Pastor's Ponderings

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Christmas is an Inviting Time

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Christmas is an Inviting Time

The weeks in December are a wonderful time to invite friends, neighbors, coworkers and family to come and visit the church. The building is decorated in a festive way, the music is particularly special, there is a sense of anticipation and excitement among the people here—everything makes this a wonderful time for guests to see us at our best. Even more important, this is the time when we hear the news that God is coming into our world not just as a baby many years ago, but into our lives today.
Research shows that most people are willing to consider coming to a worship service if they are invited by someone they know. You could be that someone. Seems to me we have something wonderful to offer every Sunday morning. There is no reason to keep it to ourselves.
In addition to the regular Sunday morning worship services, there are also the services on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24.
December 24, Christmas Eve
5:00 p.m. Family Christmas Service
Worship oriented to families with young children. Carols, Scripture and a story for the children. Story- “Michael Mouse”. We will enjoy special music from the children’s choirs, Genesis and Sonshine Choirs

7:00 p.m. A Christmas Service of Scripture and Song
A service based around the carol: “What Child Is This?” and ending in Candlelight. Music from youth choir, Voices of Praise

9:00 and 11:00 p.m. Christmas Candlelight and Communion Service
Sermon: Christmas Presence. Worship ending in Candlelight. Gospel and Cathedral Choirs

December 25 One Service at Calvary UMC at 11:00 AM
Creche Service with the Rev. Harry C. Cole

Here is a prayer you might use as we move through this season of Advent:

Ever present God, you taught us that the night is far spend and the day is at and. Grant that we may ever be found watching for the coming of your Son. Save us from undue love of the world, that we may wait with patient hope for the day of the Lord, and so abide in him, that when he shall appear, we may not be ashamed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Church of Scotland as found in The United Methodist Book of Worship, 1992)

See you in church,
Rev. Steve

Financial Leadership

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In January 2015 I enrolled in the Financial Leadership Academy sponsored by the Mid Atlantic United Methodist Foundation. This was two-year experience in which sixty or so clergy met six times to cover many topics related to the financial health and the well-being of both churches and pastors.  We studied best practices of churches as well as other non-profits with a keynote speaker as well as small group time with a trained facilitator. My peer group (pictured) involved pastors with large church experience across three annual conferences. Each time we met we worked out an action plan to put what we were learning into practice and learn from one another.


I learned how to do a better job managing my own personal finances. I also learned a theology of money and how generosity is tied to Christian discipleship. I learned how to make more sense out of a balance sheet and financial statement. It was great to learn from other pastors and hear about the creative and worthwhile things that are being done. We held the final session last month and I have a certificate of completion suitable for framing!

One thing in particular I want to lift up to the folks at Calvary/Centennial Memorial Cooperative Parish. By making a simple addition to your will, you can leave a lasting legacy to your church. You can easily leave your church a gift that will assure that others will be able to benefit from the ministry of the congregation that has been so dear to you. And, here’s something that may be even easier than adding a few words to your will. You can add the church as a beneficiary to an existing pension plan or life insurance policy so that a portion can go to your church or other charities you choose. I will be making such a change to my policies and would encourage you to think about doing it also.

See you in church,

Rev. Steve

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