March 2024

937-426-3988 /

Something to think about in this Lenten Season… 

 Wilderness. What does that really mean to us? Some people are the real outdoors type and equate the wilderness to long hikes, camping outside, biking, kayaking down a fast running river, fishing on the bay or climbing up the side of a mountain. But wilderness can also be anything but an adventure, especially when we look at it though the lens of our spiritual relationship to God and the world.

We are currently in the season we call Lent. We are giving up things and if you have lunch with your Catholic friends you are eating fish on Fridays. Maybe you are actively spending time in devotion each day and/or in the small groups at Aley UMC, or perhaps some other practice that you observe each year. But really is that what we want from Jesus time in the wilderness? Is that all there is to the Lenten season, another church activity to get us through the year? I don't think it is. I think that we've allowed the world in which the church functions to move us from season to season without paying attention to the full weight of the wilderness that Jesus was sent to experience. We move from that period of time into learning through Jesus' ministry that takes us to the time of his death and resurrection. All in a matter of a few chapters in the four gospels. But wasn't there really more to the wilderness time than just an encounter with the evil one?

Our scripture goes from Jesus facing tests in the wilderness for 40 days to Jesus quoting Psalm 22:1-2 as he hung on the cross.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

    Why are you so far away when I groan for help? 

Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.

    Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.

I love the word this version of scripture uses... abandoned, it is a strong reaction to what life throws at us, and the easy assumption we make that God is not with us in the time of wilderness. I would say Jesus started in the wilderness being tested, only to be returned to wilderness on our behalf. Not the physical place of the desert landscape, but that lonely place that can only be the wilderness. For Jesus to find the grace and strength to cry out for forgiveness for us, "forgive them, they don't what they do," shows me that wilderness time didn't stop at the desert place. So much of what the world does to us takes us back again and again to a place that Jesus over came on our behalf. And because of that time from testing to the cross I have found myself looking at Lent just a little bit different this season.

Our personal times in the wilderness should be reminders that we are not alone or forsaken in our times of despair, anger, brokenness or hurt. Jesus endured both the time of testing in the desert to the isolation of the cross. Jesus knew very well what wilderness times were like. That is why I know we don't go into our own desert place alone. The evil one will try and tell you different, but Jesus didn't endure the cross for no reason. He hung there for me. He died there for you.

So look at your wilderness time a bit differently this season, and know that the cross was not the end, but just the beginning of our new life in Christ, and that nothing we do is alone.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Laurie




Don't forget your clocks are

going to spring forward on

 March 10, 2024

You might be early, but you won't miss worship!


If you are looking for a way to add some devotion time to your day, here is a great way to do that.

Pastor Laurie does a daily devotion on Facebook for a half hour, Monday-Friday @ 9:00am.

click the link to get connected!

Then you have an informal devotion to use throughout your week.

If you have questions, contact Pastor Laurie for more information at [email protected]


Looking ahead...

UWF will be holding a Mother/Daughter/Granddaughter Spring Tea.

Ladies, mark your calendars for

April 6th (this is a different date than previously announced)

from 1-3pm in the Hospitality Center. The theme is

"If your tea cup could talk."

We are asking everyone to bring a tea cup with a story to share. Our speaker will talk about the history of tea. You will enjoy different teas, finger foods, making a craft, lots of fun and fellowship.

Spotlight in Ministry

Summer Mini-Camps are Returning!

Last summer was full of fun for everybody with some great mini-camps. Remember Chemistry Camp, Pickleball, Justice Camp, Reading Club, Music Camp? Fun in the Kitchen? Some of those activities have become on-going activities that people are STILL doing!

To have another great summer, we need YOU! What kinds of hobbies or activities do you do that you can share with others? Gardening? Sewing? Car repair? Hiking? We want to put together a bunch of fun activities that will appeal to kids, youth and adults. ALL ideas are worth considering.

Please contact:

Pastor Abby ([email protected]) or Susan Grinkemeyer ([email protected]) with your thoughts!

Holy Week Worship Experiences

Palm Sunday - March 24, 2024 @ 8:30a & 10:30a "Alone in the Crowd"

Maundy Thursday - March 28, 2024 @ 7:00p "The Weight of 30 Coins"

Good Friday - March 29, 2024 @ 7:00p "A Tenebrae Cantata"

Easter Celebrations - March 31, 2024 @ 8:30a & 10:30a "Easter Explained"



Our Chancel Choir will be participating in the 2nd Annual Interfaith Community Concert, Praise, Hope, Sing. The performance will be on Sunday, March 10 at 7:00pm, at Beavercreek High School, 2660 Dayton Xenia Rd. The concert is open to the public. Come and hear an evening of worship and praising through song. If you have questions, see Pam Rauch.

