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Rev. Tom Berlin's eNote May 23, 2013

Dear Floris Family,

I will be a part of the mission team to Sierra Leone next week. Our team will be composed primarily of college students from Floris and other partner churches. For many years I have enjoyed participating in Volunteer in Mission teams. I find that these experiences enable me to develop relationships with members of our church, see a part of the world very different from our own, and offer myself in service. I have not been to Sierra Leone in over two years and I am looking forward to seeing changes to the Child Rescue Centre and Mercy Hospital. A number of new children have come to the CRC in recent months as the older kids have joined families in the Bo community or gone to college or vocational school. It will seem like a different place, in many ways, from when I was last there. Our work in Bo has been a major mission effort over the years. I enjoy seeing the progress of our partnership with the Sierra Leone Annual Conference because it helps me describe it to you and others who have made it possible.

While I am in Sierra Leone, we have another team that will be in Cuba. They will check on the progress of the church that was sponsored by our Christmas Eve offering five years ago. The church is now almost complete and our team will be visiting there and working on other construction projects. Building a church in Cuba is a long and arduous process, but the persistence of the Methodist Church there has paid off. Finally, a third team will be headed to New Jersey to work on homes impacted by Hurricane Sandy. These volunteers will be a blessing to those who are still working to get their lives back together after months of being displaced from their homes. The Sierra Leoneand Sandyteams will be blogging so be sure to read their posts.

Many of us have seen the devastating storms in Oklahoma this week. The loss of life due to the tornado is a great tragedy. One of the great parts of being a connectional church that reaches across the U.S. is that while we are still helping people rebuild in New Jersey from Sandy, other United Methodist teams in the West and Midwest will soon start work in regions impacted by tornados there. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has already started working in Oklahoma. This Sunday we will provide an opportunity for you to give to UMCOR'stornado responsethrough a special offering.

Tim and Jake's Excellent Adventure
Tim Ward and Jake McGlothin depart this week for a 10-day Eco-Justice Immersion experience with a group from Wesley Seminary. Dr. Shaun Casey, a professor of ethics who worships at Floris, will lead them on an immersion into God's creation as it naturally exists at Yellowstone National Park. They will meet with some of the top scientists who study climate change. This trip will be an opportunity for Tim and Jake to be immersed in God's creation and consider the call of Genesis 1:26 to care for creation. Follow Tim and Jake's adventures.

Prayer Tour Sign Up
Just a reminder that we are currently offering Community Prayer Tours on the church bus as part of our Pray in May focus. This is a great chance to learn and pray about our local community and how our church can best respond to our neighbors in need. We need at least five people for each tour, and I encourage you to sign up for a prayer tour today.

Live Streaming Starts on Sunday
We are very pleased to be able to offer live streaming of the 9:15 and 11 AM worship services every Sunday. This is a great way to worship if you are on vacation or unable to attend in person. Visit www.florisumc.org/livestream to participate.

Men's Ministry Nationals Baseball Game
Floris is starting a new Men's Ministry. The first event is a trip to see the Nationals play the Colorado Rockies on Sunday June 23. You can enjoy a day at the ballpark and also get to know other men from the church. I want to encourage you participate and invite a friend, neighbor or co-worker to join you. Find out the details of the baseball trip, or email Scott Nicholls with questions.

This Week in Worship
Be sure to worship with us this week as we continue our sermon series, Go!. Join me for the sermon, "An Invitation that Matters". Scripture: Romans 12:1-8.

In Christ,
Tom

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