Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Jefferson UMC

With Conference behind us, and with our sad final Sunday in Dawson over, we are focusing on our new appointment at Jefferson United Methodist Church. We are excited about the opportunities for ministry God is bringing our way in the beautiful Jefferson Hills area, a southern suburb of Pittsburgh. To the right is an exterior view of the church. The lovely steeple is a relatively new addition. The church sits on the third highest elevation in Allegheny County. A few years ago, the Sprint telephone company asked to place a phone tower on the church, building a steeple around the tower. So, the steeple was built at no cost to the congregation! That's the way to do it!

I take very seriously our Bishop's call that we are appointed to communities and not just congregations. I look forward to getting to know Jefferson Hills Borough, Pleasant Hills Borough, and the surrounding South Hills area. I've already contacted the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank to find out where their area pantries are located and how we as the people of God might help. The congregation also goes on an annual mission trip. While this has often been to Red Bird, a mission in which I have been interested for years, this year they are, ironically enough, heading to Connellsville, PA, to help with various projects sponsored by Connellsville Community Ministries.

To the left is a picture of the front of the church sanctuary. It has been completely remodeled in the last five years; it reminds me of a beautiful Episcopalian chapel. Relatively small, it seats only about 135 people, which means the church has had to move to two Sunday morning worship services and are looking to possibly add a Saturday evening service.

In terms of worship style, it is a traditional church, leaning in the direction of "high church" worship...but, at the same time, they have a retractable power point screen (look above the cross) and an area near the chancel (to the right) where they have various other instruments for a variety of uses; my guess is they will respond positively to a "blended" style.

It seems to be a wonderful congregation and a very good match, so we're looking forward to starting there.

My first Sunday preaching at JUMC will be July 2; we move on July 6 (our anniversary, incidentally). My first sermon text will be Acts 2:42-47...a vision of the Church.

Goodbyes are difficult and painful; hellos are difficult and wonderful!

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