Sunday, July 30, 2017

Great Grad

Congrats to Christina, who completed her MBA from Shippensburg this year.

Friday, July 28, 2017

New Music Ministries Director

Welcome Joan Alvear, shown here working on music with Mike Case. Joan will start as our director of music ministries on August 1.

Monday, July 24, 2017

New member!

Congrats to Jo, presented by Kim, as she made her vows on June 25.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Watching fireworks (July 3)

Simple Church

When the five last members of North Grafton United Methodist Church in Massachusetts voted to close and sell their building four years ago, they had no idea what would happen.
Denominational officers told them, “We’re going to send you a planter,” said Sue Novia, 73, one of the last five at North Grafton UMC. “We thought, ‘What is a planter?’”
But Grafton-area residents are now embracing a fresh style of worship at the three-year-old church plant called Simple Church(link is external), a United Methodist congregation where 30 to 40 share the Lord’s Supper every Thursday over dinner. The church is also pioneering a revenue model that puts less strain on parishioners by generating income from a trade -- in this case, bread baking.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Reception for Graduates

The reception in honor of our graduates, enjoyed by future graduates as well!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

1 Thessalonians: Discipleship

8-9 July 2017, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 99
Children, Matthew 22.15-22
Message, 1 Thessalonians 1

Vince Lombardi: Let’s get back to basics … This is a football.

Paul and his team spent only four weeks with the folks in Thessalonica before the riot forced them out of town.  And they’ve fallen in love with them, with their authenticity, with the way they are real.  We talk about spirituality here at Christ Church in terms of being “giving, faithful, and real”.  It was the realness of these folks and their response to God that captured Paul’s heart. 
      Two towns and one riot later, Paul is in Athens.  Timothy and Silas had stayed behind after the riot in Berea to give Paul’s last minute instructions to the new church there.  It appears that, after finalizing details in Berea, Timothy went back to Thessalonica to handle details there and pass on Paul’s greeting and prayers.
      Paul’s obviously gotten some good news from those folks and writes this letter with much tangible pleasure in the stories he’s heard.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Graduate Awards, June 18

Airex Wert, the John Bender Memorial Music Scholarship; Emily Traficante, the Douglas Wert Memorial Scholarship (with Beth Wert); Emily and Airex, the Friendship Circle Awards (with circle president Karen Demko); and Alyson Muse, the Keefer Award. Also pictured: Pastor JP Bohanan, Youth Ministries Director Kim Carpenter. One more award to be given out on August 6!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Our Earth We Now Lament to See

Our earth we now lament to see
with floods of wickedness overflowed,
with violence, wrong, and cruelty,
one wide-extended field of blood,
where men like fiends each other tear
in all the hellish rage of war

As listed on Abaddon's side,
they mangle their own flesh, and slay;
Tophet is moved, and opens wide
its mouth for its enormous prey;
and myriads sink beneath the grave,
and plunge into the flaming wave.

O might the universal Friend
this havoc of his creatures see!
Bid our unnatural discord end,
declare us reconciled in thee!
Write kindness on our inward parts
and chase the murderer from our hearts!

Who now against each other rise,
the nations of the earth constrain
to follow after peace, and prize
the blessings of thy righteous reign,
the joys of unity to prove,
the paradise of perfect love!

A hymn by Charles Wesley, 1758

Friday, July 14, 2017

Pastor donates 500 trees

The United Methodist Church in East Congo is helping protect the environment by planting trees. Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda, whose office is located at The United Methodist Church Mission of Lokole in Kindu, said reforestation not only aids in the fight against global warming, it means “fresh air” to breathe. Photo by Judith Yanga, UMNS.
Judith Yanga; June 2, 2017 | KINDU, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS)
"We cut trees from our forests every day for domestic use, it is good to think of replacing them in order to protect our environment against global warming. Our concessions must be surrounded by trees to allow fresh air (to breathe), where it is good to live," said East Congo Area Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda at The United Methodist Church Mission of Lokole in Kindu, where his office is located.
In setting up priority plans for the church in East Congo, Unda emphasized the need for the fight against global warming to cut across every program area of the church.
The Rev. Paul Omba, director of program and development of the East Congo Episcopal Area, urged local church clergy and laity to take the lead by bringing one tree each to help reforest Kindu.
Félix Okende, pastor of the local Francophone Church of Tokolote, answered the call with a gift of 500 trees, which included eucalyptus, palm, avocado, mandarin and orange trees, for the reforestation efforts.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Exodus: Hope in Darkness

