See Yourself As Church

Emily Penfield Featured

As usual, worship attendance has dropped since Easter.  It does in many churches.  A few weeks ago, I sat in the chair behind the pulpit on a Sunday and grimaced at the empty spots in the pews.  In my head I wondered how these few people could afford to keep this church going, both financially and physically.  Monday morning I was still feeling droopy about it, when Jan reminded me, we at Woodlawn UMC are better at being church than our worship attendance sometimes reflects. I needed this reminder – because all the other markers tell a story of an …

What’s In A Name?

Emily Penfield Uncategorized

This year, as last, we are partnering with the NAMES Project to display the AIDS Memorial Quilt.  The NAMES Project is the caretaker of the quilt; and their mission is to keep alive the stories of all those who have died from the HIV-AIDS epidemic.  The quilt, too large to be displayed in one piece now, consists of blocks with 8 panels.  Each panel is a remembrance of someone who died from AIDS.  The panels are designed and decorated by family and friends and each is as unique as the person it gives witness to.  Having the name of the …

Speaking of Freedom

Emily Penfield Uncategorized

Easter is a day of freedom.  As Jesus Christ was not bound by death after his crucifixion, he promises new life for us after our deaths.  As Jesus Christ is resurrected from the grave, he promises new life after there has been sin, healing, brokenness of our bodies, spirits and relationships. There is another day of freedom, celebrated mostly by African-Americans.  It is June 19th, called Juneteenth, and it observes the day the news of emancipation reached Texas, the farthest part of the South.  On June 19, 1865, the message reached Galveston, TX by Union soldiers, although the Emancipation Proclamation …

Making the Rough Places Plane

Emily Penfield Uncategorized

The Trustees are working toward having the parking lots fixed.  The lot connected to the alley will be completely repaved, while the one adjacent to the church building will most likely have repairs and sealing done.  In hearing how the pavers do their work, I learned there is a lot to be done before new asphalt can be laid.  If you’ve driven in that lot, you know it’s a rough piece of land. Holes have to be plugged, roots and a stump have to be dug out and cracks have to be filled.  Cleaning comes next to remove all the …

Connecting Gifts to Needs

Emily Penfield Uncategorized

Last month I wrote about a new effort for our congregation to discover, develop and deploy our spiritual gifts.  Our tool for this is a Spiritual Needs Assessment.  Directions for how to complete this are below.  If you haven’t already done this, I urge you to by the end of the month.  There are 20 spiritual gifts we are looking at, with definitions, coming from the New Testament.  We want to know everyone’s gifts so we can organize our church and ministries using them, instead of focusing on things in which we don’t have as much passion or interest. Another …

More Gift Unwrapping

webmaster Uncategorized

Most likely you’ve unwrapped a gift or two in the past couple of weeks.  You’ve probably thrown away the wrapping paper by now, thanked the gift-giver and maybe put the present to good use.  Even though the Christmas season is over on January 6th (Epiphany – the day we celebrate the wise men visiting Jesus with gifts) we will continue to focus on gifts at WUMC.  This month we will begin a sermon series on our God-given gifts;  plus we will use an online tool to help us unwrap and discover our spiritual gifts.  This gift inventory will be offered …

God’s Revolution

Emily Penfield Uncategorized

When I think of a revolution, I often get images of a battle or war, like America’s Revolutionary War or the French Revolution that came shortly after it.  The word “revolution” comes from the Latin word “to turn around.”  When people revolt they want their circumstances to turn around.  It might be their economy, their culture, or most often their socio-political situation, including how they are governed.  People under oppression or trapped in unfavorable ways revolt and make a turn for independence.  And often, because the way we humans deal with power, this often comes with loss of life. God’s …

Space for Remembering

Emily Penfield Uncategorized

With the holidays approaching, we may have mixed feelings about those we celebrate with, and those who are no longer with us to celebrate.  It can be tough being a part of a family, especially when expectations are not met.  It can also be hard to live without those who are family to us, after they die.  Instead of singing about joy and merriment, some of us are sad, mad, or tired.  God’s grace has space for all these feelings, and our church does so too as we remember together. This Sunday, Nov 5th was All Saints Sunday.  We remembered …

The Heartache of Nature

Emily Penfield Uncategorized

Harvey, Irma, Maria, earthquakes, wild fires, floods, tornadoes – these are just some of the natural disasters that have happened in the past few weeks.  People are suffering; lives have been lost; damage to homes and infrastructure is overwhelming.  This creates heartache and we wonder where is God in these catastrophes?  Why so much devastation in a short amount of time? Our Wesleyan faith searches for the grace in these situations.  God’s prevenient grace means God does not punish us with death, but God’s grace is always open to us until the end of our lives. Those who die in …