Tag Archives: First United Methodist Church

LifeCycle of Giving: Confirmation Sunday

This Sunday was Confirmation Sunday in Downtown Alive. These confirmands have been together for weeks, studying, questioning, visiting a synagogue and retreating together as they explored what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. On Wednesday in preparation for today’s service they wrote an affirmation of faith, their joint statement of  belief.

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The hymns were chosen by the confirmands and they wanted Patrick to sing, which he did. I am so proud of each one of them. I shared with them that I, too had been confirmed in that sanctuary. What I didn’t say was that it was 50 years ago on Palm Sunday in 1969!!! FIFTY! I  was glad they wanted and believed the church is a safe place for all. I know for me at their age and throughout high school it was for me. They are a wonderful group and bringing gifts that will make the church stronger and more faithful.

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We celebrated and honored them with a reception following.

You can find the whole worship service or just the sermon here.

 

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Friday Fun?

As my husband likes to say, “Now that we have no children at home, we live in the largest house we have ever lived.” This is a true statement. Our home is called the “Roembach” house and is in the Park Place/Fairview historic district. Probably this house was built probably in 1908, although the old Wichita Directory has the Roembachs here as early as 1906. The family wasn’t one of the old “established” families in Wichita so there is not much information about our home.

It’s big. I often forget how big it is until someone new comes by and and their eyes get large and they remark on the house. Andrew estimates it is around 4000 square feet, which may or may not include the yucky basement. The bedrooms are on the second floor, but several decades ago someone opened up the attic to a third floor.

Our grandchildren call it “theirs.” We are going to “our” floor grandma! And honestly this is a great “grandma and grandpa house.” An Edwardian foursquare, it has beautiful stairs off the foyer and very narrow and steep servant stairs to the kitchen. When they were younger the grandkids would run circles from one stair case to the next.

The third floor really is “their” floor. I have neighbor who turned her attic into the cutest area with iron twin beds and antique quilts and antique toys and her grown grandchildren still want to visit.

A couple of years ago, Andrew built triple bunk beds into one of the dormers. It sure beat the mattresses laying on the floors that we had had for several years. We have created a reading nook and their is a large tv for watching movies and playing the Wii. Andrew and I use the space in the meantime to do yoga most every day of the week.

Today, I got up there and organized. Recently I have taken up several small boxes and baskets of craft supplies and stuff. It needed to be put away and straighten up. Now no one will be visiting until Christmas, so I did put up the Christmas decorations while I finished up all the Thanksgiving decorations downstairs. (That is for another blog)

Today, I made the bed with brand new quilts bought from the First United Methodist Church quilt auction. There are two different groups of quilters that make beautiful quilts each year and sell them to raise money for the Religious Nurture Center (which is a ministry for developmentally disabled adults) and for our Downtown Alive Television ministry.  I have wanted old fashioned quilts for those beds and I bought three, PLUS a Frozen quilt and pillow case. They look great!

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So the upstairs is all relatively organized and Christmas decorations are up.

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There are actually more, but I didn’t take any more pictures. It felt good to get that space ready, to clean it up, make the beds and think about when the family will be here and I will hear laughter and probably a little yelling from the third floor.

Fun, like many things is relative. I don’t really like to clean, but I like having this done and ready. I probably ought remind myself of how good it feels to get things done, particularly those things I dislike: putting up old things, re-organizing, cleaning. In the end it feels good and I am grateful

 

 

 

 

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Grateful for Family Promise

If left to my own devices, I tend to be an early morning person. When I have no set schedule, and can sleep until I am done, then my regular rhythm is to be awake early. at this point in my life that is not true. I tend to be up later and consequently am not that “early riser.”

On Monday night, First Church was hosting Family Promise. This great organization supports homeless families and helps them get into housing. Many, many congregrations enable this to happen by either “hosting” (which means having homeless families in their building for one week four times a year) or by supporting the hosting congregations.

Each family has their own room for a week, the evening meal is provided, as well as transportation from the day house to the church and back to the day house in the morning. The children then ride the bus to school, the SAME school everyday so they are not moved from school to school. The parent(s) either go to work or do some sort of schooling or apply for jobs.

Andrew and I were the overnight hosts.  Basically we spend the night and if there is an emergency, then someone who knows the church can help in what ever way possible. The families had to be in the van at 5:30 a.m. After Andrew drove them to the day house, we had a lot of morning left.

We went to the Y across from the church. This is our “normal” Y, but usually we are not there at 6:03 a.m. Who knew so many people were up working out and running at six??? The gym was very busy almost uncomfortably so on the track. We are not particulary fast, but we walk quickly. Many were “running” around us.

That morning, the views from the 3rd floor were stunning. To see the dawn slowly moving into morning with the crown from our steeple was lovely.

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Then just a few minutes later, the sunrise woke up the sky! Both First and St. John’s Episcopal were breathing taking.

