From Pastor Jeff
From Pastor Jeff
Last month was the 49th session of the East Ohio Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. The theme of this four-year quadrennial with Bishop Malone is “Bearing Fruit that Lasts: Called Committed, and Connected”. Last year, being Bishop Malone’s inaugural year as the Bishop of the East Ohio Episcopal area, she encouraged and tasked each congregation of the East Ohio Conference to “Engage in at least one new, bold, courageous mission/ministry beyond the church’s walls.”
In the past year we have studied God’s Word, shared a meal, had dialogue with one another and served many in the community though our Supper, Study and Service group. Over the past year, we have had four session of Supper, Study and Service—studying things ranging from Jonah to Half Truths by Adam Hamilton. In terms of our Service, we have served over 558 people; distributed over 330 blessing bags filled with water, protein snacks, tooth brushes, tooth paste, body wipes, razors, cough drops, tissues, and lotion; and we gave away over 150 winter packages filled with winter hats, gloves, scarves, and socks. Thanks be to God!
During the Episcopal Address at this year’s Annual Conference, Bishop Malone shared many ways that the mission of the church is still alive in the East Ohio Conference. Well friends, Bishop Malone mentioned churches in the conference that are engaging in one new bold courageous ministry beyond the church walls, and while there are many churches in the East Ohio Conference—we at West Austintown were highlighted for our Supper, Study and Service group and how we are reaching beyond the church walls to show the grace and love of Jesus Christ to all in our community.
This year, as Bishop Malone focused on the “Called” facet of our quadrennial theme, she instilled that we are all ‘called’ to show the love of Jesus Christ to all those who come across our path (Luke 10:25-37). She then foreshadowed how we need to remain ‘committed’ to Christ, and not to the wants and desires of ourselves. Friends, when the church becomes about us, rather than about Jesus—we are doing something wrong.
I’ll leave you with this, “Healthy churches grow healthy disciples. Healthy disciples, disciple others. Disciples, transform the world.”—Bishop Tracy Malone.
Friends, I hope you will prayerfully consider being a part of the many ministry opportunities we have coming up. Every month this summer we will be having Family Movie/Game nights. In August, we will have our annual free clothing giveaway, and our free Back-to-School Block Party, October will be Trunk or Treat, November—Community Thanksgiving Dinner, and December—Parents’ Night Out.
Please be on the lookout in upcoming newsletters and bulletins for more information. And as always, if you have any questions, please call the church office at 330-792-1221.
Grace and Peace!
Rev. Jeffery R. Harrison
an open invitation for all
an open invitation for all
First United Methodist Church hosts free monthly community dinners open to the public.
These events focus on reaching out to our local area, sharing the grace of God and building a more united church family.
Join us in the Fall when our Community Dinners return!
West Austintown First United Methodist Church offers a group bible study open to the community called Supper, Study & Service in which participants gather to share a meal and explore a book that helps us reflect on our role as Christians in our community.
This study culminates in a Service project in which the group gives back to the local community by way of creating Blessing Bags from donated items, making a meal, and serving it to those in need.
We have partnered with Our Community Kitchen to serve these meals to the less fortunate.
During 2017 Summer, West Austintown First United Methodist Church offered Supper & Study for a second time. The book covered was A Grace-full Life by Wes Olds & Jorge Acevedo which seeks to answer the questions: "In what ways is God an ever-present God?," "Why does God want to have a personal relationship with me?," "How can I fully experience and respond to God's grace?," "How can I die well '"surrounded by God's grace?"'.
Our group connected with Our Community Kitchen to serve a meal and deliver Blessing Bags.
If you would like to attend our next Supper, Study, & Service group, it will begin September 12th. You can find more information for these meetings and others on our church calendar.
During the 2017 Lenten season, West Austintown First United Methodist Church offered a Supper & Study in which members gathered together, reading and discussing Tom Berlin's book Restored which helps us to see our mess through the eyes of Christ to find redemption and restoration. This Supper & Study group finalized their study with a Community Outreach program. They connected with Our Community Kitchen in downtown Youngstown & were invited to serve soup & give Blessing Bags to our unhoused brothers & sisters. Our next Supper & Study will begin mid-July.