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 APRIL EPISTLE,
Saturday, April 16th
We invite all of our neighbors to join in a day of fellowship, relationship, and worship with food, music, activities for all ages, sharing in the traditions and symbols of multiple Methodist cultures.
The event will close with a combined worship service and communion!
Music from multiple cultures
Saturday, April 2nd
In preparation for the Joined in Christ: Multicultural Celebration of Faith, St. Paul will join with other churches on a prayer walk through our neighborhood. We will begin with a devotional in the Sanctuary and then disperse into the community. This prayer walk will be a time for us to walk around our neighborhood and pray for homes, families, businesses, schools and all of the community around us. Please plan to be a part of this wonderful spiritual discipline.
Sunday, April 24th
9am and 11am
The youth of St. Paul are
excited to share their special gifts and talents in special worship on Youth Sunday. Plan to be a part of this
Please join us on May 1st after the 11:00 service to
celebrate the beginning of Spring with a
What a great variety we could have!
Sign ups will be on the back of the attendance sheets.
Hospitality will provide drinks and dessert.
Bob Bryant, Stewardship Coordinator
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48)
I have lived a very blessed life. While I’ve dealt with a few hardships, God has carried me through those times and has showered his blessings on me.
Some people at St. Paul are struggling to make ends meet, but it certainly appears that most of us are blessed and comfortable in our lives. We don’t worry about having enough to eat or a home in which to live or being able to afford the essentials for a decent life.
St. Paul UMC has initiated our “2016 Challenge” to make a fundamental, faithful recommitment to the mission of the United Methodist Church—that is, to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to live as disciples of Jesus. Jesus says, “If you love me, obey my commandments.” (John 14:15) And what does Jesus command us to do? “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
The financial aspect of our 2016 Challenge is for all congregants to give a bit extra, as they are able, for the church and its mission. If 100 donors give an extra $2.25 a day—the cost of a cup of coffee - the challenge goal will be met. This financial challenge was necessary to avoid draconian cuts to our church budget and to enable us to pay our full Virginia Conference apportionments.
Most of us can easily afford to step up our giving to meet this challenge. I may have to “sacrifice” one family-night-out-to-eat a month or something equally inconsequential so that someone may eat for a month or so that I can support the World Service Fund— assisting missionaries around the world; establishing new churches; working for hunger relief and social justice advocacy; and providing programs for children, youth, singles, students, disabled persons, and adults of all ages— or so that I can support hundreds of other United Methodist activities. A very small sacrifice by me can make a huge difference in the lives of many people.
Our 2015 stewardship campaign was built around Matthew 6:21 — Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. So, if you aren’t participating in our 2016 Challenge, I ask you to reflect on where/how you’re using your blessings and to consider sharing some of your time, talents, and money to make a difference in the lives of others.
Amy Miller, Recording Historian
Our St. Paul Directory is currently available! Plan to use this as a way to put names with faces, as a way to connect with our congregation, and as a way to keep our records updated.
There are three ways to access the directory:
1) PRINTED - a limited number of black and white directories will be printed and available for a small fee from the church office. Please contact the church office to have a directory printed for you. The cost is $3 to cover the cost of paper to print the 33page document.
2) PDF FILE - an email will be sent out to the church contact list with the password to the PDF document. This document is password protected, you will be prompted to enter a password when opening the file each time. The link to this document will also be on our website (www.stpaul-umc.org/directory) and Facebook. This will only be the link. Those who wish to access the file must request the password from the church office. This is to protect your information.
3) SMARTPHONE APP - Go to the App Store or to Google Play and search for the Instant Church Directory App. You can access all of the church member’s info from this app, and contact them with a simple click! This app will have you log-in using your email address that the church has on file.
This directory can constantly change, as we gain members we can add photos to the electronic file, and the most up-to-date info will made available to you using the electronic files and smartphone app. Please email your updated photos for them to be changed or added to email@example.com. Enjoy!
Clint Holt - Witness Ministry Team Leader
The Christian faith is grounded in the love and grace of God, experienced through Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Christian life is our response to God’s love and grace. The church calls our response to God Christian discipleship. Discipleship focuses on actively following in the footsteps of Jesus. As Christian disciples, we are not passive spectators but energetic participants in God’s activity in the world.
