In a 2010 Barna Group survey, 67% of Americans surveyed knew that Easter is a religious holiday. But only 42 percent connected its meaning to Jesus’ resurrection. And only two percent of adults said they would describe Easter as the most important holiday of their faith.
Not everyone who connects Easter to religion has the facts straight. Two percent of Americans said Easter is about Jesus’ birth. Another two percent said it’s about Jesus’ “rebirth.” And one percent said it’s a celebration of his second coming. Another three percent described Easter as a celebration of spring or a pagan holiday.
“’Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven …’ (Article II – Of the Resurrection of Christ p.60) …’He is eternal Savior and Mediator, who intercedes for us and by him all men will be judged.’ (Article II – Jesus Christ p.67)” The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2008: Our Doctrinal Standards.
In the same survey, 31 percent of active churchgoers said they’d definitely invite an unchurched friend to worship with them on Easter weekend.
This Easter, share the truth and joy of the holiday with someone who doesn’t know Jesus. News of the resurrection is too good to keep to ourselves!
WANTED: FLOWERS FOR EASTER
Help make our Church beautiful this Easter by donating flowers. Any type of spring flowers can be brought to the Church on Fri. April 22, 9-5 or Sat. April 23, 9-Noon. Your generosity is always appreciated.
HELP FOR HELPING HANDS
April is FUMC’s month to help with grocery assistance at Helping Hands Food Pantry. This totally volunteer service assists 300-350 families twice a month. This past year they have moved to a larger building by the Christian Church and are renovating the upstairs for temporary shelter for the needy. They also have a duplex that is providing temporary homes for two families in need. Any amount of time you can help is appreciated. On April 11 and April 25 volunteers are needed from 10:15-11:00 to unload the truck and 11:00-3:00 to sack and handout groceries. In addition, Maria Diminet, the foreign exchange student, is accepting pop cans, nonperishable food items and clothing at FUMC as fundraising for Helping Hands.
ANNUAL CHURCH SPRING CLEANING/PANCAKE BREAKFAST
Volunteers are needed for the annual all church spring cleaning day, Saturday, April 9nd at 8:00 a.m. Methodist men will be providing a Pancake Breakfast. Praise God for spring is around the corner!
CARE PACKAGE MISSION SUNDAY, APRIL 10TH
On April 10th during the Cinnamon Roll Sunday hour the Education Cluster will be leading a mission project to make care packages for our troops and college students. Please look at the following list: College: Snacks, stress relievers, gum, index cards, markers, and microwavable snacks. Service People: Packs of cards, phone card, gum, used books/magazines, travel size toiletries, and sunscreen.
Donate any of these items and place them in the box in the Narthex. Items will be collected through April 10th. During the Cinnamon Roll Sunday hour, those in attendance will be asked to help box the items and make cards for the recipients. If you know of anyone currently serving in the military, please drop their name and address off to the church office. We want to send as many care packages as possible.
MSPS students will be singing in church on Sunday, April 10th at both the 8:30 and 10:45 services. Show your support for the students and families of MSPS as they join us for this special event.
GOOD FRIDAY DAYCAMP
Calling all preschool-5th grade kids! Join us on Friday, April 22, from 8:15-11:30 a.m. for the Good Friday Morning Camp. It will be a fun time to celebrate God’s love. Everyone is welcome, so bring a friend! Although not required, you can pick up a registration form in the Narthex. Turn in completed registration forms to the church office by Wednesday, April 13th. If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering, contact Jill Findley. A few good helpers are wanted to teach children the TRUE meaning of Easter. If you are interested in helping with crafts, snacks, games, or Bible stories contact Jill Findley. Good Friday Morning Camp is open to children in preschool through 5th grade. It is a great way to spend a morning out of school with friends learning about God.
On April 8-9, there is a District UMW Time Apart event at Camp Wesley Woods. Cost is $45 for lodging and meals.
On April 29-May 1 at Honey Creek Resort, Cindy Farrington, Founder of New Hope Ministries, will be giving the program, “Victorious Healing for a Child of the King”. Registration is $55.
On Sunday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the Bussey United Methodist Church come walk through the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Everyone is invited and admission is free.
At this inspirational evening for church youth groups, Gracia will share a message of survival and hope and how we can cope with the trials of life.
For Men…Journey of Hope Breakfast
Saturday, May 7 at 8:00-10:00 a.m.
Held at Door of Faith facility, this is the first annual breakfast for Christian men from area churches who are sincere about exploring becoming a personal mentor to a man in the long-term recovery program.
