Category Archives: Pastor Kim’s messages

Pastor Kim’s weekly messages

Running a Marathon

Ted and I have a niece who just finished the Boston marathon and did well in spite of the conditions.  Well, life is a marathon.  Sometimes we nail it, sometimes we don’t.  Most of the time there is another day to try again. Life is better with people in a faith community who cheer us on, hand us water and nourishment, and wrap us in cheers and blankets.

We have our ups and downs. We all carry a certain amount of baggage from the families who raised us, the culture we both observe and are captured by, our own decisions, and the decisions of others whom we care about, but do not control.

Through it all, I choose to believe in a God of unconditional love based on the evidence that my life is better when I trust this God.  And I see many, many others in this church and beyond our church for whom this is also true.  Some of the time I actually live my trust.

Always we are blessed when others are honest with their struggles and their insights.

Grace and Peace, Kim

Changing Lives

You are changing lives by being Christ’s warm transforming love:

During the past several months, Jane and I have been the recipient of an outpouring of support, prayers, phone calls, cards and emails from many of you, which has been overwhelming.  The time you took to contact us made a big difference and will not be soon forgotten.  Thankfully, I am much improved as I write this.  We are now anticipating returning to North Ferrisburgh this summer and seeing everyone again. You – our Vermont church family – are the best and you provided much comfort and gave us hope!  Feeling blessed, and with gratitude, Bruce Werner

I cannot even begin to tell you how much your cards, emails and prayers have meant to me. You have been God’s arms around me during this crazy time. When we moved to Charlotte 13 years ago, we were blessed to find you.  Much love, Jill Wilkens

“I am sorry to be so late thanking you for the Christmas gifts. I was alone Christmas with my husband Sam in the Arbors and my children away. I was feeling sorry for myself when Chick came with all the wonderful gifts!  It made my day that someone cared. Thank you for caring and making my holiday so nice.  God bless, Joan Cutting.” (Joan is one of our shut-ins who received the Craft gifts in December)

Grace and Peace, Kim

Ideas and Plans from Our Planning Day Jan 20th

On Sat, Jan 20th, twenty people of all ages gathered for an awesome planning day.  Ed Wilkens, our leader, made it fun and lively. Said one new member who had to slip out early: “I don’t want to leave, this is fun.” 

We looked at developing new ideas for 1) children, 2) youth, 3) young adults and parents and 4) Faith Deepening Studies (any class that helps our faith grow).  We also hope to expand lay leadership.  Below is a more detailed look at the ideas that came under each of these areas:

  1. For faith deepening study: We will offer “What in the World” Wednesday sermon review discussion studies.  These begin on Feb 21st thru March 28th at both 10–11:30am and 7–8:30pm.  Choose which time is best for you.
  2. For Youth: Hold monthly activities and survey the youth to find out their interests.  For example, Kathy Quesnel and Rob McKay begin a new high school class during worship Sunday, Feb 4th.
  3. For Children: Offer regular fellowship activities for children as well as Sunday school.  Crafts, hikes, cooking, grandparent/mentoring activities.
  4. Young Adults/Parents: offer mid-week gathering at the Pavilion for picnics, music, games, playground, socializing.

As we look forward, we rejoice that God is blessing us in many ways.  In 2017 our average attendance grew to 84, when many churches are shrinking. Our giving, service, and fun activities increased as well! Sunday Feb. 4th we add a Sunday school class for High School students 9th-12grade!  We are so blessed!

Grace and Peace, Kim

Hurry Up and Wait

Hurry up and wait. If this seems like your life, welcome to Advent.  Advent is all about waiting.  Most human beings are not particularly good at waiting. In this four-week season that begins Sunday Dec 3rd, we wait for the birth of our savior, Jesus.

Often waiting feels like a waste of time.  We wait for the rain to stop or the sun to rise. But Advent waiting is meant to be the opposite.  It is meant to be active waiting.  Henri Nouwen writes, “We live the present moment to the full in order to find there the signs of the One we are waiting for.” 

Advent waiting invites reflection. What brought meaning, true peace and joy this past year?  What do we need to change where those gifts were lacking?  Advent reflection is meant to bring us closer to Christ.  Where did we see God in ourselves, others and our world?  What spiritual disciplines help us grow?

Our children await Christmas day with great expectation, enthusiasm, and joy.  These gifts are possible for all if we are using Advent waiting to consider the ways we can grow closer to Christ, and thus see him more often, no matter the season.

