Ebenezer's Newsletter June 2023
- Pastor's Note
- Meetings, Events, etc.
- Something to Pray About
- Council Minutes
- Worship Information
- Special Events and Fundraisers
- Monthly Prayer Focus
- Special Giving
- Hid In My Heart
- Military Prayer List
- Other and Miscellaneous
- Ministry Opportunities
- John Wesley Said
- Thank You Notes
- A Challenge
It’s all about souls. That is our focus as the church and as Christians. That focus is greater than anything else we could focus on. That focus has been given to us by Jesus in the Great Commission as found in Matthew 28:16-20.
What is a soul?
A soul is that part of each human being that contains the essence/presence of God. In the creation story we are told that God breathed life into Adam and Eve. The Hebrew word is “ruah” which means breath. In the New Testament we hear about the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost the Spirit showed up as a mighty wind. In our faith this breath is the part of God that brings us to physical life as well as spiritual life. We are more than the sum of our parts because God’s breath makes us more. The word we use to describe this breath is “soul.” Without it we are lifeless.
Yet, the soul is always under attack. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that "your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Satan is as active in seeking to harm our souls as God is active in seeking to protect our souls. There are too many people making their way through life with damaged souls. This leads to acts of self-harm. This leads to acts of violence. Damaged souls wind up damaging others. Satan is happiest when we do these things to ourselves and others.
The church of Jesus Christ is about soul work. John Wesley reminded us of the things we need to do to protect our souls. They were reading scripture, attending worship, giving, praying, and being a part of a small group in order to grow in grace. Then we can take our faith out into the world to let people know that God loves them, and to show them how to care for their souls.
Let us be about our soul work. Let us take care of our souls. Let us help our brothers and sisters in Christ to take care of their souls. Let us go into the world and help undo the damage the devil is doing by helping people to see their God-given souls and to grow with one another in grace.
In God's grace, Pastor Alan.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wesley Class Meeting
Class meets on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. Note: Class will not meet on Tuesday, June 6.
Meeting with D. S. Huffman
On Tuesday, June 6 at 7:00 p.m. there will be a meeting with our District Superintendent related to the disaffiliation process. The following people are expected to attend: Pastor Alan Gaylore, Bleaka Hollar, Marsha McRary, Ricky Baker, Roy Hamby, Irene Austin, and Kim Ellis.
The next Lord's Supper Ministry meal will be delivered on Monday, June19. Please contact Ricky Baker if you would like to help with the cooking, etc. Delivery people need to arrive by 4:30 p.m.
Senior Citizens Gathering
Our Senior Citizens next monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, June 20 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, June 25 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, June 25 at 6:00 p.m. All women of the church are invited to attend.
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
–Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV
Reference: Judges 6:(1-13), 14-24, 33-40
And he said to him, ‘Pray, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. –Judges 6:15
Israel has strayed from the LORD again and allowed in worship of other gods. So, the LORD lets itinerant tribes come into Israel’s land and harass them, and steal their crops, cattle, and sheep. It is so bad in one area that the Israelites have had to resort to living in caves in the mountains.
God calls Gideon to deliver Israel from this enemy. The angel of the LORD who first contacts him calls Gideon a mighty man of valor, (verse 12) but Gideon hesitates to accept the accolade as true forgetting that the angel also proclaimed, "The LORD is with you." That is where Gideon will find the strength and courage to do what God is calling him to do.
In his hesitation, Gideon requests signs from the LORD. In 6:14-24, he prepares a sacrificial offering, which the angel caused to burn up by touching it with his staff. Most church people probably have more often heard the story of the other request for a sign: a fleece left on the ground first being the only item with dew on it; then the only item with no dew on it (verses 33-40).
In between those two instances, Gideon obeys God’s command to pull down the local altar to Baal and the Asherah pole (two pagan gods). Though Gideon obeys the order, he does it at night, because he fears the local people and his father, who put up the altar! Yet, Gideon’s father steps in and restrains the people from retribution against his son after they find out who the culprit is who tore down the pagan altars. (Which shows us that God can send aid to us from the most unlikely people, or in unimagined ways.)
