From Our Pastor

What Wondrous Love Is This

Posted 15 March, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

Worship this Sunday finds us in worship on the fifth Sunday of Advent. We share from the gospel of John, chapter twelve, and hear Jesus speak of his approaching death. In light of the death of Jesus, the Chancel Choir will sing an anthem titled, "What Wondrous Love Is This."

During this worship, we also have the joy of sharing in the sacrament of baptism. We will baptize Evelyn Claire Klingman. Evelyn is the daughter of Sarah and Justin Klingman, the granddaughter of Laura and David Elkins. I am excited and thankful to take part in this baptism, to know God acting in this holy moment, and to have all of us in this community of faith remember how we are gathered in the embrace of God by these waters of baptism.

At 4pm this Sunday, the Martinsville-Henry County Clergy Association is hosting a pre-Easter service at Refuge Temple Ministries, 205 Clearview Drive, Martinsville. Father Nicholas Hull of Christ Episcopal will preach; guest singers for this service will be "Family Five." All are welcome.

Nicholas Hull will also be the preacher for the Lenten lunch to be held at First Church on Tuesday at noon. I have really enjoyed these lunches each Tuesday during Lent; I hope you will attend the last of these lunches this Tuesday. A wonderful lunch of soup and bread, along with great dessert, will be provided. Worship will follow at 12:30pm.

Remember again the ministry of the Food Bank and Clothes Closet this Saturday. The ministry begins at 8:30am in the Uptown Ministry Center. I look forward to this time of service, knowing this ministry provides not only great opportunity to serve Christ and our neighbors, but a great opportunity to visit with our volunteers.

Following the 11am service on March 25, you are invited to help pack holiday food bags to be given to local elementary school students. Students from Albert Harris Elementary, Campbell Court Elementary, and Patrick Henry Elementary schools will receive these food bags to help them and their families during spring break.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday services next Sunday. Please remember services of worship to be held during Holy Week: Maundy Thursday (7pm) and Good Friday (noon Crosswalk from First UMC to Wesley Memorial UMC), Tenebrae service in sanctuary (7pm). A sunrise service will be held on the front lawn of the church at 7am.

As Church Council meets on Thursday evening, we will be discussing our reading of "The New Adapters" by United Methodist pastor, Jacob Armstrong. Questions from this book that are before us in this meeting:

  • What unique opportunities does your community present?
  • What unique challenges does your community present?
  • What are the hopes and dreams of the people in your community?
  • What is breaking their hearts?
  • What is breaking God's heart?
  • What is unique about what you (your church) has to offer to your community?
I look forward to conversation with the leadership of the Council regarding these questions; I also hope you will think - and pray - about these questions. Remember Council meetings are open to anyone; come share in conversation about how God wishes to work through us as his church.