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…
Kay Eanes and family
Barbara Bradley Westmoreland
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 Kay Eanes and family on the death of Kay’s mother, Rachel Baity Cranford, Saturday August 1, 2020. The obituary for Rachel is at https://www.jcgreenandsons.com/obituary/Rachel-Cranford.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES DRIVE
It’s Back to School time and we are collecting needed supplies for area students. Collection bins are set up outside of the church reception door at the Mission Racks for easy drop-off. Thank you for your generosity helping students with the learning materials they need.
- Glue Sticks
- Safety Scissors
- Colored Pencils
- Hand sanitizer
- Sanitizing wipes
WNCC ANNUAL CONFERENCE SAT. AUGUST 8
Annual Conference 2020 to be held virtually this Saturday
The virtual session of AC2020 will stream live on Saturday, August 8, at 1 p.m. at https://www.wnccumc.org/streamac. The live stream of Annual Conference will be available for public viewing. Please note, however, that only lay and clergy delegates of the Annual Conference will be permitted to vote. Voting and live stream instructions can be found at https://www.wnccumc.org/votingac.
If you have questions regarding Annual Conference, you may visit https://www.wnccumc.org/ac2020questionsanswers to see responses to questions that have already been asked, or to ask any questions you may still have.
WE NEED YOU!
School will begin for the Thomasville City Schools on August 17, but the school buildings will remain empty. Students will learn remotely for a while. It will be imperative for children to have access to the Internet and there are some who do not. We are pleased to partner with TCS to provide an Internet access site for remote learning for students. We will open the church for two-hour periods on select days during the week for students needing Internet access.
In order to accomplish this, we will need church folks who will give a couple hours of their time to be present. This is not a tutoring service. Students will sign up, and we will limit the number of children at each session. All safety precautions will be followed. Tables will be set up to ensure social distancing, and students will be expected to wear masks, wash their hands prior to entering, and have their temperature taken. Children K-8 must be accompanied by an adult.
The church will be open on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. Two volunteers will be needed for each session. To sign up please use the Signup Genius link here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0545A8AF28A02-remote.
REV. KELLY CARPENTER TO SHARE ON ANTI-RACISM
Join us for our first congregation-wide Zoom discussion on Anti-Racism. Pastor Kelly Carpenter of Green Street UMC in Winston-Salem will lead us in dissecting the definition of racism so that we can all begin to listen and learn together. Green Street’s work and learning around anti-racism is ongoing. You can read about it on their website.
Zoom Call Details (And more information on accessing this call will be forthcoming!)
Time: Aug 12, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9185537002
AUDIO VISUAL VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR WORSHIP
Do you enjoy photography? Interested in the latest information technology? We need a few good men and women to train as video camera operators. If you have any interest in helping us take this step forward in virtual broadcasting, please notify Susan Frye (firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-472-7718) or Harold Vannoy (email@example.com or 336-240-9524) who will get you in touch with the right persons. We will need this help in the near future to execute this critical outreach mission. Thank you!
R.L. POPE CLASS NEW ONLINE LESSONS
SUNDAYS AT 10:00 A.M. on WGOS
The R. L. Pope Class is excited to announce the return of new, weekly online lessons. Tune in to WGOS on your radio or computer.
August 9 Richard Herman
August 16 Harold Vannoy
August 23 Kyles Wallace
August 30 Stan Styers
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 26, 2020.
This morning I want to talk about light. I don’t know how many of you grew up in a United Methodist Church, but I did. And of those of you who did grow up in a United Methodist Church, I don’t know how many of you had the opportunity to be what we call an acolyte, but I did. Now, for those of you who do not know what an acolyte is, I really need to explain the acolyte’s job. The acolyte is responsible for carrying fire into the church, usually from the back of the church, and lighting what are known as the Christ candles, which are the two candles positioned on the altar. Then, at the end of the service, the acolyte extinguishes the Christ candles and carries the flame back out of the sanctuary.
