Interpreting the Bible as Methodists (part three)

This article is part three in a series on Bible Interpretation.  To go back and read part one, which discusses our Articles of Religion, click HERE.  To read part two, which discusses John Wesley and early Methodists, click HERE

As we continue this series there is one more section of our Book of Discipline that is worth looking at, because it also speaks to how we interpret the Bible as Methodists.  Where the first section was about principles, the second about application, this one is about theology. 

A rustic loaf of bread is on a wood cutting board in front of an open Holy Bible in the background. Bread is powerful religous symbolism for Christianity, as a part of the Lord’s Prayer asks the Father in heaven to “give us each day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3), along with Jesus Christ calling himself the “bread of life” in John 6:35.

Let’s start with a definition:    

Let’s start with a definition for the word: Theology

Theology is the study of the nature of God (what God is like), how God relates to the world, and it also touches on faith and religious practice.  It is often ordered or sometimes called “systematic.” You might use the word “theology” to compare/contrast different understandings of God (like for example Catholic theology compared with Methodist theology).

How is Theology Connected with Bible Interpretation?  Quite a bit, it is heavily informed by Bible interpretation and that’s what we’ll take a look at. 

Our Theological Task – ¶105 in the Book of Discipline

Below I summarize what this section has to say about Bible Interpretation.  The whole section is VERY GOOD READING and covers far more than just what is summarize below (specifically what this section has to say about Bible Interpretation):    

  • Theology is defined as the application of our church doctrine.  It’s very contextual:  Theology serves the Church by interpreting the world’s needs and challenges to the Church and by interpreting the gospel to the world. 
  • The work of theology is:  critical and constructive, individual and communal, contextual and incarnation, and practical.

In a section called Theological Guidelines:  Sources and Criteria an important question is discussed. Where do we get our theological data/information from?  The Book of Discipline names four sources for theology, but clearly states that they are nonequal, one is primary. Here are links to the Book of Discipline as it speaks about each section: Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason. We will begin with Scripture:  

  • “Wesley believed that the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason. 
  • Scripture is primary among the four theological sources. It reveals the word of God ‘so far as it is necessary for our salvation’.  The disciplined study of the Bible is vital to our theology. 
    • We meet Christ, the living Word of God in scripture. 
    • The Biblical authors, illumined by the Holy Spirit, bear witness that in Christ the world is reconciled to God. 
    • The Bible bears authentic testimony to God’s self-disclosure in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as in God’s work of creation, in the pilgrimage of Israel, and in the Holy Spirit’s ongoing activity in human history. 
    • The Bible is the source point of our faith and understanding of God.
    • We interpret individual texts in light of their place in the Bible as a whole
    • We are aided by scholarly inquiry, personal insight, historical, literary, and textual studies. 
    • “The Bible serves both as a source of our faith and as the basic criterion by which the truth and fidelity of any interpretation of faith is measured.” 

After discussing scripture, three more sources for theological inquiry and reflection are named. Scripture is the primary, the norm by which all three of these are judged, yet each of these are a vital part of our theological work, they are:

  • Tradition – the extremely valuable historical record of our brothers and sisters in the faith who have come before us.  This includes that historical record’s soaring and inspiring successes, and its disappointing failures that can learn from. 
  • Experience – both individual and corporate.  We look (within our lives and the life of our community and context) for confirmations of the realities of God’s grace attested in scripture. 
  • Reason – “any disciplined theological work calls for the careful use of reason”.  It is quite literally what we use to read and interpret scripture, determine the clarity of Christian witness, ask questions, and seek to understand God’s action and will. 

Theology seeks an authentic Christian response to modern challenges, injustices, suffering, secularism, and so much more.  As Methodists we practice theology globally and that’s very unique to our church. 

We work Ecumenically (with other traditions of the faith). 

The section closes with this quote from Ephesians 3 “Now to God who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever.  Amen”

What does this look like in practical application at Downs UMC?

Hopefully you’ve heard the phrase:  “Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason” from our church before.  It is taught and used in sermons, because, as a Methodist pastor, I believe it to be a fantastic tool for Christian discernment. 

  • At our church, the primacy of scripture matters.  Because of that, most bible studies and sermons at Downs start with the text, and then seek to apply that text to a life of faith. 
    • We do sometimes start the other way around, beginning with an issue or item and then searching for scriptural commentary, support, or opposition.  Those types of studies work best however when a strong background of scriptural understanding is already present.  This is why we work hard at Downs to offer solid education on Biblical content, so that when you do theology on your own you have a good solid base to work with. 
  • We accept the Bible as the true rule and guide for faith, and therefore do not believe that the Word of God will ever lead a faithful Christian to error.  If error occurs in interpretation or application of the Word of God, we expect it to be human error, not an error from God.
  • When we come upon a passage of scripture that is hard to understand, doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t seem to fit, we use the recommended process (based on the Book of Discipline) for Biblical Interpretation, and we often do so in this order.  In a seminary, this process could also be called a form of Exegesis. 
    • We begin by allowing the Bible to comment on the Bible.  Understanding that scripture  is not just one book it’s a collection of 66.  We invite other portions of scripture to inform the passage we are looking into. 
    • Next we may consult scholarly inquiry which takes many forms:  Commentaries, archaeology, cultural studies, and more.  We prioritize resources that have proved trustworthy in the past, but we also look for new resources that bring fresh insights. 
    • We consult the wealth of Christian tradition.  So many faithful sisters and brothers have come before us, perhaps they have studied and commented on these passages.   
    • We consult our own experience.  Do to the aspects of this passage of scripture have an echo in our life or the life of our community?  This is also a good place for Christian conversation, speaking with a brother or sister in Christ. 
    • In all of these ways we are applying our God given gift of reason as we seek to interpret the scripture properly. 
    • Ideally we look for agreement in all four categories as we prayerfully study.  When there isn’t agreement in all categories then more work is needed for interpretation and study.  If a piece of information from experience or tradition, for example, is in conflict with scripture then we use scripture to interpret it.

This is a really helpful process, and one that we recommend for both individual and communal theological reflection.  Yes, there’s a good amount of work involved, but it bears the fruit of drawing us closer to God.  It also bears the fruit of helping us bring our lives in greater alignment with God’s purposes and intention.  Additionally, it challenges the church to contextualize the good news of Jesus Christ, and to communicate the fantastic promises of God to our world in a way that our world will understand it

In our next article we’ll close with a final discussion on practical Bible interpretation by discussing the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church. 

Interpreting the Bible as Methodists (part two)

This article is part two in a series on Bible Interpretation.  To go back and read part one, which discusses our Articles of Religion, click HERE. 

