Update on Social Hall/Office Entrances Repair
As most of you know, we have been making plans for several months now to repair the stairs that lead to the office entrance while making the social hall entrance more accessible. We had originally hoped that this work would be completed in December, but delays meant we have had to postpone the work. A window of opportunity has opened up for us to begin the work next week with plans to complete it within about a month. By moving forward with the project now with contractors more available, the project should be completed in a shorter time frame than if we were to wait until later in the spring to start.
We recognize that this time window comes just as we are beginning our winter session of Wednesday at the Port and that the work will make it more difficult for those volunteering and attending to get in and out of the social hall. We regret the inconvenience but know that this project will make it much easier in the long term for everyone wanting to attend any of our events in the social hall and safer for those entering the building through the office door.
In the meantime, we will be opening the entrance at the bottom of the stairs in the middle of the building for Wednesdays beginning next week (January 31st). This leads through the supply closet into the social hall. For those who may have difficulty navigating those steps, we are reserving the parking spots in the back lot near the kitchen door and will have people available to assist on the three steps leading to that door.
I, along with our Trustees, are thankful of your faithful support that has made this project possible and appreciate your patience and grace as we work through the challenges of completing this repair that will greatly improve access to our building. If you have any concerns, please feel free to talk with me, and together we will work through this time. Also, I want you to join me in thanking our Trustees (Lauren, Keith, Davida, Dave, Bob, Jennifer, Perry, and Randy) for all the work they do maintaining and improving our wonderful church building!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
To the Horizon: Navigating the Way (Matthew 16:13-19)
As his disciples, Jesus asks us to turn our lives over to him, to let our lives be changed and transformed, and to sacrifice our own desires for the sake of others. When Jesus comes calling us to follow him further in the journey of faith, it can be overwhelming to think about where he leads us. How could we possibly make it there? It brings to mind the old Celtic prayer: O God, be good to me, for the sea is so large, and my boat is so small. Whom we follow makes all the difference in our ability to navigate the way.
Simon Peter had been following Jesus for a while when Jesus posed the question: "Who do people say I am?" The disciples responded with the names of famous prophets. Jesus turned the question on them, "Who do you say I am?" Simon alone answered, "You are the Messiah, the son of the Living God." Simon offered more than just a correct theological answer - he gave a personal one. Jesus was the fulfillment of his hope, his parents' hopes, the hope of so many generations. Jesus praises his answer but does not end there. Jesus had asked who the disciples thought he was, but he now told Simon who Simon was: "You are Peter (petros in Greek), and on this rock (petra in Greek) I will build my church." Jesus then lays out the overwhelming task of authority that would be given to Peter as the leader of his church. One of the things to note here is the difference in the words for Peter and rock - petros was a smaller rock, while petra was solid bedrock. Some interpret this to belittle Simon Peter, but Jesus goes on to build up Peter so this does not seem to be his meaning. Jesus says to Simon, you are a little rock, and on this bedrock I will build my church. I believe that Jesus is telling Peter that while he is still a small rock now he is on the journey to becoming great in the work of Jesus. It would be overwhelming to hear that you would receive the fullness of Jesus' authority in his absence, but Jesus acknowledges this for Peter - you are small, but you will be great, all because of the small act of faith of naming Jesus as Messiah. After all, small things matter to Jesus. He is the one who notices the widow giving two small coins. He is the one who anoints a leader based on a few small words. He is the one that told a story about those who are faithful in small things being faithful in a lot (the opposite of how our trust works in this world). We follow Jesus in a big way by doing small, faithful things. There is no shame in the small acts of faith. Who do people say that we are? People may look at the church today and see it as irrelevant, unimportant, focused only on small things, and delusional if we take on big things in small ways. Who we say that Jesus is and who he says we are - little rocks built upon generation of bedrock all following the one who has called us - makes all the difference in the world! Who do we say that Jesus is? Who does he say we are? How does this affect how we follow him?
Game Night This Sunday
This Sunday evening is game night at Port Church! Join us at 7 pm for a simple, fun game for all ages - the dice game Hearts (not to be confused with the card game). It is easy enough to learn for preschoolers and fun for everyone. We hope to see you there!
The Legacy Journey
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 on Sunday evenings. 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 by this Sunday if you are interested.
Time with the Bishop
Bishop Lewis is coming to meet with the churches of the Harrisonburg, Winchester, Staunton, and Charlottesville Districts this Saturday morning from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm at Verona UMC. The morning will open with teaching by the Bishop at 9 followed by small group discussions at 9:30 and preaching by the Bishop at 11:30. The time with the Bishop will conclude with lunch at 12:30 for the first 300 folks. The topic of conversation will focus on how we can be united in mission and ministry in the midst of the diverse church today. No registration required.
Living in Community
Please keep Bob and his family in your prayers upon the loss of his sister Marla.
Thanks to everyone who came out for our Paint Night!
A special thanks to Lee for organizing it!
We will plan another night for the spring so look for more details to come!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, January 24
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Thursday, January 25
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Saturday, January 27
8:30 am - Chat and Chew with the Bishop at Verona UMC
Sunday, January 28
9:30 am - Worship: "To the Horizon: Facing the Storms"
11:00 am - Sunday School
7:00 pm - Game Night
Monday, January 29
9:30 am - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Tuesday, January 30
7:00 pm - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Vacation Bible School Meeting - February 4, 12 pm
225th Anniversary Planning Meeting - February 11, 12 pm
Ash Wednesday Service, February 14, 7 pm
VBS 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!