Monday, April 29, 2013

New Tidings

The May/June issue of our newsletter is now available on our website.
Sermons have been added as well.

This Sunday is our Communion Breakfast

Hello Everyone!

This coming Sunday, May 5 is our Communion Breakfast Sunday.  There will NOT be Sunday School, and the congregation will sit at tables with families and friends during the service.  Following the sermon and communion, we will all share in breakfast for the remainder of the service and into fellowship time.

Thank you to all those who have already signed up to bring something to share at the breakfast.

For anyone who did not have the opportunity to sign-up, please find below a short list of items still needed. If you choose to donate something, items should be brought to church by 9:30 on Sunday morning please.

Items still needed:
Apple Juice - 2 bottles
Grapes (3 lbs) - 4 bags
Baked Goods (no nuts)

Please send a reply with what you intend to donate.

Thank you!
Irene Fitzgerald

Office Manager
North United Methodist Church
300 Parker Street
Manchester, CT 06042

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Together in Christ a letter from Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar

Easter 2013

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord!

As we read the Gospel stories of the first Easter morning, we see different kinds of reactions and responses to the Easter. Many of the early players in the resurrection story were not able to understand the Easter at first glance. Some of them were terrified, some were confused, and some were filled with sadness. However, as we read the Gospels we soon realize that it was only when the disciples encountered the Resurrected Christ in person that things changed! Some of the doubting and confused followers of Jesus became the witnessing community!

As we reflect upon these stories around the first Easter morning in the context of the 21st century, we need to acknowledge that the climate around us today is not much different from that first Easter morning. Reactions and responses to Easter are varied, even today. Many in the world, and sadly some in the Church too, look at Easter in terms of Easter bunnies, Easter candies, and Easter lilies. Though these things may be a part of the celebration, they are not the main subject of the Easter message. Though we may share the message of Easter in many powerful ways, one of those messages may be found in our hymnal: "Christ the Lord is risen today, alleluia" (Charles Wesley). As baptized Christians, it is our responsibility as Easter people not only to sing this but to proclaim this message to the world through our prayers and actions. Therefore, as we celebrate Easter, may we ask the following questions of ourselves:

  • What does Easter mean to me?
  • In what ways do I experience the resurrected Christ?
  • As people of God (the Church), in what ways do we enable our neighbors to experience the resurrected Christ? 

It is my hope that all of us ponder these questions prayerfully so we may all blossom for the glory of God, filled with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

One of the amazing factors of Easter is that the Risen Christ took time to answer all the questions posed to him and quenched the doubts of the people by addressing their questions. The people around us in their search for faith do ask questions! During his earthly ministry, the Risen Christ encountered and engaged people from various backgrounds such as Zacchaeus, the Samaritan woman, and a legal expert who came to him with the question “What must I do to gain eternal life?” (Luke 10:25) by showing them the marks of the reign of God through deeper dialogue. Likewise, may we as a Church take faith questions in the spirit in which they are asked and do our best to answer them in the spirit of the Risen Christ.

As I am writing this message, I am also asking myself how I, as your brother in Christ and as your Episcopal leader, am doing in this area. It is very important for us to be honest with one another and answer the questions that are being asked of us to the best of our ability and knowledge.

One question I have been asked in some quarters is what I meant when I said in one of my recent letters in regard to the Boy Scouts of America’s position on inclusion of homosexuals, " We recognize that there are many strong opinions and considerations on many sides of this issue, and my prayer is that we will be faithful to the Scriptures and to our social principles, and that our words and actions will witness to the world that we are the church of Jesus Christ.” What I meant by this was that the 2012 Book of Discipline states, "We affirm that God's grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry with all persons." (¶161 F)

I truly appreciate your care in asking me to clarify what I meant. It really means a lot to me. I hope and pray that as Easter people, we remain in dialogue with one another as people of God.

Prema joins me in wishing you and your loved ones a blessed, joyful, and powerful Easter.

Your brother-in-Christ,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar