UNION UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 200 BROOKLINE BLVD. HAVERTOWN, PA 19083 610-‐789-‐1700 Fax – 610-‐789-‐0136 www.unionhavertown.org
AUGUST 2013 FROM THE PASTOR: It has been a rewarding summer – a wonderful Vacation Bible School last month, summer worship and Bible studies, the Blessing of the Animals, combined worship with other Christ followers on Brookline Blvd, a Youth Beach Trip, and now a week of service and blessing as we host our guests through the Interfaith Hospitality Network. A total of ten persons (three families) are among us and we keep each one in our prayers. The series on Citizens of the Kingdom 2013 will conclude in August. The themes of the messages have been quite varied, but all have asked the question, “What does it mean to be a citizen in the Kingdom of God today?” As we’ve noted, it’s all about discipleship – learning, growing, serving….all for the glory of God. But, what do we mean by the Kingdom of God? What did Jesus mean by the phrase ‘Kingdom of God’ or, as Matthew refers to it, ‘Kingdom of Heaven’? Well, Jesus was speaking to the hopes and expectations of Israel. Israel had been exiled as a sign of judgment for her iniquity. Only a remnant returned from that exile and the prophets had made it clear that the true return would come through the renewal of the heart and the forgiveness of sins. N.T. Wright says that “When Jesus says ‘your sins are forgiven’ and brings sinners into fellowship, it is another way of saying ‘you have returned from exile.’ When Jesus summoned people to repentance and offered forgiveness of sins, He was inaugurating the kingdom of God.” This is a gift of God. It is not imposed, but offered by the grace of God and the Kingdom is not simply God’s own activity but His activity worked out through God’s people. That is why our recognition of ourselves as citizens of the Kingdom is so vitally important. And so I invite you, dear family of faith, as the days of summer will soon give way to the bright, cooler days of fall, to be renewed in your faith. Jesus told us not to worry but to seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. (See Matthew 6:25-33) If we each continue to ask our Lord each day, “How can I live today as a faithful citizen of your Kingdom?” two things will happen. God will be glorified and we and God’s world will be blessed. That seems to me to be a good plan. Let’s continue the journey together.
AUGUST WORSHIP Saturday, August 3: 5:00 p.m. - Evening Praise Sunday, August 4: Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost 10:00 a.m. – Worship Service - Luke 12:13-21 “Citizens of the Kingdom are Rich Toward God”
Saturday, August 10: NO EVENING PRAISE THIS WEEK ONLY! Sunday, August 11: Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost 10:00 a.m. – Worship Service - Barbara Drake, preaching “Faithful Followers of Jesus” Saturday, August 17: 5:00 p.m. - Evening Praise Sunday, July 18: Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 10:00 a.m. – Worship Service – Luke 12:54-56 “Citizens of the Kingdom Have Eyes to See”
Saturday, August 24: 5:00 p.m. - Evening Praise – Jim McDonough, preaching Sunday, July 25: Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost 10:00 a.m. – Worship Service – Barbara Drake, preaching “Responding to God’s Call” Saturday, August 31: 5:00 p.m. – Evening Praise Sunday, September 1: 9:30 a.m. – Combined Worship at St. Faith Episcopal Church
RETURN TO REGULAR HOURS On Sunday, September 8, Sunday School will return at 9:45 a.m. and traditional worship beings at 11:00 a.m. We are thankful for new beginnings! Please join us.
