Dear St. Matthew’s Church Family,
I hope you are doing well this week. I have several items to share with you today.
Inclement Weather Preparations
As you are already aware, snow is in the forecast for Saturday evening and Sunday. As of this writing (Friday morning) the timing and amount of the snow is still uncertain, but we will be watching closely. I hope we will have all events as scheduled, if winter weather affects Sunday morning worship services or Sunday School classes, we will make decisions about schedule changes by 7:00am. We will announce the changes on our website and social media. We will also send out a special eNote with details about the changed schedule. Please use good judgment and be very careful if you venture out and don’t forget that our worship services are live streamed (audio only) through our website if you are not able to join us.
On a related note, St. Matthew’s Trustees contract for snow removal in the church parking lot, but the contract does not include the sidewalks. That means that we rely on volunteers to make sure the sidewalks are clear of snow and ice, making them safe for church services, events, programs, and the weekday school. There is a dedicated team of folks who have agreed to help when needed, but they can use more hands (and shovels and snow blowers.) If you are willing to come and help, please contact Manley Higgins at (571) 970-7540 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your willingness to serve.
Current Sermon Series
On Sunday, we’ll be continuing our January sermon series about Finding Joy in an Anxious World. In the first message I said that joy is one aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit and is a precious gift from God. This means that if we are not experiencing the fullness of joy that the Bible describes, we are probably getting in the way of what God’s Spirit is doing in our lives. One of the ways we will find joy in these anxious times is by identifying and removing everything that interferes with what God is doing in us – and in the world around us.
The second message in the series will be about one of the primary ways we interfere with God’s Spirit and thwart God’s purposes: worry. What we’ll discover in this week’s sermon is that Jesus is very clear in his teaching. He says, “Do Not Worry.” He insists that if we focus our lives on what God is doing and trust God, we will experience and enjoy the presence of God. The Scripture readings will be Luke 12:22-31 and Luke 21:34-36.
I know from my own experience the powerful consequences of worry. It can paralyze us and negatively affect our lives in many ways. Obeying Jesus’ “do not worry” command is not easy, and while I don’t have all of the answers, I know that this is relevant topic, especially for individuals and families who are impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. If you are in that situation, I want you to know that I am praying for you and am available if you want to talk or vent or need help talking through your options. Please contact me if there is anything I can do to help.
General Conference Town Hall
One of the sources of anxiety and worry for many people in The United Methodist Church is the upcoming called session of the General Conference, which will take place February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis. In previous eNotes, I have shared some information and links to the plans being considered. (This is a good place to start: www.vaumc.org/GC2019.) If you are interested in learning more about what General Conference will be considering and potential consequences of the decisions, I hope you will attend a Town Hall session at St. Matthew’s on Sunday January 27 at 4:00pm in the sanctuary. I have invited Rev. Dr. Rob Vaughn and Mrs. Courtney Fowler to share information and answer questions. Rob and Courtney are both delegates to General Conference. Rob is a pastor in the Virginia Conference and Courtney is a lay delegate in the Great Plains Conference. Courtney and her family moved to Northern Virginia in 2017 and have been attending St. Matthew’s. I look forward to hearing what Rob and Courtney have to say and hope you will plan to join us.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.