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TO VIEW THE November EPISTLE,
Amy Miller, Church Office Administrator Clint Holt, Witness Ministry Team Leader
In January 2017 St. Paul will discontinue production of the EPISTLE Newsletter. This newsletter has been a monthly mailing for years, keeping the congregation and friends of St. Paul informed. With the transformation of technology and the extensive use of email, social media, and cell phones, the means by which we communicate this information is also in need of a transformation. We want to reach as many people as possible in our congregation and our community with the amazing things that God offers through St. Paul.
However, we do not want to lose connection with you, our EPISTLE readers, so we ask that you contact the church office with your communication preference and your contact information. You may communicate those preferences by completing and returning the form below to the church office.
I prefer to receive information via:
___Email - receive an email from St. Paul with weekly updates/announcements
___Webpage - announcements posted to the church webpage
___Facebook - receive notifications, events, links and posts of important announcements
___Text Message - receive short text updates, sometimes linking to more info online
___Postal Mailings - receive the same content as email users via printed updates mailed out weekly
___Take-Home Printed Materials - take printed bulletin and pick-up desired printed materials when attending church
___None of the Above __
Contact the Church office by:
LIKE St. Paul on Facebook: www.facebook.com/stpaulumc
Follow on Twitter: SPUMCNoVA and Instagram: SPUMCNoVA
Amy Miller, Director of Youth Ministries
All 6th - 12th Graders are invited to join the J-Connection Youth Group
2016-2017 theme is - “My Identity in Christ”
Follow on Twitter—@J-ConnectionYG
Contact Amy Miller for more information - firstname.lastname@example.org/ 703-494-2445
Sun, Nov. 13 Youth Group - You are Clay
Sat, Nov. 19 Zumbathon - Youth Providing Childcare
Sun, Nov. 20 Youth Group - You are Treasure
Sun, Nov. 27 No Youth Group—Thanksgiving Break
It is time to think of honoring our loved ones and friends with the beautiful poinsettias which will decorate our St. Paul sanctuary during Christmas services. A table will be set up in the social hall to take orders for these flowers on Nov. 6, Nov. 13, and Nov. 20. If you have questions, please contact April Moore or the church office.
Tuesday, November 8th
On Tuesday, November 8th eat out at The All American Steakhouse and 10% of the total food and non-alcoholic beverage sales will go toward our Stop Hunger Now Meal Packaging Fundraising! St. Paul will be packaging meals for world hunger through the third annual Stop Hunger Now meal packaging event on May 21, 2017. In order to reach our goal of 25,000 meals, we are hosting regular "Eat out for Hunger" events to raise funds. Each meal that we package costs less than $.30, so every dollar makes a difference!
Saturday, November 19th, 4pm—6:00pm. Come for an extended 90 MINUTE session of Zumba Latin-American inspired aerobic exercise and fun! $10 pre-sale, $15 at the door. Also enjoy light refreshment, Vendor Tables and Silent Auction items! All of the proceeds will benefit the St. Paul UMC Winter Bag Project, providing food for children in PWC during the winter break. $5 will provide 1 bag of food! Our goal is 600 bags! This is in the place of the Pumpkin Patch of past years to support the Winter Bags Project. If you cannot Zumba, or choose not to Zumba for any reason, please consider a donation to the ZumbaThon participants for this cause! You can pledge per minute (90 minutes) per 1/2 hour (3 half hours), or a flat rate!
Michelle Rowe & Amy Miller co-coordinators
Winter break is a time of togetherness with family, but for several in our local community, it is a struggle to go without the school support of breakfast and lunch for so long. That is why we have a Winter Bags Mission Project.
The Children & Youth are collecting items for the “Winter Bag” mission project. This project will provide bags of food to area schools to be given to students that are on the free and reduced lunch program. The bags of food will supplement the free lunches that the students are accustomed to receiving while they are away for their two week winter break.
Last year, the Children & Youth mission distributed 664 bags of food between six elementary schools, and we hope to do the same this year!
If you would like to contribute directly to the “Winter Bags” project, we are collecting the following items:
Any indiv. wrapped snack, ie:
Consider a food drive at work or in your neighborhood! We will need large quantities of all of these items. All donations will be greatly appreciated! To keep donations designated for this project separate from the food pantry donations, please place Winter Bag donations in the specified grocery cart or drop off in the church office.
Plan to be a part of this mission in some way, here are a few opportunities!
1) Share the list of items above with you coworkers, friends and neighbors and set-up a food drive over the Thanksgiving holiday!
2) Be a part of the Assembly day: Saturday, December 10th, we will set-up the assembly tables with our large quantities of items, everything will be ready for assembly. On Sunday, December 11th all are invited at 5:30pm to assist as we assemble over 500 bags of food and sort them by schools. All are welcome to be a part of this project!
3) Take part in the bag delivery! See the overwhelming appreciation from the school administration, teachers and children as they help us carry in a truck load of bags into their schools! We have yet to have a delivery day without one or more principals and teachers shed tears of joy. If you have a truck, consider donating a couple of hours in the morning on Tuesday or Wednesday (12/13 or 12/14) to load up bags and drive them to a school.
