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A Message From Our Pastor

Advent and Waiting

It’s Advent. It’s not Christmas yet! I find myself telling myself, my children, and maybe even some of you that this season (as I struggle not to sing Christmas carols during worship) I shall spend time in quiet anticipation instead of joyous celebration.

Why take time for Advent? We all know Christmas comes earlier and earlier to our consumer culture each year; as soon as the Halloween decorations are down, the Christmas decorations go up. Christmas carols have been playing in stores and on the radio since November 1st. Why not just jump in? Why not sing “Silent Night” along with the crowds over and over again?

For me, there are several reasons to observe Advent and to wait for Christmas…

1. Advent reminds me to take time to wait upon the Lord. So much of my life is spent rushing from one thing to the next, that when I have to wait I usually get frustrated and impatient. But there have been times that my life that have been about waiting – waiting for my boyfriend to return from long trips to faraway places like South Africa, Australia and Argentina, waiting to learn whether I was pregnant each time, waiting to find out whether our baby would be a boy or a girl, and endless hours of waiting on bedrest to be sure that baby would not come too soon – waiting to wait! I am sure there are many times in your life you have had to wait as well. Advent gives us a chance to learn how to wait prayerfully and expectantly with God.

2. Advent helps me recognize how special Christmas really is when it comes. Reading the Biblical passages about the expectation of a Savior and learning how all of creation was longing for Jesus, helps me to see what an amazing event the Incarnation, God in the flesh, really was and is for us, even today. When I sing songs like “O Come O Come Emmanuel” instead of “Joy to the World” in the weeks before Christmas, I get a sense of what it really means to have God come to earth to be with us.

3. Advent slows me down. Doing a special devotion with my children when we light the Advent candles each night, setting up our decorations after Thanksgiving instead of before, watching and waiting, help to keep me in a reflective mood instead of a frenzied one.

I have to admit, I don’t usually wait all the way until December 24th before I start playing my favorite carols around the house, but I do always play Handel’s Messiah all the way through before I start to listen to Bing Crosby and Dean Martin on my stereo. And I try to wait, and to wonder. How about you? Let’s take time to watch and to wait together this Advent, and then, on December 24th, come to church twice – at our normal 10:30 am time and then again at 7 pm to celebrate Jesus’ birth – Emmanuel, God-with us. Thanks be to God!

See you in church!

Fear Not
Dianne

Christmas Eve 2017

Dec 24 2017

Children's Christmas Party

Dec 9 2017 11:00 am

Free Community Meal

Dec 30 2017 5:00 pm

 

On the last Saturday of each month, we open our Fellowship Hall doors starting at 5:00PM to anyone who would like to join us for dinner.  Call the Church Office at 216-671-2600 for more information. All are welcome!

 

September 2017

Here We Go!

Well, we’ve had a couple of months now to get to know one another. I have learned a bit about navigating the West Side (thankfully I don’t have to take the 130th St. route!) We changed our worship time to allow us to worship fully together – and I really appreciate not having to rush from one church to another (well, at least not quite as much!) I’ve officiated at a wedding and two funerals, allowing me to celebrate life with many of you.

But I have to admit it still is all new to me. I haven’t been able to see as many of you as I would like. I haven’t been able to visit shut ins or sometimes even make hospital visits when I have been out of town. Meeting Pat’s bulletin deadlines sometimes keeps me up late at night, after I do all the kid taxi stuff and the animal care stuff that my home requires. Juggling is hard!

But it’s no more than most of you do every week. I am so grateful to see how volunteers step up to help out, whether with sound and AV on Sunday morning, making marvelous meals, teaching Sunday school, taking care of bills, making sure the building is running smoothly, cleaning out rooms and taking care of kids, and on, and on, and on.

Being the church means more than just showing up on Sunday morning – although if you do that, that’s great! Being the church means answering our membership vows to serve through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness. How are you fulfilling your membership vows, the covenant you have made with God?

There is always more to be done. But if our response to God comes out of obligation, I think we’re missing the point. God loves us. God’s love overflows into us – and our response to God is to serve with love.

I don’t want any of you to feel as though coming to church, or doing things for the church, is a burden or a task to be dreaded. Sometimes it may be hard work. Sometimes it may not be how you would choose to spend that time. But know that your efforts are noticed, and appreciated. The church would not be the church without you, and I, as your pastor, have already in these two short months, noticed how much you do, and I am grateful.

So let’s go! Let’s jump into fall with the energy of kids jumping into a pile of leaves! God made us to be creatures of joy,

And remember,

Fear Not!

