January 2023 at the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz

Welcome to the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz, as we seek to be faithful to God by being fully inclusive.  We have open hearts, open minds, and open doors.  Join us as we deepen our resolve to share love generously.  This is a time for sharing the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors and the world as we grow deeply in our faith.

Join us as we seek to build relationships with spiritual depth, reaching out to the world.    We remain committed to offering a healthy and safe ministry in the midst of this COVID Pandemic, offering Hybrid Worship and Hybrid/Zoom Small Groups.  Check out our website for the latest information, and “Like Us” on Facebook!   

Whoever you are and wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome to grow with us!

Rainbow Cross

January 1 – Communion – Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

New Years Day

Welcome to the New Year, as the Christmas Season continues!  For Everything There Is A Season … so the writer of Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 reminds us.  This is a wonderful way to start a New Year!  Join us for the breaking into a whole new era; choose one simple spiritual resolution…something you are committed to observing in your life! 

Zoom participants, remember your ‘holy snack’!

January 8 – Epiphany Sunday – Matthew 2:1-12

We celebrate the Epiphany and the Renewal of Baptism this day … the arrival of the Magi, and the showering of light infested waters upon us as we reaffirm the mystery of God’s Saving Grace in our lives!  Matthew 2 & 3 remind us of the stories of our early faith, and our calling to journey forth in faith!  Let 2023 be the year for deepening your faith in new and amazing ways!

Epiphany Sunday

January 15 – Human Relations Day – Isaiah 49:1-7

Human Relations Day

Human Relations Day (and Special Offering) reminds us to be empowering as the people of God…to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with God and one another.  Each of us is chosen to be an empowering essence with the world…to be a sacred element in this life.  Isaiah 49:1-7 reminds us that we are chosen by God to care for one another and to be justice seekers for the earth.  May we be faithful!

January 22 – Matthew 4:12-23

Matthew 4:12-23 reminds us of our calling to ‘come and follow’ the Jesus who resides in our hearts, our minds, and our spirits.  We are called to walk alongside one another.  To offer healing and to empower others to find their deep spiritual path; to share in helping to cultivate God’s Beloved Community.  How are we choosing to grow in God’s grace?

Yacht Harbor

January 29 – Micah 6:3-4, 6-8, Matthew 5:1, 5, 6, 7

Care for one another

Care for one another.  That’s all we are called to do; to care; to humble ourselves and our egos so that others may have life … and share life abundantly!  Until that day comes…we have our work cut out for us…to live with a hunger and thirst to make sure that everyone is filled … to be merciful so that everyone is filled with mercy!  Is it possible to live righteously … live mercifully … live meekly?

May we find the welcoming place of God as we invite others to share in this journey of the Spirit!

Advent and Christmas at the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz

Welcome to the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz, as we seek to be faithful to God by being fully inclusive.  We have open hearts, open minds, and open doors.  Join us as we deepen our resolve to share love generously.  This is a time for sharing the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors and the world as we grow deeply in our faith.

Join us as we seek to build relationships with spiritual depth, reaching out to the world.    

We remain committed to offering a healthy and safe ministry in the midst of this COVID Pandemic, offering Hybrid Worship and Hybrid/Zoom Small Groups.  Check out our website for the latest information, and “Like Us” on Facebook!  

Whoever you are and wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome to grow with us.

Rainbow Cross

November 27th – First Sunday of Advent

Hope

Welcome Christmas into your heart as you hear the faith stories of all the ‘Advent Characters’ who are approached by the Angel!  The Angel prepares our way today by introducing us to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, and the Shepherds … the unsuspecting people of faith!

Prepare your hearts with Hope … Come!  Prepare!

December 4th – Second Sunday of Advent – Communion

Zoom Participants, prepare a ‘holy snack’. Continue to journey this season as we prepare our hearts.  We move from a place of Hope as we prepare our hearts for Peace.  Allow the Angel to deepen your spirit with the message of Peace, given to the  Shepherds.  Allow this message to infuse your soul! 

Peace

December 11th – Third Sunday of Advent

Love

Our journey unfolds as we focus on Love this day.  Imagine being silenced by an Angel like Zechariah or visited by an Angel every time you slept like Joseph!  We would probably not get any Christmas cooking done!  See how these two characters prepared their lives for the Love of God.  Are we preparing for a times such as this; are we prepared for this kind of Love?

December 18th – Fourth Sunday of Advent

We arrive at our journey’s end in Bethlehem, where Joy awaits us!  Are your hearts prepared to receive and share this gift with your neighbors far and wide?!

