May 11, 2012

Posted on 06/04/12 No Comments

First UMC | eRevelations
May 11, 2012
First United Methodist Church—Our Purpose: As believers in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Bible as the inspired word of God, we 1) glorify God through worship, 2) build strong relationships in the church family, 3) grow in the knowledge of the truth as revealed through Jesus Christ, 4) serve people as a reflection of the love of Jesus Christ, and 5) spread the Good News of the Gospel so that others may come to salvation through grace.
In This Issue:
? Thoughts From Your Pastor
? Worship News
? Fellowship News
? Discipleship News
? Ministry News
? Outreach Ministry News
? Church Meetings
Thoughts from Your Pastor
“My New Vision for First UMC: Ministry Investments, Part 4”
I have been laying out a new vision for First UMC simply called New Ministry Investments. I first presented this vision at our last Administrative Board meeting. Since then, with Greg Sweitzer’s persistent work, he and I have followed the Board’s direction to assemble a small but diverse task force of folks to investigate all the aspects of the vision and to present a plan to the Administrative Board in October for discussion and eventual adoption. Dave Hostettler and I are co-leading this task force. Please keep us all in your prayers to properly and clearly discern God’s will for First UMC.
When I have explained the program aspects of the vision (technology, staff, and programs), some folks will follow that up by saying, “But we also have expensive building and facility upkeep issues, too.” Very true. We can’t house great ministry programs in an underfunded, under-maintained church facility.
At the same time, we cannot have a pristine, smoothly running facility and continue to cut away at ministry program, equipment, and staff funding, either. A beautiful building with deteriorating attendance and ministry programs slowly becomes more a museum than a thriving church. I have seen that happen with several United Methodist churches in our area that were at one time vibrant places of worship and ministry. They have stunningly beautiful facilities, but the congregation is dying off at an accelerated rate. Eventually, the building will go the way of their ministry, too. For your sake, I don’t want us to go down that same road of preserving and beautifying a building that houses malnourished, under-resourced ministry.
Yet again, we cannot ignore costly maintenance issues by patching them along or ignoring them. When a major boiler or large A/C unit suddenly dies or a roof gives, all those little band-aid repairs will have created an even greater loss. For the sake of our ministry, we must look carefully and with a long-term view at those big-ticket expenses.
So it’s clear that the upkeep of our church facility and growing our ministry cannot be a this or that kind of discussion. We cannot put ourselves in the position of choosing one over the other if we want a thriving, growing church. We need both.
It’s at this point that I want to re-introduce to you our Board of Trustees and give them a ton of thanks for all their hard, dedicated work. The Board of Trustees are Dave Hostetler (chair), John Tardy, Mary Hoffman, Salome Peters, Richard Reynnells, Russ Geis, Julie Hildebrandt, Cherilyn Hostettler, and Art Myatt. The Board of Trustees is charged with the care and upkeep of our church property, both real property and church-owned contents. That includes the church building itself and three houses on Prince George Street which First UMC owns, one of which being the parsonage where my family and I live. They maintain these properties, inspect them regularly, make sure that they are properly insured, and manage how these properties are used in keeping with our church’s values and mission. Our Trustees aren’t just a fix-it team for leaky faucets and broken tiles. They make sure that our ministry is well-housed in a safe, appropriate, well-insured and cared for facility with the equipment needed to carry out the ministry.
The Trustees are well aware of our immediate and long-term maintenance needs. With tight and shrinking budgets, it’s the natural thing to look for the cheapest options to fix immediate problems, to put a patch on something larger just to keep it going, or to kick any large concerns down the road when it’s assumed we’ll have more money to handle them. But eventually things big and small break down permanently. Those little patches on a larger item add up. Over time, it’s often a better investment to tackle the larger problem now than to pay for all the small patches in addition to the large cost of a replacement or major repair. Large-scale facility issues are always painful to pay for. Why put them off when those same problems will only grow and become even more costly to deal with then?
The fourth and final (but certainly not least!) part of my vision is to invest in our facility. I’m asking for us to encourage the Trustees to take an honest assessment of our larger maintenance and replacement needs. Let’s see what the real needs are, both immediate and long-term, price them out, and prioritize them. Band-aids and “putting off the inevitable” don’t serve us very well, now or in the long-run. We can do better than that, and good stewardship practices say that we must do better than that.
I want our Trustees to feel confident that they have a church family behind them who will support them and work with them to take on the things we need address, big and small, to keep sound, well-equipped church facilities in place. Sticker shock at the possible costs are just that—a shock. Shocks are temporary at best. Once the shock has past, then we can pray, rely on God, and trust that God will provide exactly what we need. God has done this for us many times in the past. He will again!
There’s no reason to doubt that God can’t work through anyone and anything to provide the means for well-resourced ministries within a well-maintained facility. He will. All God is looking for is our faith and obedience.

