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Journey Notes for February

 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 

Dear Friends,

It often seems that as we end one year and begin another, we hear a myriad of “The Year In Review” reports. So I decided that at the January Council meeting we should do our own year in review based on our mission statement to celebrate, grow and reach. Here is what the council lifted up in thanksgiving for 2017:

Celebrating Life Together in Jesus Christ: the growth of coffee hour fellowship, the music ministry (especially the cantata), the celebration of the pastor’s 25th anniversary of her ordination as an elder, weekly worship, the generosity of the church–including giving to ministries other than our own, the women’s exercise group still meeting after ten years, our Living Water Café, use of the Celebration Center—Red Cross blood drives, Global Aid Network events, our benefit yard sale, and more—and the ministry of Volunteers In Mission which has increased in numbers and scope.

Growing Deeper: Bible studies at FUMC and in homes, new book club (small group), extra events are growing in number, our church-wide survey on discipleship paths has started a conversation about faith journeys, and the Thursday morning women’s prayer group (new in 2017).

Reaching Wider: Many of the events listed above help us to reach wider, but also mentioned were: hosting Narcotics Anonymous, the craft show, Family Promise, Volunteers In Mission, sewing and knitting groups, Power Hour worship service, participation in Muncy’s “4th Friday,” youth group activities, and giving to the United Methodist Committee On Relief.

I’m sure that if you gave it some thought, you too could add to this list of how we celebrate, how you grew personally in 2017, and how we continue to endeavor to reach wider. Please take a moment to do that, and then thank God for the year that is past and ask God to guide you and us in the year ahead.

We don’t often sit back and take stock of all that we are about. It isn’t bragging–it’s an affirmation of how God is at work in the life of this congregation. It’s an opportunity to celebrate how the Holy Spirit continues to shape us and also reminds us that we need to share the Good News/witness to what it is that God is doing in our midst. We don’t do a very good job of telling our story. (See page 1.) What good does it do us to keep it a secret? We need to celebrate and invite, grow in our confidence to share the story and reach wider to include others in this circle of faith and grace.

 

Blessings on your journey and our journey together,
Pastor Arlene

 

PS—Many of you have asked how you can help as I approach my surgery on February 7. I really don’t know yet what I might need in the way of assistance. Carol Godfrey, Convener of our Congregational Care Ministry Team, will coordinate the care of these needs as they arise. Thank you for your continued prayers.