The Angel comes with reassurance to Elizabeth and Mary, as the Angel came last week to their partners.  May we find the kind of Joy in our hearts like Mary and Elizabeth found, when they received such news!

Joy

December 24th – Christmas Eve Service – 7:00 pm

We have been anticipating this night all season!

On this night, Jesus is born!  Saving Grace is poured upon us as we celebrate this gift of new birth! 

Please invite others to join you as we celebrate this gift of new light in our lives…our world!  Join our Hybrid Service of familiar carols and ‘light in the dark moments of life’.  Bring, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love with you!

December 25th – Christmas Continues!

We rarely get to celebrate Christmas Day in Worship.  So, leave the wrappings of your Christmas gifts under the tree, and join us for music and the hearing of how everything started from John 1:1-14.  Be the Light of the World this day, as we begin to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas!  Join us next week as we continue to celebrate on New Year’s Day!  And then come back once again on January 8th as we celebrate the Epiphany.  Be a blessing in 2023!

Christmas Day

May we find the welcoming place of God as we invite others to share in this journey of the Spirit at Christmas!

November 2022 at the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz

Welcome to the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz, as we seek to be faithful to God by being fully inclusive.  We have open hearts, open minds, and open doors.  Join us as we deepen our resolve to share love generously.  This is a time for sharing the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors and the world as we grow deeply in our faith. 

Join us as we seek to build relationships with spiritual depth, reaching out to the world.    

We remain committed to offering a healthy and safe ministry in the midst of this COVID Pandemic, offering Hybrid Worship and Hybrid/Zoom Small Groups.  Check out our website for the latest information, and “Like Us” on Facebook!  

Whoever you are and wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome to grow with us.

Rainbow Cross

November 6th – All Saints Sunday – Communion – Luke 20:27-38

November 6, 2022

In Luke 20:27-38, we discover that our God is the God of Life, whose Love Never Ends!  This odd parable about marriage in the face of death and dying, has Jesus expounding on “why we ‘worry’ about ‘the afterlife’ instead of living faithful and spiritual lives now?!”  We remember the lives of those who have touched us and taught us to be people of faith.  We praise God by caring for our neighbors and living with justice and peace in our loving hearts.   Celebrate The Feast this day; zoom participants … fix a ‘holy snack’!

November 13th – Veteran’s Day Remembered – Isaiah 12:1-6

Isaiah 12:1-6 reminds us to proclaim God as our Comforter!Live in God’s saving grace with strength and mercy!  Work to bring joy into each and every day!  Live in gratitude and peace, so that our world may find and live God’s healing touch!  Allow yourself to an instrument of God’s healing peace in your daily journey.  Be a gracious witness to your faith in all that you say and do! 

Our visual this day comes from Joseph Jacobs.

Veteran's Day

November 20th – Celebration of Thanks and Praise – Deuteronomy 26:1-11

November-20-2022

Deuteronomy 26:1-11 reminds us that God is the creator of all goodness and grace.  How do we return thanks and praise for the gift of life that we share with others?  We remember to share what we have; to welcome the sojourners on this journey of life:  the immigrant, those who are estranged, persecuted and abused!  We know this land in which we live is filled with the substance of life:  milk and honey!  We are invited to share; to return our thanks and praise; to be responsible to our siblings in life who are especially suffering in this time of life.  We are called to be gracious even when our times are desperate.  May we work together as we remember to share the gift of life!

Our visual this day comes from Joseph Jacobs.

May we find the welcoming place of God as we invite others to share in this journey of the Spirit!

October 2022 at the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz

Welcome to the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz, as we seek to be faithful to God by being fully inclusive.  We have open hearts, open minds, and open doors.  Join us as we deepen our resolve to share love generously.  This is a time for sharing the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors and the world as we grow deeply in our faith. 

Join us as we seek to build relationships with spiritual depth, reaching out to the world.    

We remain committed to offering a healthy and safe ministry in the midst of this COVID Pandemic, offering Hybrid Worship and Hybrid/Zoom Small Groups.  Check out our website for the latest information, and “Like Us” on Facebook!  

Rainbow Cross

Whoever you are and wherever you are on your spiritual journey,you are welcome to grow with us.

October 2nd – World Communion – Luke 17:5-7

Ice Cream Social
Photo courtesy of Joseph Jacobs

We welcome Jon Visitation, Spiritual Care Counselor for Hospice of Santa Cruz County.  We look forward to engaging with Jon’s message, “Leftovers Anyone?”.  Our focus will be on God asking us to always look forward, be visionary, be creative.  Jesus uses the “leftover” stories of his day to powerfully reach out to others in our time. 

