Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hosanna! All the People Sing

Noah, Build an Ark

The Last Word on Endurance (Seven Last Words #6)

17-18 Mar 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 96
Children, Joshua 3-4
Message, John 19.28-42

Discussion guide
·       The Last Word on Reconciliation, Feb 10/11
·       The Last Word on Hope, Feb 17/18
·       The Last Word on Family, Feb 24/25
·       The Last Word on Pain, Mar 3/4
·       The Last Word on Need, Mar 10/11
·       The Last Word on Endurance, Mar 17/18
·       The Last Word on Trust, Mar 24/25

      It is finished (John 19:30).

Why do you call it GOOD Friday? (in TEFL class, from Muslim student)
“Yet this is the narrative that has made Good Friday good.” (Raymond Brown, cited in Bruner, 1114)
As through a conquered man our race went down to death, so through a conqueror we ascend to life.” Irenaeus, 72
More victorious in tone (than “forsaken”), but no loss of the pain in John’s gospel: “I thirst”
Granddad singing, “Jesus Loves Me”

The Single Moment that Determines All History
It is finished. Perfect tense, “past act with continuingly present-tense force” (Bruner, 1114)
      Jesse, “baby all done now” – but that baby was definitely NOT finished!
      Genesis 2.1, heavens and earth completed
      Joshua 4.1, whole nation completed crossing the Jordan

“’It is finished.’ But it is not over.” (Richard Neuhaus, cited in Hauerwas, 88).

Monday, March 26, 2018

Miles for Missions

Saturday, May 5, 2018
Wesley Forest Camp & Retreat Center
Registration at 10 am
Walk/Run at 11:00-12:00
Free Picnic Lunch to Follow
More info, resources & Sponsor forms:

Saturday, May 12, 2018
9am -12 pm
Kirby Park, 160 Market Street Wilkes-Barre
More info, resources & Sponsor forms at:

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Prayers Move Us Forward

Les Debbie Nov 2016 PS.jpg
By Les and Debbie Dornon*

Living in Nepal means that prayer is a bit like breathing. Without the connection to God throughout the day, life can overwhelm us. Prayer is the way we get started each day—and we strive to end with thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness. We have seen many instances where prayer alone has made a difference—prayers for rain in a dry season followed by an unlikely storm to fill the hospital water tanks…prayers for a patient with no money and a difficult medical condition who was able to leave here healed and without a crippling debt…prayers for Les when he had a brain bleed and had to be helicoptered to the capital city for treatment and found himself to be the only conscious patient in the ICU overnight….the list could go on. We depend on prayers for our lives here, for our work, for the witness of the hospital and the church, and for our family living far from us. Knowing there are those who pray for us consistently keeps us moving forward in the difficult times. Prayers help us continue to say with assurance, Our God is faithful and good.

The rest of the story ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Confirmation Class leads worship

Thanks to Kim for leading the class this year. They did a wonderful job at Wesley Village!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Last Word on Need

10-11 Mar 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 69.1-21, 29
Children, Exodus 17.1-7
Message, John 19.23-30

Discussion guide

Water sketch in elementary school – for combing hair!

      I am thirsty (John 19:28).

“We may suppose that Jesus really is thirsty; but he is thirsty only by his volition, because of his awareness that there is a prophecy to be realized” (Loisy, cited by Brown, 928).
      Thirsty because he chooses to be thirsty? Simply to fulfill Scripture?
      Have you ever been around a dying person? Put a sponge to their chapped lips, wiped down the inside of their mouth?
      Jesus was thirsty because he was dying. When humans die, they get thirsty – even if they are not executed in a particularly painful way.

And yet, John’s gospel is clearly full of metaphor and much very interesting language around thirst, water, and drink – all of which should properly inform our reading of this section.
      “The work of the Son, the thirst of the Son through the Spirit, is nothing less than the Father’s thirst for us. God desires us to desire God” (Hauerwas, 77).
      But we cannot separate the human from the divine. Jesus is not 50/50. He is 100% God and 100% human. At the very same time.
      Incarnation a name for a mystery, not an explanation of the mystery (Hauerwas, 75)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Irma Survivors grateful for help

Niki Graham leans against an aluminum palm tree, the only tree still standing on her Goodland, Florida, property. Photo by Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS.
The news crews left Florida a long time ago, and dozens of other stories since then have captured the national attention. But The United Methodist Church is still on the ground in Florida and at so many other disaster sites, working with those in need to rebuild their homes and their lives.
Niki Graham may be one of the church’s biggest cheerleaders.
“I LOVE the Methodists!” said the 69-year-old resident of Goodland, a small fishing village on the end of Marco Island that was hit hard by the storm. 
“I had a huge tree down that no one could move. One day, someone knocked on my door and said, ‘United Methodist Church from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. How can we help you?’ I just fell in love with them, just the nicest guys.”
Graham said Goodland endured 15 days with no electricity and trees were down everywhere. “In all the hurricanes I’ve been through, I’d never been given a bottle of water, I’d never seen a volunteer, and the Methodists found Goodland. They helped everyone here. They saved me and kept me from breaking.”

