Greetings of Grace and Peace for a Blessed, Spirit-filled New Year!
Thank you for your love and support during the Christmas Season. There were so many gifts to be grateful for: Youth showing up to serve at the spaghetti dinner, an impromptu craft session for the children at the spaghetti dinner, the beautiful music of Candlelight from choir and guests, the immediate and generous response of gifts for Dismas House residents, the beautiful luncheon celebration at Dismas House, the many folks who decorated and undecorated the church, the overflowing of flowers on the altar, the sharing of your stories to create the daily Advent devotional booklet, the Sunday school children shopping and purchasing gifts for Toys for Tots, the beauty of sharing Christ’s light at Christmas Eve service, hospitality at First Night, your 2016 pledge commitments, willingness to serve on 2016 committees, coverage of worship services and participation by laity, and much, much more. My heart is overflowing with joy, gratitude, and thankfulness! I hope your heart is overflowing with joy, gratitude, and thankfulness from the joys of the Christmas season also. We are blessed.
Heading into 2016, I am very hopeful and excited. Epworth UMC has been chosen to participate in a pilot program, Building Hope, which is sponsored by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. It is a program which will assist us in knowing who Epworth UMC is, what our strengths and gifts are, helping us to know the demographics of the areas we would like to minister to, and in building strategies to reach out to folks using the gifts we have to offer and in ministries we decide are needed in demographic area. The first step will be for each congregational member to take the survey. The survey web-address will be given out in Sunday’s bulletin and upcoming weekly e-news. The survey will continue to be available for four weeks, until February 14th. I hope you will participate. Paper surveys will be available for those without access to internet.
We have much to be grateful for!! Last Sunday in worship, we were reminded of one of the great gifts we received at our baptism: the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, we begin anew and we can accomplish all God asks of us because God has given each baptized disciple the gift of the Holy Spirit. May we be open to the Holy Spirit and walk into 2016 with gratefulness and confidence.
In Christ’s Light and Love,