From Our Pastor

The Sacraments of the Church

Posted 11 January, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

The sacraments of the church (baptism and the Lord's Supper) grow in their importance for me as a local church pastor. Presiding over the sacraments never grows old, is always a new experience for me, and I consider myself greatly honored and humbled to preside over these sacraments that convey the grace of God to us in mysterious and powerful ways.

So I welcome the reaffirmation of the baptismal covenant in which we share this Sunday. We do so as we remember the baptism of Jesus in Mark 1:4-11. Remembering that our baptism is never a past event, we will speak again our baptismal vows and confess our faith with the waters of baptism before us. I am grateful to share in this time of worship with you.

Next Monday, the staff of First UMC will meet away from the church for a day-long planning retreat. I have heard many of your say more than once that FUMC has the most wonderful church staff, and I agree with you. I look forward to this time together to coordinate calendars and speak of goals and to join efforts for the sake of God and this community. Thank you for your support and your prayers.

The first meeting of our Church Council will take place in the fellowship hall at 6pm on January 25. This will be the fourth Thursday of the month, a change from the third Thursday. I look forward to meeting with church leadership and working together toward those ministries God entrusts to us.

Many of us in the church, especially in regard to the mission ministries of the church, have met in the church and beyond to discuss "Bridges out of Poverty." This is a conversation in which the local United Way has been involved. The conversation has been somewhat dormant for a while, so I am happy to know it is being activated again. Next Wednesday, I will meet with other local leadership at NCI to see what next steps we may take to address poverty in this community. I am hopeful about this conversation and know that we at FUMC will be very involved as this initiative moves forward.

Participating in workshops offered by the Conference, 5 Talent Academy (5TA) has been of help to the ministries of First Church. I mention this because on Saturday, March 10, the next 5TA event will be held. The focus of the event is the talent of Faith Development. Annette Huckfeldt and I are committed to going and welcome anyone to join us. We will go to Fairview UMC in Danville for the live-streaming of this workshop. Let us or the church office know if interested.

I hope you have on the calendar the following: baby shower for Maegan Mitchell, January 21, following worship and the Souper Bowl and church birthday bash, February 4, following worship in the Ministry Center. These are vital and significant events in the life of the church calling for the involvement of us all.