MEMORIAL UMC’s MISSION…
We are CALLED by Christ to GROW in faith, BUILD relationships, and SERVE all people.
10:00 a.m. 10 @ 10 Weekday Devotions via Facebook
TUESDAY JUNE 9
5:30 p.m. Outdoor Yoga in the Church Back Yard
WEDNESDAY JUNE 10
The Weekly Update via Facebook
ONLINE WORSHIP CONTINUES
The Pastors and leaders of Memorial UMC are aware of the recent exemption of churches from the Executive Order regarding mass gatherings. Even though the exemption has been made, the imminent dangers related to the transmission of the Covid-19 virus remain. Because of our love for one another and our neighbors, we are of one mind that the safest venues for worship will continue to be via Facebook Live and WGOS 1070. We will not resume worshipping face to face until a later date. This decision is in keeping with the recommendation of our Bishop Paul Leland and other denominational leaders.
We look forward to that time when we can worship together and we are making plans to provide for the safest experience possible. Thank you for your continued efforts in taking care of one another during these “different times.” May God’s grace and peace be abundant in your life.
If you or a loved one would like to be added to the prayer list, please contact Lorna McCullough at 336-259-5814. If you put a name on the list, please keep in touch to let us know how that person is doing, as names are removed after three weeks. During the coming week, please pray for:
The United Methodist Church
All Military Personnel
Our UM Missionaries
Andrea Cain and Family
All those affected by Coronavirus
Our First Responders, Medical Community, and Essential Workers
Finley Price Family
The Family of Frances Cook
The Family of Janie Manuel
The Family of Frances Brinkley
The Family of Sarah Grove
The Family of Baxter Gallimore
Lives and businesses impacted by recent rioting
5:30 ON TUESDAYS
BEGINNING JUNE 9
Yoga classes will resume, outdoors, on Tuesday June 9. We will meet in the grassy area behind the Christian Enrichment Center, near the playground. The class is open to anyone; each person must bring his/her own props (mat, strap, and maybe blocks; strap can be a necktie or such). The class will be very gentle yoga as we get reacclimated. Class starts PROMPTLY at 5:30. We will meet weekly, as weather allows.
PANTRY ITEMS NEEDED
Thank you for your continued giving to CCM. Current needs are listed below. You may drop off donations at the church, placing them on the Mission Racks in the breezeway.
|Food Items:||Hygiene Items:|
CLOTH FACE MASKS BENEFIT SALE
Memorial’s Doris Link is selling handmade cloth face masks for $5 each, with all proceeds going to offset medical expenses for her daughter’s journey toward a kidney transplant. You may reach Doris at firstname.lastname@example.org. She wants you to know she may be slow to respond to email as she is also working, but she will follow up with you to arrange delivery and payment (cash is preferred). Fabric options are shown in the photo at left, numbered so you can let her know your choices.
IT’S TWO GIRLS!
Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Brad Crowell on the birth of a daughter, Lillian Rose, on May 26, 2020. The grandmother is Lummie Crowell. The great-grandmother is Lummie Jo Huneycutt.
Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Jordan Tolson on the birth of a daughter, Sophia Katherine, on May 30, 2020. The grandparents are Brennan and Kathy Huneycutt. The great-grandmother is Lummie Jo Huneycutt.
CLERGY AND STAFF ARE AVAILABLE
You may contact members of the staff directly or by calling the church office at 336-472-7718 and following the instructions on the recording. Here is a list of staff phone extensions and email addresses, for reference:
Danny Leonard, Senior Minister – Ext. 16; email@example.com
Peggy Finch, Associate Minister – Ext. 15; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rodney Denton, Minister of Youth and Young Adults – Ext. 18; email@example.com
Lynda Hepler, Minister of Children and Families – Ext. 11; firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Russell, Director of Contemporary Worship – Ext. 20; email@example.com
Danny Frye, Director of Music – Ext. 12; firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Frye, Secretary – Ext. 14; email@example.com
Peggy May, Financial Secretary/Treasurer – Ext. 13; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jarry Oldaker, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds – Ext. 17; email@example.com
We close this week’s eNews with a 10@10 devotion shared by Rodney Denton on May 1, 2020.
