From Larry, “through the looking glass”
Women’s book group
Christmas gift drive
New organist/choir director
Pumpkin Fair success
Adult Fellowship Christmas party
Coffee Hour schedule
Joys and Concerns
Poinsettias for Christmas
through the looking glass
L. L. Wimmer
The confirmation class has been asked to think about what a church is and why anyone would want to be a part of it. Perhaps we should all think about the same thing once in a while. In many ways we are a perfect size to be a church. We are big enough to do something and small enough to all get together to decide what we are going to do. Of course no matter how big or small we are as a congregation the church is a big subject with even bigger possibilities for what it might be. The church is many things to many people. In fact, the church we experience and see with our own eyes is largely what we make it to be. The church is also more than that. It is also what we are called to be. Frederick Buechner described it well when he wrote:
The visible church is all the people who get together from time to time in God's name. Anybody can find out who they are by going to look. The invisible church is all the people God uses for his hands and feet in this world. Nobody can find out who they are except God. Think of them as two circles. The optimist says they are concentric. The cynic says they don't even touch. The realist says they occasionally overlap. ( from Wishful Thinking )
The apostle Paul says we have been given the ministry of reconciliation with no less a calling than to heal the broken relationship between God and God's creation, to stand in the gap between God and all humankind. We are asked to heal and forgive. We are asked to seek the truth not only about the world but about ourselves. This is a high calling which requires great courage and profound faith. Sometimes we are up to it and sometimes we are not. At our worse we stand only for the status quo and our own self-interest and comfort. At our best we do all the good we can for the sake of God's kingdom on earth.
While the church at its best may disturb our peace it is also the place where we come to find peace. This may seem like a contradiction at first but in fact we can never have any real peace until we find peace in God. Sometimes what we call peace is nothing more than complacency and we settle for that. The peace of God takes us to a different kind of peace. Again it was Buechner who said that peace is not the absence of trouble but the presence of love. It is a peace that the best word we have to describe it is joy. It is the joy of knowing that we are doing God's will by seeking peace for everyone and not just for ourselves. It is a peace that knows struggle but knows that the struggle is life faithfully lived.
So, here we are, a church, a people of faith seeking God's will and God's peace while at the same time meeting all the needs of keeping the institution together. Being a church is a serious business but it is also an opportunity to go to the deep places of meaning that we long for whether we know it or not. It is a place of love, love that is complicated and simple. The church is a place like no other place. To really experience what a church is one needs to participate in the church's life, in the worship, yes, but also in the conversations and the work and the ministry that happens everyday around here. We need to talk about our faith and about our ministry. We are a good size to be a church because we can all come together in one room and find each other and share our thoughts and find a way to be the church that is faithful to the one in whose name we gather. Every month on the third Wednesday the whole church is invited to "council" together. Our meeting in November will include a conversation about missions. What should we be doing in the days we have been given to reconcile the world to God?
“Can I have $11?” If you were in worship on October 15 and could hear the time for the children, then you heard my worries about the cost of what promises to be Devin’s multi-year adventure with orthodontia, and, on the heels of that, my anxiety about making sure I got reimbursed for my Pumpkin Fair supply expenses so we could help pay for said orthodontia. And then, when the Pumpkin Fair was over and I had my reimbursement in my pocket, I read the gospel for the next morning and remembered what I have known for quite a while. Unfortunately, I usually forget what I already know.
We don’t need Time magazine to tell us that adults worry and fight about money more than any other topic. We don’t need Biblical scholars to tell us that Jesus mentions money more than any other topic, either—we can count the references ourselves. There has to be a connection here. The reality is that money—worrying about it, obsessing about it, trying to get more—is a giant pitfall. For me, once I have enough to feed and shelter my family for the foreseeable future, worrying about money is sin; it pulls me away from God. Once I have enough money to feed and shelter my family, the only thing I should be worrying about is how to use the extra to help others who aren’t as lucky as I am.
That worrisome reimbursement money became $11 for each of us gathered at the front last Sunday to find a new way to help someone else. Some of the kids have already done that in wonderful ways, and told me about it. I am still thinking about how to spend my $11. Several of you adults have asked for $11, too. Here’s the challenge—next time you find yourself with an extra $11 (or can find a way to squeeze $11 out of your budget), find a new way to spend it on helping someone else. In worship on November 19 (which also happens to be Thanksgiving Ingathering Sunday) we will talk about all the wonderful ways we found to help others. We as a church are thinking about and praying for and looking at new ways we can be in mission as God’s people—maybe sharing $11 can be a good place to start.
