Slowly but Surely
I have never been fast. As a boy I played baseball. In baseball, the coach would have me crouch way down when batting so that the strike zone disappeared. I was not allowed to swing unless he told me it was okay. I held the record for being beaned the most and consequently I had the highest on-base percentage. I was proud of every bruise. Dad and Pappy would ask how I did at the game, and I would roll up my sleeve or pants leg and show off my new purple, blue blob. It never occurred to me as a child that the reason I was chosen for this great honor was because I was a slow runner.
Several years ago I played softball in a church league. I was so excited because I remember being quite good at baseball. It turns out that time and lack of skill where not kind to me and I was horrible. However, one Thursday night at approximately 7:25 in the evening under the lights of the Eagleville Softball fields, I made solid contact with the ball while batting. I felt it instantly. I felt that thud you feel when you really hit the ball. I was off to the races. I crossed first and headed for second. I was being waved towards third and headed that way. When I got there the coach told me to “hold up.” I turned expecting to see the ball coming back into the infield, but the right fielder had just reached the ball. I turned to the coach and said “Why did you stop me? I had an in-the-park homerun!” He said, “I was not sure you could make it. You are as slow as Christmas.”
Aside from being insulted and winded, I wondered about that phrase. Why do we say “slow as Christmas?” Christmas comes at the same time each year. Perhaps it has to do with the way God’s people waited for a Savior to be born. The prophets’ predictions took a while to come to fruition. The Israelites had to live in anticipation of the Savior. We now live with the very presence of God in anticipation of the coming fullness of the Kingdom of God. The Gospel of Matthew makes this idea clear when Joseph is reminded in a dream that His son shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us. Matthew ends with Jesus instructing His disciples (and us) to go forth and make disciples and to remember that He (Jesus) is with us always, to the end of the age. The world is far from perfect and yet God is here. Perfection is coming.
It can be easy to forget this idea. It can be easy to lose hope, but He is with us every moment of every day even when we feel alone or abandoned. We can find Him every time we come together with others to express and share the loving of God and neighbor that He taught us. It is in this act of loving others that we find we are not alone, and that we are loved even if we feel lost, abandoned, or just too slow.
My prayer for all people everywhere is that we look for Christ in our lives this month and find that He has always been with us. May we look by loving others more than ourselves, and may we never lose the hope of the coming Kingdom even if it seems slow as Christmas.
Peace and Grace,
Rev. Jimmy Hendricks, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tuesday, March 5, 6-8pm, enjoy a rich meal, live jazz music, and Mardi Gras themed fun! All ages are welcome! In French, “Mardi Gras” literally means “Fat Tuesday,” so named because it falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a 40-day season of prayer and fasting, which ends on Easter Sunday. In the United Kingdom and many other countries, the day is often known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. Making and eating such foods with sugar, fat, and eggs was considered a last, rich feast before Lent because these foods were traditionally restricted during this fasting season.
Please join us on March 10 at 9:30am for Second Sunday Breakfast. Bring a favorite breakfast dish to share and come and fellowship between the services with church family from the other service!
The Good News Sunday School Class is responsible for set-up, drinks, and clean-up on March 10. Please remember that the class responsible for Second Sunday Breakfast is also requested to provide cookies, donuts, or other snacks for all other Sundays of the month. In April, the Journey Class will host.
Please put all food away after fellowship on ALL Sundays. We are called to be fishers of men, not of mice and ants! This class is also responsible for returning the Fellowship Hall to “Sunday Setting” after breakfast. Diagrams are posted on the kitchen doors.
The UMW met on February 13 with 23 members and one visitor present, Charlotte Iseldyke, who will be joining the unit. Welcome, Charlotte! Connie Fisher led our devotion on “Sowing Seeds of Peace” and the scripture was Hosea 10:12. Connie provided cards for us to send to the Tennessee Children’s Home and closed her devotion with prayer.