Discussion on Reconciling Movement On June 30, a group of 20 persons shared food and fellowship after worship while discussing how Union should respond to the Leadership Team’s statement that specifically welcomes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered persons to our church. In 1972 UM General Conference voted to add into the Book of Discipline that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. The Reconciling Ministries Network, a movement of United Methodists who work to create safe, welcoming spaces in our Church for the LGBT community, as led efforts to remove those words. Though unsuccessful to date, each vote has been closer than previous ones. To assist us in our discussion, Bunnie Bryant and Pastor Mary Jane handed out some documents. One, highlighted by Jim McDonough, expressed Adam Hamilton’s journey to new thinking. This UM pastor and author of “When Christians Get It Wrong” wrote: “Homosexuality is one of the most divisive issues within churches and across our country today. The issue has become, for some, a litmus test on fidelity to God and the scriptures. The divide is not just between the progressives and conservatives. It is also a generational divide, with younger Christians generally seeing this issue differently than older Christians. At the center of the divide over homosexuality today is the Bible. Conservatives and progressives read from the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other (as Abraham Lincoln said regarding the conflict over slavery). There are a handful of scriptures that speak of same-sex intimacy as unacceptable to God. Conservatives see these as reflecting God’s timeless will for human relationships. Progressives look at these same scriptures in much the same way that progressives in the 19th century looked at the Bible’s teaching on slavery.” Pastor Mary Jane shared her understanding of what it means to be open and welcoming of all people, and Bunnie shared what it has meant to her to be a part of Union for 60+ years. She then expressed her thanks that she and Mary have been welcomed by the church. Another paper asked, “What does the Bible say?” Genesis 19 (Sodom & Gomorrah) is less about homosexual behavior than lack of hospitality and uncharitable treatment of strangers. Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 refers to cultic homosexual practices in pagan temples. Romans 1:2627 condemns heterosexuals who depart from Christianity, embrace paganism, and act against nature by engaging in homosexual acts. I Corinthians 6:9-10 refers specifically to men who sexually abuse boys to show power over them. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. Biblical writers did not fully understand sexuality, including sexual orientation, when they described these condemned behaviors. In fact, the word “homosexuality” was not inserted into any Bible translations until the mid- 20th century when bias against gay persons began to grow in society. We briefly looked at the Kinsey Scale of Sexuality which identifies 8 types of sexuality ranging from exclusively heterosexual, through predominantly or equally heterosexual or homosexual to exclusively homosexual, and then to non-sexual. The number of people who openly claim a homosexual orientation has remained between 7 & 10% across cultures and throughout history. The reconciling process is a time of education and discussion when a congregation looks at how Jesus calls us to reach out to everyone in the community. Tony Kowalski reminded us of our Mission Statement: Developing followers of Jesus who know, love, and serve God and the community. To identify as a reconciling congregation requires the church to make a public statement that welcomes all sexual orientations and gender identities. Our group was of the consensus that Union should become a reconciling congregation. Pastor Mary Jane ended our gathering with prayer. Please phone or e-mail Pastor Mary Jane if you have questions or comments.
YOUTH AND FAMILY MINISTRY NEWS AUGSUT 2013 GREAT NEWS, BUT….. We are so thankful that our Youth and Family Ministries Coordinator, Timothy Wotring, has announced that he is enrolled in Seminary this fall at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Timothy has been with us since November, a blessing to our youth and to us all here at Union UMC! We are glad that God’s call to Timothy has been experienced while serving among us, but we are, of course, sad that Timothy will not be able to continue on as our Youth and Family Coordinator. (This ministry is vital to the fulfillment of our mission and will continue on with programming for youth and families.) We keep Timothy in our prayers as he moves on to seminary and to continued ministry. Please plan to stay for After-Church Fellowship on Saturday, August 3 as well as Sunday, August 4 to greet Timothy on his last weekend with us. YOUTH GROUP NEWS: Six of our young people had a great time at the shore July 24-25. Thank you so much to Bev and Joe Schmitt for hosting us once again! There will be a Youth Group Meeting again on Wednesday, August 14 at 7:00 p.m. and we may be able to assist with restocking the shelves at St. James Food Cupboard following the $800. Donation, which was given for the Food Cupboard Ministry by our 2013 Vacation Bible School and Friends. What a blessing and what a wonderful message our children received about helping one another, just as Jesus taught us to do! Children’s Ministries will resume in September and Sunday School classes will begin again on September 8. Everyone, please also place on your calendar our CHURCH PICNIC which will be held the following Sunday, September 15, following worship. **************************************************
ROOF FUND UPDATE: We are so pleased to announce that approximately $25,000 of the $50,000 needed to replace the roof over our education wing has been received! We are so thankful for your faithful giving! This very necessary repair is a part of the ongoing ministry we share and your response has been wonderful. We are, however, only halfway there. Our Roof Campaign continues. Please continue to offer your prayers and financial support so that the new roof may become a reality! Thank you so much.