In our first article we reviewed our Articles of Religion, an important series of faith statements that help explain who we are and what we believe as Methodists. As we’re looking at Bible Interpretation, we reviewed the specific guidance that our Articles provide on how we read and interpret scripture.

One of the great things about our Wesleyan-Methodist tradition, however, is that we hardly ever just stop at principles and guidelines. Faith is active and alive, and what is interpreted in scripture needs to be put into practice. Methodists have always been a very practical branch of the Christian faith, and that’s where our next batch of foundational documents take us.  

The Standard Sermons and Explanatory Notes of John Wesley

Our Book of Discipline includes these sermons as a resource for United Methodist Doctrine (what we believe) and Theology (what we understand about God).  The four-volume set referenced in the Book of Discipline contains 151 sermons in it. The Explanatory Notes is a two-volume commentary on scripture.  The sheer size of these resources makes them challenging to summarize.  Everyone uses these resources differently, so all I can do is tell you how I use it as a Pastor in the Methodist Tradition.     

  • The technology of our modern world has provided the chance to own these digitally, which I do through a program called Logos Bible Software. That program offers a search function that I make great use of.  It allows me to search the sermons and notes topically, and by Scripture citation for sermon preparation.  Occasionally I will quote or reference them directly, sometimes the outline of whole sermons. If you are a church member or friend of Downs UMC and would ever like me to search these digital resources for a topic or scripture, that is something I would be glad to do. Just email me what you’re looking for ( and I’ll share what I find with you.
  • Additionally, I believe that the sermons can be very useful for devotional reading, though you do have to enjoy reading older documents. The 18th century language is a challenge to read at times.  There are a handful of Methodist authors who work to bring these older documents into greater modern use, and one that I have always enjoyed reading is Paul Chilcote.

What do Wesley’s Sermons and notes teach us about Biblical Interpretation?

They show us Bible-Interpretation-Applied. John Wesley was famous for calling himself “A man of one book” and by that he meant the Bible.  You can see this very clearly in his sermons and notes.  You will encounter an author who is extremely well acquainted with the scriptures and willing to apply them in all manner of challenging situations, always with a bent to a sort of “practical theology”.  Or to put it another way:  the Word of God should impact who we are, what we do, and why we do it.  John Wesley is an excellent example of someone who was saved by the Grace of God, and lived by the Word of God, teaching others to do the same. His notes are informative as you read scripture (and very approachable in resources like the Wesley Study Bible). His sermons expound on, interpret, and apply the Word of God to his particular context, and challenge us to do the same with our own.  

The General Rules of the Methodist Church

This is a really neat document in our church history.  You can read it here.  In fact, a ministry in our church, Journey Groups, is based almost entirely on this piece of Methodist history.  You could argue, it’s one of the things we have done best as a historical church.  These rules detail a special kind of meeting where Christians would come together outside of church (kind of like a small group ministry) and they would hold one another accountable to three commitments.

  • Do no harm – they committed to avoid sin as it was explained in scripture, in its original form the General Rules document lists the common sins of the time (an interesting look into the early 1800’s)
  • Do good – they committed to do good works, as we are taught to do in scripture.  In its original form the General Rules document lists recommended ways to do good for its time (again an interesting look into the early 1800’s)
  • Attend on all the Ordinances of God – Essentially, stay connected (or as one Bishop puts it, “stay in love”) with God.  Recommended activities for this are:  the church worship service, Communion, family and private prayer, fasting or abstinence, and no less than three recommendations regarding the Bible
    • Early Methodists were to:
      • Read Scripture
      • Expound Scripture (usually preaching or hearing preaching)
      • And search Scripture – because it was considered to be “…the only rule, and sufficient rule, both of faith and practice.” 

Our Journey Groups are a direct extension of this great practice of the faith, and the people who participate in them are blessed with a depth of Christian fellowship that can only be found in accountability groups such as these.  When these groups are run well, they are a blessing to all who participate. 

What do the General Rules teach us about Biblical Interpretation?

They exist as an answer to a question. Several early Methodists approached John Wesley asking for practical advice on “how to flee from the wrath to come.” While there was a strong desire in these individuals to escape the judgement of God, there was also an opportunity here for spiritual growth. Wesley, and later all early Methodists, took what they understood from reading, expounding, and searching scripture and put it to practice. These groups provided practical application, prayerful support, and created a powerful kind of Christian community. Many people grew in their faith and developed a much deeper relationship with God by meeting together like this.

How is all this applied locally at Downs UMC?

We understand that the fruits of our Biblical interpretation have a purpose. We cannot just stop at Bible Study. What is learned, and what insights are gifted by the Holy Spirit are intended to be put to use.  We, as a church, try to carry on that tradition of practicality that has always been a part of Methodism. Our ministries, our mission work, and our time together is a practical extension of our experience with God through Jesus Christ, and our interpretation of scripture in the Wesleyan tradition.

In addition to that, the ministry of preaching at the church is a powerful way to share and expound upon the Word of God. It’s part of every Sunday morning worship service, and that’s why sermons at Downs UMC always have a scriptural backbone. 

I hope you also find it encouraging to hear that Bible reading, searching, and expounding is NOT LIMITED to pastors and church leaders.  Working with the Word of God is something that our Methodist tradition encourages you to do!  The Word of God is in your hands now more than any other time in human history, and your Methodist tradition encourages you spend time with it:  Read, search, listen to teachers as they expound on it, and in all ways interact with the Bible!  God will bless your good work! 

In our next article we will discuss a neat section of the Book of Discipline called “Our Theological Task”. 

Where to Find, and how to Read, the Christmas Story

This is such a great season to share scripture with kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, and even just to read for ourselves. At Downs UMC we absolutely believe that God will bless your Christmas reading with wisdom, insight, comfort, and inspiration. In the Bible, Christmas is found in several places and each of these make for a great holiday read on their own.

Christmas in the Bible

  • In the Gospel of Matthew, you will find the Christmas story in chapters 1 and 2 (though the narrative begins in verse 1:18 after a genealogy). Matthew shares a picture of Christ as Messiah/King, visited by foreign dignitaries, and perceived as a threat by the man currently sitting on the throne. This infant king, however, is protected by God, who uses angels, magi, and the dedication of Joseph.
  • In the Gospel of Luke, you will find the Christmas story intertwined with the birth of another baby, John the Baptist. Luke shares a picture of God’s gift of a savior to the lowly and forgotten: he is announced to a people who are oppressed, visited by shepherds (a job of low social status), his praise is sung by his mother Mary, and he is accompanied by prophecies of divine justice and rescue.
  • In the Gospel of John, you will find the philosophy and theology of Christmas in a mini-sermonette that kicks off the book (Chapter 1:1-18). Using imagery of light and darkness, the apostle tells the Christmas story as God’s overture of love to a fallen world.

