What's Happening at Epworth

Maundy Thursday Last Supper Drama

13 men of Epworth portrayed Jesus and the 12 disciples during a Last Supper drama last night, for the Maundy Thursday service.

Johanson Travelogue

We had a nice turnout last night for the E3 potluck dinner and travelogue with Gary and Dottie of their Japan and Pan-Pacific trip.

Check out the video if you weren't able to make it out.


Walking Through Holy Week - Palm Sunday

This Sunday is the first in our sermon series "Walking Through Holy Week." Each Sunday we will learn about a different day during the week before Jesus died, and this Sunday will feature "Palm Sunday." Please join us at 10:30am, and go to our Holy Week page for more info.

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Ash Wednesday service

It was a quiet and beautiful service with prayer, music, and scripture. Afterwards, there was a beautiful moment at the altar as Dwight Calvin Watson Jr and Rev. Patricia Rivenbark Watson's daughters put out the candles.

Pancake Tuesday Supper

Thanks to everyone who came out to our pancake supper! This tradition began out of necessity when the Epworth Children's Center needed the entire Fellowship Hall and we had nowhere to have the pancake dinner. The local McDonald's owner came to the church's rescue and gave over his entire restaurant and we fixed the pancakes. The tradition is been modified a little to meet health requirements (they do the cooking) but we still meet at the McDonald's for our pancakes and sausage and it continues to be an important fundraiser for charity.

Missionary Potluck Dinner

Tonight, we heard from United Methodist missionary Victor Doolakeh Taryor who is the administrator of the Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Ganta, Liberia...approximately 150 miles inland from the Liberia capital city of Monrovia. He talked about the role of the hospital which was established by Dr. George Way Harley and his wife in 1926 and has grown from a small outpatient clinic to a full referral hospital serving over 40,000 patients annually.

Creativity in Ministry, Day 3

More lessons from the “creativity in ministry” conference………………….

Thursday

One of the things we’ve discussed this week that struck a particular cord with me, was the importance of story.

We are a people of story. We tell stories all the time: stories of our children, favorite families stories we re-play over and over, and stories that help us to reminisce or remember, to re-live, or to explain why we are the way we are.  In its essence, that’s really what the Bible is: the story of God and God’s people.  Stories first verbally told around fires, and passed from generation to generation, then later put into written form and passed down through the centuries.  They tell us who God is and who we are, and how we are to live in community together. 

As a Cast member at a Walt Disney Park, you are told you have one job: to tell the story that you are at the happiest place on Earth.  It is that simple, and everything they do has to tell that story.  From the parking lot to rides, from the landscape to the shows everyone and everything tells that story.  This story is both a feeling they want to evoke in you, and an experience they want you to have.  No matter what has happened in a cast person’s life 5 minutes before, when they greet you they are to tell you that story, and the ones who are the best at it are cast members who really believe in the story---for them it is not contrived or hard to do!

Now you might be asking, what does that have to do with the church?  We have a story to tell, and really it is “the greatest story ever told!”  (Sound familiar?)  Our story when it is boiled down to its essence is: Jesus loves you, God wants to be in relationship with you, and so do we. 

Pretty simple right?  If like the cast members, this is a story that we truly value and believe in, a story that we want others to hear and know for themselves, then we have to make sure everything we do tells that story! 

So how do we tell that story?  In simple ways, like a smile and a welcome.  In more complex ways, like being community for one another, even when it’s hard, handling conflict in ways that doesn’t change or affect the truth of our story. If it really is our favorite story, the truth about God that we really believe in, then we should be excited to tell that story, and ready to share it with the world!

As we dream big, God-sized dreams, and think about what it means to welcome guests to our church, let us also ask God to help us find new ways to tell the story of Jesus’ love and grace.

Peace-

Pastor Trish

Creativity in Ministry, Day 2

More lessons from the “creativity in ministry” conference……

Wednesday

Today, we worked really hard!  We spent the day at Disney!  (I know, you’re probably rolling your eyes at me now!) It was rainy and cold, but God was still at work. 

