In-person worship every Sunday with Rev. Laura Stratton, Pastor
9am at Mt. Zion UMC & 11am at Scottsville UMC
Due to the substantial spread of Covid in our area, we encourage everyone, even vaccinated individuals, to wear masks in worship.
Upcoming Calendar Items:
October is SUMC's month at Bread of Life - Details Below
Wednesday, Oct 20th – Nov 3rd from 10-11:30 in the fellowship hall - Bible study on the Apostles
Saturday, October 23rd 9 to 2: Church Workday- Plans to clean & organize cabinets in Fellowship Hall, kitchen & shed
Sunday, October 31st: Trick-or-Treat on the lawn of SUMC - gathering begins at 4:30pm Bob & Martha bring their fire pit and make it fun for all the volunteers. You may even get a special treat too!
Saturday, November 2nd from 9 to 2: Church Workday - Plans to be announced
Every Thursday from 10-2: Skippers Senior Club meets in the SUMC fellowship hall.
All seniors are welcome!

Friday, October 15th at 12:45:
unload the truck at the back of the Scottsville community center

Friday, Oct 15th from 1:30-1:45: 
3 or 4 volunteers to set up and pack the food. 

It is REQUIRED that you wear a mask indoors.
November/December
the Upper Room
Now available in the Narthex
for you to pick up.
Halloween Treats Needed
We will be hosting Trick-or-Treat on the front lawn of SUMC on
Sunday, October 31st
Individually wrapped candy or other treats are needed.

Gathering at SUMC will begin at 4:30pm.

Thank you for making this a safe & fun events for the children of our community.
Happy Fall everyone,
 
I pray that your spirits are lifted as the temperatures fall. May the Grace and Love of God warm your soul and fill you with His joy.

Our 3rd Bible study is underway with a few more changes from the last time. The deadlines for session answers have been eliminated and a work at your own pace approach has been adopted due to the overwhelming delays in men receiving their study books. There are delays with shipping as well as delays with property distribution within all institutions due to employee shortages. Several of our Bible study participants have not received their study books shipped in early August.
 
We were planning to have an Advent Bible study during our 4th quarter but due in part to the fore mentioned problems, we will be changing gears to a more traditional daily devotional Advent book provided free of charge by an organization called the Society of St. Andrew that focuses on ending hunger. Scottsville United Methodist Church will also be offering these booklets to our congregation, as we have for the past several years.
I will pose a few questions or offer a topic of discussion each week for everyone registered in the Bible study to respond to as a means of remaining active and eligible for their donation at the end of the quarter.
 
Everyone, whether registered in the Bible study or not, will receive a copy of the Advent devotional to enhance their time spent with God leading up to the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We are happy to announce that we now have 25 registered in our current Bible study group, 7 in our art ministry (5 of whom are also in the Bible study) and 5 others receiving fellowship and devotional materials, which brings our total to 32 participants in 9 different facilities. Praise be to God.

As our enrollment grows, so does the time and funding needed to run the ministry. This is another reason for the decision to take advantage of the free resource of Advent devotionals from the Society of St. Andrew. Scottsville United Methodist Church contributes $100 per quarter to our ministry which is a true blessing, but much more is needed to maintain at this level, and we would love to continue to expand. Financing is the only limitation to how far reaching this program can grow.

I recently had to submit a grant report documenting the use of funding thus far this year. Hope Beyond the Bars has raised, through grants and donations, $5,787.00 and invested $5,496.00 directly into the ministry with the remainder to cover expenses for devotional materials in the 4th quarter. These funds have provided Bibles, study books, devotional materials, Jpay correspondence, stamps and supplies needed for our ongoing correspondence, and on top of all of that, the quarterly donations given to the inmates. I shared this information with our participants in hopes that they will realize people see them as worthy of investing in.

The grant committee also asked that we name some ways in which the participants benefited from our program. I shared the following information with them along with testimonies from two of our participants which I have included at the end of this newsletter. 
 
If a participant does not have their own Bible, we will purchase a study Bible for them. One participant named Christopher was so moved by the gift, he told his mom how much he loved it and she expressed a desire to have one as well. When he reached out to me to find out how he could get one for her, our church mission team gladly purchased one for her and she was adopted into our women's prayer group. Christopher said he felt like her words of excitement and appreciation came through the phone to embrace him in a big hug. He was so grateful.
 
We also established a re-entry fund to assist individuals in need, without family support, to find housing upon their release from prison. Hope Beyond the bars will donate up to $300 and accept additional donations on behalf of the individual to help with rental assistance, clothing, tools, and food as needed. These funds are paid directly to the landlord or items purchased by Hope Beyond the Bars. To date, we have helped six men find housing, two of which received financial assistance.
 
