Pastor's Page


Happy Fall Season, my Friends!

posted Oct 26, 2017, 1:56 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Oct 26, 2017, 1:58 PM ]

The season of hoodies, sweaters, bonfires, falling leaves, and changing colors is going to be upon us.

With the changing season comes the reminder that God is still ordering this wonderful world in which we live.

We are fast approaching a new season of ministry and mission opportunities.

There will be many chances for you to engage, or get reengaged, in the life and ministry of our church!

Let’s be working together to make a difference in our community and across the country and the world.

Please continue be in daily prayer for all of the areas hit hard by hurricanes and earthquakes, and keep the response teams of all church denominations in prayer as they help do the cleanup.

We will have more ‘hands-on’ opportunity to make a difference in the restoration in many of the areas hit by the devastation, so keep an eye on your email, and in the church bulletin.

I am also considering some type of an Open House at church as an open forum afternoon for the local community of youth to engage in a "ask the Pastor night". Of course Pizza and cold & hot drinks to be provided to those youth who come to ask questions of how the Christian church has answers to them in today’s society. Stay tuned for this event coming soon, and watch the church bulletin board. 

I write this with gratitude to God in my heart for leading me here to be in ministry together to all God’s people.

Pray for each other, pray for me, and pray that God will grant us courage to step out in faith together.

Be blessed, and be a blessing.


A Thoughtful Devotional....River Laundry

posted Sep 30, 2017, 5:51 PM by Bowmansville UMC

From the Upper Room 9-28-2017

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.   James 2:17 N.I.V.

 

While riding through a large city in a developing country, I saw a mother and three children standing knee-deep in a muddy, green river. “Those people are washing clothes,” our driver explained.

That family washing clothes amid the polluted canal’s floating debris remains, for me, a poignant scene.

Certainly, such moments make me grateful for the conveniences I have, including a washing machine.

However, if the memory of that moment only makes me grateful for my own blessings, that would not be enough.

Although I may not be able to lead a campaign for ending poverty or improving access to plumbing in another country, I can offer compassion and help to those around me.

Maybe a grandmother’s lawn needs mowing, a neighbor feels desperate to find a job, or a student could use a math tutor. From picking up trash to giving away groceries, the needs are endless.

 

As Jesus reminded his disciples, “The poor you will always have with you” (Mark 14:7).

 

 In this hurting world, we can reflect Jesus’ love by acting to meet one need at a time.

wrote by Paula M. Miller (California, USA)

 

Thought for the Day: When I see someone in need, God calls me to act with compassion.

Read James 2:14-18

 

Prayer: Dear Lord, show us those who need compassionate words or actions.

Give us the will and the strength to serve them.

Amen.



October......Fall, Family, Food, Friends

posted Sep 25, 2017, 1:04 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Well folks, September has come and almost gone, and we now will enter October, the smell of “fall”,  of autumn leaves falling, the raking of those leaves and some cloudy and rainy (again?) days ahead.

But we here at Bowmansville UMC have much to look forward to this time of the year.

In some of our homes, the normalcy of regular times of school, grades, (right Amy?), the business of school but there is also the business of church, the world and all of those things call all together as Christ’s servants.

Jesus spoke to many in the crowds and his disciples about the world around them, the fall time of harvest, the thrashing of the grains, harvesting of the vineyards, and wine press.

We have a Meatloaf dinner in September, a Friends & Family dinner; this is an outreach of our church to new friends and maybe some family around the area.

We have another one coming forward this October, Wilma’s famous Chicken & Biscuit dinner!

Let’s all join together in Discipleship and be a friend, bring a friend, be a friend in Christ at these dinners as a witness to Jesus Christ and show good family connectedness as this church does so well.

We, as members of Bowmansville UMC, have much to be thankful for in our blessings through Christ’s holy word and his blessed actions here as a family, Shepherding-based church.

I recently finished my first year of Course of Study, and the Wesleyan Class meeting book was part of my teachings.  Part of that main theme was Shepherding the flock, and that is what makes Bowmansville UMC stand out as a church & as family, the Shepherding program which came right out of that Wesleyan theology.

