Traces of Grace
This Sunday we return to our normal schedule.
9:00am Traditional Worship & Sunday School
10:00am Fellowship Time
10:30am Contemporary Worship & Adult Sunday School
Thoughts from Pastor Scott
"This world has nothing for me,
and this world has everything.
All that I could want
and nothing that I need."
As I've been thinking about our new sermon series that begins this week and preparing to preach these messages I was reminded that, in a very real sense, this world is not our home. Now, in one sense, this world is very much our home; it is where we were born, it is where we have grown and lived our lives, it is the only reality we have known. In this sense, it is clear this world is home. But in another sense, there is something deep within us that knows that we were made for something more. The reality is that this world isn't the way God intended for it to be, God's Kingdom is not of this world, and there will come a day when Christ returns to bring a new world--a world where heaven and earth are one, like it was supposed to be in Eden.
This is the tension that exists for us as we live between Christ's ascension and His return, the already and the not-yet. When we submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus, commit ourselves to following Him, and surrender ourselves to the principles of His Kingdom, it makes us foreigners and strangers in the world. It is as though we are living in exile.
When the people of Judah were in exile in the land of Babylon God gave the Prophet Jeremiah a message which he wrote in a letter and sent to those who had been taken captive. This message gave them instructions for how they were to live their lives, even in a foreign city. Here is the first part of what God said to those exiles:
5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Here's my interpretation of that passage: “Even though you’re in exile, live your lives! Don’t give up! Pray and work for the prosperity of the city in which you find yourselves, because it is directly tied to the prosperity of your family.” And I think those instructions apply to us today as well. While it can be tempting to retreat from the world around us because its values don’t line up with ours, we are called to live our lives and work and pray for the prosperity of the community in which we live. This is the testimony of our faith to an unbelieving world.
Grace & Peace,
Upcoming Sermon Series
This Sunday, September 11, we return to our two-service format for the school year and we begin a new sermon series entitled, "Digital Babylon: Developing Resilient Faith in Exile." In this series we will be looking at what we can learn from Scripture about how to form followers of Jesus who are able to stand firm in the midst of a foreign culture that seeks to assimilate us into its worldview.
This series will find us in some familiar stories from the Old Testament and will use research from the Barna Group, which was presented in the book Faith For Exiles, to help us see the five formative influences resilient disciples experience. My hope is that this series of sermons will help us evaluate our own level of resilience in our faith and what God is asking us to give ourselves to for the sake of creating resilient faith in the generations following us.
In order to take the pulse of the congregation on the future direction of our church and denomination, we will hold two sessions of congregational conversation on September 14th from 7pm-9pm and September 17th from 10am-12pm. We are providing two sessions in hopes that most of our congregation will be able to attend one of the options, but the information that will be presented by Steve Schoch (who led our conversations in 2020) will be the same.
These are important conversations in the life of our congregation and I encourage each of you to make it a priority to attend and participate in these sessions. As your pastor, the decisions ahead of us are not decisions that I can make for the church or on your behalf. Your involvement in these conversations will help to inform the conversations the leaders of the congregation will have.
Above all, I encourage you to be in prayer for these conversations, but also for the wider process and all those involved in it; Bishop Schol, our District Superintendent Glenn Conaway, the Conference Board of Trustees, and the leaders here at First Methodist. Pray for wisdom, discernment, grace, and truth. Pray that we would be faithful to be who God has called the Church to be in the world.
Pastor Jeremy is on paternity leave, so Linda Schoch joined Pastor Scott for this week's podcast. Join us for this conversation based on the sermon "Dearest Forsaken" as we talk about the mysteries of God, the Trinity, Bible chronology, and what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
You can listen and subscribe to the podcast on:
We would really love for you to be a part of this conversation, so email your questions to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll do our absolute best to answer those questions or, if we can't answer it, we'll at least have a conversation about it.
Followers Bible Study is back!
Tuesday morning Bible Study will begin this Tuesday, September 13th. You can arrive at 9:30 for coffee, tea, and fellowship. Study begins at 10:00. The first six week series, which will look at the book of Jude, will be led by Pastor Scott . We look forward to seeing you!
Kids Church in the Great Room
Kids from 1st-5th grades will be dismissed from the worship service prior to the sermon to participate in Kid's Church. This program will take place in the Great Room.
Operation Christmas Child
We know it's early, but it's time to think about Operation Christmas Child in conjunction with Samaritans Purse.
In the next 2 weeks, the boxes will be available at both doors and you can take them, fill them, return them, but please include the $10.00 handling charge - OR:
Like last year, you can use the envelope in the Sanctuary pew marked "Operation Christmas Child". Place $20.00 CASH in the envelope and place in offering plate or give to Pat Gunning. Pat will fill a box or boxes for you. The $20.00 includes the $10.00 handling fee.
Let's get moving on those boxes. Christmas isn't that far away! Thank you.
