I know I should be able to come up with more elaborate words than this, but "WOW!" I have no idea of knowing what is typical at FUMC - I just know what I personally experienced was an incredible Passion Week thanks to the passionate work of so many. The list of people to give thanks to is too long to print! Thank you EVERYONE! Through your service, God was truly glorified in all our worship services this last week.
Here is the good news! Easter is just getting started! The great 50 days of Easter are upon us. We started our new sermon series "Passionate Questions with Life Giving Answers" on Easter Sunday. The question Sunday was "Whom are You Looking For?" And if you were unable to be present last Sunday (like Thomas missing the first appearance of the resurrected Jesus,) then come for the next question, "But What About Me?"
I may be going out on a limb, but the music this coming Sunday will be every bit as Divine as Easter Sunday - our plans are everyone will directly or indirectly experience a large guest choir at the beginning of worship whose average age is 3 yrs "old." You do not want to miss this! I guarantee you that it will put a large smile on your face as the children of your Child Enrichment Center (preschool) glorify God with their voices and their hearts. Also, if you are an alumni of our CEC, we are inviting you to our 11 am service for a time of special recognition.
Welcome your Seven New Professing Members
Confirmed on Easter Sunday:
- Isaac Metcalf - 506 Ross Ridge, Blairsville, 30512
- Sarah Johnson - River Road, Blairsville, 30512
- Case Hand - PO Box 1059, Blairsville 30514
- Jaden Olmsted - 50 Taylors Court, Blairsville, 30512
- Jordan Olmsted - 50 Taylors Court, Blairsville, 30512
- Pearse Ledbetter - 85 Hollow Hill Spur, Blairsville, 30512
- Xander Ledbetter - 85 Hollow Hill Spur, Blairsville, 30512
Answering Your Questions about the Attendance Numbers
During our Holy Week Activities:
- Holy Thursday 125
- Good Friday 174
- Youth Sunrise Service 117
- 8:30 Worship 186
- 9:45 Worship 114
- 11:00 Worship 363 (17 in Children's Church)
Easter Sunday Worship total: 797
A few weeks before Easter, I shared with you what a respected Clergy mentor of mine had shared with me. Easter is God's way for showing the local church what a Sunday could look like in the life of your church a few years down the road if you found ways to truly connect with your mission field. What would happen if we had such a life giving message of hope each Sunday that people couldn't stay away? What would happen if First Methodist truly became known in our community as an OASIS of GRACE? Today, apparently that would look like 800 people knocking on the doors (and that's just the people who know about us right now!)
We are surrounded by God's children who do seek Him. So rather than look at those numbers as "what was" and allow Easter Sunday to fade into the past, I would encourage us all to look at those numbers as "what could be." It will get your blood pumping about the future!
Wednesday Night Live
We are having the end of year picnic on the hill on our church campus beginning at 5 pm. Bring a side or dessert to share if you can. For those who wish to stay, we will be celebrating a wedding shower for our Youth Director (Zach Thompson) and his fiancé (Savannah Jones.) There will be no Adult Bible Study because I really want to be fully present for Zach and Savannah's wedding shower. When we do restart next week, we will be on Week 16, guide word "Reconciliation."
Rev. Fred Whitley & Church Without Walls Award this Friday
If you did not catch it in the Sunday bulletin, Fred and the Church without Walls will be receiving the Artemas Lester Award for ministry at the Young Harris College Alumni banquet this Friday at 6:30pm. More information is available through the YHC Alumni services at 706-379-3111.
Caring for God's House
Beverly's recommendation for weed control in your areas is as follows: Spray the weeds with Round-Up or hand weed. Then sprinkle a granular pre-emergent weed killer like PREEN to stop the weeds seeds already present from germinating without killing any good plants. It will control the weeds for the next several months - probably need to reapply in late summer. It save s you a lot of work. Any questions, call Beverly at 706-745-4364.
New Ministry Opportunity
We have tried to get our Holy Communion bread loaves from multiple places across the last 6 months. We are seeking that right combination of not crumbly and not stringy - so far three local bakeries have washed out. We were wondering if there might be anyone in our faith family who might be interested in taking on a new ministry that bakes the five loaves of bread once a month for Holy Communion. If so, tell Pastor Mark - he will guide you into what kind of bread we seek.
UMM Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser
Saturday Morning May 3 Please mark your calendars for the United Methodist Men's Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser Saturday morning, May 3rd from 7 am until 11 am in the fellowship hall. This is the largest fundraiser we do to finance projects the the FUMC Men do together in this church. Please "encourage us" by purchasing tickets from any of the men or swing by the Church office and talk to Evelyn. The breakfast will include pancakes, sausage, juice, coffee, and eggs. Tickets are $6 each with a family maximum of $15.
Connectional Group Shared Worship Service hosted by FUMC
Sunday Afternoon May 4 FUMC is hosting the next worship service where all eight United Methodist Churches from Union County and Towns County come together into one setting to worship God. That service will be Sunday afternoon in our Sanctuary, May 4 at 3 pm. Our District Superintendent (Rev. Richard Chewning) will be the guest preacher. The choir will be a joint choir from all eight churches under the guidance of Jeff Bauman. Come worship and fellowship with the other United Methodists in our two county region! Come on, this will be fun!
Relay for Life
Join us in the Special (second mile) Offering designated for the month of April - Relay for Life! Simply place "Relay for Life" in the memo section of the check and place in any offering plate/basket in April.
- Relay for Life fundraising dinner, variety show and silent auction is May 10th - you can purchase tickets from any Relay for Life Team Member.
- The County Relay for Life event is at the Farmers Market 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday, May 31.
