Dear St. Matthew’s Church Family,
To start with, I want to encourage you to join us for worship on Sunday. Our newly appointed Associate Pastor, Reverend Nickie Moreno Howard, will share her first sermon with the St. Matthew’s Church family. Her message is entitled, Good Dirt, and the Scripture readings will be Luke 8:1-8 and Luke 9:1-6. I am grateful for the way you have welcomed Nickie and Christian and I know that you will want to hear her message as we continue to get to know her. She will be sharing the same message at all three services.
When you arrive on Sunday, you will see decorations all around the church building in preparation for next week’s Vacation Bible School (VBS). Starting on Monday morning, the church will be filled with the sounds of children singing and dancing, playing games, eating snacks, watching videos, and most importantly learning about the ways we experience God’s saving gracing through Jesus. This year’s VBS theme is Shipwrecked and kids will be learning Bible stories and songs, about how Jesus rescues us!
We expect to have close to 200 children participating in VBS and KAMP (a mission program for 5thand 6thgraders). It takes a large and dedicated team to prepare for and lead this program, but it is definitely worth the effort. A large percentage of the families that participate in VBS and KAMP do not regularly participate in St. Matthew’s ministry throughout the year. Through VBS and KAMP we have an opportunity to welcome new families and help them experience St. Matthew’s hospitality and learn about Jesus. I’m grateful for the hard work of Carrie Schwab, Christine Moser, Sarah Harrison, Mandy Lloyd, and the entire VBS/KAMP staff. Please keep these programs in your prayers-and pray for the children and the families that will be joining us.
Tomorrow afternoon, our Appalachia Service Project team will be returning from a week of service in Harlan County, KY. I know you will join me in praying for their safe travels. Over the past five days, seven (7) teams of youth and adults from St. Matthew’s and Woodlawn-Faith UMC’s have been making homes warmer, safer, and dryer (which is the goal of ASP). We often take safe and secure housing for granted, but many people in our own community, throughout the United States, and around the world do not share our experiences. I believe that God calls us to share the blessings we enjoy with people who need our help. That’s why our partnerships with the Appalachia Service Project, the Jeremiah Project,* FACETS (which serves homeless and home-insecure persons in our own community and coordinates the hypothermia prevention shelter ministry), and Weyanoke Elementary School are so vitally important. I’m proud of St. Matthew’s commitment to these ministries and believe that we experience the life-changing power of God’s love and grace for ourselves when we serve others.
Thank you for all that you do in Jesus’ name. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
*Our Jeremiah Project team will be leaving for a week of service in the Front Royal/Winchester area on July 22.