MEMORIAL UMC’s MISSION…
We are CALLED by Christ to GROW in faith, BUILD relationships, and SERVE all people.
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 8
Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
10 R.L. Pope Class by Allen Brown on Facebookand WGOS AM 1070
11 Live Worship In Person and Online on Facebook and WGOS AM 1070
(Please read below about protocols and how to enter the building.)
4 Youth (In-Person) **Note time!**
No Worship on the Lawn
MONDAY NOVEMBER 9
10 10@10 Devotion on Facebook
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 10
8 Men’s Prayer Meeting Online via Zoom (New Contact: Tim Lyons)
9-11 Sewing Ministry
10 10@10 Devotion on Facebook
5:30 Yoga (Jarrett Hall)
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 11
The Weekly Update on Facebook
10 10@10 Devotion on Facebook
6 Youth Small Groups Online (contact Rodney Denton)
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 12
10 10@10 Devotion on Facebook
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 13
10 10@10 Devotion on Facebook
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 15
Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
10 R.L. Pope Class Online: Elaine Rabon
11 Live Worship In-Person & Online
4 Youth (In-Person) **Note time!**
No Worship on the Lawn
November 19 Red Cross Blood Drive @ MUMC
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…
Our country and healing for all
The family of Austin L. Clodfelter, Jr.
Finley Price family
Andrea Cain and family
Peace and justice in our nation, state, and city
Our first responders, medical community, and essential workers
All those affected by COVID-19
Our United Methodist missionaries
All military personnel
The United Methodist Church
MORNING WORSHIP FOR SUNDAY 11/8/2020
We realize that some of you are not yet comfortable with gathering indoors, and we honor that choice. We will continue to offer the 11:00 a.m. service on Facebook Live and WGOS.
What to Expect at Indoor Worship
- Access to the Sanctuary is through the Randolph Street doors only. The designated entrance for those needing the elevator will be the door under the walkway.
- You’ll be greeted upon entering the church and asked a few questions.
- Face masks will be required for everyone.
- Some pews will be blocked to maintain social distancing; an usher will help direct you.
- Out of respect for others, please refrain from shaking hands or hugging.
- Offering plates will be available at the entrance and exit of the sanctuary.
- When services end, attendees will be dismissed by section to avoid hallway congestion.
- No nursery staff will be present, but the nursery space will be available.
- Sunday school will not be offered at this time.
NO WORSHIP ON THE LAWN SUNDAY
October 25th was Commitment Sunday for 2021. Pledge cards were mailed out in mid-October. Those who attend worship in person may bring their pledge cards with them. Others may choose to bring their pledge cards to the church office or send them in the mail. Please let us know if you did not receive a pledge card or if you have any questions.
R.L. POPE CLASS ONLINE LESSONS
SUNDAYS AT 10:00 A.M. on FACEBOOK and WGOS
The R. L. Pope Class is excited to offer weekly online lessons. Tune in to Facebook Live or WGOS on your radio or computer.
November 8 Allen Brown
November 15 Elaine Rabon
November 22 Richard Herman
November 29 Stan Styers
FILL THE VAN FOR CCM!
A/V 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 (email@example.com or 336-472-7718) or Harold Vannoy (firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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
Rodney Denton, Minister of Youth and Young Adults – Ext. 18; firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynda Hepler, Minister of Children and Families – Ext. 11; email@example.com
Norris Norwood, Director of Music Ministries – 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 September 25, 2020.
