In January, I read a book called Gear Up!: Nine Essential Processes for the Optimized Church by Kay Kotan. We’ve been talking about some of the themes of the book on the District Leadership Team, of which I’m a part. Particularly, we’ve been looking at sections that will help us and help congregations in our district created Intentional Discipleship Plans, one of our goals for this year.
Remember, Intentional Discipleship Plans are plans that churches develop that help everyone get on the same page when it comes to how folks who are part of the congregation become and grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. The mission of The United Methodist Church, and our local church, is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Being a disciple of Jesus is more than being a member of a church. Being a disciple is life-changing. We want to make sure not just that folks are joining us for worship, but that they – and we – are becoming disciples, growing as disciples, and leading others to become disciples.
Kotan suggests that to be well-poised to make disciples, to live into an Intentional Discipleship Plan, churches need to have some systems in place, some “gears” working in alignment to make the discipleship path easier to navigate. In one of her earlier chapters, she talks a lot about the “Hospitality Process” gear. What kind of first impression do folks have of our congregation when they come to worship with us, or when they attend a RipIt class, or when they come into the building for WIC or Scouts or some other event?
The first part of our in-process Intentional Discipleship Plan is to help folks Meet Jesus. We’ve spent time already talking about what our “entry points” are to the congregation (like the ones I mention in the last paragraph), but one area we need to spend more time thinking about is how we help folks connect once they come in one of the doors – literal and figurative – of the church. Kotan addresses what she calls “missing links” that sometimes happen in the hospitality process of a church: “First, we often times offer only one greeter, missing the opportunity to provide “layers” of hospitality. Second, our hospitality
people many times get tied up visiting with people they already know and therefore miss the guests. Third, we don’t want to “bother” people, so we let them alone. Fourth, once worship begins we many times believe our Hospitality Duties are finished. Fifth, we believe that being friendly equals hospitality.” (14)
Kotan suggests that we need to stop thinking about “visitors” to the church, and instead think of those who join us in worship for the first time as “guests.” They have similar meanings, but if you think about someone knocking unexpectedly at your door, verses a guest for whom you have planned and prepared and want to make at home, you’re on the right track. We want to welcome guests to worship, guests who we’ve taken the care to prepare and plan for, guests who we’re ready to help make at home.
All of us are part of the “hospitality team” in a way. All of us have an impact on whether folks arriving to our church for the first time will feel like visitors or guests. We are all part of helping folks to Meet Jesus. I encourage you to join me in prayerful consideration of how we can truly make more people feel at home with us.
Blessings, Pastor Beth
Please consider worshiping with us this week! We offer nursery care during worship each week. The nursery is downstairs in the corner of fellowship hall. Children are always welcome to stay and participate in worship. Worship bags for children are in the back of the sanctuary. There are many opportunities for fellowship, serving and growing in Christ each week. Look for ways you can
MEET JESUS** FOLLOW JESUS** SERVE JESUS** throughout the newsletter.
Pastor Beth’s Open Hours
Pastor Beth has Open Hours in the community twice each month. Stop by for a visit, to share in lunch, to ask for a prayer, or just to introduce yourself! On Wednesday, February 13, she’ll be at Oswegatchie Coffee from 11am-2pm. On Wednesday, February 27, you can find her in the Community Room at Cambray Terrace from 11am-2pm. Hope to see you there!
February Worship Calendar
2/3/19 – Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany – Disney and the Gospels-Beauty and The Beast
2/10/19 – Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany – A Way Forward: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience, Philippians 4:8-9, Matthew 22:34-40.
2/17/19 – Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany – A Way Forward: Essentials and Non-Essentials, Romans 14:4-12, Sacrament of Holy Communion.
2/24/19 – Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany – A Way Forward: Which Way?, Acts 15:1-21.
New Member Class
Join us after worship on Sunday, February 10th for a new member class. (We’ll meet in classroom 101, after you grab some coffee and snacks from fellowship time.) Come learn about what it means to join a church, and what it means to join First UMC in particular. You’ll hear about our discipleship plan: Meet Jesus, Follow Jesus, Serve Jesus, and learn about where you fit in. If you are interested in membership but can’t stay on 2/10, please speak to Pastor Beth.
Mission Trip Join us Thursday, February 21-Saturday, February 23 for a Mini-Mission trip to Syracuse, NY. We’ll depart from the church at 3pm on Thursday, eat dinner in Syracuse, and head to The ROAD, a UMC faith community in Syracuse. We’ll make sandwiches to hand out the next day, make some cards, and hear about the work of the work The ROAD does. On Friday, we’ll deliver cards, hand out sandwiches, and then head to the Mission Central HUB at the Upper New York Conference offices. There, we’ll help put together and double check all kinds of kits that go to disaster relief. We’ll do this again on Saturday morning, and then eat lunch and head home. We’ll return to Gouverneur mid-afternoon on Saturday. You’ll need sleeping bags, work clothes and warm clothes, bibles and toiletries, and money for 3 meals – two dinners and one lunch. If food money is a challenge, please speak to Pastor Beth. We’re looking for folks who are willing to drive as well. All ages are welcome, but children 10 and under will need a parent or designated guardian with them. Interested? RSVP to the church office, and we’ll make sure to get you more information and a permission slip for participants under age 18.
