A letter from the pastor...
By the Reverend Steven Kim
The People of Resurrection
I remember the first Easter that I had ever got involved in. There was a little church on top of a hill in my village. I don’t know when and by whom the church was founded. Still in the war-torn country after the Korean War, most families were poor farmers in the remote countryside.
I remember the church was not so popular among the village people. Only a handful of the low-class families went to the church. (Yes, there was a social hierarchy in the remote village, too). When it came to the church, one thing was obvious to the eyes of even a small boy; It was not something suitable for the rich to go to church in the village. When the poor believers went to church on Sundays, the rich would strut on the street with the look on their face toward the believers like, ‘The church is only for the poor and ignorant people. It is not our kind of thing!’
My first Easter experience happened when I was a fourth grader. A friend of mine invited me to the church on Easter Sunday. The catch was, ‘hey, you can get the colored eggs if you come with me.’ I remember being happy with the two-colored eggs in my hands after the Sunday School session. They must’ve explained what they stood for, but I don’t have a clear memory of that.
Decades later, now I realize something important on the believers in the village. In the toughness of life, they must’ve sought the strength and hope coming from God. Jesus mentions that kind of people in Matthew 5: 3; "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” They were the truly blessed people not because they fell in the category of the low class in the village, but because they put their living hope in God only.
Easter is around the corner. It is the time for us to renew the grace of salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ. Apostle Peter states in 1 Peter 1: 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Through his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ claimed his final victory over sin, judgment and death ultimately. The good news is that you are totally eligible for the same victory through his resurrection. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1: 5). Friend, you have the light of salvation through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Go claim it, shine forth it, and overcome the darkness that casts upon your life. You are a child of light and an heir of the heavenly kingdom through Jesus’ resurrection. That is your destiny in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah! Jesus is Risen!
EXCLUSION OR INCLUSION?
The Future of Setauket United Methodist Church
We are at a crossroad in the life of the church and must decide in the coming months which direction to take. A Special General Conference (GC)* session in late February voted to affirm the traditional Methodist discipline which bans the ordination of practicing homosexual clergy and same-sex marriages. Enforcement of the discipline, after rulings on constitutionality from the Judicial Council that meets in April, will take effect January 1, 2020. The New York Annual Conference*, headed by Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, and of which we are part, has taken the stand that "our way forward is the way of a just, inclusive, loving church that embraces the full spectrum of the children of God, [and to] openly and joyfully affirm the lives and loves of all United Methodists, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression."
Where do you stand? If the congregation supports the GC decision, the church need not take any action. However, if the congregation does not want to abide by the decision, we may consider splitting from the United Methodist Church by means of "gracious exit." Whichever way the church decides, it is likely that we will lose some of our members, some of them long standing.
In the coming weeks, you will be asked to share your views with the pastor. Your views will be kept confidential so that you may share freely. I urge you to review background information on the issues surrounding the GC decision by visiting the New York Annual Conference link:CLICK HERE. May God guide us.
Submitted by Nancy Fogg
*The church worldwide is the General Conference. It is divided into geographical units, called “annual conferences.” The New York Annual Conference covers all of Long Island, New York City, and parts of upstate NY, Connecticut and New Jersey.
SUMC PRAYER CHAIN
Our prayers go to God for the following:
- Rich asks for prayers for Jeopardy Game Show Host, Alex Trebek, who is suffering from pancreatic cancer. We pray for a complete healing for Alex.
- We ask for prayers for Bonnie Ticano and her family. Bonnie has shared her sister-in-law, Jean Ticano, died from a long fight with cancer.
- Ellen Cheeseman asks for prayers for her daughter, Robin Bancouli, who is in the hospital with pneumonia. Robin is having a procedure done today and will return to the ICU for several days.
- Prayers for Bob Lundquist who is recovering from a cold and cough. Bless everyone who is suffering with the same.
- Jeanne Rampone needs prayers for her cousin, Jeffrey, and all mentally ill people in a very broken system.
- We ask for prayers of strength and support for Pastor Steven as he leads us all during this Lent and Easter season.
- We ask for traveling mercies for many folks of SUMC.
- Lee Halcrow asks for prayers for two elderly aunts who have multiple health issues.
- Ed Wright needs our prayers for Anne-Marie, Jane-Marie's sister, who is in the ICU after brain surgery.
- Allison McLarty asks for prayers for a young woman named Chastity who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and prayers for her mother who is caring for her.
- Ken and Barbara Joseph need prayers for their son, Kenneth, who will have surgery for an aggressive cancer on Thursday.
- Our prayers are with Betty Bolden who entered Stony Brook Hospital last Friday.
- We ask God to hear the silent prayers of our hearts which we cannot put words to.
- The Brower family shares that Russell Pecchia will be entering rehab after his stroke.
- Diane Peritore asks for prayers for her son, Michael, who was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation.
- We hold in prayer those who are awaiting tests, undergoing procedures, dealing with grief, and long for peace in their life.
- Skip and I ask for prayers for cousin Kev and Barb.
- Our prayers are with the leaders of our country, Salerno family, Stu Fitz, Barbara Thomas, Laurino family, Rev. Susumo Ando, Debbie, Nick and family, Rosie, Jacquie, Carolyn, Audrey Savwoir, Chris and Ed Brown, Jolanda Rice, Diana Spetta, Gail Bean, Bonnie and Murray, Evelyn Reddick, Steven's Mother, YoungRok, Jonathan Heller, a sister moving to assisted living and Nancy Sturm.
- "In the Spirit let us travel, open to each other's pain, let our loves and fears unravel, celebrate the space we gain: There's a place for deepest dreaming, there's a time for heart to care, in the Spirit's lively scheming there is always room to spare."
"Come and Find the Quiet Center" - Murray and White
Faithfully, Sue Steares
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