Each of these is a fantastic read all on its own, but if you were looking to combine them into one epic Christmas read, scroll down to find one way that you could arrange them. It’s pretty close to chronological, and lets you see the both the movements of God and our human responses in the Christmas story.

A Combined Read (across multiple books)

  • John 1:1-18 – Sets the stage and the stakes for the Christmas story. 
  • Luke 1:5-25 – God’s announcement to Zechariah the Priest
  • Luke 1:26 – 38 – God’s announcement to Mary
  • Matthew 1:18-25 – Joseph’s dream, and Joseph’s response to God’s announcement.
  • Luke 1:39-56 – Mary visits Elizabeth
  • Luke 1:57-80 – The Birth of John the Baptist
  • Luke 2:1-20 – The Birth of Jesus and the visit of the shepherds.
  • Luke 2:21-40 – The naming of Jesus, and his presentation at the Temple
  • Matthew 2:1-23 – The Visit of the Magi and King Herod’s tragic and terrible response.
  • Luke 2:41-52 – A really neat Christmas-epilogue where Jesus is 12 years old. 

May the Lord bless you this Christmas season, and may you find some time to return the one of the most important moments in the Biblical story, the tale of Emmanuel, God-with-us.

Taking your Faith With you on Vacation

Tis the season, as sports teams finish their schedules, and right before we head back to school, our church has many people on the road and looking forward to time off. In this brief little article, I thought I would share how my family and I take our Faith with us as we travel, in the hopes that you might find something that will bless you!

Pray, For Vacation, and on Vacation

Jessica and I try to set aside some time to pray, while we are planning. It’s an intentional way to invite the Lord into our time off, and begin a process of asking for the time to be blessed. You want your vacation to function in a way that is similar to a Sabbath (restful to the spirit and life-giving not life-draining).

Also, I highly encourage morning prayer on vacation. Somebody has to wake up and get things started during the day, why not let it be you, and why not wake up 15-20 minutes early (especially if you have a beach, forest, mountain, lake, or anything like that going on). Take a walk and spend a few minutes with God before the day starts.

Choose a Great Vacation Book

Absolutely banned are any books related to your job. Also, anything that would bring stress. Jessica loves a good mystery novel, I tend to pick up an adventure or biography. Sometimes, if it’s a big road trip, we’ll even get an audio book for the car.

If you aren’t a reader, you can skip this one for sure, but a chance to set down the devices and pick up a book can be a wonderful thing for the soul. Look for something lighthearted, funny, interesting, informative (but not in a work way), you know… one of those ones you always wish you had time for, well, now’s the time!

Design a Worship-Service Playlist

On your music app, you can create playlists, why not download 2-4 of your favorite, most singable worship songs for you and your family (maybe each person picks one). You could even get fancy and choose an instrumental prelude or download the doxology (several artists sing it live in concert).

Keep it on the shorter side, and we find it to be a real blessing in two spaces on vacation: 1) as a private worship service you can listen to anywhere, 2) as an in-the-car worship service on a Sunday morning if you’re heading from place to place.

Stick to the Palms

If you’re going to try and read scripture on vacation, your pastor’s recommendation is to stick to the Psalms. They’re short, they are prayer and experience focused and they aren’t full of plot. They make for wonderful vacation devotions. Try the Psalms of Ascent (they run from 120-130) and were designed for grand Israelite road trips as they headed to the temple on an annual pilgrimage.

Check in with your Kids

If you have kids/grandkids traveling with you, this is the best time to check in with them spiritually. How are they doing in their walk with the Lord (though I have never phrased it like that with my own kiddos). Try to get a sense of where their spiritual strengths and struggles are. God gave them YOU to help them through their trials. Vacation can be a real time of healing and re-connection if you are intentional about it (and by intentional, I don’t mean turn your vacation into a spiritual retreat). Look for the simple, special moments where a conversation can happen, and then be there for that conversation.

Look for God Moments, and Give God Credit for them

When you see a mountain, or any other bit of God’s creative glory, praise the Lord for it. When you experience a blessing, thank God for it. When you have a really neat experience, celebrate it and be thankful to the Lord. You invited the Lord on your vacation with you, so expect to see some “God Moments” and turn those to prayers of thanksgiving.

…and you Thought I was Going to tell you to go to Church.

Seriously, if you want to, go for it, but if it doesn’t fit into your schedule over vacation don’t stress over it either. There’s nothing stopping you from taking 20 minutes or so on Sunday morning and pausing to worship our Lord (which your pastor does highly recommend).

Though if you do go to church, snag an extra bulletin for us, we love to see what other churches are doing!


May God bless your time off this summer, may it truly be a time of rest from a world that is far too frantic and busy. May you demonstrate healthy sabbath rest for your children, and may you find the blessing of the Lord in your time off. May the Lord bless you if you are traveling, and bring you home safe, refreshed, and with joyful stories to share.

The Sanctity of Human Life… Why does it Matter?

You are a unique individual, there’s nobody like you.  You were created, and you are loved by a God of goodness and holiness.  That God sent His Son to earth for you, and for each, and every human being, to seek and save the lost, and save through sacrifice.  Your worth and value to God and to creation has nothing to do with your productivity, your circumstances, your experiences, or your status.  Your salvation may be dependent on you accepting God’s love and walking in God’s way, but whether you accept it or not, salvation is always available to you.  You are loved, amazing, and sacred, simply because God made you. 

If you believe even a portion of what’s in the paragraph above, then you stand upon a doctrine of the Christian Church that we call “the sanctity of life”.  While it doesn’t necessarily answer the question of “are you saved?”, it does answer the question of “what is a human being?”

We find this doctrine in many places in the Bible, here are just a few

  • The Genesis account of creation (Gen 1-3)
  • God’s words to the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1)
  • The Sabbath commandment, which separates your value from your productivity (Exodus 20)
  • The forbiddance of murder in the 10 commandments (Also Exodus 20)
  • The mission statements of Jesus here on earth (John 3, Matthew 22)
  • The great commission to the church (Matthew 28)
  • Christ’s radical inclusion of those whom the first century considered to have low or no status
    • Children and women (Matthew 19, John 4, 8)
    • Romans and slaves (Luke 7)
    • tax collectors and prostitutes (Matthew 9 and 21)
    • Samaritans and gentiles (John 4)
    • Lepers and the perpetually unclean (Matthew 8, Mark 5)

In short:  God treats us all like we are special, beloved, individuals, who are uniquely made.  Human beings bear the Imago Dei, the image of God.  Every human being is offered salvation through Christ.  None of the sacredness of your life is undone by any earthly circumstance, event, prejudice, or evil.  None of those can touch your sacred worth. 

