Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
Here are my notes from last Sunday:
My Soul’s Work, Mark 8:31-38
Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 3-1-15
The Holy Club was an organization at Christ Church, Oxford, set up by brothers John and Charles Wesley in 1729, who later contributed to the formation of the Methodist Church. Jeering college students scoffed at these “Methodists” who tried to systematically serve God every hour of the day. Members of the Holy Club set aside time for praying, examining their spiritual lives, studying the Bible, and meeting together. In addition, they took food to poor families, visited lonely people in prison, and taught orphans how to read. Members of the organization celebrated Holy Communion frequently and fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays until 3 P.M. Fellows of the Holy Club also studied and discussed the Greek New Testament as well as the Classics. Critics of the Holy Club on the Oxford Campus made up this rhyme:
|By rule they eat, by rule they drink,
By rule they do all things but think.
Accuse the priests of loose behavior.
To get more in the laymen’s favor.
Method alone must guide ’em all
When themselves “Methodists” they call.
This organization is often said to be the root of the influential Methodist Church. Meeting at 4 am they regularly asked one another “How is it with your soul?
Retell the Scripture Story
Jesus teaches the disciples that he must suffer, be rejected and killed, and after three days rise again.
Peter rebuked him.
Jesus says to Peter, “You don’t understand the ways of God.”
Jesus then said to the people, “If you will come after me, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to save your life, you will lose it. If you lose your life for my sake, you will save it. What will it profit you if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul? What will you give in exchange for your soul?”
Here is a letter I received recently from a person who has been both hurt and helped by the church in her soul’s work. Let me read it [edited] to you:
Dear Rev. Damon,
My name is Debbie Richards I’m a Christian and I also happen to be a Transgender woman Male to Female Non-operative. Four years ago I decided to go through with the transition. In the process of deciding, I had to also decide whether or not to stay at my current Church. After a lot of prayer and meditation I decided I would stay. I wrote a coming out letter and explained that the majority of the Church was welcoming to me. There were some people who didn’t understand and still don’t.
In January of 2012 I had gone out of town for a planning retreat for Gay Lesbian Affirming Disciples [GLAD] Alliance. When I came home I learned that there was a very slanderous and hurtful letter written and handed out to all the adult Sunday school classes in my home church referring to me. I had spent one year of transition living full time as a woman at that point. This woman used my birth name and there was NOBODY in the Church who didn’t know who that was. I was called a “tool of the devil sent to separate and conquer.” I was very hurt and was ready to leave. I prayed to God for the next few weeks asking for discernment if i should stay or go and where would I go living in a small town with only one affirming Church in the town.
About two weeks after this incident had occurred, our minister was out of town and the son-in-law of the woman who had written the letter about me was preaching that day. He knew his mother-in-law would be there and she was. He preached about inclusion and made it a point to mention transgender people in his message. The hymn of discipleship for that day was your song, “Strong Gentle Children.” When the second verse started playing, I had my answer. I heard the entire verse: “Strong hurting children, angry and terrified, open the secrets your life has concealed. Though you are wounded, know you are not to blame, cry out your story till truth is revealed.”
I heard God loud and clear that day during that song, I heard God tell me “Though you are wounded, KNOW YOU ARE NOT to blame, CRY OUT your story till TRUTH is revealed. So, that is what I did. I stayed. I knew I was not to blame and I cried out my story as much as I possibly could. This song has meant so much to me because of that message. I thank you for it. It has helped me heal, and has given me strength to move on.
About a year after that incident, I ended up having to move out of state because being transgender in a small town in Indiana sometimes doesn’t work. I am now in Louisville Kentucky and I have been a member of an Open and Affirming Congregation for a year, We are hosting a service for the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) (a day set aside to remember and memorialize transgender people all around the world who have been murdered just for being who they were due to the unfortunate ignorance and hatred in the world. You can find out more on TDOR at the website. http://tdor.info/about-2/)
At my church I am singing special music in the service. The song I picked is “Strong Gentle Children” because this song has spoken to me so personally as a transgender and as a transgender woman.
