Below is my weekly email to the Tonganoxie UMC congregation. I share it here so that others can keep in touch with what the church is up to. Let me know if you’d like to be added to the list to receive the note weekly.
Dear Tonganoxie UMC Family,
Last night the Clinger house was filled with the energy of 13 youth, a couple of younger kids and 6 adults who gathered together for the youth group’s Christmas party. There was a ton of great food, fun games and some silly presents as well. It was a great time and a real joy to host in our home!
I know that this weekend and next week have the potential to be incredibly busy for many of you, but I have several exciting things to share this morning and hope that you’ll take a few minutes today or tomorrow to read through this note.
A Church With Purpose
As a United Methodist Church our mission is that of the denomination, “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” This fall, as we worked through our series of small group gatherings and our retreat it became clear that our ministry together would benefit from a clear and defined sense of purpose to guide us in living out that mission. Last Sunday at charge conference a statement of purpose was adopted to provide us with such a guide. You will hear more about this in the coming days and weeks, but I wanted to introduce you to it here this morning. Tonganoxie United Methodist Church exists to be “A community of faith inviting all to know God’s love, connecting with each other, growing in our faith, and serving the community and the world.” The keys here are four words that I would like us all to begin to really internalize – inviting, connecting, growing and serving.
Invite Friends, Family, Neighbors
This Sunday morning we are going to be blessed with several great opportunities to prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas. Next Saturday is Christmas Eve and next Sunday is Christmas morning. In addition to wonderful opportunities for worship, the next ten days include many great opportunities for inviting people to experience God in our community.
I’d like for you to consider sending an email to friends or family members or neighbors who might not have a place where they plan to worship in the coming days. You can cut and paste what is below and of course, feel free to amend this language to fit your situation.
I attend Tonganoxie United Methodist Church and would like to invite you to consider joining me sometime in the next week or so. This is such a crazy time of year with so much going on, but I have found that taking the time to be in worship really helps me center and focus on the things that are most important in life. I think you would enjoy the opportunity to worship with us and would love to have you join me. This Sunday, the 18th, is a day full of special music. Our 8:30 service will be a special service of Lessons and Carols, at 9:30 we are going to have a special children’s music program, and our choir will present their Cantata at the 10:30 service. We also have two special worship services planned for Christmas Eve, one at 7pm and another at 11pm. On Christmas Day we are having a special worship celebration at 10am that will be a lighthearted and fun celebration of Christ’s birth. We will sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and even celebrate with some special cupcakes. I’d love to have you join me for any of these worship opportunities.
Sign the email as you’d sign any note to this friend and personalize it as much as you’d like. Remember, we don’t invite people to the church for the sake of the church, we invite people to the church because we believe that they will benefit from encountering God in our community of faith.
If you’re on facebook I would also invite you to consider following the link below and clicking on “share” underneath the picture. You will be able to add a personalized note or invitation and the information about our worship opportunities will appear on your profile.
Clingers’ Open House
Sunday afternoon Heather and Hannah and I are hosting a Christmas Open House at the parsonage from 4-7pm. We simply desire to provide a time to welcome you to our home and to share in some food and conversation. You are welcome to come when you can and leave when you must.
Souper Bowl Challenge
Our congregation has been challenged by McLouth UMC to a little competitive mission project in January and early February. We will be competing to see which congregation can collect the greatest number of cans of soup for local hunger projects as a part of the Souper Bowl of Caring. McLouth UMC has divided their congregation into teams for several years and held an internal competition, last year collecting some 3,300+ cans of food. This year they desire to see the event grow even larger and have chosen to challenge us to a competition. Susan Geiger has agreed to help lead our charge in responding to this challenge and there are already a number of exciting ideas circulating. If you’re interested in being a part of the planning of this project, an initial meeting is going to be held on Monday the 19th at 11am at the church. If you’re interested, but not available for that meeting you can send Susan a note.
It is an incredible gift and a joy to serve as your pastor. I look forward to sharing all of the special times in worship with you over the next 10 days as we prepare for and celebrate Christ’s birth and I am excited about our ministry together as we head into the future as “A community of faith inviting all to know God’s love, connecting with each other, growing in our faith, and serving our community and the world.”
Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you Sunday in worship!
Grace and Peace,