Join us for a 6 week study on Wednesday evenings at 6pm now through the end of February. We’re reading a book together called Holy Contradictions that will help us prepare our hearts and spirits as The United Methodist Church prepares to make some decisions around same-sex relationships, LGBTQ inclusion, and the church in February. We hope you can join us!
This year we will be coming together to prepare for and present The Song Everlasting … to bring our community together and help prepare our hearts for Easter. Practices start on Sunday February 17 at 3pm. This is an early alert so that as many of you as can and would like will set the times aside to be part of the effort. The Song Everlasting is a sacred cantata based on early American songs. All activities will be at 1st UMC. Please invite folks to come sing. Your reaching out to someone is what is most likely to encourage them to give it a try. Please spread the word to those in other churches or families or communities. There are no auditions … all high school students and adults are welcome! We will be joined by a chamber orchestra (6 instruments) and a narrator, and will be accompanied on piano. If you plan to come, it would be helpful if you could let me know so that I will have enough music available. But . . . .most importantly. . . . .come! Give me a call or send me a message if I can help with any questions. All the best in our Jesus, Don Schuessler
Rip it is a ministry of First UMC that gathers several times each week for exercise and fellowship. There are days with toning, high cardio and Thursdays have a class with modifications for those who need them or are new to exercising. Everyone is welcome, you may join at any time. Hours vary by day of the week, Call the office for this week’s hours.
The office is open from 9-1 on weekdays. We are looking for volunteers to cover the office on days that Tina, our secretary, is out. Your responsibilities would be to answer the phone, get the mail and greet any visitors while she is away. If this sounds like a way you would like to serve, please contact the office.
On Friday each week, we prepare and serve a home cooked meal to the senior citizens of our community. Meals can be eaten in fellowship hall or are delivered to locations in town. We can always use help. If you would like more information about volunteering or would like a lunch please call the church office.
The Blessing Box is outside the Key Bank church entrance. This box is meant to provide non-perishable food items and toiletries for folks with an immediate need. “Take what you need, give what you can”, and share the word if you know of someone who needs a little boost. You may add items to the box at any time, if the box is full you may drop off items at the church office to replenish when supplies are low. During the winter months please only place items in the box that will not freeze such as cereal, rice, beans, granola bars, and boxed dinners.
We have been talking about our bus trip for a while now. It is not too late to sign up, however it is on a first come first serve basis. So sign up soon. On October 2nd-4th 2019 we have the opportunity to travel by motor-coach to enjoy a time of Christian fellowship as we journey to the Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster, PA to see the performance JESUS. We will spend 3 days and 2 nights exploring Lancaster County and the Amish Country side and enjoy a live performance of Jesus at the Millennium Theater. Package includes:2 nights lodging, 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners family style, the live performance, stops at Amish Craft Farm and Bake Shop, Kitchen Kettle Village, Lil’ Country Store and Miniature Horse Farm. Taxes and gratuities Cost is $350 per person. Flyers and details are available from the office. (315)287-2440. This is open to all. The trip is being planned for 40 travelers. Payment plans are available.
Gouverneur Neighborhood Center Volunteer Opportunities
Did you know that the Neighborhood Center can accept donations? They also can especially use donations of ready-to-eat foods and snacks. Please bring these or other items to the church and place them in the donation bin anytime. They are also looking for one or two volunteers on every other Wednesday morning to help unload the truck from the Food Bank. Can you help? Please contact the church office if you are interested in serving in this way.
A Brief Update From The Finance Team
With the generous Christmas Eve offering we are able to give $551.00 each to the Gouverneur Kiwanis Backpack program, the ROAD new faith community (Syracuse) and mission projects in Ecuador. Thank you very much.
The Angel wings continue to bring in donations towards our monthly bills. We have received $940.00 towards several different bills to date. Thank you to all those who have participated.
We are very thankful for the estimate of giving cards that have been received to date. If you have not had a chance to fill out your estimate of giving card yet, you can obtain one at the church office or pick one up on the back table in the sanctuary.
Our Treasurer, Vicky Reed, has been able to prepare the budget for 2019 and we are eager to see where the New Year takes us.
The Finance Committee: Jackie Prashaw (Chair), Vicky Reed, Heather Bowman, Stephen Jadlocki, Don Schuessler, Glenda Schuessler, Dan Kingsley, Dayle Burgess, Bob Buddenhagen, Cadie Hockenbary and Pastor Elizabeth Quick