The Chancel Choir will be presenting the cantata, Candles of Grace, a Service for Tenebrae, by Joseph M. Martin and Brad Nix, on Good Friday, March 29, at 7:00pm. Come reflect on the the events of the Passion through emotional texts and expressive music. 

Start thinking about what serving means to you. How you serve now and how you will serve in the future. Here are a couple of things to think about from an article about serving.

by Abbie Thiebaut

Abbie is a full-time member of the EM staff who uses her experience leading mission trips to encourage others to serve in communities across the U.S.

and around the world.

5 (Potentially Inconvenient)

Steps to Serving Others Well

1. Change Your Position

We can serve others well when we actively decide to take on the role of a servant. This seems obvious, but missing this step can lead to doing more harm than good. When we study the life of Jesus, we find countless examples where he took on the role of the servant. From choosing to wash the feet of his disciples to the very decision of coming to earth and living as an ordinary human, Christ continually humbled himself for the sake of others and switched places with people in the lowliest of positions.

2. Take Time to Listen

It’s easy to assume we know what’s best for others and to simply give them that material thing. But, if we seek to serve others well, the best thing we can do is take the time to get to know people and honor them with a listening ear. If we skip this step, we make it a lot more about the good feeling we get from helping than we do about actually serving someone else.

3. Care, Even When It Costs You Something

When we listen to others, their needs might surprise us. By simply making the statement, “Let me know how I can help,” we’re opening ourselves up to a world of needs, not just the ones that are convenient or fit nicely into the time we’ve allotted to help. This often requires us to drop our own agendas, and it may cause us to serve in ways that stretch us beyond simply where we see ourselves “gifted.”

4. Recognize You Might Not Be the Whole Solution

When we’ve listened to the full magnitude of someone’s brokenness, it can often be incredibly discouraging. We all have a natural inclination to want to either fix everything or create distance from what we can’t fix. But when we seek to serve others in light of how Christ served us, we can take comfort in knowing we are rarely the whole solution, that we may be one small part of a much grander plan, and that’s okay.

5. Allow Yourself to

Be Served

At EM, we follow our specific approach to missions which allows us to be influenced and changed by the people we seek to serve. This creates avenues for mutual respect and, ultimately, mutual change. In the same way, allowing yourself to be served (accepting a meal or coffee, or letting someone pray for you) is often an incredibly meaningful way to serve someone else. It levels the playing field and communicates to the person you’re serving that they have value, that they matter.

Even Jesus (the actual savior of the world) allowed others to serve him when it was done for the right reasons. 

Hearts and Hammers

When you need help with a simple task around your home, “Hearts and Hammers volunteers to come help you. It could be raking leaves or changing a lightbulb that is out of reach or replacing a washer in a faucet, help moving some furniture. Please just simple tasks that don’t involve experts. We don’t do plumbing or electrical work and you are expected to reimburse any cost of supplies. If you need help, please call Karen Engel and she will contact our volunteers. 937 426-3988.

-Karen Engel

Director of Caring Ministries

Walk to Emmaus Updates

The Women’s Walk to Emmaus is February 15-18 at Normandy UMC in Centerville. They still need help with setting up, meal preparation, etc. If you have been on a walk already and want to serve in this way go to to help serve or contact Kirk or Susan Lehneis.

The Men’s Walk to Emmaus will now be on June 27-30, 2024 at Sulphur Grove UMC in Huber Heights.

Contact Kirk or Susan Lehneis about being a Sponsor @ 937-426-6255. Men’s Registrar is

Steve Holmes @

937-681-1986 and email [email protected]


The Bread Ministry

We would like to reintroduce the Bread Ministry which was put on hold during the time of COVID. Visitors will be given a loaf of bread as a welcome gift for visiting Aley. Needed are 5 people or couples (1 per week) willing to visit. You may bake your own bread or a loaf will be provided for each family to be visited that week. All that is required is a friendly smile! Also needed are several bread bakers.

Questions? Call/text Susan Lehneis at 937-901-4398.

Miami Valley Disaster Recovery Team (MVDRT) Training

Our team continues to thrive. We have worked not only disaster projects at home and in various parts of Ohio, but we have also deployed to New Jersey, West Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Western Kentucky. The West Ohio Conference continues to build and recertify MVDRT team members, as well as members from other ERT/DRT teams. To that end, Aley UMC is sponsoring an UMCOR sanctioned class for both first-time volunteers and those who require recertification in order to renew their UMCOR badges. This ERT/DRT training will be held at Aley UMC, Saturday, 2 March 2024, 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Cost is $40 for the Basic class or $35 for recertification. ERT members are not required to be United Methodist but must deploy with a United Methodist-led team. To register, click here:

A background check (free of charge) is required, and a link to complete this will be provided upon registration.  ERT members are not required to be United Methodist but must deploy with a United Methodist-led team. 

If you have any additional questions/concerns feel free to contact Keith Simpson at [email protected] or 937 902-1541.

