MEMORIAL UMC’s MISSION…
We are CALLED by Christ to GROW in faith, BUILD relationships, and SERVE all people.
MONDAY – FRIDAY
10:00 a.m. “10@10” Weekday Devotions via Facebook
8:00 a.m. Men’s Prayer Meeting Online via Zoom (contact Brian Russell)
5:30 p.m. Outdoor Yoga in the Church Back Yard (Weather permitting)
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…
George and Florence Highsmith
Peace and justice in our nation, state, and city
Grant Brinkley and Family
Finley Price Family
Our First Responders, Medical Community, and Essential Workers
All those affected by Coronavirus/COVID-19
Andrea Cain and Family
Our UM Missionaries
All Military Personnel
The United Methodist Church
We extend our prayers and sympathy to Shell York and family on the death of Dr. Shelley York, June 20, 2020.
Obituary for Shelley York
R.L. POPE CLASS NEW ONLINE LESSONS
SUNDAYS, BEGINNING JULY 19
10:00 A.M. on WGOS
The R. L. Pope Class is excited to announce the return of new, weekly classes (ONLINE ONLY) beginning this Sunday July 19. Tune in to WGOS on your radio or on the internet and listen live at 10 a.m.
July 19 Jim McGhee
July 26 Kyles Wallace
August 2 Richard Herman
August 9 Allen Brown
August 16 Harold Vannoy
August 23 Kyles Wallace
August 30 Stan Styers
WHEN WILL WE GATHER IN PERSON?
This was not an easy decision. We want to come back. Everyone does. And we want to take care of our people, especially our most vulnerable. When we looked at the number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, we didn’t think it was prudent to gather in person with the rate of infection going up as it is. Our decision to postpone in-person worship also aligns with the advice of our bishop. The number of cases should be in decline before we gather again. Although we are not establishing a new date at this time, we will give another update by the end of July. And as the pandemic spread slows, we can look forward setting a new date.
We want to assure everyone that your church is at work. The wheels are turning. A top-notch Healthy Church Work Group was established to study what we need to do to reopen. Under their careful guidance, we are taking steps now to create the safest possible environment for in-person worship when we ultimately do come together again. We are ready and look forward to that day.
Meanwhile, we’re going to continue to worship every Sunday online at 11:00 a.m. on Facebook Live and WGOS 1070. You can also access the video of the 11:00 a.m. worship after the fact, on our Facebook page or the home page of our website. We have worked to address sound and technological challenges for our broadcasts; we want to make sure nothing hinders our ability to worship together online.
The church’s staff and committees are at work, too. We’re doing different things to adapt. For your spiritual growth, we offer our “10@10” Daily Devotions online, a new offering that has come out of this difficult season. The Men’s Prayer Breakfast is meeting virtually, as are our teens in their small groups. The Missions Committee is still working to serve the needs of our community. The sewing ministry made thousands of masks for the community. Our children have had Godly Play online as well as the option of a virtual VBS and a summer reading group. And our choir continues to gather for fellowship online, even reaching former members who now live far away. And there are doubtless many other connections taking place among us.
Thank you for all the ways you have supported one another and the staff as we all try our best to find new ways of being the church during this COVID-19 pandemic. Keep taking care of each other and let your church staff and leaders know how we can support you.
BISHOP KEN CARTER: FACING FEAR
Our scheduled Finch Preaching Minister for October, Bishop Ken Carter, recently shared thoughts on the time in which we live, the fears that can run rampant, and the call to each of us to address these fears with a practice of “scriptural imagination.” He writes:
In the seasons of Advent and Lent, times of waiting, preparation and introspection, we often read from the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah speaks of the desert and the wilderness; in many ways, we are living there now. A time of social distancing and self-isolation and ever-present threat is a time of desert and wilderness. It is a time of loss, death, grief, betrayal, uncertainty.
Yet within these realities, Isaiah offers a promise: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom.” And then a commandment: “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear!’” (Isaiah 35:1, 3-4 NRSV).
I believe that this spiritual practice of scriptural imagination is essential in a time when fear spreads like a virus, with similarly destructive effects.
From: “Ken Carter: How a scriptural imagination can help Christians face fear”
To read the complete article by Ken Carter in the July 7th issue of Faith and Leadership, visit https://faithandleadership.com/ken-carter-how-scriptural-imagination-can-help-christians-face-fear.
