The "Epistle" Newsletter is a monthly publication that is full of great opportunities, updates on ministries, and upcoming events. Contact us if you would like to be added to the mailing list and receive an "Epistle" in the mail each month, or receive an e-mailed PDF file when the next month's has been posted on the website.
TO VIEW THE June/July EPISTLE,
Once again this year, we will be offering Summer Kidz Camp. Registration is already underway for any or all of the following sessions for ages 2 thru 5. Cost is $65 per session. Sessions are Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday from 9:30am - 12:30pm
Session 1 May 31-June 2 Treasure Hunters
SAVE THE DATE
At Veteran’s Park
9:00am - 12:30pm
Michelle Rowe, Children's Special Events Coordinator
Surf Shack: Catch the Wave of God’s Amazing Love! Children ages 3 through 5th grade are invited to catch a wave of God’s amazing love at the Surf Shack! The adventure includes music, Bible fun, science, crafts, mission, snacks and games! To volunteer, or to register, contact Michelle Rowe or the church office (703-494-2445) or visit www.stpaul-umc.org/vbs.
Bill Elmore, Trustees Chair
Your SPUMC Board of Trustees have undertaken the following actions:
· Purchased a Tornado Walk-Behind Scrubber for $4,500. Funding for the scrubber was provided by the following: (1) $1,500 from Ghana Wesley UMC; (2) $1,700 from the Ellis Hawkins Memorial funds; (3) $1,000 from the Hazel Hall Memorial fund; (4) $300 from Maintenance.
· Purchased and installed two Koala Kare Baby Changing Stations (ADA compliant) in the men’s restroom and the women’s restroom off the Narthex. Signage showing “Baby Changing Station Inside” for the walls outside these restrooms along with the women’s room across from the Main Office will be installed shortly. This action was in response to concerned raised by families about the lack of private baby changing areas near the Nursery.
· Initiated a Memorandum of Understanding between the St Paul Pre-School and the Board of Trustees to facilitate extended afternoon hours to 3:00 PM for the Pre-school.
· Investigated a plan to allow for use of the Social Hall as an leased Event Venue by outside groups beginning later this year.
The following maintenance projects are active or will become active in the future:
· Next phase of the multi-phased Narthex renovations. This phase will include building another storage type cabinet / shelf unit, similar to one near hallway entrance to sanctuary, on the Chapel side of Narthex. Future plans include some new furnishing for the Narthex and larger glass windows for the inside main isle doors.
· Repair / cleaning projects for the Sanctuary and the Side Door Entrance (elevator).
· Coordinators for these projects are Pat Corcoran (Sanctuary) and Chris Caseman (Side Door Entrance).
Bob Bryant, Stewardship Coordinator
John Wesley in his sermon about “The Character of a Methodist” said a Methodist seeks to be a “true Christian” and an “altogether Christian” instead of an “almost Christian.”
An altogether Christian is someone who loves God with his whole heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). Secondly, he has true Christian love towards his neighbor. "Love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 19:19). He is willing to be a servant to all, for this kind of love "seeketh not her own" (1 Corinthians 13:5). Thirdly, an altogether Christian has true faith. This is the foundation of his Christian life. The sign of a true Christian is a life of holiness and righteousness (Hebrews 12:14). He trusts and obeys Christ. His confidence is in God alone. He lives a godly life by the power of God.
The almost Christian knows that God's word is true, but will not commit himself to following it. He may live a good, moral, even religious life, but he does not trust Christ enough to obey Him; thus, he refuses to be faithful to the Lord. He will not make a commitment and is lukewarm towards God (Revelation 3:16). The almost Christian may love God, but not with all his heart, soul, and might (Deuteronomy 6:5). This is not to say that he does not have a sincere desire to please God, but he usually settles for the pretense instead of the real thing. He is a good enough Christian as he is.
It is an unpleasant thought, but if all members of St. Paul were altogether Christians, the church would have no financial difficulties because everyone would tithe or would be faithfully trying to move toward tithing. We would not be lagging in reaching our goal for “Our 2016 Challenge.” Heck, we would need to have a 2016 challenge.
The ultimate question we must ask ourselves is "Am I willing to be obedient to all that God requires of me as a believer?" If we are honest with ourselves, many of us are not even close to being almost Christians ¾ let alone altogether Christians. We have never laid down our lives as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). We think that it is enough to go by the name of Christ, doing a few good works here or there, and attending church, but we continue to fall far short of God's standard.
Clint Holt, Witness Ministry Team
(Excerpted from "United Methodist Member’s Handbook, Revised," George Koehler (Discipleship Resources, 2006), pp. 61, 64-65.)
Our Faith Journey: Faith is the basic orientation and commitment of our whole being—a matter of heart and soul. Christian faith is grounding our lives in the living God as revealed especially in Jesus Christ. It’s both a gift we receive within the Christian community and a choice we make. It’s trusting in God and relying on God as the source and destiny of our lives. Faith is believing in God, giving God our devoted loyalty and allegiance. Faith is following Jesus, answering the call to be his disciples in the world. Faith is hoping for God’s future, leaning into the coming kingdom that God has promised. Faith-as-belief is active; it involves trusting, believing, following, hoping.
Our Theological Journey: Theology is thinking together about our faith and discipleship. It’s reflecting with others in the Christian community about the good news of God’s love in Christ. Both laypeople and clergy are needed in “our theological task.” The laypeople bring understandings from their ongoing effort to live as Christians in the complexities of a secular world; clergy bring special tools and experience acquired through intensive biblical and theological study. We need one another.