Family Ministries at Aley




Wesley Christian Scholarship Application now available!

Graduating seniors or individuals pursuing higher religious education who are active in the mission and ministry of Aley Church are eligible to apply for the Wesley Christian scholarship which is offered through generous donations from Aley congregants. Applying for the scholarship is not guarantee of receiving funds, all applications will be reviewed by a committee; the number and amount of scholarships awarded varies each year. The application is available at and completed applications are due to Pastor Abby by April 15th. 

Summer Camp!

Save The Date:

July 15-20, 2024

Each summer youth are invited to attend Tar Hollow Church Camp. This Camp is open to all youth entering grades 7 through those who just graduated high school. College age students and adults are encouraged to volunteer as staff. Tar Hollow is a locally led camp that has been in place for over 60 years and is open to all denominations.. We spend a week together in fellowship, worship, learning, growing, sharing, and discovery. It is an excellent opportunity for youth to connect with God and each other. For more information click on the link below.

Tar Hollow

Mission Trip!

The week of June 10 students will be going on a mission trip with Miami Valley Disaster Recovery Team to provide aid in Clarksville/Nashville, TN who experienced devastating tornados in Dec. 2023. Some details are still being worked out, but students who want to participate should return their completed form to Pastor Abby by February 14 (if you need another copy of the commitment form there are extras in the youth room, or contact Pastor Abby).

Kids' Ministry

Kids’ Ministry is growing!

We have a new Aley Kid's space that is "Under Construction!" Please take a short trip down the hallway off of the Hospitality Room to see the newly inspired Kids Ministry areas. It is exciting to be able to expand and grow the kids Ministry program with dedicated rooms and programming space.

Every Sunday, kids are offered several different experiences to encourage their faith journey.

  1. Kids Church - during each of the worship services, kids are able to attend their own age- appropriate worship service. Kids engage in songs, games, and an interactive message that connects to the one the adults are hearing in the sanctuary.
  2. Sunday School- our dedicated team of kids Sunday School teachers offer a structured curriculum that focuses on stories from the Bible and their application to the kids' lives.
  3. Nursery - Babies and toddlers are welcome in the nursery every Sunday. We have adult and youth volunteers. If you are interested in being a part of the active and growing Kids Ministry at Aley UMC, please contact Susan Grinkemeyer ([email protected])

Vacation Bible School!

It is time to start planning for Vacation Bible School. This summer VBS will be held Jun 3-7 (in the morning). The theme will be camping, when we travel to Camp Firelight and meet with Lumen the firefly and learn "Whenever I am afraid, I put my trust in you." (Psalm 56:3) We will need volunteers to help with crafts, games, snacks, storytelling, and leading the kids through our VBS camp experience. You can look forward to hikes, s'mores, and a great time learning how we can connect and put our trust in God when we are afraid.

Please contact Susan Grinkemeyer ([email protected]) to become a part of this fun summer mission.

Please note the Dayton Dragons Game

listed above has been cancelled!

Aley Kids Ministry is where spring break is happening this year!

Sensing God during Spring Break Mini-Camp

God is all around us and Spring Break is the perfect time to sense His presence in our world. Kids grades 1-5 are invited to come look for God using all our senses. Sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste will be used to discover God in the world around us. Activities will include science experiments, crafts, stories, songs, games, and snacks. Choose a session March 25-27 OR April 1-3, 9:00-11:00 am. Please register by March 19 using the QR code.

2024 Focus on Missions!

Aley has recently formed a Mission Team to help with mission organization, engagement and participation at Aley. The team was formed based on those who responded with an interest in missions on the servant interest forms that were collected last fall with the monetary pledge cards.

The current team consists of Pastor Abby Lightle, Beth Collins, Tom Donaldson, Gail Simpson and Nancy Williams.

Recently the team has been working to define what “missions” means to Aley and what missions we currently participate in as well as brainstorming ideas for additional mission opportunities. If you have ideas for a mission project, partnership, or event that you think might be a good opportunity for Aley, please see one of the Mission Team members. Stay tuned for more detailed information about the work of the team and upcoming mission opportunities! Your copy should address 3 key

Easter Offering

At the recommendation of the Mission Team and with the approval of Council, this years Easter Offering will be designated to the Meal Packing Event that will take place on May 19.

Aley hosted a meal packing event last year and the mission team felt it was a great success and good missional opportunity. We will again be working with Lifeline Christian Mission. This mission provides opportunities for all ages and many abilities to participate in providing shelf-stable meals for those in areas around the world experiencing food insecurity. The meals fulfill a real, tangible need and Lifeline has connections with many church pastors who use the meals to help build relationships and trust with their community while tangibly sharing Jesus. 

Go to for more information, or to sign up to serve.

We would like to celebrate all of those whose birthdays are in MARCH this month. You are special to us & deeply loved by God... Have a great You day!

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