August Sermon Series: Acts of the Superheroes

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Who can believe that it is already August?

This means that children are getting ready to go back to school, school sports are starting, and everyone is coming down from the highs of summer.

Here at CSUMC we are starting off this time of the season with a new sermon series, “Acts Of The Superheroes.” We will be taking a deep look at how our faith gives us power, strength, and the ability to over come whatever challenge life throws at us- just as superheroes do.

Join us every Sunday in August at one of our three service at 8:45, 9:00, and 11:00 AM to worship together and to hear this amazing series.

Sunday, August 4: ”Powerful”
Acts 3: 1-6
What makes a hero? Where does our power (as followers of Christ) come from? The empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, August 11: ”Secret Identity”
Acts 14: 8-20
How do we stay true to who God calls us to be amidst human expectations?

Sunday, August 18: ”Low Point”
Acts 6: 8-9, 7:51-8:3
All of us face overwhelming obstacles, challenges that seem impossible to tackle, time when we feel abandoned. How do we cope in those moments?

Sunday, August 25: ”Avengers Assemble”
Acts 18: 1-11
The things that makes the Avengers unbeatable is that together they have all of the superpowers. The same is true of the Body of Christ. We are powerful when we are united and our gifts shared.

Remember that on August 25 to dress up in your favorite superhero gear for worship and have your picture taken in front of our superhero themed Photo Wall.

Help us welcome our summer intern!

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This summer Cave Spring UMC will be welcoming and hosting a Calling 21 intern.

Calling 21 is an internship program through a ministry partnership between the Virginia Conference Center for Clergy Excellence, the Cabinet, and Shenandoah University.

The goal of this program is to help students who feel they have been called to ministry explore the various roles and positions of ministry. Students in the program spend a summer immersed in the life of a church that is not their own, discern their calling, and experience first hand the diversity that thrives within the churches in Virginia.

Beginning on June 6, CSUMC will be hosting our own Calling 21 intern, Justin Robins. Originally from Mechanicsville, Virginia, Justin claims to have been called to ministry at a very young age. At age 14 he was designated a member at-large at the Virginia annual conference, and at 19 was awarded the Harry Denman evangelism award. Justin’s ministry work includes serving as a Chaplain to hundreds of Boy Scouts, as well as serving as an intern with his college chaplain at Virginia Wesleyan University as a Boyd Fellow.

Justin is a sophomore at Virginia Wesleyan University majoring in business. After graduation, Justin hopes to use his skills and degree to work within the United Methodist Church. His dream is to attend Duke Divinity School, become ordained, and then become a pastor within the Virginia United Methodist Church.

Please help us officially welcome Justin during worship on Sunday, June 9.

We welcome all.

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We are in the midst of an in-between time. As United Methodists, we have been in an liminal space for over 40 years, as we have wrestled with church doctrine regarding sexuality and its expressions.  We have been in a place of watching and waiting, as other denominations have wrestled with this.  We have struggled to maintain hope, even in the midst of our denomination’s wrestling. In February of 2019, a called General Conference was held specifically on this issue.  Hope was placed in plans that had been the culmination of faithful work on many sides.  The Traditionalist plan succeeded, which maintains the prohibitive language regarding homosexuality, currently found in the UM Discipline, along with more stringent punishment for clergy who violate the prohibition regarding officiating at LGBTQAI+ marriages, as well as strengthening the prohibition of the ordination of practicing homosexuals, including those lawfully married. 

As a denomination, there is much discussion taking place about what God may be revealing to us about the future of the United Methodist connection.  As a church family, we too have been listening to each other about how we feel about the decision, its impact on the future and who we are as a welcoming, inclusive part of the Body of Christ, here up on the hill.  Work to be a big tent of God’s love is taking place here and in many other places as well. 

In March, Council commissioned a series of “listening posts” to take the pulse of the congregation.  Many thanks to the leaders and participants, as well as to those who shared through email and google docs.  Council also blessed the establishment of the Allies workgroup to craft a “Welcoming Statement” for CSUMC, to be presented at the April Council meeting for discussion.  At the Council meeting last night, we reviewed all the feedback, listening to the church family.  All felt that our church was welcoming, acknowledging there is always room to improve, and that we have a clear desire to do so. We also received the work of the Allies workgroup, both the welcoming statement and an update on their group conversation.  Council appreciates the time, thought and prayer that went into the “Welcoming Statement”, which was approved unanimously by Council to articulate the welcoming, inclusive, affirming church family that CSUMC is and will be.  Please find it below:

Cave Spring United Methodist Church Welcoming Statement
In this church family, you are welcome no matter  . . .
your gender, how you were born or how you identify;
where you call home or whom you love;
the color of your skin, or how you celebrate your holidays;
how young you are or how old you feel;
your experiences with addiction, depression, anxiety or mental illness;
what your politics are;
your physical abilities and differences;
if you’ve loved the church, left the church, or never sat in a pew.
 
We are committed to being a radically loving and affirming community of faith.  We want to “do life” together by building authentic relationships that transcend our differences and embrace the fact that we are all loved by God. We promise to worship, grow, and serve side by side with all who seek God in this place.  
 
