Sherri's Message
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April 7, 2016, 12:21 PM

April 7, 2017

 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” -- Colossians 3:17 ESV

The grapevine is a funny thing. Seems there’s a rumor going around that I’m leaving my appointment.  The rumor is not true and I anticipate being reappointed to the Cornerstone District for a sixth year.  However, I will be taking a spiritual renewal leave in the summer or fall of this year.  The Book of Discipline allows for superintendents to take a renewal leave and Bishop Webb requires superintendents to take a leave, preferably in their fourth or fifth year.  I will keep you all apprised as details unfold.

During my leave another superintendent will provide coverage for me and Cathy Hall, our District Assistant, will continue to be in the office to work with you and answer your day-to-day questions.

Sound, healthy communication is essential in all that we do.  I hope that we all will work together to improve our communication so that it builds up the Body of Christ.  If you have a question or concern, please call or email me.  I’m always happy to talk with you. 

On another note…

I’ll never forget the time someone said to me, “Charity begins at home.  It’s in the Bible.”  I have yet to find the citation for that text, but I do find many places where we are urged to care for others and give to help ease the suffering of God’s people.  At annual conference last year Bishop Webb challenged each church in the conference to raise $1,000 for Africa 360.  Africa 360 is our conference commitment to raise one million dollars to eradicate malaria through The United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria campaign and one million dollars to fund eight scholarships in perpetuity at Africa University.  If every church in the conference raised $1,000, we would meet our goal.

To date, 8 of the 71 churches of the Cornerstone District have participated in this challenge.  Our district is in last place.  Now, I don’t give a hoot about competition.  But I do care greatly about our support of conference missions which we, as a body, voted to support.  And I do care about us living out Jesus’ call to minister to the last, the least and the lost.

If your church has not planned an offering or event in support of Africa 360, I ask that you do so before Annual Conference.  There’s still time and there are many resources available on the UNYAC website.  Laurel O’Connor, our conference field coordinator for Africa 360, is also more than willing to help you plan an event.  Please give Laurel a call or send her an email to ask her advice and to also make sure she is recording your church’s contribution.

I believe every church, no matter how large or small, can do something to support this important ministry.  For example, the Gerry-Celoron Charge challenged themselves to raise $200 throughout the month of December and exceeded their goal!  Thank you Gerry and Celoron for stepping out in faith and making a difference!

The Africa 360 campaign will come to a close at annual conference this year.  Let’s support these important missions.  God is abundantly generous to us. May we be generous in our giving. 

Prayerfully yours,

Sherri




April 7, 2016, 9:34 AM

March 31, 2016

"Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!

Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!

Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!

Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!"

           -- "Christ the Lord is Risen Today,"  verse 2

 

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! For power? For glory? For riches?

No.

For love. That we might know God's great love for us. That we might know God loves us more than we can imagine.

In a world full of hate, fear-mongering and selfishness, the love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ offers a message of love and grace. We no longer need to fear. God's love is real and we are set free.

What a message we have to share! Alleluia!

Prayerfully yours,

Sherri




March 23, 2016, 11:00 AM

March 23, 2016

“Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.”  John 13:1-5

Jesus knows death is waiting for him. What does he do? Does he sit back and let the disciples wait on him? Does he say, “Time is short, tell me how great I am! Tell me what you’ve learned from me?” Does he weep and wail?  No. He takes off his robe, pours water in a basin, kneels on the floor and washes the feet of the disciples.

Jesus wants to leave his disciples with this powerful image: True leaders are servant leaders. Jesus wants his followers to be people who humbly demonstrate their love and care not just in word, but in action. He wants his disciples to be people who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and not shy away from active ministry. Most of all, he wants his disciples to know his love in a meaningful and tangible way.

“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

How do we, as the church, live out humble servant ministry? When people come to worship, do you genuinely welcome them, or do you quietly criticize where they sit or what they wear or their parenting style? Do you pray for others or just gossip about them? If your church or community has a food pantry or other outreach, do you take time to get to know people by name and learn their story? How do we do the equivalent of foot washing in our world today?

Jesus calls us to be servant leaders, to give without thought of ourselves in the service of others. In doing so, we will bring glory to God.  We will also find incredible blessing.

Prayerfully yours,

Sherri

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March 16, 2016, 3:32 PM

March 17, 2016

29When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”                           Luke 19


This Sunday we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. People waved palm branches (John 12:13) and some threw their cloaks on the road as a way to honor Jesus as he rode by on a young colt. In our world we roll out the red carpet to honor dignitaries and movie stars.  Cameras flash as the paparazzi shout questions and try to get the attention of the lucky few who walk the red carpet. 

I imagine laying your cloak in the road for a colt to walk on was no small gesture. People didn’t have a closet full of clothing like we do today.  Those who owned a single cloak were probably considered fortunate, so the idea of spreading it on the ground to create a path was an extravagant action.  Those that didn’t have cloaks used palm branches.  The point of the action was to honor Jesus as their king. As Jesus rode along, the people shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"  

It didn’t take long for the crowd to turn on Jesus.  After only a few days the shouts of hosanna quickly turned into shouts to have him crucified.  We have a tendency to shy away from this part of the story.  We’d rather skip that bad stuff and move from the “Hosannas” of Palm Sunday to the Easter Sunday shouts that “Christ is risen!”   As tempting as it is, we must travel through the shadow of the cross on Friday in order to find the empty tomb on Easter Sunday morning.

What extravagant action will you take this week to acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and Savior?  Will you be vulnerable and share with another person what following Christ means to you?  Will you open yourself to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit?  Will you make time to be God’s hands in feet in the world?

May we be as extravagant in our discipleship as the people were that day on the road into Jerusalem. 

Prayerfully yours,

Sherri




March 10, 2016, 12:00 AM

March 10, 2016

29 Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say. 30 Don’t make the Holy Spirit of God unhappy—you were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31 Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. 32 Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ. -- Ephesians 4:29-32 (CEB)


A recent news article stated that nasty political campaigns are nothing new. For centuries politicians have bad mouthed one another.

While that may be true, I don’t believe it gives our current presidential candidates the right to be foul and nasty. I’ve watched some of the debates. It feels more like being on a junior high school playground than watching people who aspire to be the leader of our nation. I’m embarrassed for our nation by their antics.

Sadly, I’ve been in church meetings that have been filled with angry accusations and bitterness. And these same churches wonder why new people don’t want to be a part of their church. It’s no mystery to me.

What would our world would be like if we took Paul’s words to heart? What if we were kind, compassionate and forgiving? What if we didn’t let foul words come out of our mouths or we didn’t shout angry and slanderous words at one another?

As followers of Jesus, we have the power to be counter-cultural and not play the spiteful and angry language game. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

Let’s show the world with our actions what it looks like to follow Jesus. Anger, shouting and slander would be good things to give up for Lent.

Prayerfully yours,

Sherri

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