Straightening the Curves
So, this week, I was reminded, yet again at just how crazy 2020 has proven to be. I mean, we are now into a record-breaking hurricane season, reaching the Greek alphabet for only the second time in history—and with a month and a half to go. There’s the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who served for 27 years. Wildfires are claiming over 5 million acres on the west coast. And … Christian McCaffrey is now injured for 3-4 weeks (I thought that guy was indestructible!). Not only that, but the Carolina Panthers are sitting at 0-2 in the NFL. I feel like just about every week I sit here taking inventory of all the big things that are happening in the world, looking for a silver lining, and I must admit, I’m ready to have nothing to say about 2020. I don’t know if you have ever had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong no matter what you do. Sort of like the 24-hour version of 2020. Those days it seems as if it would be best if you just go back to bed, and hopefully tomorrow will be better. I have had plenty of those days, and as we seem to be living a full year of this, perhaps it might be helpful to see what God might have to say about days like these…
This reminds me of something that happened to me when I was in college. I was in the spring of my sophomore year, and I had gotten a position as a “SummerShiner” at Barefoot RV Resort in North Myrtle Beach. Just to give you a little background, the SummerShine program hires college students to go to work at various public campgrounds, lifeguarding, serving in the snack hut, cleaning the bathhouses, doing yard maintenance—I think you get the picture. The difference between SummerShine and other summer college jobs was that we were also responsible for leading chapel services, family nights, kids’ activities, and other campground events. Some of my favorites were Bingo Night and Shag Lessons! The point is that a SummerShiner needs to have a certain temperament to work with kids and display a certain level of Christian character. Now, you can imagine that the lure of a summer at the beach might attract a few college kids who were more interested in soaking up the sun and hanging out with some new friends at the lifeguard shack than soaking up an overflowing toilet and hanging out with a bunch of screaming, rowdy, ice cream-fueled kids at the snack hut. So, in order to ensure that a person had the proper temperament—and perhaps to ensure a SummerShiner had mostly wholesome priorities for the “ministry”—we had to go through an interview process as well as a weekend training retreat for the incoming SummerShiners.
My first training retreat was held somewhere around Oxford, NC, at a retreat center whose name I do not remember. During the weekend, we were able to meet some of the people with whom we would be working. We did some team building exercises and got an idea of what our responsibilities would be during the summer. Now, it was at the retreat that I met the rest of the North Myrtle Beach crew that I would be spending the summer with, including a young lady named Anne Marie. Now, I feel like I must preface this part of my story with: At this point in my life, I had not yet met my wife, Martha Jo, and I had not realized just how wonderful my life would eventually be with her. But, in that moment, Anne Marie, who happened to be a cheerleader at the University of Virginia, was really attractive and really friendly and a whole lot of fun! (Did I mention she was a cheerleader?) Anyway, during the weekend, we had some free time on Saturday afternoon and a group of people from the North Myrtle group (including Anne Marie) decided to go ride horses. Now, I can probably count on one hand how many times I have been on the back of a horse in my life, so of all the options at the camp, this was definitely not my first choice, but in order to have a chance to hang out with my group and, yes, Anne Marie (who revealed that she had grown up in Texas and loved horses and had been riding them since she could walk … ) I went to the stables. I must have looked pretty nervous, because they brought out the horse that I was supposed to ride, and Anne Marie looked at me and said, “Let me hold that bridle while you get on.” Then she gave me a few pointers on how to get up on the saddle. Well, as if there was not enough pressure to get on the horse, now this cheerleader was “cheering” me on and giving me pointers. I remember putting my foot in the stirrup and grabbing the horn on the saddle. I also remember clearly thinking if I didn’t make it to the saddle on the first try, I might not be able to live with myself. So, I took a deep breath and stiffened my grip on the horn and stepped into the stirrup and pulled myself up with everything I had! To my surprise, I made it all the way up into the saddle on the first try!
Now, what came next probably only lasted a few seconds, but when I think about the catastrophic things that happened in just those few seconds, it’s like it was my very own, personal 2020, all condensed into that moment, playing out in slow motion. The disaster began because I had developed so much momentum trying to get up on the horse. Then, the horse, sensing my weight coming onto his back, stepped into me. Then, my trip did not stop at the top of the horse; instead, I kept going up and over the horse to the other side. Unfortunately, I had done such a great job of securing my foot in the stirrup on the near side of the horse, that it was lodged in that stirrup and prevented me from simply falling to the ground on the other side of the horse. So, hopefully you have this image in your head of this large, awkward, college student dangling sideways off a horse. As I tried to get free and simply fall to the ground, I couldn’t because of the stirrup. Neither was I able to pull myself up back into the saddle. I was just stuck! Finally, someone on the other side of the horse had mercy on me and pried my foot free and I fell to the ground. I made my way back around the horse awaiting the humiliation of facing Anne Marie and the rest of my group, and debating whether I should attempt Round 2 of saddling up or coming to terms with the fact that I was never intended to be a cowboy. As I rounded the horse I looked down, and Anne Marie was on the ground. Instead of rolling on the floor laughing at my incompetence, she was actually crying, and people were coming over to help her. It turns out that when the horse stepped into me, he also stepped on Anne Marie’s foot! In the end, her foot was broken, she left the retreat on crutches, ending her spring cheerleading season as well as some intramural sports in which she was involved, and I did not see her again until we arrived at the beach in May.
