“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” C.S. Lewis
One of the great blessings I count at San Dieguito UMC are the numerous clergy colleagues connected to our church family. There have been many times throughout the last year that one or more of these esteemed colleagues has been present in the pulpit, taught children at VBS, facilitated a small group, arranged a retreat, led worship at Vespers, assisted in a baptism, etc… More importantly, I count these dear colleagues as friends and mentors in the journey of life and ministry.
This Sunday one of those friends, Rev. Dr. Faith J. Conklin, will be present with me in worship and she will share the message. In our Annual Conference Faith was the first woman ordained an elder, first woman pastor-in-charge, first woman district superintendent, and the first woman to serve as senior pastor of a multiple-staff church. She is also the first pastor-in-residence at Claremont School of Theology.
It is a great honor to call her my friend! I hope you will join us as she shares the message on this Second Sunday of Easter. Faith will be guiding us through John 20:19-29. This is the passage in which Jesus comes after the resurrection to bring the worried disciples (his friends) peace and proclaims to these friends, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19).
Have a blessed weekend and see you at 8 AM (in the Chapel) or 9 AM and 10:30 AM (in the Sanctuary). Also, thank you for sharing wonderful hospitality to the many visitors last weekend. It was so good to hear people comment, “This is such a friendly church!”
Grace and Peace, John
Dear SDUMC family,
This week I had the great joy in the midst of “trying to get everything done” to hear the sound of laughter outside my door. As I looked out, I saw the children in our preschool searching for their treasures in the annual egg hunt. I jokingly asked, “Can I have one?” There wasn’t a great rush to bring me an egg but one child after a moment said, “I’ll share!” Of course, I wasn’t going to take the treasured egg, but my heart was warmed as a three-year-old was going to share this treat.
My question in the midst of this Holy Week is what can I share? I hope you’ll join me in pondering what it is that you can share. My prayer is that in some way we each can reach out and share the great invitation of Hope, Grace, Peace and Love by sharing an invitation to join us in worship on Sunday. People are always waiting for a personal invitation, and we have a great opportunity in the Joy-filled day of Easter!
At our Easter services last year, we had many guests come to hear the Good News of Easter because YOU invited them!
This year, we’ll be sharing a message from Matthew 28, and it will be a message of Hope that shows how God, through Easter, gives us a chance to be people who live with Hope in a world where fear and anxiety seem to swirl around us.
Who of your relatives, neighbors, and co-workers do you know needs a little or a lot of Joy in their life? People are more likely to be open to your invitation at Easter than at any other time of year. Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to invite them to Sun Rise Communion at 6:30 AM (at the Encinitas Community Park) and Easter Worship at 9 AM and 10:45 AM in the Sanctuary!
Here’s how we can share a little more this Easter:
- In your prayer time ask God to show you who to invite.
- Please set an example and fill out the pew pad and pass them down – so guests will see you do it and feel comfortable doing it too. When you see someone who needs help around the campus ask what you can do. If you are on social media share our Facebook invitation on your page to invite friends in a new way.
- Pray that hearts around the world will find the Peace that passes understanding.
- If you are able, please join me in parking at the business park so guests will be able to find a spot as they arrive. Greet everyone around you as there will be a lot of first-time guests. Invite them to join us for the great butterfly release following each service.
I am very excited about sharing Easter Sunday with you all! The music that has been planned is incredible! Thanks for your prayers. It’s going to be a heart-stirring Friday Evening and Joy-filled Sunday Morning! I am so grateful to be a pastor at SDUMC where All Are Welcome! Let’s share our SDUMC hospitality and God’s grace with the community this Sunday!
Grace, Peace, and Holy Week Blessings,
PS. Tonight we will also share in a powerful Good Friday Service at 7 PM, and I pray that you will find the time to join us to remember all that Christ gave for each of us and our world. Whether you are in the Sanctuary or behind your desk…take some time to reflect, pray, worship and give thanks.
As a teenager, I was one of those overactive church kids. (Surprise, surprise…) Youth group, youth retreats, camp, service projects, helping in the kindergarten Sunday School, choirs… you name it, I was in it.
Back then (hey, 20 years counts as “back then”…), the model for youth programming resembled the old, characteristically Methodist model for any ministry: led and organized by committee. In all my enthusiasm, I was, of course, on the Council on Youth Ministries (COYM), too.
Our COYM was made up only of youth, with our Youth Director and a counselor or two for guidance and help, and we were charged with dreaming up the mission trips, retreats, and even some program themes of study for our youth group. I remember there being great responsibility entrusted to us to not only create a vision for our peers, but also to plan and execute that vision. From those meetings in the temporary-building-in-the-parking-lot-designated-youth-room, I remember vividly our Youth Director saying, “Dream big, guys. Whatever you envision, we can make happen.”
