Dear Floris Family,

This has been a moving week to be a part of Floris UMC, a week in which I have been simply amazed every day at the joyful service that permeates our church. Many of us gathered with the Rill family for the visitation night and worship service to celebrate Bennett’s life and offer our grief to God. This was the largest funeral service in the history of our church. More than 400 cars brought well over 900 people into our facility. It was such a wonderful opportunity to minister to our community and to church members who know Bennett and his family. Many who came are students who attended elementary and middle school with the Rill boys. It was a chance to share the good news of God’s love in the midst of our grief as well as the promise of heaven. Perhaps the greatest message of all was not the words that were spoken but the level of care and hospitality you showed to the Rill family and the community that gathered. By building a sanctuary and related space large enough to seat and serve everyone, you gave people a place to be together. When you stood by the doors or in the parking lot to direct people, you told them they were welcome here. When you served at the reception, you offered them a meal that became a place to talk, console, and joyfully greet each other.

On top of everything else, this week we have welcomedmore than400 kids to VBS each day. As I walked the halls today and looked in on classrooms, games, and music, I was again amazed at the number of volunteers who give their time. On Monday, this group had to perform a very quick facility changeover to prepare for the funeral service. You should have seen how everyone joined in, fulfilling the scripture that many hands make light work.

You served in so many places and ways, but there was one common feature: you served with joy. One of the most moving moments of the day for me occurred about 20 minutes before the service when I asked Floris members to fill 30 seats in the choir loft. About 50 stood up and moved so that our guests could sit in the pews. No complaint, no hesitation, just a desire to bless others. The Rill family is so grateful for your love and care during this difficult time. I could not be any more appreciative for who you are as a church.

Student Summer Mission Trips
The first of four student mission teams will depart Sunday. A team of 8 adults and 37 students will travel to Costa Rica, June 30 – July 7. Other student mission teams include a high school student team that will travel to Philadelphia, PA, July 14 – 20, a middle school student team that will travel to Romney, WVa, July 28 – August 3, and a second middle school student team that may also travel to Romney, August 4 – 10 (see below for the reason I write may travel). You can follow these teams on our blog.

Middle School Mission Trip in Jeopardy
We have a bit of a problem with one of our planned student mission trips. We need two more male adults to serve as leaders or the boys who plan to attend the trip to Romney, WVa, August 4 – August 10 will not be able to go. The camp has adult leader ratios that we must meet if our full team is to participate. Guys, if you enjoy hands-on work, or if you are good with kids, this is the perfect trip. The focus is on home repair – painting, building steps, handrails, and wheelchair ramps and doing yard work. I want to encourage you to consider joining this team. We’ve never cancelled a trip for lack of adult support and I know two of you will step up and make this happen for these boys. For more detailson the Jeremiah Project trip. Questions, contact Donita Dickerson.

This Week in Worship
Last week I started a sermon series entitled, Hope in Death. I will continue the sermon series this week with a sermon entitled “The Hope of Heaven”. You may be concerned that this will be a sad Sunday, given the events of the past week. Trust me, it will be anything but sad. It is also the week of our VBS celebration and we will have the kids with us, sharing some of what they learned this week. The scripture for this week’s sermon is Revelation 21:1-5.

In Christ,

The post eNote from Rev. Tom Berlin for June 27, 2013 appeared first on Today I Saw God.