We want to thank the whole congregation for your support of this mission project both this year and in years past. This is not just a mission of the children and youth ministries; it is a mission for St Paul and we couldn't do it without you.
Diane Alley, Spiritual Formation Team Leader
The Matthew 28:18-20 Project is a new program at St. Paul that attempts to take the church out into our communities through neighborhood study groups. In the Gospel of Matthew, as Christ was about to leave the earth, one of his last instructions to his disciples was to take his teachings out into the world:
Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been
given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them
to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to
the very end of the age.' (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
St. Paul is a powerhouse of people who have been in Sunday school and short-term classes for years. Some in our congregation may feel God nudging them to take their knowledge and ability outside the church walls. Often there are people in our communities who may not be comfortable inside a church, but who would be open to a study led by one of their friends or neighbors.
An advantage of using one of the 129 books in the LifeGuide Bible series for these neighborhood study groups is both the reasonable cost of the series and its use of a discussion format. This discussion format alleviates a great deal of work for the study leader. The leader needs only to introduce the topic to the group and present the discussion questions. Preparation time is about 45 minutes to an hour for each session. Further, studies can be held on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis depending on the time constraints of the leader and participants.
If participants should later decide that they would like to consider making St. Paul their church home, information will be available for them to privately investigate this option. The inside of the LifeGuide book cover will include both our facebook page and website addresses.
The LifeGuide Bible Studies are a free resource to anyone who feels called to take the church out into the community through a study group. But for those wishing to use other study materials under the umbrella of this Project, please run the materials by our senior pastor to make sure they are in line with Methodist doctrine since this is a Methodist project.
Of course anyone can start a study group individually which is not under the umbrella of the Matthew 28:18-20 Project or St. Paul and use whatever study materials they wish. This Project is not meant to intrude on other equally worthy options.
A table will be set up each week in the front of the social hall so that interested persons can inspect or order any of the LifeGuide Bible Study series. All are welcome to take the books home to inspect. Please note the book(s) on the check-out sheet and return them to the table in the following weeks so that others have a chance to check that particular study out also. If there is a study you're interested in, but which is not available on the table, please fill out a book order form so that a copy can be obtained for you to examine. There is also a form available to sign up for prayer support from St. Paul if you decide to take the church beyond our walls and into the community as a study leader.
Bob Bryant, Stewardship Coordinator
A couple of months ago, I wrote in this column, “It’s been said that St. Paul UMC doesn’t have a financial problem – despite the fact that for several years, St. Paul UMC has struggled financially – St. Paul has a discipleship problem. Because if each member/family at St. Paul put God first and gave from their “first fruits,” we could easily meet our financial requirements.
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10)
We’ve known for some years that about 50 families are carrying the vast majority of St. Paul’s financial load, and unfortunately, that seems to be characteristic for Christians. The following are some excerpts from our stewardship study, Defying Gravity, by Tom Berlin.
“The Science of Generosity study, conducted by Smith in 2020, found that 44.8 percent of Americans reported giving $0 of their income to any charitable purpose. … Another 41.3 percent gave less than 2 percent of their income away. This means that the vast majority of financial generosity in the United States is offered by about 15 percent of the population. … You may be thinking [that] at least people gave their time. … But in the same study, over 76 percent of the people self-reported giving no volunteer hours to any organization. … It would be reasonable to assume that with the Bible’s clear call to generosity and the example of the early church, the Christian community would offer a brighter picture. … [But]the amount of pre-taxed household income contributed by the mean average American Christian is 2.9 percent … 72 percent of all Christians contribute less than 2 percent of their income to all causes, religious and non-religious. … A full 45 percent of those who attend church two or more times a month give away less than 2 percent of their income. Only 9.4 percent of American Christians report giving 10 percent or more of their incomes to charitable causes.
Many of us who love God, want to honor Christ, and seek the will of the Holy Spirit in our lives have failed to move from receiving God’s grace to participating in God’s kingdom. In most cases, the issue is not that we lack desire; [we are caught in an American culture that constantly pounds home messages of scarcity, discontent, insecurity, and acquisition – always wanting more and/or better, and we] simply can’t give. The issue is learning how to align our lives for generosity.”
Each of us should strive to be a disciple of Christ, and that includes aligning our lives for generosity with our money and our time. Some folks simply cannot meet life’s basic requirements, but most of us can work to step up our giving a notch at a time until we are tithing. No church or any other organization can prosper when the entire load is shouldered by just a few.
Attention Amazon shoppers! If you ever purchase items using the Amazon website, you can help St. Paul receive 0.5% from eligible purchases. This could add up over time! It’s easy, instead of going to “Amazon.com” go to “Smiles.Amazon.com” and select “St. Paul United Methodist Church Woodbridge VA” as your recipient of Amazon Smiles. Once you have logged in, you purchase as usual! To find our smile account directly—go to https://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-0657606
Christmas Eve Worship
Saturday, December 24th
Informal Family Christmas Story Service
Nursery service available
Christmas Eve Communion & Candlelight Service
(the youth will host a live nativity scene in the
Sanctuary at the closing of the service)
Nursery service available
Sunday, December 25th
St. Paul Congregation has been invited to attend Ghana Wesley UMC’s Traditional Christmas Day worship service
10:00am in the Sanctuary