Let’s think how we can use this Shepherding program to add to our church's family this fall season of the year and through the new church calendar starting with Advent.

Let us all be a blessing to those we meet in everyday life.

Blessings to you all this season.

Pastor Jim



Blessings of these September Days

posted Aug 29, 2017, 1:53 PM by Bowmansville UMC


     In the name of Jesus the Christ, I greet you folks this summery though wet season this summer!

     Well, the summer months just seem to fly by, and here we are looking at September again, with much busy-ness in your household, as in mine.  The usual school stuff is happening around in many households, teachers getting ready for a new school year, new clothes shopping by parents, as well as a new fall season of the church year will be starting up.  I hope your summer was blessed with family and friends getting together for a cookout or a card party, or maybe even a campfire together. I know we did a few back at home, in between the rain!

     There have been things happening at BUMC.  The guest pulpit supply speakers, LaVerne, Kevin, and Jessica, were here while my good wife Cheryl and I were on our 15th wedding anniversary trip to Mackinaw Island up in the state of Michigan.  I heard that both were inspiring with a good message. Though directions got mixed up, we also had a family reunion in the Adirondacks, where I did seminary reading most of the time for C.O.S.!

     As we look toward the late summer & fall season of the year coming up, I ask you folks the same question as last year’s Sept. message, to think of two things (with the bountifulness of the fall harvest time) that God has been blessing you with.

How has our Lord Jesus Christ blessed you, and how during this season of bounty can we as a church bless others here and in the local community!?

      In scripture, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked".  (Luke 12:48)

    How about some end of the month Wednesday night family based church dinners, kind of like what I have been told has happened in the past years, BUT with a slightly new twist!

     So we have all been blessed here in community, so how can we give back to others or even strangers to be a blessing to them in the name of Jesus?  Let’s locally advertise them to the local population that is growing out behind our church, as well as just the local Bowmansville community! Let our church be a blessing to those who are hungry at the end of the month!                                                         

    IF they can give a small donation then let’s allow that to happen, if NOT then lets as in scripture say, I was hungry and you gave me something to eat...(food & spirituality) As your pastor let me help organize these, and do most of the work if need be.

    I just need help from those of you who can, others just be the loving and friendly congregation that truly shows the Love of Christ that is in all that you do each and every day here at Bowmansville and greet and eat with folks if they come through the doors. Might be a small start, not looking to be BIG, but we can be a blessing here! Look for more info in this newsletter elsewhere.

     Bowmansville is a still a bright spot on Genesee Street, a great sign with a message of God each week...we know who to say thanks to...and a message of spiritual uplifting at times to those who need a comfort also.

     As the summer days slip by to fall cooler days, I ask you all to remember those in need, both here at church, our shut-ins, and to folks in community around your house and around your block! 

    With the current flooding around our nation, (AGAIN) I think there should be a call out to our membership to again start bringing in materials for those needed "flood buckets".  The need is great, I am told.  Is this a typical “fall” seasonal mission event???

     In the name of Jesus Christ, we all can do something, and sometimes a small thing to us (like sponges or a small bottle of cleaner, or a hot meal) can be a great thing to those we give to!

     Blessings to you all this September time.

     Pastor Jim

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Folks of Bowmansville UMC, I read this Seedbed text today and with positive thoughts of you, the people of Bowmansville, I keep thinking of how you folks represent the content of this morning's message 8-16-2017.                  Pastor Jim

 

Why Community Pantries Will Never Get It Done!  (The Seedbed 8-16-2017)

BUT it is NOT about food pantries (Pastor Jim)

August 16, 2017

Philippians 2:1-2

    Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

CONSIDER THIS

We have somehow come to equate our Christian witness to the world with the amount of good work we can do in the world. It does make sense, and it’s not wrong. It’s just not exactly right either.  I mean, what distinguishes the service of Christians in the world from say, the United Way or the Mormon Church? (Or the Moose or the Elks clubs)-JB

Is it just that we attach the name of Jesus to our service; as though that were a value add-on?                                                                                         

          Jesus seemed to articulate a different strategy when it came to the way his followers would be recognized and known in the world.

