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eNote from Rev. Tom Berlin April 25, 2013

Dear Floris Family,

Over the past few weeks we have been interviewing members of this year's Confirmation class. There are 64 students, primarily in 8th grade, that have participated in a 12 week course that includes weekly small groups, time with mentors, two retreats and numerous opportunities to serve. During the interviews they have expressed how much it has meant to them to spend time with their small group leaders, mentors and each other as they have learned much about the Christian faith. Many have shared that the Confirmation process has helped them gain a better understanding of their faith in Christ as they studied the Bible, asked questions and focused on the core beliefs of our faith. I am grateful for all the adults who have led the way for these students as they consider professing their faith in Christ. We will have Confirmation services this weekend where we will welcome these students as church members. In addition to our usual worship services, we will hold a special service on Saturday at 5 PM. I hope you will plan to be present to celebrate this milestone in their lives. Take a look at the list of confirmands who plan to join the church to see who you might encourage this weekend.

Pray in May
I have been grateful for the leadership of Bishop Young Jin Cho who has been serving UMC's in Virginia since September. He has brought a renewed emphasis on the importance of prayer and spending time with the Holy Spirit. During the Month of May we will be focusing on prayer at Floris. I will share a special request to pray for our church next week. I invite you to join me as we Pray in May to seek God's guidance and consider what is next in the ministry of Floris UMC. Here are some other events that I encourage you to consider.

  • Pray for the nation during the National Day of Prayer on May 2. The Chapel will be open all day for prayer and meditation. Two local churches will host National Day of Prayer events: aprayer service at Sterling UMC, 12-12:30 PM and an evening prayer service at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, 6:30-8:30 PM.
  • Commune with God every Wednesday from 11:45 AM – 12:15 PM during our Weekly Communion Service. Please consider taking this opportunity to gather and share in the grace that is offered to us through the meal of Holy Communion. Consider making this part of your weekly spiritual practices in May.
  • Pray for yourself or others during our Prayer and Healing Service, May 16 at 7:30 PM. During the service we will include time for personal and corporate prayer as well as the opportunity to be anointed with oil. The service will be about 45 minutes and is open to all. Come and pray for yourself or someone you love as we worship our Holy God.
  • Learn to pray on May 18 at the Bishop's Convocation on Prayerat Bon Air UMC in Richmond. Bishop Cho invites you to join others from churches across the Virginia Annual Conference to gather and consider how they might develop the practice of spiritual disciplines. There will be a keynote speaker followed by workshops offered on: Prayer and Discernment in Making Congregational Decisions, Prayer 101, Spiritual Disciplines, Contemplative Prayer and Congregational Prayer. The deadline to register is May 8.

As you consider incorporating intentional prayer practices into your daily life in May, you might want to take a look at the United Methodist website, Teach us to Pray. It offers information on ways to pray such as Lectio Divina and Praying the Psalms, webinars on topics such as Praying the Scripture and Prayer Practices and a Prayer for the Day.

Parking Shuttles
We will be offering parking shuttles every Sunday through Mother's Day. Please park at the Network Solutions/XO Communications lotand take the Floris Shuttle. This will be especially helpful this Sunday as we welcome the confirmands' families and friends.

Jeff McCumber
Jeff has been a Wesley Seminary intern in our Student Ministries area for the past three years. Jeff and his soon to be wife Andrea will both graduate in May from Wesley Seminary and return to the Western North Carolina conference where they will both serve as United Methodist pastors. Please join me in thanking Jeff for his leadership and for his service to our students during his time with us.

This Week in Worship
This week we continue our series on the theme of justice, Just Love. I will share a sermon on the connection between holding faith and working for God that will help us consider how to live a more loving and holy life. Join me Sunday as we consider "Living Love and Justice". Scripture: Isaiah 58:9-12.

Last Sunday Barbara mentioned Helping Children Worldwide (HCW) and the work they do impacting the lives of the vulnerable. To find out more visit their website.

In Christ,
Tom

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