Top 5 @ SPUMC

#1 BAPTISM RENEWAL SUNDAY
We continued the season of Epiphany with Baptism Renewal Sunday this week, hearing once more about the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan from Matthew’s gospel (3:13-17). In his sermon, “How to Read Water,” Rev. Ron invited us read the waters of our own baptisms as an affirmation that we belong to the family of God, we are beautiful and gifted in God’s eyes and most importantly, like Jesus, we are “God’s beloved children.” Worshipers were invited to come forward to renew their baptisms by receiving a watery mark of the cross on their foreheads and taking a shell (an ancient Christian symbol for baptism) to carry with them. Join us for worship this coming Sunday, January 19 as Rev. Byron preaches a sermon titled, “Be Strong” from Joshua 1:1-9.

#2 WHO ARE WE? STUDY LAUNCHES

“Who Are We?” is a unique 6-week study created by our Bishop and Conference staff to help us explore core questions of identity about who we are as followers of Jesus Christ and as United Methodists. It just began this week on January 15th and will be team-taught by our pastors on Wednesday nights for the next 5 weeks. In our first session, Rev. Byron led us in a discussion about the dominant ways that we think about God. It’s not too late to join us for the coming weeks. We’d love to have you be part of this study and you can sign up in Fellowship Hall or by emailing Rev. Lee.  

#3 A DEEPER LOOK AT THE HOLY LAND
About 100 people filled Fellowship Hall this past Sunday for a fascinating presentation by Dr. Carla Works, New Testament professor at Wesley Theological Seminary. A feast of chili, salads and ample desserts set the stage for her talk about the political, geographical and theological landscape that Jesus walked into in first century Palestine. We learned, for instance that the Pharisees were actually pretty good guys (in spite of all the bad press they get in the Gospels) and Antiochus Epiphanes (Seleucid king around 175 B.C.) definitely was not! Dr. Works shed light on many of the historical sites and their significance that our Holy Land pilgrims will be visiting in June and whet our appetite for the first-hand experience that awaits us. We have about 90 people headed to Israel & Oberammergau (June 14-June 27) and there are still a few slots remaining for anyone who might be interested in joining us. Contact Holly Foster if you want more information about the trip.

# 4 UMC IN THE NEWS
Please Continue to Pray for the UMC as we move toward General Conference this May and make important decisions about the future of our denomination. Recently a theologically and geographically diverse group of pastors, lay leaders and Bishops made the news when they issued a unanimous protocol that calls for a significant restructuring of the church and a way through our current impasse over issues of LGBTQ inclusion, ordination and same-gender weddings. You can read more at the United Methodist News Service website and we will keep you posted on other developments leading up to General Conference 2020 and their impact on our congregation.

#5 NEW DAY FOR SACRED WORTH GROUP
The Sacred Worth Group moves this month to the 3rd Tuesday and will meet on January 21 at 7pm in the Parlor. We’ll be talking about the various plans going to General Conference, including the most recent protocol that was just announced about two weeks ago. The group is open to everyone and is a safe place for open conversation and support for LGBTQ persons, family members and friends. If you want to know more, contact Rev. Ron.