Dianne

August 2017

What’s Your Story?

Behold, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine (Isaiah 43:1)

This is one of my favorite passages of scripture. God has called us by name, claimed us as God’s own, and has redeemed us, saved us, for new life!

I am so excited to begin my ministry among you at Christ and Simpson UMCs! Although my “official” start date is July 1, I have had the opportunity to meet some of you already, and to tour the beautiful buildings you inhabit. I am working on my first worship services for July 2, and am so looking forward to sharing worship with you!

Transitions are hard! I am sure you know this, but transitions can also be exciting and fun. One of my favorite things to do is to hear people’s stories, and church’s stories. In our first weeks together, I will be doing as much as I can to get to know you better – what is your vision for the church? How has God worked in your life thus far? What do you expect God to do in the future? What excites you about being a part of Christ Church?

The Hebrew Scripture lessons for the months of July and August focus on the stories of the Hebrew people in Genesis, and specifically on Joseph and Jacob, of Rachel and Leah and Miriam. How do their stories parallel your story? How can we learn about who God is through these faithful, flawed, passionate people?

I invite you to stop by my office at Christ on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, or at Simpson on Thursdays. Give me a call or text to let me know you’re coming – I also want to learn the stories of your neighborhoods, so I might be out and about.

If you can’t come by, or even if you can, do me a favor and leave me an index card with answers to these questions (my own answers are below), with your name, or text to me at 216-509-4229 with a picture! Names are hard for me, so please be patient – God has called you by name, and I want to as well.

1. What’s your favorite passage of Scripture?

2. Who is in your family?

3. What do you like to do for fun?

4. What’s your favorite thing about church?

5. What’s the last good fiction book you read? (bonus – last great movie you saw?)

6. What’s your favorite hymn/worship song?

My answers:

1. Isaiah 40:30-31 (but Isaiah 43:1-7 and 1 John 4:7-21 are also right up there, actually there are too many more!)

2. I have three children – Louis (18) who will be attending the Cleveland Institute of Art, Glennis (16 on July 21) who is a rising junior at Heights High, and Estelle (13) who will be in the 8th grade at Roxboro Middle School in Cleveland Heights. I also have three cats (Lucky, Tumnus and Ezri) and two dogs (Dunstan and Fenway). Fenway is training as a service dog so you will see him around!

3. I love spending time with my kids and being outside – hiking, running, walking, playing sports. I’m a Red Sox fan and an Indians fan. I love to read!

4. I love pretty much everything about church and have since I was a little kid growing up in a small town outside Boston. But the best part is being with a community who loves God and loves others.

5. I really enjoyed A Man Called Ove. We just watched Wonder Woman, and that was fun!

6. Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing has the best line of any hymn, in my opinion. I also really like Every Praise, and Gather Us In, and, well, there are too many of these too!

I’m looking forward to being in ministry with you! I’ll sign as I always do, with a message God gives to God’s people over and over again:

Fear Not!

Dianne

April 2017

April is here! Yea!!! Spring is here! Easter is on the way! It is an absolute privilege and honor for us to be able to share the greatest story ever told yet again. God in his wisdom has allowed all of us to be here to continue the legacy of communicating the Good News. We need to share the life, death and resurrection of Jesus with as many people as possible in our world, our neighborhoods, our families and even the neighborhood surrounding our church building. People need to hear about the Good News of Jesus and about how much He loves all of us especially in this day and age of fear, change, uncertainty, violence, poverty and economic challenges. Jesus is the answer and He reminds us in John 10:10 that he has “…come that they (we) might have life, and that they (we) might have it more abundantly.” Thank you Jesus for your Word that gives us hope, especially as we celebrate Easter this month.

We are still moving forward with our hospitality ministry. We are currently working on getting made or built a holder/stand for our new name tag ministry. We are moving forward with more networking and outreach to the community through our Reaching New People ministry and our coach Paul Nickerson. Messy Church is one of the ministries that we are planning to implement, hopefully, during the month of May. Messy Church is a monthly new, different and creative time of worship designed to reach the unchurched and for those who are not necessarily interested in a traditional worship service. It is open to all but it is especially designed for children and their families. It is intergenerational. Some of us by the time that you read this letter will have gone to our North Coast District Leadership Academy. The theme is called, “Weird Church: Welcome to the Twenty-First Century.” We look forward to bringing back some “weird church” ideas to be able to implement as the Lord would have us to do.

