Over the past few months, I have highlighted the new things that are happening in our congregation and our ministries. It is not too late to ask about or to sign up for “Finding Your Path”! Eagle eyed readers may notice something new for June: normally, the focal text for the week’s worship service is bolded from the lectionary. After June 4 (Trinity Sunday) I am preaching a small series away from the lectionary. There has been a bit of discussion lately about Methodism and a
couple of times I have been asked about United Methodism. So, I have decided for the remainder of June to preach on a few of John Wesley's sermons.
June 11 - “Christian Perfection” Philippians 3:12-16 June 18 - “Image of God” Genesis 1:24-27
June 25 - “Almost Christian” Acts 26:24-29
The series will conclude with the July 2 Community Worship at the Alplaus Fire House at 10:30 with “On the Omnipresence of God” - Jeremiah 23:23-24.0
John Wesley was one of the founders of the movement called “Methodist''. He wrote and preached a lot. His sermons were gathered, published, and spread widely among communities that were seeking to live into the holiness movement. I do not claim to be an expert on Wesley or theology, but I did spend a lot of time studying these topics. I went to seminary thinking that, although I was born and raised in the United Methodist Church, I would probably leave the denomination to join a different one as a pastor. I attended a United Church of Christ congregation in rural Ohio for a year. I then spent another year in that same congregation as their youth pastor. I even spent a couple of weeks at their summer camp. My close friends in seminary were serving in UM churches and Disciples of Christ churches and United Church of Christ churches. We all shared thoughts and challenges and questions in class, in the dining hall, and at Denny’s. Through my education and experience, I found that the practices of the Christian people called Methodist were ones that I wanted to maintain. This small series is an opportunity to look a little deeper into what makes a church “Methodist.” I hope that, like me, you will find that these beliefs and traditions are worth preserving and sharing.
In addition to the “Finding Your Path” discernment process that still has openings for interested individuals (reach out to Pastor Kristi for more information or to get started!) we will be holding a class to support folks who are interested in visiting members. The class combines notes from our District Superintendent, Debbie Earthrowl, and the book Care and Visitation Ministry Volunteer Handbook. It will be offered May 9 at 4pm.
From Norway with Love: Founded over 27 years ago in one of the most environmentally friendly countries on Earth, Norwex® has shared the “Norwegian Experience” with millions around the globe to deliver safer, healthier and more sustainable cleaning and personal care solutions. The company makes cleaning products designed to reduce/eliminate the need for chemical cleaners. Come and see these products in action Saturday May 6 at 2pm. Invite your friends and neighbors and let pastor Kristi know how many to expect (838-200-8601)! The Norwex® party is a fundraiser for the church in the same way a Pampered Chef or Tupperware party would be.
It’s exciting to have new things going on at church. We still do the usual things and enjoy them too
- worship, fellowship, donation ministries, UWF, choir, knitting. It’s always wonderful to do things as a congregation and to see and connect with each other as we engage in activities initiated by our common faith. Stop in and participate anytime!
I have inserted the second half of Bishop Burgos Nunez's installation message from 3/11/23. The focal text - Isaiah 43:1-2, 16-25; the full text and links for video can be found at: https://www.unyumc.org/news/article/bishop-hector-burgos-nunezs-installation-service-message
God is doing something new! I see God rekindling a new passion for a growing relationship with Jesus Christ in many disciples and leaders in Upper New York. A revival taking place. A thirst and hunger for knowledge and experiences that draws us closer to God. I see United Methodists in Upper New York focused on loving God and our neighbors, all our neighbors, in all places, not with any love, but striving to love one another the same way Christ loves us. I see peacemakers. Justice seekers. Healers. Joy-givers. Bridge builders to what is next.
I see the Holy Spirit helping us embrace a vision for missional unity based on the unbreakable bond of the love of Christ, celebrating our diversity as a gift from God that acknowledges our differences and allows all God’s children to grow into their full God-given potential. I see us leaving behind mindsets of scarcity and places of complacency and leaning forward with courage to build with God a future of hope for our congregations, our communities, our conference, and The United Methodist Church.
I see a new generation of servant leaders claiming their place and joyfully taking on servant leadership to make a difference in their communities. I see our congregations moving away from a spirit of competition into a spirit of collaboration – that leverages the gifts already among us and opens ways to new partnerships to amplify our impact in the community.
Friends, God is doing something new, in us, among us, and through us. Do you believe it? Can you see it? As we begin this journey together, how do the words of the prophet Isaiah speak to your heart as a disciple and a leader? What places, experiences, or circumstances do you keep reverting to that limit your view of the present and the future – that you need to let go? How can we look at things differently to see or perceive the newness God wants to bring? What truth can you claim today to help your heart trust God for something new and good this season? Whom do you need to invite to join us in this adventure of faith and new journey God has set for us?
United Methodists in Upper New York, people of faith and goodwill in the region. God is doing something new. It is time to stop looking behind and start looking ahead. I don’t know about you – but I want to be part of the new thing God is doing! I am all in. If you sense God inviting you to be part of this new time, this new moment. To claim this promise and hope for your life and ministry I invite you to proclaim: “God is doing something new. And I am willing and ready to be part of it.”
I look forward to doing life with you in the coming years and alongside you, being part of the new thing God is about to do and is already doing among us as we seek to transform the world by nurturing passionate disciples of Jesus Christ who share faith, hope, mercy, and justice in the community. Amen.
Something New at Alplaus UMC! Over the past couple of years, I have been developing a program designed to help individuals at Alplaus UMC find their own, unique path to following Jesus and his call on their life. This new program is called “Finding Your Path”. It will be an opportunity for one-on-one devotions and discernment and determining how God is equipping and calling you to participate in following Jesus Christ. If you are interested, or intrigued, reach out to me (home 518-399-0497/ mobile 838-200-8601).