Dear Harvard-Epworth Friends,
On the last Sunday in October seventeen persons became members of Harvard-Epworth. One of these persons was a young woman who had made the decision not only to affiliate with this congregation, but to become a Christian as well. She was baptized during the morning worship service with two couples from the congregation standing with her as sponsors. Later, the young adult group presented her with a gift, a cross necklace with the date of her baptism engraved on it.
This little glimpse into the life of this congregation says a great deal about who we are. The woman who was baptized was not challenged to become a Christian; she was drawn lovingly into a community. Early on, a member of Harvard-Epworth gave her a copy of The Message, a contemporary version of the Bible. Subsequently, as further questions occurred to her, we provided her with books about Christianity and Methodism (which she eagerly devoured.) Members of the congregation made her feel welcome not only in church, but included her in their lives. She sat down with the pastor for a long conversation. At no time was she pressured to convert, but all the time we attempted to make her know that her presence among us was cherished. It was a joyful day in the church when she stood with sixteen other persons and promised to support this congregation with her prayers, her presence, her gifts and her service. We publicly recognized that day what had already been happening for months.
Our stewardship theme this year is Growing Together—In Community, in Spirit and in Service. This story is just one of many about how people in this church are growing in their faith and in their service to others. Someone said after our “All Saints” service on November 4, “There truly is a wonderful spirit in our church these days.” I couldn’t agree more. But that spirit is not confined to these walls. Our people are more engaged than ever in serving the community around us. We support dozens of programs in the wider community that are making a direct difference in people’s lives. I wish I had the space to tell you everything that is going on.
Suffice it to say that each of you is invited to be a part of the wonderful things that are happening here. You can do that by your presence, your prayers, your gifts and your service. Please take time to prayerfully consider how you can support Harvard-Epworth in the upcoming year. A pledge card and “Time and Talent” sheet are included with this mailing. Our celebration Sunday will be November 18. It would be truly inspiring to have a full church on that Sunday before Thanksgiving as we express our gratitude to God for all that we have been given.
Grace and Peace,
The priest offered her his arm and together they walked out into the cold clear night
Reception following the Carol Sing
And this has all begun with Amy, the person whom the church is saying is a threat to God’s reign. Throughout the whole process she has continually built up the body of Christ around her by establishing a tone of compassion and integrity in all she does. She has refused to allow the trial team to advance arguments based on technicalities and minor legal maneuverings. She has told us that she would far rather lose her case and speak the truth, than win the case and remain silent about what is most important to her. I don’t know whether our arguments at trial will prevail, although I am hopeful for a good outcome, but I love what Amy said to someone recently who asked her what she thought were her chances of winning: “Our chances of winning are 100% because our goal is to tell the truth and that is exactly what we will do.”