If this is convicting with regard to how we treat one another…  it should be.  The last person that any one of us were really angry at, dismissive, or insulting to.  That person is beloved by The God of the Universe

And…  so are you. 

Historically, this Doctrine is a Deeply Meaningful Aspect of our Faith

The Sanctity of Human Life has been used historically to argue for and support some of the most groundbreaking and humanitarian movements of human history.  As a Historian I can see this doctrine at work in many places: 

  • It motivated Early Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury to meet with George Washington shortly after the birth of the nation to discuss the abolition of slavery
  • It was a part of the journey of John Newton turning from being a slave trader to abolitionist and penning the song Amazing Grace
  • I hear it in the sermons and read it in the writings of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and his fight against segregation. 
  • I absolutely admit that we as human beings do not always apply this belief perfectly and have often failed to live as though we fully believe in the sanctity of all human lives.  BUT so many moments of goodness have come to human history from the times when we DID pay attention to it.  When we do hear the teachings of God and when we do lift up the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked, the oppressed, the sanctity of human life is a part of that thinking, and Christians can give the world a picture of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Sanctity of Human Life as it is applied to the Current Abortion Debate

You have the opportunity to engage this debate from a unique Christian point of view.  In the United Methodist Social Principles, the church takes a true Sanctity of Life position on the topic that considers both lives of mother and child.  You can read it here and below are a few short summary points.

  • The church opposes abortion as birth control or gender selection.
  • The church opposes late term abortion.
  • The church understands that rare moments occur when the life of the mother is at stake.
  • Overall, the church strongly encourages those facing an unplanned pregnancy to engage pastoral care and take time to seek the will of God. 
  • The church encourages loving and supportive care for those who have chosen abortion. 
  • The church commits to supporting crisis pregnancy centers and places a strong emphasis on supporting adoption. 

Life is precious, Holy, and Sacred.  The kingdom of heaven is lifted up when we as Christians remember this and incorporate it into our conversation.  That’s one of our jobs here on earth as followers of Christ, to make the Kingdom of Heaven more visible here on earth. 

I appreciate our United Methodist theologians as they wrestle with the sanctity of life in the abortion debate even if I, personally, might want to word a few paragraphs differently.  I hope you can appreciate them too because they set an example of what it looks like to try and apply the sanctity of life to such a challenging question.  May this discussion challenge you to think, direct you to pray, and inform what organizations you choose to and not to support.  May it open your heart with compassion to the women facing such challenging moments and invite you to consider how our church could best be of support, grace, and help in the name of Jesus Christ.     

Building Update 4/19/22

Our wonderful kitchen is taking shape and ready for use! The trustees, volunteers, and building committee have done a fantastic job installing the last fixtures. We are also thankful for a recent donation of a commercial refrigerator and freezer!

Additionally, the kitchen has also passed the health department inspection, and it is ready for use! So THIS SUNDAY we will be using it to serve Brunch after church. We’ll have a great meal of pulled pork and sides all prepared by our fantastic UMW! We hope you can join us for a great meal, and for the new series starting this Sunday. We’re taking a look at the resurrection appearances of Christ after Easter!

Making the Most out of Holy Week – Special Focus on Holy Saturday

 This is the week that we remember the last 7 days of Christ’s ministry before his arrest and crucifixion.  A lot happened during Holy week.  Holy Week begins with Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, which we remembered on this last Palm Sunday.  It also contains some very profound teachings of Jesus, which you can find in Matthew 21-25, Mark 12-13, Luke 20-21, and John 13-17. 

Holy Week also contains the last supper, which we remember during our Maundy Thursday service.  It also contains the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, which we remember at our Good Friday service.  Should you be able to make either of these, they’ll be in-person and streamed this week at 7 PM.  We hope you can join us for one or both of these, as they help prepare our hearts for Easter. 

But whether or not you make it to one of the weekly services or not, you can still participate in Holy Week, on your own, and even at home through what we call the Easter Vigil

The Easter Vigil is the last day before Easter, often called Holy Saturday.  It remembers a quiet and personal moment in the story of Holy week…  it remembers waiting.  You see, there’s this period of time during the story of Holy Week where the disciples truly did not know what was going to happen, did not know what to do, and were in deep despair.  Christ had died, they had buried him, and Easter wasn’t going to happen for at least another 35 hours (or more). AND…  they still weren’t entirely sure that Easter WAS even going to happen.  It was a time of waiting for the Lord. 

On Holy Saturday the church offers no special services, but instead encourages you to keep your Easter Vigil at home. It’s a time to be with friends and family.

Some will keep their Easter Vigil reading those last profound teachings of Jesus (which are listed above). Others may try to imagine themselves in the place of the apostles on that rough day of waiting but… that might be hard to do.

This is because, you and I live in the light of Easter, not in the waiting period before it.  May I recommend instead of trying to re-live Holy Saturday, that we: 

  • Reflect on Psalm 40
    • I waited patiently for the Lord, He inclined to me and heard my cry…
    • That’s just the first line, but I suggest a full read, it’s perfect for Holy Saturday
  • As you read and reflect, consider the ways that God has already been there for you, and think on them with thanksgiving. 
  • Consider where you may still be waiting for the Lord, and make those situations a matter of quiet and peaceful trust. 
  • If you’re looking for further reading, those last teachings of Jesus are very much worth a look too (they’re listed above).

The Easter Vigil reminds us that the Lord who loves us, who sent Jesus Christ to sacrifice for us, and then raise Him from the dead, will surely not abandon us in our waiting.  God is good, all the time.  And we hope you can join us this Easter Sunday to worship, to celebrate and share the gift of your fellowship. 

  • Sunrise service – 6:30 AM
  • Easter Breakfast – 7:30-9 AM
  • Easter Service 9:30 AM

Building Update 4/7/22

The sale on the old building, on Seminary street, closed yesterday afternoon.  Our congregation began in 1833, and started to use that site, on seminary street in 1909.  It served our church very well for many years and many renovations.  We are thankful to God for the history of our congregation and our time there.  We carry, into our new church home, many great memories of worshipping in that space. 

In fact, we have carried a lot more than just memories. You can see remembrances of our story, and even echoes of the previous sanctuary all throughout our new space!

We are so profoundly to our trustees and building committee for their passionate and dedicated work.  We are thankful to the legacy team who have made our church history an important piece of the testimony of our church, and we are thankful to you for going on this journey with us! 

