The first Sunday of October is traditionally for mainline churches World Communion Sunday. Begun in the 1930’s in the Presbyterian church, it is a time to remember that each church is not alone, we are part of something much bigger. Christians and churches are connected, not by denomination but by our love of Christ Jesus. Denominationally we don’t often agree, we have “issues” but Jesus prayed that we might be one and invited his followers to eat together regularly and remember him.
At First UMC we were honored to have the Episcopal Leader of the Great Plains Conference Bishop Ruben Saenz, Jr. preaching and presiding at the table for Holy Communion.
The service is shared in this link and was for me a blessing to have Bishop Saenz preach and share with us today of all days. The United Methodist Church is a global/worldwide church and our bishops are “general” superintendents which mean they are not only assigned to a particular area, but are part of the leadership for the whole church.
Also, today was the CROP Walk. For around fifty years, Church World Service have hosted these walks to help raise awareness and money to combat hunger internationally and nationally. Twenty five percent of the money raised in Wichita stays local. The First UMC youth, CORE Student Ministries participated raised over $400. I think that is great for the first time! It has been a day worth celebrating! God is good and calls me and all of us to be about the work of love and grace.
Today was one of the wonderful blessing filled days I am given as a pastor. It started out with a little snow on the ground. The snow was lovely but did not stop us from having worship today. And a wonderful worship service it was! This preacher was not in charge, but the youth group was. They had planned, prepared and shared a service around the idea of church as family.
The service was filled with scripture, with music, with reflections on the scriptures. One highlight was the presentation of the CROP quilt.
The youth challenged the congregation to join with them to raise money for alleviating hunger in Wichita and around the world. While the link isn’t updated, West Heights Youth led the church to be the number one fund raising group. Around fifty people walked raising more than $2600 with all the groups raising over $20,000.
The CROP Walk
This Quilt will be displayed until the next year! What a great presentation in the middle of a wonderful worship service. The youth led the music and shared the children’s time.
And of course….the offering must be taken!
Using the story of Moses, we were invited to remember that we are beloved children of God. We are able to give and participate in CROP walks, mission week and trips and give to United Methodist Open Door because of who God is and because of God’s love. The music and the Word given was powerful and I was touched deeply by this worship service. On a snowy Sunday, called to live as God’s beloved child by this wonderful group, I am graced to serve.