From Our Pastor

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Posted 31 May, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

We have heard the expression, "No good deed goes unpunished." (We have probably had this experience as well.) It may be helpful to know we are not alone, as the gospel lesson this Sunday reminds us. In the gospel of Mark, chapters 2 and 3, Jesus and his disciples harvest some grain on the Sabbath, then Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. Yet instead of seeing this as occasion for celebration, especially this act of healing, the religious authorities begin conversation about how to destroy Jesus. So we are invited to see what matters most to God: rules or relationships? We are also invited to the Lord's Table. I always find this table to be a place of blessing and healing, and always welcome the opportunity to know the blessing and healing that comes only from God. During the 11am service, I am grateful for the opportunity to remember the graduates of First UMC in worship.

I hope to see you at 2pm in the Fellowship Hall this Sunday afternoon. As I have mentioned previously, First UMC is the host church for a Danville District informational meeting regarding the ongoing conversation in the UMC regarding human sexuality. This informational meeting will address recent work of the Commission on a Way Forward and the UMC Council of Bishops as we prepare for a called General Conference in February, 2019. All are welcome to attend this meeting, which is scheduled for 2pm-3:30pm. Our District Superintendent, District Lay Leader, and Jennifer Coffey, Pastor of Fairview UMC in Danville, will lead this meeting.

Just to be clear, this is to be an informational meeting in which the conversation will address legislation being proposed, steps yet to be taken in this process, and some understanding as to how we arrived at this point. This means this is not an occasion for biblical or theological conversation regarding sexuality. That opportunity is to take place here later this year, as we share in the small group study of "Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church." (Copies of this book are available at the church.)

I occasionally have someone in church ask me about a member of the church whom we have not seen in a while: has he been sick; has she moved; are they going to another church? I share this so as to remind you there is a team at church committed to reaching out to and connecting with those in this community of faith we have not seen in a while. That team is to meet tonight to follow-up regarding those to whom we have reached out, as well as to make plans to reach out to other members. I am grateful to Rena Edwards for her leadership with this and grateful for the training provided by our local hospital chaplain, Bonnylee Witt. I invite your prayers for this ministry.

Annual Conference will meet June 15-17 in Hampton. Remember the opportunity to support the efforts of Annual Conference by bringing canned goods and other non-perishables to the church to be taken to Hampton so as to support local food banks. Thank you!