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Mt Carmel United Methodist Church
February 12, 2014
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Pray for a Tornado

My first few weeks at Mt Carmel were packed with lunches. I had lunch or coffee with almost every committee chair, and lunch with those the Staff Parish committee thought would help me best understand the congregation. 

One story was told at almost every meeting.

They told of a time when the church needed to grow physically. There was a vision for expanding the preschool and building a Fellowship Hall where everyone could eat together. Yet there were others who treasured the long-lived oaks on the property and did not want these cut. 

The church agonized over how and whether to move forward. Then a tornado came through the area and destroyed the oaks. The conflict was gone and the church began to build. 

This story scared me. Will God send a tornado every time we need to make a difficult decision? Can we make decisions when there are those among us who disagree? 

I have been wishing for a tornado (I mean metaphorical, not actual) ever since June, when the Administrative Board and Council on Ministries began meeting together to discuss how to best revise the Sunday morning format. 

In many ways our current structure limits how we can grow. 

Partly the structure limits me. While I try to give my best at every service, I am often exhausted by the time we reach the service with the most attendance, the 11:00 service. More than that, I long for a time when I could meet with visitors before or after services—a coffee or lunch with the pastor—but our Sundays are so packed that there is little time for meeting with visitors. 

But more importantly, the structure limits you. People seem to choose between being part of a Sunday morning small group OR attending worship service, but not both. It keeps us from growing as disciples. 

It limits us from attracting families who want to worship together. The service most appealing to children and youth is 9:30, and yet that is the time when they leave for Sunday School. 

The structure limits you. The service that has grown the most in attendance is 8:30 and yet most of our congregation has not experienced this consistently beautiful service. 

At that first meeting in June, it seemed like there was a yearning to return to one service on Sundays. People who attend the 8:30 or 11:00 service miss seeing children. A visitor could come at these times and mistakenly believe that there are no children or youth. 

But we discovered that there are a good number of people who deliberately avoid Sundays when we combine services. Even if we could convince them to attend, looking at the numbers—seating capacity and attendance—we soon realized this is not a solution. Most people don’t want to step over someone else to sit in the middle of a pew. One combined service on Sundays would feel crowded, especially to visitors. 

Without an obvious solution, the Admin. Board and Council on Ministries appointed a task force to develop talking points and proposals, which Gail Bolton presented at the Church Conference in October. Since then, members of the Administrative Board and Council on Ministries have gathered with small groups within the congregation to get feedback on these ideas. 

Unfortunately, no clear consensus has come out of these discussions. People seem willing to make changes but only if there is a reasonable expectation that change will lead to growth. There is fear that change would have the opposite effect and lead to a decline. 

What happens when change is needed but the answer is not obvious? When the answer is not found from focus groups or surveys?

As United Methodists, our practice is to elect leaders from within the congregation to both represent us and lead us. For eight months our leaders have been reviewing information and gathering feedback. 

This Sunday the Administrative Board, with help from the Council on Ministries, will review the feedback and create a plan for moving forward. If you have not been part of one of the discussion groups, and want to provide feedback before the Sunday meeting, please provide that feedback here.

Please be in prayer for the leaders of our church as they lead us in a new direction. Pray for a tornado—not the physical kind—but a fresh wind, the Holy Spirit to guide our leaders.

I'll see you this Sunday, 
Pastor Cyndi
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In the Newsletter this Week:
  • From the Pastor
  • New Members
  • Floral Vase Return
  • Children's Ministry
  • God in the Movies: Time to VOTE!
  • Organ Dedication
  • Dinner Theater - March 7 & 8
  • Mt. Carmel Women's Book Club: March 14, 2014
  • From the Preschool
  • Outreach Opportunity: Coats for Children


Welcome These New Members!

We are happy to welcome Matt Wiley, Stuart Dowling and Dick Thompson, Mt. Carmel's newest members who joined the church on Sunday, February 9th at the 11:00 service.

Please see the recent church email to get their contact information to add to your directory.


Vase Return

As you know, after our Sunday services, the recipient or purchaser of the altar flowers is invited to take them home for their own use. However, to save the church the expense of purchasing new vases each week, members are asked to please return the vases when the flowers are gone.  

Vases may be left in the church kitchen, or in the church office during the week. Thank you!


Children's Ministry

Sunday School: 
This week’s lesson is from John 6:35-59. In this lesson the children will begin to see the connection between the Old Testament Story of the manna sent by God to the Isrealites and Jesus saying he is sent to be the Bread of Life. In both instances God is the loving provider. 

As you worship together as a family in the coming weeks, help your child understand the various components of worship, prayer, offering, communion, and singing. 

Save the Date: Families and Faith 
March 2nd - 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. 
Families and Faith is a spiritual formation workshop for parents and children that will give all families ideas to develop spiritual habits. Families are the primary faith influence in their children’s lives. 

This workshop will offer hands on activities and suggestions you can use at home as we begin the Lenten season. Contact Ms. Marian for more information. 

Marian Long Children's Ministry


Coming Soon: 
God in the Movies ...
Last chance to VOTE!

During Lent we will look for God in unusual places. To help us look on Wednesday night gatherings for God in the Movies, your favorite movies are needed! 

If you have not voted yet, please vote HERE by Friday at noon. Winning selections will be announced on Sunday!


