Monthly Archives: January 2017

Pastor’s Ponderings

Lent is only a month away. Lent begins on Wednesday March 1st which is almost as late in our Christian Calendar year as possible. It seems as though we have just recently completed the celebration of Christmas and the Advent Season of the Church. To begin Lent we will, at Claybanks UMC, come together for an evening Ash Wednesday Service at 7:00 pm which will include the imposition of ashes. For those who are unable to attend the Ash Wednesday Service we will have an imposition of Ashes at our first Lenten Sunday worship March 5th.

It has become a modern practice of the Protestant Church to honor and participate in Lent in a number of ways. We at Claybanks will commit to a journey through Lent with our Christian sisters and brothers in many different ways in order to prepare us to arrive at a deeper connection with our Lord and Savior as we Celebrate His Resurrection on Easter morning.

For three afternoons in Lent (March 9th, March 30th and April 6th) we will gather at 4:00 pm for a Lenten Series “24 Hours That Changed The World.” Adam Hamilton will lead us in a video presentation followed by group discussions and activities. “24 Hour” participants’ books will be available to read in preparation for our study together.

In addition, during Lent we will have Lenten Devotional Booklets avail-able developed for Lent by The Society of St. Andrew entitled “With Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed”. I, as your pastor, will be following our Lenten readings with a message series that parallels our Devotional Commitment.

Holy Week will continue to draw us closer with our Lord. Palm Sunday will begin Holy Week as our young people lead us into Jerusalem as we celebrate Christ’s triumphed entrance with palms. On Holy Thursday we encourage coming together in worship at a number of our community churches. Good Friday we will experience the passion of Our Lord when we come together for Good Friday Service at Claybanks UMC at 2:00 pm.

Our Easter Celebration will begin at 9:30 am with an Outside (weather permitting) Sunrise Viewing of the Empty Tomb followed by a church breakfast. We will then proceed into the sanctuary for our Easter Morning Worship Celebration “He Has Risen” at 10:30 am.

It is my prayer that during Lent you will find these and other journey stations spiritually enlightening as we continue to experience our closer walk with God.

Pastor Gary

Announcements and Stuff

Game Day

Mark your calendars for Thursday February 16th 1:30 – 3:30pm. A group of us are meeting at the church for an afternoon of fun & games – cards, board games, etc.?? Come join the fun!!! Snacks provided. Questions ask Reba or Carol Adams.

Movie Night/Potluck
We are, once again, holding a movie and potluck night at the church. We meet on Monday evenings at 5:30pm to view a movie and have a good old fashion potluck. We’ve watched lots of good family movies, had some wonderful food, and there may have been a little (or a lot) of laughter. Come join in the fun, all are welcome.

“God give me the grace for this day. Not for a lifetime, nor for this week, nor for tomorrow – just for this day. Direct my work and bless it. Amen”

Used Ink Cartridges
We’ve received well over $100 in supplies for the church office all due to the recycling of your printer ink/toner cartridges. By recycling these, we not only help the church with office expenses, but we’re also being environmentally responsible. Please continue bringing your empty cartridges in. The basket is in the office waiting for your contributions. Thanks!

Please remember our shut-ins with your cards, calls, and prayers.  Jack Townsend  (We’re in the process of finding Jack’s new address and will forward it to you ASAP)

Nursery Schedule
2/5 – Karen Anderson
2/12 – Edith Bogart
2/19- Liz Grossman
2/26 – Carol Adams




Upcoming Worship Schedule

February 5th – Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 / Matthew 5:13-20  -“Rules, Rules Everywhere Rules” – Communion Sunday

February 12th -Deuteronomy 30:15-20 / Matthew 5:21-26 – “We Need To Deal With Our Anger”

February 19th – Guest Speaker

February 26th – Psalm 99 / Matthew 17:1-9 – “Let’s Stay On The mountain Top”
Shalom Sunday