Yours in Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Chris
Worship News
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Our message this Sunday will be “The Faithfulness to Love Dirty People” and the scripture is from Matthew 9:9-13
Music Ministry
Regular Practice Schedule
Chancel Choir – Wednesday Rehearsals 7:30 pm
Praise Team – Wednesday Rehearsals 6:15 pm
Worship Players – 2nd & 4th Saturday 9:00 am
The King’s Kids – Wednesday Rehearsals 6:30 pm next practice June 6th

Fellowship News

Discipleship News
Our church holds prayer meetings every Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm in the Sanctuary. We need supporters for this valuable mission so if at all possible, please join us.
Prayer concerns this week: Nigeria, Linda Webster Wright, Jim & Harriet Holmes, Family of Bev Chandler, Joe Davis
Kathryn Eye Circle Meeting – Monday, June 4th at 1:00 pm
Martha Circle Meeting – Monday, May 14th at 7:00 pm
Edith Miles Circle Meeting – Monday, May 14th at 7:00 pm
Meeting Schedule
Saturday, 5/20/12 – Game Night/Bring A Friend Night – 6:30pm-8pm
Sunday, 5/27/12 – No Evening Meeting – Memorial Day

Ministry News
Dear Fellow FUMCL Congregants

For the past eight (8) consecutive years here at First UMC, the Missions and Masterworks Concert series has established itself as an outstanding venue featuring excellence in music and benevolence in generating and giving to deserving charitable organizations. During this period of time, charitable organizations and projects such as Laurel, Mississippi Hurricane Katrina Relief, Appalachia Service Project (ASP), Laurel Pregnancy Center (LPC), Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services (LARS), Fish of Laurel (Elizabeth House), National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Nothing But Nets, and Side by Side (outreach program to local public schools), Price House, Talbot House and Reality House have been recipients of donations and resources totaling in excess of $35,000.
This year’s concert is scheduled for Friday, June 15, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. and once again will feature some outstanding musical literature. We have been made aware that there is significant need for help for the Paw Paw Nancy Ward Mission House (a FUMCL supported mission) and we have adopted this as the primary mission cause for this year’s program. With your help, we are looking forward to making this beneficial and meaningful for the Paw Paw Mission. In the coming weeks, additional information will be forthcoming about the concert and schedule for that evening’s activities. In the meantime, we want to begin now in soliciting your help and carry this momentum straight up to June 15th. Donation checks may be made out to “First United Methodist Church” with “Missions and Masterworks” in the memo line. We thank the pastor and congregation of First United Methodist Church and the Laurel community for your generous support.
Dr. Mack Statham
Free Seminars:

How Cardiovascular Disease and Vascular Dementia Affects the African-American Community
Guest Speaker Ayim Djamson, MD

Wednesday, May 23rd from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm at

The People’s Baptist Church
31 Norwood Road
Silver Spring, MD 20904

RSVP for the event by calling 301-847-3051 or emailing
The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation
Announces The 2012 Intergenerational
Genealogy Conference for
Grandparents and Their Grandchildren
Passing It Forward
Conference Highlights Include:
DNA testing in genealogy research
Uncovering family medical histories to shape medical futures
Exploring genealogy software
Other genealogy topics

Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30, 2012
Entire conference
Grandparent plus Grandchild = $100
Friday Only = $40
Saturday Only = $65
Sojourner Douglass College
Edgewater, Maryland
Check or
email for additional information

Outreach Ministry News

Matthew 25:36 “. . . I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Kairos Prison Ministry
Kairos means God’s special time; and, in the lives of the men we touch, we know it will be God’s special time with them.
As you may know, I (Dale Boeckman) will be participating in the KAIROS (time with God) prison ministry retreat at the Maximum Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, MD (MCI-H) 17 – 20 May 2012.

The last two Sundays I have solicited your support for the prison ministry in the form of prayers, money for bibles, and Agape (instruments representing God’s love). The response for my money request has been overwhelming. I’ve received at least enough money to purchase 8 bibles for those incarcerated participating in the weekend retreat. Clearly, we are blessed to have members in our congregation with generous hearts.

Response for prayer however needs more support. Only a few people have signed up to participate in the prayer vigil that runs from 4 pm Thursday, 17 May through 4 pm Sunday, 20 May. In my discussions with potential prayer warriors I found that there is some intimidation about spending 30 minutes petitioning God to oversee the event and to open hearts to God’s calling. It appears that most people are accustomed to saying a quick prayer of intersession for others in need, but to spend 30 minutes praying seems to be overwhelming.