Come and feast this day!

October 9th – Luke 17:11-19

We begin a three-week focus on planning for ministry in 2023.

Today’s focus is on Faithful Mercy.  This parable is about healing.  Healing can be about mercy.  Like so many spiritual gifts, mercy is “unwarranted”; so very unexpected!  When have you experienced mercy in your life?  Are you in a spiritual place to offer that kind of mercy to others?

Faithful Mercy

October 16th – Luke 18:1-8

This image is entitled “Persistence in Pursuit of Justice: A Feminist Interpretation”; artist unknown

Today we focus on Faithful Persistence.  Do you find yourself sticking with something even when you find yourself struggling?  Do you find yourself giving up…or perhaps giving yourself time to find another way to address the situation?  Do you ask for help, or do you rely solely on your own abilities?  Becoming spiritually aware/savvy can make all the difference in the world!  Becoming “aware” is a process.  Take time for prayer and spiritual development … answers come! come!

October23rd – Luke 8:9-14

Today we focus on Faithful Sharing.  We live in a culture in which we compare ourselves to others.  We judge others and ultimately judge ourselves.  Are we worthy?  Are our neighbors worthy?  We do not have to judge!  We can share our giftedness without being diminished.  Come share your gifts from God from a spiritual place of humbleness.  What gift(s) do you bring?  Be prayerful and mindful as you gratefully share!

Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire England

October 30th – Luke 19:1-10

Blessing of the Animals

As we celebrate the Blessing of the Animals, we are also called to be mindful of “seeing Jesus”.  For Zacchaeus, “seeing Jesus” literally meant having to climb a tree in order to “see”.  No matter our size or our motivation, we are invited to come and be a part of the empowering ministry of Jesus.  God sees the very center of our being, where we are invited to grow and share God’s grace!  We are all part of God’s Beloved Community!  What a reforming thought!  Share this Good News!

May we find the welcoming place of God as we invite others to share in this journey of the Spirit!

September 2022 at the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz

Welcome to the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz, as we seek to be faithful to God by being fully inclusive.  We have open hearts, open minds, and open doors.  Join us as we deepen our resolve to share love generously.  This is a time for sharing the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors and the world as we grow deeply in our faith. 

Join us as we Worship in September.    

We remain committed to offering a healthy and safe ministry in the midst of this COVID Pandemic, offering Hybrid Worship and Hybrid/Zoom Small Groups.  Check out our website for the latest information, and “Like Us” on Facebook!  Donate to the Kentucky Flood Relief via Pay Pal on our website.  

Rainbow Cross

Whoever you are and wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome to grow with us.

September 4th – Communion – Jeremiah 18:1-11

Potter

Imagine yourself being shaped by the Beloved into the best possible human being!!!  How are you shaping up to be the spiritual image God intended?  Work with God to help shape the broken pieces of our world into a beautiful mosaic of loving possibilities!  Help address the atrocities of our current age . . . and bring to completion what God envisioned for the world . . .

September 11th – Luke 15:1-10

Imagine being able to reimage the world after ‘The Fall’ (i.e. 911).  How might you be imaging the world since that time?  How are you being the change you desire to experience in the world?  Are you finding joy by sweeping away the destructive nature of our current world evils . . . and finding your passion for the lost and broken realities we are living?  Join with others to creation a celebrate of a world restored!

Lamp

September 18th – Luke 16:1-13

Tree

Imagine yourself as one of the characters in this parable.  Remember that each character, like us, has a redeeming side and a shadow side!  Do you find yourself serving two masters . . . and who are they?  What are the changes you are willing to make to become “spiritually solid” . . . and how will you help make the necessary changes in our world that will welcome grace?   

September 25th – Luke 16:19-31

Imagine yourself once again as a character in this parable.  Whom do you identify most?  Are you leading with your spiritual senses, and practicing your faith from the very depths of your soul?  Are you working to have your ego be ‘less onery’, and allowing your spiritual light to shine?  Practice peace.

Elephant and Friend

May we find the welcoming place of God as we invite others to share in this journey of the Spirit!

August 2022 at the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz

Welcome to the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz, as we seek to be faithful to God by being fully inclusive.  We have open hearts, open minds, and open doors.  Join us as we deepen our resolve to share love generously.  This is a time for sharing the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors and the world as we grow deeply in our faith. 