Organ Dedication on March 2nd

Since August of 2013, we have enjoyed a new organ, a Rodgers model 588. This organ replaced the old Rodgers 905 which was struck by lightning. In the months since, our talented organist John Waller, has explored the capabilities and potential of this new instrument. 

We will dedicate the organ with a special worship service at 11:00 am on March 2. Since December, John has been preparing a variety of music selections from different traditions, all of which lead us in the worship of God. This service, based on the dedication service in the United Methodist Book of Worship, combines scripture and music to give thanks for this organ, praise God, and encourage each of us to offer all of our lives in worshipful service to God.

Following the service, the choir and hospitality team will offer a reception in the Fellowship Hall. Plan to stay for appetizers and to thank John for his music leadership.


Youth Dinner Theater Coming Soon!

Mark your calendars for March 7 & 8 ... 
and watch for more details in newsletters & bulletins!


Women's Book Club - March 14

The Mt. Carmel Women's Book Club will meet on Friday, March 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the Hope House.

This month's book is: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, by Linda Rutledge.  Please contact Chris Bolton or Vicki Walden if you have any questions.


From the Preschool

The Preschool is enjoying their SNOW DAY today. 

Watch for more about their activities in future newsletters!


Outreach Focus

Berkeley Lake Elementary School CARE Team is requesting the donation of new or gently used (& washed) coats for children.

The greatest need is for medium and large sizes for both boys and girls. 

You can drop off at the school office or bring to the church and leave in the bin in Fellowship Hall.


Prayers and Thanksgivings

Please join with others in our church family in praying our concerns and thanksgivings this week.

Concerns
  • Chris Bolton's friend Gary: wife cancer / loss of brother
  • Katrina Stone's family: moving to Philippines
  • Youth & Adult mentors in confirmation class
  • Gene Anglin: continued recovery
  • Joyce Odom ill
  • Diane Bond's co-workers: cancer
  • Melanie Bagwell: still recovering from surgery
  • William Bolton ill
  • Those struggling to pay high heating bills
  • Nora Ignatius' friend Andrew & family: death of mother
  • Death of Pekka Ignatius' co-worker of 25 yrs., Matti - prayers for his family
  • Megan Foster's friends: death of their father
  • Kim Hartwell's grandmother: hip replacement
Thanksgivings
  • Those who helped make Men's Retreat a success
  • For hearing God's word
Every week:
  • Prayers
  • Worship this week
  • Birthdays and Anniversaries
  • Save the Date
  • Counseling Center
  • Norcross Cooperative


Sunday's Lesson
This week in worship the lesson will be:

Psalm 42:1-2
John 4:1-42


Birthdays this week:

Karson Jarrett
Pat O'Nan
Haley Bolton
David Bell
Debbie Ruhl
Anne Greene
Johnny Carroll
Richard Smith

No Anniversaries this week.


Save the Date

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
FEBRUARY 14

PAVEMENT POUNDERS RUN
FEBRUARY 15 - 8:00 AM
MEET AT CHURCH

YOUTH SET-WORK
FEBRUARY 15
YOUTH HALL

ADMIN. / C.O.M. MTG.
FEBRUARY 16 - 12:00 PM
ROOM 112/114

YOUTH REHEARSAL
FEBRUARY 16 - 3:30 PM
FELLOWSHIP HALL

YOUTH DINNER / PROGRAM
FEBRUARY 16 - 5:15 PM
YOUTH HALL

YOUTH WORSHIP
FEBRUARY 16 - 7:00 PM
SANCTUARY

STUDY OF LUKE
FEBRUARY 16 - 6:00 PM
COUNSELING CENTER

PRESIDENT'S DAY / OFFICE CLOSED
FEBRUARY 17

MONDAY STUDY
FEBRUARY 17 - 7:00 PM
HOPE HOUSE

UMW DAY CIRCLE
FEBRUARY 18 - 10:30 AM
FELLOWSHIP HALL

BROWN BAG STUDY
FEBRUARY 18 - 11:30 AM
HOPE HOUSE

COMMUNION TAKEN TO MORNING STARR
FEBRUARY 20 - 9:45 AM

YOUTH SET-WORK
FEBRUARY 21 - 3:00 PM
YOUTH HALL

SCOUT SUNDAY
FEBRUARY 23 AT
WORSHIP SERVICES
SANCTUARY

CONFIRMATION MENTOR TRAINING
FEBRUARY 23 - 12:15 PM
HOPE HOUSE

UMW NIGHT CIRCLE
FEBRUARY 24 - 6:30 PM
DINNER OUT (TBD)

ORGAN DEDICATION / RECEPTION
MARCH 2 - 11:00 AM
SANCTUARY/FELLOWSHIP HALL

FAITH & FAMILY WORKSHOP
MARCH 2 - 2:00 - 4:00 PM
LOWER HALL

ASH WEDNESDAY
MARCH 5
DINNER - 6:00 PM
WORSHIP - 7:00 PM

YOUTH DINNER THEATER
MARCH 7 & 8

WOMEN'S BOOK CLUB
MARCH 14 - 7:00 PM
HOPE HOUSE



Family Wellness
through Counseling, Education and Research


Mt. Carmel proudly supports the North Georgia Family Counseling Center.

678-242-9355
ngfccumc@gmail.com
www.ngfccumc.org


As one of the founding churches of NCM, we encourage your support assisting those in need in our area.

Help with the most urgent needs.


Share your story

Do you have an article to include in next week's bulletin or newsletter?
Email these to Suzanne Foster or call the church office.




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