When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, his response was: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.” Discipleship is about loving God. It is more than an acknowledgement of God’s existence or a statement of belief regarding God. It is the deep desire to know God, to be one with God, and to worship God.
Jesus responded to questions about the most important commandment by quoting the Hebrew Scripture’s admonition to love God with our whole being. Then immediately he broadened the meaning of this admonition: “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.”
Again and again, the Bible teaches us that loving God and loving neighbor are two sides of the same coin. We cannot do one without the other. Loving our neighbors means responding to specific needs—hunger, illness, imprisonment, loneliness, and so forth. Love is more than a feeling; it is behavior. It is practical and concrete.
Our neighbors include many people. Within the context of the Christian community, our neighbors are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Neighbors may also refer to the contemporary understanding of those who live near us. However, from a biblical perspective, neighbors often include people whom we might not normally consider: strangers; people from other cultural and ethnic backgrounds; people from different religious traditions; people who irritate us and push the boundaries of our patience.
Therefore, loving our neighbors requires attention and sacrifice. We have to pay attention to what is happening around us in order to see our neighbors and to recognize their needs. We must also consider their needs to be as important as our own in order to live faithfully. Loving our neighbors is more than random acts of kindness. It takes time, energy, and commitment. It is a lifestyle carefully cultivated in response to God.
(Preceding excerpts from Becoming Disciples, http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/becoming-disciples)
At St. Paul, we have a number of near term opportunities to demonstrate our energy and commitment … April 2nd - prayer walk through our community; April 16th – Joined in Christ: A Multicultural Celebration of Faith; May 15th – Stop Hunger Now meal packaging event. These are all in addition to the ongoing ministries of the clothes closet, the food pantry, and The Lord’s Table. Discipleship is not a spectator sport; you are invited to get in the game now.
Stephanie Sheridan, Event Coordinator
St. Paul has a goal of packaging over 25,000 meals on May 15th with Stop Hunger Now! Each meal costs $.29 for supplies and packaging. You can help! Plan to eat out on any or all of the following days, and a portion of your meal’s cost will go toward the cost of meals for those who hunger around the world! Mark your calendars now, and invite your friends and neighbors to join in a meal for a GREAT cause!
Tuesday, April 5th - Chili’s (Potomac Mills) dine 11am - 11pm - present provided flyer, 20% of sale
Sunday, April 10th - Brixx (Stonebridge) dine in or carry out 5pm - 9pm, present provided flyer,
$3 per 10” pizza, $1 per kids’ or dessert pizza.
Tuesday, April 19th - All American Steakhouse (Old Bridge Rd) dine 5pm - 9pm, no flyer,
10% of sales from the night.
Tuesday, May 3rd - Chili’s (Potomac Mills) dine 11am - 11pm - present provided flyer, 20% of sale
SATURDAY APRIL 30TH
Do you want to contribute to “The Challenge” and our church’s
many ministries, but can’t commit to $2.75/day?
Well here’s how you can:
St. Paul UMC is hosting a Spring Cleaning Yard Sale. Only church members will be permitted to sell their items at the sale. Clean out your home of the many things that no longer serve you or your family and put them back into the universe where they can be used and appreciated.
(See a check list on back)
Reserve a space for $20
Rent a Table for $5
50% of all sales go towards “The Challenge”
Remainder 50% you keep!
To sign-up, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the church office 703-494-2445 with your Name, Phone #, Email address, number of spaces, number of tables. Make a check payable to St Paul UMC with “Spring Cleaning Yard Sale” in the memo line. Or submit cash with this information in an envelope.
Any items that you do not sell,
MUST RETURN HOME WITH YOU
ÿ Small appliances
ie: toaster, rice cooker
ÿ Anything/everything that no longer serves you!
ÿ Camping equip.
ÿ Car Seats
ÿ Dining Table
ÿ Bowling Balls
ÿ Ice Skates
Catherine Caseman, Preschool Board Member
The Preschool is running at capacity. Actually, it’s riding at “capacity” meaning that the preschool students did as many laps around the social hall as their cute little legs could take them before collapsing in exhaustion (and it’s adorable). The Trike A Thon was again a success this year, raising $1753.14. Again, the preschool will be paying $1400.00 towards having the church’s floors stripped. Any group that leaves marks or dirt on the floors after they have been cleaned will need to sit off to the side and think about what they have done.*
Summer is almost here and there will again be week long summer camps. Six sessions have been scheduled. There are spots still available but are quickly filling up, much like the preschool is for the 2016-2017 school year.
