*** Farewell Celebration for Pastor Luke and Family, Saturday, June 12th from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Fellowship Hall.      |      The Mission Room is now taking summer items (no long-sleeves), bedding, & kitchen items. Call the office for a drop-off appointment.      |      Pastor Luke's last Sunday will be June 13th and will be communion Sunday.      |      Change of address, phone, or email? Go to the bottom of the first page of our website www.sheniafumc.org fill out your changes and hit submit.      |      The weekly Booster can be found under "News" along with much more information.      |      Prayer Request and Our Care Center Family link can be found under "News."      |      Share your prayer request and praises at any time during the week by calling the church office or emailing churchs3cr3tary@gmail.com      |      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

2021 Iowa United Methodist Camps

Mar. 20, 2021 @ 11:58 am

It is that time of the year to start thinking about summer camps. For a catalog or questions call 1-800-765-1651. You can find out more and register at www.iaumc.org/camps.

For more information about summer camps click here.

Registration forms and camp activities are available as well on the table below the whiteboard.

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Returning to the Sanctuary

Mar. 06, 2021 @ 10:52 pm

Grace and Peace in the name of Jesus Christ,

Over the last year, I’ve had many opportunities to reflect upon the ways that we, as Christians, were given opportunities to respond to the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic presented us with. These past few months there has been a verse from one of the letters of the Apostle Paul that has stuck with me throughout all of this.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

This has been a difficult year, and we’re coming up upon the anniversary of our state’s first lockdown. So naturally, this has been a time to reflect upon the ways that our lives have been affected, but also to recall the conversations I’ve had with people. It seems as though everyone I’ve spoken with has had to make monumentally difficult decisions for the well-being of not only themselves but also their loved ones. And not just physical well-being, but spiritual, mental, emotional, and relational well-being too. This has been something that everyone should be applauded for, as the complexity of our lives oftentimes goes unnoticed by others. These decisions, also, have been made during a climate of sharp disagreements between loved ones and friends alike, as well as an environment where truth and truthfulness have been, at times, difficult to discern.

The emotions that seem to bubble up within people have also run the spectrum from weariness to frustration, confusion to fear, and perhaps even an intentional distancing from sources of conflict. For many of us, the grief and anxiety that has accompanied these feelings have come either from a perceived loss of our ability to choose for ourselves, a sense of abandonment that has come from making sacrifices that others don’t seem to share in, or perhaps some other elusive experience that we just haven’t been able to name.

I say perceived not because these feelings aren’t real, but rather it has been my experience that everyone is simply doing as best as they can and are acting in good faith to meet the challenges of their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. And so I return back to Paul’s encouragement for the believers of Galatia; “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Of course, Paul is likely referring to one of Christ’s commands in John 13:34, that for us as believers we are called to love one another as Christ has loved us. Which convicts the very depths of my heart and causes me to ask the question, “How can we love each other in a time that seems to heap controversy after controversy, and division after division, upon not only ourselves but also our communities?”

Nothing about the conversations surrounding how we should act during this pandemic has been easy, and in fact, it has seemed that some corners of public discourse have been completely devoid of the graciousness that the blood of Christ affords us. These conversations have been difficult, especially when taking into account that each of us has a level of risk that we are willing to undertake as well as a list of consequences that we are willing to accept. And this not only is different between persons but also changes during different seasons of life or perhaps even as we gain different experiences. So as the state’s Covid numbers drop, knowing the furthest I can see into the future is what I’m going to have for dinner (and even that is not always a guarantee), I would like to suggest and encourage an approach as we begin to return to worship in our sanctuary.

So, what can and should we do? As we’ve seen throughout this past year, many of us will be making hard decisions and will continue to do so. What has made those decisions bearable has not necessarily been what was decided, but rather the love, grace, and commitment of those around us to stick by each other even in the midst of the frustration, the unknown, and perhaps even the loss. Put simply, whether we agree or not, it’s the love of Christ and the love that we have for each other that will make all things bearable. While the Administrative Council has voted to continue to require masks and social distancing, what I am also encouraging everyone to do is bear the love of Christ towards each other and pray for patience, grace, and kindness. We’re in an awkward time in the midst of this pandemic, and it is important to remember that there are no easy answers. Persevere with each other, bear one another’s burdens, and remember that (despite our different approaches and opinions) all of us long to be back in the presence of one another and of God. Thank you for your graciousness and your faithfulness, and I look forward to the day when the community can be reunited.

Blessings,
Ps. Luke Fillmore

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Pledges 2021

Mar. 05, 2021 @ 10:27 pm

The Church Council met on Monday, March 1, 2021. An item of discussion and concern is the 2021 Pledges.

FACTS: As of February 21st our congregation has pledged $29,225 dollars for the budget year 2021.

Will you find that pledge card (orange as shown in the picture) the church has sent you and return it with your support to our church.

As a reminder, if you haven’t completed your pledge for 2020 it would be appreciated if you could take care of this as soon as possible.

