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May 2022 Newsletter

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Pastor's Note

The seventh mark of a Methodist is that they are “thankful” and “content.” That sounds simple. Yet our culture is not built around these two concepts.

John Wesley stated that the people called Methodists were thankful in any given situation, no matter what may come our way. When I watch the evening news, I see commercials related to the upcoming election for United States Senator. As far as I can tell from them, no one is thankful for anything or anyone. I do not even know where the candidates stand on any issue as they spend so much time trashing the president and each other. This is the opposite of how we are called to act. I may not like a situation or a person, yet I can still be thankful. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, and vehicles to drive. Is everything perfect? No, but it does not need to be perfect to be thankful for the blessings that I have.

The second concept is that we are “content.” This really goes against the grain of our culture. One of the reasons for the disruption of the supply chain is that we want so much stuff. Any hiccup in the system can cause it to back up, and we cannot get what we ordered. I am not telling you to stop buying stuff. We certainly have used online services more during the pandemic. If stuff made us happy or content, shouldn’t we be happy by now? Being content has a different source than Amazon or Wal-Mart. It is a gift from God. While we continue to seek to grow in our faith, we accept the blessings we have now. What we have today is enough for today, and God will take care of tomorrow.

As I write this one of our dogs is laying outside in the sun. She has a look on her face I wish I had more often. She is content, and even appears to be thankful for her sunbeam. May we be as thankful and content as she.

In God's grace, Pastor Alan.

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Meetings, Events

Prayer Group Meeting

Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m., we meet to pray over concerns of our members and friends. You may call the office or pastor, or email us with prayer concerns at ebenezerumc@yahoo.com

Wesley Class Meeting

Class meets on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Food Ministry

The next Lord's Supper Ministry meal will be delivered on Monday, May 15. Please contact Ricky Baker if you would like to help with the cooking, etc. Delivery people need to arrive by 5:00 p.m.

Senior Citizens Gathering

Our Senior Citizens next monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, May 16 at 11:00 a.m. A free meal will be served. Bring a dessert to share if you can.

Church Council Meeting

The Council will meet on Sunday, May 22 at 4:00 p.m. Members of the congregation may also attend and participate, but cannot vote.

United Methodist Women

Ebenezer's United Methodist Women will meet on Sunday, April 22 at 6:00 p.m. All women of the church are invited to attend.

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Something to Pray About

Reference: Matthew 6:25-34; Malachi 3:6-18.

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34 NIV

God did it again. Anytime I begin to worry about finances, God steps in and shows me that I have no need to worry; just place it all in his hands. HE WILL PROVIDE. God’s reminder of this came to me again this month.

We recently held another Art & Crafts Show at Ebenezer UMC. In the last one we had, I offered to give God 20% of any artwork that I sold. I sold one item. This year, I felt led to promise 100% to God to help our church pay off the roof-repair loan. The week before the show my heat pump stopped working on Tuesday. I considered only giving a portion of any sales to the church, but decided to remain firm in my offer to God. On Friday, I received an unexpected monetary gift. At the show, I sold 5 art pieces for the same amount of the gift. I did not think that I would be able to give to the Thank Bank or my usual tithe to the church on Sunday, because my checking account was so low, and I knew some automatic payments were due to be deducted; yet, I managed to give almost as much as usual in cash, and by cleaning out my change purse. My wallet was lighter; but so was my heart. God is indeed good, and rewards those who faithfully give to his kingdom’s work.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10 NIV)

I await your next blessings, Lord. I know there will be many more. Praise to God!

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Celebrations

Birthdays

  • 8th--Marsha McRary
  • 12th--Paul Burson, III
  • 12th--Heather Helton Wallace
  • 13th--Ricky Baker
  • 13th--Meredith Knepp
  • 14th--Carolyn F. Davis
  • 15th--Darren McCrary
  • 24th--Gavin Bachman
  • 27th--David Bachman
  • 29th--Ted Daniel
  • Anniversaries

  • 2nd--Lucas & Sarah Teague
  • 4th--George & Sarah Christas
  • 4th--Charles & Rachel Kersey
  • 30th--Monte & Bleaka Hollar
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    Council Minutes

    The Council meeting in April was canceled.

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    Worship Information

    We will explore the book of Revelation this month. There will be some teaching time during the sermons to better understand this interesting and often misunderstood book of the Bible.

    Pastor Alan will be involved in the following special events:

  • Sermon Retreat @ Hinton Center: May 5-7, 2022
  • Anti-Racism Training (Mandatory): June 3-4, 2022
  • Annual Conference: June 16-19, 2022
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    Events and Fundraisers

    Spaghetti Supper, Saturday, May 14, 4-7:00 p.m.

    Join us for a terrific supper of spaghetti with salad garlic bread, and dessert (beverage included). We are asking for donations that will be used to purchase items for the Teacher's Closet.

    The Teacher's Closet Ministry provides local teachers with school items for their students not overed in the budget.

    Come. Eat. Give. Support your local schools' teachers and students!

    Graduation Sunday, May 22, 9:00 a.m.

    Join us as we celebrate with all the high school and college graduates from our church on Graduation Sunday during our regular worship service.

