Dear Church Family, After no pastoral e-note the week of Christmas, and an extremely brief one last week, I'm playing catch-up! This week's e-note deals with the following six topics: • New Sermon Series • Step Up! 2012 • Read through the New Testament this Year • The Methodist Way • New Prayer Ministry • Financial Update New Sermon Series: Beginning this weekend, January 14-15th, I will begin a four-week sermon series from the book of Ecclesiastes called, "The Secrets of a Contented Life." We'll explore several paths that do and don't lead to contentment. This would be an excellent time to invite your friends to BUMC. Tomorrow you will receive an email that you can forward to people, along with an invitation to attend our church. Many people are receptive to visiting a church, especially at the beginning of a new year. They just need an invitation. Step Up! 2012: Throughout 2012, our church will focus on the following five core spiritual practices: • WORSHIP God daily and weekly • CONNECT to a group for Christian growth and support • SERVE in the church and/or community • INVITE and welcome others • GIVE generously to God's work
For immediate ways to live out these five practices, click here. To read a list of all twenty of our 2012 "Step Up" goals, click here. Read through the New Testament this Year: One of our "Step Up!" goals is for the entire congregation to read through the New Testament in 2012. Positive spiritual synergy will occur as we all read the same passages of Scripture throughout the year. Daily readings are scheduled for Monday through Friday. If you miss any, you can catch up over the weekends. We are using a program called "Project 3:45." It's called "3:45" because it only takes an average of 3 minutes and 45 seconds to read the daily text. Of course, we also hope you will reflect on the passage, as well as spend some time in prayer. I hope all of you will join me in this important time of daily worship. The reading program will launch next Monday, January 16th. For more information, including a listing of the daily New Testament readings, click here. We'll have additional information about this program in the bulletin this weekend. The Methodist Way: Beginning January 18th, I will be teaching a short-term class on United Methodism on Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 7:30. We'll meet in room A292. During the five-week study, we'll explore United Methodist history, theology, and organization. I'll also share my story of becoming a United Methodist. I would love for you to join me for this class, which is part of our "Step Up!" emphasis on connecting to groups. For several other group-life opportunities that are beginning in January, please click here. New Prayer Ministry: In keeping with the "Step Up!" theme of worshipping God daily and weekly, a group of lay people in our church have launched a new prayer ministry. In fact, it started this morning. On Tuesday mornings, from 6:30-7:00, this group gathers in the sanctuary for a brief time of worship, including prayer and scripture readings. This is a good opportunity for spiritual growth and Christian fellowship. For security purposes, the doors in front of the sanctuary are still locked at 6:30 in the morning, so please enter through the large side entrance of the church. For more information, please contact Sheryl Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 776-4247.
Financial Update: In next week's e-note, I will give you an overview of our year-end giving and expenses. Those totals are still being tallied. This week I would like to bring you up to date on our pledge drive for 2012. So far we have received 1,063 pledges totaling 4.6 million dollars. Last year on this same date we had 1,037 pledges totaling 4.3 million dollars. Thankfully, we are slightly ahead of this time last year, both in pledges and the amount pledged. However, last year's pledge drive was the weakest in many years, so it's not a very good benchmark. To continue to fund our current ministries, we still need the additional 150 to 200 final pledges that usually come in during January. If you have not yet made your 2012 pledge, it would be incredibly helpful to do so this week, so the Finance Committee can finalize the budget. To make your pledge online, click here. To make your pledge by telephone please call Lisa Gray, Director of Finance at 324-8201 or Joyce Brown, Financial Secretary at 324-7246. Finally, it was good to receive David, Kristen, Price, Cole and William Kovack, and Drew, Elizabeth, Ann Reeves and Penn Doughty as new members. Welcome to our church family. I'm excited about beginning a new year at BUMC. I hope to see you this weekend as we begin our new series, "The Secrets of a Contented Life." It's a great joy to be your pastor.. In Christ's Love and Service, Martin