As we enter November and the month of Thanksgiving, Psalm 103 reminds us not to forget all the benefits/blessings of the Lord. The old gospel song reminds us, “Count Your Blessings, Name Them One by One”. The Psalmist is surely remembering and “counting blessings”. Here are just a few mentioned. God forgives all your sins. As far as the east is from the west, He has removed our transgressions from us! God heals all your diseases (now or in eternity). God redeems us. God crowns us with love and compassion. He satisfies our desires with good things. In the most difficult times, the Psalmist challenges us to forget not the ways God has blessed our lives. As we move toward Thanksgiving, I hope we all might take some moments of deep reflection and worship and perhaps create our own list of the ways God has worked in our lives. Then further, share it with someone else. Perhaps you can create your own personalized version of Psalm 103. Bless the Lord, O my soul! And forget not all His benefits even as we walk through times of difficulty as we are now.
Many of you may not have attended either of the Information Meetings I presented. The first one was in May following Bishop Graves Video Q-A. The second Information Meeting in September followed Bishop Graves gatherings with laity and clergy. I am placing information from the September meeting and other pertinent facts about the present issues facing the church on our webpage. I encourage you to read the information here and the links below. In addition, our Conference website (awfumc.org) has information regarding Staying UMC and regarding the disaffiliation process. We have published in our bulletins, and made announcements in worship services, that there are two back-to-back meetings coming up on Sunday, November 6th. The first meeting is at 4 pm and will be led by Dr. Debora Bishop. This meeting will give information regarding staying UMC. The second meeting at 5 pm will be led by Dr. Larry Bryars and will give information regarding other options moving forward. Both meetings will be held in the Sanctuary and childcare is provided.
We continue to pray as we come closer to making some initial decisions about discernment in late November at our Council. I remind you that the decision from our Council is about whether or not to start a more formal discernment process. The church has been opened for months to encourage prayer for direction. Again, I urge you to read the information I am posting on our website. Despite these struggles, we have much to thank God for. I hope we will not forget all God’s benefits to us in the greater prayer for a blessed Thanksgiving for all our families.