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TO VIEW THE August EPISTLE,
All women of St. Paul UMC are invited to attend an "Indoor Summer Picnic" on Sunday, August 21st at 5:00PM in the church fellowship hall. Invite a neighbor or friend to attend with you and join in an evening of good food and great fellowship. Please bring your favorite picnic food to share---perhaps potato salad, your favorite jello salad, or your favorite brownies. Beverages will be provided. No RSVP needed-- just come and enjoy the evening!
Chris Caseman, Lay Leader
Most of us learned that phrase and the little hand gestures that go with it many, many years ago and it never seems to grow old or out of style. What was true years ago also applies today. Are you sure, really?
Not so much anymore. We still have the church, and of course our steeple is just as prominent as it’s been for so many years. So what’s changed, you ask?
It’s the people. Where are they? Today in America, about 70% still profess a belief in God, but the number of folks committed to the Lord and attend worship services regularly in response to that belief has dwindled dramatically.
Assess your own neighborhood on a Sunday morning. In ours, we see and hear lawn mowers, cars being washed, walkers, and runners, but see few on their way to church. What is it that keeps them away, or better yet what is it that doesn’t draw them to be part of a congregation?
Several weeks ago, we had the good fortune to see a performance of the Dixie Chicks at Jiffy Lube Pavilion. What an amazingly large crowd! According to their website, the amphitheater can seat 25,000 with 15,000 on the lawn and 10,000 in reserved seats. The night we were there, it looked like a full house. It was not just a full house, but a very enthusiastic full house, with many in attendance never sitting down throughout the entire evening.
It was a great event and I enjoyed the show every much; however, I couldn’t help wondering where these folks would be on Sunday morning? The Dixie Chicks are very talented and entertaining, but how does this compare to worshiping the creator of the universe, the giver and sustainer of life, The Lord God Almighty?
Worshipping God in the midst of a loving, caring St. Paul family is my priority and I hope it’s yours too. Let’s have an open invitation to all we encounter to join us.
Hope to see you Sunday morning!
Kevin Ker, Sports Ministry Coordinator
Hello St. Paul UMC family! Our 2016 Softball season is coming to a close. We have at least 2 more games this weekend during the tournament and then it will be on to the next sport. We had an interesting season this year as we were moved up a whole conference for the second year in a row. The group of men and women on our team did an amazing job of getting out there, playing our best, having some really, really close and competitive games; all the while having a great time and laughing with each other on the way to an 0-20 season. Yes, you read that right. We did not get a single win this year, and we had a great time doing it. While you may not see a lot of our team members at church on Sunday, many of them have been participating in our Sports Ministry for years. Several of them have also come to our special events and volunteered time helping with projects around the church. They are an extension of our church family and we are always reaching out to them. It was great, as always, to see many of you come out to our games and support the team. Another way to support our teams is to donate financially. Other than the UMM stepping up a few years ago and helping us to re-boot the softball team, the sports that we play are financed by the team members themselves. This has progressively become more expensive as league fees rise every year. So, please consider making a donation to our Sports Ministry program in which we are reaching out to those who don't attend a church and witnessing to them. Thanks!
Restructure Ad-hoc Committee
A team has been working to develop a possible way to restructure how we make decisions here at St. Paul. They have looked at the pros and cons from other churches that have restructured and interviewed knowledgeable people from local churches that have restructured. They have come up with a St. Paul Model that should streamline decision making, increase communication, improve coordination between mission teams, make clearer the areas of responsibility and make better use of our laity without losing sight of our primary mission which is to make disciples. This St. Paul Model was presented at the June Church Council meeting. Copies of the narrative of this presentation are available through the church office. There will be three Restructure Town Hall meetings to address questions and comments around this presentation, and a final vote will be taken on August 24th. Please request a copy of the narrative (firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-494-2445) and plan to attend one of the following meetings:
Sunday, July 24th at 10:00am in the Social Hall
Sunday, August 7th at 12:00pm in the Bethany Room
Nancy West, Acolyte Coordinator
Calling children and youth third grade through high school -- Do you have a desire to serve our church and God, but don't yet know what that service might be? Well, here is your opportunity to serve and to be an important part of our Sunday 11:00 worship service. A new Acolyte program will be starting in September with training available. Did you know that acolytes have been used in churches since A.D. 251 and that there were forty-two of them helping in churches in the city of Rome. The word "acolyte" is a Greek word that means "to serve." Watch the August Epistle Plus and the September Epistle for more information.
