Happy New Year!
Happy 2018! As we begin the new year, I have been thinking back over the last year, and it has been a great year here at Port Church. 2017 was so full that it is hard to remember everything that has happened, but there are many highlights. We completed the fundraising for and restoration of our oldest stained glass window over the summer, and it is beautiful beyond what we knew before. We hosted a fantastic Vacation Bible School for 200 children, kicking it off with an amazing party and worship service featuring potter Barbara Chalfant. We offered Financial Peace classes in the spring and fall for a total of 12 families. We gathered for fun and fellowship on two paint nights and two game nights. We confirmed six youth and welcomed a new member who rededicated her life to Christ. We sent six flood buckets off to help with hurricane relief and distributed 36 kits to the homeless in our community. We met our financial goals to grow our support of world missions and of the work of conference and denomination. It has been a good year to be a part of Port Church!
2018 is shaping up to be another great year! Plans are underway to celebrate our 225th anniversary with a fun day of events. We expect the work on the back stairs to be started in March once the cold has passed enough to make it possible to complete the work in a timely fashion (we had hoped to complete this in 2017, but delays have caused to push back the completion until the early spring). We expect to continue the work of protecting and beautifying our stained glass windows by installing new covers this year. Plans are beginning for our Vacation Bible School "Shipwrecked" tentatively scheduled for June 25-29 - look for more info to come on our first planning meeting to be a part of the fun. May 2018 be a year of blessings for our congregation and for each of you!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
To the Horizon: Destination Broken Heart (Mark 10:13-16)
With the new year comes the tradition of making resolutions, but many of us have grown jaded about them knowing that we will not stick with them. Yet the idea of new year's resolutions has a point. As we reflect on the past year, the year to come, and where we are in life, we realize that there is a gap between who we are and who we want to be. There is a gap between where we are in our lives and where we wish we were. We want to become better versions of ourselves and improve our situations - this is a good thing! This is true of our lives as a whole and also our faith lives. We are called to go on to perfection (that is, to grow into a perfect love of God and neighbor) but most of us are not there yet. We want to follow Jesus more fully, but we have a hard time getting out the door sometimes. Over the coming weeks, we are going to explore our journey "To the Horizon: Following Jesus on the Adventure of a Lifetime."
So first off: when we follow Jesus, where are we headed? If we take the jump to close the gap between who we are and who we want to be as followers of Christ, what is the first destination on our horizon? Consider the story of Jesus' welcoming the little children into his midst. Why were people bringing their children to be blessed by Jesus? We can expect that they wanted the best for their children, for them to be blessed in a harsh world, for them to have hope for their lives. If a blessing from this man of God could make a difference, they were willing to try it. Yet the disciples protest this and try to send them away. Why? Perhaps because there were more important things - at least to them - to do. But Jesus welcomes the children and those who bring them. Why? I believe it is because Jesus saw these children and the desire of those bringing them to give them the best they could, and his heart broke for them. His heart broke for them, and a broken heart can lead to compassion, and compassion leads to action. When we follow Jesus, we are headed for a broken heart. When we join in God's work, our hearts will break for what breaks God's own heart. This is the first step each time we start a new stage in our adventure of following Jesus: a broken heart. This is not cheerful, warm, or fuzzy, but it is necessary because it is this brokenness within that compels to journey onward to a better future.
Pray over these questions this week: What is breaking God's heart today? What is breaking the hearts of those in our community? Will we go where our hearts will break too?
Building a Legacy
When we talk about money in church, we most often talk about how we earn money and what we do with what we earn: spend, save, or give. If we are able to save for the future, what then? How do we handle not just the money we earn but indeed the wealth we accumulate in a faithful way? How do we turn these blessings into a legacy of blessings for others? Beginning in February, Pastor Jim will lead Dave Ramsey's "The Legacy Journey" class. The seven-week class covers a variety of topics including investing, contentment, purposeful living, building a legacy, estate planning, and radical generosity. The cost is $50 per family for materials. Please let Pastor Jim know if you are interested in the class as soon as possible, so that we can find a meeting time that best fits everyone's schedule!
Working with At-Risk Children
Join us on January 17th for a simple meal followed by a workshop on working more effectively with at-risk children! The goal of the workshop is to offer more tools for those serving in our Wednesday at the Port, children's church, and other educational ministries with children and youth but is open to anyone interested in learning more. Please let Pastor Jim know by January 14th if you plan to attend and whether you need childcare during the workshop.
Living in Community
Please remember Bruce in your prayers on the loss of his father Emory at Christmas.
Thank you to everyone who donated gifts cards
as encouragement for the teachers at South River!
We collected 26 gift cards to deliver to the school this week!
Thank you to all of the leaders and servants of our church over the past year!
Through your dedication, we had a great year here at Port Church.
Blessings to our new and continuing ministry teams in this new year!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, January 10
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Thursday, January 11
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
7:00 pm - Staff-Parish Relations Committee
Sunday, January 14
9:30 am - Worship with Communion: "To the Horizon: Leaving the Harbor"
11:00 am - Sunday School
Monday, January 15
9:30 am - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Tuesday, January 16
7:00 pm - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Working with At-risk Children Workshop - January 17th, 6 pm
Paint Night - January 19th, 6 pm
Wednesday at the Port resumes January 24th
Game Night - January 28th, 7 pm
Vacation Bible School tentatively scheduled for June 25-29
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!