Thanks to everyone who shared with me about the blessings they received this past weekend through our commemoration of First UMC’s history with Sunday school—especially how much you enjoyed the fellowship time with brunch in McDowell Hall. The excitement and energy were inspiring to so many of us, and we are grateful to those who planned and implemented this exciting event. The joy we shared in being together renewed our sense of community after spending a good bit of the last two years apart. We are so blessed to be a part of such a loving and fun congregation. Again, thanks to the Bicentennial Committee for a great job!
During the worship services, I challenged all our adult Sunday school classes to consider adding three new missions this year—one local, one national, and one international. I know our classes already provide substantial support to several ministries, but it’s always good to expand our impact. In addition to providing financial support to these three new ministries, I am also encouraging each class to pick one of the new mission projects to provide hands-on ministry support. Although we might think of only the local missions to support in this way, I want to challenge us further to consider a mission trip either nationally or internationally. Not only does our presence offer extra encouragement to the missions we help fund, but it also catalyzes our spiritual growth too.
The Kentucky Annual Conference of the UMC has asked teams to help rebuild after the December 2021 tornadoes. A lot has happened in the world since then that has captured our attention; however, we can’t forget the importance of addressing the needs of long-term recovery in areas affected by storms. The Volunteers in Missions organization (part of our Southeastern Jurisdiction of the UMC) will be working in Kentucky for years to come. Beginning in April, they will offer specific projects for volunteer groups to sign up to work on as a Volunteer in Missions Team. I would love for our church to provide several teams this year. Many of you remember how valuable it was in 2011 when the storms wreaked havoc on Northeast Alabama for those Volunteers in Missions teams, including teams we sent, to provide relief and recovery.
One of the distinctive qualities that Disciple Bible Study taught its participants that is valuable for our Sunday School classes is that discipleship without service is not true discipleship. Faith always leads to action. If your Sunday school class is interested in serving as a Volunteers in Missions team, have your class leader reach out to me and we can discuss the details. If you are interested in serving as an individual volunteer or with others from our church, reach out to me as well.
I hope to see everyone on Sunday as we continue our Faces of Jesus Sermon Series!