Our Traditional Sunday Morning Worship Service begins at 9am in our sanctuary. This service incorporates the great hymns of our faith, creeds, responsive readings, prayers, Scripture readings, and a sermon, among other things.
During the 9:00 hour, we also have Sunday school available for children, youth, and adults.
Our Contemporary Sunday Morning Worship Service begins at 10:30am in our sanctuary. This service incorporates new and old songs, most often led on guitar, as well as Scripture readings, prayers, and other worship elements. Nursery is available during the 10:30 service for children birth-Kindergarten and all children are welcome in the worship service. There is also an adult Sunday school class that meets in the parlor during the 10:30 time slot. Our 10:30 service will also be livestreamed for those who are unable to attend in-person. Anyone can access this livestream, but if you'd like to chat with others throughout the service, you must have a Faithlife account and become of member of our Faithlife Group. If you aren't already a member of our group, and would like to become one, please email the church office at email@example.com and we will reply with an invitation.
Here are all the links you'll need for the full Sunday Morning experience...
Join our Live Stream Service - https://www.faithlife.com/fumccollingswood/livestream
Access our Digital Bulletin - https://fumccollingswood.org/bulletins Online Giving - https://fumccollingswood.org/giving
All of our past morning worship services can be viewed on our website by visiting https://fumccollingswood.org.
You can also view the services on our YouTube Channel.
Verse of the Month
We praise God and thank Him for all the prayers that have been answered throughout this challenging time and also:
- For all God is doing, even in the smallest of details!
- For our freedom to worship together in person.
- For members of our church family who have recovered from surgeries, treatments and illnesses.
Prayers in the Junior Dining Room
Prayers in the Parlor has moved to the Junior Dining Room (room off of the Gym). This is a time to gather and pray over the requests of our congregation and happens every Monday at 8:30am and Tuesday through Thursday 9am.
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
"Prayers in the Junior Dining Room (room off of the Gym)" is a time to gather and pray over the requests of our congregation and happens every Monday at 8:30am and Tuesday through Thursday, 9:00am. Feel free to come and join us!
Please continue to pray for...our homebound members; our church members who are in need of spiritual, emotional and financial care; any families and relationships that have been strained during this time, our Troops and our Missionaries. The list is long, but God is BIG!
Please pray for the following:
- Pastor Scott & Meg - for the Lord's guidance & direction in all matters and decisions.
- Pastor Jeremy & Rebecca as they begin serving at FUMC and adjust to their new reality together with their first beautiful newborn son Theo.
- Linda Adam's - daughter-in-law's brother Ed - cancer
- Bob Alber- recovering from recent hospitalization and Barb Alber is recovering from recent surgery - missionary
- Karen Alexander (& family) - in the passing of her Mom, Carol
- The Berryhill's friend Melinda Johnson diagnosed with brain cancer
- Kathy & Phil Boswell (Phil - recovery from surgery) health problems & medical concerns
- Dave Cahilly - health issues
- Mary Emily Cameron - recovering from a broken bone in her neck
- Connie Cline's longtime friend has cancer/is steps from eternity and needs to get into a relationship with God.
- The Cluelow's friend Liz for keeping the house & new job
- Jim Craig - broken collarbone and Parkinson complications
- Susan Dallegro - friend Jennifer sick on ventilator and her mother Maryann
- The Edwards Family
- Harry Ellis - Blood Pressure
- Charles Ferrara - hospitalized
- Ken Franck's cousin Regina Gebka - ovarian cancer - surgery September 1st.
- The Imm's Family, friends of Dotti Escuti
- Dick, Peggy and Janel Esher
- Maria Gianfrancesco - continued recovery from knee surgery
- Carol Harding - home from the hospital
- James Jungclaus (& family) in the passing of his wife Donna
- Karen Kline and family in the passing of her son Craig
- Dick McCloy - permanent remission from 6 months of chemo treatments
- Mary Ann McCloy - shortness of breath and autoimmune condition Myasthenia Gravis which has caused eye lid drooping
- David & Katie McDevitt's son
- Kathy McGuarn's - daughter Jenny DePaul's upcoming surgery September 12th
- Dawn Molloy's lifelong friend Ellen - hospitalized more than a month - needs prayers and encouragement for healing. Doctors need wisdom to find root cause of her medical issues.
- Gus Mondatsos - recovery from hip surgery
- Ella Patterson's brother - seizures
- Jaime Frost, daughter of Harry & Linda Rameriz - serious health issues
- Rameriz's - as they settle into their new home in SC
- Kay Shannon's husband's cousin Lynne - in the hospital with cancer and pneumonia
- Joan Stecher's friends Denise Young and Danielle Catling
- Michael Zee
- Our Missionaries
If you have any other prayer concerns or ways we can serve you please let us know. We desire to journey with you.
Remember, you are loved!
In His Grace,
The FUMC Staff