I mean, that whole situation could not have turned out any worse. Not only did I make a fool out of myself, but I was also responsible for injuring someone who was just there trying to help me. I wish I could say this was the only time that I have felt like a total idiot, but for those of you who know me, you know that just isn’t exactly true. In fact, I tend to find myself in situations where I feel foolish on a regular basis. Fortunately, for every time that we feel inadequate, foolish, weak, and inept, God finds a way to be right there in the middle of it all to help us get through our mistakes and find a way to redeem them. This reminds me of one of my favorite passages of scripture, found in Proverbs, chapter 3, verses 5–6. In moments of chaos and when I feel completely out of control of the events unfolding in my life, this verse seems to put things into perspective, and it helps to ground me so I am able to focus on the things that really matter and stop worrying about the things that don’t. So, hear these words from Proverbs 3:5-6:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths smooth and straight.
When I look back on that day at the SummerShine retreat, my path could not have been any less smooth or straight. I felt like I was trying to do the right things, committing to a summer of ministry, of serving others, trying to turn my life around from where the first half of my college days had taken me (that is a whole ‘nother 10@10). I was really trying to trust God and get my life on a straight path, but things were not getting off to a very good start.
I have found that anytime I have tried to make any sort of positive change in my life, those changes have always been met with struggle and obstacles. Whether it comes from obvious places like my own apathy that leads me to stay on the path of least resistance avoiding the hard things that are required to change, or difficulties that come from toxic relationships that want to keep me unhealthy and doing the things that use me up and spit me out. Or perhaps I am just more aware of the challenges that come with trying to change, and I am always happy to find an excuse to stop trying to intentionally trust God more and just let things happen. And then there are the coincidences that happen. Those situations that arise which make change just that much more difficult. Perhaps these coincidences are excuses that I turn into obstacles, or perhaps there are forces at work against me that don’t want to see me become a better person, the person that God has created me to be. Whatever it is, there always seem to be barriers that block me from trusting God more, from living closer to God and serving God more completely. I have to trust that, somehow, God will get me through all of these things that test my faith and threaten to stop my progress. We all have to trust that God has a bigger plan than all of the chaos and frustration and yuck that is happening in our world today.
The rest of the story with my SummerShine experience and Anne Marie really did change my life. As I weighed the options of quitting SummerShine and just living at home for the summer, just to avoid facing all the people that I had embarrassed myself in front of—especially Anne Marie, who’s life (at least immediately) was dramatically altered all because of me. (Yes, I know I didn’t cause the horse to step on her, and I would have never wanted something like that to happen, but I still couldn’t help but feel responsible.) I finally made the decision to go through with the SummerShine program, face my fears, and follow through with what I had committed to do. As it turned out, God ended up making my path smooth and straight after all. Anne Marie was so gracious. We ended up being “Potty Partners” for the summer, meaning that, when it was our week to clean the bathhouses, we would clean them as a team. She would clean the women’s side and I would clean the men’s, so we had to work pretty closely all summer. She never made me feel bad about the horse incident; we got along great and became really good friends! I also spent that summer continuing to focus on my faith and turning my life around. It was a formative summer that really changed my life. I learned so much about myself. I discerned a call to ministry. Shortly after returning to the beach I got involved in a campus ministry, and I met Martha Jo. All of this could have so easily been lost had I “leaned on my own understanding,” given up, and allowed a horse and a series of unfortunate events to change the trajectory of my life. Instead I fought through my own discomfort to do the right thing. You may be sitting here in 2020 completely overwhelmed by all of the chaos and distractions and the crooked path that we all seem to be on right now. Not only is our world in turmoil, but our personal lives might seem filled with potholes and blind curves as well. My hope for you is that you will not allow any of this to knock you off track. Continue to put your full trust in God. Make those changes that you see need to be made, and stick to them. You may even get knocked off the horse in the most ungraceful way possible, but that does not necessarily mean that you have taken a wrong turn. God will always be there to pick you back up, dust you off, set you back on your course and—who knows?—just over the next hill may be the part of your journey that helps to make sense of all this chaos. Maybe just around the next curve you will find that the path is smooth and straight. Just don’t give up! In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, AMEN! Have a great day, take care of one another, and stay healthy people!!!
Join us for worship in person or online this Sunday, at 11 AM. And tune in before that for online Sunday School at 10 AM with the R.L. Pope Class.
YOU CAN WATCH AND READ ALL 10 @ 10 DEVOTIONS HERE.