          “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

          Jesus is not advocating for a different kind of service provider in the world. He’s building a different kind of community in the world? It is a community founded in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; a group of people who are mysteriously caught up in and illumined by the interrelationships of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

          The reputation of the church in the world will never rise above the quality of the relationships within it. In fact, that is the Church. After all, why did Jesus pray “that all of them would be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us . . . ?      Answer: “So that the world will believe that you have sent me.”         It makes sense, then, that Paul would put all his eggs in this basket.

          Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

          Paul gets it—where there is great love, miracles always happen.

Consider this practical example. Why do we put so much stock in community pantries to help the poor?

         A poor person comes to our upper-middle-class church for help and we dutifully send them down to the community pantry. What if we brought them into our community and loved them out of poverty; helped them get jobs, equipped them with the biblical wisdom to build a household economy, raised our children together, and so on?

What if the community of the church, which is the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, was a place where the love for one another was so palpable nothing was impossible for them? Think of the witness this would be to the watching world?

Before I get angry emails, let me be clear. (Pastor Jim)

Community pantries are fine. They certainly help poor people. It’s just they will never solve poverty.

          Only a community of ordinary relationships building itself up with extra-ordinary love will ever hope to do that. And yes, these places do exist. In the end, the point of this post is not to do with poverty. It’s about creating communities of true abundance.

THE PRAYER

 Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, who makes it all so clear to us.

This is about loving one another. Forgive me for missing the point time and time again.

Bring me into the mind of Christ in a new and living way.

I belong to you Jesus. In your name I pray,

Amen.

For Jesus, With Jesus

posted Aug 4, 2017, 2:04 PM by Bowmansville UMC

From Turning Point Ministries.

Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
Hebrews 5:8

Recommended Reading
Isaiah 53:10-12

In the classic board game Monopoly®, one of the most coveted cards to draw is the orange “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Every player eventually winds up in jail—you land on the policeman in the corner or you draw the “Go Directly to Jail” card. But if you have the “Get Out of Jail Free” card … no problem! You can go to jail and get out of jail in the same turn!

That’s fun because it’s a game. 
Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Sometimes we end up in the jail or there is suffering, calamity, sickness, trouble, or pain—and there is no orange card to set us free.  New Christians sometimes think following Jesus means no more troubles. Then they learn that Jesus suffered during all three years of His earthly ministry. And His disciples, later as apostles, suffered as well, even as they walked in God’s will. Here’s what we must remember: Suffering for Jesus is to suffer with Jesus. He promised to be with us until the end (Matthew 28:20), never leaving or forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5).

Following Jesus, whether through blessings or burdens, has the same result: being conformed to His image (Romans 8:28-29).

There is a certain kind of maturity that can be attained only through the discipline of suffering.
D. A. Carson

Folks of Bowmansville,  I have been asked by all at different times of our suffering....... even though we love the Lord, yet why do we suffer.  What I read today (above) is part of the answer but not all.  We live in an imperfect world due to the "fall" of man (and woman) in the Garden.  The Good News is that Jesus will come and make all things new (Book of Revelation 21:5), but we as his servants must endure and fix our eyes upon the Cross of Jesus.  Pastor Jim


We are not alone

posted Jul 1, 2017, 12:55 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Jul 1, 2017, 12:57 PM ]

Folks,

As a July message I want you all to consider this through the summer months as we busy ourselves in summer activities yet still come together in worship these sultry summer days on Sundays.

We as a church are not alone in what we do, even in the summer.

Read Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

So, what we are, what we have become, and what we will become, all depend not just on the free choices and decisions we make and the goals we set for ourselves, and our church. Even in summer we can reach out and grow.

Sometimes our free choices and our community are in conflict. Those who have not come to church lately might need some help.

Sometimes our goals and choices are to head in a given direction, but some of the people we run with can steer us away from our Christian goals.