Exodus: Hope in the Darkness                                       \Ex 10-12
1-2 July 2017, Christ Mountain Top, The Lord’s Table
Call to Worship, Psalm 88 (6:00 pm only)
Children, Exodus 10.1-29
Message, Exodus 11.4-10, 12.30-38

Death of cattle
Hail & fire
      Pharaoh’s heart, hardened by God … humble yourself
Locusts, cover the surface of the land, fill your houses
      Pharaoh’s heart hardened
Darkness, that can be felt, 3 days
      Pharaoh’s heart hardened
      But light for Hebrews

God is on the loose
      Hijacking Moses’ life
      Selecting a murderer, a failure, a reluctant man
God is on the loose
      Destroying the powers of Egypt
      Setting slaves, God’s people, free

The Mummy (original 1999) the gods of Egypt doing these powerful acts … interesting that they borrow the imagery of Exodus and flip the script. Instead of a powerful free God fighting to free slaves, it’s a powerful oppressive God fighting to enslave humanity.
      For the Hebrews, under oppression, their situation seems hopeless. They have no memory of freedom. They can’t imagine what it looks like. Moses offers promises, but they have no way fully appreciate it. If you have ever experienced abuse, or learned the story of someone who has lived it, you may appreciate, just a little, how hopeless they were. Or, how the glimmer of hope became the cause for deeper disappointment.
      God does something mighty. Pharaoh hardly flinches. God does something else. Pharaoh brushes it off. God brings one calamity after another, and Pharaoh still holds the upper hand.
      Moses says, “Let my people go.”
      Pharaoh says, “Make bricks without straw.”

We know how the story ends, but imagine yourself in the middle of the story. Where do you find hope? And we are each at a different place in our personal stories. Where do you find hope?

Youth Mission Trip

Fond farewells as they head off for a week of hands-on mission in Maine with UM ARMY. And only one guy on the team ...!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Let My People Go ... NO!

Connecting: The Old and the Young

An animated conversation - a regular sign of connection across generations!

New Eagle

Congrats to Justin and his family!

On the anniversary of Loving

Just read this remarkable personal story, and commend it to all:

By John Gauthier*
June 12 was the 50th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia case, in which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional any state laws barring marriage based on race. This is of special significance to me as my wife, Dana, and I are an interracial couple living in Maryland, which also had anti-miscegenation laws which would have prevented us to marry in this state, or to be legally recognized had we lived in that time.
June 12 is a day I celebrate, and a day that I deplore. This day reminds me of my ignorance, and the willful rejection of so many of us to take seriously the blatant, fundamental issues in our society. It also reminds me of the danger of relying on government alone to fix social problems.
Race had never been a major focus of my life. I was raised in predominantly White northern Illinois by parents who were largely neutral about racial issues. As a family, I think we always believed that a person's worth was largely self-determined and that 99 times out of 100, each person had an equal opportunity to make of themselves what they wished, and if they didn't, blame rested largely on their shoulders.
Then I met Dana.
I didn't understand what I was experiencing at first, when people would stare at us, or when I'd watch her get trailed in a retail store by a security guard, or when the fast-food cashier, not knowing we were together, was rude to her, but brightened as soon as I stepped up. When her niece, nephew and I were jeered-at twice within a 20-minute period walking down a street in Raleigh, I chalked it up to “The South.” But as more and more of these experiences stacked up, I started to see something that I simply didn't understand before: Being Black in America IS a fundamentally and demonstrably different experience than being White in America.

Monday, July 10, 2017

After Party

After Open Table, our contemporary service on Saturday evenings, a group often heads out for some additional fellowship.


From the Michele Millington studio recital on June 10. Thanks again, Michele, for bringing your young musicians here!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Vegetable of Hope in Zimbabwe

Margaret Tagwira describes the nutritional advantages of chaya amid a field of the fast-growing vegetable. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.
Margaret Tagwira feels the heavy burden African women bear for the survival of their families.
As an agricultural researcher at United Methodist Africa University, she has made it her life’s work to ease the load placed squarely on the slender shoulders of women as they struggle daily to feed their families.
Tagwira, a senior laboratory technician, earned a master of public health and graduate diploma in Non-governmental Organization management from Africa University. She was responsible for planning and setting up the first laboratories at the school.
Her compassion for women has made her an evangelist for chaya, a drought-resistant shrub she calls a “woman’s plant” because it is loaded with protein, iron, calcium, potassium and Vitamin A — all essential nutrients, especially for women and babies.