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Greetings! Here’s a long-overdue update from Pastor Emily!
They say that time flies when you’re having fun, so the past few months must have been an absolute blast! It’s been a busy fall:
- We did a couple of fun sermon series—one on the writings of Dr. Seuss and one on the Lord’s Prayer.
- We had charge conference and nominations committee, and we have a great slate of volunteers serving on all our committees next year!
- We’ve paid off our conference mission shares!
- We’ve participated in a number of local and global missions: we assisted with Meals on Wheels, we sent a cartload of donations to SENCA, we helped out with the Bloodmobile, and we packed flood buckets for UMCOR.
- We’ve been working on a capital campaign for the trustees.
- We had a successful Cookie Walk, and we’re getting ready to begin construction on our ADA bathroom later this winter!
- And now the Advent season is upon us! This is a time of waiting and anticipation as we prepare for the birth of Jesus Christ. We will be celebrating in a variety of ways at Auburn FUMC, beginning with our youth and children’s Christmas play on December 18th. During our 10:00 worship service, our youngest disciples will be presenting “Matt and Lucy’s Version Births”, which explores the differences between the nativity stories found in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. It’s a cute and heartwarming play, with lots of great music—you won’t want to miss it!
On Christmas Eve (Saturday, December 24th), we will have two worship services for you to choose between. We’ll have a casual family-oriented worship service at 4:00, and then there will be a traditional Christmas Eve service at 7:00 with choir and brass music. Both services will feature candlelight worship and Holy Communion. Come to one, or come to both! (Hey, I’ll be at each one!)
And then, on Christmas morning, we will be having our usual Sunday worship service at 10:00. Kids are welcome to come in their Christmas pajamas (adults can too, if they really want!), and we will celebrate Jesus’ birth with music, storytelling, and the baptism of one of our newest members!
I’m looking forward to celebrating this joyous season with all of you! Have a blessed Advent as we wait and worship together!
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My home is full of books. We are a literature-loving family, and if you were to catch a glimpse of our living room you would know it! We’ve got textbooks, philosophy books, novels, and newspapers. We have books about science fiction and books about 20th-century wars (those are Stephen’s.) We have biographies, books about religion and spirituality, and historical fiction (those are mine.) And of course, we have lots of children’s books! With a pint-sized bookworm whose vocabulary is rapidly expanding, we have an entire library of children’s classics—Goodnight Moon, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and of course, lots of Dr. Seuss!
Dr. Seuss is hands-down Evie’s favorite author at the moment….I’m pretty sure that I could read “Hop on Pop” or “Put Me in the Zoo” with my eyes closed! So it’s not surprising that Seuss has inspired my upcoming sermon series! We’re going to spend the next five weeks looking for Biblical messages in some of our favorite childhood stories, including:
September 4th: The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
September 11th: Green Eggs and Ham
September 18th: The Zax
September 25th: The Sneeches
October 2nd: Horton Hears a Who!
So what are you waiting for?!? Join us at Auburn FUMC for rhymes, laughter, and worship that will make you feel like a kid at heart!
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Grab your remotes and fire up your DVRs—the Olympics are coming! The 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony will commence on Friday evening at 6:00, and over the next few weeks athletes from around the world will compete in a wide variety of events. (Seriously, have you looked at the list of Olympic summer sports? They’ve got everything from archery to rugby, rhythmic gymnastics to golf, table tennis to water polo! There’s even a trampoline event!)
And while the international athletes are showing off their physical fitness, the people of Auburn First United Methodist Church will be focusing on spiritual fitness! Throughout the month of August, we will be flexing our spiritual muscles and learning about the heroes of the Old Testament in our Olympic-themed worship series: “Go For The Gold!” And make sure to bring the kids and grandkids—there will be fun Olympic games to play during children’s time!
GO FOR THE GOLD!
