August 10th–Emily’s Musings

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August 10th–Emily’s Musings

Happy Friday, church!

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over, isn’t it?  Our oldest daughter starts preschool in just over a week (how did that happen?!?), and we’re just about a month away from the season of harvest, apples, and pumpkin spice everything!

We’ve had a great summer here at Auburn First United Methodist Church: we’ve done some fabulous mission projects (we packed a few dozen hygiene kits for UMCOR, and we partnered with Auburn Presbyterian Church to fill 30 backpacks full of school supplies for low-income students at Auburn Middle School), we had a beautiful worship service/picnic in the park, and we even had a pool party!  And once September arrives, we’ll have lots of activities going on at the church, including Chancel Choir and Sunday School/Children’s Church and UMW!  There’s even talk of starting another lunch hour Bible study…stay tuned for more information on that!

We’re also starting up a new fall sermon series, based on the compelling and thought-provoking book “Short Stories By Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi”, written by Dr. Amy-Jill Levine.  In this book, Dr. Levine (a renowned New Testament scholar who is also a practicing Jew) takes a new look at the parables of Jesus, discusses the ways that they would have challenged and provoked their original listeners, and encourages us to allow ourselves to be challenged by them as well.  It should be an interesting worship series–I hope that it leaves all of us feeling inspired and perhaps a little bit uncomfortable! 😉

8/12: The Lost Son
8/19: The Good Samaritan
8/26: The Kingdom is Like Yeast
9/2: The Pearl of Great Price
9/9: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9/16: The Laborers in the Vineyard
9/23: The Widow and the Judge
9/30: The Rich Man and Lazarus
10/7: The Mustard Seed

See you in church!  (And as your summer vacations wrap up, remember: if you’re out of town, you can always join us in worship via our Facebook livestream.  Find us at https://www.facebook.com/auburnfumc )

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April 6th–Emily’s Musings

Good morning, friends of Auburn FUMC!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to share an Emily’s Musings update—I was out of the office for 10 weeks of maternity leave, and as soon as I got back to work it was time for Holy Week and Easter!

I’m so thankful to Nyla Witzel for leading worship during my leave, and it’s been a joy to be back to doing ministry with this wonderful congregation.  Holy Week was beautiful, as always: we had an energetic “palm parade” on Palm Sunday, we joined our Presbyterian friends for a quiet and contemplative Maundy Thursday service, we hosted a reflective Good Friday worship, and then we had a noisy and joyous Easter Sunday! Even though Mother Nature pulled a mean April Fool’s joke by dumping several inches of snow on us, we didn’t let that dampen our spirits…we held our traditional children’s Easter Egg hunt in the fellowship hall, and we celebrated the miracle of the empty tomb in our warm, flower-filled sanctuary!

Getting ready for the egg hunt!

 

And now that we are making our way into the rest of the Easter season, I’d like to introduce our upcoming sermon series: The Gospel According to Disney.  This is a series that I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time—I love looking for religious and spiritual meaning on the silver screen, and there are a number of Disney films that provide substantial “food for thought.”  Here are the movies that we’ll be exploring over the course of this series:

  • 4/8– The Lion King: Remember Who You Are
  • 4/15– Frozen: An Act of True Love
  • 4/22– Moana: Called and Chosen
  • 4/29– The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Finding a Sanctuary
  • 5/6– UP: The God Who Won’t Stop Knocking

See you in worship!  Be blessed!

 

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August 23rd–Emily’s Musings

The month of August is flying by, the kids are back in school, and fall is just around the corner!  We’ve had an amazing summer here at Auburn First UMC—here are just a few of the things that have been happening around here over the last few months:

  • We brought in five fabulous interns from the Great Plains Annual Conference, and they helped us host a great week of Vacation Bible School for 35+ children in our community.
  • Seven children and youth from Auburn FUMC attended summer camp at Camp Fontanelle—and four of them had all or part of their tuition paid by our congregation’s camp scholarship fund (which is supported by your generosity!)
  • The UMC/Presbyterian youth group hosted two fundraisers for their Heifer International “Ark”; they have raised almost $3,500 so far this year!
  • We’ve enjoyed hearing from local painters, musicians, dancers, and other artists as part of our “Beautiful Things” sermon series. What a joy to worship God by celebrating the variety of artistic gifts in our community!
  • We had our biggest school supply drive yet! We worked with APS administration, and our congregation provided 21 full sets of school supplies to 6th-8th grade students in need (plus, we provided pocket folders for the entire 6th grade class!) I am still blown away by this outpouring of generosity from the people of Auburn FUMC, and I’m thrilled that our congregation is able to support our local schools in this way!

In short, it’s been a whirlwind summer full of music, joy, laughter, and ministry…and there is even more of that coming our way as we kick off fall and the Sunday School season at Auburn FUMC!  Here’s a quick preview of what’s coming up in September:

A new sermon series!