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech,
in life, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12
Bill Elmore, Trustee Chair
The Trustees have selected Stafford Glass Company to install a commercial door system to replace the existing 50+ year old wooden entrance doors at the main Sanctuary entrance. This new door system will be custom manufactured by Cardinal Commercial Products, Louisville, KY. Metal framed doors with large glass panels having 1 inch vertical and horizontal inserts mounted inside the glass have been selected. The inserts will be mounted in such a manner as to create a Cross Pattern in the glass of each door. Glass doors were favored as they provided a distinctive “welcoming aspect” to the entrance while solving vision issues for those entering and exiting. Replacement of the Sanctuary entrance doors is being undertaken as part of the on-going facility maintenance. Our new door system solves long existing conflicts with Prince William Fire Codes which require a single continuous motion to exit the building 24 hours a day. One hundred percent funding for this project has been provided by designated monies given by Scott Atkinson and his friends in his memory. It is anticipated that the project should be completed within the next few months.
HOW ARE WE USING THE RESOURCES
Bob Bryant, Stewardship Coordinator
Here is a lesson worth pondering!
Here are the words of Jesus from Luke 16:9 and 11: “Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others … And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?”
John Wesley, the father of Methodism, emphasized that stewardship began with the theological understanding that everything we are and have comes from God. Just as our lives come from God, the ways we use the gifts of life and grace are our offerings back to God. Therefore, Wesley emphasized that both inward and outward holiness matters. How we respond in various circumstances, how we use our time, how we spend funds, or how we treat others can be gifts to God when they reflect the holiness of Christ.
“If we think about the use of money as a spiritual discipline, then we can see that the point is not to give away what we think is extra. The point is to play our role in distributing God’s resources equitably, not denying our own needs, but seeing the needs of others to be as legitimate as our own.” (From a “A Year with John Wesley and Our Methodist Values”)
Two Wesley quotes that we are worthy of careful reflection are: “Not, how much of my money will I give to God, but, how much of God’s money will I keep for myself?” “What should rise is not the Christian’s standard of living, but his standard of giving.”
Wesley practiced what he preached. When his salary was 30 pounds per year, he lived on 28 and gave away 2 pounds. As his income increased over the years to more than 1,000 pounds per year, he still lived on about 30 pounds and gave away the rest to provide for the needy.
Responding to a comment to an article he wrote about Wesley’s use of money, Joe Plemon, a certified financial counselor wrote: “I don’t buy into the ultra frugal lifestyle, meaning I still like vacations, and going out to eat (within my budgeted amount). I also believe in saving (as I said in the post) for emergencies and retirement. However, the challenge remains this: whatever one’s standard of living, consider intentionally keeping it there so that future increases in cash flow can be used to bless others instead of our inflated life styles. I am not there yet, but am working on it.’
I ask you to sincerely consider the application of this lesson for your life and what you can give to support the ministries of the church and St. Paul’s 2016 Challenge. Perhaps, none of us can say we are there yet, but I hope all of us can honestly say “but I’m working on it.”
Amy Miller, Director of Youth Ministries
All 6th through 12th graders are welcome to join the J-Connection Youth Group on Sunday evenings. We will have a kick-off party on September 18th at 5:30pm.
Our theme this year will be My Identity in Christ. Join us as we explore our Christian ID this year along with food, fellowship, games, joys, and much more!
Weekly Sunday School - 10am Sunday School never takes a summer break! Our lessons this summer include What Would Jesus Does stories followed by group games.