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Dear Church Family, I find myself heartbroken by the incessant polarization of American culture early in the 21st century. This past week I have heard or read extremely harsh, mean-spirited polarizing comments (from all perspectives) on everything from homosexuality, to Muslims, to Chickfil-A, to political campaigns and politicians, to gun control, to race relations, to the hairstyles of our Olympic athletes. This kind of disrespect and even hatred of others dishonors God and breaks the heart of Jesus Christ. Our Lord taught us to love others as ourselves, and to love and pray even for our enemies. But we don’t seem to be getting that message in 21st century America. I don’t have easy answers to this polarization of American culture. But it can begin with the people of God living out Christ’s love, and by being salt and light in a culture of intolerance and darkness. In an email exchange with a pastor friend last week about this pervasive problem, she wrote that the Church could offer respite from today’s conflicted climate. She said: There are many ideologies, many causes, many political parties, lots of advertisement to suffer through. There is enough conflict in the world, enough hateful discourse, enough backstabbing and pain, and we need a reprieve from that. We need a place to go where God is glorified and the message of Christ is lifted up every week. We need a place to go where true Christian


community exists, where we love one another not because of our ideologies but in spite of them. We love one another because Jesus told us to do so. And so, we lay down the worldly conflicts and take up the message of the cross—to walk in the way that leads to life, not just for us but for all of God’s people. Yes, we know conflict exists, and there are many opinions. But here, in God’s church, we choose to be united in the love of Christ. Well said! May that be true in your life and mine, in the life of BUMC, and in the Church of Jesus Christ our Lord, both in America and beyond. THANK YOU! Last weekend we received the largest offering of the year. Although it did not completely erase the July shortfall, it made a major dent. You are a generous people and I want to thank you for responding so well to this need. Because of your giving (both time and money), remarkable ministry happens at BUMC every day of the year. I deeply appreciate your faithfulness! MISSIONS NOTE: Is there a mission you have been involved with here or elsewhere in the recent past that we are not currently offering? The Missions & Outreach team is compiling a list of mission and outreach programs that will be a part of our new catalogue for the year 2013. We want your input to help move BUMC forward. Send in your family, young adult, and adult mission ideas. We are looking to add local, regional, national, and international opportunities for our Church to reach outside these walls. Please respond as soon as possible (we will be printing our missions catalogue this fall) by contacting Mike Dennison at 324-7222 or mdennison@bumc.net. DISCIPLE BIBLE STUDY: There is still time to register and participate in a DBS event this fall. Disciple Bible Study is a nine-month intensive study of Scripture in community with others. DBS is an opportunity to grow in your faith and to make significant friendships. I hope you will give serious consideration to joining one of our upcoming DBS groups. For more information or to register, click here. Finally, it was good to receive the following nine new members: Brian, Charlotte and Olivia Baker; Jack Dalton; Mallory McKim; Samuel Wyatt;


Edna Holland; and Scott and Linda Harrower. Welcome to our church family. In Christ's Love and Service,

Martin


e-Note from Martin - August 14 Issue