Monday, February 29, 2016

Lighthouse Resource Center ministry

A couple of our members volunteer their time to serve with this ministry, building relationships, nurturing confidence and character, sharing the love of Jesus. Check it out!
WILKES-BARRE — Faced with relocating on short notice, the Lighthouse Resource Center didn’t have far to go to find a new home for its afterschool program for kids from around Sherman Hills.
The move Saturday will be a short walk to the Keystone Rescue Mission Alliance on Parkview Circle from the converted storage room of a grocery store on North Empire Court, at the entrance to the low-income apartment complex.
Rev. Wayne Morgan Jr., the Northeast regional director of the National Network of Youth Ministries, said he got word Wednesday night that the move was approved.
“We’re very thankful for the Rescue Mission to open up the doors for us,” Morgan said Thursday during a break building a closet to store Lighthouse’s material.
First Posted: 4:58 pm - February 25th, 2016 Updated: 5:07 pm - February 25th, 2016. 
By Jerry Lynott -

Church growth in East Congo

In 1922, Chief Tunda Kasongo Luhahi welcomed the first white Methodist missionaries to his village of Tunda. In 2015, his grandson, Prosper Tunda, warmly welcomed another group of visiting United Methodists to the same spot.
Those first missionaries, Ansil Lynn and his wife, with their young child, arrived on March 10, 1922, and got right to work. They held the first worship service on a dirt path that they helped hack through the vegetation to create.
The Catholic Church was already established in the area, said the Rev. Kalema Tambwe, pastor of Kasuku United Methodist Church in Kindu. However, United Methodism has flourished since then, and today’s chief, Prosper Tunda, is so loyal to The United Methodist Church he declares he will not let another denomination open a church in his district.
The United Methodist Tunda District in the East Congo conference includes 68 local churches served by 72 United Methodist pastors.
The district covers a lot of ground, most of it inaccessible by automobiles.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Stand Firm: Spiritual Practice

2016/02/21 Christ Church, Mountain Top; Lent 2
Call to Worship, Psalm 27
Children, Genesis 15.1-18
Additional reading, Philippians 3.17-4.1
Message, Luke 13.31-35

Great Brain and the Tug-of-War
      Stand firm, hold fast

Our cultural focus on strength, whether the underdog or top dog
Douglas MacArthur, “I shall return”
John Wayne
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Theme for the day: Stand firm (Php 4.1), Hold fast (Php 3.17)

It can become a trap for us. We may stand firm all day long, but in reality we are rigid and irrational.
      Popcorn on the throat

Rigid traps when the focus is all wrong
  • Assumptions (inaccurate ones): “I’ve made up my mind. Don’t confuse me with the facts.”
  • Perceptions (imagined ones): “If I … then I’ll look weak/strong to my friends”
  • Adversaries: Allowing our adversaries to control us by letting them define the terms of our conflict

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Black History month and Methodist History

Philadelphia, PA, February 2, 2016: Black History month started strong when the “Forever” commemorative stamp was unveiled and dedicated to the life and witness of Richard Allen (1760-1831), founder and first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME).
After purchasing his freedom, Allen quickly made a name for himself as a traveling minister throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Settling in Philadelphia he was asked to preach to his fellow African Americans at St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church. He quickly rose to prominence co-founding a self-help organization called The Free African Society to assist African Americans in need. He later rallied black Philadelphians to serve as aid workers in the city’s devastating yellow fever epidemic.
When racial tensions and hostilities stemming from increasing segregation boiled-over at St. George’s Church, it became apparent that the growing black membership Allen had gathered would be best served as an independent congregation. In America’s original civil rights movement, Allen led black congregants out of St. George’s. He purchased an old blacksmith shop and moved it to land he owned about a mile away. Bethel Chapel was dedicated in 1794 and soon attracted several hundred members.
Read the full story and pray for our continuing struggle to welcome ALL persons.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Wilderness: Spiritual Practice (2014-0214)