CONFESSIONS OF A TERRIBLE NEIGHBOR
So, today, I need to confess something to all of you. I am here before you to get rid of something that has been weighing heavily on my heart. I feel like I need to come clean and be completely transparent… I, Rodney Denton, confess that I am a … TERRIBLE … NEIGHBOR! Yes, it has taken a worldwide pandemic to bring me to this realization, but it is definitely true! Don’t get me wrong, I keep my yard mowed, I pick any trash and litter that makes its way into our yard; we don’t throw crazy loud parties going on until the middle of the night; I make sure to wave to the other people in my neighborhood when I drive by them; and I typically make sure that Charlie, our dog, doesn’t cause any problems. Of course, my wife does have, let’s just say eclectic taste in yard art, like that spooky Día de los Muertos metal skeleton that my father-In-law gave us a few years ago. BUT, at least we decided to put the toilet and the urinal that we are using as flower planters in the backyard instead of the front. But the reason that I have some shame over my skills as a neighbor is that I have completely failed to get to know the people who live around me. It seems as if I spend so much time coming and going that I never take the time to just stop and have a conversation with the people who are, well, my neighbors.
It has taken a pandemic and a stay-at-home order for me to realize just how hard by neighbor across the street works, ALL THE TIME! He reminds me of some of our church’s “behind the scenes” people. You know who you are—the 20% of the membership who do 80% of the work!!! Since my dining room has 3 huge windows with a perfect view of my neighbor’s yard, my family’s favorite dinnertime activity lately has been to check out all the work he has gotten done that day. First of all, his yard is completely immaculate! He even gathers up ALL of those awful spiky gumballs that fall from his trees. Usually he begins work early in the morning and is still going until just before dark. So far, since the shelter in place policy has been implemented, he has felled, cut up, hand-split, and disposed of 3 huge dead trees in his front yard, which were threatening his house. Then, he even delivered the wood to some of the neighbors who heat with wood. I went over one Saturday and asked if he would help me fell a dead tree in my yard (so I didn’t permanently damage my house – or myself). He graciously agreed and DID NOT leave until the whole tree was cut up. He even brought his trailer over and helped me add my tree to his “free firewood” stack. He helped another neighbor prune their trees, even disposing of the branches for them. His current project is clearing an overgrown lot next to his house, of which he recently has become the owner. He is amazing, but I probably would have never taken notice if I hadn’t been spending so much time at home.
But he is not the only neighbor that is interesting. I have a neighbor who is a former minister who now uses his basement apartment as a retreat space for people from all over the world to come and have some time of peace and sanctuary. I have a neighbor who is a retired hospital chaplain. I have a neighbor who played basketball in college. One of our neighbors organized a community service project for their health services class at Ledford High School and, in an effort to be sort of creative during our challenging situation, she asked if members in the neighborhood would simply hang a large heart in their window as a sign of solidarity during quarantine. About half of the homes participated in our little neighborhood experiment and we still proudly have ours displayed. I have a neighbor who trains K-9 service dogs for the police department. And there is a former Marine who about once a month on warm days holds target practice in his backyard. Of course, we live outside the city limits, so there are no legal problems with this, but…. at first it was a little unsettling. (I mean, gunfire a few hundred yards away from my front door…). But, I am now satisfied that he knows what he is doing, and it has just become part of the unique atmosphere in our little neighborhood. There are lots of other interesting people around me, but my point is that every neighbor has a story to tell. We all have either had interesting things that have happened to us, or we are currently living really interesting lives. I am simply embarrassed that it has taken a pandemic to bring us together to share our stories with one another and to find out what awesome people I live near.
All of this sort of brings me to a Bible passage that has haunted me recently. So, it comes from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 10, and there is a person simply called an “expert of the law” sort of quizzing Jesus about what he must do to “inherit eternal life.” In verse 27, Jesus answers the expert’s question by turning the tables, as He often does, and responding to the expert’s question with a question of his own. Jesus’ question is: “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The expert then responds by quoting a commandment from the Old Testament known as the “Shema”.… Now, I love this passage and when things get sort of confusing and muddy regarding faith, life, and doing what is right, these words sort of help me sort things out pretty well. It’s unofficially known as The Great Commandment, and the passage says:
27 [the expert of the Law] answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
BUT, as satisfying as this part of the story is, it is not what I want to focus on this morning. The next verse is what has been haunting me. The expert continued to press Jesus…
29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
What kind of question is that? He is probably trying to pin Jesus down to figure out exactly which people he is responsible for loving. BUT, Jesus is one step ahead of this expert and he answers the question with another one of the tools that Jesus often uses to answer a question to reveal eternal truth: He tells a story. The story He tells is a well-known story called The Parable of the Good Samaritan. Now, I’m not going to read the entire passage right now (if you want to find it, it is in Luke Chapter 10). But the short version is that a man is walking along a road and gets attacked, robbed, beaten up, and left for dead. Three people saw this man dying on the side of the road. And this is the part that gets my attention: the three people were a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. The priest (who obviously was a religious leader) and Levite (who was a person who was responsible for special duties in the worship spaces such as synagogues and the Temple) both saw the man and not only walked by, but it is written that they went out of their way to cross the road away from the man, and kept walking. Then a Samaritan (who, in those days, was considered an outsider of Jewish culture because they were not of a “pure Jewish bloodline”) came by and not only stopped, but gave the man first aid and helped him to town and paid for his recovery. Just to summarize, the religious people, the ones who were believed to be closest to God, left the man in the ditch, and the outcast and marginalized man, the Samaritan, was the one who stopped and showed love and compassion.
