Dear St. Matthew’s Church Family,
Last Saturday, I was one of the approximately 75 people who participated in the Spring Service Day. Thankfully, the bad weather that was forecast earlier in the week did not materialize and we were able to go out and serve God in a variety of locations in our community. Many thanks to everyone who served. I went with a group of about 20 children, youth, and adults to do some work at Weyanoke Elementary School. As I’ve said before, I’m very proud of the partnership we have with Weyanoke and I’m grateful for St. Matthew’s long-term commitment to blessing the students and families served by the school. God is honored when we share our faith in our words and our actions. This is what it means to be Easter people!
You will be able to read more about the Service Day in the May edition of St. Matthew’s newsletter, but today I want to tell you about the conversation I had with Tina Skorski, one of Weyanoke’s counselors. (Tina, along Felicia Usher, the principal, were at the school on Saturday as we were working.) As the project was winding down on Saturday, Tina was telling me how much she appreciates the partnership between the church and the school. She said that whenever she talks with other school counselors about our partnership, the other counselors ask her how their school “can get a church like that.” She described the impact of the 60 P3 supplemental food-packs that we send them every month, which she sends home on weekends with the kids that need them most. She sang the praises of several members of the church who show up on a regular basis to serve as mentors and resources for the teachers and staff. It is clear that our support is making a difference. (If you want to get involved at Weyanoke, you can help us support their Book Fair later this month. There will be information about it in this week’s worship bulletin.)
It is also clear to me that St. Matthew’s Children and Youth are some of the church’s most faithful ambassadors. Part of the Service Day project at Weyanoke was to clean-up an interior courtyard that had fallen into disrepair. (You’ll see before and after photos in the newsletter next month.) The courtyard now looks great and includes brand new benches that were purchased with funds raised by St. Matthew’s Children. (In the past few months, they have raised about $800 for Weyanoke and $1,100 for UMCOR!) This is a powerful testimony to how St. Matthew’s is changing lives in our church and community.
Next week, St. Matthew’s Youth will be holding their annual Pink Elephant rummage sale to raise funds for summer mission projects. I hope you’ve been paying attention to the announcements asking for donations and will plan to come on April 21 to look for treasures and support the Youth. This week’s announcement email has all the details. Through the Appalachia Service Project and Jeremiah Project, our Youth impact hundreds of lives every year and your support makes it possible.
I mentioned on Sunday morning and I want to say it one more time: many thanks to everyone who supported the 2018 Lent Offering. Just over $11,800 were collected to support our covenant missionaries, Clara Biswas and Becky Parsons, and Wesley Housing. Through the ministries supported by this offering, God is changing lives in our own community and around the world. Thank you for your generosity.
Last, but not least, on Sunday morning (April 15), we will start a new sermon series called The Greatest Commandment. Once, Jesus was asked the following question: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”In response, he said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”(Matthew 22:37-39) I hope you’ll join us for both messages in this two-sermon series as we learn more about what it means to be followers of Jesus who obey The Greatest Commandment. The first message is: Love God. The Scripture readings will be Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and Matthew 22:36-40.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.