The money from the sale of the old church has been a part of the building project from day one.  Look to see it being put to work in finishing the parking lot, and helping to construct an out-building. That building will house: important supplies, our excellent Swap Room ministry, and an array of solar panels to lessen the carbon footprint of our new ministry space! 

It continues to be the goal of our church to make this new place a sanctuary of hope, where the goodness of God the Father, the salvation offered through Jesus Christ, and the blessing of the Holy Spirit is on display, and gracefully offered to all who we meet in ministry.  The work of the church continues in a new place.  We are thankful to God for where we have been, and for where we are.

Building Update 4/6/22

As the we get ready to close on the old property this week, we really want to thank our Trustees, UMW and Volunteers for their great work this weekend. All came together on Friday and Saturday to move the last pieces of equipment from the old location to the new, and to do final preparations of the site for sale.

We hope to have another post this week about the sale of the old building. It’s been a busy time for the facilities of the church, and we are so thankful for all of the volunteer support, and for the presence of the Holy Spirit in the work of the church!

What is Evangelism, and is it my responsibility?

It’s an old church word, but today it can often call up images of overly preachy approaches, tactless tracts, or gimmicky types of church outreach. Against these things, if we want to truly understand evangelism, we should forget the cringeworthy ways it can go wrong, and remember what the word truly means.

Evangelism is a beautiful word.  It’s root in original language of ancient  Greek is a pleasing word to say.  Here it is:  εὐαγγέλιον.  It’s pronounced:  you – ăng– gĕll – eon (the vowels in the 2nd and 3rd syllables are short):  you-ang-gel-eon.  A beautiful word right?  It’s kinda fun to say. 

It means “the good news”.  It’s used in the Bible as a summary word for the message that Jesus Christ came to bring to us.  In the Bible when it’s turned into a verb it means sharing the good news.  “Evangelism” is the English version of that verb.  The sharing of the good news that Jesus brought us. 

This symbol is called the monogram of Christ

Jesus commissions the eleven apostles to share the good news after his resurrection in Mark 16:14-18 and promises the power of God to help them overcome the obstacles to doing so.  It’s tempting to think that the sharing of the good news today is the work of preachers, ministers, and church staff (especially because that first charge was given to the apostles). 

Sharing the good news, however, is for everyone.  Paul teaches that all Christians aught to be ready with an answer for the good news inside of them or what the good news has done for them (Eph 6:15).

At its heart, evangelism is supposed to look something like this:

  1. First we are recipients of the good news:  You remember when you first realized the reality and the goodness of God, often that comes at a time when it is most needed.  
  2. Then it changes us:  There are so many ways this happens:  peace that passes understanding, freedom from addiction, perspective that comforts and sets free, inspiration to do real good in God’s name, a stronger and more loving family, and much much more.   
  3. Then we have good news to share:  Just like it says in the 23rd psalm:  “…my cup runneth over.”  The good news of God has been such a blessing for you, and you have been given more than you need.  You have been given good news to share.  And you do so out of love, not fear of judgement, not obligation or duty, or anything like that, but out of love.    

Evangelism is a beautiful thing, it is meant to be an expression of the love of God that moves through you.  It is a responsibility of all Christians, but one you can share in so many ways:  in word, in deed, in prayer, in friendship, and more.    

A little bit of practical application from your Pastor:

In the last 10 years or so of my life, these are the most common ways that the Lord has opened a door for me to share my testimony, my faith, and the good news of our God with others. 

  • When your friends and family members talk to you about their sufferings and trials, offer to pray for them.  Many won’t feel comfortable praying right then and there, but just letting people know that you are praying for them is a profoundly meaningful thing.  Honestly, if you tell me about your sufferings and trials I’m going to pray for you anyway, so I might as well let you know that I’m asking God to bless you. 
  • Let it be known that you are a Christian and that you go to church.  It’s amazing how easy it is to keep this quiet and private, but it shouldn’t be.  If church and a walk with God is a part of your daily life, why shouldn’t it also be a part of your regular conversation.  The whole world knows I’m a huge star trek fan, I talk about it all the time, why shouldn’t I also I also talk about aspects of my faith and my religion (in the same way I would talk about anything else I do).  When people know you are working on an active relationship with God, they’re more likely to ask about it later. 
  • Inviting someone to church is still a very meaningful way to share your faith, but there’s a difference between a cold invitation “hope to see you there” and a meaningful one “meet me by the welcome desk at 9:15, I’ll walk you around and if you want we can have coffee or lunch afterwards”.  At Downs we try to publicize the sermon topics as facebook headers on our facebook page so that you can let people know what we’re talking about that morning.  We’re working on getting this info to the website front page soon. 
  • Ask God to give you opportunities to share your faith.  Some really impressive and wonderful moments can come from it.  When you and I ask the Lord for a chance to share the good news, and then are mindful to look for it daily, you will find that life presents many opportunities where a simple question, comment, prayer, or action of service on your part is not only welcome, but also opens the door to share the good news. 
  • Be confident with the time you’re given:  I think I can count on one hand the number of times in my life where I got to share the whole story of scripture in one sitting  I mean that would be:  creation, exodus, Babylonian exile, Christmas, ministry of Jesus, Easter, and the start of the church!  Often times you’re only sharing a part of the story of the good news with people (and usually it’s not even a Bible study at all, more like a testimony).  Trust that whatever portion of the good news you share, that’s what was needed then and there, and understand that God will take care of the rest. 

Let your evangelism flow from the abundance that God gives to you.  Let it be an act of love and nothing else.  Sharing your faith can be a profound blessing, and need not be contrived or forced.  If God is a part of your life, then by all means, share it! 

Building Update 3/5/22

Blessings to all our readers as the season of Lent Begins! We haven’t had a building update in a while but we have two great steps to celebrate.

Village Zoning Approval

We are very thankful for the village approval of the rezoning for the old ministry site. This is an important step toward the sale of the old location, and we do have an interested buyer. Please pray for all to go well in that process as the sale of the old building does two important things for our church: It provides important funds for the finish of the new project, and it reduces the church expenses (no longer needing to pay utilities and insurance for the old site). The sale of the old location is a vital part of the plan for the new one, this step with village zoning is an important step forward to celebrate. May the Lord continue to be in the work, and thank you for your prayers.

Progress on the Kitchen!

Here are some excellent photos of a few of our trustees at work in the new kitchen. It won’t be too long before we can return to offering some food and fellowship based ministries again.

How great it will be to host pot-lucks, chili suppers, spaghetti suppers, breakfasts on Sunday Morning, and dinners on Wednesday night once again! Fellowship is such a vital part of who we are as a church, and it will be a blessing to be able to set the fellowship table again!