I guess what bothers me the most about this story is that I spend a lot of time at our church for what I would consider “all the right reasons.” I can honestly claim that every day I serve God in some capacity and fill my time with all sorts of religious practices and have committed my life to assist others to do the same. In many ways, I am that priest. I am that Levite. I am on the road, usually on my way to or from the church making sure that I am on time for that meeting or ministry event. Rarely, do I have the time (or take the time) to help a stranded motorist or to offer a ride to a person walking on the road. Whether out of fear or apathy or just not being willing to change my own limited agenda, I cover my guilt with the belief that there are plenty of other people who can help, and I am already on my way to serve a whole bunch of church people and that is just as important. The part that haunts me is the question, “Am I being a good neighbor?” Am I fooling myself into thinking that because I work for the church, that somehow, I am absolved from certain acts of kindness or servanthood?
Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that every person should take on the responsibility of being that Good Samaritan. Stopping on the side of the road for a complete stranger could be a very dangerous situation. There are certainly people who may be well-suited to do that type of ministry, but there are also many threats from those who might try to take advantage of well-meaning people in this scenario. My point in all of this is not to get anyone to just go out and start combing the roadsides for wounded travelers in the quest to become a “good neighbor,” but I will say, the Good Samaritan passage ends by Jesus’ asking the expert one last thought-provoking question that I think we all need to ask ourselves from time to time:
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
“The one who had mercy.…” I can’t help but be reminded about how much I have learned about the people who live in my neighborhood over the last few weeks. It has taken an extraordinary situation like this pandemic to break into my hyper-focused, unwavering, iron-clad commitment to my daily routine, and to finally have the vision to take a look around and see some of the people that I have overlooked. By simply stopping, or at least slowing down, and taking the time to have a few conversations, I feel like my life has been changed, or at least perhaps, I have been shown that the way I “do life” really needs to change. Maybe I have spent too much time filling up my schedule, developing my agenda, and making sure that I have the appearance of “looking busy.” Maybe this busy-ness has become more about me than about the people who I have been called to serve. Maybe God needed to shake me out of my slumber of monotony to help me find renewal. Maybe, after all of this, I will need to reevaluate my definition of what “mercy” is. Maybe I am learning how to be a better neighbor! Now, I am not trying to suggest that God has, in any way, had a hand in unleashing this Coronavirus on the world, but I do believe that God has been able to use the consequences of COVID-19 to make an impact on people’s lives. He has in mine. How we respond is completely up to us.
Over and over again, God’s presence can be found when tragic and overwhelming events bring out the best in humanity. We are put into positions to help one another and so often it brings out the absolute best in some people. From the first-line responders, doctors, nurses, and staff who have been working with incredibly sick people in our health care systems, to minimum wage workers who show up in the face of fear and anxiety of possible virus exposure every day to go to work so we can get our groceries, our medications, and even our cup of coffee. Mercy is everywhere. Good neighbors are popping up all over the place. We just need to keep our eyes open to be able to see them … and to join them! From my neighbor across the street supplying homes with free firewood, to our sewing ministry making face masks for people they will possibly never meet in person, these are all examples of Good Samaritans. God gives us a choice every single day. We can either choose to cross to the other side the road and run away from those opportunities, OR we can see a need that we can meet, use our gifts and allow God to lead us into being a good neighbor.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, AMEN!
YOU CAN WATCH AND READ ALL 10 @ 10 DEVOTIONS HERE.