PastorDarlene@ChristUMC.com's blog

June 2017

Dear Christ UMC Familiy,

My last letter to you. Wow! I really can't believe that our time together as pastor and congregations will be coming to an end so soon. I really had thought that I would be here longer than just 4 years. Well, once again, welcome to the United Methodist Church pastoral appointment system. It has some good and not so good qualities about it. Anyway, there are so many thoughts running through my mind in terms of all the things I should say and want to say and what I need to say but may forget to say. I had plans for so many other things that we can do in terms of ministry together and making and maturing disciples for Jesus Christ.

Many of you know that we had plans in the works, etc... and things that we needed to complete. Oh well, enough of that. What is done is done and it just is what it is. However, our "just is what it is" is covered in the sovereignty of God, He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version) "'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" These plans for a future and a hope that He has is for all of us. This includes you, me, your new pastor, Rev. Dianne Covault and the church where she is currently serving, as well as, the church that I will be going to and also their pastor that I will be following and the new churches that he will be serving!

I guess I will just end with saying thank you! First of all thanks be unto God for His awesome blessings bestowed upon Christ and Simpson United Methodist Churches! Thanks be unto God for allowing me the awesome honor and privilege of being allowed to serve as your pastor. Thanks to all of you for your help, assistance, patience, grace, love, gifts, support, forgiveness for any mistakes that I made knowingly or unknowingly and so much more throughout these past four years with me and my family. Thanks for your unending service to the Lord. So thank you, all of you for whatever you have done to move the ministry forward and build up the Kingdom of God!

I leave with you a few thoughts. One is from John Wesley and his thoughts on Methodism. He stated the following: “Thoughts Upon Methodism” : "I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out."

The other thought comes from the Breakthrough Prayer Initiative series that I am concluding our time together with on Sunday mornings. The series is based up the book, “Flood Gate: Holy Momentum For a Fearless Church” By Sue Nilson Kibbey and forwarded by our own Bishop Gregory Palmer. The Breakthrough Prayer is used to open the flood gates of powerful, spirit-driven movement by training and leading the congregation to pray together via a simple style that requests God to open up new possibilities.

"This ignites unprecedented and miraculous impact. Breakthrough prayer is asking God to do new works. New miracles we cannot do ourselves, without limits. It does not replace any other forms of prayer. It is additive. And yes, there are results. Sue Kibbey basically states that she has "…celebrated as incredible creativity and prayer passion have risen up. Enthusiasm and faith have surged forward. Hearts have been changed, willingness to dream again renewed!”

I implore you, please don't become a dead sect like John Wesley wrote above. Please don't give up in believing in new miracles and about what God can or cannot do. I implore you to stay open and/or move toward staying open in Holy Spirit Power! Please be willing to dream again and keep your faith renewed as to what God can do with your own life, as well as, the life of the church! Remember our mandate from Matthew 28: 19-20, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Please don't forget about our sick and shut-ins! Love you! I will miss you greatly and you will always be in my prayers!

Be Encouraged in Jesus!

Forgive, Live, Love, Laugh and Prayer! Pastor Darlene and family Dasan, David, Little Dennis and Mother Emma Robinson

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

November 2016

Dear Christ Family,

This coming election day on Tuesday, November 8th is slated to be one of the most important elections of our time, especially, in regards to the presidential race. I have heard friends, family, church members, newly met strangers, local commentators and even current and retired national journalist say that they have never seen a presidential race of this kind. I have even heard people say that depending upon which of the two currently leading candidates that may win, they will leave the country. One person also stated that if one or the other candidate wins that they were just going to ask Jesus to come and get them and take them to their heavenly home. Wow!!!

So many of us wear our passions on our sleeves and show it greatly shows in our conduct, in our speech and even in the way we treat each other. My prayer, however the race turns out, is that we would continue to be civil to one another and most importantly, trust God. He is keenly aware of what is taking place in our country. In a few short days, history will be made one way or the other. Yet, I still hear in my spirit, God saying and reminding us to do and learn from Proverbs 3:1-12 which says,

"1 My son, don’t forget my instruction. Let your heart guard my commands,

2 because they will help you live a long time and provide you with well-being.

3 Don’t let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Bind them on your neck; write

Them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will find favor and approval in the

eyes of God and humanity. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on

your own intelligence. 6 Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways

straight. 7 Don’t consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

8 Then your body[a] will be healthy and your bones strengthened. 9 Honor the

Lord with your wealth and with the first of all your crops. 10 Then your barns

Will be filled with plenty, and your vats will burst with wine. 11 Don’t reject the

instruction of the Lord, my son; don’t despise his correction. 12 The Lord loves

those he corrects, just like a father who treats his son with favor."

