From Our Pastor

The Blue Flag

Posted 21 September, 2017 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

Having spent time the past two Sundays with first the Green Flag, then the Yellow Flag, we have before us in worship this Sunday the Blue Flag. If you do not know the significance of the Blue Flag, I am not going to tell you now, but invite you to learn about it as we worship this Sunday. The scripture referenced by this flag is Matthew 20:29-34, a passage in which Jesus heals two blind men.

In worship this Sunday we also celebrate the ministries of Faith Development at First UMC. There are more opportunities than we realize in which to grow in our faith at this church. We do well to affirm these opportunities and to remember the ministries that take place as we worship God by the offering of our gifts. (Next Sunday, we celebrate the ministry of the Open Arms Sunday school class.)

So this is a good time to see how well we are responding to the invitation offered as we worshipped last Sunday. You may remember, as we referenced "Take the Flag," the invitation to be intentional in "checking in" with God three times a day, much the way a driver checks in with his/her crew chief throughout a race. The "checking in" with God may be by way of prayer, reading scripture, journaling, meditation, singing, etc. I am doing my best to accept this challenge for the three times a day check-in. I find it helpful, trust you also are accepting this challenge, and know you find this helpful as well.

As I write this letter on Thursday, I do so just a few hours away from taking part in a "Leadership Roundtable" at New College Institute. This "Leadership Roundtable" is in preparation for "Legal Prescriptions and Heroin Addictions: A Community Conversation." I am grateful to have been asked by Bonnie Favero of Piedmont Community Services to take part in this leadership roundtable along with other community leadership. (You may read about this event by clicking here).

I am grateful because I know, and trust you know, the church has a message to offer in response to the concerns of this community. The church is connected to all affecting this community. As we live according to our mission, as an Uptown Church, to welcome, worship, and serve - to the glory of God, it is vital and necessary to take part in these conversations impacting the welfare of so many in this community and beyond. As the welfare of our neighbors matters greatly to God, so their welfare is to matter to us. Again, I am grateful to be a part of this conversation this evening and look forward to sharing this conversation with you.

Beginning October 2nd, from 11:30am-1pm, the gathering room of the Uptown Ministry Center will be open for use as a walking track each Monday and Wednesday. Eighteen (18) times around the gathering room equals one mile, so know this is a time and place in which you and your neighbors may enjoy some exercise. Volunteers are also needed to be present in the center during these hours. Contact the church office in order to volunteer.