CHILDREN'S SUNDAY SCHOOL PLANS As we progress through the summer months, the children's Sunday School and Worship programs continue. During the Worship hour we learn about "What is the Church?", "Prayer and Praise," and "Peacemaking." During Sunday School time the children continue with singing and playing handchimes. Parents and others who are not involved in a Sunday School class already, are invited to join the children at 10:45 in their Worship room upstairs and learn to play handchimes.
BEGINNING CLASS FOR HANDBELL PLAYERS Centenary is blessed to have a beautiful set of handbells and all the accessories needed to produce music in praise of, and prayer to God. Debbie Thompson and Doris Pell are teaming up to establish an active Handbell Choir to play for Worship. On Tuesday, July 15 there will be the first "Learn to Play Bells" class at 7:00 PM. Players can be 7th grade through whatever age you are. Pre-requisites to playing? None. It does help if you can tap your foot to a piece of music. Reading music is not a pre-requisite. Come and try it. The plan is to have beginners class meet until October, and on October 1, to invite experienced players to join the beginners in preparing music to play in Worship.
REPORT ON VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
WOW! VBS was a huge success with an average of 28+ children and 33+ adults in attendance. The children experienced Bible story themes throughout the week and enjoyed how the themes were carried out in music, crafts, science and mission. Each night items were donated by children for housewarming gifts for Habitat for Humanity. The teachers and helpers showed a lot of dedication and enthusiasm in every session. The staff also learned a lot in seeing things through the eyes of the children . I was able to spend a small amount of time listening to the adult VBS teachers. They were so knowledgeable and used different teaching styles. I wanted to stay for the whole session each time., but needed elsewhere. What a great week! If you missed it, plan to come next year. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO MADE IT HAPPEN!!
FROM THE PASTOR
Have you ever been bitten by a dog? Tonight, during a break from Annual Conference, Mary Beth and I went to visit her father and his family. They also have a couple of dogs there, and I’m accustomed to greeting both Polly, a lazy Basset Hound mix, and Boots, who is a black Pitbull mix. Both are usually quite friendly, but something was different tonight. Boots was on the other side of a glass door, and was jumping and barking hysterically. I like to think I’m pretty good at reading the body language of dogs, and I surmised that Boots was excited to receive guests into the home, and wanted to greet me. So I opened the door, and reached out my hand to pet Boots. Silly me. Boots was obviously feeling both pent up and territorial, and he gave my hand a pretty good bite…actually a really hard bite that bruised my left hand and left me with a pretty deep puncture wound. It did not feel good.
The entire family, especially was pretty distressed. They crated the dog, and made sure that I was okay. The wound needed tending, and I was a bit embarrassed, but I was otherwise just fine . But what happened next is, to me, the interesting part. Boots, with the encouragement of his family, after he had settled, came to make friends with me. Almost immediately, Boots was back to being the gentle, playful boy I have known for a few years. He sat at my feet, and asked to be petted, and whined to be given a treat…like most of the dogs that I know. The transformation was remarkable really, and while Boots needs some serious exercise and more complete socialization, I like the dog. And I’m not afraid of him.
Like dogs, humans have a “reactive brain” that can completely take over when a fight/flight process sets in. At its worst, it can lead us to acts of violence and hate, as well as addictive self destruction. More commonly, it leads us to pettiness, small-mindedness and isolation. What was designed by God as a mechanism to allow us to respond to immediate threat becomes our default strategy for living in the world.
When the faith of Jesus is alive in us, we move from that reactive brain process to a more responsive one. And when a church is alive, it becomes a community where grace filled transformation can occur…a place where people can discover the peace and holy passion that God aims for us to know. In such a place, we embrace the holy, love the enemy, welcome the poor, and bless the world.
Our Church Council has voted to set us on a course to forming a “vision statement”, a guide for who we are going to be as a people of Jesus. I do not know where this time of discernment will take us, but my prayer is that it helps us enhance our ability to be a community of faith where deep welcome leads to profound transformation.
Take good care.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
BIKE RIDERS’ DINNER—MONDAY MAY 12, 2014
For several years Centenary UMC has hosted this annual event in Terre Haute, IN. The estimated 70 riders plus their support team began arriving at Centenary in the afternoon to spend the night. Volunteers directed riders to shower facilities at ISU and others served dinner to the group. Bikers made bike repairs, and camped out at Centenary for the night. Then after a hearty breakfast on Tuesday, they continued on their ride. Thanks to Krogers North and to Texas Roadhouse and Baesler’s for their generous donations of food
Hosting the Sycamore Social
On May 5th, 2014, members of Centenary United Methodist Church hosted a special group of guests at the National Guard Armory at 3614 Maple Avenue in Terre Haute, IN. Physically or mentally challenged guests and their caregivers played basketball or corn-toss or danced the limbo. They met old friends, visited, munched on cookies and sipped lemonade. Our guests enjoyed themselves as Centenary members reached out to the community in a very special way.
FROM THE PASTOR
It's graduation day at (insert the name of your rival school), and everybody is going graduate except for Josh. At the graduation assembly, the entire senior class stands up and shouts "Let Josh graduate! Let Josh graduate!" The principal agrees to give Josh one last chance. "If I have five apples in my right hand and five in my left hand, Josh, how many apples do I have?" he asked Josh. Josh thought long and hard and then said: "Ten." And the entire senior class stood up and shouted, "Give Josh another chance. Give Josh another chance!"
Ah, yes. It is graduation season. Many of us remember our graduations fondly, though we may not remember graduation speeches so fondly. For many of us, there was a certain social pressure to be especially giddy that day, so pity the poor soul who had agreed to speak to the rowdy group of graduates. To make matters worse, all too often the speeches are boringly predictable. “You have achieved much. Many have helped you. You have great potential.” Somehow those powerful truths…and they are powerful…can appear trite, because graduates expect someone to say them, and because their minds are more concentrated that day on celebration and fun.
It is the church’s job to retrieve those words, or better, their spiritual versions, and to offer them to those who need them. Part of our mission as church is to lift up ‘calling’ or ‘vocation’ as part of the Christian vision. Any Christian community is a community of calling where we are, with regularity, asked to consider why we are in the world. What is our purpose in being here? That is what ‘calling’ means.
How do we arrange ourselves as a congregation so that we may effectively commend “calling” to others. One way is to create opportunities for us all, and particularly those youth and young adults among us, to engage in meaningful service and caring. Surveys have consistently shown that “millenials” (those born between 1982 and 2003) have the highest service volunteer rates among all generational groups. This longing within us, and especially within the young among us, powerfully resonates with the Wesleyan call to discipleship and service.
Calling is not just about getting a job; it is about blessing the world. Frederick Buechner writes that “Vocation is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” And Howard Thurman once wrote, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Trust me, those are things contemporary graduates would hear…perhaps even on graduation day.
Take good care.