2016/02/14 Christ Church, Mountain Top; Lent 1, Scout Sunday
Call to Worship, Psalm 91.1-2, 9-16
Children, Deuteronomy 26.1-11
Additional reading, Romans 10.8b-13
Message, Luke 4.1-13

There is so much here:
      Temptation & sin
            Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life
            Wealth, sex, power
            Practice of fasting, and various kinds
            Its power against evil
            Its ability to clarify when we are confused
            “It is written” – answers already there! (Lectio)
            Invitation to MEMORIZE
                  “In him the memory took the place of books” (32)
                  Life of Antony, by Athanasius
      Son of God
            About privilege and power … or holiness and serving?
            Jesus is both “led by the Spirit” and “tempted by the devil”

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Food Security in Ghana

During a nutrition training in Ghana, participants learn how to sort and process Moringa leaves, which are rich in nutrients and helps fortify the daily diet.
By Alice Mar*
January 26, 2016—Nearly 60 women and men from three communities near Accra, the capital of Ghana, participated in trainings last fall to build their capacities for sustainable agriculture and nutrition awareness, trainings they hope will set them on the road to achieve greater food security.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) sponsored the trainings, after which workshop leaders identified eight participants as possible “farmer extensionists” or nutrition promoters. The extensionists and promoters are individuals who are deemed to have the capacity to effectively “extend” what they learned in the UMCOR workshops by sharing it with their neighbors.
“Our vision is that those we train will not only practice what they learned and thereby improve the health and well-being of their own families but, also, will share their knowledge—formally or informally—with others,” said Alice Mar, UMCOR executive secretary for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.
The value of this approach is independence. “Through this social promotion a larger impact that is not reliant on outside actors or resources is possible and sustainable,” Mar explained.
It has long been a foundation of UMCOR’s Sustainable Agriculture and Development (SA&D) program to offer training and education to communities that empower them to address malnutrition, alleviate poverty, strengthen resources, and become self-sufficient.
Check out the rest of the story. And, remember that, through Robin Bohanan, we have a partnership with Building Solid Foundations in Apam, Ghana.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

E-readers to a school in Zimbabwe

Charlie Moore (left) and staff at the Methodist Mission School in Murewa, Zimbabwe, pose with the school's first e-reader. The Volunteer-in-Mission team from the Baltimore/Washington Conference is bringing 75 more e-readers to the school in March 2016.  Photo courtesy of Charlie Moore.
By Joey Butler*

The Rev. Faith Lewis didn't know what to expect when she attended the first Game Changers Summit in 2014, but she definitely didn’t expect it to spawn a mission project.
Lewis heard a panel discussion that included Kristina Lee from Worldreader, an organization that puts digital books in the hands of students in developing nations.
Lewis’ church, Mt. Harmony/Lower Marlboro United Methodist Church in Owings, Maryland, had a long-standing relationship with Methodist Mission School in Murewa, Zimbabwe. They’d been sending teams there every two years since 1997.
“I’m sitting there with people who had been on Volunteers-in-Mission teams, and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could implement something like Worldreader at Murewa?’” she said.
Lewis started a conversation with Lee to learn more about Worldreader and tell her about her church’s mission projects in Zimbabwe. From that conversation, Lewis began to wonder if it might be possible to outfit the Murewa school with e-readers.
“When Faith came back from Game Changers with info about the e-reader initiative, we jumped on it pretty quickly,” said Charlie Moore, a member of Community United Methodist Church in Crofton, Maryland, who’s been leading VIM trips for over a decade.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Body Life (4): Meet and Eat (2016-0207)

2016/02/07 Christ Church, Mountain Top; The Lord’s Table
Children, Luke 9.28-36
Message, 1 Corinthians 9.19-27, 10.14-23 (10.16-17, 10.21-22), 11.17-34

3 weeks ago:
      Members of Christ patronizing prostitutes, uniting with
      Bodies are made for Union with One – exclusive, covenantal
            With God, with another
2 weeks ago:
      Members of Christ and gifts of the Spirit
      Unity of the Body of Christ based in the Holy Trinity
      Diversity of the Body of Christ based in the Holy Trinity
1 week ago:
      Confusion over, and rejection of, resurrection
      Bodies are made for eternity – with God and transformed
      Both death and sin are defeated by Jesus’ resurrection
This week:
      Conversation over mission and the Lord’s Table
      Reference to “body” both as our individual human bodies and the metaphorical Body of Christ
      What is the nature and extent of our Communion? With others who share our faith (unity and reconciliation), and with those who do not (mission)?