August 7th: Running the Race (Hebrews 11:29-12:1)
August 14th: Wrestling With God (Genesis 32:22-32)
August 21: Shotput—Good Things Come in Small Packages (1 Samuel 17)
August 28: Weightlifting—Be Strong in the Lord (Judges 13-16)
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But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. –Ruth 1:16b
Do you remember those senior class superlatives from your high school yearbook? The kids who were voted “Class Clown”, “Best Smile”, and “Most Likely to Succeed?” I didn’t earn any of these coveted titles when I was in high school—as a shy marching band geek in a school of over 2000 students, I wasn’t anywhere near the inner circle of popular kids who usually earned those honors! (Although when I was in 8th grade, I was elected “Class Bookworm” and I wore the title with pride!)
We like to honor the people who stand out from the crowd; the people who shine brightly and seem to “have it all.” But strangely enough, we don’t find too many of those shining stars in the Bible! To the contrary: the Bible is filled with underdogs and losers and nobodies! The pages of Scripture are full of outsiders and outcasts—and the really crazy thing is that in the end, God turns these people into the stars! Throughout the Bible, God is constantly using the most unlikely people, and God is always transforming underdogs into heroes and heroines!
In our July sermon series, we’re going to be studying one of these unlikely heroines: a young woman named Ruth. We will examine her story and see what it has to teach us today—we’ll talk about faith and trust, we’ll talk about how Christians are often called to be outsiders in the world, and we’ll talk about how wide and expansive the Kingdom of God truly is! Join us on this journey as we get to know Ruth: a woman who was the least likely to succeed, but through whom God accomplished powerful things!
July Sermon Series: “Girl Least Likely to Succeed”
July 10th: Ruth 1
“Girl Least Likely to Succeed: The Outsider”
July 17th: Ruth 2
“Girl Least Likely to Succeed: No Good Deed Goes Unnoticed”
July 24th: Ruth 3
“Girl Least Likely to Succeed: When is ‘Bad’ Behavior Good?”
July 31st: Ruth 4
“Girl Least Likely to Succeed: From Outsider to Insider!”
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June has been quite the crazy whirlwind month! I attended the Great Plains Annual Conference, I was ordained as an Elder in Full Connection—this is the United Methodist clergy equivalent of getting tenure!—and then I spent a week teaching teenagers about Methodist theology at Confirmation Camp. (Fortunately, camp wasn’t all work and no play: in between classroom sessions, I honed my archery skills and went ziplining for the first time and made a spiffy tie-dyed t-shirt!)
Ordination–you might notice our District Superintendent on the left!
It seems like the summer is rushing by very quickly, but we’ve got some amazing community outreach opportunities on the horizon1 We’ll be talking about these more in church over the next couple of weeks, but please mark your calendars and fire up your ovens for the following events!
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Stephen and Evie and I have been in Auburn for nearly 10 months now, and it’s amazing to me that we’ve been here for almost an entire year. It feels like the time has just flown by—when we first arrived, Evie wasn’t even crawling; now she’s running and climbing and talking and getting into all kinds of mischief! Stephen and I often talk about how fortunate we are to be raising Evie in a church community like this one. One of the best parts about being a church member is the knowledge that you have a whole network of people who are looking out for you and supporting you through life’s ups and downs.
We try to take good care of each other here at Auburn, and we have fabulous people who lead our hospitality ministries and prayer ministries. Pastoral care visits are an important part of my work as well, so if you (or a friend or family member) are ever in the hospital or in need of a visit, just call the church office and let us know! I am always happy to schedule a visit, and we can also put you on the prayer chain or send some meals through our Hospitality Committee.
A few more spring updates:
- Our confirmation class is starting up soon, and letters have been sent out to potential confirmation students! This year’s class will feature a trip to “Confirmation Camp” at Camp Fontanelle—it’s going to be a great time!
- Speaking of camp, it’s time to get your kids (and grandkids) registered for United Methodist summer camps! Information and registration sheets are on the bulletin board; remember that all child/youth members of FUMC will receive a 10% camp scholarship for themselves and one friend. (More financial aid is available; contact the church office for details.)
- Mark your calendars—we will be honoring our high school graduates on Sunday, May 15th.
Have a fantastic week!