Duane Rexroth
Finance Chairman

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Iowa COVID-19 Tracker

Jan. 09, 2021 @ 12:24 am

Iowa Covid Tracker - To review your county data, click here

Positive Analysis by School Districts click here

Harvard/Globalpandemics click here

You will find there are inconsistencies in the reports as these groups are following and reporting their information/metrics differently. Look for pieces of information that are confirmed between two or more sites.

For updated information from the Iowa Department of Public Health click here.

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A Note from Pastor Luke

Jan. 08, 2021 @ 7:27 pm

January 2021 note from Ps. Luke:

“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you, I am well pleased.’” Mark 1:9-11 (NRSV)

We’re starting the new year pretty soon, and I believe that I’m echoing the hopes and dreams of many people when I pray that God be gracious to us in 2021. It’s tradition with many to take up a New Year’s Resolution, and I must confess, I’ve never been any good at them. About the middle of February, my gym memberships seem to get lost, my will to cease drinking soda wanes, and my project lists never seem to get any shorter. Countless hours and pages have been spent lampooning our unfaithfulness to such endeavors; and yet here we are, another year, and I have that old itch again to reexamine my life and try and make some changes.

Perhaps you’re in the same boat. That this past year has provided you ample time to sit in your homes and think, or to look at everything you do, everyone you interact with, and every place you go with fresh eyes. That as we stand on the threshold of a new year we are once again invited into a reflection of the year that is passing and to gaze upon a vision of what the next year could be. Throughout the Christian calendar, we are invited to remember the Story of God and find ways in which our own stories echo it, or rather, moments where our stories intersect the divine one and we are invited into it again and again. It’s at the beginning of the calendar year that most people celebrate the Baptism of the Lord (you can find those accounts starting at Matthew 3:13, Mark 1:9, Luke 3:21, John 1:29). Our baptisms mirror the baptism of Christ and life up the essentials of the faith. While each church tradition formulates these words a little different, generally we’re all agreed on a few things:

It is God who saves, and continually invites us into his grace
We reject the forces and powers of evil
We put our trust in Christ alone
A new life is found within in Christ, we are renewed and being renewed
We commit to one another to care for each other
and we are welcomed into the Church, the Body of Christ


This Sunday that we remember Jesus’ baptism, and any remembrance of our own baptism, is a moment where we all reaffirm what God has done in our lives and remember the promises that we made with God, with each other, and with ourselves. It’s a time to remember, renew, and recommit ourselves to the Lord, even if we were baptized as infants or barely remember our own confirmation.

So lately I’ve been thinking about my own baptismal vows: to reject a life of sin, to resist evil and oppression in whatever form they take, to put my whole trust in Christ, and to nurture and encourage my brothers and sisters in our own mutual life of faith. While these are my first and most fundamental vows, they’re brought into a sharper focus when viewed with other vows I’ve taken: marriage, commissioning (and eventually ordination), oblation, etc. Our baptisms, in many ways, are the first and most important promises that we can make; they encompass completely the essence of Christianity, but our own traditions and experiences help us to focus and refine the ways in which God is calling us to live our lives and how he is present in them.

This year I’ve pulled out something from my denomination’s history to meditate on throughout the year. It’s a covenant prayer in the Wesleyan tradition and you can find the original English used on page 607 of the United Methodist Hymnal. Like I’ve said, I’m lousy at new year’s resolutions; they just don’t stick. But vows, prayers, longings lifted up to God, these are different for me. Hopefully, as I continually revisit this covenant prayer, it can be used by God as a way to continually be formed into the image of Christ. So, below I’ve taken the language from this covenant prayer and updated it a bit. Hopefully, I’ve kept the spirit of it, but as with all prayer and poetry, there’s always a bit of our own soul that goes into it too. Nevertheless, my resolution this year is to sit with this prayer and remember how much I am loved by God. May you find this as a blessing, recommit yourselves to God, and remember and return to your own baptism as well. Blessings, friends, and here’s to a good and faithful new year.

Amen,
Ps. Luke

A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition Revised I am no longer my own but led by you.
Have me do whatever you would, with whomever you would.
Task me with work, task me with waiting.
Use me for Your glory, or set me aside,
Known for you, or left anonymous for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I offer all things to you, for your use and your joy
with a clear mind and an open heart.
And now, O’ loving and almighty God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
You are mine, and I am yours. May it be forever.
And these promises I’ve made on earth,
may they be written in heaven. Amen.

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The New Cookbooks Have Arrived!

Jan. 07, 2021 @ 6:03 pm

The new Sesquicentennial (150 years) cookbooks have arrived. The cookbooks are being sold for $8.00 each, 2 for $15.00, and if you have bought two for $15.00 each additional cookbook is $7.50. Hundreds of recipes by our congregation! Don't pass up this special Sesquicentennial cookbook!

Please call the church office to make arrangements for picking up your cookbook. ***Payment is due when you pick up your cookbook.

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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