Pastor’s Pondering

I started thinking a short time ago about two different newsletters that I receive monthly and how they interrelate with each other and how they affect our Parrish life and our ministry at Claybanks UMC. Don Nations wrote an article recently, DNA Updates For United Methodists, about our United Methodist Appointment System as different from the Common Call System that many religious denominations use and the need for Interim Pastors at times. Many churches and denominations use the Interim system when a pastor retires, becomes ill and cannot resume their role as pastor, or is called to another church. We, in the United Methodist Church use an Interim Pastor occasionally when a fill-in is needed to cover for a period of time, from when a pastor leaves for whatever reason until new pastor appointments are set on July 1st of each year. An Interim pastor quite often has a very special role helping the congregation make the transition from “Our Way” to a “New Way”. The Interim pastor’s goal is to help the congregation look at gifts and graces, seeking to strengthen the congregation and then embrace the new pastor who brings a number of gifts and graces to the new congregation which they have been appointed to serve. This is happening now in our area as Pastor Mary Brown at Montague UMC is not able to return from her medical leave and retired Pastor Gunnar Carlson has been appointed temporarily to shepherd the Montague UMC Parish. We as the Claybanks United Methodist Parish are to be in prayer and support for our sisters and brothers at the Montague United Methodist Church and Pastor Carlson.

Lewis Parks, in the second article A New Way To View Vitality In Smaller Congregations, offers these things that I believe our parish is very much committed to and we pray that all church congregations will commit to.
• We maintain a vital worship of God. We honor God with our praise, gifts, service and prayers, attend to the Word and are exposed to and receive Baptism and Communion.
• Our parish is a surrogate family. We hold each other close and extend the love of God to all, in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. We share our hearts and our resources with all.
• Our congregation is a blessing to our community for we seek the welfare of our community and we are in touch with the needs of the community.
• We use our building as holy space and for mission and service. We are attentive to our properties and use them as expressions of who we are in Jesus Christ.
• The last of Lewis’ commitments is the most critical and yet difficult for us. We as congregations are to pass the faith to the coming generation.

There has been a shift in our society over the past fifty years where we have become less and less joiners in many areas of life including the church. Even with this uphill battle before us, we must attend to the children we have, strive to reach other children and adults, get to know them, open and teach the faith to them, and encourage their participation in worship.
We must be the Body of Christ to each other and our community. Because of my love for God and for you I am committed to being a part of the “Sharing of the Good News” to those around us, our families, friends and our community. May we at Claybanks UMC continue to look at new and exciting witnesses where we can make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!

Pastor Gary

Announcements and Stuff

Movie Night/Potluck
Our movies/potlucks will resume again in January. We meet on Monday evenings at 5:30pm to view a movie and have a good old fashion potluck. We’ve watched lots of good family movies, had some wonderful food, and there may have been a little (or a lot) of laughter. Come join in the fun, all are welcome.

(Please remember our shut-ins with your cards, calls, and prayers.)
Jack Townsend  (We’re in the process of finding Jack’s new address
and will forward it to you ASAP)

The Christmas Cheer Was Passed
On December 11th nine of our congregants braved the snowy, blustery weather and met at Heartland Healthcare in Whitehall to sing carols, serve cookies and punch, read the Christmas story, and mingle with the residents there.

Although we were low in numbers, we made up for it in spirit. We were very well received and thanked by many of the residents as well as the staff. It warmed many a hearts, both from CUMC and the residents. Thank you to all who were able to come spread the Christmas Cheer.

Nursery Schedule
1/1  Edith Bogart
1/8  Carol Adams
1/15  Liz Grossman
1/22  Kathy Ohman
1/29  Joyce Twiss

The Gift of this Day
This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day in my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be: gain, not loss; good, not evil; success, not failure, in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it.


Upcoming Worship Schedule

January 1 -Isaiah 63:7-9 / Matthew 2:13-46 -“Out Of Egypt”

January 8 -Isaiah 60:1-6 / Matthew 2:1-12 -“Special Guests Arrive”

January 15 -Isaiah 42:1-9 / Matthew 3:13-17 -“Baptism of Believers”

January 22 -Psalm 27:1, 4-9 /Matthew 4:12-23 -“How A Father Prepared His Sons”

January 29 -Micah 6:6-8 /Matthew 5:1-12 -“How Has God Formed You?”