The problems Paul is addressing:
Expected role of apostle (chapt 9):
      “Super” apostles who enjoy the privileges of leadership
            Appeals to Corinthian super strong spirituality
      Paul: all things to all – Jew, Greek, WEAK
            Debates this week: true progressive/conservative
            Paul would not fit
            Mission is first, not privilege
            Body made a “slave” to the mission

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Flood and Tornado response

Over the Christmas and New Year’s week, severe storms caused major flooding that inundated parts of the South and Midwest, and also spawned powerful, deadly tornadoes.

About 25 people were killed after tornadoes barreled through Texas. According to the National Weather Service, 11 of the deaths were in the Dallas area, which was struck by nine twisters, including an EF4 tornado in nearby Garland, with wind gusts up to 200 miles per hour. 

Flash floods due to record rainfall in Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas, Arkansas, and Tennessee caused additional fatalities and damage in what became a weeklong outbreak of severe weather. 

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) responded to the flood and tornado outbreak with emergency funding to the Central TexasMississippiNorth Texas, and Tennessee Annual Conferences. The agency is in contact with the Missouri and Great Plains conferences to provide aid for disaster recovery in those areas. UMCOR is also working with national partners in planning for additional flood response along the Mississippi River, where floodwaters are moving downstream. 

For more on this story ...

Transfiguration, with the children

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ecumenical Scout Service (2016-0205)

We enjoyed the opportunity to host the Two Mountains District's annual ecumenical service on Feb 5. The entire service is included here. For those looking for a specific portion:

  • Opening Ceremony at the very beginning
  • National Anthem at 1:00 of the first segment
  • Open Table band at 15:20 of the first segment
  • Scouts reading Scriptures at 26:50 of the first segment
  • Message begins at 31:30 of the first segment
  • Prayer for the ministry of Scouting at 18:25 of the second segment

Message Title: Ask the Animals  
2016/02/05 Christ Church, Mountain Top
SCRIPTURE, Job 12:7-10                                 pew Bible OT p. 438
PRAYING the PSALM, Psalm 145.8-21           p 857-858
SCRIPTURE, Luke 12:22-34                             pew Bible NT p. 70

Ask the Animals : Wisdom
      Job and his context

      Job: “the hand of the LORD has done this”
      Arnold Lobel, Fables, Lion King and beetle

      Consider the ant, Proverbs 6.6-11
      Jesus: Do not worry, Luke 12.22-34
            Responsibility is to the Kingdom, “build your kingdom here”

      Orchids, perfectly matched to their exclusive pollinators
      Diversity among human beings

      Me and Dean in the woods, water moccasin

Quotes on Orchids:
In European species of the genus Ophrys, flowers have a labellum that looks like the body of a fetching female bee or wasp—complete with the requisite shape, iridescent colors or colorful markings, and hairs. They also exude a scent that simulates the pheromones produced by receptive females.

The flowers of most moth-pollinated species, such as angraecoids, are green or white and are often very fragrant only at night so they can be found by these primarily night-flying insects. The flowers of orchids pollinated by flies or carrion beetles, such as many of the Bulbophyllum species, typically come in browns and fleshy reds and emit the odor of rotting meat. The stench of Bulbophyllum beccarii is so foul that it has been said to smell like "a herd of dead elephants."

Retrieved from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website on 5 Feb 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

"My Muslim Problem"

A wonderful personal story by Omar Rikabi, a United Methodist pastor in Texas and the son of a Muslim immigrant from the Middle East:

I have a Muslim problem.
I am a Christian pastor in North Texas. I am also the proud son of a Muslim immigrant from the Middle East, and I have a very wonderful—and large—Muslim family.
This is a problem, because when I hear about San Bernardino, or Paris, or any other terror event, my first prayer is to hold my breath and hope the killers do not have names like mine.
This is a problem because down the highway from me some men with guns protested outside a mosque, then posted the names and home addresses of local Muslims online.


