The United Methodist Church and Gun Violence

8580408850_6d45ee21e6In my sermon on Sunday, February 18, 2018, I will refer to this denominational article, After the sermon is preached, the manuscript with footnotes will be available here as well.

UPDATE: The manuscript follows. The links I mentioned are in the body of the text.

Covenant: An Unbreakable Love and Trust with God — A Global Guarantee

Douglas Forrester

Reveille United Methodist Church

First Sunday in Lent —February 18, 2018

Genesis 9:8-17

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

In the Book of Job, when Job lost everything he had, including his ten children, he said, “The worst of my fears has come true, what I’ve dreaded most has happened.” (Job 3.25) Once again in our land mothers and fathers have faced the worst of their fears, as the worst of their fears have come true.

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Christmas in Rhyme

10986487_722263964557218_2041353398548451256_o.jpgWhat follows is the poem  I read at Reveille United Methodist Church’s 5:30 Service of Lessons and Carols. I wrote it in August after hearing a radio reading of poetry by the late David Rakoff, whose style and humor influenced the form of this poem. It was designed for a service already filled with scripture, liturgy, and music, where a traditional sermon would not have worked. I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas.

 

It is quite hard to fathom all one can say,
when Sunday and Christmas Eve fall on the same day
to those who have gathered in prayer and song,
all hoping the service does not go too long.
Though some will stay home and tend to fam’ly,
while searching for batteries, double-A, C, and D.

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Make A Flood Bucket!

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Reveille people: in worship tomorrow, September 3, 2017, I will be discussing flood buckets as a way to respond to the effects of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Texas. Flood buckets are wonderful resources for those helping with the recovery efforts as they are filled with cleaning supplies. We made one today as a family, and it was a lot of fun. The instructions are here, and we will have copies available at church. Get one to church by Reveille Day (September 10), and we will get it to Texas! This is a fun and easy way to make a difference.

As always, you can make a monetary gift here, and remember, 100% of your gift goes to the people in need, because the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) pays its administrative costs via a special offering churches like ours receive in March on UMCOR Sunday.

Reflections Upon Charlottesville

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.49.11 PMWhat follows is my monthly letter to the congregation, which is printed in our newsletter.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

– Romans 12:21

We lived in Crozet, a bedroom community of Charlottesville, Virginia for nine years between 2005 and 2014, while I was serving as the pastor of Crozet United Methodist Church. Tracy taught fourth grade for eight years in the neighboring Albemarle County public schools, and for one year, in the city of Charlottesville, at Johnson Elementary. Our youngest daughter Claire was born at the old downtown Martha Jefferson Hospital.

And now, it is somehow all different. On Saturday, East Market Street, the place where we once watched a parade, became a racial battleground. The Downtown Mall, where Ellen as a preschooler used to hold our hands and slide atop the fallen autumn leaves is now the place where Heather Heyer was murdered by a white supremacist who had driven to Charlottesville from Ohio. The verdant golf course we used to pass on our way into town is the site of the helicopter crash that took the lives of Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of the Virginia State Police.

We were vacationing in South Carolina on Saturday, when the violence took place. It was heartbreaking to watch on television and the internet: this evil imported into our quiet little city. It was a helpless feeling being two states away while hell was breaking loose a dozen miles from our old home. I cannot imagine what it was like to actually be there, in the midst of it all.

That Saturday night, I had a dream where I was supposed to take a document to the University of Richmond, and when I arrived on campus, I realized I had forgotten the document. As I began to return home (for some reason, on foot), two students began to harass me. They followed me everywhere I went, trying to get away from them, hurling epithets, insulting everything about me, pushing me from behind, threatening violence against me.

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