• ReadTraces of Grace
    September 16, 2021

    Thoughts from Pastor Scott

    Dear First Methodist,


    September is always an interesting month, especially for those with some connection to the education system. New school years are beginning, classes are resuming, and (hopefully) some semblance of rhythm and routine is returning. But in September, we're not quite there yet. The page has turned on the calendar, we've left the beach days and vacations in the summer, and the new schedules have started, but the new doesn't feel familiar yet. It still feels as though we are in transition.


    As I think about our life together as a congregation, I have a feeling that it probably feels like we are still in transition there too. The second sermon series has begun, we've had more than a dozen small group gatherings, and the new Sunday schedule has been rolled out. And yet none of it feels familiar yet. You are still getting to know me and I am still getting to know you and we are still discerning where God is leading us in this new season of congregational life.


    In the past two weeks there have been three moments that have filled my heart with joy. The first was last Wednesday as I walked out of the church office and sounds of preschoolers drifted up from the gym. The second happened as I left the sanctuary after the 9am service on Sunday. When I opened the door that leads from the sanctuary into the rest of the building I was greeted by voices and laughter and the sounds of the church being the church together. The last one happened after the 10:30am service when I realized that Tommy, the baby I had just baptized, was the great grandson of one of my grandmother's dearest friends.


    These are the sounds and signs of life and I am so grateful to see and hear them filling our church building. And, as we continue to look to the future and transition into the next season of life together, I'm thankful for the experiences like Tommy's baptism that remind us that none of us got here on our own; we stand in a long tradition of faithful saints and we stand on their shoulders.


    I believe that God has brought my family here to Collingswood for this season and for a purpose. These signs are reminders that God isn't done with us yet, that there are others who need to come to Christ through our faithfulness, and that there are neighbors all around us who are waiting to be invited in. Let's pray together that God would open our eyes to the signs of what He is doing in the midst of this transition and we would answer His invitation to join in that work.


    Grace & Peace,

    -Pastor Scott

    1. published a bulletin

      ReadFirst United Methodist Church of Collingswood
      Worship Service - 9/12/2021
    2. published a bulletin

      ReadFirst United Methodist Church of Collingswood
      Livestream Service - 9/5/2021
    3. Sep
      3
      Friday, September 3rd, 5 pm (EDT)
      First United Methodist Church of Collingswood
      201 Dayton Ave, Collingswood, NJ, 08108
      1. ReadTraces of Grace
        Volume 72- September 5, 2021

        A Message from Pastor Scott

        Dear First Methodist family,


        I can hardly believe it, but I realized yesterday that I had begun my third month here at FUMC! This summer has flown by and most days it feels like we only moved in a couple of weeks ago. We're so grateful for all of you for the way you've welcomed us in and especially for the 135 of you we've gotten to know a little bit more through the backyard gatherings.


        Now, as I look toward the fall, I am realizing that as much as I want to pretend the transition is over, it's not. I hope that you will continue to bear with me as I continue to get to know you as individuals and as a church body. I know at some point I'm going to let you down or disappoint you or make a decision you don't like. I ask for your grace in those times; my heart is to minister to you well and to see our church move forward in the mission God has given us. In those times when I inevitably fail you, know that I would always prefer to hear it from you rather than from someone else. My door is always open to have those conversations.


        I am excited to get into the fall rhythm with you all. Summer is great, but there's also something about getting back into the school year schedule and the structure that brings to life. There will continue to be things that change and adapt as we walk through this season of transition. This fall still may not look like where we ultimately want to get to, but I look forward to more opportunities to be together in worship, in connection, and in mission.


        We were created in the image of a relational God to be in relationship with Him and with one another and the Church is better when we are together. If you haven't returned to in-person worship yet after COVID, and your health allows you to, I want to encourage you to come home. Maybe consider September 12, as we launch our new worship schedule, as a "Homecoming Sunday" to come back to FUMC so we can be the church together.


        Grace & Peace,

        -Pastor Scott

        1. Sep
          12
          Sunday, September 12th  •  10:30–11:30 am (EDT)
          Every Sunday
          First United Methodist Church of Collingswood
          201 Dayton Ave, Collingswood, NJ, 08108
          Join via phone
          856-858-1186
          1. Sep
            12
            Sunday, September 12th  •  9–10 am (EDT)
            Every Sunday
            First United Methodist Church of Collingswood
            201 Dayton Ave, Collingswood, NJ, 08108
            1. published a bulletin

              ReadFirst United Methodist Church of Collingswood
              Livestream Service - 8/29/2021
            2. ReadTraces of Grace
              Volume 71- August 26, 2021

              A Message from Pastor Scott

              Dear First Methodist family,


              We are in interesting days as a church. Things look quite different than they did 2 years ago, before anyone even knew the word COVID. In the time since March 2020 we have had to adapt and adjust how we gather for worship and for ministry. Thankfully things have been moving toward a new normal through the spring and summer. The question now is, "Of the things that stopped because of COVID-19, which ones are worth restarting?"


              There are some things that stopped because of COVID that need to stay dead. There are other things that need to be resurrected. There are still other things that need to be birthed in this new context. What will be in the future is never going to look exactly like what was before. And that is okay. We serve the God of creation who is always breathing new life into dead people and empty spaces.


              I want to reiterate my invitation from this past Sunday. Beginning this Wednesday, Sept. 1, I will be in the sanctuary 7-8pm to pray over the future of our congregation. We will be asking God for wisdom and vision and listening for His Spirit to speak to us. If you long to see our church move forward into a vibrant future, I'd love for you to come and join your heart with mine in prayer.


              -Pastor Scott