We reject efforts to discriminate and exclude others from the body of Christ based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, ability, sex, gender identity and expression, or sexual orientation. We welcome individuals from all walks of life to bring their whole selves to experience life together as a beloved community.
 
We invite you to worship, celebrate, laugh, cry, mourn, and work with us in welcoming the Kingdom of God at Cave Spring United Methodist Church!

You might ask, “why do we need something like this, we are this way already?” It is true, CSUMC is a welcoming church family.  But, in this “in-between” time, it is good to say the words that have been part of our hearts and lives.  It is like singing a hymn in worship. It articulates our faith, our heart and our lives together as followers of Jesus. This beautiful statement of welcome articulates the faithful Christ-like hospitality we know, and that we covenant to live and share. It is our prayer that you will prayerfully ponder these words, and share them proudly as the church family of CSUMC.

You might also ask, “so, what’s next?” The Allies workgroup is meeting every other Sunday at 4:30 PM in the Cave, to formulate a tag line that encapsulates this Christ-like hospitality for all.  Conversations within the UM connection are taking place. The Judicial Council (sort of like the UM Supreme Court) is meeting this week, and ruling on the (UM) constitutionality of the Traditionalist plan and petitions.  Beginning in Mid-May, our interim Bishop, Pete Weaver, is traveling through the Conference holding bi-district gatherings to share in worship and conversation.  The Roanoke/Lynchburg meeting will be Saturday, June 1 at 3:00 PM at Bethlehem UMC, in Moneta.  On June 5, there will be a livestream, “debrief” on the conversations shared throughout the conference. General Conference 2020 is scheduled for April 2020, with delegates to be selected at the 2019 Annual Conferences.

What is next for our church family?  All the wonderful, vital ministry that God has called CSUMC to continues.  We will be going on ASP, packing backpacks, sharing VBS, sending kids to camp, worshipping, learning and growing together as followers of Jesus Christ.  Thanks to the faithful legacy of Jean Beamer and Gerald Duff, we will have new signs throughout the campus to help new friends find their way around.  We will dedicate the Wesley Hall windows and playground doors.  We will say goodbye and hello—and eat some pancakes together too. We will continue to give and live, so the ministry of Christ may go on through CSUMC, through each of us.  Most of all, we will walk the “Jesus Way” together.  Doing what Jesus told us to do

“Love one another, as I have loved you.  In this, they will know you follow me.”

If you have any questions, please know you can chat with your pastors anytime.  We are the church- we are family- we are followers of Jesus Christ together.
 
Blessings,
Pastor Denise

CSUMC Holy Week and Easter Services

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Cave Spring UMC will be hosting two Holy Week worship services.

A Maundy Thursday worship service will be held on Thursday, April 18 at 7:00 PM in the Sanctuary. This service will be led by our associate pastor, Joanna Paysour, and our director of Next Generation Ministries, Rev. Tim Craft.

A Good Friday service will be held on Friday, April 19 at 7:00 PM in the Sanctuary. This service will also be led by Pastor Joanna and Pastor Tim.

On Easter Sunday, we will be hosting a Sunrise Service at 7:00 AM in the CSUMC Courtyard. This service will be led my our Pastors with help from our children and youth.

We ask that those planning to come to our Sunrise Service to please bring fresh flowers with them to help us bloom the cross.

Our regular services at 8:45, 9:00, and 11:00 AM will also be recognizing Easter and will be led by our Pastors and worship team.

All are welcome to our Holy Week and Easter Sunday services.

CSUMC Reinforces Our Core Values

Since the conclusion of the Called General Conference, questions and concerns have been raised about the future of the United Methodist Church. We are now in a waiting game of what is to happen with the future concerning the church and the unity of the UMC.

While this is happening, Cave Spring UMC and its pastors wanted to insure our church family and friends that while this period of unknown is happening, CSUMC will continue to be the church that it always has been.

This was reinforced by a letter sent out to the church congregation from our Pastors to make it known the intention and welcoming spirit of CSUMC.

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health and spirit.

Friends,  

Over these last two days since the ending of General Conference our hearts have been heavy.  Like our Bishop, we prayed for a miracle that would expand our UMC connection to embrace all of God’s children fully.  Like many of you, we are pained and disappointed that GC 2019 failed to do that. For others, the decision of the General Conference was not a disappointment, but a proper alignment.  However, like all of you, we love Jesus and our church family. 

As one of our clergy colleagues said, “this will be lived out in the pews, not in a conference”.  This is so very true.  While the global General Conference is the only body that can speak for the UMC, and the only body to legislate our policy, the mission and ministry of the UMC originates in God and is lived out in and through the people.  The Cave Spring church family is a people seeking to “become LOVE (the love of Christ) to share LOVE (this same love of Christ). God’s love for us, embodied in Jesus, is agape. Agape is the Greek word for love with “no strings attached”.  That is how God loves us.  That is how we are to love.  That is how Jesus lived. That is how we are to live. 

