April Message from Rev. Coplin & Newsletter
I pray these words find you well! As this new year hastens into yet another month, our leadership team prepares for a busy and emotional season. There are several important activities and events taking place over the next few weeks that I would like you to know about…
Holy Week: Our worship opportunities begin on Palm Sunday, April 2, and will feature special elements presented by our children and youth. On Wednesday, we will have regularly scheduled activities. Maundy Thursday comes on April 6 and will offer a heartfelt Tenebrae service of song, scripture, and shadow beginning at 6:00 PM. On Good Friday, April 7, our prayer labyrinth will be set for self-guided meditation and prayer through the Stations of the Cross. Finally, our traditional Easter Egg hunt will be offered to the kids on Saturday from 10:00 – 12:00 on the front lawn. All are invited to partake in these events!
Easter Sunday: We will gather together at 10:00 on April 9 to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am excited to spend this time in worship with you! Please extend a personal invitation to anyone you would like to see in attendance. This is shaping up to be a memorable service.
These few, holy days will offer opportunity to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, to celebrate his promise of salvation, and to prayerfully reflect on what these mean for our church during this particular moment in time. Though there are issues which pull at our seams and divide us, this season will afford us opportunity for moments of unity. May we gather united in purpose to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and to rejoice in new life he provides for today and forevermore.
Our upcoming decision: If you are a member of our church, you should have by now received from our office a letter signed by our District Superintendent calling for a special Charge Conference to be held on April 16 at 2:00. If you have not, please notify us as soon as possible. At this meeting, all members present will vote to either disaffiliate or stay with the UMC for now. Please make plans to be in attendance. Leading up to this crucial meeting, I remain available for concerns, discussion, or to answer any questions I can about our process.
I imagine that a lot of you are like me, in that you are ready to be done with this part of our dilemma so that we can move on to a new set of challenges. To be sure, there are challenges yet to come. My personal thanks to all who have helped shepherd us through this long and difficult process. Regardless of outcome, our church will continue to have an urgent need for engaged members, healing, and vision. Remember that your constant prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness all count as repeated votes for the wellbeing and restoration of our church.
Bible study: During the month of May, I will be leading a weekly Bible study through the Book of Jonah (spoiler alert: it is about more than a big fish)! We will meet on Thursday mornings, from 7:00 to 8:00 AM, at Taqueria Conchita’s. Their address is 200 Fisher (in the old DQ). Get there a few minutes early to grab a fantastic breakfast, get caffeinated, and then settle in for an interactive hour with an often overlooked masterpiece.
Looking ahead: I confess that in the moments leading up to our last Administrative Council meeting, I busily set to gathering some scattered thoughts so that I might offer a sympathetic, encouraging word for those concerned about the upcoming vote. But as our various committees gave report on progress, momentum, and plans for ministry in the months ahead, I was truly inspired by their innovation, dedication, and genuine excitement for what is yet to come.
Despite present uncertainty, the mission of First UMC Many continues. In the midst of change and uncertainty, God seeks to do something new.
As we prepare to celebrate Easter, may we be ever-aware of the hope promised in resurrection. May we stand amazed in the reality of light and truth, even in darkness and struggle. May an extra portion of our Lord’s love and grace be upon you all during this holy time.
Grace and Peace,