Enews: Sunday, July 19, 2020

Dear Friend,

One of the great struggles of our present age is to break out of binary thinking. Good people and bad people. Good cops and bad cops. You’re either in or you’re out. Instead, when Christ told the parable of the wheat and the weeds, it’s similar to how John the Baptist told the crowds how the Son of Man would be on the threshing floor, separating the wheat from the chaff with his threshing fork (Matthew 3:12).
Chaff and wheat grow together. We are all wheat and chaff, wheat and weeds. God is working on us to separate out sin and the effects of sin in this world-the trauma that has been experienced because of the evil systems of oppression. It is the systems that must be overhauled and changed, but for us-we must allow Christ to work on us, and burn out what the systems of the world have done to us, to restore who we were intended to be before God.
Jacob dreams of angels ascending and descending on a ladder and receives God’s promise that the land will be given to him and his descendants. Then he calls that place Bethel (House of God).
God alone is God, the first and the last and the defender of God’s people.

We do not have to live according to the desires of our corrupt nature, but we have received God’s Spirit who assures us that we are God’s children, not just for our sakes, but for all of creation that yearns for God’s children to be revealed.
Jesus tells a parable in which weeds are planted by an enemy in a man’s field. He instructs his workers not to pull up the weeds, but to let them grow with the wheat until the harvest comes, when the wheat and weeds will be separated and the weeds burned, while the wheat is taken into the barn. At the disciples’ request, Jesus explains the parable to refer to the work of the evil one and those who follow evil living alongside his followers until the harvest time when judgement will happen.
Gardener of the Earth, we know You have sown good seeds in us and around us. Help us to find and nurture those seeds. Help us to prune back what needs to be pruned and tear out what is harmful. But You, O God, help us to learn and grow, and sometimes we do not see the chaff that is growing with us until we learn.
When we learn about racism, we peel off unnecessary and dead leaves. When we learn about our own privilege, we begin to tear out the roots of that chaff. When we begin to dismantle the systems and structures that perpetuate racism and other sins, we begin to build up a base of good soil for new seeds to take root.
Loving Gardener, we know this is not easy, but inch by inch, row by row, work in us and through us, to grow Your beloved garden together. Amen.
Remember!!! Pastor is OFF next week!
Pastor will be off (medical reason) from July 20 to July 24. Please he will NOT be available at all. For Pastoral care please contact Pastor Bonnie or Deacon Ginny and for any office related matters please reach out to Jennifer.


Link to facebooklive
Join us for Evening Prayer tonight.  Deacon Ginny will host.  As usual, there will be prayers, Scripture, a reading, and more.

Order of Prayer Service

Link to Open Livestream Service: 

Now that the building is cleaned and sanitized, please do the following
1-    Wear a mask when you are in the building at all time. NO EXCUSES PLEASE
2-    Schedule your stop at the building with Bob Friend, Jennifer or Pastor- as the office will have a master schedule. You must follow specific protocols.
Please know office hours return this Thursday, July 16 (today) from 7:30am to 12noon
and Tuesdays 7:30am to 12 Noon. Wednesday we will work from home . If you need to stop at the office call ahead to make sure Jennifer is at the office or check with Pastor Luis.

 Spiritual Practice called Examine shared by Pastor on July 15th.  

Dear First UMC Family,
As most of you know, I’ve known since December that I would be leaving my position at the Church and moving to Kansas. There wasn’t a definite timetable at that point, because there were so many unknowns. I wanted to stay for as long as it made sense for everyone. The good news is, that’s what happened. I’m leaving after several months of “everything online”, but I leave knowing that there will be a smooth transition for all of you. I’m sure you’ll notice I’m gone, but you have staff and members who are stepping in to make sure that everything continues. I’m grateful to everyone who has worked with me, especially the last few months, to adapt and grow into what we are all becoming. I believe that your enthusiasm and commitment to taking care of each other during the pandemic will carry over into an explosion of energy and love as you all transition to the new normal that is being created. I finish my time here with hope for your future as a congregation, as you find new ways to show and share God’s love to each other and to the world.
Scott Hotaling, M.Div.
Dear First UMC Family,
Thank you so much for the send-off this past Sunday.  Thank you to Pastor Luis and Norman for creating a space and time to say good-bye, in the only way we could right now.  Thank you to Fusion for being in the room, and staying safe. And thank you so, so much for the Love Gift. Your generosity makes it both easier and harder to leave, as do the personal cards and notes to all of us. We will miss you, but we’ll be back for a proper good-bye when the time is right. May God’s presence both comfort and challenge you, until we meet again.
With all our love and appreciation,
Scott, Jessica, & Spencer


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