    Students and parents: we need 5-20 photos of the student who is graduating, the name of their school or college, and their plans for the future. You may send jpegs to our email or drop hard copies of pictures off at the church (will be returned unharmed).

    Our email is: ebenezerumc@yahoo.com. Please respond by May 18th.

    Youth Summer Fun & Service

    During the summer the youth will have the opportunity to get together on Thursdays in the months of June and July to do service projects in this area and for FUN! The following is a tentative schedule. Some events may be switched around and times are not set for all events

    Parents, please note that each youth will need a permission slip filled out to participate. This form is good for one year. Also, South Caldwell Christian Ministries has its own form, too.

  • June 9--Work day at church with lunch; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • June 16--Pool Party @ Haas'
  • June 23--South Caldwell Christian Ministries
  • June 30--Lakeside Park Hike and Cookout
  • July 7--Finding Hope Ministries Thrift Shop
  • July 14--Sunrise on the Parkway
  • July 21--Yard Work @ church or home of a member
  • July 28--Hickory Crawdads Game
  • Contact the church office for a permission form.
    Adult help with these events is needed. Contact Pastor Alan to volunteer.

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    Special Giving

    We gratefully acknowledge the following special gifts received in April:

    In Memory of Bill Campbell by:
    Freida Matthews
    Huntington Employees
    Cindy Sears
    Alice Hill 

    In Memory of Bob Jenkins by:
    Kim Ellis

    In Honor of Ebenezer's Many Good Cooks by:
    Delores, Billy Wayne, and Gary Paul Campbell

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    Hid In My Heart

    I look to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help will come from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let you fall; your protector is always awake.
    Psalm 121:1-3 GNT

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    Military Prayer List

    Please pray for the men and women who protect our freedoms. 

    • Ricky Garland
    • Trey Hefner
    • Shane McRary
    • Jamie Mullinax
    • Michael Potts
    • Hunter Tolbert
    • Devon Watkins
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    Other and Miscellaneous

    Special Word about the UMC and GMC

    It was recently announced that the General Conference for 2020 would be postponed until 2024. Some of this was about the availability of visas for delegates coming from other countries. This was not a unanimous decision.

    Two words about General Conference:
    It is the only body of the United Methodist Church (UMC) that can make changes to the Book of Discipline (BOD). The BOD contains the rules and guidelines for how we conduct ourselves. It is why we do not have bylaws as most things are covered in the BOD.

        It meets every 4 years. It is scheduled to meet again in 2024. However, we do not know yet if there will be 2 General Conferences in 2024 or not, or even where they will meet. More on that later.

    The big issue the 2020 General Conference was to deal with was a plan for an amicable separation of those who do not agree with same sex marriages, or ordination of homosexual persons. While the BOD currently allows neither, some bishops and pastors have done these activities. This is at the heart of the dispute currently.

    Because of the announced delay, the Global Methodist Church (GMC) has stated that it will start on May 1st as an official entity. This group has stated that it believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.

    Currently local churches can disaffiliate from the UMC. There is a process for doing that in our conference, but it does have its financial costs. This includes 2 years of apportionment payments, and that church’s share of the unfunded pension owed by the conference. That is a lengthy and technical topic to explain. Some churches have already done that.

    What does that mean for Ebenezer? To disaffiliate at this time would cost about $50,000. That is an estimate. Currently, the Administrative Council wants to wait and see how all these events evolve. General Conference will most likely take up the issue when they meet. Will that provide a lower cost or no cost option to join the GMC or other Methodist denomination? That is unclear currently. We have formed a Discovery Team to look at the GMC proposed Book of Discipline so that we better understand what they plan. There are simply a lot of questions and uncertainties in all this.

    At this time, we will continue with our ministry to the Dudley Shoals community. We will see how this all develops and provide you with the most accurate information that we can. We will also pray for God to guide us, the UMC and the GMC.

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    Quote in Aside

    "Let's clear up one thing before moving on. Many people justify their desire to downgrade homosexuality's sin quotient by suggesting that this is the love of God, and that to condemn this sin is to deny to its practitioners the grace of Christ. This is misguided. The great hope that Christianity can offer to those who struggle with homosexuality is not that they are without sin but that their sin is as susceptible to the work of Christ as any other."
    Timothy D. Padgett, 1-31-2019, Breakpoint.org

    Roof Loan Information

    The flat part of the roof around the sanctuary was recently replaced. It had been patched as many times as it was able and after 40 years of service it had come to its end. To do this the church took out a $20,000 loan for 3 years. We are currently paying that back at the rate of $561 a month. Thanks to the UMW and others we were able to raise $3100 towards this goal in April. That is a little over 5 months of payments. Also, thank you for your regular giving to the church budget as we continue to make monthly payments. There will be future fundraisers to help pay this off as quickly as possible and second mile gifts towards this goal are always appreciated. 

    Hebrew Parable

    God is Light; prosperity is shadow; walk toward God, toward the Light, the shadow of prosperity will follow you. Turn away from God, and you will never be able to catch your shadow (prosperity)

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    Contact Information: 828-396-2214; ebenezerumc@yahoo.com; 4948 Burns Rd, Granite Falls, NC 28630