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Next in-person worship service scheduled for June 7th
See the BLACK navigation bar below for access to June Communion Special Instructions
DISCONTINUED FOR JUNE:
Sunday School, Lunch Bunch, Food Pantry (will resume in August), Line Dancing, Choir and Practice (will resume in August), Men's Breakfasts, and Fellowship Dinners.
Bishop David Graves, in conjunction with the Alabama-West Florida cabinet, is recommending the cancellation of all in-person worship and church meetings through June 1, 2020. That means our next in-person worship will be June 7th and our next in-person Wednesday night service will be June 4th.
Please consult the church Facebook page for changes. The Administrative Council has elected a special committee to evaluate the state of affairs in our area on a weekly basis. We will keep you posted on rescheduled activities and any changes.
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John Wesley's Words
The best thing of all is God is with us.
Easter for Christians is not just one day, but rather a 50-day period. The season of Easter, or Eastertide, begins at sunset on the eve of Easter and ends on Pentecost, the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church (see Acts 2).
Easter is also more than just an extended celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. In the early church, Lent was a season for new converts to learn about the faith and prepare for baptism on Easter Sunday. The initial purpose of the 50-day Easter season was to continue the faith formation of new Christians.
Today, this extended season gives us time to rejoice and experience what it means when we say Christ is risen. It's the season when we remember our baptisms and how through this sacrament we are, according to the liturgy, "incorporated into Christ's mighty acts of salvation." As "Easter people," we also celebrate and ponder the birth of the Church and gifts of the Spirit (Pentecost), and how we are to live as faithful disciples of Christ.
This content was produced by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon particular individuals — prophets, priests and kings. The prophet Joel anticipated the day when the Messiah would give the Holy Spirit to everyone (Joel 2:28).
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, John the baptizer called everyone to repentance and offered a baptism for the forgiveness of sins in preparation for the one who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:11, NRSV) When John baptized Jesus, the Spirit of God descended on Jesus as a dove, and a voice came from heaven saying "This is my son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22)
Pentecost ties together John's prophecy that Jesus would baptize his followers "with the Holy Spirit and fire;" and Jesus' post-Resurrection commission to "Go ... make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...." (Matthew 28:19-20). Acts 1:4-11 and Acts 2:1-4 tell of the fulfillment of the promise and command as 3,000 people believed in Jesus Christ, repented of their sins and received "the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:37-41).
In the early Methodist movement, as in the early church, the Wesley brothers found that the baptism of repentance from sin and the desire for salvation from sin (justifying grace) was separated from the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire leading to spiritual maturity (sanctifying grace). John and Charles Wesley wanted everyone to understand and experience the joy of full salvation, growth in grace and perfect love for God and neighbor (Christian perfection). They wrote sermons and hymns to help the people of their time understand the difference.
From the beginning, The United Methodist Church has taught and encouraged every child of God to receive every gift of God, including gifts of the Spirit. The denomination's most specific teaching is found in The Book of Resolutions Guidelines: The UMC and the Charismatic Movement. It provides clear definitions of important terms and provides biblical, historical and theological context.
Written by Rev. Thomas R. Albin, director of spiritual formation and congregational life for The Upper Room, Discipleship Ministries. This article was originally published in Interpreter magazine, May-June 2011.
There is a list posted in the Fellowship Hall of food pantry needs. Please donate to this wonderful community ministry.
Food Pantry Needs
Personal items: soap, deodorant, Tooth paste & brushes
Pasta - Spaghetti Noodles
Mashed potatoes - dehydrated
Spaghetti Sauce/ Pasta sauce
Crackers (Individual tubes in boxes)
Cans of soup or ramen noodles
- Chicken breast
- Spaghetti and meat balls or raviolis
- Green Beans, Corn - any kind, Peas
- Any other beans (Baked or pork and beans)
Breakfast cereal - any kind
If you do not wish to shop for the food Pantry, CASH donations are gratefully accepted, and the food pantry committee will do the shopping.
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The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a collection of associated congregations of Protestantism whose doctrine and beliefs are motivated by the spirit and teachings of John Wesley. George Whitefield and John Wesley's brother Charles Wesley were also significant early leaders in the movement. Early Methodists consisted of all levels of society, including the aristocracy, but the Methodist preachers brought the teachings to laborers and criminals who were likely left outside of organized religion at that time. In Britain, the Methodist Church had a considerable impact in the early decades of the developing working class.
