On Wednesday, Setember 6th, at 7PM, South Meriden Trinity United Methodist Church will host a 20-30-minute prayer vigil in support of Hurricane Harvey victims and relief workers. Everyone in our community and in our neighboring houses of worship are invited to attend. After the prayer vigil, there will be an information session on how our United Methodist Committee On Relief (www.umcor.org/UMCOR) and other organizations are planning their responses,, and a discussion of how our local community may best respond at this time. You are all welcome to attend and/or contribute to this vigil and planning session, and encouraged to invite others.
Further information about this event will be shared via our Web site's news feed/newsletter as we formulate more detailed plans. Our initial positing of information on UMCOR's planned responses is here:
If you would like to contribute information or leadership to our response or our prayer vigil, contact Pastor John Blossom at 203.293.8511, firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you may be aware, the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church established a "Commission on a Way Forward" to help define the agenda for a special General Conference to be held in 2019. This special General Conference will focus on how the church organizes itself in relation to differing and deeply held convictions regarding church doctrine on human sexuality and related matters.
The following video provides a slide presentation with "bullet points" describing the commission's progress to date. It ends with a short video of prominent UMC author and Pastor Ed Berlin describing how Jesus' parable of the vine in John 15 may reflect how we can move forward as a global church that incorporates a wide array of cultural outlooks under a common umbrella of powerful and transformational missions, shaped by Wesleyan theology.
Hurricane Harvey's destruction in Texas and Louisiana is far from over, and now Hurricane Irma is bearing down on the Caribbean and Florida, but already the United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) is swinging into action in these disaster areas through our local conferences and our global support teams. The latest update from UMCOR on Hurricane Harvey highlights a few areas in which we can act as a church to help the millions of people affected by this storm and its aftermath:
We celebrated God's family of the future today in our worship, and got ready tor a new week of discipleship dedicated to becoming God's family in a changing world. Audio and slides from Pastor John's sermon, prayers, and sending messages is below on the podcast (sorry for the loud hymns after the sermon, got in there by accident!), and the text from the sermon is here and below.
This week's lectionary readings: Old Testament: Exodus 3:1-15, Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b, New Testament: Matthew 16:21-28 Romans 12:9-21. Come early to discuss them in our new Lectionary study group, 9.15 AM, staring on September 17th. Have a blessed week!
Take a ride into the future of God's family! Hmm, does it look more like the future of Moses and the Israaelites than the Jetsons? Come celebrate faith and our community this Sunday, August 27th at 10AM, as Pastor John guides us through "The Family of the Future" in his sermon. Key scripture readings this week: Romans 12:1-8 and Exodus 1:8-2:10. Stay for fellowship afterwards, when we'll have our second "Pastor's Circle" discussing how we tell our story as a church. See you soon!
What's better than a great bowl of chili, with fixin's, salad, tortilla chips and cornbread? Well, maybe some things are better, but it will be hard to beat the chance to judge some great chilis at South Meriden Trinity UMC's 3rd Annual Chili Cookoff. Come to eat at 5PM, on Saturday, 23rd in our fellowship hall, and judge which dishes get the top prizes!
Entrance fee for enjoying and judging the cookoff is $10 - same fee for entering your chili into the contest! Proceeds benefit the local and global mission of the church. Help spread the word - a printable poster is here and below. For more information, contact Charlene at 203.639.1487.
You may have noticed some laminated cards on the table in the back of our church. You might have also noticed that Pastor John encourages us to read what's on them out loud when we have church meetings or discussions. These are "rules for Holy Conversations" - eight simple guidelines that we can all use in our lives to love God with all of our heart and mind and strength, and to love everyone as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).
"Holy Conferencing" has been a tradition in the Methodist movement since the days of its founder John Wesley, and it is an important tool today for our Annual Conference and General Conference session meetings. Wesley's approach was to treat every conversation between Christians as a means of receiving and offering God's grace to one another - and to anyone who needs to be touched by Christ, whether believers or not.
While using these ground rules for conversations is an important way to treat one another in a Christ-like manner in our church, the "rules for Holy Conversations" can help you in ANY conversation that you have: at home, at work, while shopping, on the street - wherever you encounter someone, there's an opportunity to treat someone as we would want Christ to treat us.
Tips for using Holy Conversation rules
1. Every person is a child of God. God doesn't make junk! When you speak to someone, remember that they are a creation of God, and much loved by God, no matter how much they may struggle to be lovable at times - just as God tries to do for you!
2. Listen before speaking.. You probably heard this when you were growing up: "God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason." Well, it's true! If we're too busy thinking about what we want to say to others, then we may not be hearing what God is saying to us through others - especially when we need to hear how someone is in pain, or has real needs that we may overlook in our eagerness to get our needs met.
