Thursday, January 7, 2010

Getting Started in the New Year

My secretary and I were both doing stuff yesterday. We agreed that these first few weeks of the new year are rather hectic. At church, we are wrapping up things from the previous year while trying to get things organized for the next year. There is much to do to get committees and the Church Council started out on the right foot. At home, Christmas and New Year’s brought welcome visits from children and an engagement ring for one. Martha, the youngest, is back at PC and Mary, my wife, is off to school again.

I intended to get away for a week to do worship planning, sermon planning and prep, for the first six months. I like to plan out six months of sermons and hymns to be shared with staff. I do this to give me and them an idea of the direction we’ll be going in. Time caught up with me; so, I was not able to get away for that week yet. This week I worked and prayed my way through three months of planning. I’ll do the other three months some time next week, maybe. This is just an outline of what I hope to accomplish the next six months. It now looks like it will be February before I can get away for that week of planning, when I can focus a little more in depth on the next six months.

December was a busy month, as always, but was unusually busy with having to deal with needy folks. It got so interesting that every morning when I drove up to work someone was waiting needing some kind of help. We make it a policy not to give anyone money. We give groceries, or a meal, or rent, or something like that. But, immediately after word gets out that you helped one, others are lined up.

That’s not to say that much of the need that we encounter is legitimate. I believe it is. It’s just that if we have the money and the time we could stay busy doing nothing but this. We are thankful for those who give to our Fellowship of Suffering Fund; and, we try to help as best we can some. We can’t do everything for everybody. That would be my dream. But the need is so large and resources are limited. We helped so many over the holidays that we are not in a holding pattern. We are getting together coats and gloves and blankets for those who need them, so that they can get through the cold weather.

Thankfully, we wrapped up 2009 with enough income to meet all of our obligations both here and denominationally. The folks at Bethel Church, once again, with God’s help, have responded to the need and we will begin 2010 with much promise.

Our three services of worship are back in operation, as we continue to create ways for the doors to Bethel to be open to others. Wednesday night supper and programs are back on schedule as we make our way through this season.

This is Epiphany Season, the time when we see Jesus “shown forth”, “revealed”, as the light of the world. In this first month we will work on the theme of Evangelism together knowing that we have a story to tell to the nations. God is moving yet. Pray for your friends and loved ones who need to come to Christ, to the church. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the words when there is opportunity so that the door may be opened.

See you in Church!
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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