Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ongoing Health Kits for Haiti Collection

The New England Conference is in the process of setting up drop off locations in each district so that individual churches do not have to ship kits directly to the UMCOR depot. North UMC will collect items from its members(or anyone else) and drop them off to the nearest location.

Items may either be dropped off at the church as individual items or put together as kits.

To assemble a kit:
UMCOR requests that the following NEW items be placed in a sealed one-gallon plastic bag.
  • 1 hand towel (15” x 25” up to 17” x 27”. No kitchen towels.
  • 1 washcloth
  • 1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
  • 1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
  • 1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz. and up)
  • 1 toothbrush (single brushes only in original wrapper, no child-size brushes)
  • 6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages
  • $1.00 to purchase toothpaste

(NOTE: Toothpaste is purchased in bulk to be added to health kits to ensure that the product does not expire before they are sent.)

Because the emergency kits are carefully planned to make them usable in the greatest number of situations and strict rules govern product entry into international countries, UMCOR requires that the kits contain only the requested items – nothing more.

Sermons Online

Sermons from January 10th and 17th are now online.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti Update

There are now buttons on the homepage of our website that link directly to

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Alpha Update

Here are topics for the next three weeks (January 14th, 21st and 28th.)
  1. Introductory Session: Is there more to life than this?
  2. Session 2 Who is Jesus?
  3. Session3 Why did Jesus die?
People may come to any of the sessions but will find them so interesting that they will want to come to all eleven!

We begin at 6:00 with dinner; (Dinner is important because the learning community that is being formed is formed around the Jesus model of table fellowship) 6:30 lecture of the day; 7:00 small group discussions. 7:30 session ends.

Cost is $5:00 for manual and $3 per session for dinner.

There is one weekend away (Friday night through Saturday evening) where we discuss the work of the Holy Spirit. I am hoping that we can use a nearby seminary like Hartford, or a monastery or convent for this overnight session.

Bishop Weaver Calls for Prayer for Haiti

Bishop Peter D. Weaver of the New England Annual Conference is calling all New England United Methodists to prayer for the people of Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake there.

Support for relief efforts can be made to Haiti Emergency: UMCOR Advance # 418325

For more information on the situation and the relief efforts, read the UMNS news story here:

UMCOR Responds to the Earthquake in Haiti

January 13, 2010 -- A major earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti yesterday, causing widespread destruction. Millions of people are affected and thousands are feared dead. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has close ties with the Methodist Church in Haiti and is responding to the devastating earthquake with funding, material resources and prayers.

UMCOR executive, Melissa Crutchfield says, “We are working with our partners on the ground to provide immediate relief to the people in Haiti. UMCOR has worked in Haiti for many years. We anticipate that there will be years of rebuilding needed and are prepared to work with the people to help them through that process.”

Working with partners, Action by Churches Together, Church World Service, Global Medic and the Methodist Church, UMCOR is channeling its resources to respond effectively to the people most in need.

In a statement to Global Ministries staff, the General Secretary said, “Events such as these can challenge both our faith and sense of security. As a church we know that the heart of our ministry is continuing and extending Jesus Christ’s ministry of outreaching love.”

Staff and Volunteers in Haiti
Volunteers from at least six different United Methodist annual (regional) conferences are in Haiti on mission trips. An email from two Kansas East volunteers reports they are safe in the guest house and, “We have a bunch of refugees in the front had have been giving first aid to those who were hurt, but we cannot get them anywhere at this time. There will be many deaths but it happened right before dark so rescue efforts are hampered. Some phone service and no police or UN radios working.”

Volunteers in Mission (VIM) executive, Clint Rabb, consultant, Jim Gulley and Sam Dixon, the top executive for UMCOR are in Haiti. Says UMCOR executive, Tom Hazelwood, “We have conflicting reports that say they were in a car on the way to the airport and another that they were in the Montana Hotel. We don’t have any absolute confirmation at this time and have not heard from them, but will be sure to communicate any news. Please continue praying.”

How to Help
There will be a great need for volunteers to help rebuild once the initial crisis has settled. At this time, it is not safe or possible for volunteers to go to Haiti. In order to frame a response that is consistent with the churches’ needs, people wishing to volunteer should contact their jurisdictional VIM coordinator to determine when and how to appropriately respond.

Gifts to support UMCOR's Haiti Relief efforts can be made to Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance #418325. Checks can be made to UMCOR with Advance #418325 Haiti Emergency in the memo line. Checks can be put in the church's offering plate or mailed to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. 100% of gifts made to this advance will go to help the people of Haiti.

UMCOR Sager Brown is coordinating a shipment of health kits to provide individuals with basic necessities. Instructions for assembling and shipping health kits are available at .

Bishop Peter D. Weaver of the New England Annual Conference is calling all New England United Methodists to prayer for the people of Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake there.

Please pray for all of the people affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Thank you for your faithful support for all of God’s children.

