Monday, February 20, 2017

Church Growth in Cuba

Missionaries Lourdes Vazquez (left) and Roberto Pozo lead the Caraballo Mission, an outreach of San Antonio Methodist Church in San Antonio de Rio Blanco, Cuba. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.
Missionaries Lourdes Vazquez (left) and Roberto Pozo lead the Caraballo Mission, an outreach of San Antonio Methodist Church in San Antonio de Rio Blanco, Cuba. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

By Linda Bloom
Feb. 7, 2017 | SAN JOSÉ AND SANTA CLARA, Cuba (UMNS)

When the Rev. Alcibiades Negret first moved to Mayabeque, the newest province in Cuba, he gathered people for worship under an almond tree.
Three years later, the 43-year-old pastor sits in the Methodist church parsonage, near that tree, in San José de las Lajas. The back of the house opens into a 100-seat sanctuary.
“We not only had the task of building this place physically, but of raising a congregation here because there wasn’t any,” Negret says. “As a superintendent, I also had to organize a new district.” ....
As with all pastoral families, this work is a group effort for Velazquez, his wife, Iliansis Rodriguez, and their two young daughters, who live next to the church.
With 93 members, and a group of 25 about to be baptized, the San Antonio church sponsors seven missions. “As a pastor, you need to have the vision, the spiritual discernment to know the needs of the people who come,” Velazquez says. Then the real work starts, he adds, by giving the word of God. ....
One of the San Antonio missions is at a house in nearby Caraballo, where Roberto Pozo, 52, and Lourdes Vazquez, 50, created a worship space from scratch. The husband-and-wife team has decorated with flowers and cakes to honor two couples from the congregation who married recently.
The celebration is important. It is very common for couples in Cuba to live together without marrying, Vazquez notes, but the church is encouraging that commitment.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Farewell Joanne (2 of 2)

More pics from the party, including our thanksgiving and blessing circle. Thanks to Carl for organizing.

Friday, February 17, 2017

God's Field, God's Building (message 2017-0212)

11-12 Feb 2017, Christ Mountain Top
Psalm 133 (call to worship)
Matthew 8.5-13 (kids)
1 Corinthians 3.1-23 (message)

Pivot point in the passage:
1 Corinthians 3:9  For we are God's servants, working together; you are God's field, God's building.
Grammar notes:
      PLURAL “you” – field, building, temple
      Emphasis – God’s, God’s, God’s (primary position in the clause)
            Corinth: self-obsessed
                  Toby Keith, “I like talking about you, you, you, you …
                        But occasionally I want to talk about me”
Two metaphors for the people of God as a collective, the church
      Field, Building
As individuals we are workers in the field, on the building
      Word for “work” is “work together” or “co-labor”

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Norwegian Church housed secret synagogue during Nazi occupation

During World War II and the German occupation of Norway, Trondheim Methodist Church’s loft was used as a secret synagogue for the local Jewish community. The church’s pastor and lay leader made the decision at great personal risk. Photo courtesy of Ole-Einar Andersen.
By Karl Anders Ellingsen
Jan. 31, 2017 | TRONDHEIM, Norway (UMNS)
The Trondheim United Methodist Church — which housed a secret synagogue during Nazi occupation of Norway — will be designated a United Methodist historical site on Feb. 5 for the congregation’s work for indigenous and marginalized people.
In addition to the work during the Nazi occupation, the church was used in 1917 by the Sami, the indigenous people of the Nordic countries, for a political gathering. At the time, the Norwegian government and society were pressuring the Sami to “become Norwegians” and give up their traditional life. Sami children were forced to learn and speak Norwegian, use “modern” clothing, give up their traditional music and learn “civilized” professions.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Farewell Joanne (1 of 2)

The youth group gathered with Joanne one more time! We have been blessed by your leadership!

Sunday, February 12, 2017