Pastor's E-Letter

Pastor's E-Letter

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Pastor's E-Letter 8/2/19

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As summer comes to a close, wrapping up another season of ministry at Suntree United Methodist, I’ve been reflecting on the “season” of life I find myself in: wedding season! If you’ve spent any amount of time with me in the last six months or so, you’ll know that I have been going on trips to celebrate as many of my friends “tie the knot” and commit to lifelong love.

With this commitment comes a few standard wedding practices: speeches, gifts, dancing, and many, many clichés. There are so many traditions and hilarious sayings that I have heard as I’ve stood next to my friends, and I expect these standard practices will continue. While I’ve been known to roll my eyes at the sweet and simple advice contained in these clichés, I remember they’re clichés for a reason. They contain a nugget of truth in a parabolic, yet simple way. In that way, they are important.

One cliché that sometimes is used around weddings, but especially around life transition, is: “Life is a journey, not the destination.” This saying is often posted in offices, homes, and in places of inspiration. While we may grow tired from hearing it over and over again in our culture, it is true! Life is not arriving- it is a slow process of journeying through the highs and lows, the mountains and the valleys, and the joy and the grief.

This is what our new sermon series, “Back to Basics” is all about. Sometimes when we follow Jesus we think that we will “arrive” at some version of perfection, love, or faithfulness. We think that we are exempt from continued discipline or effort, and that we can “rest on our laurels” in our faith in God.

Unfortunately, friends, discipleship is not a destination, either!

Nietzsche described faithfulness as “a long obedience in the same direction.” This is what being a disciple is all about! Even if we have been following Jesus all our lives, we are still moving on into deeper understandings of who God is, and how to love our neighbors well. In this way, our journey with Jesus never ends. Indeed, there is no destination until we reach our final rest in God.

I hope that you truly will go “Back to Basics” with us, engaging your faith in new ways and growing deeper in your relationship with Christ. All throughout this series we’ll offer options to engage in our various ministries and mission essentials. Pastor Annette and I are going to offer two opportunities for you to study A Disciple’s Path, which we hope you’ll sign up for on Sunday. This Sunday we’ll also complete our backpack project, which has been a part of our “long obedience” to the call of our missional God at Harbor City Elementary School. Don’t forget to bring yours in! Each of these things is an opportunity to engage the basics of our faith: prayer, presence, gifts, service, and witness.

In all of this, we will also talk about how God never stops shaping us, never stops working in our hearts and lives to bring about the fruits of the Spirit. Our call is to continue to notice and engage in our faith, following our God to new places and in new ways.

Discipleship is a journey, not a destination. I hope you’ll join us in re-engaging our faith as we begin this school year again.

See you then,

Pastor Allee

Posted by Allee Willcox with

Pastor's E-Letter 07/26/19

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  I spent the formative years of my grade school years up in the Mid-West, specifically Middle School through High School. July in Indiana/Michigan (or Michiana as I knew it) is a busy time for County Fairs and State Fairs. The Tractor Pulls, Carnivals, 4H Presentations, and of course, plenty of country music. Be sure to ask Mary Allen about her brick in the walkway at the St. Joseph (IN) County Fair grounds for her recognition of being the Outstanding Junior Leader in the local 4H chapter. All of this occurs in July and early August because it’s the growing season for crops. Crops during this time of year aren’t being planted or harvested and thus there is just a little bit less work for the farming communities that are prevalent in those areas.

 I say all of this because for Mary and I, this time of year still feels like mid-summer. In the Mid-West there is still five weeks of summer break for students, while here in Brevard County our kids will be starting back to school in just two short weeks. Because of this we still have just a week or so to get in our vacation and spend some time together as a family before the fast-paced schedule of the school year is upon us. This is also a great time to look back on year and see how we did and then look forward to the season that’s ahead of us. 

For Suntree UMC, it has been an amazing year thus far! We have done so much work in and around our community and it would take much more time than we have in this short letter to highlight it all. 1000’s of pounds of food has gone out of Blue Sky Community Garden to support those in need of our area. We have hosted foster families on our grounds as we celebrate their amazing love for the most vulnerable in our community. You helped see Harbor City Elementary increase their rating from a “C” to a “B” as you pour in your time, love, and effort. We have hosted homeless families with Family Promise and you have given so much of your own time and resources to help these families see how much they are valued.

This summer we spent an amazing afternoon together at Suntree Stars and Stripes where we got to celebrate Independence Day together, while also providing a free meal to our community. I personally want to say thank you for the amazing response to the Mission Box this year. We have raised more than $6,400 for the different organizations that we are partnered with. We continue to get “Thank You!” cards from the groups about how your love is impacting the people they serve. All of this is amazing and fun to celebrate, but the work continues, and we have plenty more Kingdom to see!

Our garden, though on a short break like the crops of the mid-west, will be looking for volunteers to help harvest the produce for the next season. Teachers will need help in the classrooms and backpacks are still to be filled and returned. (Only 100 backpacks are left to be picked up, out of 360! Remember due date is August 4th, bring them to the office or to worship on Sunday.) Our wonderful Children’s ministry will be looking for loving hearts to help on Sunday mornings as they carry the message of Love to our kids. Before you know it, we will be in the heart of the fall season (though the temperatures won’t be like the mid-west) and hosting Trunk or Treat where we have hosted more than a THOUSAND parents and children.

A special note about what’s to come this November: Outreach Ministry has been selected to receive the proceeds from the Christmas Bazaar on November 9th. The proceeds of this amazing event will go out of the church to help us love on our neighbors in extraordinary ways. Look for more information to come out about the International, Domestic and Local missions that will be supported by the Christmas Bazaar. I’m excited to lead this event this year, and like the other events that I’ve helped lead, I know it takes a lot of hands, minds, and hearts to make it happen. If you’re interested in helping with this event I’d love to talk to you about ways you can get involved. Please feel free to call or email me!

It’s been a busy year, and the busiest parts are still ahead of us. Though much has been done, there is still so much more to do. This week we will be discussing what the “Finish Line” looks like as a part of our “Recalculating” worship message series. I want to encourage you to be in worship and hear this message and what it means for all of us as we travel through life and see both what has been done and what is going to be done. Be sure to read and reflect over this week’s scripture lesson 1 Samuel 1:1-20. I thank you for what you have done, and I look forward to serving with you again!

 With Grace and Peace along the journey,

Pastor Augie 

 

Posted by Augie Allen with

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