It’s 10 o’clock on Sunday morning. Do you know where your friends are? The evangelism team is looking at our attendance trends, and you can help! Please make it a point to:
Sign the red attendance books EVERY week (we really do pay attention!)
Include in the red book the names of friends/family who aren’t sitting down at the beginning of worship—greeters, liturgists, ushers, choir members, acolytes, children’s church leaders and kids, coffee hour hosts, nursery care providers, etc—it is better to have names down multiple times than not at all!
Let the staff or lay leaders (Rev. Larry Wimmer, Liz LaRocque, Hilary Baldwin, Claire Hoffman, Casey Hannan, Barbara Ryther, Bill Wilson) know if someone YOU know is ill, injured, or unable to come to worship.
Wednesday Night Potluck Dinners Are Back! Come feast together at a potluck on the 3rd Wednesday night of each month at 6:30! Bring your favorite dish to share, and join in some fun and fellowship over an excellent meal. If you want, you are welcome to stay for the Church Council meeting at 7:30! Questions? See Liz!
The Women’s Book Group meets on the last Thursday night of each month, at 7:30 PM. We meet at Imler House, just across the driveway from the church. Our next meeting will be Thursday, November 30; watch your bulletins for our next book selection! Questions? See Liz!
Christmas Gift Drive: We will once again be providing Christmas gifts for the kids at Cooper Community Center. Louise Halstead has been in touch with the Cooper staff, and is gathering information; gift tags will be available Thanksgiving weekend. More details to follow; watch your bulletins! As always, thanks for your incredible generosity in making the holidays happier for children!
The United Methodist Connection is a network of relationships between individuals, churches, and denominational organizations that empower us to work together help fulfill our membership vows to support the church with our “prayers, presence, gifts and service”. By working through the connection as a worldwide community of Christ we can achieve things that would be beyond our reach as individuals. As we work to fulfill our ministries as disciples of Jesus Christ here at BUMC we should keep in mind the resources and opportunities that are available to us through the United Methodist connection.
This month, the connection spotlight is on the United Methodist Committee on Relief and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission. These organizations work to coordinate the gifts and service of local churches to address human suffering resulting from natural disasters and political strife.
Last spring, 21 youth and adults from the United Methodist connected Kents Hill School and Redfield United Methodist Church in Kents Hill Maine, spent spring break in hurricane-ravaged Slidell, Louisiana helping to repair homes and clean up hurricane damage. The trip was organized under the auspices of UMVIM to provide relief services coordinated by UMCOR.
Hurricane Relief Needs Continue
The need for volunteers to assist in hurricane cleanup in Louisiana is ongoing. The following is an excerpt from a letter published in the New England Annual Conference email Newsletter on October 12, 2006.
“A letter from the Disaster Relief Manager of Volunteers
The Disaster Recovery Ministry of the Louisiana Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church needs your help as we serve those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. . .
In certain parts of the state, storm survivors are actively rebuilding their damaged or destroyed homes. Although much has been done, there are still thousands of homeowners who must have their homes gutted and cleared of damaged furniture and household items. Without you, their ability to recover is bleak. There are now 6 stations in Louisiana that can house and host UMVIM teams. . .”
More information on the Kents Hill trip, the Louisiana Hurricane Relief Appeal and links to UMCOR and UMVIM web sites can be found on the BUMC Website Connections page at http://www.umcbelmont.org
Remember that BUMC pledged 20% of the contributions that we receive from the Together for Tomorrow Campaign to help with hurricane reconstruction in the effected areas. A mission trip could be coordinated with those funds to make personal as well as financial connection with an effected church.
If you think you might want to volunteer or coordinate a mission trip please contact Bill Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help to reach the right connectional contacts.
New Organist/Choir Director
I’d like to use this opportunity to express my excitement in being named Music Director. I hope this is the beginning of a long and fruitful tenure. Over the next few months there will necessarily be some adjustments made. I welcome constructive feedback and appreciate your patience. Also, if there are any members considering joining the choir or helping the music ministry in other ways, please give me a ring.