Please don't stress yourselves on out of this world when the election results are shared. God is still on the throne and will be true to His word whether your candidate gets in or not. They too will need prayer and Jesus to help them run this country. Your job and my job is to pray, pray, pray and keep on praying for our next President and the entire United States of America. "America, America, God shed His grace on thee....from sea to shining sea" and that includes Presidential and other elections as well. Do you really trust God, or do you just say that you trust God?

Focus on the positive. Thank God we do live in a country where we can be free to choose. Focus on all the other positive things happening during the month of

November, especially in our church, i.e...All Saints Sunday, Stewardship Sunday, Veterans Sunday, Christ the King Sunday, Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent. So please read the rest of this newsletter to find out about some of the other positive happenings. May God continue to bless you all and I pray that you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Be Encouraged In Jesus!

Pastor Darlene

October 2016

Dear Christ Family,

Are you excited yet? Well if not, It's time to get excited! We are starting a new church year and God is truly moving by His Spirit and the best is yet to come! Do you believe it? I hope you do because we need to all be on one accord and get on the same page as to what God is able to do and wants to do here in and outside of this place. Philippians 2:2 from the Amplified Version of the Bible says: "Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention. "

We need to be on one accord so that we can focus on our mission, vision and goals. You will soon be given copies of what our mission, vision and goals are for the church. Our overall mission is to make disciples for Jesus Christ. The North Coast District of the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, of which we are included, is focusing on the theme of Evangelism. A 5-week online course focusing on the topic of "Evangelism for Non-Evangelists" will begin on Oct. 6. Please call the office or me for more information and to take part in this series.

A few of us recently, went to a workshop that was designed to give us suggestions and ideas on how to reach new people. We left there with several possible plans of action. You will hear about these plans in the coming weeks and months. We also are blessed with a coach who will be available to us mostly by Zoom telephone conferencing and emails for the next 12 months. Also, on behalf of the Committee on Lay Leadership we say thank you to all who said yes to serving Jesus through your leadership and participation on a committee. We also say thank you to those of you who have served and/or continue to serve in any aspect of the life of our congregation.

As the season changes from summer to fall, let us be reminded that change is a part of life. Change occurs in our church as well as our lives. We must remember just as God is in the midst of seasonal changes, so God is with us through changes in the church and in our personal lives. So the question is...Do you really trust God or do you just say that you trust God? Change can be difficult, painful and unwanted. Yet, sometimes change can be good and transforming for the better. Let's really trust God for the changes that we have to go through in order to support our current members/attendees and to reach new people for Jesus here at church. Let's also trust God to help us through the changes we have to encounter in our personal lives as well. "For nothing will be impossible with God." Luke 1:37

Be Encouraged in Jesus!

Pastor Darlene Robinson

August 2016

July/August 2016

Dear Christ Family,

The Lake Erie Monsters Ice Hockey team are the 2016 Calder Cup Champions! The
Cleveland Cavaliers are the 2016 NBA World Champions!!!!! At the time of this writing the
Cleveland WINdians are in first place and we are still ..216...ALL...IN...dians!!!!

Prayerfully, they  will win the World Series this year and be champions as well. We are hopeful that the Browns  will also win the SUPERBOWL this coming year with the new coach, staff and players. The city  of Cleveland is currently in the process of getting ready for the Republican National  Convention to be held in a few weeks. So many awesome and wonderful things are happening  within the city. We are thankful! Yet, we also know that all things are not well within the city  so we must keep Cleveland and those who are hurting here in the city in our prayers.

I was amazed about how many possible sermon and devotional titles that there were to
come up with regarding the Cavaliers’ victory. On the last Sunday in June we preached about,  "Believeland" and related it to the story of Joshua and Caleb in the book of Numbers from the  Old Testament. They made it to the promised land because of their belief in the report of the  Lord! If you missed the sermon check it out on YOUTUBE!

