Nov. 18, 2023

Dear Beloved St. Paul’s UMC and Wesley Foundation Family,

Grace and peace, dear church. We have so much to be grateful for as we come to the Sunday before our Thanksgiving celebrations. We are grateful for our church: for how it has given us a place to grow and be nurtured, to be in connection and relationship with new people, and to be invited into new opportunities. This week we are going to talk about how the church could be the place where we are encouraged when the world seems overwhelming. We are also consecrating our pledges this week, making our financial commitments to the church, and trusting that when we share these gifts together, we give something to God and to one another: our trust that something is possible together. We believe we can change. We believe we can widen the circle. We believe that we can practice life and resurrection and that as we follow Jesus together, we can bring light that will shine in the darkness! You give me courage that this is possible, and that is part of why we need the church! I hope you will join us this weekend, in-person or online, as we continue the journey together.

Here is our schedule for tomorrow, Nov. 19th:

9:00 AM

In-person Service of Word and Table in the sanctuary

9:00 AM

Sunday School for all ages and nursery care for infants

10:30 AM

Hybrid worship service with children's choir and consecration of pledges, in-person and livestreamed here

Please remember that since this service is filmed and live-streamed, you or your family members may be on our worship recording, which is streamed and archived on our YouTube channel.

11:30 AM

Hybrid discussion group, in-person and on Zoom

Join by clicking here, or use Meeting ID 875 9147 8033 and Passcode stpauls.

Grace | Peace,

Pastor Greg

Order of Worship

Prelude: “Celtic Doxology of Praise” (arr. Dan Sigmon)

Mary Bahnfleth, piano


Rev. Greg Milinovich

Call to Worship

One: Let us give thanks as we come to worship today;

All: We come with thanksgiving and praise!

One: Let us take courage, for God is our health and salvation!

All: Let us come before the God of love with glad adoration!

Opening Hymn: “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (UMH 139)

Passing the Peace

Rev. Sarah Coker Voigt

Anthem: “Let All the World Sing” (Vicki Hancock Wright)

Children’s Choir

Children’s Message

Liz McMillan

Scripture Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (NRSV)

Lou Geschwindner

Message: “Encouraged”

Rev. Greg Milinovich

Hymn: “God of Love and God of Power” (UMH 578)

Pastoral Prayer/Lord’s Prayer

Offering/Consecration of Pledges

Offering Hymn: “For the Fruits of This Creation” (UMH 97)

Prayer of Consecration

Closing Hymn: “Now Thank We All Our God” (UMH 102)



Postlude: “Now Thank We All Our God” (Paul Manz)

Mary Bahnfleth, organ

Discussion Questions:

  • Have you come to any answers to the question “Why church?” Are these answers new to you, rediscovered, or well worn and familiar?

  • Today’s service tried to help us remember that the church can be a place where we give courage and comfort to one another when we are struggling to find, feel, or remember those things on our own. How have you experienced this, both in giving and receiving?

  • The sermon quoted extensively from an article by Jake Meador that appeared in The Atlantic in July of this year (The Misunderstood Reason Millions of Americans Stopped Going to Church). Meador suggests that churches (particularly in the United States) have strayed from their best purpose into something more individual than communal, and more materially successful than mutually supportive. He says, “We could be a witness to another way of life outside conventionally American measures of success. Churches could model better, truer sorts of communities, ones in which the hungry are fed, the weak are lifted up, and the proud are cast down. Such communities might not have the money, success, and influence that many American churches have so often pursued in recent years. But is such communities look less like those churches, they might also look more like the sorts of communities Jesus expected his followers to create.” Does this ring true for you? How could our church see this as an opportunity?

St. Paul's United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation
250 East College Avenue | State College, PA 16801 | 814-237-2163 |