Even in Academics some goals seem right until we put the Light of Christ onto the scene. Maybe God is Blessing you for HIS reason, and not your own? I as your Pastor have learned that lesson the hard way, a few lost years of service to MY Lord & Savior.

Good things can happen when our goals and choices and the people we are running with are all headed in the same Christian direction.

God's promise to be present to us becomes real to us through the Body of Christ, the Church.

One of the ways in which the Church offers its presence to us is by its activity of affirming (lifting up) people that they might become open to God's embrace. We need to be ever aware of this.

That is how we as Bowmansville church members as the body of Christ can help each other and help the church grow even in membership.

We do it by action. I can do all things in Him who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13.

We do it by stepping out, by trusting that God is there and we are willing to do what we hear him saying He is going to do. As the Gideon's say "take that first step in Faith"

We step forth on the journey to which He calls us and then, after we've walked that journey a bit, we look behind ourselves from where we've walked.

When we do that, we find that the landscape we've covered is littered with evidence of God's presence with us on our journey.

Remember the Footprints in the Sand poem?

Yes there will be times that we as members of the church body were carried by God when our times were tough. Through the Love of Jesus Christ he never leaves us, no matter how dark we imagine it to be!

Remember our church this summer, be thankful for an early 9:00 am service when the air might still be cool for a summer time service, with the warmth of friends and family inside who look for You these summer days.

Christian Summer Blessings this July/August Pastor Jim


New Birth at Pentecost

posted Jun 1, 2017, 7:57 PM by Bowmansville UMC

A New Birth at Pentecost “Shalom. Peace be upon you. “You are free.”

Those are the words Rabbi Herschel Schacter cried out as he stepped into the barracks at Buchenwald, one of the Nazi concentration camps liberated at the end of World War II.

The brutalities suffered by the Jewish prisoners of the camp were unspeakable.

Rabbi Schacter said that, as he entered the gates, his eyes stung with smoke, and the smell of burning human flesh overwhelmed him. Dead bodies lay in piles. At first it seemed as though no one was left alive. Finally he was led to a smaller camp within the larger one, where, in filthy barracks, starving men lay on raw wooden planks, stacked from floor to ceiling. They stared down at the rabbi with unmistakable fright.

“Shalom Aleichem, Yidden,” he shouted in Yiddish, “Peace be upon you, Jews. You are free!”

He ran from barracks to barracks, repeating those words. The words of freedom created first a trickle of survivors who could walk, then a stream of men staggered into the sunlight. The stream became a flood, as the rabbi went from building to building with the words, “You are free, you are free, you are free.”

One of the survivors later declared that on the day of liberation, they had not simply passed from imprisonment to freedom. “We were delivered from death to life.”

This Pentecost season, if you know Jesus, then you’ve experienced a similar kind of rescue.

The Disciples were told to go and wait, not knowing what to expect. They were kept in the dark by not yet knowing.

All of us were kept in darkness, Paul says. We were prisoners, shackled by the chains of guilt. Dead in sin, our hope was gone—then Jesus came. Peace, he declared. You are free, you are free! And all who would listen and believe came stumbling out of the prison.

We were delivered from death to life. Paul explains it this way: “I have been crucified with Christ, so it is no longer I who live.” I am joined with Christ in his death.

The man of sin I used to be has died—but that’s not the end of the story.

Someone lives. Who lives? Christ lives, the Holy Spirit came at a Jewish holiday, Pentecost, the festival of the first harvest of the spring time. If we have been released from Sin and Death it might our first harvest as well, our first fruits of liberation.

Where does he live? In you and me! We are not just united with Christ in his death; we are united with Christ in his life.

So what does this mean? We are free. It means we are no longer without help or hope.

It means Jesus has rescued us by forgiving us, accepting us as we are, and giving us the power to change—really change!

Tomorrow doesn’t have to be like yesterday. It means there is hope again. We are free from fear, free from guilt, free from the power of old habits.