The Methodist Church began as a reformation of the Church of England.
The Methodist movement started with a collection of men, including John Wesley and his younger brother Charles, as an act of reform within the Church of England in the 18th century. The Wesley brothers originated the "Holy Club" at the University of Oxford, where John was an associate and later an instructor at Lincoln College. The group met weekly and methodically set about living a holy life. They preferred to receive Communion every week, abstain from most forms of amusement and luxury and commonly visit the sick and the poor. The fellowship was stigmatized as "Methodist" by their fellow classmates because of the way they used "rule" and "method" to determine their religious convictions. John, who was the leader of the club, took the attempted mockery and turned it into a title of honor.
Wesley did not intend to split from the Church of England.
Initially, the Methodists simply sought reform within the Church of England. As Methodist congregations multiplied, and elements of a distinct theology were adopted, the rift between John Wesley and the Church of England steadily expanded.
In 1784, Wesley responded to the lack of priests in the colonies due to the American Revolutionary War by anointing preachers with authority to administer the sacraments. This was a significant reason for Methodism's eventual split from the Church of England after Wesley's death. This separation created a distinct group of church denominations. With regard to the occurrence of Methodism within Christianity, John Wesley once noted that "what God had achieved in the development of Methodism was no mere human endeavor but the work of God. As such it would be preserved by God so long as history remained."
Wesley taught four key points fundamental to the Methodist Church.
1) A person is free not only to reject salvation but also to accept it by an act of free will.
2) All people who are obedient to the gospel according to the measure of knowledge given them will be saved.
3) The Holy Spirit assures a Christian of their salvation directly, through an inner "experience" (assurance of salvation).
4) Christians in this life are capable of Christian perfection and are commanded by God to pursue it.
Wesley wrote one of the bestselling medical texts of all-time.
Wesley was deeply convicted that God is concerned about our earthly life as well as our heavenly one. To that end, he wrote a medical text for the everyday person titled Primitive Physick
. The book discussed the contemporary knowledge about home health remedies and went through 32 editions, making it one of the most widely read books in England. Many of Wesley's suggestions for healthy living remain commonly confirmed. The most significant portion of his philosophy was his conviction on continual observation to support hypotheses.
John Wesley's Concept of God's Grace
The Bible teaches us that everything we have from God is given because of God's great love for us. United Methodists recognize God's grace at work throughout our spiritual journeys.
John Wesley wrote and preached about the role of God's grace to prepare us, redeem us, and continually shape us into the people we were created to be. He taught that our entire spiritual lives are an act of God's grace. He names at least three periods in our spiritual development and the ways God's grace is at work during those times - prevenient grace, justifying grace, and sanctifying grace.
Prevenient grace: God at work before we know it
When we consider the circumstances that led to us coming to faith in Jesus Christ, we begin to see the hand of God at work in our lives long before we were aware of the Spirit's presence. Those who showed us the healing, forgiveness, and restoration available by faith in Jesus Christ came to us by God's prevenient grace. The word prevenient comes from a Latin root word that means to precede. Prevenient grace then is simply the grace that comes before.
Justifying grace: God making things right
The grace with which we are most familiar is what Wesley called justifying grace. The Bible tells us, "All have sinned and fall short of God's glory" (Romans 3:23). Try as we might, we cannot be good enough. We need God to make things right between us, to justify us.
Sanctifying: Growing in grace
The word sanctify means "to make holy." God's sanctifying grace shapes us more and more into the likeness of Christ. As the Holy Spirit fills our lives with love for God and our neighbor, we begin to live differently. Sanctifying grace signifies to us that we haven't arrived. As the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:2, "be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what Gods will is - what is good and pleasing and mature."
The Wesleyan Quadrilateral
Building on the Anglican theological tradition, John Wesley added a fourth emphasis, experience. The resulting four components or "sides" of the quadrilateral are (1) Scripture, (2) tradition, (3) reason, and (4) experience. For United Methodists, Scripture is considered the primary source and standard for Christian doctrine. Tradition is experience and the witness of development and growth of the faith through the past centuries. Experience is the individual's understanding and appropriating of the faith in the light of his or her own life. Through reason the individual Christian brings to bear on the Christian faith discerning and cogent thought. These four elements taken together bring the individual Christian to a mature and fulfilling understanding of the Christian faith and the required response of worship and service.
Grace United Methodist Church
7450 Three Notch Road
Mobile, AL 36619
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