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January 2021 Newsletter

Published by Moscow UMC, 2021-01-13 17:08:13

Description: January 2021 Newsletter for the Moscow United Methodist Church

Keywords: Moscow PA,Moscow UMC,United Methodist Church,Church,newsletter,January 2021


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The Moscow United Methodist Church 126 Church Street Office Phone Number (570)842-7251 Moscow, PA January 2021 Newsletter PASTOR’S LETTER Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 Happy 2021! The new year has begun. 2020 was a year like no other. One we will certainly not forget and will continue to pray about the concerns and events which are ongoing. Do you know everything that lies ahead for you to experience in the 365 days of 2021? The answer, of course, is no, none of us knows what will happen even within the 24 hours of a day. Thankfully, we have a God who loves us and walks with us as we journey through life. Each day we are given is a gift to live to the fullest. It is motivating just to think about what will happen when we open our eyes and hearts to the present. No matter the outward circumstances we encounter, the joy of Jesus resides within each of us. And, our Lord is ever blessing us in so many ways, every day. Some days though it may indeed feel as if the best we can do is strive to make the most of a given situation. We all have those days. However, we can’t let those bumps in the road cause us to lose sight of the bigger picture, for God is making everything new and will always create something good out of what we consider to be difficult. One thing is for certain. There is no time to waste. The good days will outnumber the trying days. Life is an exciting quest and if we doze off or lose

spiritual perspective, we may miss something. It’s like going out for a drive, as we operate and steer our car down the road, we have to maintain constant awareness of the movement that surrounds us. If we daydream, rubberneck, or checkout an incoming message on a mobile device, we can get ourselves in real trouble, we have to keep our eyes on the road. If we spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror or thinking about the past, something may suddenly happen we need to be aware of. If we look too far ahead or anticipate or worry about something that may never occur, we may miss an important turn or opportunity. Another thing, also, is if we spend too much time in the slow lane, life may pass us by (this is not saying get out there and speed, that’s dangerous!). We can’t be afraid or let others slow us down. We have to keep moving at a steady pace. So, get out there on the open road of life and enjoy. God is at every turn waiting to direct us onward. The two verses included with this letter are wonderful scriptures of advice to keep us centered as we travel into the future. Joshua was one of only two persons (from over a million) to cross over into the promised land after what seemed like an endless trek through a wilderness for the Israelites. Moses had died. God instructs Joshua that he will lead the people to their destination. Can you imagine how he felt when God called him to this task? If he had any reservations, he let them go and obediently went onward in faith. He lived and was successful in accomplishing God’s will, because he trusted in his Lord. And, the words offered to the people of Philippi – basically, don’t be anxious, instead PRAY, and ALWAYS remember to THANK God for all he has done and is doing. God has much purposefully planned out for us this year, whether big or small the task or call, gratefully and joyfully appreciate them all. Ministry is a great adventure. I can’t wait to see all we will do together as a church in the 525,600 minutes we have been blessed with in 2021.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 FROM BISHOP PARK & SUSQUEHANNA CONFERENCE CABINET The Bishop and Cabinet trust that you enjoyed a beautiful season of Christmas worship, though different, that blessed and ministered to many. The Bishop and Cabinet wish to communicate to you that we continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. The last communication from the Bishop's office strongly urged a pause of in- person indoor worship until further notice. Although the state restrictions have lessened, there is no change to the Cabinet's discernment at this time; we continue to urge you to take this precaution. We will continue to actively and prayerfully assess the situation and you can be certain we will be in touch when the time comes that we see signs that will mark an opportunity for change. CHRISTIAN CONNECTIONS A Short Term Virtual Bible Study WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FOLLOW JESUS? A new opportunity for spiritual enrichment and Christian bonding is beginning on January 19th. The Christian Connections virtual Bible

study will be a discussion group delving into the question – what does it truly mean to follow Jesus on our journey of faith together? Following Jesus isn’t about joining in worship once a week. It is much more than that. Discipleship is a full commitment of surrendering one’s life to doing God’s will. Participants will gain support and encouragement through God’s Word and one another to live out their Christian beliefs in the midst of everyday society. This is set to be a straight Bible study with some inspiring devotions and thought provoking questions. The group will begin in the Gospels, then move on to the Book of Romans. It promises to be enlightening, also a great resource of preparation for the Lenten season. Christian Connections will meet on Tuesday evenings 6:15-7:30, January 19th – February 23rd. Please let Pastor Lori know if you are interested in engaging in this new spiritual experience. FINANCIAL UPDATE Following is the 2020 year end financial information. It is an utmost core principle responsibility of our biblical belief to give generously as our God abundantly provides for us. Our tithes and offerings are revealing to where our most preciously prioritized present and eternal treasure is reflective of the Gospel - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21. And in our giving, of financial and tangible resources, our time, and sharing of spiritual abilities to fulfill the needs of others, we respond to the redeeming grace of Christ showing (to the Lord) our joyful obedience in reference to the greatest two commandments as put forth by Jesus - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-