For continued updates visit

United Methodist Federal Credit Union Update

The merger between New England UMFCU and United Methodist FCU has been successfully completed and with that, brings many new opportunities for financial services and products for our individuals, churches and affiliated organizations within the New England UM Conference. Benefits include a multitude of lending products, including Visa’s, auto, home and church loans, as well as savings products including savings, checking, Money Market, Christmas, certificates, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s). Also available to our churches are “Membership Rewards”, a great way to earn additional funds and share the benefits of UMFCU membership. The office in Westbrook ME is open, along with extended member service support with the headquarters in CA. You may call 800-245-0433 or 866-303-6386 (New England Branch) or visit our website at for more information on what you now have available to you and your church.

We would also like to announce that Shelly Page, who has been with the New England UMFCU for 13 years, has accepted a new position with a credit union in Sabattus, Maine. We thank Shelly for her dedicated contribution to NE UMFCU and wish her success in her new professional journey.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


A New Heaven and A New Earth

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” Rev. 21:1

Today, in this New Year, I begin life anew.
Today I am born to a fresh, new, bright, glorious day and year.
This new year has never been lived before and will never be lived again.
I enter into this new year with enthusiasm, knowing that the Presence of God uplifts and enlightens me.
I bring into this new year only intelligence, wisdom, peace, joy and understanding.
New courage, new strength, new life are mine to share.
I am adding to this new year new ideas, new methods, new thoughts and new attitudes.
Today I am rich in radiant health, infinite Abundance and Love.
The beauty, warmth, color, protection and comfort of God’s loving presence fills me with a deep sense of peace, joy, and security.
I pour into every moment of this new year the wonderful blessings that abound for me.
My cup runneth over. This is indeed my year of fulfillment.
Today I am living in a new heaven and earth.
Thank you father, for this new year. And so it is.

Adapted from “Your Needs Met” Jack & Cornelia Adding-ton © 1966 DeVorss & Co., Marina Del Ray, CA

On-Going SCRIP Gift Card Fundraising Update

Thank you to everyone who made their Christmas Gift Card purchases through North Church.

Great Work!! $1491.52 RAISED TO DATE!

Keep those orders coming, and tell your friends and family about it too!!

Cards may be ordered each Sunday between and after services or by contacting
Anita Haynes at 860-646-3926 or 860-712-9991.
Cards are available for pick-up on the following Sunday.

Scrip is a fund-raising tool through which families generate revenue through purchases they would make anyway. Groceries, clothing, toys, gifts, even gasoline can be purchased with scrip.

NUMC buys the scrip gift cards from Great Lakes Scrip Center at a discount, and re-sells them to our organization members for full face value. The discount - from two to fifteen percent or more - is a rebate retained by NUMC as revenue. It’s that easy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thank You

Pastor Laurel and Family at North,

Merry Christmas!

Thank you so much for the monetary gifts of $6,330.64 in 2009, the volunteers, the food, and the clothing.

Your wonderful Basket for the Fashion Show helped us to raise over $13,000. Wow!

Thank you,
Beth Stafford
Executive Director, MACC Charities

Letter from the Pastor’s Desk

I thank God for all of you and all the gifts that you bring into our lives together. In our Christmas Eve service of Holy Communion, I saw the face of Christ in each and every one of you as you came forward to receive the sacrament and it blessed me tremendously, even those who found it uncomfortable to look at me.

At the beginning of a New Year it is customary to look forward to the exciting new future that
we are together creating with God, and normally I would invite us to cast our eyes for-ward at this time to where we hear God calling us to be. But first at this time, I am forced into looking backward to a place where we have been and where it seems, some of us are stuck. It’s about worship and the amount of time we take to worship God.

It is clear to me and has been for a very long time that worship is not about us, but about God. Worship is the central activity of the Christian faith and it is the time that we come together as a corporate body to give to God praise and adoration. When we enter the sanctuary we need to leave everything outside of that holy place except for hearts open and prepared to worship God so that we can give to God our all – all our attention, all our praise, all our hearts, souls, lives.

I have found that whenever my mind is on other things it is not on God. According to a universal law of physics, two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. So if, during our worship we find ourselves focused on anything else, that is a missed opportunity for focusing on God, and we are in fact adulterating our relationship with God by attending to something else other than God.(Third, Ninth commandments)

As the Christmas Eve 11 pm service went longer than 60 minutes, at least one person thought it important to comment that “Rev. Scott has yet to learn how to do a 60 minute service.” And while we often get tired praising God, God never gets tired receiving our praises. Thank God that He also doesn’t get tired of us!

I might have missed many things in seminary, but the 60-minute service was not one of them. I have spent the last ten years in a formal educational setting learning about God and the things of God. Nowhere in that ten years or among any of the many respected and wise persons who have been my teachers have I been taught that God will punish me for holding a service of worship to God for longer than an hour. For pretending to worship I will be held accountable, for misleading the people, I will be held accountable and for failing to preach and teach the truth I will be held accountable, but not for taking a service past 60 minutes.