The key however to all of the above ministries that I have mentioned and even the ones that are coming in the future is prayer. We must pray and pray and pray and pray more and pray again and pray even more! We must have be a part of the Breakthrough Prayer Initiative. This initiative will help us to be a congregation that unites to pray collectively and consistently for God to break through in new and miraculous ways. We must have an atmosphere of possibility and continue to shift our focus up-and-outward.

As we think about new possibilities, how awesome it would be to fulfill a dream and a vision that started out as nothing but humor. It would be great if we could acquire the now vacant Giant Eagle building across the street from the church and turn it into the Christ UMC Mission Center. It would include such things as a free pharmacy, free medical clinic, worship space that is handicapped accessible, a parking lot, basketball, hand ball, tennis courts and a green gym facility that would produce energy to run certain things, daily food panty- or co-op, homeless shelter especially for families, homeless mail boxes (so they can have an address to get mail and be contacted for jobs), shower and laundry facilities for homeless, daily free community meals, job

creation using discarded tires, glass, wood, an inner city shark tank program,( i.e.… LeBron James show), free thrift store, empowerment classes on finances, crock-pot cooking, infant mortality classes for pregnant moms, computer center for job searching, etc.…. What? Crazy you say? Maybe? Impossible? Yes, in the natural but NO in the Spiritual, especially when God is involved and we believe! Remember the Word, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37

Happy Easter!!

Be Encouraged In Jesus!!

Pastor Darlene

March 2017

Dear Christ Family,

God-Sightings have been awesome here at Christ UMC and in the lives of some of our members/attendees! God-Sightings are those places where we have seen God

working in our lives, others' lives or in the life of the church. We thank God for touching the hearts of a local grocery business that has contributed to our monthly Community meal with not only food items but workers that come to assist with serving and clean up! We also have been blessed with other volunteers as well. We are also so very thankful for those of you who have been contributing as well in your own way to make our community meals one of the best outreach ministries that we have going now.

We are still moving forward with ways to increase our hospitality here at the church, especially during Sunday morning worship. We are hoping to implement the hospitality of name tags. Why name tags? Name tags help us to get and remember the names of those with whom we worship on Sundays. They will also help us get to know the names of visitors as well. The name tags have been bought. We are now waiting on a structure to display the name tags for easy organization and access. See Sandy Foster if you would like to help out with this new part of our hospitality ministry.

We are also still moving forward with our Reaching New People ministry. Our Reaching New People ministry coach is Mr. Paul Nickerson. We hope that as many of you as possible will be able to make it to what is called a Tune-Up day. This Tune-Up day will help us to review what we have done this past 6 months in terms of reaching out to make disciples for Jesus Christ and to plan action steps for the next 6 months. Mr. Nickerson will also give a brief review of the workshop that some of us attended in the fall of 2016. We will meet not only with him but with the teams from other churches that attended the same workshop this past fall. This Tune-Up day will be held on Sunday, March 12 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 127 Park Place in Wellington, OH 44090. So, come on out and meet our coach, Mr. Nickerson as well as a few of our fellow clergy and lay brothers and sisters in Christ! Come and learn about how other churches are making disciples for Jesus Christ and growing. Also, come and help plan our next 6 month action steps for reaching new people. 

We are also excited by a new ministry we hope to begin soon. It is called, “Messy Church”. A few of us attended the Messy Church workshop in February in North Canton, Ohio sponsored by our East Ohio Conference. Messy Church is a fun, innovative, Christcentered ministry that engages people on the fringe of the church family. Messy Church is designed to help churches reach new people for Jesus Christ. It is a way of being church for families involving fun on a monthly basis. It is a church, not a craft club, that helps people encounter Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is found across the world. Its’ values

are about being Christ-centered, for all ages, based on creativity, hospitality and celebration. For more info on Messy Church, go to messychurch.org/uk/.

Also, hope to see you at our combined Ash Wednesday service with Simpson UMC to be held here at Christ UMC at 7:30 p.m. Lent begins this month. Look in the bulletin soon for our Lenten Bible Study topic or theme for 2017!

 

Be Encouraged In Jesus!!

Pastor Darlene

February 2017

Dear Christ Family,

Are you tired of hearing about the presidential inauguration and transition of power in our country yet? Well, hopefully you can tolerate just one more thought. Okay, a few more thoughts. My thoughts however in this letter have to do with, of course, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So keep reading. We know that some appreciated and some did not appreciate many facets of what was said last month during the inauguration. I did however appreciate the fact (and not the alternative fact) that Jesus got some air time across the world. I appreciate the clergy who chose, rather bravely in this day and age, to use the name of Jesus in their prayers. I also appreciated the media in showing bits of footage of the church and prayer services that were a part of the transition of governmental power. This should remind us that Jesus is alive and His message of salvation, love, justice and unity reign supreme and really should overshadow some if not all of the negativity. This helps us to know that we are not alone in our mission to make disciples for Jesus Christ!

