From Our Pastor

Communion & Commitment

Posted 4 October, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

This Sunday is a significant Sunday in the church year for a couple of reasons. One, this is World Communion Sunday. So as you and I receive the body and blood of Christ from the Lord's Table, we do so with the knowledge that other brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are also receiving the body and blood of Christ. On this Sunday in particular, we anticipate and get a first glimpse of that day when we all are gathered at the table of the Lord, the most gracious of hosts before us.

This is also Commitment Sunday for those of us at First UMC. We conclude our stewardship campaign - "Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can." We do so with the invitation to come forward as our time of worship concludes, bringing your commitment cards as a sign of your support of the many ministries God entrusts to this church. I always find this time of commitment to be a powerful and inspiring time of worship, a time uniting us with all God's people who, from the very beginning, have offered the fruits of their labors to God. Truly their faithfulness to God and the fruits of their labors have made possible the ministries in which we share, just as our gifts to God make possible the ministries of those who follow us.

Throughout this week, I have carried with me a wonderful gratitude for the gift of music offered by the children of First Church this past Sunday. I have told their parents and others here at the church that the children were not "performing," they were as much a part of this service as any of the other worship leadership. Be sure to thank Beth Chapman for her leadership of the children's choirs and the choir moms for their invaluable support. I am excited about Children's Sabbath on October 28 and the gifts the children will offer by way of that service of worship.

I am happy to report that the first "Donuts on the Corner" ministry of First Church was a great success this past Monday! Many smiles, even expressions of astonishment, were offered in response to receiving a donut and words of greeting at the beginning of a new day. This ministry is offered on the first Monday of each month, so I look forward to sharing in this again on November 5 and welcome you to volunteer. (You may also see pictures from this ministry on the church Facebook page.)

First Church hosts the Martinsville Community Care Collaborative again this year on November 3 in the Uptown Ministry Center. Please pray for this ministry and consider volunteering for this. Being a part of this ministry has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my ministry, and I know all who participate find great reward by participating.

As we claim our identity as a church with mission at its heart, I share this report from "Rise Against Hunger," a mission in which we participated on April 28.  "It is with great pleasure that we announce the destination of the Rise Against Hunger Meals you helped package... A shipping container, holding 285,120 meals has been sent to Haiti for our partner Haiti Outreach Ministries."

Thank you for all you do to help this church live by the mission entrusted to us by God: to live as an Uptown Church where all are welcome, all worship, and all serve - to the Glory of God.