Despite his hesitant attitude, Gideon soon realizes that what is to be done must be done in the power of the LORD, not his own power alone. When he leads the attack against the interlopers, Gideon cries out, "the sword of the LORD, and of Gideon" (7:20), and leads his warriors to victory.
As we strive to do the Lord’s will, we too must remember that we never enter any battle, however small or large, without God’s power standing with us and giving us all we need to be victorious in the LORD. Therefore, let us be confident warriors for God, not hesitant and fearful ones.
- 1st--Joan Pennell
- 2nd--Carson Teague
- 4th--Marley Smith
- 7th--Will McRary
- 8th--Eathan Morrow
- 8th--Becky Yount
- 10th--MaryLynn Pennell
- 11th--Ezma Austin
- 13th--Kim Ellis
- 16th--Casey Knepp
- 22nd--Nathan Adams
- 23rd--Theia McRary Huffman
- 26th--Delores Campbell
- 28th--Ragan Knepp
- 20th--Jimmy and Heather Stone
- 21st--Kirk and Irene Austin
- 22nd--Dwight and Rosalind Kelley
- 22nd--Rex and Gwen Teague
- 24th--Chris and Tasha Haas
- 26th--James and Freida Farr
May 7 and May 14, 2023
May 7 Attendees: Pastor Alan, Marsha McRary, Cindy Sears, Judy McCrary, Bleaka Hollar, Kim Ellis, Rosanna Bachman, Irene Austin, John McCrary, Becky Silver, Ted Daniel, Kenny Silver, Ricky Baker.
Marsha called a special meeting to discuss the D. S. requesting more specific reasons and details of our reasons for asking to disaffiliate from the UMC. After reading the changes and discussion, Rosanna Bachman made a motion to accept the changes, with second by Irene Austin. Motion passed with one opposing vote.
May 14 Attendees: Pastor Alan, Marsha McRary, Cindy Sears, JoAnn Knepp, Kim Ellis, Bleaka Hollar, John McCrary, Kenny Silver, Becky Silver, Linda Moretz, Ted Daniel, Irene Austin, Ricky Baker, and Emily Haas.
Marsha explained that the D. S. had requested more details for the disaffiliation letter. She told us the changes, adding the vote in which our District Conference members voted on a change to the Book of Discipline normalizing same-sex “marriages.” That motion passed in our district, but was not voted on at the General Conference, because they adjourned before it was brought up. The Annual Conference vote made it clear that the majority position on this issue will continue to cause conflict and is, in our view, not biblical.
Marsha then discussed that she had contacted the National Center of Life and Liberty to speak with a lawyer to help us with legal matters related to disaffiliation. They will provide a lawyer at $1,000 for the first year; if process goes to more than one year, the second year would cost us $1200. These fees can be paid in monthly instalments. If our process goes to court, we would only be liable for court costs. A conference call is planned for Thursday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m. with Marsha, Ricky, Irene, Bleaka and Cindy to talk to the lawyer.
Motion to make the necessary changes to the letter and speak with the lawyer from Cindy and Bleaka. Motion passed. Minutes recorded by Cindy Sears.
May 28 Regular Council Meeting
Attendees: Irene Austin, Ricky Baker, Becky Silver, Kim Ellis, Roy Hamby, Bleaka Hollar, Judy McCrary, Marsha McRary, Linda Moretz, Cindy Sears, Monte Hollar, Kenny Silver, Kim Knepp.
Opening scripture: Jeremiah 18:1-6, The Potter’s Clay. “God can take our imperfect selves and them shape us into something new.” Quote is from Upper Room devotional book. Marsha continued the thought by referencing the day’s sermon from Roy Hamby that God gives us spiritual gifts—even as imperfect as we are. Is God reshaping each of us and our church through the disaffiliation process? How does he want us to use our gifts and our new being? Think and pray on this in the coming months as we continue to work on leaving the UMC, and moving into a new era as a Methodist church. Marsha gave the opening prayer.