For Women…2011 Hearts for Hope Women’s Tea Saturday, May 7 at 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
This event for women at the West Des Moines Sheraton Hotel benefits programs and services for the single women and mothers with children at the Hope Family Center.
For additional information and/or registration, go to www.hopeiowa.org, email email@example.com, or call 515-265-7272.
HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS
If you are currently a high school senior who will be graduating in May and attend FUMC, please put your name on the list in the church office as the Education Cluster is updating files, and we want to make sure that we don't miss anyone as we prepare for Senior Sunday in May.
YOUTH GROUP KICKOFF
The Salt and Light Company kicked off on March 20. Eight students ranging from 7th-12th grades enjoyed a great time of fellowship, games, learning, and food. The group will be meeting once per month. The students will be working on some service projects and missions. Watch for news at church from the members on these special events. Encourage all youth in grades 6 through 12 to attend!
As the youth group takes off here at FUMC, we are asking for help in providing snacks. If you would be willing to donate cookies, bars, pop, or other snacks to one of our regular meetings, please contact Katie Bishop or Jill Findley.
YOUTH GROUP SCHEDULE
April 9th - Helping serve pancakes at the UMM breakfast, followed by helping clean the church
April 10th - Salt & Light Company 4-6
May 15th - Salt & Light Company 4-6
June 12th - Salt & Light Company 4-6
July 10th - Salt & Light Company 4-6
July 20th - Wesley Woods Concert Event (more details to come)
Condolences to the family of Worth Stevenson who passed away on Thursday, February 24.
Condolences to the family of Gerald Orr on his passing.
Condolences to the family of Katie Rae Smith on her passing.
Condolences to Pat Marconi and family on the passing of her sister.
Thank you for your prayers, cards and concerns during my resent illness. Cora Rathmel
The family of Worth Stevenson would like to thank our church friends and Pastors for their visits and communion. Your cards, memorials, and prayers were very much appreciated. God Bless. Peg and Girls
Thank you to all who supported MSPS by making donations or purchases during the Spring Fundraiser!
During the Easter season, it is encouraging to see both new and familiar faces at our worship services. Throughout the year, many of you already support the congregation with your time, talent and financial contributions but greater participation is always welcome. We encourage you to look into our electronic giving program. It’s convenient for you and provides much-needed donation consistency for the church. Please contact the church office for details.
OPTIONS FOR FUNDING THE FUTURE…
A story is told about the great composer Rossini. When on tour, he would go from town to town, incorporating the local talent into his concerts. In one town, there was only a singer, and the only note she could sing was B flat. People were sure that at last, Rossini’s great genius had met its match. The time for his concert came at last, and nearly everyone in town was there to see what he could do with this pitiful one-note woman. When the curtain rose, the woman sang her one note, pure and strong. The Rossini’s music floated in, intertwining and swelling, surrounding her note with beauty and perfection, enveloping it in a glorious symphony! This is what God does with us. We need only offer the gifts we have been given, no matter how small. God will do the rest turning it into the very music of the spheres. Lord, help us remember that giving does not empty or drain our resources, but provides a space for You to refill…by Dominquez and Robin - Brought to you in Faith and Love by the Finance Committee –
EASTER SUNDAY IS APRIL 24, 2011
HOLY WEEK OBSERVANCES…
April 21, Maundy Thursday Service, 7:00 p.m.
April 22, Good Friday Service, 7:00 p.m.
April 23-24, Easter Weekend, regular worship (Sat. 5:30, Sunday 8:30, and Sunday 10:45)
APRIL LECTIONARY SCRIPTURE
1 Sam. 16:1-13 Ps. 23 Eph. 5:8-14 John 9:1-41
Ezek. 37:1-14 Ps. 130 Rom. 8:6-11 John 11:1-45
Matt. 21:1-11 Ps. 118:1-2,18-19
Acts 10:34-43 Ps. 118:1-2, 14-24 Col. 3:1-4 John 20:1-18 or
April 30-May 1
Acts 2:14a, 22-32 Ps. 16
1 Pet. 1:3-9 John 20:19-31
John Wesley’s Understanding of Sanctifying Grace and Christian Perfection
Henry H. Knight III
WHAT DOES IT MEAN for us to be created in the image of God? For John Wesley, the “image of God” has three interrelated dimensions. We reflect God’s free agency in the natural image, which gives us understanding, freedom, and affections (or a disposition of the will). We reflect God’s role in governing creation in the political image, our capacity for responsible stewardship. Most importantly, we reflect God’s essential character in the moral image, which is love. God is love. “Accordingly,” says Wesley humanity as originally created was “full of love” as “the sole governing principle of…(all)…tempers, thoughts, words, and actions” (“The New Birth,”I.1).