But how shall we go about our theological task so that our beliefs are true to the gospel and helpful in our lives? In John Wesley’s balanced and rigorous ways for thinking through Christian doctrine, we find four major sources or criteria, each interrelated. These we often call the Wesley quadrilateral or our “theological guidelines”: Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. Let’s look at each of these.
Scripture: In thinking about our faith, we put primary reliance on the Bible. It’s the unique testimony to God’s self-disclosure in the life of Israel; in the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ; and in the Spirit’s work in the early church. It’s our sacred canon and, thus, the decisive source of our Christian witness and the authoritative measure of the truth in our beliefs. In our theological journey we study the Bible within the believing community. Even when we study it alone, we’re guided and corrected through dialogue with other Christians. We interpret individual texts in light of their place in the Bible as a whole. We use concordances, commentaries, and other aids prepared by the scholars. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we try to discern both the original intention of the text and its meaning for our own faith and life.
Tradition: Between the New Testament age and our own era stand countless witnesses on whom we rely in our theological journey. Through their words in creed, hymn, discourse, and prayer, through their music and art, through their courageous deeds, we discover Christian insight by which our study of the Bible is illuminated. This living tradition comes from many ages and many cultures. Even today Christians living in far different circumstances from our own—in Africa, in Latin America, in Asia—are helping us discover fresh understanding of the Gospel’s power.
Experience: A third source and criterion of our theology is our experience. By experience we mean especially the “new life in Christ,” which is ours as a gift of God’s grace; such rebirth and personal assurance gives us new eyes to see the living truth in Scripture. But we mean also the broader experience of all the life we live, its joys, its hurts, its yearnings. So we interpret the Bible in light of our cumulative experiences. We interpret our life’s experience in light of the biblical message. We do so not only for our experience individually but also for the experience of the whole human family.
Reason: Finally, our own careful use of reason, though not exactly a direct source of Christian belief, is a necessary tool. We use our reason in reading and interpreting the Scripture. We use it in relating the Scripture and tradition to our experience and in organizing our theological witness in a way that’s internally coherent. We use our reason in relating our beliefs to the full range of human knowledge and in expressing our faith to others in clear and appealing ways.
Catherine Caseman, Preschool Board Member
St Paul Preschool unleashed another graduating class into the world. Luckily, their parents were waiting in the pick up line outside. Not that they would send children out into the world all alone but if they did I’m sure that the curriculum of St Paul Preschool is more than sufficient as The Giving Tree can be a survivalist’s handbook for those who can’t read.
Again this year, the preschool is offering day camp sessions in select weeks. The scheduled dates are May 30 – June 2, June 7 – June 9, June 14 – June 16, August 2 – August 4, August 9 – August 11, and August 16 – August 18. Each session is $65 and is once again very popular so spaces are limited. Contact preschool director, Katie MacGregor, for more information and to sign up.
Spaces are still available for the 2016-2017 school year but are also filling up fast. We are grateful for another amazing year and know next year will be another success and we thank our church family for the continued love and support.
July 10th at 5:00pm. Sign ups will begin in June on the attendance sheet in the bulletin. Come for a casual evening to sing your favorite hymns and enjoy ice cream with your choice of toppings.
Cynthia Elmore, UMW President
There are many opportunities available for study and expanding concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church. We in the Virginia Conference have the wonderful opportunity to attend MISSION ENCOUNTER sessions during the summer. This summer the Mission Encounter will be held July 29-31 at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, VA. Topics to be studied are:
Bible and Human Sexuality: Claiming God’s Good Gift
Latin America: People and Faith
Climate Justice: Call to hope and Action.
Information about the cost will be available in a few weeks. There are scholarship monies available from the Alexandria District UMW and from our St. Paul UMW unit to help cover the cost of attending these wonderful sessions. Please contact Cynthia Elmore (email@example.com) for additional information.
A special Ferrum College Celebration Day will be held on Saturday, June 4. This special day will a “Walk Down Memory Lane” celebrating 14 years of good times and collaborative accomplishments between Dr. Jennifer Braaten and United Methodist Women of the Virginia Conference. Dr. Braaten is retiring after this schoolyear. Registration forms are available from the District UMW (Nancy West, President) or Cynthia Elmore—email listed above.
The Rev. Beth Anderson will lead a Young Women’s Retreat (ages 18-40) on Sept. 16-17 at Bridgewater UM Church in Bridgewater, VA with local hotels being used for housing. Scholarships are available to help defray the cost of this wonderful week-end. Start making plans to attend now and contact Cynthia Elmore for registration forms.
Watch the church Epistle for Info on our annual UMW Indoor Picnic to be held in August!! All women of the church are invited.
Cynthia Elmore, Hermitage Representative
It is tradition to offer support to the Virginia United Methodist Homes' Samaritan Fund between Mother's Day and Father's Day (May 8-June 19). The Samaritan Fund is a benevolent fund which provides financial assistance to VUMH residents who have outlived their monetary resources and, through no fault of their own, can no longer afford the full cost of their care. You may place your donations in your regular offering envelope with the notation for Samaritan offering. We are fortunate in Northern Virginia to have the Hermitage Retirement and Health Facility nearby in Alexandria. Several former St. Paul members have lived in their retirement years at the Hermitage and families have enjoyed being able to have loved ones close by.
St. Paul e-mail list - Contact Amy@stpaul-umc.org to add your e-mail address to our e-mail list. You will receive updates, and this Newsletter via e-mail throughout the year.