Throughout the season of Advent, we read and sing the words “Prepare the Way” as we make room to welcome the Christ child into our lives once again. We prepare our city streets and buildings. We prepare our homes and workspaces. But sometimes Advent can slip away from us before we can prepare our hearts. In Prepare The Way, a 4-week study and daily prayer book, Pamela Hawkins invites us to prepare our hearts through guided prayer, readings from Isaiah and Matthew, as well as brief reflections on four scriptural themes: Peace, Justice, Fearlessness, and Faithfulness.
We will be offering this 4-week study at the church during the season of Advent on the following days/times:
· Sunday evenings at 5:00, starting November 25th, led by Andrea Chambers
· Tuesday mornings at 10:00, starting November 27th, led by Pastor Toni Ruth
· Thursday evenings at 7:30, starting November 29th, led by Pastor Wes
If you are unable to join us for a group study, Prepare The Way also includes daily devotions and prayers that you can do on your own. Participants are asked to purchase their copy of Prepare The Way before the first session.
You can sign up for one of the classes listed above by contacting the church office or emailing Pastor Wes (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Pastor Wes.
Pictured left to right: Richard Smith, Kris Lomonaco, John Lomonaco, Roger Spittle, Pam Prentice, Dan Whipple, Shirley Luce, & Sandra Bilbro
I chose to become involved in Stephen Ministry because of my own life experience. When we were told that our 1st child had a nonsurvivable birth defect, the disbelief, pain, and feelings of isolation were overwhelming. Luckily, we were urged to join a support group that allowed me to share openly and truthfully about things that most people do not want to hear. Once others have helped you reach the other side of such dark places, you know God would not want you to sit silently while others suffer. Sometimes your most effective ministry comes out of your own deepest hurts.
– Kris Lomonaco
Stephen Ministry is a one on one opportunity to share the love express that love connecting with my “neighbor”. When someone else is experiencing a difficult time, it allows me to let that person know how much they are valued by others, their church and Christ! In response to what Christ has given me…..Stephen Ministry!
– Roger Spittle
Stephen Ministry is aprovide high-quality, Jesus centered, confidential support for people who are hurting and need someone to talk to. Having had a few friends in other churches who became Stephen Ministers, I knew this was an opportunity to serve the Lord by helping others. In 1998 I agreed to become a Stephen Minister. The commitment I made was for 1 year. That commitment turned into 12 years of offering care to people who needed a shoulder to lean on while they sorted out their troubles. I was hooked. Now after a few years sabbatical, I am thrilled to be offered the same opportunity once again. I loved watching my care receivers become stronger and readier to take on the world. We laughed, prayed, cried and hugged as we grew to love each other and what God was doing in our lives.
I am excited to be able to serve the Lord and some of His people in this capacity, once again. We have all needed to talk with someone at one time or another, when our life has become troubled. Many of us don’t ask for help. We “suffer” in silence or burden our close family and friends. Stephen Ministry offers the chance to talk to someone without judgement, and in strict confidence. Your caring Stephen Minister will not tell you what to do or not do. They will not try to fix what is wrong or broken. What they will do instead, is listen and reflect back what they’ve heard. They will walk with you as you figure what to do next in your life. They will help you feel the presence of God when they pray for and with you.
I believe my gift is serving and helping others. I feel better when I can do something to help someone else. Jesus said in Matthew 45:25 “Whatever you do for the least of these you do for me.” By ‘least of these’ I see Jesus referring to His followers. Jesus also said to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What better way to do that, than to serve as a Stephen Minister. If you need some loving care, because you see your world a little off balance, or crazy, don’t hesitate to ask for a Stephen Minister. You do not need to walk a troubled path alone.
– Pam Prentice
I have been involved with Stephen Ministry before and am very pleased to see HUMC resurrecting this ministry. People need people to connect with. Especially people who are struggling. The struggle might be: mourning the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce, family issues or dealing with an illness. The list of struggles people deal with is endless. Having someone who will listen in strict confidence, showing care for them and their struggle, brings healing. Having someone to pray with, when they can’t find the words, brings healing. Stephen Ministry is a way to wrap God’s arms around someone.
I choose to become involved in Stephen Ministry for that very purpose. To show God’s love to people, especially when they are having difficulty seeing His love. Stephen Ministry doesn’t solve problems, but it can support people through their journey through prayer, love and understanding.
– Shirley Luce
Stephen Ministry is an opportunity to take time to stop and listen. Everyone comes to a point (or more) in their life where they need a non-judgmental, sympathetic, attentive ear. Life was not meant to be weathered alone. I’m excited about this ministry because it is a metaphorical “Open” sign for everyone to see. How do we show others we are there for them if we open our arms inside our own home? Support systems such as AA and Al Anon blossom from organization and offering public messages of uncompromising support. There will always be people who need care and support. I know that at some point in time I will be needing help like this. Most people are impacted by an event which drive them to take on a cause, I’m just being proactive about it.
– Dan Whipple
Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that will soon be taking place in our congregation. Stephen Ministry equips and empowers lay caregivers – called Stephen Ministers – to provide high quality, confidential, Christ-Centered care to people who are hurting. The best way to understand how Stephen Ministry works is to learn about three groups of people involved in this ministry: Stephen Leaders, Stephen Ministers, and care receivers. Joins us on October 14th at 9:45am in the Fellowship Hall for A Taste of Stephen Ministry. Come learn about the benefits, structure, and opportunity available through a Stephen Ministry Program.
A Conversation about The Commission on the Way Forward
The Commission on a Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church.
You are invited to a church wide conversation on this important subject on Sunday, October 14th at 3:00pm in the Fellowship Hall. Rev. Amy Coles, Assistant to the Bishop of Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, will join us to lead our learning and conversation on The Way Forward. Commission on a Way Forward worked diligently and prayerfully in 2017-2018 and sent their completed work to the Council of Bishops in early 2018. The reports have been translated and are available in preparation for a special session of the General Conference to be held in February 2019. You are invited to come hear where we have been as a denomination in regards to human sexuality and where we are headed as we prepare for the special session. The goal of this conversation is to cultivate fertile ground for continuing the conversation with each other, so we can hear God’s voice and listen to one another. You are encouraged to come with an open mind and heart to listen and learn. To learn more about the work of this Commission prior to our Conversation on October 14, please visit www.umc.org/wayforward. Refreshments will be m provided and we expect to wrap up our session by 4:30.
A little girl named Ivey changed my life. I met her in Kindergarten; she was 5, I was 30. I had volunteered to be a mentor through Communities in School in my county and was assigned to be Ivey’s tutor. I remember meeting this precious girl with wispy blond curls and a sweet, shy face. The first year we spent together she didn’t talk much, in fact many days when I arrived I was told she was out sick again. By the end of Kindergarten, I came to understand that constant ear infections and poor health care meant she had trouble hearing and thus trouble reading. We hung in there together and by the end of the year she managed some small smiles when I came to see her.