Pastoral Post 10.12.2016

(This post was also included in this week’s First Words.)

We are well into October now, into the “P” month of pumpkins, pecans, and pot pies! Each of these have become a fall tradition at First Church…..pumpkin sales going to support youth ministries, pecans to benefit Congregational Care ministries, and pot pies to fund missions.  Your purchase of any and all of these go for worthy causes!

One of the annual events that brings lots of people from our community to our campus is Trunk or Treat on Halloween night. Hundreds of children and parents come by for candy, all receiving information about the church. Dozens of church members participate, and we always need more adults who will help give out candy from the trunks of their cars. If you miss the days you had young children excited about Halloween, this would be a great way for you to have a great time and reach out to persons from our community at the same time. If you can’t do that, we need lots and lots of candy donations, so bring along a bag or two this Sunday and place it in the baskets. Call Kara Sither to volunteer or for more information.

This Sunday October 16 begins our fall stewardship campaign. We’ll focus this first Sunday on the pressures we feel from our society related to money and material possessions and how that relates to scripture. On October 23, we’ll have the first of three weeks focusing on John Wesley’s sermon “The Use of Money,” in which he said, “Earn all you can…..Save all you can…..Give all you can.” Some classes are studying the book by Jim Harnish based on this and entitled Earn. Save. Give. Does it surprise you that Wesley would begin with “Earn all you can”? Money is a good thing, he says, not evil…..it is “the love of money” that is “the root of all evil.” On October 30 we will celebrate All Saints Sunday, then we’ll be back on November 6 to consider “Saving” and November 13 for “Giving.” Also on November 13 we will have the opportunity to pledge what we will give toward supporting the missions and ministries of the church in 2017. Our theme is Giving to Grow”…..as we give generously, we grow in our faith and joy, and our giving helps the church to grow its missions and ministries, worshiping God, changing lives, addressing human needs.

There will be a service of welcome for our new Bishop, Paul Leelandand his wife Janet, this Sunday afternoon October 16 at Trinity UMC, 587 Haywood Rd. in Asheville. A reception will follow. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear from and meet our new bishop. He will give leadership to our Western NC for the next 4 years.

I continually hear from people who say they feel warmly welcomed at First Church. Thanks to all of you who go out of your way to extend such warm welcomes! Every now and then I hear from someone who did not feel warmly welcomed. Whereas there are many different reasons for this, I think it’s important to remember simply that we are not perfect and keep trying to do the best we can to share the love of God that we have found in this place. And, remember, keep an eye out constantly for those who you know who might normally sit with or near you but are missing. Give them a call. Tell them you miss them. Let a staff member know.

Finally, pray for the victims of Hurricane Matthew…..from Haiti to Eastern NC, the devastation is catastrophic. If you feel led to contribute, mark your checks “Hurricane Matthew” and we’ll support ongoing United Methodist relief efforts.

See you Sunday at the Giving Place!

Sandy

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