From Our Pastor

Fall Kickoff and Prayer Walks

Posted 7 September, 2017 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

Thank you for your generous gifts offered in response to Hurricane Harvey. Last week the church received a total of $2,563, all of which will go toward relief efforts as we seek to help our brothers and sisters in the Gulf rebuild. Please know that you may continue to give toward the work of the ministries of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR.) With Hurricane Irma now threatening Florida, the work of UMCOR will touch the lives of many for months and years to come.

I hope you will be at the church for the Sunday School kick-off this Sunday. At 10am, the children will enjoy an exciting Sunday School carnival on the third floor (steps leading up from the sanctuary.) All kids and youth are invited to join the carnival for snow cones, games, and fun! During the 11am service, we will recognize the many dedicated Sunday School teachers of First UMC.

Worship this Sunday finds us beginning a seven-week series during which we "Take the Flag." This means that as we worship, we will see how the many flags used during NASCAR and Indy races are flags that connect us to the many experiences we know as disciples of Jesus. These experiences may be those of sacrifice, service, celebration, victory. Living, as we do, just minutes away from the Martinsville Speedway, I am anxious to see how the services of worship in these coming weeks connect with this setting in which we worship and serve God.

These services of worship also will connect strongly with the small group experience of "Take the Flag" beginning next Tuesday.  I am excited about the opportunity to watch videos featuring various drivers and to share in conversation about this material and our faith. It is not too late to sign up for "Take the Flag;" I hope you will do so. Remember other small group opportunities offered by FUMC: the women's study beginning at noon in the Ministry Center on Tuesday, and the young adult small group at 5pm each Tuesday in the Ministry Center.

During the month of August, our services of worship focused on the ministry of prayer. With this ministry before us, I spoke of how I hoped such a focus on prayer would strengthen our lives of prayer, both individually and as the body of Christ. Having said this, my hope is we will experience greater participation in our monthly prayer walks. Our next walk is Wednesday, September 13. We will meet at the church at 10am and walk to the Southern Area Agency on Aging on Cleveland Street. During our last prayer walk, I was the only person to walk. I hope this is not my experience next Wednesday. We are an Uptown Church, in the heart of Uptown Martinsville, in the midst of many neighbors needing prayer, support, affirmation; a reminder of the care and love of God. God has set us here so as to witness to his love revealed for all in Christ. It seems not to be asking too much once a month to go into this community and pray for our neighbors in the name of the God who has set us here to do this very thing. Each time I share in this ministry, I find it to be an experience of great blessing. I know you will find it to be such an experience as well.