Category Archives: Pastor’s Ponderings

October 24th Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
Sunday, October 24, 2021
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost
Honoring All Saints Day
*Indicates to stand as you are able

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song
Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates”….…. UMH 213

Prelude

*Processional

In this place, among these people
God is worshipped, God is praised
We have seen the signs and wonders;
The lost are found, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t  you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship
Leader: Our souls long for you, O God.
All: When shall we behold your face?
Leader: Our souls are uneasy.
All: When shall hope lead us to praise you again?
Leader: During the day your steadfast love sustains us.
All: During the night, your song washes over us.
Leader: Our hope leads us to praise you.
All: We praise you, our song of hope.

*Gloria Patri………………UMH 70

*Opening Prayer

Honoring the Saints

*Hymn
I Sing a Song of the Saints of God”…………UMH 712

Prayers of the People
– Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time – After prayers, sing the children out to “Jesus Loves Me.  At this time, children under five are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery.

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology………………….….….UMH 95

*Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn
”When We All Get to Heaven”..…………..UMH 701

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament Readin
g
Isaiah 25:6-9…………….Page 568

Epistle Reading
Revelation 21:1-6a………….Page 1007

Gospel Reading
.John 11:32-44 ………………. Page 874

Message by Pastor Gary Pete
“How Do I Recognize A Saint”

Prayer

*Hymn
”Shall We Gather at the River”……..…UMH 723

Benediction

Postlude – Please be seated

Nursery – Patsy Schneider

Pianist – Suzanne Bellrichard

Liturgist,  – Konnie Grant

Ministers – All People As We Live The Good News

Pastor’s Ponderings

On Saturday afternoon, September 11, 2021, at 5 o’clock in the facilities of the White Lake United Methodist church, the SPRC committee met on zoom with District Superintendent Margie Crawford and at 5:45 p.m., our church family joined members of our Administrative Council in conducting our Annual Church Conference. Annually, this conference is held for two important reasons: First, it gives an opportunity for Claybanks United Methodist Church to share with our district superintendent and our conference what is happening in our church and the condition of the Claybanks United Methodist Church. Secondly, because as a church we are incorporated in the State of Michigan as a Not-For-Profit Institution governed by elected laypersons to Administrative Council, we must provide an avenue to report the condition of our church to its investors (our church family).

Beginning with the SPRC portion of the Zoom meeting, the committee recommended the pastor’s total compensation package for 2022 which includes the pastor’s salary, estimated expense reimbursements, and pastor’s medical health insurance reimbursement. The SPRC committee also recommended that Edie Bogart continue as a Lay Speaker for the Claybanks United Methodist Church in 2022. These recommendations were stated, voted upon, and approved during the church conference business section on Zoom which followed the SPRC session with the district superintendent.

Additional reports were given during this business session. The Lay Leadership Committee gave a nominations report that included the 2022 representatives for Administrative Council, Executive Committee of the Administrative Council, Trustees, Missions and Outreach, Education, SPRC, Nominations, and Finance and Worship Design. Other reports given included the Pastor’s Report, United Methodist Women and a Ministry Shares report which included our proud heritage at Claybanks UMC as we continue to pay 100% of our ministry shares annually.

Special notes from the conference includes reports on the condition of the church, the direction the church is seeking for the future, the profile of our church and a brief history of how Claybanks United Methodist Church dealt with being a church in the Claybanks Community during Covid-19 for 2020 and continuing in 2021.

Konnie Grant, who was elected recording secretary for our 2021 Church Conference, was tasked with putting together, and has completed, a Church Conference Booklet that includes the documents that were presented at our conference.  It is available to all of the Claybanks Church Family and can be found on the information table in the Claybanks Fellowship Hall.

As pastor for Claybanks United Methodist Church, I want to give thanks to all who have been a part of the leadership, serving on the many different committees and leadership groups as we have worked together as a team at Claybanks Methodist Church to make disciples for the transformation of the world in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Your dedication, care and love for our church has been demonstrated over and over again as we continue to bring the Claybanks United Methodist Family together as the body of Christ.

Live In Peace,

Pastor Gary

September 26 Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
Sunday, September 26, 2021
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost
*Indicates to stand as you are able

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song

There’s a Spirit in the Air”………….. UMH 192

Prelude

*Processional

In this place, among these people
God is worshipped, God is praised
We have seen the signs and wonders;
The lost are found, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t  you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship
Leader: Rejoice, God is with us.
All: Praise be to God who leads us each and every day.
Leader: God leads us into worship to strengthen our spirits.
All: God leads us into service that will offer peace and hope to others.
Leader: Praise be to God!
All: Thanks be to God! AMEN.

