From Our Pastor

Winter Weather Changes

Posted 1 February, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

The forecasts which speak of the possibility of wintry precipitation on Sunday have affected events scheduled at the church on Sunday afternoon. Both the Souper Bowl, hosted by our youth, and the Birthday Bash, scheduled along with the Souper Bowl, are postponed. Make-up dates have yet to be announced, but we look forward to offering these events soon.

Just a reminder that if Sunday morning worship is impacted in any way by winter weather, information about our services is found on WDBJ-7 out of Roanoke. Such information is also found here on the church website and on our Facebook page.

I hope we do worship on Sunday, as we plan to gather at the Lord's Table and share in the news of how God defeats all that would oppose him and shares his victory with his people. This is the word of the prophet, as found in Isaiah 40:21-31.

I share the sad news delivered this week that Carol Burnett, our Director of Music Ministries, has resigned. February 11 will be Carol's last Sunday at First UMC. I know this is surprising news to many, but Carol feels the time is right and believes this decision is the best for her. While I am blessed to have worked with Carol and looked forward to working with her longer and to appreciating her abundant gifts for ministry even more, I support Carol and wish her and Ted God's blessings. The Staff-Parish Relations Committee of First UMC will meet Monday night to begin the process of searching for a new Director of Music Ministries. I ask for your prayers as we do so, and know we are blessed to have an abundance of gifted persons to guide us in this search. We are also blessed at this time to have Beth Chapman, who provides music for the 8:45am service and accompanies the Chancel Choir, to lead the children's choirs beginning February 19.

The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, February 14. First UMC will hold services with the imposition of ashes at noon and 7pm. I find these to be powerful services with which to begin this season; I hope you will take part in them. I also hope you will take part in small group studies offered during Lent: the women's study held each Tuesday at noon in the Uptown Ministry Center and the Lenten scripture study which will take place in the fellowship hall each Tuesday beginning February 13, at 6:45pm.  (The session on February 13 will follow the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner.)

More than once, at our weekly staff meetings, we have spoken of the concerns of those of us who care for aging parents. With this concern before us, I have set up a meeting with Teresa Fontaine of the Southern Area Agency on Aging next week. The purpose of this meeting is to see what resources and/or leadership may be available to begin a support group for those with aging parents. If interested in taking part in this meeting or in being a part of such a support group, let me or Annette Huckfeldt know.