Allow me to share some suggestions:
Prayer, like worship, requires some preparation. You should disengage yourself from the troubles and bustle of your day when you spend time with God. I like to read the bible and/or listen to Christian music as I “drink in” God’s goodness to me. Psalms records a number of verses that the Israelites recited as they journeyed to Jerusalem for one of their feasts. These are called Psalms of Ascent (PS 120 – 134). Our Sunday worship doesn’t start at 8:15 each Sunday morning. Our preparation to go to church is also a form of worship. I like to sing (only Becky gets to hear) hymns as I cleanup, dress, and drive to church. Trust me, it makes the whole day go sooo much better when I do.

When I pray for others, I follow the ACTS process:
A = adoration
C = confession
T = thanksgiving
S = supplementation

Remember when Queen Esther petitioned to her King Xerxes? Of course you know the story. The Israelites exiled to Babylon very lives were at stake when she went to the king to intercede on their behalf. She didn’t just run up and cried in his lap, she honored and pleased him for several days until he just couldn’t wait to hear her petition. Well, God who is all good loves to hear your words of adoration, confession, and thanksgiving. By the time you get to the petition God is ready to listen and expand His goodness to your request.

You don’t have to sit in the sanctuary to prayer either. You can pray as you drive (don’t close your eyes), when going out for a walk (if you walk with someone, then have them join in with you), even as you do your chores. Just do it all for God’s glory and add in the petition at the end.

By the time you prepare yourself to pray and praise God for his goodness you have knocked out the vast majority of your 30 minute prayer slot. Your petition doesn’t have to be that long. God will certainly hear and respond to your prayer request and if you happen to go over your 30 minute slot spending time in prayer, God certainly won’t mind. After your “KAIROS” (time with God) you will feel so refreshed and calm. You will be blessed as well.

So don’t be afraid to sign-up for the prayer vigil. You’d be glad you did and God’s Spirit will touch the hearts of those in the prison ministry.

God’s peace and blessings,
Checks should be made payable to Kairos in Maryland and mailed to:
Kairos (MCIH 16)
P.O. Box 401
Burtonsville, MD 20866

(or you can give me your donation and I can send it into Kairos)

The BARRACUDA’s are the church’s team for RELAY FOR LIFE for the American Cancer Society. Our church created a team in order to have an active role in the fight against cancer. The RELAY FOR LIFE of Laurel is a group of teams that raise money and awareness about the fight against cancer on June 9, 2012 at McCullough Field.

We are selling mulch
$7 a bag
with the profit benefiting the
Relay for Life
Please see Bev, Cherilyn or Mary Hoffman to get your bag of Mulch this Sunday……..or…….
you can buy a bag and donate it to the church property!!!

If you are interested in joining the BARRACUDAS team – please contact Bev Raynor at (301)604-0909 or email at:

Please visit the RELAY FOR LIFE of Laurel’s website for more information. If you would like to make a donation, please click on the BARRACUDAs team name or see Bev Raynor for more details.

Church Meetings
Monday, May 14th – 6:00 pm New Vision Committee Meeting

Thursday, May 17th – 7:00 pm Finance Committee Meeting

Monday, May 21st – 7:00 pm Caregiver Meeting (Parlor)

Thursday, May 24th – 7:00 pm Lay Leadership Development

Please consider helping out with purchasing
New Chairs for Fellowship Hall!!
Deadline is Sunday, May 20th…….
(Although our current chairs are still in pretty good shape they are uncomfortably low for eating or working at the tables and are difficult for less agile people to get up from.)
BOGO (Buy One Get One) Sale
Cost per chair is $30 and
for every chair you purchase………
the Bazaar Committee will pay for the second!! (up to approx. 80 chairs)

**There are 2 sample chairs in Fellowship Hall. Feel free to try them out!!**

The deadline to donate is
Sunday, May 20th
(Checks can be made out to the church with “fellowship chairs” written in the memo section) and can be placed in the offering plate or given to Shari in the office.

We need approximately 150 chairs total and the Bazaar Committee thanks you for helping us out!
The Northeastern Presbyterian Church presents in concert, the Heritage Signature Chorale
Stanley Thurston, Music Director
Sunday, May 20, 2012
5:00 in the afternoon
Tickets – $25.00

Northeastern Presbyterian Church
2112 Varnum Street, NE
Washington, DC 20018

The fifty members of the Heritage Signature Chorale performance concerts include the Kennedy Center.

For directions and ticket information
contact Rosalind Collins (301) 421-1782

About eRevelations
eRevelations, an informal e-mail communication of First United Methodist Church of Laurel, is published most Fridays. If you have announcements or other information you wish to include, contact the church office (301-725-3093 or