I’m so grateful that this wisdom was planted in me at such a young age, and especially that it was bound to and rooted in my understanding of the nature of God. The point in this encouragement was not that we had endless resources of money, time, or volunteers, or that the counselors didn’t care much about what we did, but that God is sometimes moving in wild and unimaginable ways, and it’s important not to restrict our own vision when discerning the presence and will of God.
This week, as we gather again around the Word and Table, we will hear a pretty unbelievable story of life brought from death—of limited human understanding and expectations broken open by divine power and will. And, we will share in a pretty unbelievable ritual in which life, and grace, and the real presence of God are promised to us in the most ordinary elements of bread and juice.
It can be hard for us, now as responsible, world-worn and-weary adults, to dream big—to open our imaginations to unlimited possibilities. But I pray that this week, at least for this one hour together, we might suspend our disbelief that all things are possible with God, and allow the miracle of God’s handiwork to enliven, inspire, and uplift us.
See you Sunday,
“I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” -Psalm 121
I can still remember the days when I was riding in the back seat, and would hear the words of my mom or dad whispering (maybe not always whispering), “I think we’re lost.” Of course, then would come the worry of how much time we had lost, how far were we off our route and did we have enough fuel. The next step in those days brought the process in which my parents would go through the glove compartment or the AAA bag to find that piece of paper that would get us back on our way. Yes, the driving tool that we called a map.
How easy it is for us these days now that we have a GPS device in our cars or apps on our phones that guide us to our destination. Instead of trying to find the right map now we can call out, “Hey Siri” and before we know it, a voice is giving us directions and even letting us know what time we’ll arrive. Finding our way when we’re lost isn’t too tough anymore as long as our phones are charged and we have cell reception.
Before the apps and all the papers in the glove compartment, there has been a season that gives us guidance when we find ourselves overwhelmed, lost or tired on the journey of life. Of course, this is the season of Lent. As I’ve grown in my Christian walk the season of Lent has continued to become more and more important to my personal journey. It is a time when I am reminded that One has mapped the way for me and I don’t have to go at it alone. A season in which I can join with my church family to journey together through corporate prayer, devotions, stewardship, and worship. A season that may not bring the quickest route but leads me to a place that I could never have imagined.
Walter Brueggemann’s, A Way Other Than Our Own, the devotional we’re using as a congregation is one way we can walk together on the journey this year. Yesterday the author shared the comforting words, “Psalm 121 is designed exactly for travelers who face a demanding, risky journey. It is a psalm that has been used over and over by travelers and now is available for us. This psalm is an assurance and an affirmation that the journey we now undertake is not by ourselves alone. We are surrounded on the way by the God of all trust…the one who walked all the way to Jerusalem with Jesus, all the way to Friday and on through to Sunday.”
I hope for a moment you’ll take some time and read Psalm 121 and ask God to guide you on the journey. I also hope that you’ll consider joining us at one of the studies to remind us that God has placed others in our lives to walk with us in the times that we may feel alone. I look forward to being in worship with you this Sunday (at 8, 9 or 10:30) as we share in prayer, scripture, singing and Communion so that we may be renewed for the journey.
Grace, Peace and Lenten Blessings,
Welcome All – Grow In Faith – Engage Our Neighbors – Serve The world
SDUMC Mission Statement
Dear SDUMC Family,
Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to give out of town guests a tour of the renovated Sanctuary and Chapel. They were very excited to see the completed results.
Another exciting part of the tour is sharing our new SDUMC mission statement. It’s a joy to share not only were we renovating our Sanctuary, but we were working on our Mission Statement as well. Again, friends and visitors have been amazed that our church family has completed not only the physical work but the vision for how we will live out God’s call for our church family.
It has been amazing to see how this mission statement has been lived out in the early days of 2017. As I ponder all that has come together in the last year and the ministries in process it reminds me of a story I shared a few years ago:
In November 2010, a wedding party in Glenelg, Australia, was unexpectedly called into action right after the wedding ceremony. While they were posing for pictures on a scenic ledge, a woman unrelated to the wedding fell into the water and was in distress. Dressed in his tuxedo, the best man jumped in and brought the woman back toward shore. Then the bride, a trained nurse, waded into the water and started administering CPR. By the time the Surf Life Saving volunteers had arrived, the woman had regained consciousness. But according to one safety official, “[The victim] was very lucky that the bridal party was there, worked together and took a risk.”
This unusual event serves as a great image for the calling of every local church: we’re dressed up for a party (celebrating worship), but at the same time we’re also prepared to dive into the mission, even when it’s inconvenient and a bit risky. Growing in Faith and Reaching Out To The World, Engaging Our Neighbors and Welcoming All – worshiping and serving – these combinations aren’t opposites; they form the dual nature of our calling as the church.
I look forward to diving in with you as we share our Gospel-inspired mission in worship and throughout the world!
See you at 8 (in the Chapel), 9 or 10:30 (in the Sanctuary) on Sunday!
Grace and Peace, John