We recently began consulting with a man by the name of Kevin, referred to us by one of our current ministry participants. Kevin was released from the VADOC last year and is consulting with us on ways to improve our ministry from a very valuable perspective. He emailed me the following, "I appreciate the opportunity to help in any way that I can. I’m sure that you’ve heard many times about the difficulties for formerly incarcerated individuals to get involved in things and feel a sense of belonging. This is helping me meet that need, so thank you! Talk to you soon. Peace, Kevin"
 
We now have two Spanish speaking participants within the ministry that receive regular devotions and email correspondence that we have to translate into Spanish using an online translating tool because none of our volunteers speak Spanish. It is a tedious process for us, but it is a labor of love.
 
Through one of the men in our program, we were introduced to a woman in the Virginia Correctional Center for Women who recently joined our Bible study. With this new addition, we now have a presence in nine of the facilities within the Virginia Department of Corrections simply by word of mouth and recommendations by the inmates within the program.
 
I have attached two unsolicited testimonies that can answer the question of how this ministry benefits the participants, much better than I can. Jesse, after more than 20 years of incarceration, will be going home next year. Carlos, who has also served over 20 years, will never see life outside of prison walls again. He went in when he was only 21 years old. They are both beloved children of God and need to be fed on His Word and loved and supported by their Christian brothers and sisters. Hope Beyond the Bars helps to make that possible.
 
As we learn about the Prayers of Jesus through our Bible study, we ask that each of you be in prayer for our ministry participants and volunteers listed below. 
August 16, 2021
 
I want to thank you and your team for such a good job with these Bible studies. I really enjoyed them and am looking forward to the next one.
 
A Way Through the Wilderness has brought much wisdom to my life and much growth. Learning God’s purpose for the wilderness and how important for us to get the lesson that He intended. I needed this book and Bible study.
 
I cannot thank you enough for making yourself available for us all. God is looking for people like you that will say yes to his will rather than theirs. You are a bright light that cannot be hidden. Your heart is big and your love for people is bigger, only God could have put that desire in your heart. You are the apple of his eyes, a loving demonstration of His love.
 
Sometimes we don't feel love but experience condemnation. Thank you for not judging but allowing God to show you who I am now. I would have never equated myself to being a bad person, but mirroring myself to the word of God, I was wrong. Thank God for Grace! Right now, I'm trying to develop my faith and learn more about who I am in Christ. I am not content with my relationship with God. To be honest, sometimes I feel like I am not saved. Looking at other people’s relationship and hearing their experiences with God, my heart breaks. I desire to be close to God. I want to hear His voice and feel His presence. The only thing I feel is loneliness and brokenness. Every time I hear about God, tears come down my face. I need him and I can't find a connection with him.
 
I don't believe that God doesn't love me or want the best for me, I just cannot figure out how to make the quality time with the Lord and get more out of our time together. Is something wrong with me? I see the difference in the behavior and language of those who are close to God. Despite these shortcomings, I know God has a plan for me. I can't wait to see what his plan looks like in my life. I know I am not what others think about me or even what I think about myself. My worth is solely based on Christ. Your continued prayers over my life and my relationship with God are what is going to get me through these trying times.
 
May God continue to bless you daily and know that I pray for you and thank God for you daily.
 
Carlos
  
Donations are gladly accepted through the offering plate with checks earmarked for Hope Beyond the Bars. Your donations create a direct connection between Hope volunteers and inmates within the VA Department of Correction that are changing lives.
 
HEBREWS 13:1-3
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
 
Will you respond to His call?

For more information on Hope Beyond the Bars, visit our website at HopeBeyondtheBars.org.

Prayers & Praise of the People
The Week of October 10th
  • Praise for Chelsey's friend, Kimberly, whose brain scan revealed that she is cancer free!
  • Prayers for Ellen Pitts, who will have 7-8 weeks of radiation beginning in mid-November.
  • Mike, whose sister and husband, Penny and Mark, are sick with Covid
  •  John Schlichting and his family, as they mourn the death of his grandmother
  •  Nancy Schlichting, as she mourns the death of her friend Patty
The Week of October 3rd
  •  Praise that Ginny's sister, Connie, has turned the corner in her recovery from Covid
  •  Amanda Armstrong and her dog - the dog has been diagnosed with cancer
The Week of September 26th

  • Bonnie Danley, Madelyn Critzer’s sister, passed away on Tuesday from Covid
  • Bruce Jackson who had shoulder surgery on Monday
  • John Pace who had shoulder surgery on Friday
  • Diane Pullaro's sister-in-law whose baby died in utero - prayers as the family mourns and as she physically recovers
Long Term Requests
  • John Smith & his mother Katie
  • Bev Butler, Ellen Pitts' brother
  • Joyce Jarratt
  • Tillie Adcock's Family
Our Shut-Ins
  • Margaret Hughes
  • Mary O'Connell
  • Ruby Willis
  • Agnes Johnson
Additional Requests
  • The healing of our nation, physically, socially & spiritually.
  • All afflicted by COVID-19
  • Hope Beyond the Bars prison ministry
Thank you for subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

Blessings, Staci
SUMC Monthly Administrative Council Meeting minutes will now be made available through our weekly newsletter. Click the link at the bottom to read or print a PDF copy
of the most recent minutes available.