October 2019  
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This Week's Events
OCT

14

MON
OCT

17

THU
Community Meal
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Bible Search
Pastor's Monthly Perspective

Grace to you and Peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the first things for a pastor new to a church needs to do is to figure out the activities and habits of the congregation. What events are scheduled, and who attends each one, who does not attend, and why? What happens that is not scheduled, and who are at those happenings, and what power does that hold in the working of the congregation? What should be happening that is not happening, and why?

Here at Sandpoint United Methodist Church I find much of what I expected. It is finding out how they fit together that I am learning. Sunday morning worship is happening, and folks seem to pay attention, and make intelligent reference to what they heard/experienced. Since the few children who do come regularly stay in worship there is no regular children’s Sunday School. There is an active and well attended Adult Study after worship. "The necessary administrative committees are well attended and get the business of the church done." There is a strong and active United Methodist Women’s group. Both the church and the UMW are very active in ministry and mission. There is lot of strong ministry that happens in Sandpoint, and a good bit of outreach all around the globe. I have also noticed in the 2 months I have been here that there are new things happening. You are an active congregation!

As I consider the activities and events we do as a congregation, I like to think of John Wesley's Means of Grace. John and brother Charles Wesley were founders of the Methodist movement in 18th century England. John Wesley taught that God's grace is unearned and we are not to be idle waiting to experience grace but we are to engage in the means of grace. The means of grace are ways God works invisibly in disciples, hastening, strengthening and confirming faith so that God’s grace pervades in and through what we do.

Means of Grace can be divided into Works of Piety, and Works of Mercy. Works of Piety are those ways in which are nurtured by God’s grace; Works of Mercy are ways in which God’s grace within us produce fruits of compassion and mercy in the world. Both are necessary in a Christian life and witness.

Works of Piety

Individual Practices – reading, meditation and studying scriptures; prayer, fasting; regularly attending worship; healthy living; and sharing our faith with others.

Communal Practices – regularly attending worship, praying and sharing sacraments; Christian conferencing (accountability to one another); and Bible study.

Works of Mercy

Individual Practices – doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving generously to the needs of others.

Communal Practices – seeking justice, ending oppression and discrimination, addressing the needs of the poor.

In God’s grace, Pastor Jo Dene