The United Methodist Church of Enfield
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.
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June 2017
 
 

June has always struck me as a month about change. The summer season settles in, and we realize that the “hazy, hot and humid” days will be the norm. Schools will soon be out, and the homework and bedtime battles will be over (for a while). College graduations have taken place and high school graduations will soon be here. These graduations mark a change for students from high school to college.

For some people, years of work and accomplishments will lead to retirement and new possibilities. Many pastor families will be packing up and moving to the new appointments--leaving the old home and friends for the new ones waiting for them. When Candy and I lived in Maine it seemed that winter lasted for nine months so when summer arrived we treated each summer day as special and we tried to enjoy each and every warm day. We learned to treasure each day and not take them for granted.

When I was in the Air Force in Northern Maine, I learned that change was something to be welcomed and I knew that it was important to become involved in the local community, making friends, both in the church and community as quickly and deeply as possible. It seems to me, that when we realize that change is going to occur the better off we will be when we try to embrace and be open for it. The amazing thing I have discovered is that when I embrace change, that is when it seems growth in all aspects of my life occur.

Change is a part of life. Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz said, “In this world you're either growing or you're dying so get in motion and grow.” Growing is change. It is true in our bodies—it is true in the Body of Christ. Now, there are lots of ways that growth occurs. For many years in the church it has been about the “ABC’s” of church growth: Attendance—Building—Cash. But, if the mission of the church is to “make disciples of Jesus Christ”, to “equip the saints”, “to care for the poor”, then the ABC’s of being the church are more than this.  I believe that as followers of Christ, growth is more than numbers, people in the pews, brick and mortar.  I wonder what would happen if, for everything we do, we asked the question: “We will_____, so that____.   Might that help us to focus on how UMCE can find ways to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?

UMCE has been a living, breathing part of the Body of Christ for over 175 years. Like most small churches, one of the challenges that we face involves our stance towards change. The choice for us, as a church family, is how we choose to live with change. The question for us is will we accept it or will we hunker down, dig our heels in, draw a line in the sand, or do we participate in conversation and work together to make everything we do an excellent offering to God? In the coming months, as we work together to create something new, will we listen to each other with an open mind, and speak with an open heart,  or will we figure “the way we have (always) done it (which is known as the 7 last words of a church) is the ONLY way. The choice is ours! My prayer is that we will be open to the movement of God’s creative Holy Spirit that is in our midst.

Love,
Pastor John
 
 
Turn! Turn! Turn!
The Byrds
 
To everything
Turn, turn, turn
There is a season
Turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under Heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To everything
Turn, turn, turn
There is a season
Turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under Heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together
To everything
Turn, turn, turn
There is a season
Turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under Heaven
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracings
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late 
 
Songwriters: GEORGE ABER ADAPTATION AND, PETE SEEGER, WORDS FROM THE BOOK OF © T.R.O. INC.