This Pentecost, remember where you were when Jesus found you. Remember what it felt like to hear the word of peace, to stumble out into the light. You are Free! When you believe that, you are delivered into life. No matter what your age….. Peace, Shalom, Pastor Jim



Springtime - God's Season of Emerging Life

posted May 4, 2017, 4:32 PM by Bowmansville UMC

A warm (and sometimes cool and rainy) welcome to God’s amazing Springtime.

The tempo begins to quicken as the days grow longer and the hours of sunlight increase, and your Pastor gets less sleep due to the sun rising earlier and earlier. (The old saying, “He gets up with the chickens!”)

But as the days lengthen, so do our responsibilities—there is more to do, and it always seems like ‘less time’ to do it in!

Speaking of time, I have become aware that I have been your Pastor now for 10 almost 11 months, my how times flies, especially the older we all seem to get each year.

As I reflect upon this experience, I am so grateful for your support and for your continued commitment in furthering the gospel outreach in this time and place.

There is so much ministry and work we all need to do together (no one is exempt) and I could never begin to accomplish a thing without your love and faithful response. 

I am confident that God has called each one of you to come and labor in his vineyard; in order to offer your individual gifts of love and service through the United Methodist church and thru the connectional ministry and this congregation.

It is heartwarming to witness the birth (rebirth) of nature, which the springtime brings; the fruit trees starting to bloom by showing green leaves and buds, the dogwoods and azaleas beginning to show forth their colors, and the emerald green leaves of all the various deciduous trees coming back to life. 

Let us all not forget the grassy yards starting to green and grow, for there will be lawn mowing as a sign of Spring also!

The earth and everything in it declares each day that, “This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.”  (UMH #144)

I thank God that in this wondrous season of emerging life we can listen to God’s voice with our eyes also. I thank God that these days can also urge us forward in seeking to renew and grow our congregation here. There is much work for us to do and so little time to do it.

As good stewards of HIS church, we must do all we can to restore to God’s house this springtime the Love of Christ to all we will welcome through our doors this season.

With each of us working and giving together, we can accomplish everything needed and make this place shine with the light and love of Christ in all who we meet here and invite here.

In scripture it says “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”   (John 9:4-5)

We have his light within us, and we cannot give in to the darkness of decay and destruction that seems to be part of the world around us each day. 

That is the Good News of Christ’s resurrection power alive within us. 

That is what is also called JOY! It’s not just for Christmas you know……

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing; so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15:13)

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Jim 



Lenten News

posted Mar 28, 2017, 9:43 AM by Bowmansville UMC

Growing up as a Methodist Christian, I experienced Lent as little more than a joke. “What are you giving up for Lent?” my friends would ask. “Homework,” I’d say with a smirk, or “Obeying my parents.”

I had one Methodist Pastor who always replied" I am giving up watermelon for Lent".

My family would be visiting our Roman Catholic friends who were in the Boy Scout troop with us and it was always on a Sunday afternoon so the host family could serve "treats" (pastries & such) since it was allowed on Sunday, or after midnight Saturday evening going into Sunday ...whew after midnight...!

Lent was one of those peculiar practices demanded of Roman Catholics – another great reason to be Protestant, I figured.

It never even occurred to me that Lent was something I might actually be interested in, or benefit from, or decide to keep, or come to value as a way of getting to know God better.

In the ancient church, Lent was a time for new converts to be instructed for baptism and for believers caught in sin to focus on repentance. In time, all Christians came to see Lent as a season to be reminded of their need for penitence and to prepare spiritually for the celebration of Easter.

Part of this preparation involved the Lenten “fast,” giving up something special during the six weeks of Lent (but not on Sundays, in some traditions as I have said.)

Historically, many Protestants rejected the practice of Lent, pointing out, truly, that it was nowhere required in Scripture. Some of these Protestants were also the ones who refused to celebrate Christmas, by the way!

They wanted to avoid some of the excessive aspects of Catholic penitence that tended to obscure the gospel of grace.

These Protestants saw Lent, at best, as something completely optional for believers, and, at worst, as a superfluous Catholic practice that true believers should avoid altogether.

