Thanks to a twenty-four hour news cycle and all manner of media, we know well that Hurricane Florence is now bearing down on the southeast coast. I trust we keep in prayer all those in harm's way. We also keep in prayer those elected leaders who make difficult decisions at this time, as well as those emergency workers who try to provide order in a time of chaos. We do well to remember at this time that the United Methodist Church is already present in this crisis and is prepared to respond in the days and weeks to come. As we begin to celebrate the ministry of stewardship this Sunday, remember that our gifts in worship make our relief efforts possible. UMCOR (The United Methodist Committee on Relief) is often the first agency to arrive and the last to leave when disaster strikes. (If there is any question regarding whether or not we will be able to have services of worship on Sunday, you may turn to WDBJ 7 or go to the church's Facebook page.)
We begin our stewardship campaign remembering the instruction of John Wesley (the founder of the Methodist movement.) It was Wesley who told those in the church "Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can." These words are before us in coming weeks, as we recall that offering our gifts to God as we worship is central to our lives as disciples of Christ. Scripture before us this Sunday is Matthew 19:16-30, in which the issue of how wealth impacts our relationship to God is addressed.
I look forward to beginning the "Living Faithfully" study on Tuesday night at 7pm, and remind you there is still time to register. Related to the "Living Faithfully" study, First UMC will host a livestream event on Wednesday, September 26, at 7pm in the Uptown Ministry Center. This event will feature Bishop Lewis as well as Virginia Conference delegates to General Conference, and will address the church's conversation regarding human sexuality. There will be opportunity to submit questions as part of this livestream presentation.
At noon on Tuesday, the ladies' Bible study begins in the Uptown Ministry Center; the topic is "Bad Girls of the Bible."
For the past two years, FUMC has hosted the Martinsville Community Care Collaborative; we will do so again on November 3. Volunteers are needed to help with this Ministry; I encourage you to volunteer in advance. You may do so by completing their online survey. You can access the survey here.
Volunteers who have helped with Vacation Bible School previously will meet at 12:30pm on Monday in the church conference room to discuss offering a ministry of a "Pop up" or "portable" Vacation Bible School. If interested, feel free to join the conversation.