From Our Pastor

Back to School

Posted 9 August, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

I don't know how you feel about giving and receiving advice, but there is advice before us in worship this Sunday. It is advice, or perhaps we can call it instruction, as found in Ephesians 4. Such "advice" is given to the early church, advice as to what their lives should look like now that they believe in Jesus. As local schools are now in session or soon will be in session, we will remember students and teachers with a back to school prayer. (On August 26th, we will "Bless the Backpacks" at both services of worship.) Also, at the 11am service, the Chancel Choir will offer again a choral introit and choral benediction. I am sure you are grateful as I am that our Director of Music Ministries, Jill Gardner, has added these musical pieces to the service of worship at 11am.

I hope you are remembering in prayer those displaced by a recent fire at the Piedmont Community Services apartments. I thank all of you who have volunteered for the past several weeks to prepare lunches for these displaced neighbors. We started by preparing forty lunches each Tuesday and Thursday; over time, the number has decreased to twelve. We are grateful that these neighbors are finding new places of residence, and we daily remember them, as well as employees of Piedmont Community Services, in prayer.

I am impressed and grateful to God for the vital ministries of outreach in which we at First UMC have recently been involved. In addition to ministry with Piedmont Community Services, we heard (and saw) in worship last Sunday an inspiring witness about the repair work at the home of Jaclyn Littlefeather. In recent weeks, the Uptown Ministry Center has served as a host site not just for Vacation Bible School, but also for the Boys and Girls Club and for a Back2School event. Add to this the ministries of Food Bank and Clothes Closet, and we see a deep and growing mission identity at First UMC. For this I am grateful, as I see God entrusting us now - and in God's future - with even greater ways by which to serve him as we serve those in this community and beyond.

As we pray for students, teachers, administrators, and families at the beginning of a new church year, I ask that we also pray for ministries about to begin anew at First UMC. Jesus and Me Zone (JAMZ) and youth ministries kick-off on August 26, and children's choirs and puppets begin August 20. We also host a Conference 5 Talent Event on worship on October 30 in the Uptown Ministry Center (all are invited). I thank God for these ministries and pray that God blesses us as we pursue these ministries for his sake.