Category Archives: News

Letter from D.S. Seok Hwan

Dear fellow Sojourners and colleagues,

Every Sunday, in every corner of the world, people gather to hear a story, story of life, love, hope and faith. For almost 2,000 years that story has been told and retold. That story, of a man called Jesus of Nazareth, a man who became Christ, was originally told by his first followers and then retold by a missionary to Korea who was sent by the United Methodist Women from USA. Along the way, a young man, my father Yoon-Kee Hong, had found in its telling, its own meaning and interpretation from a Methodist missionary in Korea and became a Christian.

He married a young lady, who is my mother, Kyung-Ah Lee, a Buddhist who later converted to Christianity. I am a second generation Christian in my family. I grew up in an environment where two cultures clashed between my mother and my father. My mother worried much about living with poor condition; my father had a strong faith that God would provide what we needed. Every Sunday, and especially on Thanksgiving Day, I saw the struggle between my mother and my father. My father practiced tithing in everything that made my mother worry and uncomfortable. My father advised me to give a tithe even from my small amount of allowance.

My father learned from his missionary, and mentor, that giving was no pious act designed to increase contributions to the church budget but a means of expressing generosity rooted in gratitude for God’s generosity and of fulfilling the great commandment to love. My mother had been gradually convinced by this belief and had seen enough to know that our generous God blessed all of us with more than enough things.

My son Jonathan complained about taking out a tithe from all his gifts and I explained to him what I had learned from my father and he is painfully practicing to express generosity as well. Someday he will know how much it is a privilege to share the blessings of God.

Dear friends! I have traveled to 65 churches and had joyful fellowship with brothers and sisters. I feel we need to reclaim a precious Wesleyan tradition that “the Methodist would give all we have and then all would have enough.”

We, the RISEM District, are going to have a chance to experience “Developing a Culture of Generosity” in both March and October this year. I hope that you and many lay leaders of your congregation take this valuable opportunity to develop a culture of generosity, to create a climate ripe for giving, to learn a biblical alternative to materialism, and teach the offering as a worship experience. Encourage and plan to be in this workshop together on March 29, 2014 with Melvin Amerson and October 4, 2014 with Cliff Christopher.

We are called Methodist because Wesley learned how to be a Christian by methodically practicing every day the means of grace. Everything becomes easier once we have started; it is getting started that is the hardest part. Let us come together and learn how to be good Christians.

Your brother, Seok Hwan

Letter from RISEM re. Charge Conference

Church Conference 2013

Greetings Pastors and Laity,

Conditions change but fundamentals continue!

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:6,8)

Time flies. The church conference season is coming soon and it will create for us a lot of stress and work as well as joy and hope. Don’t be overwhelmed by the work, rather just relax and take a deep breath and allow the Spirit of the living God to work through you. Plan ahead of time and find a schedule to complete the paperwork that must be submitted on time for our freedom. Many of the forms can be completed on-line, saved and then printed out and shared at the Church Conference. Forms can be found at: http://www.neumc.org/pages/detail/482

This year the theme for our church conferences is the same as at the 2013 Annual Conference, “Strangely Warmed: Formed by God, Powered by Prayer to Service”. Our scripture focus is Luke 24:13-35 known by many as “the story of the walk to Emmaus”.

With some exceptions, I will meet with the Staff Parish Relations Committee one hour before the church conference and the pastor is asked to be present at this meeting for the first fifteen or so minutes.

We will then move to the church conference, beginning with a short devotion. I will lead the devotion. Please note and read through the Church Conference Agenda. As pastors and laity in every church, I hope you will concentrate on one thing at a time. Apart from the usual agenda, I want to focus on the main goal of the church for the next year and hear from you what you are presently doing and what resources you will use to achieve your goal in a more concretely and practical way.

More than anything else than preparing the Church Conference, we need to set aside the time to pray together. We cannot control the movement of the Spirit. Rather we are supposed to be controlled by the Spirit to do ministry effectively and productively. So I hope you have prayer in every committee meeting and give space for the Divine to breakthrough to us and to the church. I have learned how to prepare for the Conference through my ministry by allowing God’s intervention. Simply waiting for and resting in God’s moment, I have found the way out and a new direction for the ministry.