Faith and Leadership is a learning resource for Christian leaders and their institutions from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity
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; 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
FINANCIAL GIVING OPTIONS WHILE THE OFFICE IS CLOSED
Thank you for your ongoing generosity to Memorial. While the office is closed, there are three options for making gifts to Memorial:
The address for mailing checks is:
P.O. Box 428
Thomasville, NC 27361-0428
Online gifts can be made securely at https://onrealm.org/mumctville/give/now which can also be accessed from our website homepage.
Electronic funds transfer (EFT) giving can be set up for your recurring tithe. For information on how to arrange this, please email or leave a message for Peggy May, Financial Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-472-7718.
We close this week’s eNews with a 10@10 devotion shared by Rodney Denton on June 5, 2020.
Good morning everyone!!! I really appreciate you taking a few moments this morning to hopefully start your day with a fresh and positive perspective. Even though it might currently be inadvisable to gather in person, there is no reason why we can’t gather together virtually and unite in spirit for a few moments. I hope that you find today’s message as uplifting and meaningful as I did preparing it for you!
Have you ever had just one of those days when you wished you could just crawl back in bed and start over? One of those days when you can’t do or say anything right? One of those days when you don’t want to even be around yourself, much less expose yourself to the general public? I don’t know how many of you logged on last Friday, but if you did, you may have noticed something strange with my 10 @ 10. Due to some conflicts with my schedule, I needed to pre-record my devotion earlier in the morning, upload it, and schedule it to play at 10 AM. Well, everything went according to plan until I was on my way home from my appointment around 10:30. I started watching the recording and realized that it was an old video that I had recorded in April. I had been careless when I uploaded the video. I simply saw that I had the same shirt on in the video as I was wearing, so I assumed that it was the correct video. As I watched it, my heart just sank. My mind began race to figure out how to correct my mistake. I finally made it back home and uploaded the correct video later in the day.
The bigger problem was that my day didn’t get much better from that point. I got into an argument with my mom. I struggled with having patience with my kids who still had schoolwork to get done by the end of the year BUT seem to think that summer vacation has already begun. I needed to do the grocery shopping, and a bunch of the stuff that we have been needing was still not in stock (I’m looking at you hoarders of the Clorox wipes, hand soap, and digital thermometers!) Then, later that evening, I sat down to unwind and relax and decided to watch a little news to see what else was going on in the world and to hopefully get a better perspective. Of course, it seems that in some sort of weird way, MY horrible day was a just a tiny reflection of what the whole world seemed to be experiencing: anger, unrest, and not being able to catch a break. Between COVID cases on the rise, protests, and general turmoil surrounding the tragedy of George Floyd (including people who are looking to capitalize on that tragedy) we all seem to be having a really bad day these days.
Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of so much chaos, it begins to affect our emotions and even our general outlook on life. I have heard this often described as being in “hot water.” We are all facing really difficult situations in our lives and anger and trouble seem to be lurking just below the surface. The world around us seems so volatile and violent, it feels like we might all be living in hot water. So, my question for you this morning is: Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever felt like you were in hot water? Like the world around you was about to boil over and you weren’t sure what do to? That’s how I’m feeling these days, and I realize that my troubles are pretty small compared to what some other people are going through right now. My wife and I still have our jobs, my family is healthy, and we are not living in an area that has been overrun with civil unrest. So most of the big troubles that people are facing these days may not be mine. But it seems that even the accumulated stress of a bunch of small problems and just the general upheaval in the world around us can make us feel like we are in hot water. And we might just need some guidance to figure out what to do!
This all reminds me of a story I heard a few years ago about a father who was having a conversation with his young daughter. She was having a bad day as well and going through some situations that she perceived as her life “falling apart.” This really had her discouraged and frustrated, and she began complaining to her father. As it turns out, her father was in the process of cooking a meal in the kitchen. As he listened to his daughter share about her anxieties and frustrations, he pulled out 3 pots, filled them with water, and brought them to a boil. In one pot he put in a potato, in the second he put an egg, and in the third he poured in some coffee beans. For the next 20 minutes he listened to his daughter share, complain, and whine about her friends and school and teenage drama, until she finally asked, “What are you doing?”
At that point, he turned off the burners to the stove and presented the first pot containing the potato which went into the water strong, hard, and firm. He gently placed the cooked potato on a plate. Then, he did the same with the pot holding the egg (which had gone into the water with a fragile outer shell surrounding its vulnerable, liquid filling) and placed he egg in a bowl. Then he picked up the pot containing the coffee beans and poured them out into a mug.
