As we begin a new year, I want to take an opportunity to tell you how grateful I am to be in ministry with our wonderful congregation, and of how proud I am of the amazing ministry we accomplished in 2015. We have made an amazing difference in childhood hunger in our community this year through our participation with the Backpack programs for several of our local schools, as well as by working together with other area churches on the Summer Feeding program.
I am also proud of the programming that we continue to offer to our children and families at our Church. We have had several wonderful family events this year, including our Annual Picnic, Halloween Carnival, Ice Cream Social, and Chili Cook-off. I am grateful for the work of our Youth and our Family Life Committee who continue to put on these wonderful events. I am also grateful for all of the volunteers who make our Children’s program work on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. This year has seen some exciting changes to our weekly ministries as we have changed both our Sunday morning curriculum as well as our Wednesday evening studies for kids.
I am also grateful that our congregation has been so willing to go on a journey together this year through the bible using “The Story” program. This program has allowed us the opportunity for every Sunday school class and every age group to participate in the same weekly lesson. I am truly enjoying the weekly scripture reading in order to prepare for Sunday’s sermon, and I hope that you are finding it to be helpful in your own journey with Christ. I have also found this wonderful program to be helpful in talking to my own children about the bible story that they themselves are reading each week!
I know that as we enter into 2016, we will not only continue these wonderful ministries and programs, but will continue to move forward in what we do for the gospel of Jesus Christ. As you make your New Year’s resolutions I would encourage you to continue in your reading of “The Story.” We will begin our reading together the first Sunday of January starting where we left off, and will read through until we are finished in April. I would also encourage you to consider other ways that you might grow in your own faith and discipleship.
As we enter into a New Year, the Arkansas Annual Conference is also planning ways to move towards a spiritual revival in our churches. Part of this plan involves 40 days of prayer specifically praying for Spiritual Revival beginning January 1. Our Congregation will be participating in the 40 days of prayer much like we did as we started “The Story” in August. Beginning January 1, if your email is in our Church’s account you will be receiving this daily prayer each day, and it will also be posted to our Facebook page. If you don’t receive the daily prayer, please make sure we have you email address by sending it to email@example.com.
A second way that the Annual Conference is asking us to participate in this program for Spiritual Revival is by intentionally focusing on Spiritual Revival for the three weeks leading up to the beginning of Lent. As a congregation we have already committed ourselves to “The Story” for this period of time, so we will be holding a series of special worship services the three Wednesdays before the start of Lent. These special Wednesday night services will be held at 6:30 p.m. on January 27, February 3, and February 10 which will also be our Ash Wednesday service as it is the first day of Lent. I hope you will make an effort to participate in these special services, and will pray for the spiritual revival of the United Methodist Church in Arkansas!
Rev. John Embrey
“The Story in January”
January 3 Chapter 15 The Prophets
January 10 Chapter 16 The Fall of the Northern Kingdoms
January 17 Chapter 17 The Fall of Jerusalem
January 24 Chapter 18 Daniel and His Friends
January 31 Chapter 19 The End of Exile