*** If you need to meet or talk with Pastor Luke please call the church office to set up an appointment.      |      No "in-person" service, only online service, through January 10th.      |      The weekly Booster can be found under "News" along with much more information.      |      Poinsettias now on sale for $13.00 each. Contact the office to order. Please pay when you order.      |      December Newsletter from Pastor Luke can be found under "News."      |      2nd Sunday of Advent, December 6th.      |      Prayer Request and Our Care Center Family link can be found under "News."      |      The Hispanic Center is now accepting donations for fall and winter clothing items on Tuesday and Wednesdays from 9-10:30      |      If you would like to provide "special music" for Sunday morning service, either in person or pre-recorded, contact the church office.      |      Share your prayer request and praises at any time during the week by calling the church office or posting them on the church Facebook page.      |      NEW - Online "Giving" is now available. The "Giving" button located in the upper right corner of the website. See the "News" section for more information.      |      "News" page (updated daily & weekly) with Bible App for Kids, Lesson Activities & Resources for Children's Sunday School, activities for everyone, learning resources, and much more. ***
First United Methodist Church

News

Bible Verse of the Day

Dec. 03, 2020 @ 8:33 am

John 6:35

New International Version

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

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Quarantine Prayer Checklist

Dec. 01, 2020 @ 7:54 pm

Use this prayer checklist to pray every day.

• Praise God for His mighty power and perfect love.

• Thank God for promising to always be with us.

• Ask God to heal those who are sick.

• Ask God to comfort those who are afraid.

• Ask God to protect those in the medical field.

• Ask God to give leaders wisdom.

• Ask God to forgive your sins and heal our nation.

• Ask God to use the church to share His love.

• Ask God to bring revival through this time.

Read Psalms 121 out loud to close out your prayer time.

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Online Services Only December 6th - January 10th

Dec. 01, 2020 @ 7:32 pm

Grace and Peace, friends. In an effort to keep everyone informed we’re writing to let you know that, per the Bishop’s directive and the Ad. Board’s decision, all in-person, indoor worship will be postponed through January 10th. Thank you and stay tuned for a schedule of events through Christmas. Ps. Luke Fillmore Shenandoah-Hamburg UMC

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Pastor Luke's December Newsletter - "Waiting and Watching"

Nov. 27, 2020 @ 8:49 pm

Waiting and Watching

I remember, very clearly, certain moments associated with the birth of my children. On February 6th, 2017 I awoke on a cold, snow-covered morning just as the sun was rising. Lying in bed looking out as the sky turned pinks and oranges and yellows. I remember thinking to myself, “we’re going to have a child today,” which was swiftly followed by another thought, “why am I up this early?” It hadn’t been a difficult pregnancy for my wife, but towards the end, the aches and pains associated with carrying a child and the eventual intensity of childbirth itself would take its toll. I know, I know, by this point it’s a bit cliché to speak as if the husband and father could even know of the ordeal that the wife and mother must go through to bring another life into the world. Yet, it’s left me with a perspective that I still cherish. With Nora’s birth there was beauty, and pain, and the frantic dance of getting ready for another member being added to the family. That same sort of busyness that results from the unknown of expected arrival. What will they wear? What will they eat? Where will they rest their head and how will they soothe themselves? Certainly, there are echoes of a parable here...

Of course, by the time Benny came, we were seasoned parents. More relaxed, more at ease with the way things would be or could be. There was no tender wonder from me during his pregnancy, merely a joyous sense of duty and the honor that comes from caring for someone else. The moment when Ben was born, I remember vividly the nurse holding him up. His little muscles stark and toned under the few lamps in the dimly lit room. When he was born I was in awe at how powerful he looked even as small as he was; to see and meet our children for the first time had left me with awe and wonder at both what was and what might be. This was holy ground. This was the work of God through the fearful, wonderful, and imperfect vessels that we are. And now we come to our third pregnancy. Eleanor was born while I was amid seminary, Benedict during a flood, and this new child will be born amid a pandemic. Yet, this third one has been different. We’re not frantic with a lack of experience and we’re not so naive as to believe that what is coming will be easy. With age comes the understanding that though the outcome will be beautiful, filled with wonder and glory, the road will be a long and difficult one. The waiting will always be excruciating. The nights will be filled with aches and pains and the days with anticipation. And while parenthood never has been and never will be easy, it’s these experiences that have helped me begin to make sense of not only this season of Advent but also this season of Covid.

