Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the Lord is gracious and merciful. Psalm 111:1-4 (NRSV)
I’m giving thanks for the many ways we saw God’s great works while we were on the mission trip in Cincinnati. God was already at work there and we were privileged to join God and others to make a difference. If you were in church on July 31, you had the opportunity to hear about many of the ways God is working. One of the ministries where we served is New Life Furniture. It was founded by two people who wanted to help one family with nothing get settled into an apartment. Step by step God has grown the ministry so that they now are serving several families each week providing them with quality used furniture. The day I served in that ministry picking up and delivering furniture, we saw God’s wonderful work first hand. First, we went to one home to pick up a dining room table. When we arrived, the next door neighbor came over and asked if we had time to pick up some furniture he wanted to donate. He gave us several items including a rocking chair and a children’s table and chairs. The daily plan is to pick up the items from one family and deliver them to the family in need the same day to minimize handling. When we attempted to make our second delivery of the day, the people weren’t home. After several phone calls, the director was able to reschedule a delivery that was originally scheduled for later in the week. The family that was expecting delivery on Friday would now receive furniture on Wednesday. It turned out that what we picked up from the neighbor that was not on the original plan was just what the people who had their delivery moved up needed. God knew the need and provided for it in a way that was not planned. God’s plan is always greater than our plans!
We have many plans this fall. We trust that God will bless those plans and do more that we can imagine. I pray you’ll be a part of it all.
In September, we will be doing a church-wide 360 as part of our work toward becoming a “missional church.” The term “missional church” means a church that is out in their neighborhood, looking for places where God is at work and joining God in it. It’s about becoming more of a force for good and for God in our community. The 360 involves a survey that each of you will be asked to complete. It is designed to show us where our strengths lie and where we may need to improve so that we can become more “missional.” You’ll hear more about this in coming weeks.
Also this fall, we are excited to begin a bi-lingual ministry with our Hispanic/Latino neighbors. Hector and Maria Rivera will be coming to us from the Emmanuel UMC to lead this ministry. They will begin on September 23 with a weekly Bible study on Fridays at 7 PM. A concert is being planned for October 29 to help expand the ministry. On December 10, we’ll have a special children’s program. We trust that God is leading us step by step in this new initative.
Additionally, Derek Hansen, our youth pastor, will be doing his supervised ministry here this year. That means he’ll be around more and doing more things. The Bishop will be appointing him part time to Aldersgate as of October 1, so he will be able to provide the sacraments, do weddings, and memorial services at Aldersgate.
Please join me in keeping our church and these plans in your prayers. In fact, some of us plan to gather each Sunday at 8 AM in the parlor for a time of prayer. We’d love for you to join us as we unite in prayer. May God use us all in new and exciting ways as we minister together.
In Christ’s love,