Last month our Mission, Vision and Goals were put in the bulletins. If you did not get a copy please make sure to check the back tables in the sanctuary or call the office. I hope that this will help us to be on one accord and know what we are trying to do and how we are and will be trying to move forward in 2017. Our Assimilation and Shepherding Ministry is stalled for right now. Hopefully, we will be able to get it going soon.

However, we do have a few people who are working on a little part of it. The Kirkpatricks, along with office secretaries Pat and Jo, help keep track of attendance names on the computer. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for you to complete and turn in the weekly attendance slips found in the bulletin. A report is generated and one person from the Nurture/Care committee sends out cards or post cards to those whose names we have that have not been in attendance during a particular month. Our hope is that this will help us to keep up with those of you who are members, regular attendees, as well as, guest/visitors. There is still much to do in terms of moving this ministry forward. We will do our best to keep you informed as we move forward. Please let me know if you have any interest in working to get this ministry moving quicker than it is now. Our next need will be for people to sign up to be a part of the phone calling and note writing team.

Also, as a part of some of us attending the Reaching New People workshop this past October, everyone is invited to be a part of our team call and tune up day or follow up day. This will give everyone an opportunity to meet our Reaching New People coach, Paul Nickerson. You will also be able to find out more about the ministry as well as see why some of us are so excited about the Reaching New People workshop. The team call is on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. You can access the call from anywhere you have a phone or internet connection. Some of us are planning to meet at the church on that evening and others are welcome to call in at your homes or other places, etc.… The tune up day or follow up day meeting is scheduled for Sunday, March 12 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at a location to be announced. I will try to put the ZOOM link (conference call) numbers and website address in the bulletin so you can join in.

It is time to get excited!!! God is doing great works here in our church. He is moving be His Spirit and the best is yet to come!!! Remember to invite someone to church and then not only invite them but also bring them, especially to hear our AWESOME choir!!! Look for other great ideas as to how we can Reach New People for Jesus Christ! Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy President’s Day and February is Black History Month!!! Don’t forget to send a card or call our sick and shut-ins! (Don’t know who they are? Call the office.)

Be Encouraged In Jesus!

Pastor Darlene 

Forgive, Live, Love, Laugh and Pray!!!

December 2016

Dear Christ Family,

Our theme for Advent is “Prepare”. Prepare means to make (something) ready for use or consideration. Sometimes as we are preparing for whatever it is, it may also mean that we have to spend some time waiting. I recently had to spend some time waiting…waiting to get an oil change done. I actually had gone to the tire and oil change department of a local store to see if an old spare “donut” tire from a precious vehicle would fit on my current vehicle. I found out the hard way that some base model cars don’t come with spare “donut” tires! So while there, I decided to get an oil change which the car needed. Anyway, after about 3 hours later (Okay to be fair, I did some shopping in the other departments in the store as well.) the car was ready. But still, the shopping was a part of the waiting process. I was trying to prepare my vehicle for the road, to get prepared for the journey, to get prepared to see my out-of-town family.

The preparation was tedious, rigorous, frustrating at times as well as moments that were filled with conversation with others and contemplative silent moments while waiting. My car was finally finished and was waiting for me right outside the door. I was fourth in line to check-out. A series of register mishaps took place with each person ahead of me. Ughhh! But joy came when finally it was my turn to check-out. I was finally able to go to my car and continue on with my plans. Praise God!!

During the next few weeks, we will be preparing for the arrival of the Christ child, baby Jesus.

Preparing for worship services, attending Christmas parties, concerts and family gatherings can end up being stressful and frustrating at times just like my experience of waiting and preparing my car for travel. The waiting in store lines and even the great anticipation of Christmas day can leave us with less patience, but let us remember the joy that we will celebrate and behold again on December 25th. I know that the joy of getting my car back can’t even remotely compare with the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus but it did give me a great reminder of what it is like to prepare and wait. However, in the midst of our preparing and waiting this Advent season, let us remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!! Turn to Him and spend some time in His Word this month and in the new month to come and year of January 2017.

Also, please take some time to reach out to others in need, as well as, remembering our sick and shut-ins. May God bless you all and I pray that you will have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Safe and Blessed New Year!!!

Be Encouraged in Jesus!!

Pastor Darlene Robinson