Fall, Personal Reflections and Holy Communion

Fall, Personal Reflections and Holy Communion

As I write this article on this the first day of October, it is a pleasant 55 degrees outside. Even though it will get up to the mid 80’s today, the fall weather has finally reached us and it appears as though it is here to stay for a while.

With fall comes not only cooler weather but fall sports in our schools including our undefeated Cougar football team. If you are a professional sports fan, fall brings this year’s baseball, hockey and basketball playoffs. Stores are already decorated for the fall and already prepared for the coming of Halloween later this month. Soon leaves will be turning colors and falling, sprinklers systems will be able to be turned off and the weekly task of mowing will be put aside until the spring of 2021.

Spring of 2021??? Wow, we are three fourths of the way through 2020; a year like no other I’ve seen in my lifetime and you might very well feel the same. But getting back to thoughts of fall, one of the other things that comes to mind for me each year as fall rolls around is that fall is a perfect time to pause and reflect all that has transpired in our lives over the past year and to begin looking ahead and prayerfully consider what the coming year might look like.

As many of you know, I will be leaving town later today to spend a few days away. The reason 

I give for taking time off is that it’s the opening weekend of deer season. In truth, yes, I love deer hunting and all that this entails but there is much more to these few days than sitting in a deer blind waiting for the magnificent large buck to come into view.

For me, the opening weekend of deer season has also become a very spiritual endeavor as well. Aside from enjoying the magnificent beauty of God’s creation (the sights, sounds and smells) while walking to or sitting in my deer stand, these days also serve as the beginning of my annual year end personal reflections; prayers to God to allow me to see clearly the blessings of the previous year, to seek Godly wisdom for both my personal and professional life (what have I learned in the past year and where is the Spirit leading in the coming year).

I find this time to be one that Restores, Replenishes and Renews my mind, body and spirit and helps better prepare me for that which lies ahead in the future; for that which God calls me to be and calls me to do.  My hope and prayer is that each of you reading this might also find some time to engage in reflecting on God’s presence in your life this year and what God desires of you in the coming year.

To be clear this time can “look” much different than what my time looks like. For me, I find the outdoors as an especially good place to commune with God; to talk and listen and to feel God’s presence surrounding me. What places and/or spaces do you feel God’s presence the most? Can you carve out some time where you and God can talk? Are you personally in need of some Restoration, Replenishing and Renewing of your mind, body and spirit? If so, what are you going to do about it? I hope you will sit with those questions for a little bit and pray that God would speak to your heart and mind…

This Sunday October 4th is Communion Sunday, World Communion Sunday. In my absence, Dr. Leah S. Hidde-Gregory, our Central District Superintendent, will be delivering the sermon and presiding over Holy Communion.

As of last Sunday, we have resumed our 8:30 and 11:00 AM in-person worship services and we will celebrate Holy Communion at both of these services. We hope you can attend and participate in this Holy Sacrament. I realize many of you do not yet feel comfortable returning to in-person worship services and we certainly understand your decision not to do so.

With this in mind, if you are unable to attend one of our worship services this coming Sunday and thus unable to participate in Holy Communion and would like me to come to your home to share Holy Communion with you, please let me know. Simply reply to this email and we will have a conversation as to when it would be best for me to stop by.

John Wesley referred to the Sacrament of Holy Communion as the “Grand Channel” of God’s grace and we want to afford every opportunity for you to participate in this Holy meal.

Grace and Peace to you all,

Pastor Steve

 

Worship on the Lawn and Opportunities to Grow in Our Faith

This past Sunday, there were seventy-three of us who gathered in person for worship in the north end of our property (what a witness to those in our community who passed by on either China Spring or Yankie Road).

It was HOT and it was HUMID but…WHAT A JOY it was to gather again with so many whose face I’d not seen in months or if I had seen, it was probably on a computer screen. I know there were many who for very good reasons were not present but watched online. I hope and pray that each of you felt as blessed as I did on Sunday

I am deeply appreciative, as are others who I’ve talked with, for all the work it took to put on the outdoor worship service. Thanks to everyone for their efforts to make this happen.

I’ve already been asked when we might do this again because it was enjoyed so much. While I don’t have an answer, we WILL do it again. As most of you know, our Administrative Council and Trustees will be meeting Tuesday September 8th to discuss how are community is doing as it relates to Covid-19 and when we might resume our in-person worship services. Please keep this meeting in your thoughts and prayers as we seek to make wise decisions based not only on the most current information available to us but based on the leading of the Holy Spirit.

As it relates to another outdoor worship service, regardless of whether we resume in-person worship services, we will look at doing more in the future…maybe even another time besides Sunday morning so those that have to work on Sunday mornings each week would be able to join us as well.

Hopefully you’ve already heard, but if not, let me share some ways in which you can join with myself and others in growing in our faith.These ways include our existing Tuesday morning Ladies Bible study which meet each week on Tuesdays at 9:00 am via Zoom, Tuesday Night Faith Conversations meeting on Zoom each Tuesday at 8:00 pm and a weeklong discussion online via our website. Each of these discussions will center on, at least in part, the primary passage of Scripture which will be used in worship on the following Sunday.

This will give opportunities to each of us in our church family to focus our conversations each week, and in the process, learn from one another and by the power of the Holy Spirit and grace of God to grow in our faith. If you want more information regarding these opportunities, let me know. I’d love to have a conversation from you.

I hope you will prayerfully consider joining in one or more of these opportunities…

Grace and Peace to you all,