As we enter into Lent, we do so with thanksgiving for the good work of God, and we hope that you’ll join us in renewing our faith and our dedication to the Lord these next 40 days till Easter!

How do we pray for the Nations?

With the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and the many and varied responses of our country and others across the world it’s a worthwhile time to refresh ourselves on the best ways to pray for situations like these.  When anxiety or compassion rises in our hearts for events on the world-stage, that is a true and real prompt from the Holy Spirit to pray, but what’s the best way to do so? 

Begin with Scripture

  • Consider any of the following:  Romans 13:1-7, Psalm 2, Job chapter 12, Matthew 24:1-14
  • Avoid bad theology in your prayer:
    • As far as this pastor understands, no nation of this existing world is completely Godly, 100% flawless, or outspokenly favored by the Lord (in a similar fashion to Ancient Israel in the Old Testament, and even they were far from flawless). 
    • There is a special calling and obligation placed on the leaders of the nations and governments of this world, but that does not necessarily mean that every action of every leader on the world stage is God-ordained, or God-approved. 
    • Even Christ explained to us that nations are going to be in conflict with one another, this is a sad reality of the world we live in.  It is also an opportunity for both individual Christians and the Church to respond with the compassionate love of God. 
    • No nation is so powerful that it can challenge, derail, or circumvent the work of God here on earth (Consider Egypt during the Exodus). 
    • Political concerns and advocacy may be a part of ministry for many Christians (perhaps even an important part), but only in service to our primary mission:  to share the Good News and make disciples.  We are children of God and disciples of Christ first, national citizens after that. 

Start your Prayer with Silence

Beginning with silence allows us to be humble and acknowledge the sovereignty of God.  The Lord is the one with the best perspective on the situation we are praying for.  As Christians we can also trust that the Holy Spirit prays with us (Rom 8:26-27). 

When you do end your time of silence, do so in confidence, knowing that great Bible authors like Paul (Phil 4:2-7) and Peter (1 Peter 5:6-11) encourage us to pray about our worries and anxieties.  They are applying the teachings of Christ on worry (Luke 12:22-34).  So, if events on the national stage have you worried or moved with compassion then the Biblical teaching is Pray about it!  So pray confidently.    

Bring your Concerns before the Lord

  • Pray for the people affected by war and strife, that God would bring them aid and refuge. 
  • Pray for the leaders to be given wisdom, and a compelling call from the Holy Spirit to lead in a way that honors God and exercises right governance, care and compassion for their people.  Pray that when they face an opportunity to make a good and Godly choice, that the Lord will give them strength and courage to do so. 
  • Pray for both Justice and Peace.  You cannot read Biblical books like Ezekiel or Revelation without noticing that God is paying attention to the world stage.  Pray for justice for the poor, oppressed, and afflicted.  Pray for God to bless those leaders, people and countries that work to avoid sin, and walk in the way that leads to life.  It is also right and good to pray for peace where peace is possible. 

Pray for the spread of the Gospel, and for the church in those places.

While the Bible does encourage us to bring all of our cares and concerns to the Lord, scripture is unashamedly biased towards praying for the work of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.  I can almost guarantee that whatever region or area you are praying for, there are faithful Christians there.  We should pray that God will give them strength to face the pressures and sufferings in this time.  In the midst of war and strife the church is still active in ministry, in compassion, in support, and even still in sharing the good news.   Our prayers for these war-torn brothers and sisters in the faith are vital and important.  Pray for the church, that God would protect them, and bless their call to demonstrate Christian love in such a challenging time. 

Return to a time of silence

Once again, we stop to remember that God has the best perspective on this issue.  We trust in the Lord to hear our prayer, and to be able to bring goodness out of all things.  As in all big prayer requests, consider whether or not God is calling you to be active in this area in a way that goes beyond prayer.  Sometimes this is not the case, and prayers like these are powerful ways to support our fellow Christians in hard times, and to pass our anxieties to the Lord in trust.  Other times, there may be a calling within the prayer.  Take some time of silence at the close your prayer and leave room for the Holy Spirit. 

Express Trust in the Lord

Church tradition has tacked on a good closer to the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6.  We say “…for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever…  Amen”  God is on the true throne of the universe, not a government, or dictator, or president, or cultural authority.  All are significantly less in power when compared to the Lord.  Trust God to hear your prayer, and move forward in peace, until you are moved to pray again.    

Building Update Nov 4, 2021

Something old… Something new…

As we get ready to have our first communion service in the new building this Sunday it’s a good time to take a look at some of the ways we are preserving our history! Communion is a sacrament the church has been keeping for 2000 years, and to host that old and sacred sacrament in our newly consecrated building is very exciting! We’ve been working hard to preserve our history in the new building and you can see that taking shape as our chapel is coming together!

You can see we have brought over the old pulpit and altar, as well as two pews from the previous building. The room is beginning to take shape, but isn’t finished. It is also planned to host the beautiful wooden cross from the old building stairwell, and seven more pieces of stained glass that have been reproduced from the S Seminary location. Visitors can see some of that glass on display already in a hallways of the new building.

Also, as you walk in, we have designed our welcome desk to feature some of the really interesting historical pieces we discovered as we did the work of packing up and moving from there to here. As you look below you can see

  • Two historical communion sets (the one with the glasses is sturdy enough to carry on horseback!)
  • A Bible that once sat on the altar, before the one we use now (which is planned to be retired for a new one soon).
  • A stack of united Methodist hymnals that go back to the 1800’s! We’ve been singing God’s praises for a long time.
  • AND a bicentennial bottle of Coca-Cola from 1984 featuring a United Methodist Circuit Rider (preacher on horseback). Our area once served by Peter Cartwright (1785-1872) who was one of the most famous circuit riders in American Methodist History. Many thanks to the donor who shared this fun piece of history with us!

As we gather for communion and remember who we are in Christ, it is a blessing to have these historical, and fun, items to help us remember that we humbly and gratefully take our part in the ongoing work of the church.

Building Update 10/19/21

We have had our third big move of equipment from the old location to the new. Our High School youth group, and a team of great volunteers all pitched in last knight and moved a trailer full of equipment, boxes and furniture to the new location!

Our first trip of moving ministry equipment over was a huge success. We will be having several more throughout the next two weeks and we want to say a huge thank you to last night’s volunteers and for any and all who are pitching between now and Consecration Sunday!

On October 31st we will host a consecration service at 9:30 AM to dedicate the new building to the ministry of Christ and the sharing of the good news!

Consecration Service

It’s finally time! We would like to cordially invite you to a very special worship service on October 31st at 9:30 AM. We will begin at the old location (102 S Seminary) with a service of liturgy, song, and scripture as we thankfully take leave of the old location and then travel (carrying the cross, candles, and Bible) to the new location (206 S Highway Avenue).