31. The Church, local and universal, is to shine the light of loving hope to help those in need of the assurance of endurance only God is able to make possible through committed, compassionate servants. May we be the illuminating light that shines brightly in the shadows of uncertainty to channel the least and the lost to grasp God’s all encompassing devoted care for humanity. Through giving, we receive more than we could ever imagine. Thank you to all those who have been able and steadfast in fulfilling their biblical duty of considerate contributing for the common good of all. The daily church operations and mission funding come solely from what we are each able to give, all amounts combined are vital. We are in the process of developing more ministries to further aid those in need. Your treasured offerings make our church ministry development and expansion feasible. We continue to pray for all those facing financial hardship during the Corona Virus pandemic. Together, let us do all we can to affirm hope for a promising future in difficult times, here at the Moscow UMC, throughout our Susquehanna Conference, and the world. We did fall short on paying our ministries shares in 2020. We do have a written plan in place to work toward improvement to being paid in full for 2021. Again, we thank God for all our provisions and move ahead knowing God will lead us to assure God’s will is done to full success. December: income $9,151.52, expenses $10,623.26 Year-to-date: income $118,961.63, expenses $118,607.72 Note: year-to-date income includes $12,000 from Gouldsboro for Jan. to June. 4 months of ministry shares not paid: $7,303.36 ($1,825.84 x 4)

2020 GIVING STATEMENTS AND 2021 OFFERING ENVELOPES The Statements of Giving for the year 2020 have been sent out. Please call the church office if you do not receive yours by the end of next week. The envelopes contain the “Love Your Neighbor” cards from the district superintendent. The goal is to spread love and kindness to others. You can leave these cards with someone who needs a smile, another idea is to attach a small gift card and drop it off for someone you know who needs a little “pick me up”. Tithe and Offering Envelopes for the year 2021 have just arrived at the church office and are being prepared for pick-up. Please be assured all tithes and offerings that have been received thus far have been recorded by the financial secretary accordingly due to the late delivery of the envelopes. Persons may pick up their envelopes for giving on Thursday, January 14th, noon-3:00 or Friday, January 15th, 8:00-11:00AM. If anyone is unable to pick up their envelopes, call the church office and we will make arrangements to get your envelopes to you. Thank you. CHURCH ADDRESS DIRECTORY LIST With a new year upon us, the office is in need of any updates to persons’ general information (Names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses), plus any changes with families that have grown

children who have moved or gone on to a higher education location, so we are able to remain in contact with them. When the new up-to- date list is finished, the complete list will be sent to all MUMC members and friends. Please have your updates to the church office by Sunday, January 24th. COMING SOON…….DIAL MY CALLS Dial My Calls is a fresh means of keeping MUMC communications and holy motivation strong and steady as we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic period. Dial My Calls is an automatic phone system which will reach out to our MUMC family with the latest announcements and some random offerings of spiritual daily bread to nurture the soul. The phone numbers of all those on the current MUMC address list will be included. It is a system designed to reach all ages and doesn’t require a computer to become involved. Listen for Dial My Calls to start delivering messages in the near future. CONFIRMATION CLASS 2021 In the midst of a pandemic, it might not be the usual Confirmation Class experience, however there will be many different opportunities to learn and grow in God’s grace, as we enter into the journey of youth in seventh grade and older making their personal decisions to become full members of the Moscow United Methodist Church. Confirmation will kick off with an informational family gathering to go over the schedule, expectations, projects, United Methodist and religious subjects overview to be covered, and more. Pastor Lori is looking forward to a Confirmation Class venture with creative, interesting

methods to discover all the foundations of United Methodist beliefs and traditions. Those who are interested in becoming members of the 2021 Confirmation Class are asked to contact Pastor Lori by January 24th. The kickoff gathering will be held January 31st. Confirmation Sunday will be on Pentecost, May 23rd. BISHOP’S LETTER January 8, 2021 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it… The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” (John 1:5 & 9) Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our Brokenness, and Hope of the World! On Wednesday, January 6, the Christian church around the world observed Epiphany. On this day we celebrate the manifestation of Jesus to the gentiles, as represented by the three magi who followed the

light of a star to find the infant Jesus lying in a manger. Christ is the light that we follow as well. Indeed, Jesus Christ came as the light of the world. Tragically, this Wednesday, instead of light, a darkness fell across our nation. An unimaginable threat and attack to the very foundation of our country was displayed at the US Capitol in the eyes of the world. The incited mob violent and deadly invasion into the protected space of Congress was a direct assault on the very core of our national identity as a democratic country. To say we were concerned and troubled would be an understatement. The whole world, not only our nation, was in shock and horror by what unfolded. The Capitol Building has not been breached since the British did so in 1814. This day will be remembered as one of the darkest moments in US history. In times of darkness such as this, we must urgently seek the light of Christ and reflect it into the world. Bishop LaTrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, where this unbelievable and deplorable mob-raid took place, wrote an honest and inspiring letter. She calls us to courageous discipleship: “Followers of Jesus Christ must prophetically embody, in word and deed, the precepts, practices and promises of the Gospel message. It is a message of love, but a love that speaks truth and stands against immorality.” Further, she says that Christ’s disciples must “truly claim what Abraham Lincoln called ‘the better angels of our nature,’ seeking to discern how to rebuild our nation and nurture the restoration that God demands. In this light, we continue to pray for and support the peaceful transfer of power that is a hallmark of the democratic process.” Our democracy is a gift to which other nations aspire. We all must do our part to protect and preserve the core values, principles and

