Dear St. Matthew’s Church Family,
I hope you are doing well this week. I have several items to tell you about today.
General Conference Town Hall – Sunday at 4:00pm
On Sunday afternoon (January 27) at 4:00pm St. Matthew’s is hosting a town hall to learn more about the upcoming called session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (which will take place February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis.) Rev. Dr. Rob Vaughn and Mrs. Courtney Fowler will brief us on the plans that are coming before General Conference and helps us understand the potential consequences of the decisions that might be made. Rob and Courtney are both delegates to General Conference. Rob is a pastor in the Virginia Conference and Courtney is a lay delegate for 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 they have to say and hope you will plan to join us.
Help During Government Shutdown
St. Matthew’s has a number of families affected by the government shutdown, along with many others in our community. I want to make you aware of two resources that are available for people in the church and community who might be in need of some assistance. The first is St. Matthew’s Walk-In Ministry (which provides emergency assistance for members of our community.) The second is an offer from The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU).
• Financial Assistance – St. Matthew’s Church is committed to helping people in our church and community during the government shutdown. Our Walk-In Ministry has designated extra funds to assist individuals and families in need. Persons who are furloughed or working without pay for the Federal Government can receive assistance with rent, bills and utilities on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00-11:00 am. St. Matthew’s members who are experiencing financial difficulty due to the Government Shutdown may speak, confidentially, with me or Pastor Nickie to receive assistance. Don’t forget that you can support the Walk-In Ministry by donating to the Joy Fund (mark “Joy Fund” on your check) or using text-to-give code “Joy.”
• Credit Union Loans – The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU) is offering loans to Federal Government Employees that may need paycheck replacement during the current shutdown. Loan amounts are based on the member’s monthly pay prior to the shutdown. Loans have a 0% APR during the shutdown, and are available up to a maximum of $5,000. Applicants must be eligible for TUMCU membership or a current member. (Members of United Methodist Churches and their immediate families – spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, or grandchild – including adoptive and marriage relationships are eligible to join TUMCU.
o Applicants must provide a shutdown letter and verification of income at the time of application.
o Once the shutdown has ended and paychecks have been restored, loan repayment is due within 30 days. If the loan is unpaid after 30 days, it will be converted to a 12-month interest bearing loan at 9.25% APR. Credit terms and conditions apply.
o Contact TUMCU at 866-657-0004 to apply or for more details.
Current and Future Sermon Series
We will conclude or Finding Joy in an Anxious Worldsermon series on Sunday morning. The final message is simply entitled Pray and is based on Psalm 25:1-10 and Philippians 4:4-9. What Paul (the writer of the letter to the Philippians) teaches us by his words and his example is that we find joy when we have a meaningful relationship with God. The Bible says, and we know from our own experience, that our relationship with God is nurtured when we spend time with God in prayer. The message will give you some food for thought so that you can take the next steps in your relationship with God.
Looking ahead, we’ll be starting a new sermon series on February 3. It’s called, A Reluctant Servant: Lessons from the Life of Jonah. The Old Testament story of Jonah goes back many centuries, but its lessons are very relevant for our lives today. Like Jonah, we hesitate to respond to God’s call. Sometimes we run away. Like Jonah, we find ourselves angry with God, yet God never gives up on us. Over the four weeks of this series, we will let Jonah’s experience teach us as we answer and obey God’s call to serve God’s purposes in the world.
Mission and Service Opportunities
Finally, we have two upcoming opportunities to serve and bless our neighbors. First, as is St. Matthew’s tradition, our Junior High Youth will be collecting food items and financial donations for the Souper Bowl of Caring on February 3. The food items will go to the Ken Jackson Food Closet and the money will go to Food for Others to support their food distribution programs. As you can imagine, our food ministries are in great demand right now. Please plan to participate. Second, St. Matthew’s will be partnering with FACETS to host the hypothermia prevention shelter from February 17 to February 24. Here is the link to sign-up to help. Sign-up soon so that you won’t miss this opportunity to honor God by serving people in need.