Apple Seed Ponderings – April 2023

Time is sure flying for me, yet the wonder of Spring’s grandeur and God’s creative “aliveness” is all around us and full of color.  Our Easter season of celebration (until Pentecost) is continuing and  is full of Resurrection!  We can feel it in the  joy of what God has done for us, as well as in  family, church, and community here with you all.  

Having a person at the Welcome Center to meet guests with a face-to-face greeting and answer questions is underway for the Easter season, as this is a time many new folks are seeking a place to worship. We have been giving a small gift of hospitality to those guests who stop by and make themselves known to us. Hopefully, it can continue. 

Maybe you’ll recall, or I’ll remind you again, that the premise undergirding the Apple Seed Ponderings is inspired by the abundant potential for fruitfulness in a seed when it is submitted to God’s nurture.  Ministry is this way, too.

This Sunday, April 30, is the fifth Sunday of the month, and that means Messy Church! We’ll have lunch together after worship, then there is an exciting opportunity to see what the seeds of ministry are throughout our church!  We called it the “Serving One Another” Mission and Ministry Fair and more than 30 groups (some with multiple activities) responded they would be there, ready to share their passion.  Children will get passports and can “travel” to ministry areas with a prize if they fill their passport with stamps (fun stickers, really!).  I hope you’ll be there and revel in the potential that God is bringing to life at CUMC for the world, community and us!

“I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice” was the reading choice for the Good Book Club this month.  The variety of topics being discussed is formative in mind and spirit. They challenge themselves to read 12 books a year. Discussions expand their understanding and openness.  Coming up in August, they will be facilitating a Community Good Book Sale fundraiser, so if you’re spring cleaning, don’t throw/give away books you might donate.  

Speaking of fundraisers, there are a number in various stages of planning besides the Book Sale to offset costs of activities and events of the 50th Anniversary weekend (Nov. 3, 4, and 5) and to ensure that no one who wants to come to the events will be prevented from doing it. Among expenses there are honoraria, travel, flowers, activities, favors, building and grounds “spiffying up,” and meals on Friday, Saturday lunch, Saturday evening, and a “bruncheon” after the worship service.

Some people have asked why we aren’t having the Saturday dinner at the church. We are planning that the attendance will be better than holding the banquet in our space and that the people who are actively serving for other events will be relieved of the pressure of setting up, cleaning up and tearing down the event, and so may enjoy attending, too. Planners started in February looking for a venue that was nearby, nice, fully accessible, had good food by testimonies and was available. A number of places were contacted and couldn’t accommodate the size projected or were already booked. It’ll be a wonderful time to celebrate the past while looking forward to a future with hope for the next 50 years!

Trustees are sponsoring a Saints’ Plaza participation opportunity to all of us at CUMC in the 50th year to buy a brick to add to the newly designated “Celebrating the 50th Year Together” section, as well as any other celebratory commemorations or memorials your family wants as a physical legacy. Order forms are in the Narthex, and new bricks will be set in place for the 50th anniversary.  A portion of the proceeds will be designated for the events of the weekend of November 3-5. Thanking Trustees for the painting, beautifying, contracting with new cleaning, lawn service and copier vendors, while managing the regularly unpredictable work of keeping an aging facility functioning well, will be a blessing to them.

It’s Administrative Professionals Week!  Katie, we are so glad you are part of our church. Thank you for your contributions to the work-flow and communications that are so important to this family and its health! Have a good week!

The Women’s Planning Hub had its first meeting on April 14 and is discussing ideas, but there definitely will be a Christmas activity here at the church for women on Saturday afternoon, December 16.  So, women of the church, please hold the date for some togetherness cheer!

The CDC is getting help from the same technology team proposing upgrades to the sanctuary lighting and screens. CDC needs a motorized screen and projector for their area. It’s a replacement for the one that is torn and will not any longer retract to meet fire code requirements for unblocked exits. They are also in the market for a new and child-friendly equipped bus to allow their capacity for before and after school students to be reached. And, the CDC Advisory Board and parents will be fundraising to purchase a Little Free Library for the grounds. It is another way to encourage the community to come to CUMC’s campus to enjoy books and get to know us better.

The SPRC’s interviewers are narrowing their focus in seeking a Children, Youth and Families Director.  Over the first weekend in May, one of the candidates will be here from Florida for additional interaction with the team and to see the church. Everyone has been praying that we’ll find the right fit for expanding our offerings for young disciples and parents, as well as supporting long-serving leaders.

The Justice Team met April 25 to continue its discernment and educational processes for moving forward. The three focus areas for the team are race/racism, environmental issues, and gun violence. Still in the works is offering a movie, study guide, and discussion on the documentary, “Who We Are?” that looks at the history of racism in the United States. 

Pastor and Sheila are finalizing their plans for pastor’s renewal leave that starts on May 30 – August 1. He is also busy making sure that there will be preachers for each week and that the creative work of being Christ’s hands and feet for the world will continue in his absence. I hear that they may spend some time in Italy and that he has a research project in mind… he tells me this is exciting and revitalizing for him, so it’s hard for me to say “please rest and come back refreshed in mind, body and spirit”! (But, did you see how I got it in 😊).

Blessings to all, 

Barb Julian, Lay Leader