Dear Cedar Grove UMC family,
Psalm 26, a psalm attributed to David, begins with an audacious claim: “I have led a blameless life.” Really? “Blameless” is an interesting adjective for David to apply to his life. Do you think Bathsheba would describe David as “blameless”? I wonder if Uriah, whom David arranged to have killed so that he could cover up his affair with Bathsheba, would use that term for David. If you could ask David’s children Tamar, Amnon and Absalom, I wonder if they would describe their father as a “blameless” parent.
Yet David understands that true repentance receives true forgiveness. He wrote in Psalm 51, “Cleanse me from my iniquity … my sin is always before me.” David’s repentance and God’s forgiveness have changed the scale of things. David is blameless because God has made him so.
As we travel the road of sanctification, we cannot make ourselves holy – but we can help the process along by doing our part through prayer, study, worship, participating in Christian community and sharing the sacraments. By giving ourselves to this process of sanctification, we allow God to change us and to grow us into mature disciples. We will still err; we will still succumb to temptation. But, through Christ, we are given the peace of repentance and reconciliation. Then, like David, we can say to God, “I raise my voice in praise and tell of all the miracles you have done.”
On Sunday, you are invited to join us for an event that we guarantee can change your life! It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme or a self-help course, but an opportunity to worship, learn and serve with an authentic Christian community. Explore how God extends an invitation to each of us, and all we have to do is R.S.V.P. Join us! All are welcome. As we begin the R.S.V.P. sermon series on Sunday, my sermon will be “Hey, I Just Met You … and This Is Crazy!” (Yes, I unabashedly stole – uh, borrowed – the title from Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2012 hit song.) Is God's calling spoken to you in a booming voice from heaven, telling you exactly what to do? How do you discover it? How can you be sure of it? Any time we want to hear from God, the method is the same: praying, reading the Bible, meditating, talking with godly friends, and patient listening. Through our own lives and lives of people in the Bible, we will see how to R.S.V.P. to God’s invitation to us. Join us for worship at 10:30 a.m. and bring a friend with you – this will be a great series to invite anyone who isn’t in church or hasn’t been in a while!
This Sunday is World Communion Sunday, a day we will be joining with brothers and sisters around the world in celebrating Holy Communion. As part of our worship, we will have the opportunity to contribute to a special offering that supports World Communion Scholarships through our United Methodist connection.
Prior to worship Sunday, our Adult Sunday School class will continue in the study of Hebrews at 9:30 a.m. Come join us!
I would like to meet with members of the Lay Leadership Committee following worship on Sunday. (Members of the Committee are Chris Doi, Don Logner, Betty Compton, John Hughes, Paula Crabtree, Courtney Doi, Margaret Nichols and Peggy Oakley.)
The church has several openings on its committees and service teams, including:
- Administrative Council chairperson,
- lay delegate to Annual Conference,
- 2 members of the Lay Leadership Committee,
- 2 members of the Staff/Parish Relations Committee,
- an S/PRC chairperson (who can be an existing committee member),
- 2 members of the Trustees,
- and a recording secretary (who takes minutes of the Admin Council meetings and records the attendance at Charge Conference).
A special thanks to those who have already let me know of your willingness to serve in some of these roles! Please prayerfully consider how you can serve the church in one of these capacities and let me or any member of the Lay Leadership Committee know. Thank you so much!
Charge Conference season is fast approaching upon us, and I ask for your prayers and preparation. Our Charge Conference is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 at Pleasant Green UMC in Durham.
Our Senior Citizens Banquet, hosted by the Cedar Grove UMW to honor the lifelong and continuing service of seniors in our congregation, will be held from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10. Please respond by Oct. 5 to the invitations that were mailed so that adequate food can be purchased. So many people have given of themselves in service to God, our community and our church for so many years, and this night will be a wonderful way to celebrate their ongoing service!
Our annual Harvest Festival will be held on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Cedar Grove Ruritan Building. More information will be forthcoming on ways you can help, but for now be sure to mark the date on your calendars. We are looking forward to another great Harvest Festival and can’t wait to see you there!
A couple weeks ago, we were introduced to a wonderful partnership between our church and the Wesley Campus Ministry at UNC-Chapel Hill. We are taking the lead and inviting other congregations to join us as churches start to provide the Thursday night fellowship meal for the Wesley students. I am asking for some folks to help prepare and take a meal to enjoy with the Wesley students on the Thursday evenings of Oct. 22 and Nov. 5. We’ll probably need around 8 or 9 people to help on each of those evenings. We’ll need to arrive at University UMC in Chapel Hill by 5 p.m. to prepare and set up for the 6:15 p.m. meal. I have received specific details on use of the UUMC kitchen and will share them with the teams that are going. Please mark one or both of those dates and let me know of your availability as we share in these meals!
We are continuing to take donations for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes which we will be preparing in November.
- For October, we’re continuing to collect children’s socks for boys and girls and also will be collecting tubes of toothpaste.
We are moving forward to meeting our goal of 144 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Your donations will bless children both in our area and throughout the world! Thanks for your support of these mission efforts of our church!
We’re also planning to take a mission team to the Operation Christmas Child processing center in Charlotte again this year. There, we will inspect and prepare shoeboxes from all over the country for delivery to children all over the world. Our hands will be some of the last to touch and pray over those shoeboxes before children receive them. Our dates and times this year to volunteer are 2 -6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 (we can take up to 15 people) and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 (when we can take up to 25 people). Volunteer forms will be available soon – go ahead and mark your calendars now!
Please continue to bring your canned goods and other nonperishable items each week and drop them in our collection baskets in the narthex. Your gifts are taken to the food pantry at OCIM in Hillsborough, where they will be distributed to families throughout northern Orange County. Thank you for touching the lives of others through this wonderful mission!
We post announcements of our upcoming sermon series and activities, along with the GPS and other items, on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Cedar-Grove-UMC/161622617284308. Please go to this page and “Like” us so that you can keep up with the latest announcements. Then, when you do see a new posting to the Facebook page, share it on your timeline. This is an easy, non-confrontational way of inviting and sharing the opportunities for worship and fellowship at CGUMC with all your Facebook friends!
In addition to Facebook, you can also follow the many happenings and ministries of CGUMC online in the following ways:
By now you have no doubt heard the news about the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, where 10 people lost their lives and several more were injured. Many of these were teen-aged college students with so much future ahead of them. Some news accounts have indicated that some of the victims were shot because of their Christian faith. Peter MacBeth’s sermon from last week rings true, “These are our children.” I am praying for those affected by this horrible event in Oregon, and I’d like to ask you to take a moment now to do the same.
I’m very much looking forward to being in worship with you on Sunday! Each Sunday, I need this time together with you to “revive and recharge” and prepare for the week ahead. You need it, too – we all need to be in worship. Going into the week without being in worship on Sunday is like going on a long trip with no gas in the tank. Don’t be out there pushing your vehicle by yourself – come to worship and let’s ride together!