I received a phone call on Wednesday from Margaret Sheridan asking me to thank Floris members for the love so many of you have shown to her family during a very difficult time.

Margaret’s daughter Kelly is a roommate of Kate Gray, a Floris member who is a college student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Weeks ago Kelly’s sister Kasey was tragically killed in a car accident with four other students. Kate reached out to her friends through Facebook and other means and asked for prayers for Kelly’s family. Kate’s parents, Bill and Monica Gray, also asked Floris members to pray for the Sheridan family.

Your response has amazed Margaret and her husband, Owen. Margaret shared that not only did people send cards, many included letters sharing your condolences, prayers and encouragement during what has been the darkest hour of their family’s life together. You have truly been the hands of Christ for this family, ministering to them in a way that she said was very profound. Margaret said that it was important for her to get some word of thanks to our church. She works at a Roman Catholic Church in her community and knows the special bond the Christian faith brings to people. To experience this bond from such a distance, and across denominational lines, during a time of such tragedy has been a real blessing to their family.

So again, thanks for being you. What a joy to know the ministry you share every day with so many people, and what a difference you are making in their lives.

UMC General Conference

Today I am in Tampa, Florida, where I am attending the orientation session for the upcoming General Conference of the United Methodist Church. I have been elected by pastors in Virginia to lead our delegation to this worldwide meeting of the UMC. General Conference is the only body that can officially speak for the UMC. While at the orientation, the delegation leaders attending will hear about the issues that will be voted on in April and be provided with other information to share with our delegations.

I look forward to seeing all of you on Sunday for our third week in the Forgiveness series. I am very grateful for all of the feedback you have provided through conversation, Facebook and email. Next week in the eNote I will be sharing some of the reasons I am excited about 2012 at Floris UMC. We ended 2011 on a much more positive financial note than anticipated, will be paying down another significant piece of our building debt this week and adopted the 2012 budget, all thanks to your great stewardship and commitment to the church.

Floris 101 and Servanthood 101

You may be wondering, what’s the difference between these two classes and which one should I attend and why? Here is a brief explanation so that you’ll know which class is right for you:

  • Floris 101, on January 29, is for those who’d like to begin to learn more about Floris, its history and ministries through a walking tour of the church. Families are welcome and light refreshments will be served.Find out more or register.
  • Servanthood 101, rescheduled to February 9, is for those who have been attending Floris and would like to find out more about how or where to get involved in one of Floris’ many serve ministries. You’ll have a light dinner and find out about opportunities to serve others, which will bless you as much as those you’ll serve. Find out more or register.

Friday Night Fever

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow night for Friday Night Fever. Floris’ secondAnnual Winter Dance is 7 – 10 PM. This was a lot of fun last year and was a great intergenerational event for dancers and non-dancers alike. Several bands will bring us the music of the 1970’s including our very own Full Circle Band. This promises to be a great evening of games, dancing and music. This is an event for the entire family and should be a lot of fun.

Parking Shuttles and Volunteers

If you attended the 11 AM service this week you know that parking was difficult. Beginning this Sunday during the 9:15 and 11 AM services we will have parking shuttles that will take people from the Direct Solutions/XO Communications parking lot on Sunrise Valley to Floris. We will continue to offer this option as long as we feel it is needed so that our members and guests will be able to find adequate parking. If you will be on-site for more than one worship service or bring more than one car to church, I am asking you to consider parking at Direct Solutions/XO Communications and using the shuttle. Your willingness to use off-site parking is a gift of hospitality extended to those who have never been to Floris before and are not aware of this parking option. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Use the continuous shuttles that will run from the XO Communications parking lot beginning this Sundaymorning. From the church driveway turn right onto Frying Pan. Take the first right onto Sunrise Valley. Take the first right into the Direct Solutions/XO Communications parking lot. Shuttles begin at 8:30 AM and will run continuously until 12:30 PM. Here is a little known secret: it is faster to get out of the parking lot if you use the shuttle and depart from the shuttle lot. Even with a police officer it can take a few minutes to get out of our parking lot after worship concludes.
  2. Sign up to serve in the Parking Lot Ministry. A guest’s first impression of Floris is formed in the first seven minutes. For many of our guests, all seven minutes will be spent before they sit in a pew. You can be a part of the team that makes people very happy by helping them to find a parking place. The team includes shuttle bus drivers as well as parking lot team members. More details on the Parking Ministry.
  3. Take advice from the musical and “Get me to the church on time”. Last week more than 100 cars entered our lot after 11 AM. If you come earlier, finding a parking space will take less time, easing the flow of traffic around the peak 11 AM arrival time. Use the parking shuttle and life gets even better for everyone.

This Week in Worship

We continue with our thirdsermon in the series on Forgiveness. This week we will consider forgiveness in families. Have you ever noticed that forgiving people in your family, the people you love the most, sometimes seems harder than forgiving people who are friends, co-workers or people in the community? Come hear more this Sunday. Scripture: Genesis 50:15-21.

Last week in worship I said that I would share some of the resources I have found helpful regarding the topic of forgiveness. Here are some titles for those of you who want to do some reading:

  1. Forgive and Forget, Lewis Smedes
  2. The Art of Forgiving, Lewis Smedes
  3. The Choosing to Forgive Workbook, Les Carter
  4. The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work, John Gottman

In Christ,

– Tom

The post eNote from Pastor Tom Berlin – January 19, 2011 appeared first on Today I Saw God.