Reading of the Minutes: Motion to accept as written: Bleaka Hollar; second by Judy McCrary. Passed.
Financial Report by Irene Austin
We have spent $16,120 more than we have received in contributions for the General Fund since January. Frankly, we cannot continue like this. We cannot print money like the U. S. government does. Please give more, dig deep, sacrifice; so that we can continue to minister to our members and our community.
Ricky Baker offered a challenge: he has pledged to give $1,000 more this year. Is anyone else in our congregation willing to accept that challenge and do the same?
There was one good note on the report: We will be able to get help with the disaffiliation cost from the Wesleyan Foundation, but we need to raise as much as possible from our own congregation and community.
Trustees Report by Ricky Baker
Bulbs were replaced upstairs and in the bathroom; he is working on a valve problem in one bathroom. Repairs were done on the dryer in the parsonage for $288.
Staff, Pastor, Parish Relations Report by Roy Hamby
Roy reminded us that he had been denied his appointment as a local pastor this year, because his assigned church chose to disaffiliate. He does not expect to be given another appointment until next year.
Sunday School Superintendent Report by Marsha McRary
Things are going fairly well, though attendance—especially by the children and youth can be sporadic. She suggested setting up a jar or other container and encouraging our children and youth to contribute to our General Fund with their pennies and other change.
Pastor’s Report presented by Marsha McRary
We went over a list of people who will be receiving another membership letter or their first one. One name was removed from the 2nd letter list, because the person does give money to the church. Those on the second letter list and the no known address list will be removed during the next charge conference in November unless we receive an answer with a request to remain on the roll.
Pastor Alan will conduct another series of youth activities this summer. The first date will be on June 14 at 10:00 a. m. with lunch included. The project will be to clean out the cooler and freezer, washing down the shelves outside, removing ice, etc. There will be time for some basketball in the gym, too.
Parents of the youth who plan to participate must fill out a permission form. Contact the Pastor or the church office for the form. The rest of the summer schedule has not been set, yet.
Community Day: Council set the date for this on Saturday, August 19th from 10-1:00 p.m. Discussion. We may include a bucket for donations to our General Fund during this activity. Other activities have not been set.
Pastor Alan will be at the district Annual Conference June 15-18.
No old business was brought up.
Kim Ellis mentioned the possibility of having a golf tournament this fall. She will present more on this later.
Bleaka brought up the possibility of a fundraiser in June. Saturday, June 24th was chosen for a BBQ chicken leg quarters with green beans, slaw, and bun meal fundraiser. We would serve lunch and dinner. Times set are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Proceeds will go to the General Fund. We request that our members provide desserts for this event.
We have hired and paid for an attorney to help us with the disaffiliation process. A meeting has been scheduled with the District Superintendent, Rev. Huffman, on Tuesday June 6 at 7:00 p.m. The following people need to be present for this meeting: Marsha McRary, Ricky Baker, Roy Hamby, Bleaka Hollar, Kim Ellis, Irene Austin, and Pastor Alan. The D. S. will let us know what is required of us. She has to approve the ballot wording for the congregational vote on disaffiliation. She will set the special charge conference time for the vote. The members will vote also on where we go after we leave the United Methodist Church organization.
Monte Hollar asked that we find more information on the other organizations and options we can consider after disaffiliation from the UMC. Kim Ellis brought up the idea of a townhall event for our members and the community to present our reasons for leaving the UMC, and what our options are.
Dates related to the process: July 1—letter to D. S. requesting disaffiliation due (Completed); church charge conference held to vote by September 15th; November 4th--district special called conference to vote on the churches requesting disaffiliation; December 31—monies required to disaffiliate are due.
Please pray daily for God’s leading and blessings, especially concerning what he wants us to do once we leave the UMC.
