The January Tower Chimes
-A COVENANT PRAYER
-IN-PERSON WORSHIP SUSPENDED FOR JANUARY
-EPIPHANY STAR WORDS
-Faith Alive! with Bishop Jung and Rev. Schwerin
-Sign Ups and Links
A COVENANT PRAYER
As we begin this new year, we are invited to renew our covenant with God with a covenant prayer in the Wesleyan tradition:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will,
place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you
or set aside for you,
Praised for you or
criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things,
let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things
to your glory and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,
you are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which
I have made on earth,
let it also be made in heaven. Amen.
-John Wesley (Modern Interpretation)
The Wesley Covenant Prayer has been used in Methodist services around the world on the first Sunday of the year since John Wesley introduced it in 1755. Wesley expected that people would pray this prayer as a way of remembering, renewing, and surrendering themselves in complete trust to God. When we pray it, we are to remember what living like Jesus looks like and what loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind and loving our neighbor as ourselves requires of us. Happy New Year!
IN-PERSON WORSHIP SUSPENDED FOR JANUARY
Because of rising COVID cases, staff, volunteers, and members testing positive, and a congregation of mixed-vaccination status, FUMC Administrative Council made the difficult decision to suspend in-person worship services for at least four weeks: January 2, 9, 16 and 23.
How was the decision made:
- The US is averaging more than 300,000 new cases a day, surpassing the peak levels from last winter. Infection rates are especially high in parts of the Midwest.
- According to the WI Department of Health, Waukesha County has very high COVID case activity, which creates an extremely high risk for unvaccinated people. The counties surrounding us are at a critically high level of infection.
- Medium and large gatherings, especially those hosted indoors, contribute to the spread of COVID.
It has been decided that smaller groups can gather, as they can easily maintain social distance. Masking is mandatory. Individual groups can determine if in-person or zooming is the best option.
Building Partners are aware of the suspension of in-person worship due to the above concerns. They, too, will maintain social distancing and mask-wearing.
Offerings can be mailed to the church office or made electronically through the website and app. Should you have any questions regarding financial gifts, please call the church office.
Let us please refrain from saying “Church is cancelled” or “Church is closed.” Neither are true. The staff are working diligently amid these challenges and worship will continue. God is still present and continues to encourage us to share the Light with the broken world. May we do so with intention.
EPIPHANY STAR WORDS
Epiphany: God’s presence breaking through to shine as a light in the darkness.
We have entered the season of Epiphany. Like the wisemen followed the star to find Jesus, First United Methodist Church offers you a star (word) to guide your faith journey this year. Star words were mailed to those on the FUMC mailing list earlier this week. Star words were picked randomly, guided by the Holy Spirit. We encourage you to accept the word given with an open heart to learn how God might be calling you to live into the word.
If you have yet to receive a star word or would like to share star gifts with others, please contact the church office at (262)542-4256 or email@example.com.
Ways we might understand star words (or sometimes knows as star gifts) theologically:
- The wisemen followed a star, which led them to Jesus. Our creative prayer practice, such as meditating on a star word, can also lead us closer to Jesus.
- We trust that God speaks to us in many ways as we seek God’s presence. A star word can help us to look for God in our midst, change our perspective, and focus our attention amid all the distractions of daily life.
- In our prayer practice we strive to balance our speaking with our listening. A star word gives us an opportunity to listen deeply and hear God in a new way.
- In being given a star word chosen randomly, we are receiving a gift over which we have no control. With this gift we are invited to receive God’s grace and let go of our striving to do, to act, or take over.
When receiving a star word:
- Ponder what significance this word has in your life and how God might be speaking to you through the power of one word.
- Look up the definition of the word, even if you know it well. Learn about its etymology. How has its meaning changed over time?
- You may find that the word fits you perfectly. If so, celebrate that, and see how you can be more intentional about sharing your star gift with the world.
- You may find it is a word that offers you the encouragement or challenge you need. If so, receive that gift and let it shape you in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
- You may find yourself resisting the word or even wanting to reject the word. If so, sit with it for a while, exploring the source of your resistance, and be open to what this word may have to teach you.
- Live with your word, reflect upon it, journal about it, pray about it. Place it in a location where you will see it every day: bathroom mirror, car visor, in the pages of your Bible, tacked above your computer or kitchen sink.
- Write a prayer using your word and pray it regularly. Or feel free to use this prayer:
God, we acknowledge that we are not always ready to receive your best gifts for us. You have
given us a star word in order that our searching will bring us to you. It is often our habit to turn aside, stumble over, or even reject experiences and encounters that we later understand to have been precious gifts. Help us to be open to the gift that you offer us now through our star gifts. We acknowledge that we do not fully understand what this word might mean for our faith, but we receive it from you with gratitude and pray that your Spirit will enable us to live into our word with intention and faithfulness. Amen.
Epiphany is the celebration of God’s presence breaking through to shine as a light in the darkness. Let us rejoice in the presence of our generous, giving God, one star gift at a time.
Faith Alive! with Bishop Jung and Rev. Schwerin
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