Thursday, August 18, 2022

August Grace Notes & Calendar

 "To everything there is a season."

This is the beginning of Ecclesiastes 3:1 and the first words of the song: “Turn, Turn, Turn” by Pete Seeger. And while we are still in the season of summer with its heat, long days, and vacations, we are reminded that fall is just around the corner. The days are getting shorter.  School is back in session for some. And Friday night football is back this month. 

One thing that is also back, is preparation for Charge Conference! This is the season in our church where we look back at the past year to see where we have come from and take a look to the future to see where we are going. Mostly, during the year, we are just looking to the present with no thought of past or future, so this time gives us a much-needed perspective.  Of course, we do all this in prayer.

While I love the different seasons of the year and its various activities and holidays that come with them, it is the seasons of the church that I find prodding me along in life…giving me a path to walk on with God. For instance, in this time of year, we call Ordinary Time or the Season after Pentecost, we look at how we can walk closer to God. We take a season to hear the parables of Jesus once again and maybe even discern parables in our own lives: stories of times when we have learned more about God and God’s Kingdom. We will transition to the next big season, Advent, at the end of November. (It also starts a new church year) 

One of the things I have learned to do as a Christian and as a Pastor, is to take time to listen to God’s voice, especially when I look ahead to the new season. I want to be led into each season by God’s hand. In order to do this, I take time away from noise and distractions to a quiet place and pray, walk, and listen with God. I’m amazed at how God answers and directs if only we give time to God. It’s time beyond Sunday morning or 30-minute devotionals. It’s immersion in God’s time. 

As I continue to learn more about Grace UMC and each of you, I’m also reminded that it’s time to prep for Charge Conference. And as I’m doing the Charge Conference prep, I’m reminded that it’s time to set myself apart and be with God to prepare for the next church seasons of Advent and Christmas. I’ll be doing this the last week of August. (Aug 30-Sept 3). 

Why not try your own retreat? Immerse yourself in God’s time for a couple of days or if time is valuable, one day works. Any time is good. Just make sure it is a distraction free time! I find having access to outdoors helps me talk to God. Then I listen. Take a blank notebook with you in case you want to journal or write notes. Take your Bible. And take your watch off!

You’re on God’s time. Allow God to lead you to where God wants you to be. If you like having a set agenda or need ideas to follow to help move the day along, see me! I have ideas. We can come up with something suitable for you that also allows God to lead. 

Yes, everything has its season. God knows the plans and purposes for each of the seasons.  Why not tune in to God’s plans and make them ours as well?!? 

Blessings to each of our youth as they head back to school. May you know that God goes with you. And we all support you! Blessings to Grace UMC as we follow God’s will and plans for us in the seasons ahead. And blessings to each of you as God guides you in the rest of this season and into the new church year ahead. 

 Yours In Christ,

Pastor Mary


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View/Print August-September Calendar



Wednesday, July 20, 2022

July Grace Notes & Calendar


Greetings In the Name of Christ,
 
An odd thing happened to me one day. It had started to rain when I reached Stephens City town limits and turned onto a back street. As I looked around, I noticed that it was raining a block to my left, a block to my right, in back of me and about two blocks in front of me. Yet, where I was stopped, there was not a drop of rain. The storm was all around me.
 
I thought about how sometimes the storms of life are all around us, threatening to come into our lives, yet God protects us and brings us shelter and peace. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have the rains or thunder or lightning of tragedies affect us. Christians are just as affected by storms of life as anyone else. But what is different is that God promises to go through the storms of life with us.  God often tells us: Do Not Fear!!   
 
For that brief time, I felt protected from the rain. I felt at peace and comforted.  I also felt comforted knowing that no matter what storms my family or I go through, God will keep us to Him and help every step of the way.
 
When I went to Alabama this past Spring, I quickly learned about our “safe spot” in the house during bad storms. It is here that you wait out the time until the “All’s Clear” is given after the storms are over. We had to use our Safe Spot twice while storms with the possibility of tornados howled outside. But like in the car, I felt protected and secure knowing whatever happens, God would be there to walk with me and with my family.
 
May you also feel this special peace and comfort in your life this summer and forever. God’s promises for you are real and sometimes mysterious, just like what I experienced that day in Stephens City. Believe in God’s presence and do not fear the storms of life.
 
Have a great and safe summer.
 
Blessings
Pastor Mary


 Print/View Our July Calendar

Grace Notes newsletter, emailed July 20, 2022

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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Video Message: What Jesus Christ Means to Me-June 26, 2022

 Click here to view on YouTube


Scripture: Luke 9:57-62  read by Lisa Knick. 

Sermon: What Jesus Christ Means to Me, by Rev. Clay Knick
Pastor Clay begins at the 12:43 mark. This is Pastor's last Sunday at Grace. He is now retired.




Thursday, June 9, 2022

Grace Notes: June newsletter

Most news and updates are emailed to our email list. Very occasionally a printable version is created since Covid19. That's because there have been fewer office hours and pandemic restrictions. Few printable newsletters are needed--the mailed list includes 12-15 names. Email saves us time and expense--do we have your email address? Your correct email address? (Postage rates go up again in July.) Send us an email at graceumcmiddletown@gmail.com 

Robin Arnold, Admin Assistant works on the June 2022 printable newsletter.



Sunday, June 5, 2022

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Video Message: Advocate-May 22, 2022

 Click Here to view on YouTube


Scripture: John 14:2-29 read by Michelle Cissel

Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

Sermon: Advocate, by Rev. Clay Knick