Yes, there are Muslims who commit horrible acts of violence. But violence is not unique to Islam. It is common to all humanity. In our fallen depravity, all of us are radicalized by sin.
This is not a Muslim problem.
This is a human problem.
We need to get our stories straight, because  the Gospel of Christ does not discount anyone from grace and salvation… even terrorists. Take Paul, who started out as a religious militant, overseeing the execution of Christians he saw as infidels because he thought that put him on God’s winning side.
He went on to become the author of most of the New Testament.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Surprised by Grace

Rev. Greg Henneman, Director of Healthy Eating and Living, reflects on the 'divine economy of abundance' at CD4AP:
We call it a divine economy of God’s abundance. It could more simply be called faith. A faith I am still learning to live in to.

Every week at Community Development For All People, I’ve seen this practice in action. Opportunities are lifted up in prayer and prayers are answered. This may not be a new concept, I’ve just never seen it so deeply ingrained as organizational praxis.

On a recent morning, only three people were around to unload 10,000 pounds of produce. How would we process, stock, and distribute food to a hundred people? By mid-morning the market was bustling with volunteers, some I had never seen before who worked tirelessly. We went from undermanned to overwhelmed. A divine economy of God’s abundance.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Body Life (3): Body 2.0 (Resurrection) 2016-0131

2016/01/31 Christ Church, Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 92
Children, Luke 6.39-49
Message, 1 Corinthians 15 (1-14, 35-58)

The problem in Corinth:
      The “spiritual” who do not need their inferior bodies
      Believe in Christ’s resurrection, but NOT that of his followers
            Just the immortal (and superior) soul
      Body issues

Paul’s response:
      Resurrection of Jesus at the center of the gospel proclamation
      Resurrection of Jesus is the reason that we will be resurrected
            Can’t have one without the other
      Death and sin are partners
            Can’t defeat one without defeating the other
      What does resurrection mean for the body? 2 analogies
      KEY: What does resurrection mean for our living?

Afterlife conversation:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mushed M&M's

The warm-up song for our children's choir and more fun from Sunday.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mission Central & Children with AIDS

Am Foundation

“Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us.  None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”  (Psalm 40:5 NIV)

I am a volunteer with the American Foundation for Children with AIDS based in Harrisburg, PA.  In addition to sending life saving medicine, we also send 4 or 5 cargo containers full of medical supplies and equipment to our partner clinics in Africa each year.
Several years ago, Jean Norris from Mission Central in Mechanicsburg, had the vision to connect me with a sewing group from New York.  Debbie Underwood and a group from the Hands of Hope HUB in Cortland, NY were involved in a sewing ministry making infant clothing and quilts.  They gladly donated some of their hand-sewn items to us.  AFCA was thrilled to accept their donation and sent the clothing and quilts to our partner clinics that have maternity wards.
Over 18 months went by.  The executive director of AFCA asked me to try to increase our supply of baby quilts and infant clothes.  I remembered our donation from the Courtland, NY HUB, but I hadn’t talked to Debbie in such a long time that I wasn’t sure if she would even remember me.  I took a chance and reached out to her via email.  I re-introduced myself and asked if she remembered sending items to AFCA and if she would consider doing so again.
Debbie responded and told me that her group had been sewing items specifically for AFCA for the past 18 months!  I will never forget that wonderful surprise!  It brought tears to my eyes.
PRAYERS: O God, our Help in ages past—our Hope for years to come, we are grateful that You know what we need before we ask, and that in Your benevolent Love you provide for all our needs.  We praise you O Lord.  AMEN.
(Betsy Dorsey, Warehouse Manager, American Foundation for Children with Aids)

Monday, February 1, 2016

New stove

The new stove is here and ready to go! Thanks to those who had a vision for this project and gave to fund it.