At Cave Spring UMC we get that.  That is how we live together, loving each other, welcoming all.  Nothing is going to change that because that is who CSUMC is.  For our LGBTQI+ brothers and sisters, both inside and outside the church, we love you, and pray you feel that love from your church family.  Even though at this time, from a denominational perspective, it seems to come with a “but”, know that for your pastors and for your church family, our love for you (and for all) is agape—no strings attached. 

This is the same message of love that we have witnessed being sent via social media from United Methodist church families all over our conference and connection. There are many issues and questions still to be answered, even though GC2019 has concluded.  The Traditional Plan, which passed 53% to 47%, is headed to the Judicial Council in April to rule on its constitutionality. Churches, pastors and laity are questioning whether this “connection” is going to hold, and if they can faithfully remain connected to it. Please know that your pastors are here for you for conversation, questions or even just a hug. 

You know though, God isn’t done with us yet.  God does the very best work in the midst of our mess.  There is much to pray about in the days ahead of us, and pray we must.  There is much work to do, in reaching out to our neighbors.  There are children who will be needing their “backpack” of food for the weekend and dinner to be served at the Rescue Mission.  There are families who will need dinner and fellowship at Kids Soar and care to be shared with the homebound and sick.  There are songs to be sung and Scripture to be read. There are hands to be held, stories to be heard, and tears to be shared.  And, most of all, there is Jesus, who is standing in this rocky boat with us, and will see us safe to shore. In the meantime, let us love as Jesus commands us to: “Love one another, as I have loved you.  By this, they will know you follow me.” (John 13:34-35).

Loving like Jesus, together with you,
Pastor Denise, Pastor Joanna, and Pastor

Lenten Sermon Series

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Cave Spring UMC takes pride is focusing our worship and scripture study on topics and studies that speak to our everyday life.

This season of Lent, CSUMC will find inspiration for study and worship from the new study, “Simon Peter: Flawed but Faithful Disciple” by Adam Hamilton.

Hamilton’s new study is focused on, “…Simon Peter’s shortcomings are clearly on display in the Gospels, so also are his courage, his determination, his longing to follow Jesus even if it costs him his life. The early church knew how his story ended after his dramatic denial of Jesus on the night Jesus was arrested. Following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, Peter would, in fact, become the rock upon which the church was built. he would carry his cross to follow Jesus. He would lay down his life for the gospel. While in Peter’s flaws Christians might see themselves, they might also see themselves in the moments of Peter’s courage and faithfulness, and ultimately they might see in him a picture of what they might aspire to be when empowered and led by the Spirit.”

Come and join us on the following Sundays to hear this intense story of Simon Peter:

Sunday, March 10
”Simon Peter: The Call of the Fisherman”
Luke 5: 1-11

Sunday, March 17
”Simon Peter: Walking with Jesus in the Storms”
Matthew 14: 22-34

Sunday, March 24
”Simon Peter": Bedrock or Stumbling Block?”
Matthew 16: 13-19, 21-23

Sunday, March 31
”Simon Peter: I will NOT Deny You”
Matthew 26: 31-35

Sunday, April 7
”Simon Peter: From Cowardice to Courage”
John 21: 12, 15-17

Want to take a look into Simon Peter and have fellowship among church friends?

Join Pastor Joanna for Bible Study on Wednesday mornings at 10:15 AM for discussion and fellowship based on the lectionary scripture or join Pastor Denise for Bible Study on Wednesday evenings at 5:30 PM for discussion based on “Simon Peter".

Cave Spring UMC Response to Called General Conference

Dear friends,

On Tuesday evening after the final decisions were made at the Called General Conference of the United Methodist Church, Pastor Denise sent out an email reflecting on those decisions and how they affect Cave Spring UMC.

We share this email with you in hopes of educating everyone on these decisions and informing everyone that despite these decisions Cave Spring UMC will remain the same church that it was before this Called General Election.

If you have any questions about the Called General Election, the Way Forward, and the decisions that were made, please feel free contact Pastor Denise or Pastor Joanna.

A Note From Pastor Denise:

Friends, as I write this email, I am listening to the final moments of the General Conference.  These words are being sung: "Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me".  These last 4 days have been days of worship, prayer, praise and passionate discussions.  Although more information will be available in the days ahead, the General Conference approved the Traditional Plan.  There are continuing questions of a UM constitutional nature,  even while the clock ticks down to 6:30pm (local time), which is the closing time for the General Conference. 

My prayer at this moment is that we open all our hearts to the movement of God's great Holy Spirit, as we find our way in this challenging time for people, churches and the UM Church as a whole. As people of faith, we should always do this--but especially in times where the future is unclear.  I ask you to continue to be in prayer in the days ahead as we wrestle with the impacts of the decision made at General Conference.  I pray that you will join us as we worship together as church family this Sunday, sharing in communion and community. 
I also encourage you to tune in to our Bishop's "State of the Church: Where Do We Go From Here? " live stream on Monday, March 4 at 10:00 AM  A link is available on 
www.vaumc.org . Above all, and no matter what, keep the words of Jesus in your heart in all the days ahead:  "Love one another...as I have loved you."(John 13:34)

With the grace of Christ,
Pastor Denise