practices of democracy so that our nation will continue to be a beacon of hope for the free world. As our nation is going through this dark time of national and Constitutional crisis, I call all the people and churches in our Susquehanna Conference to join in prayer for a peaceful transition and the healing of our deeply divided nation. Bishop Easterling reminds us, “As a church, we are called to profound and fervent prayer—prayer that will shake foundations and usher in a new age; prayer that will transform hearts and a nation; prayer that reminds us of what Christ has called us to be beyond partisan divides.” Pray that we, as a nation, will bridge the divide and live together in peace. Jesus said that a kingdom or house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:24-25). We may have differences in our understandings, opinions, ideas, and even in our political convictions. But as citizens of one nation, we may be opponents, but ought not be enemies against one another. Pray that we cast the light of truth, trust, compassion, humility, and repentance that chases out the darkness of fear, hatred, violence, untruth, and arrogance. Pray that we heal, not harm. Pray that throughout our communities and land we will seek to build up and not tear down. “God of all ages, in your sight nations rise and fall, and pass through times of peril. Now when our land is troubled, be near to judge and save. May leaders be led by your wisdom; may they search your will and see it clearly. If we have turned from your way, reverse our ways and help us to repent. Give us your light and your truth, let them guide us; through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen” (“A Prayer in a Time of National Crisis,” United Methodist Book of Worship, 517). “Look graciously, O Lord, upon this land. Where it is in pride,

subdue it. Where it is in need, supply it. Where it is in error, rectify it. Where it is in default, restore it. And where it holds to that which is just and compassionate, support it.” (United Methodist Book of Worship, 516). Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers. Prayerfully, Jeremiah Park SUNDAY SCHOOL The Sunday School continues to send out packets weekly, as well as recording lessons and holding virtual classes. Our lessons typically follow along with the worship services and include a story and a craft. If you would like to join our class please call the church office or email [email protected]. The Sunday School continues to provide outreach missions where possible, our last mission was to send cards to a young boy in the North Pocono district who has been undergoing chemotherapy. His mother was grateful and sent a thank you card to the church for the Sunday School.

PRESCHOOL Happy New Year! January is our last full month of the first semester! This month we will learn the letters Zz, Ww, Vv, Yy, Xx, and the numbers 13, 14, 15, and 16. Our themes for the month are penguins, Polar Animals, Dr. King, and Winter snow and ice. WORSHIP/SUNDAY SCHOOL TIMES While we may not currently be able to meet in person in our church building, we continue to gather in spirit and worship together Sunday mornings at 10am with a live stream of our services. You can find the link on our website under the Virtual Church section. You can find the recordings on our YouTube channel. If you would like to be added to our mailing list please email [email protected]. For those who have been following our recorded services you have probably noticed many changes over the last several months. We have added wall mounted camera that allows us to record the services with excellent quality as well as the ability to pan around the church. This past week we were able to get the camera moved to a different angle

closer to the back of the church. We have also been using different software that allows us to add different things to our services. This achievement has been a group effort and we would like to send our sincere thanks and blessings to everyone who has been involved with this process and to those who continue helping deliver the best recorded services we can offer. One of the additions to our services is adding personal recorded greetings within the service. We are asking for volunteers to record a short greeting so we can all feel connected to our church family in this time of physical distancing. If anyone would like to submit a video please call or email the office. Sunday School continues to hold virtual classes every Sunday at 9am via the Google Meet link that can be found on our church website under the Virtual Sunday School section. You can also find our group on Facebook if you would like to see past projects. The recorded lessons are also posted on our YouTube channel under the Sunday School playlist. SPPRC Pianist/Organist We are currently in need of a pianist/organist for our Sunday Worship Services. Our wonderfully talented Jennifer Scott has decided to step down from this position. It was not an easy decision for her, and we thank her immensely for her service. We would also like to extend a special thank you to Carol Hess for sharing her musical gift with us on a temporary basis when she is able while we search for a full time replacement. If anyone is interested or knows anyone who may be interested please call or email the office with that information so it can be passed to the SPPRC.

MUMC PRAYER NETWORK We all know how powerful prayers are and how much they can truly help someone in need. We are very excited to announce that Pastor Lori and Cis Lyon are in the process of developing a prayer network, this will help extend the power of prayer. If anyone would like to volunteer to be a member of this prayer network to receive and send prayers, please call Cis Lyon at (570)842-7415. While this is being set up you can still call or email the office if you know someone who needs to be added to our prayer list. More information will be sent out once everything is set up. ANGEL TREE We would like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who helped make our Angel Tree a success this year. We are always thankful for those who participate in this very special project, but with all the uncertainty this year we were unsure if this project would be possible this year. Thanks to those involved who volunteered their time to distribute the angels and collect all the gifts, and especially to those who bought gifts for all our Angels. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful and generous congregation.

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