NSUMC welcomes Pastor Jan Parke
Message from the Pastor...
by Pastor Jan Parke
Our new fall season is almost upon us. The summer brought a mixture of hot and cold weather, and I'm now ready to settle down into fall - my favorite season of the year.
Our Sunday School will kick off the year on September 12, when Rev. Paul Chang, our District Superintendent, will come to preach. We will again have a blessing of the backpacks and a special treat for the students after church.
I want to thank each person who graciously participated in helping provide dinner to the workers at Rockingham Park in July. The workers were overwhelmed with both our food and our friendly service. I thank God that we are able to reach out to our community in this and in other ways. I was so happy with your response that I nearly cried.
This fall will bring other activities to the church. I will be offering a Bible study class on the Gospel of Luke. Stay tuned for the day and time. I would also like to start a drama/choir group for the youth of the church. This would be a group that could do musicals, present skits, or sing, depending on the interest of the group.
I will be serving on a Walk to Emmaus in October. Information about this retreat, sponsored by the Upper Room in Nashville, can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.
The fall season will also include another Blessing of the Animals service. The date will be set soon. This worked so well last year, and I look forward to seeing all our animals at church once again.
Seminary was a long and tiring adventure, and I think you for all your prayers and support during this time. Please accept my deep and sincere thanks for your encouragement as I finished seminary. I was overjoyed to graduate in May and then be Commissioned at Annual Conference. I love my new stole and look forward to wearing it when the weather cools off.
Since this is a presidential election year, I urge each of you to register to vote and then to vote. Voting is an important way that we, as Christians, can give voice to what we believe our country's direction should be.
As I scoot around between North Salem and Raymond, I thank God for putting each person in both congregations into my life. I so enjoy the warm, wonderful, and caring people who make up the congregations. I am excited about this coming year, and I look forward to working again with each of you. God has truly blessed my life through you. My prayer is that we will continue to be a blessing to one another and to our communities. God has blessed each one of us and called us to be the hands and feet of Christ in our community and our world.
As we prepare for the coming of fall and the return to school for the youth, I wish you all the blessings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Message from the Pastor...
by Pastor Jan Parke
Christmas has come and gone, and we are now in the season of Lent, a time of reflection on what Jesus Christ's sacrifice means for each and every one of us. It is time for each of us to examine our own lives and turn away from those things that separate us from God and from one another. The snow is gone, at least for the moment, and the promise of the renewal of spring is in the air. I smelled a skunk on the way to Boston this past week - always a sure sign of the coming of spring.
Lent began with an Ash Wednesday service and lasts through the celebration of Easter. During Holy Week we will have services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. On Easter Sunday morning we will joyously celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I look forward to joining you at the Easter breakfast, as I hear it is quite an event. I also look forward to sharing Holy Week and Easter worship services with you.
I am particularly delighted that I have been reappointed to North Salem UMC for the next year! In addition, I will also become the pastor of the Raymond UMC. It will be wonderful to graduate from seminary and be able to devote my life to full-time ministry.
Each week we gather to worship God and enjoy our Christian community, I realize what a blessing it is for me to be at North Salem United Methodist Church! This is a wonderful community church filled with warm and involved people who make ministry a joy for me. We are in the midst of our annual stewardship drive, when we examine how we will take care of our church and the work that it does. God has blessed each of our lives, and this opportunity to return some of those blessings to the work of God's church. Consecration Sunday will be Sunday, March 28. The worship service will be followed by a dinner.
A few weeks ago, several of us went to see Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ." After the movie, most of us went to St. Luke's UMC in Derry to participate in Holy Communion. While this is not a movie for young children, I would urge those of you who are curious about the movie to go and see it and decide for yourselves what you think about Gibson's presentation of this powerful story of Christ's sacrifice for our sins.
Our youth group continues with its fun and mission-oriented activities. Thank you to all of you who take the time to work with and support the youth of our church! I understand that the skating party and S'mores were wonderful, despite the icy weather.
We have several activities planned for this spring. I have already mentioned our Ash Wednesday service. On Sunday, March 7, we will have an all-church planning meeting and pot luck. This is a chance for us to meet together, share in fellowship (and food) and express our ideas about what we might like to see that church do in the coming years. I am excited to hear many new and exciting creative possibilities for programs, worship, and fellowship opportunities. In the fall, I plan to start a choir and/or drama group for the youth of the church.
March 14 will be "bring your teddy bear to church" Sunday. I urge you to bring extras if you have them so that everyone will have a teddy bear to hug during the worship service. The service will be followed by an opportunity for healing prayers and anointing for those who wish to participate. I will meet with our wonderful Sunday School teachers after that.
I graduate on May 16 and will be commissioned (the first step of ordination) at Annual Conference in June. I thank you all for your support during this last year of seminary. Please do not hesitate to call me at any time - responding to emergency calls at any hour of day or night is an important part of what I am called to do. There are answering machines on both my home and cell phones. As school winds down I will have more and more time to spend on church activities, and I am truly looking forward to this.
As we prepare for the celebrations of Easter, the most holy time in the Christian church year, I wish you all the blessings of the Risen Christ.