On another front as I relocate and establish myself in Belmont, I will be offering piano lessons so please pass this along to any who might be interested. I can be contacted via phone 860-798-5886 or email: email@example.com. I look forward to getting to know this congregation. Sincerely, Casey Hannon
Pumpkin Fair is a Success!!!
We had terrific participation at the Pumpkin Fair this year. Our members, from the most senior to the most junior, turned out to support us by contributing baked goods, monitoring games, crafts, and tables and participating in the many activities which were available.
Many thanks to the people who helped with setting up the tent, tables, games and crafts to get us prepared for the day. Thanks also to all the people who prepared the games and crafts and to those who monitored the activities through out the day. The clean up crew was efficient and fast so we had everything put away Saturday evening by 5:30.
The Pumpkin Fair provided us with another opportunity to offer a service to the community, to socialize with one another, and to support our missions. We hope to see you at the Pumpkin Fair next year!!!
Thank You, Louise and Liz, Co-Chairs
Adult Fellowship Christmas Party
Save the Date! Sunday, December 3 at 5:00 p.m. for the Annual Adult Fellowship Christmas Party. Appetizer and Dessert Potluck at the French’s home – 379 Common St. Belmont. 617-489-3656.
The church office is trying to cut back on paper and for the past few months volunteers have been sending the newsletter via email. The plan is to only mail out a few paper copies to those who do not have email or access to the web. Please let the office know if you would like a paper copy mailed to you – or if you would like to pick it up at church.
If you are not currently receiving the Churchlight by email please go to the Newsletter page on the church website at www.umcbelmont.org to subscribe. In addition, starting from September, current and back issues will be posted on the website in the Newsletter section.
Please consider volunteering to coordinate Coffee Hour. It’s fun, easy, and greatly appreciated. Coordinator’s duties include making coffee; setting the tables; cleaning up (usually with help); and providing milk, cream, cold drink as necessary. It does not include soliciting food since food items are provided by those people whose last initial falls into the following groups: You may volunteer for any Sunday, not just for your “letter.” Questions? Ask Linda Rodi, 617-489-1538
Nov. 5: VWXYZ group, coordinated by Ava Walsh (781-891-4092)
Nov. 12: ABC group, coordinated by Lisa Courtney (617-489-5331)
Nov. 19: DEFG group, coordinated by Terry Grimm (781-648-6927)
Nov. 26: HIJKL group, coordinated by Shelle Lynch (617-484-1377)
Joys and Concerns
Our thoughts are with Mal Ellison, who is at Youville Hospital recovering from surgery he had for a badly broken elbow in early October, and with Joanne LeCount, who is also at Youville after treatment at Mass General. Our grateful thoughts are with Margaret Wicks, who was at Mount Auburn Hospital but is now home feeling better and continuing to recover. Kevin Jay, Ginny Jay’s son, was hospitalized for a week after a motorcycle accident and continues to recover at home as well. On October 20, Erdine Ellison slipped and broke her wrist while visiting Mal, but thankfully only needed to be hospitalized overnight. Please continue to hold all these folks in your prayers.
Our sympathies are with the family of Dorothy Bonfilio, who passed away on 9/23/06. A service was held at BUMC on 9/27/06.
Our sympathies are also with the family of Betty Allen, who passed away last month in Maine.
Once again, we are providing food to needy families through two exceptional agencies.
The Belmont Food Pantry
BUMC has agreed to help provide gift certificates for Thanksgiving food to the clients of the Belmont Food Pantry. Cash donations will be gratefully accepted towards these holiday gift certificates, and can be left in the office until Thursday, November 16.
On Sunday, November 19 during worship, we will again receive an Ingathering of Thanksgiving foods. We are partnering with Calvary UMC in Arlington to provide several complete Thanksgiving Dinner boxes for families in our community. Please bring what you can:
· Supermarket Gift Certificates for Turkeys or Hams
· Fresh Potatoes and Hardy Fruits
· Canned Vegetables
· Stuffing Mix
· Non-Perishable Baked Goods
· Snack/Dessert Mixes
· Canned/Bottled Drinks
· Additional Non-Perishable Food as you wish