*Gloria Patri…………………………UMH 70

*Opening Prayer
       
*Hymn
O Jesus, I Have Promised”…………………UMH 396

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time –
After prayers, sing the children out to “Jesus Loves Me.  At this time, children under five are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery.

Shalom Sunday Offering

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology………………………………………….….….UMH 95

*Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn
”Give to the Winds Thy Fears”..………….UMH 129

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament Readings:

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10 …..….Page 390
Esther 9:20-22.…………Page 391

Gospel Reading:
Mark 9:38-50 ………..….. Page 821

Message by Pastor Gary Peterson
”The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend”

Prayer

*Hymn
”For the Healing of the Nations”………UMH 428

Benediction

Postlude – Please be seated

Nursery – Cheryl Gaultney
Pianist – Suzanne Bellrichard
Liturgist,  – Doris Graham
Ministers – All People As We Live The Good News

September 19 Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
Sunday, September 19, 2021
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost
*Indicates to stand as you are able

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song
Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart”………….. UMH 160

Prelude

*Processional

In this place, among these people
God is worshipped, God is praised
We have seen the signs and wonders;
The lost are found, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t  you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship
Leader: As the sun rises in the morning,
All: Let all creation worship God.
Leader: From the highest mountains to the deepest seas,
All: Let all creation proclaim the name of the Lord, for God alone is worthy to be praised.
Leader: God alone makes all things new.
All: Al praise, glory and honor to yours, forever.

*Gloria Patri……………………………UMH 70

*Opening Prayer:
A Statement of Faith of The United Church of Canada…UMH  883

*Hymn

Nearer, My God to Thee”…………………..UMH 528

Prayers of the People
– Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time –
After prayers, sing the children out to “Jesus Loves Me.  At this time, children under five are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery.

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology……………………….….….UMH 95

*Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn
”Trust and Obey”..…………………..UMH 467

Sharing of the Word

Epistle Reading:

Philippians 4:4-9……………….Page  955
Gospel Reading:

Matthew 6:9-14……..……Page 787

Message by Pastor Gary Peterson
”God Wants To Talk With Us”

Prayer

*Hymn
”The Voice of God Is Calling”………….UMH 436

Benediction

Postlude – Please be seated

Nursery – Doris Graham
Pianist – Suzanne Bellrichard
Liturgist,  – Reba Peterson
Ministers – All People As We Live The Good News

September 12 Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
Sunday, September 12, 2021
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost
*Indicates to stand as you are able

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song
How Great Thou Art”…….……….. UMH 77

Prelude

*Processional

In this place, among these people
God is worshipped, God is praised
We have seen the signs and wonders;
The lost are found, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t  you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.


*Call to Worship
Leader: The heavens shout of God’s glory!
All: There is so much beauty in this earth and in the heavens!
Leader: Day by day we are reminded of God’s creative love.
All: Day by day we are blessed with large and small visions of God’s glory.
Leader: Come, let us praise the God of creation.
All: Let us sing and shout our praises of thanksgiving and joy to God. Amen.

*Gloria Patri…………………………UMH 70

*Opening Prayer

*Hymn
Every Time I Feel the Spirit”………………..UMH 404

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time – After prayers, sing the children out to “Jesus Loves Me.  At this time, children under five are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery.

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology………………………….….UMH 95

*Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn
”Be Thou My Vision”..……………….UMH 451

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament Reading:

Proverbs 1:20-33…….Page 509
Epistle Reading:

Romans 8:18-27………..……Page 919

Message by Pastor Gary Peterson
”Even Our Shortest Prayers Are Heard by God”

Prayer

*Hymn
”The Is a Balm in Gilead”…………….UMH 375

Benediction

Postlude – Please be seated

Nursery – Carol Royalty

Pianist – Suzanne Bellrichard

Liturgist,  – Konnie Grant

Ministers – All People As We Live The Good News

September 5 Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
Sunday, September 5, 2021
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Labor Day Weekend
 *Indicates to stand as you are able

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song
Open My Eyes, That I May See”………. UMH 454

Prelude

*Processional

In this place, among these people
God is worshipped, God is praised
We have seen the signs and wonders;
The lost are found, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t  you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship
Leader: We gather here to worship God, whose steadfast love endures forever.
All: We gather surrounded by God’s Holy Spirit, who encourages us to walk faithfully with Christ.
Leader: Praise be to God, whose goodness and mercy fill our days.
All: Praise be to God, whose ways lead to peace and justice.