As part of our conference experience we had a tour given by a manager at Disney, who is also a Pastor.  He shared with us principles that Disney uses at their parks, which might also be applied at our church.  John gave us so many great insights and tidbits, but I want to focus on the one that held everything together. This principle is three words:

Be Our Guest

 John started us out in the front entrance for our tour; if you’ve been to Disneyworld, you might remember that the sidewalks at the entrance are red.  The reason: so that you feel like you’re having a red carpet experience.  This is a theme throughout the park.  But you get this feeling even before you walk onto property.  In the parking lot, there are people to greet you, and help you park and direct you where you need to go.  You are a GUEST, you are made to feel special and wanted and welcome no matter where you are.  You are ushered into an important experience that will call to all of your senses and engage your imaginations and your emotions!  Not only are there popcorn machines right at the beginning of the park, but they also have artificial popcorn smell to capture you!  (and in other parts of the park, the smell of cotton candy!)  Disney goes out of its way to make you feel like you are a treasured part of their community.  (They even call the girls princesses!) They are not going to welcome you one day and put you to work on a committee the next.  They don’t expect you to find everything yourself, or to share your whole like story.  They don’t single you out—but they make you feel wanted and special.  They are also constantly adapting things-making sure that each time you come you experience something new. 

John shared one story that was a pivotal moment for him.  A number of years ago, while he was still pastoring a local church (now he pastors one for Cast Members of Disney!) he and his family were on vacation at Disney from Atlanta.  They were taking a break eating a snack in adventure land, and John noticed a couple holding a Disney map up trying to figure out how to get somewhere (as we all do!) Then he saw a Janitor (they wear white uniforms and are very visible.) see the couple.  The janitor stopped what he was doing, and asked the couple, “Hello.  My name is Larry, and I’m a cast member here.  Can I help you find something?”  The couple mentioned some attraction they wanted to go see, and that they were trying to figure out the fastest way to get there. Larry showed them how to go, and then he said, “I would be happy to walk you over there.”  And he did.  John said to us, “This man, who makes minimum wage, doing a job that isn’t very glamorous, stopped his task, and walked those people to the complete opposite side of the park, to show them to a ride that held absolutely no value for him.  And yet on Sunday morning, when we have the best news in the world---something that we DO value, we can hardly put ourselves out to greet someone we don’t know.  What’s wrong with this picture?

First time visitors to a church decide in the first 15 seconds if they will come back.  Before the good preaching, or the great music, or the excellent programming for children.  So how do we create an experience that draws them into a “magical moment” with God- something that engages their imaginations, emotions, and spirit?  How do we make the whole experience of worship share THAT message.?

One  thing we have to remember—as the cast members are reminded-  it is not all about us.  The Disney experience is NOT about them.  It is about the guest.  In the same way, sometimes as church members we forget that worship isn’t all about us.  If our mission and purpose as a church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ—then worship is a part of that.  Worship should be designed for the guest-to come to know Christ in new ways. 

So what if we did that?  What if our Sunday morning was really about making new disciples?  What if we were purposeful and intentional in our hospitality for guests? What if we had greeters for the parking lot?  What if we had special spaces for new guests, and someone who opened the door and showed them where the important places are?  What if we treated every new person who enters like they are a child of God, and give them a REAL red-carpet experience?

Join me in praying that God shows us how to be more welcoming, more hospitable to our guests.

More Tomorrow---

Pastor Trish

Creativity in Ministry

This week, I’m spending my time in Orlando, at a conference called “Creativity in Ministry.”  Leadership Nexus, whose mission is to connect local church leaders and organizations with the resources, training and ideas to be more effective in ministry, puts on this annual conference in conjunction with cast members and executives from Disney, and leaders of creative ministries across the US. 