Due to humanity’s fall into sin, we no longer reflect that fullness of love. We have lost the moral image. Consequently, in our natural image we no longer have the freedom to love as God loves, but instead with have a disposition to put self and things we desire ahead of God and our neighbor. Likewise, in our political image we now misgovern creation, making selfish use of that for which God intended us to care.
The good news is this: God intends to restore us fully to the image in which we were created. It is for that purpose Christ came; it is for that purpose the Holy Spirit is at work. Restoring us to the fullness of love is, says Wesley, the essence of salvation, “a present deliverance from sin, a restoration of the soul to its primitive health, it’s original purity; a recovery of the divine nature" (Farther Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion, Part 1,1.3).
Christian perfection is the goal of salvation. Of course, the word "perfection" can be for us a stumbling block. When Wesley uses the word, he does not mean an absolute perfection from which there can be no improvement. Nor does he mean freedom from errors of judgment or bodily weakness—we remain finite creatures. He also does not mean freedom from temptation (after all, even Jesus underwent temptation). Christian perfection does not mean that everything we do is in keeping with the will of God (what Wesley calls "involuntary transgressions" remain). What he does mean is this:
Entire sanctification, or Christian perfection, is neither more nor less than pure love—love expelling sin and governing both the heart and life of a child of God (Letter to Walter Churchey, Feb. 21,1771).
Only God can enable us to be once again the persons we were created to be. Wesley urges his Methodists to seek earnestly to be filled with God's love and to remain open and receptive to all that God may do in their lives each and every day through sanctifying grace. We can, he says, meet God in those places where God has promised to be: in the words of scripture, in the bread and cup at the Lord's Table, in prayer, and in the neighbor in need. Wesley believes we can all receive greater love than we have yet known, a love that leaves no room for sin in our hearts, and a life that death itself cannot keep us from enjoying through all eternity.
A Time to Celebrate Easter and Grow in Grace
THE MONTH OF APRIL often includes Easter Sunday and part of the Easter Season (which continues from Easter Sunday through the "Great Fifty Days" to Pentecost Sunday). A Wesleyan perspective on Easter includes a focus upon sanctifying grace and Christian perfection. This emphasis reminds us that Easter is not a one-day-a-year experience, but that new life in Christ is a growing, sustaining, expanding pres¬ence. April is a good time to emphasize that Easter is a complete liturgical season, and an Easter faith is a lifetime of growing in God's grace.
One way to teach about growing in grace is to ask long-time, faithful Christians in your congregation to testify in worship or in educational settings. Ask them to share their faith journeys, and their own lives will witness to God's ongoing and con¬tinuing work. Much of our U.S. culture tends toward instant gratification in every-thing, including religious experience. The Wesleyan model of discipleship offers a helpful corrective that faith is also a marathon experience of growing in God's grace over our whole lives.
It is helpful to note that the term "Christian perfection" does not mean being error-free, or perfectionism, but it does mean that God's grace perfects us in love. The whole Easter celebration reminds us that it is the living presence of Jesus Christ that guides us and helps us to grow into Christ's likeness.
The butterfly is a wonderful symbol of both Easter and the transforming, sanc¬tifying grace of God. Perhaps your church will want to use this symbol to teach chil¬dren about God's renewing love. The butterfly also can be a powerful visual for worship and a reminder that the Christian life is meant to be beautiful and not just rigid set of moralisms. Opening our lives to the Spirit of God enables us to be per¬fected in love, in beauty, and in holiness. Such an image helps to overcome the fear that Christian Perfection is about perfectionism.
In the United States, we are blessed that Easter and spring coincide, so it is pos¬sible to celebrate the growth of flowers, the greening of the earth, and the freshness of spring weather as symbols of God's sanctifying grace bringing new life to our lives. In fact, growing a garden is an oft-used image of spiritual formation, as we focus upon opening our lives to God's grace in order to grow in the love of God. Consider this story about Thomas Merton:
Merton told me once to quit trying so hard in prayer. He said: How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun. A small green apple cannot ripen in one night by tightening all its muscles, squinting its eyes and tightening its jaw in order to find itself the next morning miraculously large, red, ripe, and juicy beside its small green counterparts. Like the birth of a baby or the opening of a rose, the birth of the true self takes place in God's time. We must wait for God, we must be awake; we must trust in God's hidden action within us.
James Finney, from Merton's Palace of Nowhere
Hymn by Charles Wesley Love Divine, All Loves Excelling