Bobbi Toombs’ February book recommendations from our Reading Program are The Well Woman and Bus to Corinth, both of which are outstanding.
In February, Barbara Belden and Bobbi Toombs volunteered their time at the GraceWorks Ministires facility in Franklin.
Our UMW is busy planning for the 2019 Annual District Meeting which will be held at Nolensville First UMC.
Our program was given by Farron Light on “Women Investing In Shalom” from Luke 8:1-3. Farron concluded with a closing prayer.
The UMW adjourned to a delicious meal at Campo Azul.
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, March 13, at 10:30am in the Fellowship Hall with Susan Smithburg as the hostess. This meeting will include a 150th birthday celebration of the UMW. Marcia Woodcock volunteered to bake a cake for this event.
Respectfully submitted, Karen Hoffmeister, Secretary
You can make a difference! Nolensville First UMC will host a Red Cross blood drive on Thursday, March 14, at 1:15-7:15pm in the Fellowship Hall. Please join our lifesaving mission and schedule an appointment at www.RedCrossBlood.org today!
Streamline your donation experience and save up to fifteen minutes by visiting www.RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass to complete your pre-donation reading and health history questions on the day of your appointment. Download the Red Cross Blood Donor App on the App Store, Google Play or text BLOODAPP to 90999. Schedule appointments, get rewards, and invite friends to join you on a lifesaving team.
Applications for the 2019 Lucien and Carolyn Hughes Battle Memorial Scholarship are available online or in the office hall above the water fountain. Applications are due March 15.
Immediately after hurricaines Irma and Maria, which hit the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico two weeks apart, the UMCOR provided survivors with food, clean water, temporary shelter, hygiene supplies, and basic items. UMCOR also awarded a $110,000 emergency grant to the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico. In early 2018, the MCPR began moving into the next phases of recovery, requesting emergency-response and rebuild teams.
When United Methodists give generously on UMCOR Sunday, March 31, they support the opperating activities of our worldwide relief and development agency. The offering ensures that 100 percent of every designated gift to UMCOR for disaster response and other critical needs goes directly to address those needs.
Please note that the Beginning Tai Chi Classes now start at 1:30pm. Tai Chi for Arthritis continues to meet Fridays at 1pm. New or returning students please call Joyce Powers at 615-776-8570.
Our United Methodist Women are serving through giving to GraceWorks Ministries. Each month they are concentrating on a particular need of GraceWorks, and they encourage the entire congregation to help. In March, they are collecting cereal, and every month they are collecting the following items for the Fuel Bag program: peanut butter crackers, fruit snacks, cereal bars, granola bars, fruit cups, and pudding cups. Items can be left in the GraceWorks bin in the breezeway or in the basket in the foyer. Thank you!
“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul.” (Psalm 131: 1-2a)
On Wednesday, March 6, Pastor Jimmy will be in the Sanctuary from 6:30am to 8am to offer a time of prayer and imposition of ashes in preparation for the season of Lent. In the evening at 7pm, join us for a worship service of prayer, singing, imposition of ashes, and Holy Communion.
Sun - Mar 3 - Night of Worship @ Sunset Middle (Meet at NFUMC at 5pm)
Wed - Mar 6 - Youth@Midweek 5-7pm
Sun - Mar 10 - Youth@514 5-7pm
Wed - Mar 13 - Youth@Midweek 5-7pm
Wed - Mar 27 - Youth@Midweek 5-7pm
Sun - Mar 31 - Summer Trip Interest Meeting 12pm
Summer Trip Interest Meeting - All parents of youth sixth through twelfth grades are invited to attend an informative interest meeting on Sunday, March 31, at noon in the Youth Area. We will have lunch and go over details of trips this Summer. Registration will also open this day. Let me know if you plan on attending!
Youth@514: Sundays 5-7pm - Join us for a time focused on growing together in our faith through food, games, worship, a lesson, and small group discussions.