*Gloria Patri…………………………UMH 70

Opening Prayer

*Hymn
Jesu, Jesu”…………………………..UMH 432

Prayers of the People
– Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time –
After prayers, sing the children out to “Jesus Loves Me.  At this time, children under five are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery.

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology………………………………………….….….UMH 95

*Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn
”Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life”..….UMH 427

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament Reading:

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23……..Page 527

Epistle Reading:
James 2:1-17………………..….Page 981

Message by Pastor Gary Peterson
”We Labor With Joy”

Words of Assurance

The Great Thanksgiving

Prayer

*Hymn
”Sent Forth by God’s Blessing”……………UMH 664

Benediction

Postlude – Please be seated

Pastor’s Ponderings

Much is being written and discussed about how Covid 19 has affected churches. How to reopen churches safely has been a priority of the United Methodist Church. And as we continue to come out from the restrictions that Covid 19 has placed on our communities, we recognize that people are not coming back to church. The numbers of people attending worship services, educational programs and other activities of the church are far less than pre-Covid 19 pandemic times. One article that I read recently, written by David Sharp, lists six reasons why people are not returning in our post pandemic new normal.

  1. Covid hesitancy for nineteen plus months after the first Covid case was reported in the US with the now Delta variant of this virus wreaking havoc on many communities throughout our nation, has made returning to some kind of normal difficult. Given this resurgence of cases, some churches have cancelled or curtailed activities. Churchgoers, along with parts of our nation, are making decisions about where, what they do, and how they come in contact with other people.
  2. Inertia is a synonym of inactivity or sluggishness. For some churchgoers, Covid 19 was an “External force” that disrupted the “Velocity along a straight line” of their churchgoing. Churchgoers will need another “External force” to get them re-engaged as churchgoers. Because we are talking about spirituality rather than material realities, the force will need to be a compelling motivation. The question is: What types of forces will be needed to get God’s people back into the church?
  3. For many years now, the term “Weak attachment” has been associated with many churchgoers and Covid 19 has turned into new parameters for nominal Christians. Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew, describes this as soil that either does or does not provide fertile ground for cultivation of the gospel seed.
  4. Many people have used Covid 19 as an opportunity to switch churches. While this is not a sad thing it does present issues for churches that have lost part of their congregation that attended the activities and worship of the church prior to the pandemic. Some individuals have moved to other churches where they have found a church that meets the needs for the individual or family more closely aligning with their religious beliefs, and some have just chosen to change “Scenery,” regarding the church or churches they attend. Some are using this time to look at other churches to be a part of for any one of many different reasons.
  5. There are those who believe churches do not add value to their lives. The mission of the church is to connect God’s people with God, with other people and with a purpose. To put this distinctly, members of churches must be willing to pay the price of attending, tithing, and volunteering precisely because they derive value from attending a church. When we perceive that the value of attending a church is no longer connecting us to God, people, and the purpose, the church will show a lack of spiritual health and the price to pay for attending, tithing, and volunteering is not there.
  6. Some churchgoers, during the time of Covid 19, saw NO Jesus. There was no added value to be an authentic Christian. The apostle Paul identified this kind of value when he wrote “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”(Philippians 3:8). When some previous churchgoers realized that they could get much of the same common-sense advice at home, without the cost of attending church, they just stayed home.

So, the question is: What do us as individuals and as a family at Claybanks United Methodist Church do? There are many possibilities that will allow churches to once again gain or regain those who would attend and participate in worship, Sunday school and other activities of the church. First, I ask that you as an individual read, meditate, and pray on Psalm 46 (God’s Defense of His City and People). The church must develop communications and give compelling motivation to those who have not returned to pre-pandemic church activities. We must move from rest to velocity. We must give those who are not attending reasons to be once again engaged in the church. Hebrews 10:25 exhorts us about, “Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” To do this, the Claybanks United Methodist Church SPRC and Administrative Council are working on plans for church growth in the upcoming year. We will be addressing four key areas in which we will place our efforts and grow our church once again. We plan to make church more about youth, to focus on our community, to develop more communication with those we are trying to reach, and importantly to be more inviting to our community by not pressuring but sharing what we as churchgoers and followers of Jesus Christ gain from being a part of the Claybanks United Methodist Church community. In the upcoming weeks and months we, together as individuals and a church community, will be focusing on how you and I can help reopen and engage our church. I invite you to pray, take advantage of the resources that we have, go the extra mile, take moments to give thanks, take time to learn what you can do, communicate the practical and spiritual sides of your church, and how over the years Claybanks United Methodist Church has been a vital part of your life!