The musician Prince Rogers Nelson (called Prince) died last week. Every generation has an artist(s) who breaks the mold and invites creative imagination, not only about an art form but about their society and humanity. For better or worse, depending on your perspective, Prince was that for a generation. Upon the announcement of his death, stories and tributes from around the world began. In tribute, musical artists played Prince’s most famous songs in concert while thousands and millions sang them at the top of their lungs. This was a time for thousands and millions to mourn Prince’s loss and honor his life. Artists and concert goers alike talked of the powerful experience of grieving loss in a gathered community. Some who wrote about it went so far as to call the experience sacred.
Those sacred moments were a taste of exactly what God had in mind. Just after creation in the beginning of God’s story in the Bible and a short lineage of the first family, the focus turns toward God’s people, the Israelites. They have a purpose; it is to be a light to the nations. They are to do life together, in all its joy and grief, as they live out that purpose. There is strength in numbers, (Ecclesiastes 4:12). In fact, the scriptural language of direction, instruction and care is rarely singular but rather plural; all is directed toward the community.
As you trace the unfolding of God’s story from the disciples through the early churches and through today, the community is still the vehicle through which God does and intends to shape the world. Communities of faith would devote themselves to continuing to meet together, to study God’s teachings, to worship, to eat meals in different homes, and to share themselves and what they had with any in need, (Acts 2:42-47). Through the varied and specific gifts of each member, God reveals who He is. Through the community God shares hope and healing with larger and larger areas of the globe, (1 Corinthians 12). Celebrating, grieving, learning, worshipping, serving, and yes, sometimes disagreeing together, communities continue to gather because they are God’s chosen vehicles for sacred life-changing, world-changing experiences.
So this is why. This is why we come to worship each and every week. It’s important. We come to learn of God and share in the powerful and sacred experiences that come through community. This is why we stay in community and work through hard things when we disagree. This is why we are devoted to sharing our gifts and resources with all who have need. Finally, this is why we welcome each and every person… in fact, we go out to meet them. They hold gifts that God will utilize to empower the work of the community. For through community God has, God is, and God will continue to transform us and the community around us. See you good folks as we gather together in community.
We have begun our annual spring financial campaign. This year it is called Springing Forward Together. You are invited to help continue the momentum of Old Bethel’s ministry in reaching hearts with the hope of Christ by offering an extra financial gift towards the work of God through this church.
How can you help? Well, if 345 people (fewer than worship each week) saved an additional $1.35 each day for just 60 days (approximately $82) and put that in the offering, we would reach our goal!
Here’s a little more information. Each year since 2011, this church has carefully budgeted with financial trends and traditions in mind. As the year unfolds, the church community seeks to fill financial gaps which arise for a variety of reasons, such as building/mechanical costs, incomplete pledges, and givers passing away.
The financial leaders of this church continue to work towards decreasing these gaps in these ways:
1) Cutting the budget each year as trends emerge
2) Insuring responsible spending
3) Increasing the numbers of ways offerings can be made so that it is easy
4) Communicating financial information so pledges and spending can be tracked
5) Identifying and engaging alternative forms of income
If you have any questions, you are invited to contact Stewardship Chair Mike Tucker (email@example.com or 317-894-3672) or Business Administrator Deborah Hartman (firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-359-9651).
As God continues to move and grow ministries, let us all take part in what God is up to by Springing Forward Together!
If you are interested in becoming a part of the Old Bethel Church family or would like to take the next step in your spiritual journey, come to our next Starting Point sessions, Sundays May 15 and 22, 12:30-2:30pm. Learn about the vision and values of the Old Bethel faith community and what is unique about United Methodists. A light lunch will be served. Childcare will be available but only if requested in advance. RSVP by May 12 to email@example.com or by calling the church office at 317-359-9651.
Hannah Foust, 14-year-old World Changer and Missionary is the guest speaker at the Annual United Methodist Women’s Family Night Pitch-in Thursday, May 5 at 6:30pm. She will speak on her call to help the people of Burkina Faso, Africa. Bring a casserole, side-dish, salad, or dessert which serves at least eight. Drink and tableware will be provided.
Vacation Bible School is July 11-15 with dinner served 5:15-5:45pm and VBS programs from 6-8:00pm. This summer’s theme is “Cave Quest: Following Jesus the Light of the World.” Many servant volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks as we prepare to welcome 100+ children and their families. To sign up to serve or to ask questions, contact Nancy Bellinger (firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-375-0711).
It is time to clean your closets, garage, attic, and basement. Bring your unwanted but still useful items to the UMW Garage Sale. Donations may be dropped off in Fellowship Hall May 9 and 10, 8am-6pm and May 11, 9am-noon. Then come back and shop for that hidden treasure May 12, 8am-6pm and May 13, 8am-1pm. Proceeds benefit local, national and global mission projects.
Serving Christ Together,