In the faith community of Old Bethel I have recently heard and seen:
-An explanation of how it could only have been the Spirit that awoke a member too early, for no reason.., and because they were up, the bullets that came through their walls didn’t hit them.
-Women of two different races and ages sit on either side of a little girl who is not their own during worship to love on her and pray with her throughout worship.
-Youth walking through the church building to different sites that represent Bible stories where the Trinity is evident; when they got there, different church members met them to read scripture.
-A new family ministry intern from University of Indianapolis was commissioned and prayed for... and hands of blessing were extended to her...especially by some of our eldest members
-Tears were seen in and out of worship as folks came to “altaring” places with God... one stopped to describe their experience with God’s forgiveness on the Sunday morning we discussed the altar.
-University of Indianapolis students played beautiful music to God on stringed instruments.
-A church member warmly welcomed a visitor who traveled in a wheel chair and helped the visitor find just the right spot to worship.
-A member helped serve communion for the first time and noted how powerful and humbling it is to serve the sacred meal. They noticed something holy going on.
-One church member found their schedule changed and so came to help at a church event, even though not signed up. Another church member showed up hours early just to help set up. One adult and her two kids came and served for hours.
-At least 660 neighbors, 81 servants volunteers, three community partners and more than 25,000 pieces of candy filled the north parking lot for our first Trunk-or-Treat. Heard from church members, “How wonderful to meet so many neighbors. I hope this is an annual event!”
-Four separate members/attenders introducing me to folks they’ve invited to church.
-Twenty three new persons/families have already committed to the spiritual practice of giving for 2018.
- Two more persons are preparing to join Old Bethel in covenant membership.
These are only a few of the sacred and holy moments within the last fifteen days. These are works of the Spirit within God’s children and God’s community. There is never a moment God is not at work in our midst. When we notice God’s work, point to God’s work, and name God’s work, not only is faith built and revived in us, but we become witnesses of God’s grace to others. Our witness to others of God’s faithful work among us, sow seeds for faith and hope which may grow and multiply. Sharing a “God story” is contagious in the most beautiful way. Will you make it a practice to look for God’s work in your midst, point to it and name it? Will you name it in your small groups, among your family members, friends and co-workers? Let us pray “God give us ears to hear and eyes to see,” the work of His hand! (Matthew 13:16)
The Commission on a Way Forward: The Global United Methodist Church
The Commission on a Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church. http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/commission-on-a-way-forward
Right now, the Commission is meeting. They seek to make an interim report to the Council of Bishops at the conclusion of the meeting. The interim report will apparently include an idea sketch for the Council’s consideration. As the months unfold, the Council will have to provide a final proposal by summer of 2019. You are invited to join the Commission in prayer for the Council of Bishops in addition to the special Commission.
As a church, we have been preparing for deeper conversation for some time. We’ve studied grace, relationships, listening, and reflected upon our identity and legacy as United Methodists through studies and sermon series. These topics were intentional for taking steps forward as a healthy church serving our mission field. Most of these topics were also selected in preparation for the deeper conversations around this crossroads in United Methodism which all churches are or will be having. In February of 2018, we as a church will be discussing human sexuality in relationship to the theology and polity of the United Methodist church. More information to come. We will be holding our topic specific discussion, exactly one year prior to the special General Conference where decisions will be made, (February 23-26, 2018).
We are exploring different forms of prayer on Wednesday nights at 6:15. We have three teams praying for schools/teachers/students and their families, as well as the broader Indy East Side community and the officers who serve them. Our prayer team continues to pray for all prayer requests submitted in worship. One Sunday school class is praying for persecuted Christians, as the National Day to do just that is November 5th. Prayer is important, let us continue to pray!
UMW HOLIDAY BAZAAR: Jump start your holiday shopping Saturday, November 4, 9am-3pm, Choose from an array of hand-crafted items and gourmet foods. Guest vendors will offer additional items. The Old Bethel Preschool will kick-off their annual Scholastic Book Fair. A light breakfast and lunch will be offered for purchase as well.
ALL SAINTS DAY: Sunday, November 5, at both worship services we will take time to remember and honor loved ones who have passed away in the last year.
FAMILY ADVENT EVENT: Sunday, November 19, 5-7pm. Enjoy a FREE meal and learn a tradition which keeps Christ at the center of Christmas. Each family will engage in creating an Advent “wreath” and take home a devotion booklet.
Serving Christ Together,