Join us as we Worship in August.    

We remain committed to offering a healthy and safe ministry in the midst of this COVID Pandemic, offering Hybrid Worship and Hybrid/Zoom Small Groups.  Check out our website for the latest information, and “Like Us” on Facebook!  Donate to the Kentucky Flood Relief via Pay Pal on our website.

Whoever you are and wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome to grow with us.

August 7th – Communion

Rainbow Cross
Open Hands

Luke 14:1, 7-14 invites us to ‘live humbly’.  What are the ways you live a humble life?  Do you open your hands in a stance of welcome . . . open to being filled?  Are you inviting your associates to live simply, so that others may simply live?  May we be ‘imitators of Jesus’ who welcomes those who are struggling to have a life of wholeness. . . .

August 14th

Isaiah 5:1-7 invites us to ‘sing a love song’ to God by being an example to others.  Are you a person of justice . . . so that one day we may faithfully respond to the cry of distress?!  Lynn Gill shares this painting of Tree to Tree: Sing Me A Song from Isaiah; Light of Nations Series.  Be the Light of God. . . .

Be the Light of God

August 21st

Share what you have

Luke 12:32-40 invites us to “fear not”! We are invited to share what we have and be in faithful ministry with those who are in need.  Be the lamp that burns brightly, ready to respond.  We have nothing to lose by sharing what God has so generously shared with us . . . .

Join us after worship for a short presentation from our leadership after worship about responding to our financial stewardship

August 28th

Jesus, according to Luke 13:10-17, shares willingness his ability to be a part of God’s healing ministry.  Jesus invites us to be prayerful concerned for the care of others . . . to affirm God’s loving vision, and to participate in helping to cure the brokenness of our world.  We are so in need of God’s healing touch!  Rejoice in being a healer as God’s Amazing Grace . . . .

Healing Touch

May we find the welcoming place of God together as we invite others to share the journey!

June 2022 at the United Methodist of Santa Cruz

Welcome to this Season of Pentecost and beyond . . . a time for  sharing the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors.

We remain committed to offer a healthy and safe ministry as this COVID Pandemic changes.  We offer Hybrid Worship and Hybrid and Zoom Small Groups.  Check out our website for the latest information about our ministry.  We invite you to “Like Us” on Facebook!   https://umcsantacruz.org  

Join us as we deepen our resolve to share love generously.  

Whoever you are and wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome to grow with us.

Rainbow Cross

June 5th – Pentecost and Communion

Pentecost Sunday

Celebrate the birthing of the Christian Movement with Acts 2.  Allow the Spirit of God to ‘fall afresh on you’ and inspire you to grow in your faithful outreach to others.  Our Visual today is variegated flax, contributed to us by Joseph Jacobs.  Wear ‘fiery colors’ as we express support for our LGBTQI sisters and brothers this PRIDE month….

June12th

We recognize the gift of Wisdom as we embrace God who is Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. We will address Proverbs 8,
and hear the emphasis on Peace with Justice. Wisdom comes in many forms, and God invites us to take the path that leads to the inclusion of all people.

Linda Wilde shares this visual from Old Rhodes, Greece.

Old Rhodes, Greece

June 19th

Alaska

Today we embrace the writer of Psalm 42, who wrote this prayer trying to integrate personal struggle with spiritual life. Perhaps as we recognize our male mentor/life coach, we can write a psalm reflective of our journey in faith and life.


Our visual comes from Cindy Schuette, who shares the vastness of Alaska. Where do we find the Saving Presence of God?

June 26th

II Kings 2 expounds upon the Elijah and Elisha story. Elisha yearns for ‘double the spirit’ of Elijah before they are separated. 

What gift of wisdom would do you yearn to inherit from your mentor/life coach?  Are you willing to speak this sacred truth to you beloved?  to God?  Are you able and willing to share this ‘doubled spirit’ for the fulfillment of our hurting world?!

Our visual this day comes from Joseph Jacobs

Easter Season 2022 at the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz

Welcome to the Season of Easter; a time for Celebrating new life and sharing the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors.

We remain committed to offer a healthy and safe ministry as this COVID Pandemic changes.  We offer Hybrid Worship and Small Groups. Thank you for connecting with our website, where we provide updated information about our ministry.  Worship information may be obtained by contacting us on our website: https://umcsantacruz.org  

“Like Us” on Facebook!  

Join us as we deepen our resolve to share love generously.  Whoever you are and wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome to grow with us.

