From Our Pastor

Children's Sabbath

Posted 19 October, 2017 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

This Sunday, we welcome Nita Smoot as the new organist for the 11am service. Nita is no stranger to us, as she has played the organ for us many times before. We are grateful for the gifts Nita brings to the music ministries of First UMC, and are excited to share in new and future services of worship with Nita playing the organ. We also extend our gratitude to Becky Smith for her many years of service at the organ for God and his church.

This Sunday also invites us to give thanks to God for the children of First Church and the gifts these children offer Christ and his church. We do so by observing Children's Sabbath during the 11am service. As part of this service of worship, children of the church will take part in leading us in worship - reading scripture, leading us in prayer, taking part in the puppet ministry. As part of this service, our third graders will also receive their bibles from First UMC.

It is evident this is a notable time of worship. I pray you will be present to affirm and bless the children of this church, and to be blessed by the gifts they offer God and his church in many ways.

The ministries of the Food Bank and Clothes Closet have long been at the heart of mission ministries of First Church. These are vital ministries witnessing to our mission to live as an Uptown Church where all worship, all are welcome, and all serve - to the glory of God. These ministries are offered again this coming Saturday, as they are offered every third Saturday, from the Uptown Ministry Center.

I pray we do not lose sight of how these ministries identify us as a church and of how these ministries are of great help to our neighbors in need. I say this because I am aware that, over a period of time, we may grow accustomed to and take for granted ministries which have long been in place. Such ministries having taken place over the course of many years, we may assume such ministries take place automatically, even without our participation.

If this is our belief, we are mistaken. These ministries do not happen automatically. The efforts of many are needed so as to serve our neighbors. This has always been true; it is true now. It is also true we cannot assume others will make these ministries happen; our efforts are not needed. Our efforts are needed; there is much work to be done; there are many in need who are to be served.

I mention all of this simply to say that this Saturday we will again welcome our neighbors who have need of food and clothing. In order for these neighbors to receive such food and clothing, volunteers are needed in order to welcome and serve these neighbors. Please do not assume someone else is doing this work. Please do not believe that our efforts are not needed. Please find the reward and blessing to be found in serving Christ as we serve our neighbors.

I invite you to find reward and blessing by volunteering for the Martinsville Health Collaborative we are hosting on November 4th. We are participating with local agencies, Liberty University, and Averett University, to provide a variety of medical services to our neighbors in this community and beyond. Volunteers are needed to welcome and to help visitors find their way amidst the many services being provided in both the Uptown Ministry Center and the office building. You may volunteer online by way of contacting me or going to the Facebook page for the Martinsville Community Care Collaborative Event. I am excited about this event and have been blessed in many ways to connect with others in this community so as to offer this ministry. I ask for your prayers and thank you in advance.