The preschool board of directors is working on adding even more fun activities for the preschool families. We are winding down what is turning out to be another great year with an even better one coming up. We are constantly grateful to be a part of an educational program surrounding our children and children from the community in God’s love and we love the support from St Paul.
*That might be a bit dramatic but every group should have that image in their minds when cleaning up after themselves in the social hall. Also, I’m pretty sure most articles in the Epistle use dramatic license.
Bill Elmore, Trustee Chair
With Spring comes the need for scheduling those projects that could not be done in the colder weather. So it is with projects here at the church. Volunteers are in the process of straightening up and cleaning out the attic storage areas of the church. On March 12, 2016 mulch was spread around bushes and trees on the church property. A “thank you” to all who gave of their time for this work. A list of “spring clean-up” items is being compiled so that these items can be prioritized, scheduled and completed in a timely manner. If you know of an area of the church building or grounds that needs attention, please let any member of the trustees know. I ask that you give consideration to volunteering to undertaking or assisting with one of these projects.
The Board of Trustees is charged with the supervision, oversight, and care of all real property acquired by the local church, all equipment acquired directly by the local church or by an organization connected with the local church organization. The Board of Trustees must verify that all local codes (building, occupancy, fire, safety) and insurance stipulations are met in regards to the safe occupancy and use of the building. Please keep in mind that the Board of Trustees must approve all large items donated to the church or brought into the building for use. Therefore; items such as furniture, appliances, electronics, pianos, filing cabinets, freezers and refrigerators must be approved by the Trustees before such items are brought onto our property or into the building by anyone including groups using our facilities. The Trustees will coordinate the assessment of the item(s) and will contact the appropriate work area, class, or person about the item’s usefulness. (Example: pianos or similar musical instruments coordinated with the Director of Music). Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
Website - www.stpaul-umc.org
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.
Facebook - www.facebook.com/stpaulnova
Facebook Fanpage - www.facebook.com/stpaulumc
Twitter - www.twitter.com/SPUMCNoVA, @SPUMCNoVA
Youth Group Twitter - www.twitter.com/JConnectionYG, @JConnectionYG
St. Paul is offering two studies this spring.
(1) The Hole in our Gospel will be offered at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday morning in the Bethany classroom, using the book by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision. This six-week study, beginning April 12, will focus on the plight of people around the world who suffer from lack of food and other basic necessities. Stearns notes that every 10 seconds a child dies from hunger-related causes. As St. Paul prepares once again to package meals for the Stop Hunger Now Campaign on May 15, come and investigate the depth of need faced by 1 in 8 people worldwide who go hungry every day. The study will be led by Gail Sztanko and Diane Alley.
(2) Methodism/St. Paul 101 will be offered Tuesday evening from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Bethany classroom starting on April 12. Part of the plan for St. Paul's Challenge is to "maximize opportunities to teach/remind congregants about who we are as United Methodists" and about our Methodist/Wesleyan heritage. Whether you have no idea what our Methodist heritage is or whether you simply need a refresher about United Methodist beliefs and practices, this five-week study is for you. This course is about the basics of Methodist history; doctrine and beliefs; organization and governance; social principles and social creed; worship and sacraments; and discipleship, spiritual gifts, and service opportunities at St. Paul. The study will be led by Bob Bryant. Sign-up sheets are on the table in the social hall.
Amy Miller, Youth Ministries Director
Twitter: @AgapeAmy @JConnectionYG
The J-Connection will take a break from the App for That lessons for April. This month, we will be preparing to lead both 9am and 11am worship on Sunday, April 24th! You will all want to be a part of this service as we highlight the gifts and talents of our wonderful youth!
Here is our April Schedule:
April 2 – J-Connection Youth Group 5:30pm, April Fools Dinner
April 10 - J-Connection Brixx Pizza outing, 5:30pm
April 17 - J-Connection Youth Group 5:30pm, Youth Sunday Practice
April 24 - Youth Sunday! 9am & 11am
All 6th - 12th graders are welcome to any youth event.
Save the Date for Vacation Bible School 2016!
Surf Shack: Catch the Wave of God’s Amazing Love!
Join us for a week of music, stories, games, snacks and more!