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Cherub and Children's Choirs

Thanks to Michele for leading our children's choirs. Fantastic music and joyful praise from these young people.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Farming Help in the Congo

The president of United Methodist Women in Kibombo, known as “Mama Faila,” carries items received as part of a food security project sponsored by the Global Health unit of the Board of Global Ministries and the Tunda Foundation. The 12-month project was launched in September and targets United Methodists from 10 local churches. Photo courtesy of the East Congo Annual Conference.
Photo courtesy of the East Congo Annual Conference
The president of United Methodist Women in Kibombo, known as “Mama Faila,” carries items received as part of a food security project sponsored by the Global Health unit of the Board of Global Ministries and the Tunda Foundation. The 12-month project was launched in September and targets United Methodists from 10 local churches.
By Chadrack Tambwe Londe
Feb. 14, 2018 | KINDU, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS)
The Global Health unit of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries is helping farmers in the East Congo Conference improve agricultural production.
The mission agency has provided a grant to support a food security project implemented by the Tunda Foundation to help fight malnutrition in the area. The Tunda Foundation is a nonprofit that was founded in 2004 by United Methodist Chief Prosper Tunda, whose family welcomed the first Methodist missionaries to the area in 1922.
The 12-month project was launched in September and targets United Methodists from 10 local churches in the Kibombo district, with 200 households participating.
Kibombo is a large town in the province of Maniema with a population of more than 200,000. Accessible by rail and road, it is 72 miles from Kindu, the capital of Maniema.
According to the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys report (2013-14 edition), 12.4 percent of the people living in Kibombo are considered malnourished, with 5.1 percent of those suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Last Word on Pain (2018-0304)

3-4 Mar 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 22.1-18(22)
Message, Mark 15.22-41

Discussion guide

Lost in Vientiane
      Not abandoned, not forsaken
      But … alone and lost
For a child who always had dad and mom nearby, this was a crushing experience. Among my deepest pains. Others have been my losses, my griefs. In this one, I myself was lost.

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46)

The fourth word
      … Pain
General intro
      Only word in Mark (first gospel account) and Matthew, the other 6 are in Luke (3) and John (3)
      Primacy (either by being first or being central)
      Jürgen Moltmann: What sets Jesus’ death apart from deaths of martyrs of all faiths and philosophies … rather than hope or defiance – God-forsaken (146-152).
      Moltmann: the cross is the beginning of the trinitarian history of God (uncertain page #). In the cross, “God is dead and yet not dead” (203). Jesus, the Son of God, dies. The Father forsakes the Son. The Spirit, I assume, grieves. I assume that because the Scripture itself does not speak to that dimension of the mystery of the cross. The Scripture is clear that Jesus dies. And Jesus is clear that he is abandoned, forsaken, by his Father.
      I have no idea what that would feel like. The Scripture doesn’t tell us either, doesn’t offer us a psychological analysis of Jesus. We do know that Jesus spoke in unique ways of the nearness of God’s kingdom (Mark 1.15). And Jesus spoke of God as “my Father” in a way that was exclusive to him, unique and personal (Moltmann 147). To be abandoned, to be forsaken, by one you love who is at the same time near and intimate is exquisitely painful.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Hope for Angola ... through Mission Central

“Hey, Adam…do you know if you have any desks for high school students available?”  This is the call I received from Troy Howell, Pastor of Aldersgate UMC, Mechanicsburg.  Troy explained that he was helping a friend, “Gomes”, who was building a school in Angola, through a mission called “Hope for Angola.”  Gomes was looking for desks and other supplies and equipment for the first shipment to the new school.  This school was going to help by educating children during the day, teach adults at night, serve as a community center and help in many other ways.
I remembered seeing a few on a shelf in the warehouse, so I told Pastor Troy that I thought we did and would double check for him.  I asked how many he was looking for and Troy said that he’d likely take as many as we had…hundreds were needed.  As it turns out, we had a tractor trailer load of desks, chairs and tables sitting in the parking lot, ready for someone to take.  I immediately called Troy to share the good news.  Troy called Gomes and a meeting was set up.
We toured the warehouse and I explained the history and mission of Mission Central.  We ended the tour with an inspection of the trailer and both Troy and Gomes were blown away.  There were several hundred desks stacked up in the trailer.  At the back, were conference tables, chairs and other miscellaneous items.  Gomes could not believe that this was available and that we would simply donate it to his school.
As we talked, we discovered that the school would have dormitory areas to house guests.  A local company, D&H Distributors, donates (among other things) refrigerators and microwaves to Mission Central.  I offered to give him a supply of those items as well.  The need for computers for the school was realized.  Gomes was hoping to get 20 computers.  I directed him to Computer Ministry, who rebuilds donated computers and puts complete, working computer systems out into the world.  They were able to give him the 20 desktop computers that he needed.  A small fee of $10 per computer is required, which goes to Microsoft for licensing.  We also connected with a local school district, Red Lion, who had additional desks to donate. 