Let us learn how to enjoy the grace of God through tough, demanding, sometimes frustrating and unnecessary things (in our opinion). We continue to love our church that we are serving, in spite of all the frustrations and joys. Simply enjoy the problems and concerns enough to change them into the stepping stones for the transformation of ourselves and the church we serve, for we have the treasure of Jesus in jars of clay!

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact the district office. I look forward to seeing you soon!

2013 Charge Conference Agenda

Devotion

1. Prayer and Hymn together

2. Scripture Luke 24:13-35

3. Meditation (DS): Strangely Warmed: Formed by God, Powered by Prayer to Service!

Charge Conference (or Church Conference)

1. Bishop’s Video

2. Open CC and Election of Recording Secretary

3. Approval of 2012 CC minutes

4. 2014 Church Clergy Compensation Report

5. Pastor’s Report

6. Candidate for Ministry and Lay Speaker Annual Report

7. Lay Leadership (Nominations)

8. Trustees: bequests and Parsonage Inspection

9. Annual Report of the Committee on Finance

10. Membership

Questions for the coming year

1. If your church has one goal that is practical, concrete, and tangible next year, what would it be?

2. Does you congregation have Spiritual Disciplines to be transformed by the Spirit? (Prepare to share your concrete and practical spiritual disciplines)

Adjournment and Blessing

l Could you prepare a projector, screen, and speakers for the Church Conference? If not, let me know and I will plan to bring them to the Conference.

Chilmark’s early Abel’s Hill church by Sam Carroll

Sam Carroll

I have a copy of an old map showing a church at Abel’s Hill, beside the cemetery. It wasn’t Methodist, but it predates the middle road locations. Experience Mayhew preached there in the early 1700s, his father, John Mayhew (number 32 in Banks history) was the first circuit minister who lived in Quansoo , who became a preacher at Boston’s South Church and spoke against the King’s Stamp Act, just prior to the Revolution. His Son, Experience, wrote a detailed ethnology of the indigenous Wampanoag conversions, which is available in the West Tisbury Library. Including Abel, who was his first convert to Christianity.
In 1694, Matthew Mayhew wrote “A Brief History of the success of the Gospel among the Wampanoag of Martha’s Vineyard” in Chilmark. He mentioned twenty different languages were spoken at the time. And suggested that the Crown should learn from their example of local assemblies open to all citizens, Hashawockamuck, Aquinnah, Nobnocket, for example, were the tribal centers where all local affairs were discussed, and many early Christian conversions took place there and in private before any standing churches. Many of the founding principles of our country came from those discussions. Freedom of assembly, government by the people, regional conferences, were discussed up-island, at fireside before 1700.

Report by Marilyn Hollinshead re. Annual Conference

REPORT OF THE NE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH JUNE 6-9, 2012

 

Prayer: O God, Open our minds to hear this news and our hearts to find ourselves in it. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen

Every year the Methodist Church of New England, comprising all the congregations in six states, convenes to conduct the business of the church. Its mission is “to equip, connect, and support local, regional and global ministries to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and to serve all in his name.”

So a great deal of business was conducted by Bishop Peter Weaver. We voted on officers, budgets, mission shares, church closures, among other issues. We worshiped, we sang (hymns from our hymnal I had never heard), we attended workshops, we witnessed the ordination and commissioning of clergy, and we talked. We visited displays by many organizations, mostly church-related, and spent time in Cokesbury’s large bookstore. We ate well, and I hope others slept as well as I did after each long day.

I came away from the Conference with a great deal to think about. Much of it stemmed from the report of the New England delegates to the General Conference of the Methodist Church. Every four years this annual conference is held, this year in Tampa. So I went to a packed workshop on Introduction to United Methodist Social Principles to hear the delegates report on the General Conference.

More than 2000 proposals were placed before the general conference. Most of them died in committee and never reached the floor for a vote. To quote from the NE Delegations “Reflections:”

“If we were depending on getting our legislative house in order, we failed to do so. If we were hoping that instituting strong centralized leadership would be the panacea, all the plans went up in smoke. If we thought a common theological perspective, or a unified worldview, or new language around inclusion would rescue us—none of these were anywhere to be seen.”