Grace and Peace, Kim

Disaster Response, Churches, and UMCOR

Here’s how we are changing lives. FEMA depends on a number of religious groups for their expertise when disaster strikes, and each religious group has unique abilities. Through excellent communication with FEMA and each other, there is no duplication.

UMCOR, the United Methodist response group, specializes in case management, emergency kits such as cleaning buckets, and volunteers. Not only do we have a volunteer army of 20,000 people for early response teams who muck out homes, we have even more Mission trip leaders and participants. 

Trained volunteer case managers help families navigate the maze of aid and insurance to rebuild their lives. These case managers then work with our regular mission teams who do the rebuilding.  These volunteer hours are counted at $25 per hour towards the ~10% that states are supposed to match towards federal disaster aid. 

Already in Texas, over 6,000 homes have been “mucked” out by the specially trained advance UM volunteer teams, and 28,000 cleaning buckets are waiting to be shipped to Puerto Rico when that becomes possible.

Grace and Peace, Kim

What Do We Expect?

What do we expect?  Often we influence others by what we expect them to do. If we decide ahead of time that someone will laugh at us or turn us down, we tend not to invite them to church.  Or, if we expect that it is normal for teens and young adults to drop out of church we do little to reverse that.

Let God’s love challenge your expectations. Jesus did not give up on anyone. What if we had so many teens attending or young adults that they looked forward to seeing their friends on Sunday?  What if we “got it” that faith gets more important the older we get.  After all, it is people over age 12 who make the most life changing decisions that affect not only themselves, but their peers, families, and friends.

We already have some plans in place to improve Sunday school this year.  We are making further plans to be in an even better position to help teens and adults grow in their faith, and enjoy life giving Christian fellowship.

Will you pray for these plans?  Will you commit to a daily devotion time and/or a Bible study time with others?  It starts with you and me!  But I know Jesus expects great things and is eager to empower them.

Grace and Peace, Kim

Spring Time Celebration

There is so much to see and celebrate these days.   Ken Theobald’s bird boxes have at least one tree swallow family.  Something is always blooming. First it was the bulbs, then the hardy azaleas, and the red bud tree. Now the lilacs and cheery trees are in full swing.

It also feels like our church is blooming.  Many of our snow birds are back. I hear comments from our visitors such as: “I can’t believe how warm and friendly this church”; and “I so appreciate the thoughtful sharing that happens in our Bible studies.  And from our new members: “I learned so much at the Men’s Breakfast”and “I had been looking for a long time for a church home and am so excited to join this church”. 

It is impressive how many people we have reading a daily devotional or doing the Bible in One Year online or email daily Bible verses, or reading a New Testament book with the help of the NT Wright commentaries on loan in our Fellowship Hall. 

The earth is green and growing.  The North Ferrisburgh UMC faithful are also green and growing in God’s love.  It makes for a very exciting spring.  Don’t forget to wear something RED, ORANGE, PINK, or PURPLE (flame colors) June 4th for Pentecost!

Peace,

Pastor Kim

The Most Important Days in our Faith

The most important days in our faith are the days we celebrate between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. 

Did you know that for the first 300 years of our faith Christmas was not celebrated. Christians were a persecuted, but joyful group, sharing communion on each Sunday. The forty days of Lent and Easter Season were the most important focus of the early church. 

Each Sunday is still observed as a mini-Easter.  It is the day that Jesus rose from the dead.

Grace and Peace,  Kim

Who was St. Patrick?

March madness is upon us.  For basketball fans that means lots of basketball. For St. Patrick fans it means wearing green and remembering on Mar. 17th he was an AMAZING person of faith.

Patrick had a tough and wild life.  He was born in 387 AD in England to a Roman Christian family.  He was kidnapped by pirates and enslaved in Ireland. Led by a dream, he walked across much of Ireland and onto a boat that took him back to England and freedom.

He became a priest and had another dream that the pagan Irish were calling him back.  So at an age when many retired he went back to Ireland and started Christian communities that welcomed the outcast and the misfit.  He became so beloved he unified the warring tribes of Ireland and brought peace and the Christian faith to that country.

Patrick was famous for hospitality, welcoming anyone and everyone.  Let him inspire you to be praying for someone who does not have a church home and might enjoy our Lenten worship series. Then invite them!

Or make sure you speak to someone you do not know well for the first 5 minutes after worship so that you can bless them and they can bless you with friendship.  THEN invite them to coffee hour and introduce them to someone else! 

At Coffee hour is anyone sitting or standing alone?  Go introduce yourself.  Most of our new members and worship attendees were invited by someone to try us!  We have a treasure – God’s love.  It is to be given away.

Grace and Peace,  Kim