We offer Zoom Small Groups on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and the first, third and fourth Thursdays.    Friday Night Shelter is offered as part of our service to the community.  Indoor Worship includes welcoming vaccinated participants, indoor masking and singing, interactive Passing of the Peace, Prayer Stations at safe distances, and outdoor masking based on your comfort level.  Safe Communion is offered on the 1st Sunday.  Sing with Music Team on Tuesday evenings!  Enrich your spirit; let us know how we can support you!

Here is our Hybrid Worship the Easter Season:

April 17th – Celebrate the Resurrection

The Easter story comes from John 20:1-18. 

We welcome everyone to gather and celebrate new life as experienced by the first witnesses who have passed down this exciting faith to us!    Our Music Team will sing; their will be additional music.  We invite you to stay and socialize outside as we offer fellowship treats and festive conversation!  There might event be treats to share!  No matter what, the Celebration of New Life is a gift to share!

April 24th

Join Haley Feuerbacher as she shares the message from John 9, focusing on “Christianity Is a Verb”, helping us to understand compassion and connection as the heart of following Christ.  Dr. Haley Feuerbacher is the founder and executive director of the Center for Courageous Compassion and is a storyteller, facilitator, spiritual activist, and theologian transplanted from Texas.

May 1st – Communion

“Drink of it, for it is my blood,” was created by Ulyana Tomkevych of Lviv, Ukraine

This Religious Icon, “Drink of it, for it is my blood,” was created by Ulyana Tomkevych of Lviv, Ukraineh.  This image will serve as a reminder of the way hearts can be changed … O God Hear Our Prayer!  As we celebrate the early followers of ‘The Way’ in Acts 9:1-20, we discover how “Saul” would become “Paul”. No, he didn’t just have a ‘name change’ … he had a ‘faith change’!  He began to see (literally!) in a new way, and such new sight gave him the opportunity to treat others with empathetic understanding.  Are we open to new insights about ourselves as we relate to others in new ways? 

May 8th

Acts 9:36-43 invites us to explore how we can learn to support others on their journey… as we have learned (and continue to learn) from others on our journey of faith. This Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate those mentors in our lives who have taught us life lessons.  Who are we mentoring in our lives … supporting, nurturing, welcoming into this new season of life?

Photo courtesy of Joseph Jacobs

May 15th

John 13:31, 33-35 instructs us to ‘Love One Another’. We are to follow the Resurrected Jesus into the world by caring and sharing with our neighbors.  As we are nourished by our faith, how do we nourish others?  What are the ways we acknowledge our brokenness and the brokenness of the world, and make a commitment to bring healing to others and the brokenness of our world?

May 22nd

From John 14:23, 25-28 and Acts 16:9, 12-15, we discover what it means to find peace as a ‘spiritual state of being’.

Perhaps we all have a longing to find that great place of peace…in our hearts…in our minds…in our world.  Peace within our family systems … Peace in our neighborhoods … Peace within the Chaos!

The gift of spiritual peace is found by cultivating peace with one another.

This picture of peace comes to us by way of Pat Verheul, from a recent visit to Henry Cowell.

Breathe in the peace … Breathe out peace to our world. Repeat. Repeat often. Repeat for as long as it takes. 

Photo courtesy of Pat Verheul

May 29th

Acts 16:16-34 reminds us of what keeps us imprisoned and what brings us liberation.  How ironic that Paul and Silas stayed free of their imprisonment in order to keep someone from being imprisoned—or worse!  What does being free mean to us?  And how does our spiritual freedom encourage us to offer reconciliation to others?

Reconciliation with the world brings us true freedom. 

Palm Sunday and Holy Week – April 10-16, 2022

Palm Sunday and Holy Week hold a rich tradition in the Christian Faith.

Journey with us as we follow the journey of Jesus in Jerusalem during this week, preparing our hearts and minds to absorb Good Friday and wrap our spirits around the Resurrection on Easter Morning.

April 10th.  Palm Sunday Hybrid Worship at 10:45 am

Share your contact information on our website by 9 am on Sunday to receive additional information.

Please note that our protocols remain in place; we ask that you be fully vaccinated for in-person worship.

Our Music Team will be singing in Worship for the first time since the Pandemic began.

April 15th. Good Friday Self-Guided Meditation, noon to 3 pm

Our Sanctuary will be available for prayer and meditation during the afternoon.  You may come at any time and spend time in contemplation during this time.

Lent 2022 Information from the United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz

Welcome to the Season of Lent; a time for reflecting upon our relationship with God and one another as we strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

We remain committed to offer a healthy and safe ministry as this COVID Pandemic continues.  We offer Hybrid Worship and Small Groups.   