A Pastoral Word: Let me note, at this point, that if you think of Lent as a season to earn God’s favor by your good intentions or good works, then you’ve got a theological problem. God’s grace has been fully given to us in Christ. We can’t earn it by doing extra things or by giving up certain other things in fasting.

If you see Lent as a time to make yourself more worthy for celebrating Good Friday and Easter, 

then perhaps you shouldn’t keep the season until you’ve grown in your understanding of grace.

If, on the contrary, you see Lent as a time to grow more deeply in God’s grace and wisdom, then you’re approaching Lent from a proper perspective.

Some segments of Protestantism did continue to recognize a season of preparation for Easter, however. Their emphasis was not so much on penitence and fasting as on intentional devotion to God.

Protestant churches sometimes added special Lenten Bible studies or prayer meetings so that their members would be primed for a deeper experience of Good Friday and Easter.

Lent was a season to do something extra for God, not to give something up unless it is to grow in Christ, that's the extra part.

Sometimes I’ve given up something, like watching television or eating potato chips, in order to devote more time to Bible study and prayer. (A television fast was not that tough because there is so little on TV these days worth watching, with the exception of maybe Me TV channel 67 which has the old TV shows.)

Sometimes I’ve added extra devotional reading to my regular spiritual disciplines. I can claim to have had some spiritual experiences during Lent, such as wisdom in the scriptures, but I have found that fasting from something has helped me focus on God, and it has also helped center my prayer life.

It has also helped me to look ahead to Good Friday and Easter, thus appreciating more deeply the meaning of the cross and the victory of the resurrection.

There is Hope in the Resurrection of our Lord & Savior Jesus the Christ.

~ Pastor Jim


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Walter D. Wagoner tells a story about a children's Sunday School class that decided to play church.

So they all took part,... they had a minister, ushers, offertory, choir, organist and all. After a while they tired of playing the game, as children will, and wanted to change it.

One boy said, "I know, let's play Jesus." Well, that was a new one for the group and it sounded great....

At first everyone wanted to play the part of Jesus.

They each felt they were qualified because anytime the pastor asked a question during children’s moments they always knew the answer. “Jesus”.

However, when the other children asked the boy to explain the game, he said that one boy would play Jesus and the rest would be mean to him, call him names, strike him, spit at him, tie him to a tree, and pretend to crucify him.

That took a bit of the glow off the honor of playing Jesus, but the children went on with the game.

After a few minutes of absorbing the cruelty of the other children, (sinful nature) the boy playing the part of Jesus called a halt to it and in so doing uttered a profound statement....

He said, "Let's not play Jesus anymore, let's go back to playing church."

Do you think that sometimes our churches – Play at being Church?

That shoe fits so tight, it hurts, doesn't it? "Let's not play Jesus anymore, Let’s not be obedient to the Father’s will as Jesus was, Let’s not even try to live the holy life that pleases The Father and follows the inspired words of the Old and New Testament. Let's go back to playing church....

"We are, all of us, painfully aware that there is a difference and we also know that the difference is deadly. Playing church or playing Jesus?

Unified and reconciled to God and God’s ways or to the world’s ways?

Are we serious about it or are we playing at it? Do we recognize that we are sinners against God, in desperate need of reconciliation and salvation?

Not just as individuals but also collectively as a church.

Are we in need of reconciliation, salvation, renewal?

Only thru Jesus Christ can we bridge the divide and be unified with God as his children and heirs to an eternal life in heaven.

But how do we move from playing church - to playing Jesus - to truly being the disciples we are called to be and the church we are called to be? We know that we are to be Jesus to our world. But how? Where do we begin? We begin by acknowledging who we are.

We are the body of Jesus Christ. We are the temple of the living God.

The Apostle Paul addresses the same issue in his letter to the Corinthian church. He writes: "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"

Folks we are not just a social justice group like the Moose or the Elks, we are not political activists group; we are not just a food pantry or an aid relief society.

We are a holy temple. We are God’s holy temple; we are God’s church in need of renewal that seeks Unity with God’s plan.