The delegates realized that the Methodist church is too big and too diverse to have a common center. They believe that the structure of the church does not contribute to its vitality. That vitality they define here, “Our strength and out unity lie in our identity as a spiritual movement, grounded in the grace of God and linked by common practices of personal and social holiness. Nothing more, nothing less.”

I have a copy of their Reflections here for anyone to read. What they were saying is that we need to reimagiine what our church is to keep it vital.

I found this idea running through many of the talks, from the Bishop to lay speakers. The Bishop showed five short films of vital churches in New England. After each film he asked,” What is the Holy Spirit saying to me about my congregation?” and “what is the Holy Spirit saying to me about my leadership?” These were uncomfortable questions, but one we must all ask ourselves.

In a workshop on congregational Development I found some suggestions, some of which are relevant to the Chilmark Church. The minister leading the group said the church had become counter cultural. It’s no longer cool to attend church. There is competition for attention on Sunday and throughout the week. To many the perception of church is a fist. He proposed ways of opening that fist, of changing people’s perceptions.

  1. Within the church we should think of the church as God’s rescue plan, the “Light of the World.” The church was created to represent God in the world. We as individuals are part of the rescue plan.
  2. Marketing the Church. Matt. 28: 19 Personal newsletter from the Pastor, Sermon notes. (both of the above mailed to parishioners or handed out s]at service – and handed on.) Bookmarks, flyers, general and specific, a website, presence in Facebook, community participation (parades,etc)
  3. Worship Experience. Must be meaningful and relevant, a balance between traditional and contemporary elements. Children’s message. Introit as transition from business to worhsip. Sermon uses attention getter.
  4. Doing Church differently, Bread of life Sunday, on line Study blog fee NT and a 90 day challenge to read it, brain-boarding local needs with sticky notes. Post and do 2 or 3 of them.
  5. Prayer and elbow grease. What kind of church are you supposed to be? Hebrews 12:1,2a

This was one vision, but with many ideas we could work from.

Majority of churches are consumers of religion, rather than incarnate. Incarnate here means to realize in actions what we are. It means we love God,love others, and then help others to grow in their faith. It means to ask what God wants of you, and then listen. The traditional consumer form is that of a minister preaching and others following, a passive relationship to God.

There was so much more I learned in the few days at the New England conference. I hope to share some more specifics later in the year.

We had a service of memory for the ministers we lost during the past year, including Robert Brightman, who often worshiped with us.

We said goodbye to Bishop Peter Weaver for his eight years of dedicated service to our church. We had a service of farewell, including a roasting, followed by a Hootnanny with a Falmouth music group.

It was an inspiring few days. I hope some of you will consider going next year.

Community Corrections

Saturday, February 11:  If you got near to the Fellowship Hall you’d hear rock music playing and smell sausage or bacon and paint fumes in the air.  Brian Kennedy and his crew of eight painters were in action.  After a community breakfast, the Community Correction crew will be finishing the main room today and have the blue tape down and the switch plates back on.

( The foggy exposure is not smoke but a cold camera lens.  )

When thanked for this energy and work, Brian replied that they all appreciated our prayers.  Lets keep Brian, his wife Susan, and all those he works with in prayer.

EMAIL ACCOUNT HACKED

BEWARE of strange communications from strangers.  Our email account was hacked.  Not only did they send everyone an Email asking for money for Ann, stranded in England, but they stole all the addresses and contact information.

We are so sorry!

Ghana Ministry Update

You’ll remember that as a result of our church posting Rev. Christiansen’s sermon on his Ghana Ministry on our web site, he received an inquiry from a person in California who wanted to provide “Talking Bibles” to the church there and to the leper colony. Talking Bibles most often serve the blind.

The last week in June, Becka Berman personally delivered the solar powered talking Bibles to the two missions.  Her Bibles were in the language, Ewe, spoken there.  Rev. Christiansen says that many people afflicted with leprosy are illiterate because they are considered cursed by the society.

It’s a reminder that even the smallest things we do as a church or as Christians can have results beyond our imaginations.

Lia Kahler to sing August 18th

Sunday, August 18th, Lia, a member of our congregation and professional opera singer and voice teacher, will sing Virgil Thompson’s ” My Shepherd Will Supply My Needs”.

Also on the 18th, she’ll sing Arlene’s favorite, “His Eyes Are on the Sparrow”.