From Our Pastor


Posted 15 November, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

With the day of Thanksgiving just a week away, we remember and give thanks as we worship this Sunday. Not only will the Chancel Choir sing an anthem titled, "Thanksgiving!" (one of two anthems this Sunday) we will also offer prayer and response of Thanksgiving, and share a witness to thanksgiving offered by the people of God as found in Deuteronomy 26.

This Sunday also offers several afternoon activities that may be of interest to you. From 3pm - 4:30pm, at Ohev Zion Synagogue, 803 Park Avenue, the Interfaith Council of Martinsville and Henry County is offering an interfaith dialogue titled, "Embracing the Other: What Gets in the Way?" Participants from Islamic, Jewish, and Christian traditions comprise this council and are involved in leading this discussion. Everyone is welcome.

A pre-Thanksgiving service, sponsored by the Martinsville and Henry County Ministerial Association, will be held at 4pm Sunday. Greater Love Ministries, 906 East Church Street, is the host church; Minister Malvester Muhammad is the speaker.

Finally, at 5pm Sunday, the Rev. Libby Grammer is to be installed as pastor of First Baptist Church, Martinsville. This installation will take place at FBC; a reception is to follow; all are welcome. (I plan to attend the Interfaith discussion and the installation of the Rev. Grammer.)

I enjoyed spending yesterday afternoon with Jill Gardner; we met so as to plan for the season of Advent and Christmas Eve. I found our time together rewarding and I know an exciting and inspiring season of Advent is before us.

We will host midweek services of worship for Advent beginning Wednesday, November 28. These services will be held in the sanctuary at noon and last for thirty minutes. Jill will provide organ music, respective members of the choir will sing, scripture and a brief message will be offered, and a brief form of the Lord's Supper will be observed.

In addition to these midweek services, the Hanging of the Green will be observed at each morning service on December 2, children and puppets will lead in worship on December 9, A Service of Lessons and Carols will be offered on December 23, and two services of Candlelight and Communion will be offered on Christmas Eve. Recognizing that this time of year is often a difficult time for those knowing loss and grief, we will offer again a "Blue Christmas" service at 6pm, Thursday, December 20, in the chapel. The Rev. Bonnylee Witt, Hospital Chaplain, will assist with this service.

The birth of Jesus is told only in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, so it is fitting we offer an Advent Bible study based on these gospels, chapters 1 and 2 in each, beginning Tuesday, November 27, 6:30pm, in the Uptown Ministry Center. Please register for this study ahead of time so that we may plan appropriately.

Remember the ministry of the Food Bank and Clothes Closet, offered on Saturday at the Uptown Ministry Center, 9-11am. First UMC will also be demonstrating the ministry of hospitality as we hand out hot chocolate during the Christmas parade Saturday evening. Finally, remember the call to pray each day from 2:23 - 2:26; seeking God in prayer as we prepare for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church February 23 - 26, 2019.