I’ve only been down here for a day, but have already been so blessed by the experience.  For each of the next few days, I’d like to share with you a little tidbit of what I’m learning!

Tuesday:

My whole life, I’ve been jealous of people who can see a picture in their head and draw or paint it, making it come to life.  I’ve coveted the ability to dance gracefully, or to create beautiful works of art, whether it is a craft with children, or the way someone decorates their home.  I have never considered myself a very creative person.  My usual line is that I can’t even draw a stick figure. 

One of our speakers, Alice Bass, a longtime Disney Cast member, author, and performer reminded us today that we are all born with creativity.  We know that because the bible tells us so!  The creation story in Genesis says that God created humanity in God’s own image. (Genesis 1 and 2!) The same God who spoke creation into existence, who imagined the majesty of the mountains, and the amazing detail of a butterfly’s wings, gave us that same creative spirit!  (maybe some more than others?) 

Alice also gave us a new definition of creativity to help remind us that we are all capable of being creative: creativity is really just problem solving.  It is solving the problem of how to communication a message.  Sometimes that problem solving results in a communicating a message thru a masterpiece like the Sistine Chapel.  Sometimes that problem solving results in a song or a scrapbook-or a poem.  Sometimes our creativity looks nothing like artwork, but is a new process or procedure to help facilitate a new message.

 

So we need to remember that the question is not “am I creative,” but rather, “how am I creative.”  And we need to remember that creativity at its core: problem solving.  The third important message of today is that creativity is also a PROCESS.  Learning that process, and that it has distinct steps, different skills for each of those distinct steps, and that each of us will feel more comfortable with one part of the process than the other, means that creativity when done well, is a shared process.  All of us are needed within that process!  We need the big dreamers with fresh ideas, we need the detail oriented to help us figure out HOW something can be done, we need the number crunchers, and the painters, the engineers, and the musicians.  All of us have a role to play in the creative process.  

As we continue into 2014, I hope that we can become more creative in the way we do ministry.  Let’s make it a goal to think outside the box this year; to dream big and let God sized ideas take hold of us.  

One presenter today challenged us that if our dream or idea is something that we can accomplish all on our own, that it is not big enough.  If we rely only our own skills to do it, it is not a God-sized dream.  So let’s dream God-sized dreams together, so that we can continue to shine our light for Jesus Christ!

More tomorrow…… 

Pastor Trish

January 5th service cancelled

We are canceling the January 5th service due to hazardous conditions in the parking lot. Please enjoy your day, and see you next week!

Gingerbread Mangers

Epworth's annual Gingerbread Manger-making party was held recently. Many kids and youth (and some adults) came to make their best mangers.

Grand-friends tea

Powered-Up Children's Ministry hosted a Grand-friends tea today after the service. Grand-friends were able to enjoy a party together sharing some cake and cookies.

Epworth Knitters group

Epworth's Knitters group, which meets the first Wednesday of every month, held a holiday lunch for this month's meeting.

Kennedy Krieger Festival of Trees update

The Spoonful of Christmas tree has SOLD! The AMPED-up Christmas tree also won second place in the "Children's Choice" award category. (We are told that the ribbon will be sent to us after the festival is over.) Both trees will be on display the entire weekend regardless of when they sell.

Epworth's trees for the Kennedy Krieger Festival of Trees

Epworth completed its trees for the Kennedy Krieger Festival of Trees. This year's themes were "Spoonful of Christmas" and "AMPED up Christmas". The trees will be on display during the whole festival, Friday November 29th to December 1st. The trees should be easy to find (check out the video to see why).

Operation Christmas Child box dropoff

Today was the delivery day! Since 1993, more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse works with local churches and ministry partners to deliver the gifts and share the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ.

Epworth Fall Cleanup

Lois Boyer and Pat Patrick coordinated a team of volunteers who cleaned up around the church...trimming trees and adding mulch, etc.

E3 New Freedom Train ride