From Our Pastor

National Day of Prayer

Posted 2 May, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

As we worshiped last Sunday, in addition to being blessed by the voices of the children's choirs and Lisa Nichols' witness to the work of the Henry Fork Center, we encountered scripture telling of a pivotal encounter between the apostle Philip and a man quite distant from the church. Despite his outsider status, Philip baptized him. This Sunday, we see that witness of the church continues to break boundaries as led to do so by the Spirit of God. It is the greatest of blessings for me to find my place at the Lord's Table with you, a great joy to have the Chancel Choir sing, "If You Love Me."

If you have been at the church this week or if you are here between now and May 16, chances are good you have seen or will see Preston Painter. Preston is a senior at Carlisle School who is doing his senior "shadowing" project at First UMC. This "shadowing" is similar to an internship in which Preston experiences, first hand, many of the facets of life within the local Christian church. Preston has helped with the lunch bunch, sat in with children's choir and puppets, sat in on meetings, helped bring order to some audio/visual equipment. Yesterday afternoon, he made a visit with me. I enjoy working with Preston and trust his educational experience here will be of benefit to him and the church.

Tomorrow (Thursday, May 3) is the National Day of Prayer. The Martinsville/Henry County Clergy Association is hosting a service at the New College Institute. Leaders and citizens are to gather to pray for the community and for one another. The service begins at 6pm; all are welcome.

I hope you will attend an informational meeting regarding the United Methodist Church and the language of our Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality. This meeting will be held at First UMC, Sunday, June 3, at 2pm. The Danville District is initiating this meeting, one of several to be held on the District. Janine Howard, our District Superintendent, Bobby Thompson, the District Lay Leader, and Jennifer Coffey, pastor of Fairview UMC will facilitate this meeting. This week, the UM Council of Bishops has been meeting and been hearing final recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward.

As Paula and I drove home from our vacation on the Outer Banks on April 15, we had no idea that we were driving through areas that would be terribly impacted by regional tornadoes. For the past two Sundays, we have invited you to contribute to tornado relief. This coming Sunday I also invite you to support such relief by way of the mission offering received as you come forward for the Lord's Supper. Thank you for your support of the vital mission work of First UMC as we seek to love our neighbors as God has commanded.