Both the Choir and the Worship Team will be assisting with music, and it promises to be a very special morning. All are invited, but we especially want to extend an invitation to everyone who has helped make this project a success. May the Lord bless this new site, and may the worship on Consecration Sunday be a blessing to God, and the beginning of a great blessing for the Tri-Valley Area as we build new ways to share the good news of Jesus Christ!

For those with Covid Concerns:

  • Both portions of the service will be live-streamed online. During the break between them, we will play some music and share some photos of the project online.
  • If you are concerned about high crowding in the old location, we invite you to join us at the new location at 9:30 AM where will will show the live-stream of the first half of the service, and you can be present for the second portion.

If you have any questions about the service, please contact the office at 378-2651

Building Update 10/13/21

As we near the finish line, we want to thank our great volunteers from yesterday, who poured the last piece of concrete that was needed for us to open!

The next Step for all is THIS SATURDAY. It is a very important work day, as we will be finishing the last pieces of the building that need to be completed before our inspection.

The work begins at 7 AM and we invite you to bring along your tools, especially gloves for weeding and carrying construction materials, also anything to help move some dirt around the landscaping areas.

Even though we start at 7, we’ll work through a good portion of the day and if you cannot join us for all of it, please feel free to stop by when you can!

Thanks for all your prayer and support as we finish these last tasks!

Building Update 10/5/21

The wood is up for the cross on the entryway. It’s one of the Pastor’s favorite features of the new building. All enter through the sign of the cross, for it is Christ who brought us together, Christ’s sacrifice that saves us, and Christ’s example that inspires us to ministry!

The sound equipment is being delivered and set up, take a look at our new sound board, piano, and setup for the worship team (both on stage). This system is built for All Types of church music, from a band-led modern service, to a choir-led choral service, to a simple hymn sing. It continues to be our goal to offer a wide variety of music at Downs UMC because we have a wide variety of people, and we connect to God in many different ways.

Just a few things are being moved in now as well. We have to be thoughtful about what equipment and items are brought to the new building for a variety of reasons. If you are excited about moving your ministry equipment over, PLEASE CONTACT THE OFFICE. We are asking at this time that all moving be coordinated through the church office, they have a detailed plan and schedule (and some of it needs to wait until other building tasks are completed).

And we want to thank a couple of great volunteers who put some good work in designing the first sign for our church. You may see this up and installed sometime this week!

The church is working hard to try and achieve an October 31st “first Sunday”, but at this time there are still several variables that could change that date. We will let you know as soon as we can be sure when our first worship service will be. That first service will be a very special morning which will start at the old building and then continue in the new one. Thanks to all of our volunteers putting in so much time and effort! May God continue to bless your work, and may the Holy Spirit inhabit these final parts of the building project!

Building Update 9/18/21

Great work done this week by our volunteers! Some more important parts of the concrete work have been finished now, including the entryway! There is some important drying/curing time for this work and then we move on to parking lot grading and last minute work before final building inspections.

We hope it is exciting to see your gifts at work, and a project that brings joy to all who have been working on it. May the Lord continue to bless the work with safety, and our big thanks to all who are working in so many ways: construction, music and sound, publicity, and so much more!

We look forward to a consecration service later in the fall!

Building Update 9/13/21

We have had some great progress on the concrete today. The south front sidewalk, the entry to the building, and the patch under the awning are all finished.

If the weather holds this week you should see even more concrete finished! Additionally we have some cleanup work that individuals and ministries can participate in this week, in preparation for moving in. Please contact the church office if you’d like to help with dusting/vacuuming, and preparing a section of the building for move-in.

Thank you again to our volunteers, and to to each of you. This project would not be happening without your support. May the Lord bless you, may the Holy Spirit bless these last bits of finish work, and prepare our hearts to consecrate a new place of worship this fall!

Building Update 8/19/21

And MORE Concrete!

This particular piece of concrete is very important for setting our opening day! The entryway off of State Route 150 has to be poured in two sections (so we can still drive in if needed) and each section has to have a good curing time before it’s usable.

Very exciting to see the entryway being poured today! It brings us another important step closer to the consecration service. Thank you to all of our fantastic volunteers, and please continue to pray for the ministry of the church and ask the blessing of God upon the work that we are doing to build the kingdom!

We hope to see you this week at church (9:30 AM in person), but even if you are away or joining us online, we invite you to join us in celebration. God is good, all the time!

Building Update 8/18/2021

Some great concrete work going on this week!

And back at the old location we’re busy packing up the offices and the church supplies in the basement and kitchen.

The back lighting is being finished for the sanctuary stained glass and the Ad Board is busy discussing some really exciting worship questions like which symbols are most important to us and need to be utilized in the new building’s worship service. It is good work, and exciting. If you’d like to help just contact the church office: or 378-2651

We continue to ask for your prayers, please pray that God will be in these last steps of transition and finish-work. Please pray for the Lord to bring a fresh wind and fresh fire into the hearts of the people of God. And may that revival be a blessing also to our village in the name of Christ.

Also a big thank you to all of our fantastic volunteers! Without you this would simply not be possible. Thank you for sharing your skills, your time, your gifts, and your talents!

Building Update 8/8/21

Our attention has been focused lately on Vacation Bible School which was a fantastic success. We were able to host an excited crew of kids this week (often around 50) and we were able to do so safely, with many portions of VBS happening outside due to the great weather! Thanks to our many volunteers, and to each participating family.

While that was going on though, we had some concrete work done by our excellent volunteers. Take a look below at the back walkway, the AC pad, and the small patio for the entrance into the Nursery playground!

This week the UMW is kicking off our packing by starting with the kitchen! If you would like to join the UMW in packing (starting Monday) simply call the church office 378-2651, or email Watch your email and this website for more upcoming packing and moving opportunities!

Building Update 7/17/21

Rain, rain go away. Come again another day! What a large amount of water we have been experiencing lately! With our concrete pours being the next big step, we are very much experiencing a rain delay on any outside work.

The inside however has a few new finishes that we’d love to share. The building is now completely carpeted.

Additionally we are very thankful for an exciting new donation that the church has received. A new baby grand piano for the new location!.

The funds for this gift for the new worship service were provided entirely through the Patricia H. Roscoe Memorial Fund.  Pat Roscoe was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother and served her local church community over the years by teaching Sunday school and playing piano for the children’s choir.  She instilled the need to serve the Lord with the love of music to her children.  

