From Our Pastor

Open Arms Sunday

Posted 28 September, 2017 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

Worship this Sunday gives us opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for the Open Arms Ministry of First UMC. Open Arms, you may know, is a cognitively challenged adult Sunday school class blessed with wonderfully gifted leadership. Members of the class will offer the call to worship, play bells, lead us in prayer, read scripture, and assist with communion. God has blessed with church with the Open Arms ministry. This ministry is a rare gift for which I always give thanks. Scripture this Sunday is Luke 5:12-16. It is scripture speaking to the need for Jesus and those who follow him to take some time apart; to take some time to rest - not the easiest of messages for us to hear.

On Sunday afternoon at 2pm, you are invited to participate in our annual Charge Conference. This will take place in the Gathering Room of the Uptown Ministry Center; it is a "cluster" Charge Conference, meaning other local UM churches will be participating with us. Janine Howard, the Danville District Superintendent, will preside at this conference. In addition to tending to a few necessary items of business, Janine will provide a time of teaching and reflection on our mission, and an "audit" of our discipleship practices. I encourage you to attend and support the ministries of First UMC and the Danville District.

Beginning on Monday, the Gathering Room of the Uptown Ministry Center will be open every Monday and Wednesday from 11:30am - 1pm for use as a walking track. Eighteen times around the room equals a mile! As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, this is a great time to enjoy this space and care for ourselves. This is an invitation to all; there is no charge for this. As word about this ministry was emailed, I received a response from a city councilman about the possibility of combining the time for these walks with a city initiative known as "Walk with the Mayor." I responded that such an idea sounds intriguing; I am excited to meet with those from city leadership about this idea!

This evening, after our Church Council meeting, I will attend the first meeting of a Membership Connection Team. This team will meet in the Uptown Ministry Center with the purpose of trying to connect with members of this community of faith who have become disconnected from the ministries of the church. Bonnylee Witt, chaplain of the local hospital, will provide training for this ministry. I am grateful for those committed to this ministry and ask you to pray for renewal and reconnection with God for all within this community of faith.

Because of the connection First UMC has established with the ministries of Young Life, the local leader of Young Life ministries now has office space at First UMC. This leader's name is Evan Dermott, and he is now using one of the classrooms on the third floor as office space. I am grateful for the work of Maegan Mitchell and others in this church which has resulted in this relationship with Young Life. I trust you join me in praying this will be a relationship which blesses Young Life, the church, and the community.