Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Our Church's El Salvador Mission

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – then… forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” (Philippians 2:1-2 & 4, THE MESSAGE)

As you read this article, I and seven others from our church and community are representing LaGrange First UMC on a mission trip in Ahuachapan, El Salvador (about 2 hours west of the capital of San Salvador). And though we’ve had members and friends in the past who’ve participated in the mission trips of other churches, groups, and organizations, to my knowledge this is the first time in recent history that our church has sponsored a mission trip on its own -- that’s something to celebrate!

While there, we’ll be doing construction work helping to build a new Methodist church, we’ll lead a children’s Bible school, and will participate in a feeding and evangelism ministry.  All of this will be coordinated through the “SalvadoranMission Projects”, a ministry partnership between the Evangelical Methodist Church in El Salvador and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission in the United States, and who’s purpose is to improve the spiritual and physical lives of economically disadvantaged people living there.

Many of you have donated financially and otherwise over the last year to help make this trip possible -- thank you!!!  Please mark your calendars for July 9th, where trip participants will be sharing testimony during all our worship services about the work that God accomplished through the team (and they’ll be available after that for Sunday School and other group programs, as well).

In the meantime, however, please continue to be in prayer not only for our team’s safety and safe travels, but most importantly for the work we’re doing there as your (and God’s) representatives.

Always remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Annual Conference Is Here!

Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

This week as you read this article, over 2800 delegates representing the 1000 churches and 364,000+ United Methodists in North Georgia will have gathered at the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia for the “North Georgia Annual Conference” with the theme ““Show Your Work: Creative Worship That Inspires Action.”  Linda Frano, Trish Germano, Blake Trent, and myself are all attending as our church’s delegates, and others from our church will also be attending on behalf of our LaGrange District.

Each year's Annual Conference makes important decisions that affect every United Methodist church in our geographic area: approval and ordination of new clergy and retirement of older ones; appointments of pastors to local churches are finalized (we celebrate that our Bishop – Sue Haupert-Johnson - has re-assigned both myself and Blake Trent to LaGrange First UMC as your Senior and Associate Pastor, respectively); adoption of the conference budget; support for and reports from conference missions and ministries; exciting worship and bible study opportunities to enrich our spiritual lives; present our “Bishop’s Offering” (to support our denomination’s Ministerial Education Fund”); and more!

Upon our return, we’ll be available to report on important decisions that were made, and how these might affect us as a congregation.  In the meantime, you can find more information about Annual Conference (as well as “real time” updates) on our North Georgia Conference website (www.ngumc.org and click on the 2017 Annual Conference banner).  Also, thanks for your prayers, both for ourselves as your representatives, and for the