Pastoral Post 5.12.2017

In case you have missed it, the announcement was made on Sunday April 30 that the Rev. Dr. Keith Turman has been appointed by Bishop Leeland as your new senior pastor, effective July 1. You will be hearing much more about Keith, but let me briefly state that I am thrilled, and I am convinced that Keith will be a wonderful match for First Church. In these coming weeks, I will do everything I can to help pave the way for him, and I know all of you will as well. More later!

Sunday was one of those very special days in the life of First Church. The gym was packed at 8:40, and the sanctuary was nearly full at 11:00, as our children led us in the musical “A Tale of Three Trees.” Other children’s programs have amazed us with the number of instruments and sounds our children are making, but this was a choral work, and it told a beautiful and powerful story. I have heard many people say that this was the most impressive, moving children’s musical they have ever witnessed. The children sang their hearts out—they knew what they were singing about, and they were “all in.” Thanks to all the adults--staff and volunteers--who help make Music Makers happen every Wednesday afternoon. And consider this—those singing Sunday were only about half of the total number of 100+ who are learning about music, church, and God’s love every Wednesday!

Many of us returned Sunday afternoon at 4:00 for the Community Chorus concert, “Gospel to Gershwin.” There were some 80 singers, and the sanctuary was packed and chairs were brought in. And what a wonderful concert is was. In words of greeting, I was moved to point out that, in a world of loud, angry, and strident voices, these singers came from all over the community to join their voices in beautiful music. What a witness to the power of community!

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day in its present form began in a Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, WV in May 1907, under the leadership and inspiration of a Methodist laywoman named Anna Jarvis. Under Ms. Jarvis inspiration, the Methodist Episcopal Church recognized the day and promoted it nationally. There are parallels with the old English Mothering Sunday in mid-Lent, which encouraged  people to return home in honor of their mothers, and with Mother’s Day for Peace, inspired by Julia Ward Howe in 1872 in Boston. If your mother is still living,  be thankful, and let her know of your gratitude this Sunday. If your mother is no longer living, I hope you will also take some time to remember and be thankful. (The Methodist Episcopal Church was one of the forerunner denominations of the United Methodist Church.)

The United Methodist Church also recognizes The Festival of the Christian Home on this second Sunday of May. It is meant to be a day of celebrating, affirming, and encouraging families, and obviously is a fitting partner for Mother’s Day. We’ll consider the importance of church, family, and home in this Sunday’s services.

See you Sunday,



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