Thank you, Rev. Damon, for writing this song and sharing these words of healing with the world. I just wanted to send you a personal thank you and share with you my story about how your song has touched my life so much with healing. Thank you so very much Rev. Damon.
A Strong Hurting Child,
What is the work of your soul this Lenten season? Do you know? Have you thought about it? Is Lent a time for reflection? Is it a time to turn away from a hurtful behavior? Is it a time to turn toward life, joy, and health? The friends of John Wesley used to greet each other with the question, “How is it with your soul?” The question is still good after more than two hundred years. I invite you to live with this question during this holy season.
Let us be in prayer
Joys and Concerns
Lauren McLeod welcomes your prayers for healing.
Sandra Kokoruda (Fran Smith’s daughter) up date: Sandra thanks everyone for their prayers and concerns. Fran reports that Sandra is more animated and cheerful than she has been in months. The wound has healed, the drain is out and the infection is gone! The IV port for chemo was inserted this week and treatment will begin on Tuesday. Both Fran and Sandra ask that prayers continue.
Molly Smith is requesting prayers for her brother who has been treated for a brain tumor for several years and has recently entered the Hospice program. Prayers for his family and her brother as they go through this very difficult time.
Deby McFadyen is asking for prayers for her father, Jack McFadyen, who has lung cancer. Currently he is doing well.
Pat Dornan and Linda Pereira continue to need your prayers of support and healing. Update: Linda is pretty much in a wheelchair and using a walkerto try to cut down on the number of falls she has been having.They are still open to visitors, so drop by if you can.
Robbie Robinson would appreciate your prayers.
Helen Wysham welcomes your prayers for healing as she undergoes chemotherapy.
Bobby and Pamella Hall would like to be remembered in prayer as they go through some difficult personal times.
Arpha MacIntyre is requesting prayers as she comes to the end of her life with a terminal illness. Arpha played the piano at our church for many years
Please keep the people of Camp Liberty in your prayers as chaos reigns in Iraq and near the camp.
Don’t forget that this Saturday, March 7, we
turn our clocks AHEAD one hour at bedtime — Spring ahead.
Beginning Sunday, February 15 we will be honoring the memory of Helen Valentine with donations of your coins, checks or paper money to enable the children of the church to make a donation to the Heifer Project. We will be collecting through March 14. bring your coins, Norm Reynolds loves to roll them up for deposite in our Heifer Fund.
Imagine No Malaria receives a “Superhero Award” from the Rotarians Action Group on Malaria at the annual meeting of the Alliance for Malarial Prevention in Geneva, Switzerland. Imagine No Malaria, the only faith based organization to receive the Superhero Red Cape, was recognized for its efforts in reaching rural and hard-to-reach areas with its prevention methods. The award honors the size, breadth and ongoing dedication of the UMC’s work in which thousands have donated, resulting in thousands of children’s lives saved.
The World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2014 shows a dramatic decrease in deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa is where 90% of the cases occur and UMCOR will be giving out millions of bed nets this year from your donations to Imagine No Malaria, which is short $10 million dollars of the $75 million needed. The bed nets in Africa will go to areas where access is most limited hoping to increase the use to 90-98% of the people. WHO states we are on the right course. Won’t you help with a donation?
United Methodist Women are starting a collection for 10 School Kits. There will be a box in Friendship Hall for your donations. Lists of needed supplies will also be in Friendship Hall for pick up. Remember that you can only donate things that are on the list or UMCOR will remove them. Linda Woody-Wood is generously going to sew the school bags for us again. We would like to have our kits packed up and ready to go to the Annual Conference in June. Update: Rulers have been purchased so cross them off your list.
One Great Hour of Sharing is coming March 15. This special Sunday donation goes to support the administrative costs for UMCOR which allows all the donations to UMCOR to be used for the needy.
Pastor Brian Adkins from Open Door UMC has sent this message.