Whenever ancient Israel or the church has forgotten who it is, it has lost its vitality!

Our strength can be renewed when we are rooted in our dependence upon God.

Jesus boiled it down for us, when he was asked, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

He said, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.

And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Unfortunately, some churches choose to define these to fit their (worldly) needs instead of letting Holy Scripture in its entirety be the determiner of God’s intent, plan and wishes for his people.

When we stop Playing church and start truly following Jesus the Messiah then we can seek God with our whole heart, soul and mind.

Folks, I ask each member of this congregation to start a prayer session each day to pray for the Body of Christ in this church, you choose the topic, wisdom, growth, spiritual witness, outreach in HIS name, etc.

Pray individually or even better start a prayer group with friends who meet on a regular basis to "break bread" and pray, this is what Wesley called "Bands" prayer groups dedicated to uplifting of prayer each & every day.

In the name of our Lord & Savior Jesus the Christ, Pastor Jim



The Clerical Collar by Pastor Jim Brown

posted Feb 23, 2017, 12:21 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Some folks have asked about my clerical collar or shirt I wear, I just thought some information might help.

The collar has always been and still is the dress code for Protestant preachers and lawyers in Europe.

In days past, these individuals wore black and chose a white sweatband (cravat) to wear around their necks for the purpose of riding on horseback.

This became personified in the UK by John Wesley, founder of the Methodists, who rode on horseback the length and breadth of England preaching the Bible.

It was also the normal mode of dress for the Protestant Churches of Europe and it was not until the turn of the eighteenth century that the Catholic Church adopted it also.

It was never a Roman Catholic style of clergy dress code before that time and not one picture of a Pope or member of the clergy can be seen wearing one. Sadly, today most fundamentalist Protestants and particularly those from other nations erroneously think that the clerical collar is a Roman Catholic instituted style of dress code for their clergy and that Protestants should not wear it, because it represents the Roman Catholic Church, "religion" and "tradition". This type of thinking is wrong. The clerical collar is a Protestant clergy dress code.

But where did it come from and how far back can we trace its origin and more importantly its scriptural importance?

Today, when you look at the clerical dress of the majority of religions, you will see that the leadership attire is very similar. The adaptations in headgear may be different but the style of robe and neckband are ostensibly the same. Because the Judeo-Christian faith is born out of middle eastern customs, the origin of Christian clerical attire can be narrowed down to a very definite style.

The thirty ninth chapter of the book of Exodus describes in detail how the Lord commanded Moses to make "the garments of ministry". Again in the book of Leviticus in the eight chapter and verse thirteen, tunics were brought for ministry.

Modernist Christian anti Semitic, anti Jewish "replacement theology" in churches has denied the God given institutions in the "spirit" of the Old Testament ceremonial law and replaced it with a variety of man made interpretations concerning ministerial dress code, or covering, before God when conducting Worship, is of importance and reverence in His presence.

And from the UMC web site: Most United Methodist clergy do not wear the clergy collar or shirt, although many have both items. Many of our clergy would never under any circumstances wear a collar probably because they feel the collar would "put off" the laity or because they resist any association with "priestly" images.

Some would wear the collar in very formal, ecclesiastical settings or in hospital or social witness situations, where being identified as an ordained person could be helpful. There are a small number of clergy who wear the shirt "to bed" meaning, they wear the collar almost all the time when they are on duty. There are good arguments for not wearing and for wearing the collar. United Methodist clergy are free to choose whether or not to wear the collar.

The full collar is a white plastic band that attaches to the shirt with chrome collar buttons. The more comfortable tab shirt has a plastic strip inserted into both sides of the shirt collar.

These days, many shirt colors are available from church supply houses, although black is the "standard" color for the working pastor. Purple or maroon is reserved for bishops, and these colors should not be worn by other clergy.

In the United Methodist Church, we have licensed local pastors who are considered clergy, although they are not fully ordained. It is appropriate for these pastors to wear the collar in carrying out their pastoral duties.



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