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"March 2024 Newsletter Article"

Hello friends of the Elm Park UMC and a very happy March to you all!

 

Last month, everyone on our mailing list was sent a one-question survey asking what the barriers are that prevent you from attending worship. The purpose of this survey was for the church to gather information to discern a vision statement regarding our future.

 

Unfortunately, there was very little participation with the survey, so not much information was gathered. However, there was one theme that I would like to address concerning the time of our worship services.

 

When Elm Park became yoked Otego in 2021, our service time changed to 9:30am. Some people are not able to attend worship this early. The reason we need to hold our worship services at 9:30am is because we also need to coordinate with times that will work for the organist for the Otego UMC, who also serves the Otego Presbyterian Church. This meant that we actually needed to work around three churches in determining the times we hold worship services, and it is also why we cannot swap times with Otego.

 

During research on how to draw people into worship in a post-pandemic world, I came across the statistics in the graphic on top of this page that I wanted to share with you. Inviting a friend, family member, or even a stranger, to our worship services far surpasses all other methods of introduction. Please keep this in mind and invite, invite, invite! And what better time of year to do just that then now!

 

With that, let’s turn our focus to the Reason for the Season. We know this to be the Risen Christ. There is a reason for us as well. We can all be the reason someone feels welcome, seen, heard, valued, loved, and supported. We certainly felt that way on Ash Wednesday when we combined services with First UMC. Aside from an excellent turnout, we celebrated in fellowship the beginning of our Lenten season as we walk with Jesus to the cross.

 

I invite you all to join us on Good Friday this year as we again worship God in an ecumenical fashion. More details about the time and location for the Good Friday service will be made available soon. An Easter Sunrise service will be held at the residence of Bruce and Janice Downie this year. An exact time for this service will be made available the week of Easter.

 

We culminate this season on Easter Sunday, March 31st at 9:30am by together joining in celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. Until then, I wish you all the love and happiness that only the season of Easter can bring!

 

With much love,

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor John



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