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The Connection

A weekly newsletter from United Methodist Church of Lenox
Rev. Nami Yu, Pastor
Notes from our Pastor
                       Our Bishop’s Letter for September

Dear Beloved in Christ:
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thanks and praise be unto our Creator God in and through the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the grace that blessed Prema and me with a wonderful renewal leave.  I am grateful for your prayers and the support of the Episcopacy Committee, Episcopal team, and Extended Cabinet members. I am also thankful to Bishop Susan Hassinger and Bishop Cliff Ives for providing coverage during my absence.
Many things touched me deeply during my renewal leave. One of them was an invitation to lunch with a couple and their daughter, who is in her forties. During our conversation, the daughter, whose husband has a lucrative business, shared that once they started tithing, they not only found contentment in their hearts and minds, their business started flourishing!  Another guest at the table immediately challenged her, asking why she would tithe when the money might be misused by church leaders. She responded: “We give to God and for God’s ministry ... it is not my place to make judgment. Everyone is accountable to God, including church leaders.”

I was deeply touched by this response. This whole conversation has stayed with me. Is it not true that when we give God our tithes and resources we do it out of joy and cheer? St. Paul said it very clearly, “... God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7). When I asked if I could share her witness, she emailed me this powerful statement:
I completely agree with you that God loves a cheerful giver. I am touched by some of the verses from the Bible which talk about tithing – Proverbs 3:9-10, Malachi 3:10-12, and Luke 6:38."    

Now coming to our personal experience as a family, I can go on and on as to how God has been faithful to us all these years.  Though both of us were born and brought up in a Christian family attending church regularly, we never thought too much about tithing in our initial years of marriage. Yes, we did put our offering [in the plate] every Sunday, but it was never 1/10th as we are supposed to do. I remember those days we were always struggling to meet both ends, be it our business or our personal expenses month after month. And one Sunday when our pastor spoke about tithing, I knew in my heart what I had to do. I started keeping aside the tithes as soon as I got my salary though the devil was scaring me [by asking how I would] manage to last till the end of the month. But I had made up my mind and encouraged my spouse to do the same, and to our surprise, till today we can only see abundance in every area of our lives, be it personal or business. God just took us to another level which we hadn't even dreamt about. We have not lacked anything from the time we have been faithfully tithing. There is only abundance, and we could even help many needy people. There was a time when we thought we had to close down our business, but God just turned the tables and now our business has grown in manifolds. When I look back and see, I can just close my eyes and say, ‘God, only you could do this.’ The bottom line is, when we honour God, He never lets us down. All glory and honour to our Almighty God. I would like to encourage others through my testimony and to be blessed. 

Then she added a testimony from her spouse, who had the following words to offer:
The business grew lucrative when we gave to God without expecting. It is my personal experience we should give without expecting. God does not want our money, but He sees our hearts. He gives us sometimes 10-fold, sometimes 100-fold … if we keep an account with God ... God keeps an account of us…the Bible says to give cheerfully … so when we had nothing, we gave cheerfully without expecting and in a few years, we could see we have grown beyond our expectations. We honour our almighty God for whatever we are today. It’s only because of His grace and mercy we are what we are today. 
As I continue to reflect on my own experience and that of this sister in Christ, the questions that continue to nudge me are: 
  • What if every one of us took this testimony as a personal challenge and started tithing? What might happen to us on our Christian journeys and what blessings might come about?
  • If you are already a tither, what if you were to share your testimony joyfully and boldly with others? It is my hope and prayer that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, makes us open to reflect upon the testimony of this couple so that we too may share the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. 

               Prayer for Farmington, ME, after explosion

                         A prayer for those grieving Farmington's losses
                              MME District Superintendent Karen Munson shares this prayer 
                                                  in the aftermath of the fatal explosion Sept 16, 2019.