Father Abraham, Mother Sarah

Friday, March 9, 2018

Scout Sunday, group pics

The group pics from the 8:30 and 10:45 services. Thanks to our wonderful groups and leaders.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Snow Emergency in Montana

The most urgent needs are for food and firewood. Semi-trucks filled with long pine logs are delivered which volunteers then cut, split and deliver to homes in remote locations on the Blackfeet Nation. Photo courtesy of Whitefish United Methodist Church.
The most urgent needs are for food and firewood. Semi-trucks filled with long pine logs are delivered which volunteers then cut, split and deliver to homes in remote locations on the Blackfeet Nation. Photo courtesy of Whitefish United Methodist Church.

By Kathy L. Gilbert
March 1, 2018 | (UMNS)

The snow was 70 to 80 inches high on Feb. 1 in northwestern Montana, home to the Blackfeet Nation. Now it’s up to 240 inches and that’s not even the worst part, said the Rev. Calvin Hill, pastor of the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish in Browning, Montana.
“It’s not the inches; it is the 70 to 80 miles-per-hour wind gusts that moves that soft snow into 16 to 20 foot drifts. You can plow the roads, but an hour later they will be filled up again,” he said, in an interview with United Methodist News Service.
The Rev. Dawn Maurer Skerritt, Yellowstone Conference disaster response coordinator, said that sometimes the winds could get up to hurricane-force at 115 miles per hour.
“Snow can bury houses,” she said. “We ask for prayers for the ministry and safety for folks responding.”
The Blackfeet Tribal Council issued a state of emergency and asked for help from The United Methodist Church through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. 

Children: Let My People Go

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Last Word on Family

24-25 Feb 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 22.23-31
Children, Genesis 17.1-7, 15-16
Message, John 19.16-27

Two introductory matters:

1. Family and Faith
      Family first
      Jesus provides for his mother’s future needs …
            “honor your father and your mother” Exodus 20
      BUT …
      Jesus’ relationship with his family was complicated (like ours!) and he also had a new view of what family was all about.
      Matthew 12:48-50 – "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
      Luke 14:26  Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.
      JOHN’s mother, Salome, was present at the foot of the cross, according to Mark’s passion account. So, she hears this too! (Mark 15.40, Scroggie, in section on 7 last words)

2. Who is Mary?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Painting Day!

Thanks to Chris for organizing the painting of the Social Hall! Now we need folks to help out with the trim. The youth group really showed up.

Children: This Is My Commandment

Monday, March 5, 2018

Hope for an internally displaced family

Shelter 6.jpg
*Barbara Dunlap-Berg 
EAST DARFUR STATE, Sudan (UMCOR) – In December 2013, fighting broke out between the Maalya and Rizaigat tribes in East Darfur state, Sudan. When another tribe warned of imminent danger, Mona and Ahmed and their six children fled Um Rahouba village. 

“We left everything behind—our home, our livelihood, the crops, and the land,” Mona recalled. “We thought about nothing but to flee. It was too difficult to take anything; the situation was terrifying. We ran even without water or food, carrying the little ones. We were very tired and frustrated. Luckily, we managed to contact our family in Adilla who sent a lorry [motor truck] for us.”

Finding temporary refuge, the family crowded into their relatives’ small house.


“UMCOR relieved our hardship,” a grateful Mona said. “It was really hard to believe that we’ll continue our normal life back again. Though it was a bitter experience, it gave us the strength and faith that God always graces us with his mercy.”

The rest of the story...

Friday, March 2, 2018

Scout Sunday

Thanks to everyone who made the luncheon possible - and to our great Scout Troop and Pack!

Thank Offering (Cancer Group)

The Cancer Support Group thanks everyone who participated in their thank offerings, which were distributed to persons in the church and community experiencing significant health needs and one community organization (Candy's Place) that serves persons with cancer.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Towards an HIV-free generation in Zambia

1 Photo.jpg
By Bella DiFilippo*
KITWE, Zambia—Miriam was three months pregnant when she was diagnosed with HIV. A local health clinic directed her to Bwafwano Care Providers to receive consistent counseling, nutritional support, and antiretroviral medication. Community health workers from Bwafwano Care Providers visited Miriam and through consistent follow-up, she gave birth to a healthy baby. Today, Miriam’s two children, ages three and four, are both HIV-free.
Grateful for Bwafwano Care Providers, Miriam now serves as a community health worker, sharing her story with other HIV-positive pregnant mothers as an advocate for health.

Preventing HIV in Zambia

More than 1 million people in Zambia are living with HIV. Many received the virus through mother-to-child transmission. Among the leading causes of infection, mother-to-child transmission can be prevented. The Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) initiative provides drugs, counseling, and psychological support for mothers through their pregnancy, labor, delivery, and breastfeeding.
Through Global Ministries’ funding support, Bwafwano Care Providers carries out PMTCT projects and supports training workshops for community health workers. These projects focus in two high-risk neighborhoods here. Since the program started, more than 400 mothers have accessed preventative treatment services through visits from community health workers, who play a vital role in sharing health information within their communities.