It’s a time of great waiting and anticipation. A time of unknowing and the frantic pace that comes about as we try and find ways to take care of each other and a challenge that has few satisfying answers. There are incredible moments of grace and holiness, glory and wonder strewn throughout this whole season and it takes a certain amount of hope, patience, and gentleness to be able to see them. And yet there will be moments of pain, creaky joints, and overburdened emotions. The weight of the world on your shoulders and feelings of powerlessness before things you’re unable to control. Birth is such a primal and intense process. The act of coming into existence is never one that is easy but it is always one that is clothed in glory, wonder, and grace. My prayer is that this advent season we don’t shy away from any of it, neither from the fear nor the joy, the grief nor the wonder. I hope that we can experience life as it is and sit in awe of a God who was willing to go through all of that so that he could sit with us too. So I’m going to take some time this advent season and offer up some things to God, write them down, maybe even seal them in an envelope and open it up on Christmas morning. I’m going to write down three things: what’s left me worried, what’s left me tired, and what’s left me in awe. And during those quiet moments, after the presents have been unwrapped, the kids (and grown-ups too) are off playing with their new toys, or even as a holy morning gives way to a serene afternoon, I’m going to spend some time in reflection and take it all in. I’m going to sit and pray, give thanks to God, and hope that next year I can see his glory as well, but I invite you into this too just as the Spirit invites us into holiness. God is with us, experiencing life in all of its difficulty and glory, even as we all await the day when Christ returns in fullness. Amen.

-Ps. Luke

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First Sunday of Advent, November 29th - "Hope"

Nov. 27, 2020 @ 8:44 pm

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

If you're reading your devotions in the morning, as the sun is rising, we invite you to make a warm drink and pray in a comfortable place. If you're reading your devotions in the evening, after the sun has set, we invite you to place a candle on a table in front of you and have it lit while you pray.

Isaiah 60:1-5a

"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses' arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and be enlarged,"

Hope can be a tricky thing, as it always depends upon our belief that there will be a tomorrow. That may seem like a non-negotiable; after all, we live and plan as if the sun will rise and we will rise with it. Yet, there are days and seasons in which this rising is just a bit harder, our belief that there will be a tomorrow and it will be good a little dimmer, if not completely extinguished. “This year has been difficult," is a common refrain I've heard from people over and over, and some have even begun listening to Christmas carols early and putting up their lights even before Halloween in an attempt to hurry the year up. Strangely, as much as I love starting the year on the first Sunday of Advent, it's this unshakable hope that if we can just get through this year then the next will be better. If we can take one day at a time it'll all be ok. If we can just take one more step then we can take the next. This is holy audacity, sacred foolishness that is ours and the Cross', and it all started on that night in which God did something unthinkable and dwelt among us. It is that ability to look out into the darkness and still see the light that is one sign of the Spirit working in the world. Hope is as Christian as bread and wine, as hymns and scripture, or as Christmas and Easter are. So let us live in hope, flee from despair, and look towards the day that God has already ordained.

As the days get shorter and we put up the lights, what are you hoping for? What do you know will be here tomorrow? What promises of God are you leaning on that are helping you get through?

Take a moment and embody hope this week. Choose one of these actions today and plan one for Friday (or engage in all 3 or one of your own!), but we encourage you to be a light of hope in the world this week.

Plant a seed in a pot and take care of it this winter. Buy a gift card from a local business and gift it to someone you care for. Write yourself a hope-filled letter and open it on Christmas Day.

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New Advent Coloring Pages & Other Fun Activities

Nov. 27, 2020 @ 7:20 pm

Check it out, new Advent coloring activities for children and other activities for everyone! Check these activities out by clicking here.

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SERVICE TIMES

Welcome Center (Coffee & Conversation): 8:30-9:00 a.m.
Worship Service: 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Fellowship: 10:00-10:30 a.m.
Sunday School: 10:30-11:30 a.m.(only during school year)

P.O. Box 394

200 CHURCH ST

Shenandoah, IA 51601

712-246-2081