United Methodist Church Jeopardy?...And, a synopsis of Summer months.

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.  Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)

The Christian church was established in Acts, Chapter 2.  How long have you been part of a Christian church?  All of your life?  Or, were you a teen, a young adult, middle-aged, or a senior citizen?  Now, the next question is how long have you been a member of LeValley or Berlin Center United Methodist Church?  Does the number of years coincide with your first church experience?   Or, were you a memeber of another church prior to coming to LeValley or Berlin Center?

Our two churches are primarily made up of extended families, most of whom reside in rural Ionia or Saranac. I have only been your pastor for two months and, even though Greg and I have lived in the IJonia area for 44 years, I am still learning about the family ties of the churches,  Does someone maintain the histories of LeValley and Berlin Center UMCs?  I hope so.  Because of the familial heritage, if it hasn't already been done, I would like to highlight a family each month in the church newsletter.  Be prepared.  I'll be calling for your newsletter I interview.

Even with the famliy base, the composition of the two Churches constantly changes.  Some family members have chosen to attend or become members of other churches for one or more reasons.  They may want to be affiliated with a church closer to home or prefer a different form of worship than we offer here.  We are also attracting new people to our congregation.  Praise God for that!  Many of these people grew up as part of another denominatjion or haven't ever attended, much less been part of, a church.

I have a concern for those people who come to our churches from another denomination or who are unchurched.  They may not know the traditional names for places or things in the church such as the sanctuary, the narthex, the chancel, or the pulpit, just to name a few.  They may not understand the liturgy we follow each Sunday in worship, what Holy Communion is and why and how we celebrate the sacrament, and what baptism is and why United Methodists baptize infants.  They may also have questions about what differentiates United Methodist Churches from other Christian denominations.  I have publications that explain "About Being United Methodist," but for convenience, I am going to include some of the information each month in upcoming newsletters.

The topics I have mentioned and much more, including church history, are part of the syllabus for the membership classes I have led in the past and plan to lead in the future at LeValley and Berlin Center, but I think it is important for all to understand the what, where, why, and how of worship.  That said, I hope everyone will read the Church newsletters and, if necessary, ask me about that which you don't understand.

I think it's more fun, and easier, to learn by playing a game, so for the next few months, I will host a game of Jeopardy in each newsletter. If you aren't familiar with Jeopardy, the game board is comprised of 25 answers.  In order to accumulate dollars, the contestants must ask a question that fits each answer.  Sorry, there won't be financial prizes in our game.  Smile!  As a "teaser" of what is to come in future newsletters, here are some "church jeopardy answers, along with the questions: sanctuary - What is the place where people gather for worship, weddings, funerals, and other sacred occasions?; narthex- What is the lobby of the church?; chancel - What is the space around the altar in the sanctuary most often at the east end of the church building?; pulpit - What is the podium from which the pastor preaches the Gospel?  Which ones did you already know and which ones were unfamiliar?  What terms do you question?

We can make this exercise a fun challenge, while being an eucational jopportunity.  Anyone ready for a game of "church jeopardy?"

Pastor Nancy

*In addition...It has been two months since Cindy published the last newsletter, so for those of you who haven't been around during the Summer months I thought we should give you a synopsis of some things you may have missed.  A successful Vacation Bible School was held the last week of June at LeValley with some help from Berlin Center.  I began my tenure as your Pastor on July 1st.  Greg and I feel blessed to be here.  The life of Margaret Janes who went to be with Jesus on August 4th was celebrated at LeValley on August 8th.  LeValley Christian Daycare had its annual family picnic on August 18th.  Berlin Center celebrated the life of long-time church member Alice Hile on August 19th.  The annual Berlin Center Ice Cream Social was held on August 24th.

Three new stoves have been purchased at Levalley, paid for by the church with some help from the daycare.  The LeValley pavilion is getting a ceiling, lighting, and is being enclosed thanks to the LeValley Fellowship.  Several church membres and some of the Boy Scouts are doing the labor.  Some of the members at Berlin Center put new doors on the shed and Don and Dutch Doornbos painted the entire building.

Both churches continue to be very faitful to various missions.  Locally, the Zion Soup Kitchen and IM Kids 3rd meal are a priority. Prayer, UMW, LV Fellowship, Emmaus, Fourth Days and Bible Studies keep the church calendar full regularly.

What a joy to have churches who live out the mission for the Christian church from Acts 2.

Pastor Nancy



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