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Moving Forward past fear…Change

For a month now, our new cooperative relationship has been sharing sermon topics, texts and content, based on Max Lucado’s book Fearless. If you have been otherwise engaged for the Summer, don’t worry, there’s still time to face our fears head-on! Both at Ellingwood’s Corner UMC and Hampden Highlands UMC, we will continue working on Fearless through the month of September. In both congregations, we are facing periods of change, new life, and new ways of being Christians together. Our situations are different, but connected. Our mission is unique in terms of its context and community, and the same, based on God’s call to make disciples of Jesus Christ by reaching beyond ourselves into the world around us.
During Vacation Bible School (this year Group’s “Hometown Nazareth: Where Jesus was a Kid”), our kids learned a new song based on Mary’s encounter with the angel who informed her she was pregnant. Led by Laura Osborne, some of them (and some of the other adult volunteers) performed that song before worship (you can hear a sample of it and some of the other VBS music for this year at http://nazareth.group.com/learn/music-samples), and proclaimed to all of us “Nothing Is Impossible With God!”
As we move into September, Hampden Highlands UMC will be returning to a full schedule, including Sunday School and Youth Group, with the help of Reeni Cipullo, our new Director of Christian Formation. HHUMC will also be re-engaging with our visioning process. By the end of next spring, HHUMC will have finished paying for the building expansion—years of hard work coming to fruition! We will remember the accomplishment, we will celebrate, but we will not stop there—we will take the upcoming months to develop a plan that will lead us into the future. God is not done with us—there are new ministries to reach new people for Christ. God is calling us out beyond our wonderful building to bring in those who need to know the power of a relationship with God in Jesus Christ.
Ellingwood’s Corner UMC is also moving into new places. The cooperative ministry relationship is already beginning to bless both ECUMC and HHUMC. I hope that this relationship will serve as an example beyond our two congregations of churches working together for the cause of Christ. ECUMC also needs to re-engage in imagining a future grounded in its history, but growing into a new, vibrant future. Both Pastor Kate and I have worked to re-negotiate the loan with the United Methodist Foundation of New England, and we have a working offer to move forward. I hope that the members of ECUMC will engage the offer, and take the impetus of the 3 years of the initial rate to set some goals for the future—expecting that by the time this loan rate will be revised, ECUMC will be in a very different place as a congregation: Actively engaging the Winterport community for Christ, sharing our faith with our neighbors, and brining them in as new disciples of Jesus Christ into a loving, inspiring, engaging Church community.
September is coming quickly—I’ll look forward to seeing many of you in the days and weeks ahead, and especially on Saturday, September 17 for Charge Conference! We’re planning to eat together—I’d suggest a pot-luck from both Churches—will you join me for dinner and another year serving Jesus together?
In Christ, with you,
The Rev. David Nicol, Pastor of Hampden Highlands UMC
Pastor-of-Record to Ellingwood’s Corner UMC

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