The only problem with acolytes is that at every church of which I have ever been a part, the acolytes are typically recruited from older elementary kids in third, fourth, fifth grade—sometimes a little older, sometimes a little younger, depending on the need. The reason this can pose a problem is that the likelihood is pretty high for getting an acolyte from this age group who may easily panic or get distracted while carrying a flaming candlestick around extremely flammable wooden pews; tons of paper in the form of bulletins, hymnals, and Bibles; and even human hair which may have been infused with some form of flammable hair product. This seems, on the surface, to be a recipe for disaster. The truth is, it would seem that “tweens” might not be the general age group best suited for this rather delicate ministry of the church. But, for whatever reason, this is who we get to do it. In fact, I have been given the great responsibility of training these kids at Memorial; and I have found, fortunately, that for the most part they take it very seriously. The only kids who make me nervous fall into two general categories. First, some kids are “fire bugs.” These guys get really excited being able to walk around with an open flame on the end of a stick, and they seem to get almost mesmerized by the flame and may not pay attention to where they are going. Other kids get super excited to be doing something in front of the church and being in the spotlight as they lead processionals and close the worship services. At Memorial, acolytes ring the Trinity Chimes to begin and end worship. These kids sometimes get so wrapped up in the congregation watching them that they forget they have fire in their possession. Either of these is sort of scary, and you can imagine that when the congregation anticipates that an acolyte might lose focus or be nervous or careless in any way, those acolytes tend to hold the attention of the congregation better than some pastors during a sermon.
So, like I said, I was an acolyte when I was in elementary school just up the road at Canaan United Methodist Church. I’m not going to tell you which type of acolyte I was, but I will tell you that I am sure that there were times when I had everyone on the edge of their seats. So, at Canaan, the acolyte would bring the flame into the service from a small side room just off the sanctuary at the direction of one of the ushers. The usher would make sure we were dressed appropriately (robes, no flip-flops, etc.), light the wick on the candlelighter, and tell us when to go out. I remember the very first time I had the opportunity to be the acolyte for Canaan I was so excited to learn all the mysteries of this fire that was permitted in the sanctuary. I wasn’t sure why we lit the candles, but I was confident that it had some sort of special significance, and I was going to be privy to the very special and secret ritual of the altar candles. So, I carefully dressed in the acolyte robe and the usher handed me the unlit candle lighter, and then he escorted me to the special room. Now, at this point, in my mind I felt sure that there was some sort of eternal flame that was kept in the room and I would be able to see for myself where it came from and learn all of its vast secrets. As we stood there waiting for the organist to begin playing, I began to look around for this flame that I would use to light the candles, and, although I did not see one, it just added to the mystery of the moment. As the organist began to play, the usher turned to look at me to tell me it was time to go in. He explained that I should go in, light the candles, and return. I was ready, I took a deep breath, then the usher pulled a cigarette lighter out of his pocket, lit the candlelighter in my hand and sent me in. As I watched the usher light the wick, I was perplexed at the idea that this usher was using a plain, common, cigarette lighter to light the wick. In fact, I was almost certain that I had seen that same usher smoking a cigarette on the sidewalk beside the church between Sunday School and Worship. It didn’t take much imagination to connect the idea that the same lighter that was used to light that cigarette was probably the one that had just lit the candlelighter in my hand, which was just about to light candles which were on the altar of the church…. It sort of took some of the mystery and reverence out of the candles on the altar. I still wasn’t sure what the candles on the altar were there for, but this incident did sort of raise the question about how can the same lighter that lights a cigarette then be used to light a candle in the most sacred and holy place in our church – the altar?
It wasn’t until I went to seminary that I learned exactly what these candles were all about. You see, these candles are not just here to give off some heat in a cold room or to give off some light in a dim room. These candles are reminders of Jesus’ presence in our worship service. In fact, in John 8:12, Jesus even makes a claim about this when He says about himself: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The acolyte brings in the flame as a reminder of this light of life and Jesus’ presence in our worship service. At the end of the service, the flame is recessed out of the sanctuary as a reminder that Jesus does not stay in the building but exists and is at work out in the world as well. I sort of like this symbolism of Jesus described as a fire in this world. As cold and dark as the world can feel at times, Jesus came into this cold, dark world and brought with Him the light that brings warmth, light, and even life.