The director of Children’s Ministries at Open Door, Liza Schlosser, is heading to Palestine with deacon Mike Friedrich, et al. I’m sending along her fund raising information in case you have someone in your congregation who is passionate about the cause and cannot go on the trip but would like to help a young person get there.
I’ve copied Liza, in case you or others want to reach out to her.
Here’s the link to her fundraising page:
Don’t forget that donations for Imagine No Malaria are always welcome.
Beginning Sunday, February 15 thru March 14, we will be collecting coins and other forms of money, in memory of Helen Valentine and contributing the donations to buy animals or plants chosen by the children in the church for Heifer International.
Saturday, March 7, 10 am to 4 pm, All JFO Spring Retreat. Journey Farthest Out provides camping experiences for development of body, mind and spirit by giving an opportunity to explore one’s inner spirituality and find ways to go farther out in one’s relationship to God. Come for a day of meditation, singing, speaker, creative/sharing, prayer group, World Prayer Broadcast and a blessing ceremony. Light breakfast provided, bring a bag lunch. RSVP to Jean Reynolds 510 734 3942 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information at: jfocamps.com/home.
Sunday, March 8: Pastor Dan and JFO Song Leader John David Webster will be presenting our sermon in song.
Thursday, March 12, Administrative Board Meeting, 7 pm in Friendship Hall.
Friday, March 13, 7:30 pm, Point Richmond Acoustic presents Ernest Troost with special guest Laura Zucker. Singer, songwriter, bluesman, Ernest Troost, mixes traditional country blues and ragtime influences with spell-binding lyrics. Laura Zucker writes straightforward, wonderfully crafted songs reminiscent of Carole King’s “Tapestry” period. Advance tickets $15, at the door, $20. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St. Point Richmond. More info and advance ticket sales at Point Richmond Acoustic.
Saturday, March 14, Annual Sweetheart Dinner: Heinz Lankford and Kathe Kiehn will be installed as our new sweethearts for 2015. Come and celebrate with us. Gathering music at 6:30 pm and dinner at 7 pm. San Pablo Yacht Club, 700 W. Cutting Blvd., Point Richmond. Tickets are $50 and reservations through Fran Smith at email@example.com. Mail checks to Fran at 2149 Beaujolais Ct. Fairfield, CA 94533. See attached flyer.
Sunday, March 15 Special Sunday. Your special donations for One Great Hour of Sharing Sunday go to pay the administrative costs for UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). This ensures that the gifts you give to UMCOR all go to help those in need.
Tuesday, March 17, 9:30 am, Church Women United will be meeting at Easter Hill UMC, 2911 Cutting Blvd., Richmond. Gather at 9:30, meeting at 10 am, “World Day of Prayer”. Contact Jean Reynolds at 510 734 3942 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Good Friday Service, April 3, 7:30 pm
This year the churches of our Circuit will be observing Good Friday at El Sobrante UMC. The service will feature a mass choir and “Golgatha,” a dramatic interpretation of the passion of our Lord. The drama involves 8 characters and a narrator. Those interested in participating in this dramatic interpretation are invited to contact Noel Stout, email@example.com, 510-754-1503. El Sobrante UMC, 670 Appian Way, El Sobrante.
Save the Date: Saturday, May 16, 10 am to 3 pm, District Conference. Location to be announced. Rev. Schuyler Rhodes has sent this reminder. The Conference includes a Mission Fair with displays by local churches, a fair trade marketplace, training opportunities for Staff-Parish Relations Committee Members, Trustees, church council and more. Plus a briefing on legislation coming up at the Annual Conference.
Save the Dates: June 14-20 for Mt. Lassen Journey Farthest Out Camp. Just to let you know the dates. More info in March, including registration.
The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) is meeting in San Antonio, Texas in conjunction with the Reconciling Ministries Network. Gather at the River, Thursday, August 6 to Sunday, August 9. The conference will be working on issues of justice throughout the church and issues they would like to see presented at the General Conference in 2016. Register at http://www.gather2015.org/.
Please send submissions for FUMC News and Events to Barbara Haley, editor: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- Sweetheart 2015 Poster New1