Youth@Midweek: Wednesdays 5-7pm - Join us for a time of food, fun, and fellowship. This time is laid back and you are welcome to bring homework and friends! We will always begin our time with dinner and end with a short devotion.
Peace, Meggie McDowell, Youth Director, email@example.com
Watoto, an NGO in Uganda, East Africa, brings you the Watoto Children’s Choir performing their brand new album, “We Will Go,” at Nolensville First UMC on Sunday, April 14, at 6pm. The six-month tour, launching in the USA on the East Coast, presents the story of abandoned African children and vulnerable women, who have been empowered to rise above their circumstances and answer the call to be part of the new Africa — ready to make a difference in the world.
Watoto Children’s Choirs have traveled extensively since 1994, sharing a message of hope for Africa’s most vulnerable children and women. On almost every day of the year, the choir is performing somewhere in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people get to meet some of Africa’s future leaders. People see their smiles and are embraced by their hugs. The children have the distinct privilege of telling people, “It is possible to have joy, to laugh and to have hope, no matter what you are going through.”
Like Africa, the production is vibrant and colorful, taking you on an emotional journey from utter despair to joyous celebration, as the children and women share their personal stories of triumph in story and song. Other than coming to Africa yourself, what better way to learn about all the good things happening in Uganda than through this stirring, musical experience.
Proceeds made from the album will help Watoto provide vulnerable children and women with homes, education, medical care, and most of all the love of a family.
Watoto is a family made up of people from all over the world who are working together to ensure that the forgotten have a place to belong. In a time of civil war, we planted a local church in Kampala, Uganda to speak hope and life to the nation. Since then, we have placed thousands of orphans in families, empowered thousands of vulnerable women to reach their communities, rescued babies and former child soldiers, and sent children’s choirs across six continents.
As we work alongside the most vulnerable in our society, our aim is to rescue individuals and raise each one as a leader in his or her sphere of life so that, in turn, they will rebuild the nation. In over 35 years, the challenges facing Africa have changed, but our vision remains the same. And, in all of this, Watoto is committed to celebrating Christ and caring for community.
We need a few more host families for the Watoto Children’s Choir on Sunday, April 14, and Monday, April 15. Please contact Sandy if you are able to support these children during their stay in Nolensville.
The staff has been busy planning Lent and Holy Week worship and events. We also need volunteers to help prepare and implement these events in this important season of the church year. If you are willing to serve our church and to love God and neighbor where we live, please contact Sandy.
April 14 Palm Sunday Worship Services and Watoto Children’s Choir Evening Concert
April 18 Maundy Thursday Service
April 19 Stations of the Cross and Good Friday Service
April 20 Church-wide Potluck and Easter Egg Hunt followed by Resurrection Celebration
April 21 Easter Morning Worship Services
3/1 Ben R; 3/3 Nelda Vest; 3/4 Red Johnson; 3/5 Virginia T; 3/9 Dot Arnold, Larry Elliott; 3/12 Bruce Bowater, Mary Beth Hagan; 3/17 Janice Green, Jean Parisi; 3/18 Brad Harki, Katie D; 3/22 Wayne Dickey, Daniel Clark; 3/24 Carolyn Skinner, Kingston E; 3/27 Ray Gray
3/1 Gail & Tom Howell (52); 3/6 Diane & Joe Wisniewski (37); 3/20 Kim & Eric Woodward (26); 3/21 Farron & Charles Light (55) and a very special congratulations to Susan & Tom Baker on their 25th wedding anniversary on March 12!
The work of the Church Council of Stewards is to envision, plan, implement, and annually evaluate Nolensville First UMC’s ministry and mission. This is a summary of decisions made the February meeting:
Thank you for your patience! The Trustees are currently reviewing bids to restore the Sanctuary ceiling to something similar to the original ceilings. They are also examining restoring the chandeliers, installing modern speakers, upgrading the cornice lights, and adding insulation between the ceiling and roof. If you would like to contribute monetarily, please write a check with “ceiling” in the memo area.