Think about it. Granted, I am no astrophysicist or whoever investigates these things, so my understanding of why the earth has life on it is pretty simplified, but one thing I do know is that if there were no giant ball of fire that we call the S-U-N in the center of our solar system, our planet would be dark and cold and lifeless. In other words, it takes a huge ball of heat and light to bring life to this planet in a literal sense. In a spiritual sense, the same could be said of our hearts. If there were no S-O-N, our hearts could easily become cold and dark and lifeless as well. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He made claims of being the Light of the world!
This idea has really been driven home to me over the last few weeks as I take a look at all the things that are happening in the world—a worldwide pandemic, civil unrest, violence, protests, loneliness, anxiety, issues surrounding race, mistrust of people in various levels of government and power, and the media who can spin the same event in different ways to fit polarizing agendas. I recently told my kids that they need to understand that they are living through times that will be recounted in history books and focused on for many years. The problem is that we end up being our own worst enemy. Instead of difficult situations like the one that we are living through right now pulling us together and making us more compassionate toward one another, we have managed to make this situation worse by allowing it to become a wedge, splitting us apart. It feels as if we are living in very dark and cold times, and it is as if the very life is being sucked out of us. We need the light of the world to shine. We need to warm our hearts in the heavenly glow of God’s thawing love and walk a path that is guided by God’s light creating a beacon for us to follow.
My kids and I have been talking a lot about the Golden Rule at our house lately—treating others the way we want to be treated. The details of this are for a different 10 @ 10, but I feel like somewhere along the way “we” (as in our society and as the Church, not only the “we” in my house) have lost this most simple of life lessons. How can we return to the idea that looking out for one another is a good thing? How do we look for ways to serve one another and encourage one another and love one another? Because that is how I want to be treated. I want to be treated with patience and understanding, not with icy contempt and dark arrogance. It frightens me to see how some Christians are being portrayed in our country, and it’s not in the news media that I always see it. I see cold and dark statements on social media. We need to realize that our words and our actions carry a message with them. We are ambassadors of God’s message of love and light to this world, not God’s judge and jury. In fact, Jesus himself shared his role as the bearer of life-giving light to this world with each and every Christian when he said in Matthew 5: 14-16:
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
This brings me back to my story about these Christ candles that are lit on our altar every Sunday. After I learned what they were all about, I was really disappointed by the apparent dishonor that was being done as a flame from a common cigarette lighter was used to light the Christ candles. That really bothered me. The more I thought about it, the more disgusted I became with idea of the light of the world being lit by a common cigarette lighter. What were they thinking? Who were they trying to fool? We need to honor God with a gold-plated, ruby encrusted, wind-resistant, custom, one-of-a-kind, always-on, eternal flame, Zippo lighter that is only used for lighting the candles on that altar. Something special and unique. Not some common, plastic, convenience store, Bic lighter that is easily broken and has been used to light cigarettes, too.
I have kept this debate going in the back of my mind through the years until just recently. I really understand wanting to honor God and Jesus during difficult times such as the ones we are living in right now, and how it seems like the right thing to do is to circle the wagons and preserve the integrity of the Church and of the Bible and become gatekeepers of the Gospel. I understand thinking that somehow keeping the riff-raff out of the church will preserve the message of righteousness and sacredness of God’s Holy Word. But then I keep going back to that cigarette lighter. For so long I saw that as a symbol of tainted love for God. For so long I could only see how short it fell from the actual glory of Christ. Then, as I sat down to reflect, I realized that it above all things is a perfect example of God’s abundant grace. Only God can use the common things in life to make the most profound impact. Only God could use the flame from a cigarette lighter to remind us of His love and presence in a worship service. Only God could use me, a broken and sinful man with a cold and darkened heart, to sit here today and say anything worthwhile about His love. Only God could send his Son into the world in a feeding trough to an unwed mother and a poor carpenter. And only God could turn you, with all of your shortcomings and flaws and weaknesses, and use you as a light for this world, to change this cold and dark world into a loving, compassionate, life-giving place of healing and hope. May God fan the flames in your heart to make a positive impact on this world through each one of you. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Join us this Sunday for virtual Sunday School and Worship on Facebook LIVE and WGOS 1070 AM. Have a great day, and stay healthy, people!
YOU CAN WATCH AND READ ALL 10 @ 10 DEVOTIONS HERE.