This new building is the work of so very many people giving thankfully and sacrificially to create a new space for the work of God in the Tri-Valley Area. Thank you to each and every one of you for all that you have done to make this project possible. Each room, beam, and piece of equipment is there because of a faithful gift to the church. It is truly a work of the people.

Thank you for your continued support, and for your prayers. Let’s ask the Lord for a few dry days so we can wrap up the concrete work.

The next step will be the big-clean before we finally take possession of the building and can start the move-in! Right now we are looking at a post-Labor Day opening, but we hope to be working inside the new building by August.

Building Update 6/29/21

Exciting new steps are being accomplished indoors. We know you can’t see it from the road, but take a look inside and out at the good work going on!

Here you can see the largest concrete pad poured so far, housing the HVAC units for the building, and on the right is one of the two new speakers for the sound system which is currently in instillation!


But this is all we’re showing online, just enough to get a look at the trim and a corner. Can you tell which window this is?

Why no online pictures? Because we are in unanimous agreement that the first time you see it, should be in person, and we’re opening the building for walkthroughs in July (keep an eye on the bulletin)

Our Awesome Volunteers!

Thanks again to everyone who helped us prepare for the new carpet in the building. It looks great, and we were so glad for your help on Saturday!

The New Carpet Looks Fantastic

Please continue to keep the project in prayer as the work continues. We are nearing a fall finish line! We are so thankful for your support in prayer, in volunteer hours, and in gifts. God is doing great things already through this project, and we are building a house of blessing for our town. Thank you so much for being a part of this project. May it be a place of the Good News of Jesus Christ, a place of hope, of church family, and the healing power of God.

Checklist of What’s Left to Do

  • Pour the concrete entrance to 150
  • Pour the concrete sidewalks, handicap spots, and under the portico
  • Finish the Sound System Install
  • Carpet on the stage and finish final trim
  • Finish the kitchen
  • Final work on the parking lot
  • And a few more odds and ends before we are ready to get some volunteers in and begin to practice in the new space!

Building Update 5/18/20

Some great work has been going on at the new building in the past week. We have received delivery of the chairs for the chapel!

We are also seeing some great work on the kitchen. Here you can see the hood and one of the sinks are installed!

The work on the back wall of the stage continues. We are creating a great place for our restored stained glass to be showcased:

And Just this last Sunday after church, a call was made for volunteers to help dust the large HVAC return ducts before the go up to the ceiling. Thanks to everyone who came and helped!

There will be more opportunities to serve in the coming weeks. We have ceiling work to finish, and more cleaning to do. Please keep an eye on your church announcements: bulletin, website, facebook, and your email.

Thanks for all of your support and each part of the project brings us closer to an opening day!

Building Update 5/12/21

Progress on the exterior has slowed down a bit as we wait for the right weather to do some very important concrete pours. Warmer nights and dryer days are needed to pour the entrance from 150 (which will be done in 2 parts each with a six week curing time), and then the HVAC pad, the sidewalks, entryways, and handicapped parking spots.

Inside though we are taking some great steps to continue to finish the building. You can see here the ceiling in the fellowship hall is now completely finished, and as the HVAC work progresses, other ceilings of the rooms will be finished as well. Notice also the stove for the kitchen just waiting to be moved in once the kitchen flooring is finished!

The process of framing the stage has begun and it’s an exciting piece of work to be talking about! Here the framing of the stained glass windows has just begun.

And in this next photo we have the screens hung, and you can get a better picture of the stained glass frame! Below you can see a more full version, including baseboards, all just tacked up there for review, the pieces will all be taken down again, sanded, and stained to match the color of the doors, a nice dark walnut. With the windows mission, all design elements are not there yet, but it is exciting to see the stage take a more final shape.

We readily admit that some of this last finish work is taking a bit longer than we had anticipated, and that there have been some unforeseen delays, but the good news is that the work has never stopped, only slowed down a bit. Each week more portions of the building are reaching their final state and we think it’s pretty safe to say we’ll be in the new building by or before the fall.

Ministries are now beginning to talk about storage areas in their planning for the move, and we’ll have some exciting summer work before us once we have occupancy of the new building! Please pray for continued safety and for good weather for concrete!

Building Update 4/25/21

You may have noticed that the building looks quite different in the evening! We have exterior parking lot lights up now.

More of the carpet will soon be added to the building. We are looking forward to seeing more rooms turn out like our fantastic new nursery

Also the appliances for the kitchen have arrived and are on schedule to be installed by opening day!

We are worshipping in person at the old location on 102 S Seminary and we would love for you to join us at 9:30 AM. Most of the music is again live (and not pre recorded) and singing is part of the service again as well!

Building Update 4/15/21

Stage Lights! Earlier this week we had a great team of tech volunteers who met and learned how to assemble the lights for the church, and they were professionally hung, aimed, and programmed.

These are just the first four lights of the lighting system. We have designed the sanctuary with several lighting locations that are powered and ready to go, but will be unused on day one. This will allow us to expand and enhance the stage lighting as we grow. Our first four lights though, are a great start for us and will give a nice look to the stage. Nothing flashy, but enough to really see well what’s going on during the worship service.

And while this is happening at the new location, we are beginning to switch to a greater amount of live music, and volunteer participation at the old location. Our capacity for worship is now at 60-70 people and we are hoping to offer more opportunities to volunteer and help with the service again. While we may be waiting on ushers and greeters until the new building, we are happy to welcome acolytes, scripture readers, our piano players, song leaders, and a few extra hands at the tech booth.

New Building Update 4/12/21

Thank you to our awesome volunteers! Great work was done this Friday and Saturday, and new opportunities will soon be arriving to help again. We are taking on the responsibility of the final clean for the new building project!

It was a great day of work, of fellowship, and of clearing away quite a bit of dust to get ready to put down carpet!

All of this is also in addition to some great new parts of the construction we that have been finished including: Carpet and finishes to the doors!, the bases for the exterior light poles, and the base for some important concrete pours outside. Pray for good weather for the concrete work to begin.

New Building Update 4/6/21

We have two awesome opportunities to volunteer with the new building this week. Take a look at them below and we hope you can make it to one of them!

Friday April 9 at 5:30 PM

On this day we need strong volunteers ready to help us relocate some of the equipment and materials in the building so that we can prepare for the cleaning day on Saturday. Show up at the new building around 5:30 and check in with the coordinator. Mask wearing is expected for Covid safety.

Saturday April 10 at 8:00 AM

On this day we need people to bring any and all cleaning equipment – vacuum cleaners, mops, buckets, rags and cleaning solutions. We will be removing the dust and preparing the building for some really great finish work that will come in the next few weeks. Show up at the new building around 8:00 AM and check in with the coordinator. Mask wearing is expected for Covid safety