Kim Ellis reported that the Finding Hope Ministries kids are coming in July. The plan is to have them here for a presentation on Sunday, July 9th. A pool party will be held for the kids that afternoon at Paul and Annette Burson’s house with burgers and hot dogs for the kids. We are considering taking up a love offering that Sunday for the Finding Hope Ministries kids.
Meeting adjourned. Closing prayer given by Judy McCrary. Minutes recorded by Cindy Sears.
|Matthew 28:6-10 (Communion Sunday)
|Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
|Bleaka Hollar Preaches (Father's Day)
BBQ Chicken Fundraiser
Saturday, June 24, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. our cooks and bakers will be heating up the kitchen for a delicious lunch and supper of barbecued quarter chicken leg with baked beans, slaw, and roll, drink, and your choice of homemade dessert. The food will be greath, and the atmosphere friendly and lively. Cost is $10 per adult plate.
Proceeds will go toward our church's budget and ministries. We thank you for your support!
Father's Day Display and Celebration
We are asking our members to help us set-up a display table with mementos of your fathers to honor them on Father's Day, June 18. Bring in small items or photos that remind you of your father (before June 18).
Please label the items. All items will be returned. Happy Father's Day!
Youth Summer Work and Fun
The full schedule for our summer youth program activities is not set yet. However, we will gather for a workday at the church on Wednesday, June 14th at 10:00 a.m. We will be cleaning out the cooler and freezer in the kitchen, and washing down the shelves outside.
Lunch will be provided. There will be free time in the gym, too.
Each participating youth will need a permission form completed by a parent or guardian. Please contact the church office or the pastor for the form. Any youth in the community may participate.
Ebenezer is working on disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church this year. Please pray for us to work diligently, give generously, and move where we can best serve God as we stand by his Word, and follow Christian doctrine based upon his Holy Word.
We gratefully acknowledge the following special gifts:
- In memory of Addie Sears
by Cindy Sears; Delores and Gary Paul Campbell, Women’s Bible Study Class.
- In memory of Kat Teague
by Cindy Satterwhite.
- In honor of Ebenezer’s United Methodist Men
by Delores and Gary Paul Campbell.
- In honor of Ebenezer’s United Methodist Women and Yard Sale
by Delores and Gary Paul Campbell.
- In honor of Bleaka Hollar
by Delores and Gary Paul Campbell
How do I hide God’s word in my heart? Memorize it!
And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. --Mark 9:42-43 NIV
Please pray for the men and women who protect our freedoms.
- Ricky Garland
- Shane McRary
- Jamie Mullinax
Adults who wish to help Pastor Alan with the youth summer activities should contact Pastor alan ASAP. A background check will be required.
SCCM Food Pantry
We collect canned and boxed foods for South Caldwell Christian Ministries Food Pantry throughout the year. Please place on the bench in the old fellowship hall.
Ebenezer's General Fund
Don't forget that your church needs your monetary support, too! Our contributions are not keeping up with our spending on essentials, such as electricity, repairs, water, apportionments, insurance, etc. Please remember to give. God will bless you and us for your generosity. Thank you.
John Wesley Said:
When a man becomes a Christian, he becomes industrious, trustworthy and prosperous. Now, if that man when he gets all he can and saves all he can, does not give all he can, I have more hope for Judas Iscariot than for that man!
Thank You Notes
We received the following thank you notes in May:
From Robert and Teresa Herman: "Thank you so much for your gracious gift to us. Please continue to pray for us. In Christ, Teresa and Robert Herman."
From SCCM: "Thank you so very much for your special collection and food donation...36.0 pounds of food in the month of April...Sincerely, God bless you for your kindness and generosity!" (We also gave 77.0 lbs on March 21st.)
SCCM also thanked us for the baked goods we donated for their annual Butterfly Festival. They raised $556.25 to assist families in need in our community.
Your gifts to Ebenezer continue to do good throughout our area.
One of our members, Ricky B., has pledged to give an extra $1,000 to Ebenezer's General Fund this year. He challenges other members to do the same. Is anyone else willing to step up and make the sacrifice?