As we enter into these summer months, let's continue to live in our "Believeland" which
as Christians is the Kingdom of God. In the Kingdom of God we believe that God will be with  us through thick and thin, through the up and down turns of the stock market because of the  BREXIT or any other causes. Let's pray and believe God for the great blessings that will come  out of our Vacation Bible School, Grief Support Ministry, Zumba Health Ministry, Boy Scouts,  Sunday Morning Worship and all other ministries within the church. Let us pray that these  alternative entry points in to our church will help eventually lead others to join us in our  Sunday morning worship. Remember making and being in relationship with others is one of  the great keys to making disciples for Jesus Christ and church growth! Let's work harder at  getting to know one another better, as well as, our guests and even neighbors near the  church.

Somethings that we had planned are on hold for now until we are able to get back with
them and we DO plan to get back to those ideas, especially, our Christ Care Team. As we begin  another year in ministry, we continue to move forward by faith and trust that with God on our  side the best is yet to come! Also, please feel free to join us Sunday, August 28 after church  for a picnic with Simpson UMC at the Metroparks Brookside Reservation (More information to  come and see newsletter for directions).

Pastor Darlene Robinson

June 2016

May/June 2016

Where have you seen God at work in your life or the life of others? These questions have been asked at a few of our meetings. The responses have been wonderful! We have started asking these questions either at the beginning or at the end of some of our meetings as a way of sharing what are called "God Sightings!". "God Sightings" are designed to share brief testimonies as to the goodness of our God.

Life is filled with so many heart-breaking and agonizing things and events that keep us discouraged and feeling defeated. Therefore, we need to be reminded about the goodness and compassion of our Lord and Savior. We can be reminded about these attributes of God by sharing with one another those things and happenings where we have seen his blessings occur. Some "God Sightings" have included seeing His love, mercy, grace and provision in action.

We encourage you to take some time today to see where God is at work in your life or in the life of others. I am sure that this will encourage your souls and help you journey on in this world with strengthened hearts. It is my hope and prayer that not only will we grow spiritually as individuals but as a church. This is the beginning of learning how to share your testimony or faith story with others. In order for us to help make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, we must learn how to share our faith with others. It is through this process that others may be touched by your story and eventually want to follow Jesus Christ as well.

I know that this can be an uncomfortable thought for some in terms of sharing your faith story but please don't worry or fear. This is something that you can or will, hopefully, learn at some point in time. So for now, let's just concentrate on "God Sightings!". So where have you seen God working in your life of the life of others? I know that I have seen Him working here at our church in so many ways and in your lives. Although, some things don't necessarily turn out the way we want, even in those situations God is there, usually working behind the scenes in some shape, form or fashion. Look for Him. He is and/or will be there.

Spring has sprung and Summer will be here soon or hopefully soon! If you have lived in Cleveland and surrounding areas you know what I mean. So be encouraged. We still have a lot more ministries and activities that are in place and are scheduled to happen in the month of May, June and July. Your help is greatly needed! Thanks for all you do and/or give to support the ministries of this church and the church worldwide.

Be Encouraged In Jesus!
Pastor Darlene

April 2016

April 2016

Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!!
What a wonderful, blessed and exciting year we have had so far. I want to publicly say
thank you to all who have worked so hard and diligently to serve the Lord in the capacity in which you have been called. Thanks to all who helped to make Easter Sunday so awesome, as well as all the other ministry events leading up to it. All praises to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for being present among us.

One of the special days during the month of April is the Festival of God's Creation
Sunday. It is listed on our church calendar for April 24th. The purpose of this special day is to celebrate God's gift of creation and to commit to stewardship of the environment. I was recently reminded of just how special we are as created human beings of God. I found out that there is a test that can be given to check the back of our eyes. An eye technician told me that basically the back of the eye (or whatever part that they scan for behind the eye) is (or almost is) as unique as our fingerprints.

I began thinking about how awesome that is. God then reminded me of this scripture
from Psalm 139:14 which states from the GOD'S WORD® Translation, "I will give thanks to You because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this." I hope that you will find these words encouraging as you journey through life. Sometimes the negative aspects of life can really make us feel not so good about ourselves or others. But God is reminding us today that we are special, unique, amazing and miraculous human beings that He loves so much! Please don't let the negative way you feel or the negative way others may feel about you or what you have negatively been called or are called win out. Just remember what Psalm 139:14 says. You need to recite and meditate on it every day until you believe it!
Let's also be reminded that our Creator also expects us to share Jesus with others.

Evangelism is the key to making disciples for Jesus Christ. This is the mission that our North Coast District is focusing on and it should be ours as well. So please do your best to share Jesus with others and also intentionally invite them to church and bring them if need be as well. Happy Spring to you all!!!

Be Encouraged In Jesus!!
Pastor Darlene Robinson