From Our Pastor

Touching Lives

Posted 24 May, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

Do you remember when you first met God? If so, was it an experience like the experience of the prophet Isaiah? Isaiah's encounter with God (Isaiah 6:1-8) is before us as we worship this Sunday; it is a powerful and memorable experience of meeting God. I hope we know something of this experience as we worship God this and every Sunday. As we worship this Sunday, we know it is Memorial Day weekend, so we will also have opportunity in worship to remember those who have gone before us in service to the church and in service to this country.

This past Sunday, we were fortunate to have John Quinlan of the Good News Jail and Prison Ministry speak of his work as a chaplain in this ministry.  As he did so, John reminded us of and thanked us for our years of support of this ministry. As we may sometimes forget the lives touched by our commitment to God's church and by our gifts to God's church, I am especially grateful to the witness of John Quinlan on Sunday.

I am also grateful for a thank you note received by First UMC this week. The note was sent by Albert Harris Elementary School, and offers this message: "To everyone at First United Methodist Church!! We are so appreciative for your support and devotion to our children of Albert Harris! Every time you have brought food for them, you have also brought love and hope for each child, making their life and future more sustainable! Thank you again and God bless you all!" This note was sent to the church in response to food bags put together and delivered to Albert Harris so that the students there, along with their families, would have food to eat during spring break.

Again, we do well to realize the lives touched by all we offer to God and his church. Through your offering of prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness, lives in this community and beyond are blessed. I discover this in powerful ways practically every day. Other neighbors in this community are now taking part in the Lunch Bunch ministry. On two occasions this week, social workers brought clients in need of clothing to the church Clothes Closet. Yesterday, I received a call from "We Care" on Church Street; residents there were in need of some food. I spoke with Linda Adams; Linda was kind enough to arrange to meet We Care so they could get some food from our Food Bank. In addition to these ministries by which we love God and love our neighbor, we have received thank you notes this week from students at the church who have received scholarship money from a church endowment. We also gathered for prayer yesterday in the sanctuary at noon, remembering those in the church who have recently experienced hospitalization and loss.

We sometimes can forget or be ignorant of or take for granted the ministries of the church. So I invite us to remember, to celebrate, to give thanks for all God accomplishes through this church. He has brought us into being, and having just celebrated the gift of God's Spirit, we see each day how God sustains us and breathes new life into by his Spirit.