Happy New Year, Church Family!
Ahead of us are twelve months in 2019 to enthusiastically follow Jesus as a beloved community inspired by God to make an impact on the world.
Thankfully, the possibility of the world's transformation does not rest fully on our shoulders. We have Jesus’ teachings in hand to guide us and the mysterious Holy Spirit available to empower us with wisdom, creativity and courage. We also have each other to encourage and support us in our daily walk of faith. I am confident that with open minds & hearts, we will continue to grow in faith and as The Church of the Open Door.
Thank you for being a part of this faith community and for the time, energy and financial gifts you offer to put God’s love into action together.
Keep praying, loving, laughing, celebrating, comforting and listening to each other and your neighbors. God is in our midst and has work for us to do.
With love in Christ Jesus, Rev. Heather Valosin
In February, United Methodists throughout the world will come together to discern how our denomination will move forward concerning issues of human sexuality in the church. A Special Session of General Conference has been called to consider three plans that have been submitted. Our Greater New Jersey Conference has curated webpages for our church on the three plans, how to talk about the issues within congregations and actions we can take in this time of uncertainty. More details can be found at https://www.gnjumc.org/the-way-forward/.
Dear Church Family,
We didn’t walk into a bar. But I did meet a rabbi, a Catholic deacon, an Episcopalian priest and a Presbyterian pastor. Our conversation was peppered with questions about names for God, interpretations of Scripture and expectations for worship. Finding commonality in our desire as faith leaders for unity, we designed a Thanksgiving gathering that provided an opportunity for our faith communities to celebrate our similarities with music, prayer and reflections. Thank you to all who attended this gathering on the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving. Hopefully this becomes a yearly tradition that strengthens our relationships as people of faith.
Now we begin the season of Advent as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve. While we seek comfort and cheer in familiar traditions, I will preach on Sunday mornings about “Strange Encounters” that are described at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke. As we remember how God worked through these unexpected moments, we can look for God’s movement in our own lives as we dare to hope, put love into action, express joy and walk in the way of peace.
Please invite your family and friends to worship this month. We have twelve unique worship services planned before Christmas Day: Sunday mornings in the sanctuary; Sunday evenings out in the community; a Quiet Christmas Service of Remembrance and Hope; and Christmas Eve Services at 4pm, 7pm and 11pm.
I’m praying that this sacred season is meaningful for you and your loved ones.
Rev. Pastor Heather