            On October 1st, a few of our youth will be taking the United Methodist membership vows and becoming full adult members of the congregation.  In preparation for Confirmation Sunday, we will spend the month of September looking at the five promises that we all make when we join the UMC—to serve God with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.  Join us in September as we explore what it means to be an active United Methodist, and as we learn how to serve God more fully!

Sunday School for all ages!

            Sunday School Kickoff is on Sunday, September 10th. There will be four Sunday School classes this year—an adult class, a youth class, and an elementary class will begin meeting at 9:00, and a toddler/preschool/kindergarten class will meet after Young Disciple’s Time (during the second half of the church service.)  Contact Sarah Hanika for more information.

Choir returns!

            Choir begins rehearsing again on Wednesday, September 6th at 6:30 pm.  All adults and all youth aged 6th grade and up are welcome to participate—no auditions needed!  Contact the church office or choir director Carol Ehmke for more information.

Weekly youth group meetings!

            Our youth have stayed active all summer, and now that school is back in session, we are back to our regular weekly meeting schedule.  We’ve got lots of great meetings planned—game nights with the residents at Long’s Creek, movie nights, Bible study nights, game nights, etc.  All youth between 6th-12th grade are welcome to join us! (And we always have snacks!) Contact Pastor Emily or Kim Beger for more information.

 

Thanks for a great summer, church—here’s to a fantastic autumn!

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August 9th–Emily’s Musings

Anyone who has ever gone shopping for school supplies knows that the cost of all those notebooks and calculators and glue-sticks can add up pretty quickly…especially when you’re buying supplies for multiple children.  For many families in our county, the annual school supply bill presents a significant financial hardship.  Fortunately, there are a number of generous organizations and individuals in our community who work together to ensure that all our students have the supplies they need to succeed–and this year, I am pleased to report that Auburn FUMC played a big role in that effort!

This is the third time since I arrived in Auburn that our church has hosted a school supply drive, but this year the need AND the response were bigger than ever!  I worked with the wonderful Nancy Fuller, and she and the middle school guidance counselors were able to identify seven children per grade who would need assistance this year.  For those of you doing the math at home, that means that AMS needed at least 21 full sets of school supplies!

21 sets of supplies might sound like an overwhelming number, but God and the people of Auburn FUMC made it happen.  The VBS children and their families provided supplies for the 6th grade backpacks, and the rest of the congregation purchased supplies for the 7th and 8th graders.  I was totally blown away by the generous outpouring of support–the monetary and supply donations this year were huge, and we were able to fill the 21 backpacks AND have a couple big boxes of supplies left over for the school!  (It sort of reminds me of the Biblical story of the Feeding of the 5000: at first it seemed like an insurmountable need, but thanks to God’s grace there was more than enough to go around!)

The 21 backpacks are now filled up with your donations, and they will be distributed to students later this week.  I am so humbled by the response we got to this school supply drive, and I’m so pleased with our congregation’s commitment to serving our neighbors.  The United Methodist Book of Discipline affirms that “all children have the right to quality education”, and as a denomination we support “the development of school systems and innovative methods of education designed to assist every child toward complete fulfillment as an individual person of worth.”  This school supply drive was a way for our church to put those words into action, and it has given us an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ in our community.

Thank you so much for this display of love for our children!

 

The 21 fully loaded backpacks–seven for each grade at Auburn Middle School!

  Two tables and a shopping cart, all overflowing with donations!

 

A close-up of some of the supplies!

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May 5th–Emily’s Musings

Happy Friday, Auburn FUMC! Did you have a good Star Wars Day yesterday? (May the 4th be with you!)

As the liturgically-inclined among us probably know, we are currently about halfway through the season of Easter.  And for the next three weeks, we are going to be focusing our attention on the women and men in the early Church who first spread the Good News of Christ’s resurrection.  This worship series, called “Life Lessons from the Early Church”, will teach us about the core beliefs and traditions of our ancestors in the faith.  We’ll learn more about what it means to follow Jesus in a dangerous world, we’ll explore the concept of death and eternal life, and we’ll talk about how the Beatles had it right all along–all you need is love! Join us as we embark on this journey, and as we explore the teachings that have been changing lives for nearly 2000 years.

Sunday, May 7th (Communion Sunday)

“Life Lessons from the Early Church: Death is Old News!”

Sunday, May 14th (Mother’s Day)

“Life Lessons from the Early Church: The Price of Faith”

Sunday, May 21st

“Life Lessons from the Early Church: All You Need is Love”

Also–remember that our youth group has several Heifer International fundraisers coming up in the next month! Mark your calendars for May 27th (Nebraska Brass concert at the Presbyterian Church, 7:30 pm) and June 4th (ice cream social at the UMC, 3:00 pm.)

Have a great week, and we’ll see you on Sunday!

 

 

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