

Jan. 5 Denise Brown

Jan. 5 Dennis Gill

Jan. 6 Robyn Collom

Jan. 13 Bodil Brandow

Jan. 14 Greg Dale

Jan. 17 Lloyd Brown

Jan. 21 Landry Milnes

Jan. 24 Joseph Dale


Anniversaries


Jan. 4 Howard & Kim Granzow

If you see your name missing or the date needs corrected
please email church office at office@lafumc.org.

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