Pastor Dan Meader
Next worship service: 11:00am on Sunday May 9th, 2021

Making Disciples to Transform the World

1/15/17

Category

I want to share with you today some thoughts about our Conference and our church. 

First our Conference. Actually our Conference is having a grave financial crisis. It keeps getting worse and they are taking some drastic measures to alleviate some of the problems. Staff has been cut and hours reduced in some areas. Our Eastern Pa Conference is made up of 6 districts. We are a part of the Northeast district. Beginning July of 2017 the 6 districts will be cut to 5 districts. This will be accomplished by merging the Northwest and Northeast districts thus eliminating one District Superintendent along with staff and housing and benefits. Other measures are also being considered.

Now a big part of the problem for this financial crises is the fact that Conference is not receiving from all of its churches the prescribed Apportionment each church is allotted. It goes without saying that a lot of people hold to the idea of, “What does Conference ever do for us?” And therefore withhold their funding. A lot of churches themselves are struggling financially and find it difficult to pay Conference what is expected.

Now I will admit that sometimes it is difficult to understand why we need to pay so much. Partly we pay it so that we can be called United Methodists and therefore need to support the hierarchy of the United Methodist Church. On the other hand there have been cases of churches or clergy blatantly violating the rules of our Discipline with no action being taken against them. So how do we really know what we believe and who we are if there appears to be freedom to, as the scripture says, “Follow a different doctrine.”

But on the other hand there are some things that our apportionment includes for what we are totally responsible for. For example, our insurance is provided by Conference, we do not have our own. Fire, property loss, claims against us. We are direct billed for these things and it is our obligation to pay them.

Well I do not wish to dwell on Conference problems except to say --- some churches pay their full apportionment, --- some pay only a part, and --- others pay nothing at all. I am pleased that our church pays 100% of our apportionment every year.

I thank you for that.

Now I want to ask you a question. How many of you actually take note that the color of the alter clothes occasionally change? Just recently they changed to white. This is not some miraculous working of God. Someone does that. Also, I’m sure many of you noticed that two weeks ago one of the alter candles went out during worship. That is because someone forgot to check them. OK, that was me. But I changed them last week.

But the point I am making is the fact that a lot of things happen in this church for which there is little thanks. Several weeks ago Lolly and I received a card and gift from you thanking us for our service to God’s church. Well God called me to this service and in serving the church I am serving Him. Again I thank you for that gift and acknowledgement. BUT, it goes so much further than that.     I mentioned the alter clothes were changed recently. That actually happens several times throughout the year. BUT, someone does it. I thank you for that.     Each Sunday morning we take an offering to the God we worship. Again God does not come down and take that offering to Himself and yet each Sunday it disappears. Someone takes that money and counts it and records it by name of the giver. Makes out a statement at the end of the year for the giver and then makes sure that they receive new envelopes for the next year.       But the money moves on. Someone else distributes that money as needed. Deposits it, and then pays our bills. Our lights always work and the church is warm because of this.

I THANK THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THOSE THINGS.

When we come into church on Sunday morning the floors are clean and the carpets swept. Our church is well maintained. When we have a meal or refreshments down stairs we can eat from clean tables and a clean social room.               

I THANK YOU FOR THAT.

This year we celebrated our 150 Anniversary. We opened the Cornerstone and replaced the Cornerstone. A tremendous task involving several people at different times. But it happened.

I THANK YOU FOR THAT.

The Anniversary Celebration itself did not just happen but through leadership and meetings and planning and researching, it all came together and was exceptionally a tremendous success. The Bishop actually commented on our administration for achieving this. For a successful celebration

I GIVE YOU THANKS.

As I think of the past year, I recall that we helped a family in need. One of our own. We picked little tags from a Christmas Tree out in the Narthex, each tag representing a needy child. Together you selected I believe 23 of those tags and purchased a gift that a child might have a slightly better Christmas.  As we do all year, but especially do at Thanksgiving Time with our Harvest Home Table, we collected food items and other useful materials again for those in need. We delivered many boxes of this material to Shepherd House. Along with those items this church also contributed 10 ea $10 gift cards from Giant Supper Market to Shepherd House.

FOR THIS I GIVE YOU THANKS.

We reached out to the community in Christian Fellowship by sharing with them the Maranatha Players.  A message of sharing and understanding and caring as demonstrated by Ebenezer Scroog. Something everyone enjoyed but also reminded us that we all serve the one and same Almighty God.                        

FOR THIS I GIVE YOU THANKS

We open our church in Christian Fellowship to host the Christmas Cantata by the Community Choir and also to share in Lenten Services and a Ministerium Thanksgiving Service.

FOR THIS I GIVE YOU THANKS

We had a lot of people share their talents with us as we enjoyed our Christmas Program. A reminder of how privileged we are in our church to have four person who are able to bring music to our Sunday worship by playing the organ or piano. We also have had through the year a choir and choir director bring beautiful music to our worship and to the glory of God. On occasion we have also heard the beautiful voices of those who brought solo singing to the edification of our church.      

FOR THIS I GIVE YOU THANKS.

I counted 16 people that showed up to help pack, weigh, and decorate cookies for our cookie sale. Not to mention all those who participate in pizza sales and candy making and rummage sales. A lot of time and energy and knowledge and talent go into each of these fund raising programs.

FOR THIS I GIVE YOU THANKS.

Throughout the year there are several committees that meet to tend to the business and administration and the mission programming for our church. A widespread pool of talent each contributing the special talents that God has given to them for the continuation of His Church.

FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS IN THE ADMINISTRATION AND PLANNING OF GOD’S HOLY CHURCH I GIVE YOU THANKS.

We acknowledge our fellowship through the HEAL-A-MEAL program and sending out cards to not only our own but to the community to offer condolences or congratulations or welcoming notes to those who visit.   

FOR THIS I GIVE YOU THANKS

I have not mentioned a single name, oh except for the fact that I was the one who forgot to change the candles. But that is because what we do we do to the glory of God and as we said during the Wesley Covenant Service, “Christ is our reward.” May we continue to serve Him who served us by dying on the cross.