God, we know you love us and every creature, human and other, who you have made.  Tonight we grieve the trauma that our kindred in Farmington, Maine have suffered.  We ask that you cast over the greater Farmington community a blanket of the deep peace that only comes from your living presence. We ask that you give comfort in the form of your own strength shared in hugs, whispers, prayers, and hands reaching out to help. We ask that the traumas triggered by today's explosion would find healing through loving neighbors and skilled professionals.  We ask that the family who has lost a beloved one, and the families who watch and wait tonight, would feel the full force of your strong and tender love. We thank you for their lives. We ask that the emergency responders would find their own space to heal and would know the tremendous respect and gratitude of their communities. We ask all this not with confidence in our own ability to bear up under the weight of grief, but knowing that you will provide the strength, even as you provide the tears.

                   This Sunday's Worship Service will NOT be at the church
                                            but in Lilac Park, Lenox 

It will be replaced with an Ecumenical Worship Service at 10:30 a.m. at the Apple Squeeze. Come join us and be filled with the Holy Spirit! Everyone is WELCOME!

                                                                                                                                 Psalm 118:24
                                                                                                         This is the day that the Lord has made;
                                                                                                                 let us rejoice and be glad in it.

                         2019 Apple Squeeze

The 2019 Lenox Apple Squeeze is just around the corner and for the 5th year we will be hosting a booth.  Mark your calendars, Saturday September 21 and Sunday September 22, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The mission of our booth is to:

  • provide hospitality without expectation,
  • strengthen our relationships with the people of Lenox and surrounding communities and
  • inform visitors of who we are

This is a great opportunity for us to reach out to the greater communities of Lenox and Pittsfield.
As in past years we will be participating in an Ecumenical Worship Service.  The service will in Lilac Park at 10:30am so there will be no worship service at UMCL the Sunday of September 22.

We are still in need of volunteers to serve coffee and/or greet visitors at our booth, particularly in the afternoon both Saturday and Sunday.  If you’re interested in helping please give Judy Upton, 201-394-8331 or Laurie Sturma, 413-446-3955 a call.

We realize that parking during the Apple Squeeze weekend is a challenge and has prevented many of us from volunteering and/or attending the event, however this year there will parking at the Tanglewood East Gate lot with a shuttle to transport attendees.  The shuttles will be running all day both Saturday and Sunday. The shuttle bus stops will be in front of town hall for drop off and at The Curtis Hotel for return to the parking lot.

So please consider volunteering a couple hours of your time on that weekend.

                           Church Schedule

Saturday, September 21
Apple Squeeze
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Sunday, September 22
NO Service at UMCL 
Apple Squeeze
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Ecumenical Worship Service at Apple Squeeze
10:30 AM

Tuesday, September 
Bible Study 2
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Wednesday, September 
Bible Study 1
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Gospel Gang
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
UMC of Lenox

Thursday, September 26
Prayer Shawl Knitters at UMC
1:30 PM
Church Council
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Friday, September 27, 2019
Worship at Kimball Farms Nursing Home
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Saturday, September 28, 2019
Resource Day of the CT/WMA District
9:00 AM-2:00 PM
Hospitality Meeting
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Sunday, September 29, 2019
Christian Education
8:45 AM - 9:45 AM
Contemporary Worship
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Nomination Committee Meeting
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

              Memorial Flowers at UMC Lenox

As a way to offer a remembrance of a loved one or to honor someone whom we love and is still with us, or to celebrate a special event the Worship Committee would like to bring back the Memorial Flower ministry. Any member of the congregation can choose to buy sign up to have flowers for the altar for a particular Sunday that is important to him or her. There are several options for supplying the flowers:
  • You can pick a bouquet and bring them in yourself. Someone from the Worship Committee will put them onto the altar
  • You can buy flowers and if you need help arranging them, someone from the Worship Committee will help you arrange them and put them on the altar
  • You can make a modest payment – approximately $25-35 – and we will order an arrangement to be put on the altar.
This can be a one time donation, or can be made as an ongoing, annual donation. When you arrange for the flowers, you’ll specify who the flowers are in memory or in honor of and that will appear in the bulletin for that Sunday, along with your name as the donor.

And, if flowers are not your thing, talk to anyone on the Worship committee about alternate adornments.

                          Please see sign-up sheet on table in fellowship hall
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United Methodist Church of Lenox, 6 Holmes Road, Lenox, MA 01240, 413-445-5918
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United Methodist Church of Lenox · 6 Holmes Road · Lenox, MA 01240 · USA

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