Friday, July 31, 2015

Something to Think About

As St. Stephen UMC continues on its journey with the Small Church Initiative, here is something to consider about the nature of church from a recent blog by the Rev. Dan R. Dick, director of connectional ministries for the Wisconsin Annual Conference. Rev. Dick is an expert in church leadership and discipleship who blogs at United Methodeviations. You can read his entire post by clicking on the title link.

Who Are We Again?

 "At a recent event, I made the statement that today’s United Methodist Church exists because our predecessor denominations held three critically important functions in common: missional service, evangelism and social justice. In other words, we hold core values of caring for others, inviting all people into a life-changing, life-fulfilling relationship with God in Jesus Christ, and improving the conditions for all people wherever and whenever we can. A gentleman come up to me at the conclusion of the event and asked, 'Why are you promoting this Socialist bullshit? The only thing that matters is personal salvation!' My knee-jerk response was anything but patient or helpful — I spluttered, 'What Bible are you reading?'

"A similar thing happened to me when I preached a sermon on Christian disciples transforming the world.  I quoted part of a paragraph of our Book of Discipline which states, 'Under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, the church exists for the maintenance of worship, the edification of believers, and the redemption of the world.' (2012 Book of Discipline, Paragraph 201). I said that we shouldn’t view these as three distinct activities, but as three aspects of a single purpose. I used the analogy of juggling, saying you cannot just juggle two balls and ignore the third, but all must be in motion in relationship to the others. There is no 'two out of three ain’t bad' thinking allowed.  We engage all three or we fail to fulfill our purpose."

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Scenes from 'Jerusalem Marketplace' VBS

Even in the summer heat, outside games are a hit.
Cynthia and John Astle prepare for a drama.

Grandpa Tom Council and grandson Mason.
Lola walks through the marketplace.
Busy marketplace.

Weaver Karel Holloway shows one of the "tribes" how to make cloth.

All photos by L'Norah Clarke