3. Strive to understand from another’s point of view. We have only two eyes that see things from one point of view. How can we respond to another's point of view until we appreciate that a child of God sees things from a different perspective, whether we agree with it or not? If we struggle to appreciate another's point of view, it could be a sign that there's something inside of us that we need to accept more deeply from God's perspective.
4. Strive to reflect accurately the views of others. When we disagree with another person's point of view, or we're upset by it, it's sometimes tempting to distort or exaggerate their point of view. If we are to love our enemies, and pray for our persecutors (Matthew 5:44), then we must accept that fear of our enemies is our greatest enemy. If we are speaking the truth with love about what they say (Ephesians 4:15), then we can help to drive out the same fear from their hearts, through God's grace working in us.
5. Disagree without being disagreeable..There is nothing wrong about not agreeing with others - in fact, sometimes it's the only way that we learn things about another point of view. We can say something about an opposing viewpoint, perhaps even clarify it once, and then know that we've had out point of view expressed, and not have to hurt others - our ourselves - with hurtful and drawn-out arguments or exchanges. Remember the old saying: "Let go, and Let God!"
6. Speak about issues; do not defame people. Someone may be right or wrong about a particular issue from your perspective, but that doesn't mean that we should make them wrong as human beings based on their viewpoint on an issue. We are all sinners in need of God's grace, and the person who we are tempted to defame might just be the one whose help we need very much to save us from falling from grace at another time. Remember Jesus' command to the adulterer who he saved from being stoned: "Go, and sin no more." (John 8:10-11). Drop you own stones, and remember God's mercy for you in Christ, first and foremost!
7. Pray, in silence or aloud, before decisions. Our thoughts AND our emotions can drive us towards a course of action based on our will, and not God's will - more often than we may think! You'll notice in the Bible that Jesus, his disciples, and may other people prayed often, and together where possible, before making important decisions (see Acts 1:21-26). I have seen many, many meetings where a moment of prayer before a final decision or a vote brought God's grace into the room, and peace to the decision makers.
8. Let prayer interrupt your busy-ness. In spite of our best efforts, we can get tired, frustrated, or pre-occupied with what we're trying to accomplish. The clock ticks - but God's time is not our time! Even in the middle of his most busy times - and, often, especially, then - Jesus made it a point to use prayer to interrupt his busy activities, so that the power of God's grace could be seen at work in him most powerfully (see Matthew 14:22-23). There are very few moments in life that cannot benefit from a moment of prayer - especially those when we think that we cannot wait for our own will to be done! A moment of prayer can allow people to heal in God's loving presence, and offer people God's grace to move forward in more peace.
Will any of us use these rules perfectly? Of course not! That's why we are God's church - we are here to grow in God's grace, a day at a time, a person at a time, as God transforms us into people who become more perfect by God's standards, not our standards. Grace is a journey, not a destination, and hopefully these simple rules can help us to grow in that journey of grace, together, in the image of God's perfect love for creation in Christ.
Pick up a card any time you visit the church - try them out, and share them with friends and family! Ask Pastor John for guidance if you need it. May they bless your conversations with everyone!
We all have complicated family ties, just as Jesus did as he tried to make the world the family of love that God wanted. A Canaanite woman challenged Jesus and his disciples to remember how important unity is when we provide mercy and love - because we all need crumbs of mercy from God's table.Key scripture verse: Matthew 15:22-33, Audio for Sunday's announcements, sermon, prayers, offertory and charge to keep are on the link below (no slides this week due to technical problems), and a printable version of the sermon text is below and here.
How merciful is God? So merciful, that no matter how much we may fear being rejected, God is ready to respond with healing for hearts that are opened without reservation to God. Come to worship this Sunday to celebrate with joy our saving God, and listen to Pastor John's sermon "Family Ties." Key scriptures for this week are Matthew 15:21-28 and Genesis 45:1-5..
Pastor John Blossom put on his storm gear as the sounds and sights of a dangerous night on the Sea of Galilee came to life in his sermon, "Get in the Boat," based on Matthew 14:22-33's story of the disciples struggling to stay alive in a tiny boat as Peter walked with Jesus on the water. Audio and slides from our announcements, the sermon, our prayers and our sending charge are in the podcast below. Printable text of Pastor John's sermon are viewable below under the podcast, and can be downloaded here.
Our Sunday bulletin now has discussion questions that relate to each week's sermon and lectionary Bible readings, and lists the readings for the upcoming week. In the fall, we still start a discipleship BIble study group on Sundays based on these questions and readings. See Pastor John for details and to join the leadership of this discipleship study group. Have a blessed week!
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