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Our Money Story

Pledge Form 2022

Week three 10/17/21 — Our MONEY Story — Release

Worship Service 9 a.m 

Worship Service 11 a.m. 

Yesterday I talked about the invitation from God’s word to reimagine our economies (household rules/ the way we do things) in light of God’s call for us to radically trust him and to care for the most vulnerable. I shared John Wesley’s advice around money:

 

Make all you can

Save all you can

Give all you can

In this advice is an invitation for you to take some time to reimagine your economy around these matters.

As you prepare to offer your pledge to ministry in 2022 we encourage you to prayerfully reimagine your money story. Where might God be calling you to reimagine your story in light of God’s Money Story? What do you need to rememberabout who God is? What do you need to release in order to know God’s freeing grace? Where might you reimagine what can be? How might God be able to restore your broken places around money and possessions through your life in him?

At the start of all this we challenged you to tithe for just one month to see how it feels. If you have done that, what have you discovered? If you have not yet made that one month commitment we encourage you to give it a try and see how God works through your faithfulness.

As we come toward the end of October, please take time to fill out and return the pledge card we sent you or, even better, complete your pledge online through Realm using the link below. Thank you so much for your faithfulness and your generosity! We pray God will draw you ever closer to His boundless grace in this and every season!

 

Week two 10/10/21 — Our Money Story — Reflect

Worship Service 9 am

Worship Service 11 am

This past Sunday, we continued this month’s stewardship series Our Money Story by looking at what it means to release our money stories to God. We saw in our first reading from Deuteronomy 15 that God commanded the Israelites to release all debt every seven years. This is similar to the manna in the desert story in that if anyone tried to hoard their manna, it would rot. God is adamantly opposed to greed and selfishness among His people, whether its daily bread or money and debt. This is radically different from the values we see every day in our world. We live in a culture that far too often encourages and even celebrates greed.

This disconnect is not unique to 21st century America, however, as we saw in the Gospel reading from Matthew 19. The story of the rich young man vividly illustrates how money and possessions can pull us away from Jesus and from fellowship with other believers. We know all too well the very human tendency to seek meaning, value, and security in our money and our possessions.

We shouldn’t simply hear judgment or rebuke in these stories, but rather an invitation to a better way to live – the way of Jesus. God calls us to release our grip on those things we cling tightly to, so that we might be freed to cling to Jesus. God calls us to release the grip that money and possessions has on our hearts so we might be freed to be generous to our neighbors. God calls us to release our fears and anxieties to Him so that we might be freed to find our security in God’s steadfast love and abiding presence. God calls us to release one another from debts, to forgive one another as we have been forgiven.

God calls us to release our money stories – especially those parts of our stories that move us away from God’s love and from generosity. We release our stories so that God can begin writing new stories in our lives that reflect the values of the Kingdom of God and the reality of God’s abundant grace given to us in Jesus Christ. This week, I pray that God would open our eyes to new opportunities to live into new story of forgiveness and generosity.

Week One 10/3/21 — Our Money Story– Remember

Worship Service 9 a.m 

Worship Service 11 a.m. 

On Sunday, I shared part of my money story and shared some reflection of the good and bad of some lessons I learned about money and possessions in my childhood. This week, we want to encourage you to use your “Our Money Story” Journal (either picked up on Sunday or mailed to you this week) to begin reflecting on your own money story. You can find the questions to guide you on pages 1-6 of your journal. The remembering is helpful, but even more helpful is the invitation to reflect on how the things you learned in your life are impacting you today. What parts of your story are good, helpful, and Biblical? What parts of your story might bear untruths and unbiblical ideas that have kept you from the freedom that God offers us?

Being honest about our story is the beginning point of God’s redemptive work. Here’s a hard truth: unredeemed history repeats itself. In other words, holding on to lies (like mine around productivity and personal value), mistakes of the past, false narratives about the role of money and possessions in our lives, will continue to keep us locked in cycles of unhealthy behavior and belief. Our deepest prayer for each of you this month is that God will help you to see the places that need his redeeming touch, the infusion of God’s Money Story of enough for all, trust in God’s provision, generosity, sharing, and sacrificial love that we see so clearly in the life of the Lord Jesus. We pray for your courage and vulnerability to ask these questions and have the conversation for the sake of your following of Jesus in greater wholeness.

Pastor Toni Ruth

As Rebecca Douglass, Chair of the Finance Team, mentioned on Sunday, we encourage you to bring your pledge card at any point this month. For your convenience we do have an online pledge card. This card can we accessed at on our website and connects directly to Realm so that you can not only set up your pledge but also set up recurrent gifts if you would like to do so. Filling out the pledge card online is very simple, so we encourage you to use this tool.

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Intro to our Money Story

We all have a money story, whether we recognize it or not. Perhaps we are living from a story of fear or shame. Or a story that the church is dying and no longer relevant. Or a story that our actions won’t have an impact. Or a story that we don’t have enough. Where might God be speaking a new narrative into the limited ones we have told ourselves? This theme invites us to discover and tell our money stories in light of God’s money story of liberation and justice. This series encourages us to transform our stewardship practices into more full expressions of who we are and what we believe.

This theme is intentionally direct—it invites us to name exactly what we’re talking about and not skirt around it. To speak of money is to invite tension into the room. We so quickly want to avoid it. But it’s time we reframe this. Money and possessions are one of the most common topics in scripture, and Jesus talked about money more than faith and prayer.

Our money story, therefore, is a spiritual story. Thinking about God’s money story should be liberating, inviting, and transformative.

This stewardship season, we invite you to remember, release, reimagine, and restore your money stories so that we can write the one God is begging us to live into.

 

 

Young Persons and Sunday School

School Begins Soon and We have a Place
for Your Young Person in Sunday School!!
August 25 is promotion Sunday, and that means we are gearing back up for regular Sunday school in the youth and children’s areas. We are excited for your young people to join us in Godly Play in the elementary-aged groups, for the 5 th and 6th  graders to be joining us for our Connect Sunday School Class in the Library, and the youth, grades 7 th  – 12 will be meeting in the youth room exploring a variety of topics and books in the Bible.
Our purpose in Sunday School is to do our part in providing basic education and understanding of our faith and all that it encompasses. It is an important piece of faith development and connection to the church. Another very significant piece of Sunday School is the connection of children and families to one another as a part of our connection to the body of believers and specifically the family of Harrisburg United Methodist Church. I want to invite all of you to come and join us in Sunday School, there is even an adult component and we definitely have a place for you!
A second and larger piece of helping your young person to develop a life long love and reliance on Jesus is you, the parent. You have the most influence on your children. You spend the most time with them and you have the most opportunity to help them grow and make faith decisions. We have a place for you too! Toni Ruth will be doing a parenting study in her class this fall, that will help equip you and encourage you as you raise your children. We also have a loving and caring community that will be there to support you when you need it. Come and join us in Sunday School and bring your whole family!
Pastor Richard
Questions contact Pastor Richard https://www.harrisburgumc.org/ or
call 704-455-2311

Why I Am a Stephen Minister

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

A Taste of Stephen Ministry

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 Way Forward Conversation

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.

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