Thank you for connecting with our website, where we provide updated information about our Small Groups.  Worship information may be obtained by sharing your contact information on our website.  “Like Us” on Facebook!  Share our web addresss:  https://umcsantacruz.org  

Join us as you grow deeper in your faith this Lent.  Whoever you are and wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome to grow with us.

We offer Zoom Small Groups on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and the first, third and fourth Thursdays. Friday Night Shelter is offered as part of our service to the community.  Indoor Worship includes welcoming vaccinated participants, indoor masking and singing, interactive Passing of the Peace and Prayer Stations at safe distances, and outdoor masking based on your comfort level.  Safe Communion is offered on the 1st Sunday.    Enrich your spirit; let us know how we can support you!

Take a peek at our Hybrid Worship for this Season of Lent as we journey with Jesus:

March 2nd, noon, Ash Wednesday in the Sanctuary – Gospel Focus: Matthew 6

Ash Wednesday

We gather to prepare for our Lenten Journey with Jesus by remembering that ‘we are dust, and to dust we shall return’.  May we immerse ourselves into the spiritual practices of repentance, fasting, service, prayer, study, and faithful reflection.  While this service is sparse and will only last one-half hour, this is our opportunity to “begin anew”.

March 6th.  Communion will be served – Gospel Focus:  Luke 4:1-13

During these five Sundays of Lent that will lead us onto Palm Sunday and Holy Week … and then onto Easter, we will explore the historical ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ in a new way.  Exploring the question, “What gets in our way of Spiritual Faithfulness?”, we will look at how the earth/environment, racism, sexism, immigration, human trafficking, child vulnerability, and other issues are affected by our struggles to live faithfully, causing the world to live unharmoniously.   Today we will explore the harm that comes from the three temptations Jesus is offered:  The temptations of Feeding our Hunger (Gluttony; people starving); Feeding our Power-hunger (Lust; wanting everything in the world); Feeding our Apathy (Sloth, resisting being actively involved in our own faith journey).

March 13th – Gospel Focus:  Luke 13:31-35

“What gets in our way of Spiritual Faithfulness?” is an appropriate question as we explore the next ‘Deadly Sin’ of Pride.  Ponder how excessive pride can get you into trouble.  Sometimes we are not even aware how our pridefulness can be harmful to others.  Sometimes pride is more identifiable in others, and we neglect to recognize such pridefulness in ourselves.  Jesus is on a journey; live humbly. 

March 20th – Gospel Focus: Luke 13:1-9

“What gets in our way of Spiritual Faithfulness?” as we become Angry … a very ‘churchy word’ for anger is wrath.  Jesus invites us to change our hearts and lives.  Such self-examination is much more difficult when we are angry.  We don’t always seem to think rationally when anger strikes us.  This is an opportunity to be aware when our anger increases … to explore what is causing such an emotion, and how to address anger before we share words and actions that harm others as well as ourselves.

March 27th – Gospel Focus: Luke 15

United Methodist Committee on Relief Special Offering

“What gets in our way of Spiritual Faithfulness?” when we read this parable.  While many of the ‘deadly sins’ might fit this story, we will explore Greed.  We live in a community where there is greed in abundance.  While the prices of real estate skyrocket, the unhoused continue to be affected and our leaders are at odds as to how to best address the care of persons who need to have a hassle-free place to lay their heads.  While our community members are concerned, people also say that our unhoused neighbors are not welcome to stay in our ‘backyard’.  We face a continued crisis of greed in our own backyard!  This crisis also extends throughout the world.  How do you respond to this crisis?

April 3rd.  Communion will be served – Gospel Focus:  John 12:1-8

“What gets in our way of Spiritual Faithfulness?” might also be answered by addressing our ambitious nature of Envy.  Envy is that (fake/misguided/harmful) realization that others have what we want.  Sometimes there are ways we delude ourselves by being thankful for what we have and having our eyes wonder into our ‘neighbor’s backyard’.  But does that old adage ring true in our experience: ‘the grass (may look) greener on the other side of the fence (but in reality…are we being unrealistically envious)’?!

April 10th.  Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday – Gospel Focus: Luke 19:28-40

Join us as we welcome Jesus formally into our lives, our community, and our world.  We will journey with Jesus into the week ahead.  This Sunday, there will be music, familiar songs, and an opportunity for reflection so that we can “catch our breath” before we journey forward with Spiritual Faithfulness.