- We are still collecting your “treasures” that need a new home for the silent auction at the dinner on May 10th. Contact Ron Schultz at 706 745 6804.
Dick and Amy Whitmore
They have successfully sold their home and will be moving shortly to Arizona to be close to family. Join with us in wishing these two faithful members of FUMC the very best in their new location.
Phyllis has successfully sold her home and will be moving to Florida sometime in the near future to be close to her family there. Again, help us love on Phyllis as long as she is still here (currently staying in Gail McGuire's home.) .
PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
(This is not a complete list - just immediate prayer needs of just this coming week for the immediate faith family)
- Mary Shirey (in Florida) - has leapt into the outstretched arms of Jesus
- JoAnn Mayhew - talking well today - fully alert and strengthening - prognosis even better. She will remain in Erlanger Hospital (Chattanooga) ICU for second surgery to repair the second brain aneurysm.
- Larry Hess (Valerie Metcalf's father) - is being sent home from the hospital today
- David and Jenny Chandler's toddler (Colton) is having surgery today at CHOA - adenoids
- David Heyer - diagnosed with 2 compression fractures and one herniated disc in his back - the Heyer family thanks everyone who helped them move these last two weeks.
- Shirley Cobb - critical doctor appointment today to determine path forward on back
- James Metcalf - recovery from major dental procedure - Valerie off Chemo for a while to help James at home
- von Staden Family (Henry and Myrtle) - caring for adult special needs daughter for a few weeks while her care facility is temporarily closed
- Diane Thomason - transitioning to home hospice care
- Phil Hill (in Florida) - pneumonia now and upcoming eye surgery in May
- Mike Bryant - (Pam Jordan's brother) at Union County Nursing Home continuing rehab
- Marian Malac - AFIB issues that have taken her back and forth from the hospital
- Les Myers and Marjorie
- Jane Driskell / Shirley Cobb / David Heyer / Bob Head - chronic back issues
- Faye Eubanks / Eva Breedlove - back related issues
- Those fighting active cancer from our faith family: Diane Thomason, Valerie Metcalf, Joyce Kible .
Creative Worship Design
Several of you experienced what I call "creative worship design" for the first time during the Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday worship services. I believe with my whole heart that our God tries to awaken our Spiritual sense by engaging us through all our physical senses. I also believe there is an element of creative worship design that allows the worshipper to discover connections within the Scriptures. For example, that black stone every Ash Wednesday worshipper dropped into the baptismal font - allowing the waters of your baptism to "cover" your sins. Then on Holy Thursday, 38 days later, you "saw" those stones under the water in the Baptismal font placed under the spot light in the Narthex. We encountered the crucifixion through John's Gospel on Good Friday. The font was again in the same place coming into that service but the lid was closed "hmmmm" - by now you should begin to know that I do nothing in worship accidently. But after the Good Friday service ended, the top of the font was removed so you could look into it on the way out - revealing that the stones were gone. Those of you who looked into the font on your way out in silence - what did you see? It was clear baptismal water over red beads of glass dancing in the spotlight that now had taken the place of those ugly black stones. Why? How did John's story go? "They pierced His side with a spear and blood and water came out." Jesus' dead body literally spilled blood AND water on top of those who killed Him. Do you see with eyes that can see? The image of the water and red beads under the light are what replaced your sins - the black stones - that's what is offered through your baptisms to those who respond to His grace. In the years ahead, the symbolic sign acts will become more nuanced. Watch for them. I take my cues from Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the baptizer, and Jesus. They often communicated by symbolic sign acts. Symbolic sign acts are a critical way of communicating our faith without words. And it can be life changing when you have that personal "aha" moment...that's my prayer anyway. Those of you who were present at those services - please tell the story to those in all your other small groups. Talk about it. What did you see? Let's all grow in grace together.
Hiawassee UMC National Mission's Trip Opportunity
From July 12 through July 19, 2014, Hiawassee UMC will be on a mission trip to the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. We have partnered with Answer God's Call Ministries in Gallup, NM. This will be our second year in ministry to the Iyanbito Chapter of the Navajo Nation and we expect the mission to include: assisting/leading a variety of activities based on the teachings of Jesus at the "Red Letter Day Camp" (serving children 7-14 - much like our VBS); performing minor repairs and/or maintenance; prepare, set up and serve a hot meal to the homeless of Gallup.This is an invitation to your congregation to participate in this mission trip. First, we ask that you be in prayer for those that actually go on the trip and for the Navajo people themselves. Second, for those that would like to be a part of the team that makes the trip, please contact us so that we may get contact information to you for planning and organization meetings. We estimate the cost of this trip to be about $850 per person - which includes transportation, meals, and lodging. If you or any member of your congregation would like to join us please have them contact our church secretary (Melissa) at 706-896-2818, Monday - Thursday 9:00am to 3:00pm.
First Baptist Church of Blairsville Event
On Sunday evening, May 18 at 6 pm, First Baptist Church will be offering a very special event that all Christians are encouraged to attend. They are hosting Marziyeh and Maryam - two young women who were born in Iran, became Christians during studies abroad, went back to their homeland and experienced persecution. They have a story to tell. There is a flyer that Evelyn will place around the church with more information.
A Note from Your Finance Team
Online Giving is always available through our church web site. Simply go to www.firstmethodistblairsville.com and click on the "Online Giving" button located under the pastor's picture. The confidential process will allow you to sign up to direct deposit funds you define. If you have any questions, contact our Financial Secretary, Deidra Gilbert email@example.com
web: firstmethodistblairsville.com/fb: firstumc of union county
Through our sacrificial service God will reach people, touch souls, change hearts and launch disciples