Finding Faith Anew At Faith CommunityDunkin’ Donuts Led Me To Faith Community by Catherine Smith
Before the pandemic, I worshipped at a very active church where I worked in the house of faith. The church closed for a year during the pandemic but when the church reopened a few months ago, many elements of worship had changed or were simply removed. I tried going despite all the changes, but it was difficult for me to adjust to all of the changes. I went into prayers asking the Lord to give me patience and strength to endure the change because I really missed the other things we would do as a congregation.
I live very close to the church and I often frequent Dunkin’ Donuts. The last Sunday in June, I was coming out of Dunkin’ Donuts and I looked up at Faith Community United Methodist Church and I could not believe the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and told me to return the following Sunday...Independence Day. I got somewhat excited, but when Sunday came, I was ready to visit Faith Community. As I approached the steps, I spoke with a female member of the church and asked if women were allowed to wear pants and said Yes! I entered the sanctuary and really enjoyed the Worship Experience. After service, when Wanda Mitchell invited me to help with the Community Action Team Pop Up Fundraiser, I was so excited. What topped it off was when Wanda asked me to be a part of a non denominational Prayer Circle that met in front of the church that following Monday evening. I found such love and compassion when I walked in the doors of Faith Community United Methodist Church. The kindness of the members meant so much to me. Again, I love working in the House of the Lord and I felt the Spirit of the Lord in Faith Community’s sanctuary. I pray that this is just the beginning of my journey at Faith Community.
Finding Community At Faith CommunityKeeping it Real by John Grace
I wanted to be part of a church that practiced on Monday through Saturday the love of God taught on Sunday. After having been part of St. John's of Hamilton UMC for a few years, I remember making a flyer with tools drawn on it to seek participation from other church members and youth to work on a home improvement project for one of our members who did not have the resources or skill to carry out the job. At that time in our church's life, most members were living in nice homes and were financially secure. It was energizing that so many youth and seasoned home owners participated in the first floor renovation. It took a big effort to complete the work. Months later there were about four of us still working to finish the last room. I really admired the commitment of the other volunteers and I knew I was in the right place. Faith Community is still that right place for me.
When I pray "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven " it means doing my part and asking for God's help in making it real, here and now. It means being inclusive. It means appreciating the young, old, and everyone in between. It means doing everything in love. As one who enjoys backpacking, I know that a journey is composed of many single steps strung together. Long distances are covered by those that persist and are able to adapt to the challenges of the trail. Great views and other inspiring times happen by being open and staying with it. So it is with our faith journey. May we join together in this work of kingdom building.
Journeys of FaithGrowing with Faith by Kate Ehrenberger
Micah 6:8…what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
I attended a boarding high school in Western Massachusetts founded in the 19th century by Dwight L. Moody, a Protestant evangelist. His goal was to provide education to the underprivileged which even at that time included children of slaves, Native Americans and international students. The diverse student population is still a hallmark religious education is mandatory but is now non-denominational. The school’s philosophy is based on life with purpose and humanity. One old slogan was “head, heart, hands”. There was education, community service and participation in daily life - everyone participated in work jobs on the campus. It was a great foundation and encouraged a spirit of participation and contribution. These days, we call that being part of the solution and I believe this engagement is our purpose every day.
Growing in Faith At Faith CommunityEveryday Faith by Judy Slide
I was raised in the Methodist Church as a child, and like many people of my generation, I left the church for many years. In the early 1990s I bought a house in Lauraville and once I had settled in I began to feel the desire to become part of the community and it seemed logical to begin with church. Since I was raised as a Methodist, I began with the closest Methodist church although I didn’t rule out any of the other denominations. The closest Methodist church was St. John’s of Hamilton UMC which later became Faith Community UMC. So, one Sunday morning in August I attended the service and never looked any further.
It’s been 26 years since I attended that first service and much has changed both at Faith Community and in my own life, but the connection I felt during that first service has never been broken. It has faltered at times, but every time I thought “It’s time to move on”, something held me back. Something said to me “God led you here because here is where you belong, here is where you can make a difference.” In the fall of 2015 I was on vacation in London and visited the Methodist Chapel built by John Wesley and where he and his brother Charles Wesley preached. I learned a great deal during that visit about what being a Christian meant to John Wesley, and it resonated with me and helped me to clarify what drew me to Faith Community. Wesley believed that “The world is my parish”. He believed that God’s grace and the church were for everyone, expecting nothing in return. He also believed that the church had a role in the community; to help those in need, again expecting nothing in return.
At Faith Community I found a group of people who believe as John Wesley did: that being a Christian and a Methodist is about being in and of the community. What we as a congregation do between Monday and Saturday is just as, if not more, important than what we do on Sunday morning.