The father looked at his daughter, who seemed intrigued, and asked her, “You have a lot going on in your life, but what do you see?” She sort of rolled her eyes and said, “A potato, an egg, and coffee beans. But what does any of this have to do with…”
The father shook his head and interrupted her. “Look closer… take a moment to touch the potato.”
She pushed her finger into the potato and said, “It’s all soft and mushy.”
“Yes,” the dad said, “the potato went into the hot water all hard and strong and firm but came out soft, and it almost seems like it could fall apart. Now, tell me about the egg.”
The daughter, catching on that this was some sort of object lesson, looked at the egg and said, “OK, so the egg went into the water with a shell that is easily broken and an inside that is soft and gooey, but it came out of the water all hard on the inside.”
“That’s right!” the father explained. “The hot water represents adversity. Some people are like potatoes. They may start out strong, but when faced with adversity, they fall apart. Some people are like eggs. They start out sort of fragile and vulnerable, but in the midst of adversity they find themselves becoming hard and rigid on the inside.”
“OK,” said the daughter, “I get that. But what about the coffee beans? They didn’t change at all.”
“Great observation!” said the father. “The coffee beans are unique. They kept their original shape and consistency. But, if you look at the water, they have found a way to change the hot water that they were in, and found a way to change the situation instead of letting the situation change them. The moral is: ‘In life, things happen around us, and things happen to us; but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.’ Which one of these are you?”
As we take a look at the current state of our world, I can really relate to the point that this dad is trying to make. Lately, it seems as if there is way too much hot water in our world. It seems like everywhere we turn, there are circumstances that lend themselves to creating fear and anxiety and it seems so easy to let this fear rule our lives and turn us into potatoes, falling apart, or like the egg, becoming bitter and cynical and hardened on the inside. But neither of these changes our situation for the better. In fact, they usually make it worse. In order to pattern ourselves after those coffee beans and change our situation, perhaps we need to direct our energy in different ways. Perhaps we need to develop a deeper sense of “hope.” The hope that God has control of all this mess. The hope that there are other coffee beans just like us, trying to do the right thing, trying to change the world around us and somehow make it better. Having the hope that not only will things get better, but that God will find a way to strengthen us and show us the best way … together … just in the time of our greatest need.
This reminds me of a passage from the book of Romans, it is found in chapter 5, verses 3 through 5. This passage sort of takes a look at how suffering and difficult situations can have a long-term, positive purpose in our lives, but only if we let them. Check out this passage from Romans 5:3-5 (NIV):
3 [Not only so,] but we also glory in our sufferings, because …we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
I think it is interesting that this passage does not show us how to avoid adversities. That is usually the answer that I am looking for, but it’s as if suffering, or “hot water,” if you will, actually might have a greater purpose in life than something to be avoided. A purpose that leads to developing HOPE. It’s certainly no fun finding ourselves in hot water, especially hot water that we do not deserve and over which we have no control – as in a pandemic, the loss of a job, the loss of loved ones, seeing systemic injustices which are deeply rooted in the very fabric of our society, and people who take advantage of chaos, like we are experiencing in our world right now, for their own personal gain. Just as we saw with the different foods in the father’s hot water lesson, we have choices about how we respond to the adversities that come into our lives – whether those are a result of our own poor decisions or the decisions of others. We can choose. We can choose to NOT fall apart, we can choose to NOT become hardened, AND we can look for ways to CHANGE our situation. We can look for ways that our suffering can lead to perseverance, can develop a stronger character, and can increase our hope in a better tomorrow. By opening our hearts and allowing God to work through us as His ambassadors in this world, we have the ability to change a hopeless situation and turn it into a HOPE-filled situation.
I think that we all have those ideals of how we expect to conduct ourselves in the face of challenging situations. And, according to this passage, it would appear that a great amount of it “boils down,” as cliché as it may sound, to maintaining a loving, hopeful attitude with an eternal perspective and allowing God to pour His love into our hearts. Allowing God to use us to make a difference. It is not a matter of IF but WHEN we experience hot water, because we all find ourselves experiencing adversity from time to time. The key is that we have a choice in how we respond.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! AMEN
YOU CAN WATCH AND READ ALL 10 @ 10 DEVOTIONS HERE.