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Christ Church Certified as a Welcoming Congregation!

Over the summer the GROW Committee completed the Welcoming Congregation application with examples of the various things we do to welcome new comers. Our District Superintendent Orlando Chaffee reviewed the materials at Charge Conference and we submitted our materials.

We received word that we have been certified as a Welcoming Congregation! This means that we're just one of 21 congregations in the state of Ohio, 3 in Cuyahoga County and the only United Methodist congregation in Cleveland to be certified. There are only 936 Certified Welcoming Congregations out of 34,892 congregations in the US - that's just 2.7%!

The certification is noted on the Find A Church website (http://archives.umc.org/Directory/ChurchDetails.asp?FAC=57818&strLong=-81.78774&strLat=41.4549) and we be received a plaque to display to let everyone know that we bend over backwards to welcome people to our congregation.

The Welcoming Congregation certification also means that we can apply for certain grants such as the Impact Community grant that can help pay for advertising, event planning resources and specific training for our congregation.

Congratulations and thanks for your continued support of the GROW program.

Renewing Our Spiritual Journey

The adventures and fun of summer are about over.  People have been or are returning from their vacations and students are returning to school.  Where did summer go?  For many, it has been archived en family photo albums as treasured memories.  Time certainly does go by flying. 

Well, just because the summer is about over, doesn’t mean that there is not much to look forward to.  Many church activities and programs for children, youth and adults are about to resume in September and in the coming months.

Our marvelous choir is about to restart their choir rehearsals to provide inspiring music and songs for the glory of God and the edification of our congregation.  We have purchased a drum set to augment our already talented group of musicians and instruments, and hope to incorporate more contemporary praise songs to our worship service.

Sunday School will also restart next month including a longer confirmation class for our new group of confirmands.  In both of my Wednesdays Pastor’s Bible Studies we will be watching and discussing 30 minute lectures on the Old Testament given by professor, author and lecturer Amy-Jill Levine, who is professor at Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

On Saturday, August 29th we will be having a planning session at our church from 9:00 am until noon to discuss our current and future goals and activities for our church.  We will be sharing some insights we received from a Rethink Church training offered for West and East Ohio Annual Conferences that John, George, Sandy, Joan and I attended last week.  Everyone is invited to attend. 

The Journey through Lent to Easter

            By now we are about halfway through the observance of Lent.  Easter this year falls on Sunday, April 12, 2009.
 
            Lent as you know, is that season in the Christian calendar of forty days (plus six Sundays) of preparation for the celebration of Easter.  Christians in the past, and many today, have used and are using this period of Lent to prepare candidates for baptism that were and are going to be baptized on Easter Sunday.  What was an observance and practice for those who were going to be baptized became an observance and practice for all Christians.
 
            During Lent, Christians have been reflecting on temptation, sin, repentance, God’s grace, God’s will and the cost of following it or not.  We have heard how Jesus was triumphant over the temptations he confronted while fasting for 40 days and nights in the wilderness, in contrast to the people of Israel who where unfaithful to God as they were tempted in the desert while wandering there for forty years.  Jesus was triumphant and was able to teach and live the kingdom of God by example, while the Israelites failed and none of those who were wandering in the desert (with the exception of two) were allowed to enter the Promised Land.