STATEMENT OF INCLUSIVITY: At its meeting in April, our Leadership Team prayerfully considered that it is our calling and blessing, as the Leaders of our Church, to extend a welcome to all persons, as our Lord has modeled for us, with a call to follow. Unfortunately, many persons see the church as exclusive, with closed doors, and unwelcoming. May this never be the case at Union. Therefore, the following statement was adopted by our Leadership Team: ‘The Leadership Team of Union UMC affirms Jesus’ example and teaching to love God and love others as you love yourself. Therefore, we celebrate our diversity and recognize the sacred worth and dignity of all persons regardless of race, age, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status, family configuration, and difference in ability.”
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL 2013 Forty children from church and community attended our Community VBS this year and what a great week of worship, learning, and fun we had! The theme was “Everywhere Fun Fair” and we celebrated that God’s love is spread throughout this wide world and we are part of God’s plan for sharing God’s blessings. Friendship phrases for each day were: Neighbors are… Friendly Giving Bold Forgiving and Welcoming! The children put that concept into action with a very generous mission offering that (with the help of family and friends) grew to $800 to buy food for the hungry in our community. We offer sincere thanks and appreciation to the following folks from Union who guided, led, and witnessed in many ways throughout the week: Jimmy Brodie Barbara Drake Martie Drew Cindy DiLullo Eileen Walsh Mary Hankins Sandy Loflin Joyce Kowalski Laura Radke Marcia Wiker
Bob Flanagan AshleyLynn LaDue Cassie Flanagan Jim Drew Bev Kester Lynn Rudisill Bunnie Bryant Donna LaDue-Flannagan Edythe Flanagan Otis Gayle
BLOOD DRIVE AT UNION The Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at Union on Wednesday, September 26 from 1:30 – 6:30 p.m. To make things run more smoothly, the Red Cross would like everyone to make appointments. Please call Edythe Flanagan 610-449-7736 to make your appointment if you can give blood. Thank you to all who will give the gift of life.
MESSENGER SPONSOR We thank Anita Radke for sponsoring the August Messenger in memory of Dr. George Hewitt, whose birthday was July 12th.
PLEASE PRAY FOR: Grace Brogan Sue Owen Betty Parsons Anita Radke Don Consul Matthew LaDue George Keller Joy Bennett Daniel LaDue Stephanie Brunelli Jim Brodie Family Barbara Gilmore Family Doris DuVal Family
Matthew Shaw Janet Tyler Yuki Ishida Edythe Flanagan Caroline Schaible Herman Kirby Mary Hankins Owen Kirby Fred Shappell Lois Flounders
MEETINGS Monday, August 5 (7:00 p.m.) Stewardship Task Force
STAFF PASTOR. . . . . . . . . . . . .MARY JANE KIRBY MINISTER OF MUSIC . . . . .YUKIKO ISHIDA ORGANIST . . . . . . . . . . .JOSE MELENDEZ YOUTH & FAM. MINISTRIES. . . . . TIMOTHY WOTRING TREASURER. . . . .. . . . . . . . TOM McALPIN CHURCH SECRETARY . . .CYNTHIA L. KLINE MESSENGER EDITOR . . . .BARBARA DRAKE
Please consider being a sponsor for the Messenger. Sponsors cover the expenses related to printing and mailing the Messenger ($100), so that we can share church news with visitors, friends and neighbors, as well as church members. If you would like to sponsor a future edition, contact Barbara Drake or the church office.
THANK YOU We thank Mr. and Mrs. Dan/Katie Doyle for the contribution made to Union in memory of Doris Elanjian. Katie is the granddaughter of Paul and Doris Elanjian. We congratulate them on their wedding which took place on May 26, 2013. We keep the Barbara Gilmore Family in prayer in their time of sorrow. Barbara went home to be with her Lord on July 13. Also, please keep Jim Brodie Family in prayer. Jim went home to be with his Lord on July 26. We praise God for our eternal connection in Jesus Christ. We have also just heard that Doris DuVal, former longtime member of Union, has gone home to be with the Lord on July 22. We keep her family, Susan Whipple and family, in prayer.