In fact the focus of worship is not time (chronos) which is a human concept of measurement, but rather season (kairos) which is a God-generated. The heart of the matter is whether we hold nothing back in giving praise and adoration to God who gives all things, among which, is time. God seeks true worshipers to worship him in spirit and in truth.( Read John Chapter 4)
Why do we find it so difficult to revel in the things of God and in the household of God and to give back to God who has so generously given to us? Why do we keep wanting to put God into a 60-minute box, when God is infinite?

If I am to be faulted, let me be faulted for having kept a service of worship just a little longer on an occasion such as the celebration of the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A special occasion. One of the highest, holiest days of the Christian calendar, for God deserves everything that we have.

And that is where you will find me, today, tomorrow …pointing the way to God, calling us back to God, not allowing us to relegate God to a side show. With God’s help and by God’s power you can look for me to stand on God’s side and to engage in God’s mission to save us from ourselves. That’s where the future is. That is what I look forward to, and I invite you to join me in a glorious future of never-ending praise to God.

A New Thing

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-20

As the people of God we should expect new things, great new things; marvelous new things for that is the nature of the God we serve. Not that God self becomes new, for God is. (Active verb in the present tense). “I am that I am” he said to Moses.

What becomes new is our perception of God. That perception expands, unfolds and becomes new. It is always more than it was, and that is our perception of God. God is infinite, impenetrable so there is always more. As human beings we will be able to perceive new aspects of God, will be able to expand our awareness of God, so that the God we serve and worship today has to our perception been expanded and evolved, from what it used to be previously.

God does the improbable and the impossible – making a way in the desert, and streams in the wasteland. God has always “done a new thing” for the people who are prepared to expect a new thing and who are open to a new thing.

As the year 2010 dawns, many of us are preparing resolutions. “I resolve to improve myself by this, that, or the other thing”, we tell ourselves. Too soon though we forget what we have resolved to do; we lose sight or enthusiasm for our goals and we slip back into old, time-worn habits that bring us the same old results. It is not that we don’t want to change – we do, but we are often not prepared to do what it takes to get the different result or to experience the change we desire. A popular local radio announcer ends his morning show with the following greeting: “Remember if you do what you have always done you will get what you have always got… The change that we desire in our lives must start with us.”

Our perception of life must change if we are to experience the better life that we desire. We are to perceive the new thing that God is doing in order to have a different experience in life. What is it that we want to do? Have? Experience? Achieve?

Now, let’s get one thing straight. We cannot change others. Change is a project that is performed on the self. So it is no use wishing and hoping and thinking and praying that for example, your spouse or partner will change, or that your teacher or boss will change or that your children will change, or your neighbors, or your pastor…

As Jesus our teacher said, we should clean the inside of the cup and the outside will surely be clean. The change occurs inside of us, and is reflected on the outside. I know some are saying I have changed by attitude, change my approach, done everything I know I can do and still things have not changed. To which I say, hang on until the change comes. It is a process, not an event. And when you have made the necessary changes, the situation, circumstances and people around you will change – but be careful what you hope and pray for. Sometimes change does not come to us in the form in which we expect it.

That is the story of many of the people of God – those of us who fail to perceive the new thing that God is doing. We long for change, but when it comes, we fail to perceive it and fail to act on it or in concert with it, so we continue to experience the difficulties and failures that we have become accustomed to. Don’t fall into that trap. Learn to wait patiently on God for as they say in the African American gospel song – “He’s an on-time God, yes he is. He may not come when you want him, but he’ll be there right on time, He’s an on-time God, yes he is.”

Here’s praying that in 2010 we perceive the new things that God is doing and receive them on time – God’s time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

January Tidings Online

The January issue of Tidings, our North United Methodist Church newsletter is now online on our website.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Today's Sermon Online

Listen to "A New Creation" online, the January 3, 2009 sermon for North United Methodist Church on a fine snowy day here in Manchester, CT.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Fellowship Planning Party Reminder


I'm sending a reminder that Dave and I will be hosting an adult fellowship planning party on :
Saturday, 1/2/2010 at 7:00 PM
35 Country Club Dr.
Manchester, CT 06040

Please feel free to come even if you haven't signed up. ( I never signed up, but am going anyway! )

Our friends Debbie, Jeffrey, and Becca Hayman will also be coming. They used to host many events, so let's see what we can "volunteer" them for. They live in NYC now-lots to do there!
Please call with any questions. We'll be having appetizers, beverages of all sorts, dessert and coffee.

If you'd like to come, but need transportation-we can provide that too.

Ryan got a new skateboard, and our dog is very strong. You just sit on the board, and he'll bring you to the front door. Or, we can arrange to have someone pick you up and bring you home in a car if you'd prefer.

We really miss our old fellowship times, and are looking forward to seeing as many of you who can come.

If you can't come, but have some ideas, please be sure to let us know.

As always, if you don't come- you know the deal- you be volunteered in absentia-so be forewarned!!!!

We're looking to a great year at North Church with renewed energy and the Christmas spirit continuing to glow in our hearts.

See you on Saturday or in church.
Becky Harris