From your pastor…
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another. (Hebrews 10: 23-25a, NRSV)
On September 17, we will host the joint worship service and fellowship time for all of the United Methodist Churches on the Westbank. I think this will be the fourth annual worship service, with Asbury UMC hosting all of the previous years. The purpose of our coming together is for fellowship in Christ, worshiping together, and getting to know each other and each other’s churches better. In our cluster Charge Conferences one year, we learned about prayer beads from one of our sister churches. Our UMW then led us in a spiritual retreat using the prayer beads. I carry my prayer beads in my car, and when stuck in traffic, use them to pray for others. It is a physical object to remind us to pray. This is one example of a blessing that we received from coming together with our neighboring congregations.
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, neighbors who never knew each other before came closer together out of necessity in the survival and recovery effort. It should not take a catastrophe for us to come together! In the challenging times in which we live, I think it benefits all of us to come together in Christ and to develop long term relationships. We all belong to the Louisiana United Methodist Conference. We are a connectional church, but I think we must also be intentional about uniting together. We should not just get together because a Charge Conference requires it. I think it is a beautiful thing to choose to come together and network and share fellowship and friendship and love with each other. Our churches are located on the Westbank and most are within five miles of each other! We have a lot in common!
Many of us are already united in the organization in our community called The United Churches of Algiers Food Bank. This organization was started by churches over 40 years ago. We are asking that people bring non-perishable food items to donate to the worship service as a joint mission to benefit our community. The service will begin at 6pm, and following the worship service we will fellowship in our fellowship hall with food. Rooney and Jeff Caldwell have graciously agreed to prepare the main entrée, and we will let you all know if we need further aid. I hope we can have a volunteer stationed at the elevator before the service to assist any who are not familiar with it. Please feel free to invite people who are not members of any church to come! Where two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, Christ will be present with us.
Grace and peace,