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“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118: 24)

I am sure this is why sunrises were made! Tuesday was a long day. Sleeping at the church was not terribly restful, but the work of Family Promise is important, important enough to a lose a little sleep. What a gift it was to have that early morning to see the hope of a new day, to walk out the kinks from an uncomfortable bed and be reminded of the goodness of God and God’s constant invitation to be part of making a better world.

Today I am grateful for the ministry of Family Promise, for the opportunity to share a small part in that ministry and to be reminded of “joy comes in the morning” and each day is a day that God has made.

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LifeCycle of Giving, Celebrating the Fruits

This is one of my favorite Sundays of the year. There is something deeply sacred about naming name and lighting candles and remembering. At First, only people who are members are named, and while I struggle with that, if we opened it up, we would probably have a couple of hundred names or more. Lighting an extra candle allows all of us to name those persons in our lives who we have died this last year.

After all these years, I find myself coming to this Sunday with a tender heart. For ALL the saints, year after year, I remember and am grateful. I also acknowledge the loss. I firmly believe we are each unique and unrepeatable and when a person dies, no one can take their place.

It doesn’t mean we don’t love any more, or can not love again, but it is always different, not bad, just different. Each person we love adds to the wholeness of who we are. So there are spots, holes if you will, that linger in our hearts and spirits when loved ones are no longer there.

This Sunday we not only remembered those who have died, we also focused our attention on their “fruit” or the gifts their lives offered. Not only are they saints, we are too. We are called to carry on the love and grace we have been offered in Christ. As we are moving through our stewardship sermon series, remembering our saints is one way of honoring their gifts and their lives and spirits.

“I sing a song of the saints of God…and I mean to be one too.” (Lesbia Scott, 1929) Today in worship, we were invited to be a saint today. You can find todays worship service, or just the sermon here.

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Connect: At the Table

We finished our sermon series, “Connect: Building Our Life Together,” on World Communion Sunday. Christians have connected through since the early days when the earliest followers of Jesus followed his command to remember him at the table.

World Communion Sunday began in 1933 at Shadyside Presbyterian Church, pastored by Dr. Hugh Thomson Kerr. It was adopted by the US Presbyterian Church in 1936 and then by the Federal Council of Churches (now the National Council of Churches) in 1940. And has been celebrated throughout ecumenical circles ever since.

In some ways, every time we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion is world communion Sunday. No church celebrates alone, every hour of every day the sacrament is being shared. It does connect us across ethnic, religious, denominational, age, gender and every other line one can imagine.

The color of our block this week was yellow, the color of hope, of new ideas and thoughts. Eighty years ago, World Communion Sunday was a new idea. The idea represents the hope and leans into the prayer of Jesus, “that they may all be one.”

The sermon itself focused on the lectionary passage from Luke 17 and the expectation of Jesus that we forgive and we do the work of faith every day. You can find the worship service or the sermon itself here.

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Connect: Service

We have only one Sunday to go before we finish up our sermon series, “Connect: Building Our Life Together.” This weekend was packed full. One of our Sunday School Classes, “Pneuma” celebrated their 40th anniversary as a class. Saturday evening was filled with people catching up, pictures, remembrances and lots of laughter. Today many attended worship together.

The color of our building block this week is red. Red is the color of action, strength and the Spirit. The word “pneuma” means spirit and the celebration of the “spirit” Sunday school class is a reminder to all that we are all called by the Spirit, and challenged by the Spirit.

This Sunday was the annual “mission reveal” which mean the mission trips for 2020 were shared. There are plenty to choose from including a women’s only trip to Arkansas during lambing season at Heifer Project, a family trip to Henderson Settlement, and several to work on disaster recovery in Puerto Rico, the East Coast, Houston and Oklahoma.

Today was also PRIDE weekend in Wichita and there were those that went to march in the parade with other United Methodist congregations to show God’s love for all. I am so grateful to serve in a place where we are constantly striving to be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus in the world.

You can find the whole worship service or just the sermon here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Connecting Through the Word

What a beautiful day we had together at First United Methodist Church. This Sunday we presented our third graders with bibles, commissioned a mission team and blessed our bibles at our Downtown Alive service. I love gifting bibles to third graders. Over the last few years the new ones are so colorful and inviting.

We have continued our sermon series, “Connect: Building Our Life Together.” We have used different colored building blocks focus on the various ways we are building our lives together: orange, the color of adventure for our work, the color brown representing stability and support and we focused on our relationships and today the color was blue for devotion and contemplation.

Our Hebrew text was from Jonah. I have been stewing for days because as I practice I kept substituting Noah for Jonah! So what did I do today? Exactly what I was afraid of, at least six times I said Noah instead of Jonah! Sigh. Stewing about it and practicing didn’t seem to change it, but nonetheless that is life.

Today’s worship service, or sermon alone can be found here.

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