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN September 17 Luncheon We begin a new season by inviting the women of Drexel Hill plus the women of our Mission ConneXion churches to join us for lunch and a program called “Bright Lights”. The focus of the presentation is the many ways that United Methodist Women are bright lights in our world. It will include the displays that were used at Mission u. Our Mission ConneXion churches are Hope, Ardmore, St. Luke’s in Bryn Mawr, Bala Cynwyd, Radnor, and Plumbline. Union women will be asked to bring a dish for the lunch. Talk to Barb Drake about what you will bring, so we can have a balanced, healthy meal. Ingathering It’s time to start gathering new clothing for our UMW Central District Ingathering, which will be held in conjunction with the District Annual meeting. It will be held on Saturday, September 28 from 9 am to noon at Mt. Zion UMC, 1530 N. 11th St. Philadelphia. The theme of the day is “Putting Your Faith Into Action.” Please give your gifts of clothing or money to Joyce Gilbert. Let Barbara Drake know if you would like to go with her. We would like to display the contributed clothing in church on September 22. It can be clothes for children or adults, and can include underwear and socks. The clothing will go to United Methodist Neighborhood Services for their Christmas shop.
CHANGE IN WORSHIP SCHEDULE FOR AUGUST 10 Our Saturday Evening Praise service at 5 p.m. each Saturday evening continues throughout the summer and into the fall. However, there will be a hiatus from the service on August 10 only. (There will, of course, be a Sunday service on Aug. 11 at 10 a.m.) Please note that there is no Evening Praise service on Aug. 10.
BLESSINGS ON YOUR BIRTHDAY Happy Birthday to the following people with August birthdays: AUGUST Cyndi Kline Joyce Shappell Chris DiLullo Mary Hankins Edith McDonough Mark Brogan Edward Owen, III Jeffrey Didlake Jack Gilbert Lauren Kowalski Kevin McDonough Matt Kirby
08/02 08/04 08/05 08/12 08/12 08/15 08/16 08/16 08/21 08/29 08/29 08/30
HAVERFORD MUSIC FESTIVAL The Annual Haverford Music Festival will be held on Saturday, September 7, 2013 from noon until 9:30 p.m at Eagle and Darby Roads. Four stages will feature local and regional musicians performing Jazz, Rock, Pop, Children’s, Folk, Classical, Blues, Country, and other music. There will be food booths, vendors, a giant slide for the kids, and more. Admission is free.
MISSIONS and OUTREACH Interfaith Hospitality Network We are hosting our IHN guests from July 28 to August 4. Two families with six children are participating and a third family is expected to start mid-week.
Mission u Over 100 people from churches in Eastern PA, aged 11-95, participated in the mission education event sponsored by United Methodist Women from July 19-21. The adults had a choice of 3 courses: The Roma of Europe, Poverty, and God’s Call to Live Sacramentally and Walk Justly. The children and youth learned about people who migrate. Pastor Mary Jane led the children’s study with help from Barbara Drake. It was a great experience, which we encourage you to think about attending next year, when it will be held July 25-27 at the Inn at Reading. Course choices will be “How is it with your soul?”, “The Roma of Europe”, and “The Church and People with Disabilities.” Bishop Johnson will be one of the study leaders for the disabilities course, and she was an author of the study book. Tanzania The Eastern PA Conference and the New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church are in relationship with the United Methodists of Tanzania. Missionaries to Tanzania from the Congo attended our Annual Conference in 2012. A church in Nutley, NJ sent a mission team to Tanzania this summer to learn about the needs. They committed to raising $50,000 to buy land and build a conference center which will include a school. They currently are providing education for children up to age 5, but they have no facility for older children. All of the children attending are orphans, whose parents died of AIDS and other diseases. If you would like to help, you can make a contribution labeled Tanzania.
COMING IN SEPTEMBER! The Wednesday morning Bible Study group will resume their 10 a.m. Studies on Wednesday, September 4. We last studied the Minor Prophets, all twelve of them! It was a rewarding study. Now we want to see the ongoing fulfillment of God’s plan through the early church. We begin with Galatians on September 4. You are most welcome to join us and invite a friend!
EVENING STUDY An evening study, named “Fearless” is being held on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. We will be meeting 3 more Tuesdays through the second week of August. Please join us!
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 FOLLOWING THE WORSHIP SERVICE