Janine Howard, the Danville District Superintendent, will preside at both the Danville District Conference and the First UMC Charge Conference on Saturday morning. These Conferences are to take place at Fairview UMC in Danville from 9:30am - 12:00 noon. As part of this time together, Martha Stokes, a delegate to the called General Conference next February, will give an update on preparations for this General Conference. Our District Superintendent and other clergy will also provide resources for ministry. I will be attending and invite you to attend as well.
The conflict between these conferences and the ministries of the First UMC Food Bank and Clothes Closet this Saturday is unfortunate. These ministries occurring the third Saturday of every month are at the heart of the ministries of this church and I thank you for making these ministries happen. I will miss being with you as you carry out these ministries by which we serve God as we serve our neighbors.
I look forward to our time of worship this Sunday - as always - and am excited to worship again with Jill Gardner as she has returned from her time with the Virginia Opera. Scripture from Mark 10:35-45 is before us, scripture in which Jesus speaks to us again of the heart of his ministry and asks us if we can serve as he does.
As we prepare to worship God this Sunday, I invite you to prepare for worship on October 28th as well. On that Sunday, we will celebrate the "Children's Sabbath." This is a service in which the children of First UMC provide leadership during the 11am service. Children's choirs will sing, the puppet team will provide a message, and the children of this church will remind us all of how God has gifted them and blessed us all with their presence in this community of faith. The children, their families, and the staff of First UMC are faithfully preparing for this time of worship; I know this will be an inspiring and blessed time of worship for us all.
As Halloween approaches on Wednesday, October 31, this provides us opportunity to reach out again into our Uptown community. On that day, from 4pm - 6pm, the Martinsville Uptown Retail Association (MURA) coordinates an "Uptown Halloween." This means that Uptown merchants are invited to welcome children and families to "trick or treat" Uptown. As an uptown church, we will set up at the Church Street entrance to the church, and be prepared to welcome our neighbors and provide them with some treats. As I received from MURA the list of participating merchants, I saw that we are the only church on the list of those participating. Truly, God gives to us unique opportunities to serve him in this community. I invite you to share in this ministry any time between 4pm - 6pm that day. I also invite you to do this: as MURA expects as many as 1,000 children(!) to participate, please bring some candy to the church for us to give away! Thank you!