January 10, 2021

It’s a new year with new opportunities. We believe that Hope is now. It is not something we just long for in the far-off distance, but through Jesus, God in flesh, we know that hope is now, in our midst, walking among us and living inside of us. Find out more below about small groups, weekly bible reflections with James Howell, a slow-read through Mark, and more to come!

Join us as we journey through the Gospel of Mark together. Throughout this season churchwide, we will study Mark to learn and slowly spend time journeying with Jesus through Mark’s account. For a weekly calendar of readings and to learn more, visit our website.

At its beginning Christianity was surprising, powerful, creative, world-shaking. Today in the West it is many times familiar, common, and expected, losing its power to surprise and transform. We need to recover the surprise of Christianity. Join us for a small group study of Christianity’s Surprise by C. Kavin Rowe to remember and relearn the life-giving power and witness that went with being Christian at the beginning. Groups will meet online at various times throughout the week now-February 1. As you are able, please read Chapter One before the first meeting. No signup is necessary, and all details, including the Zoom links, are on our website.

Start off the new year right with a customized Ben & Jerry's hot chocolate (you pick the toppings) and a moment to reflect on your baptism and what that means in your faith journey. Join us today from 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. if you are in middle school or 2:15- p.m.-3:15 p.m. if you are in high school. Please wear a mask and bring a chair. Sign up here.

Eight-week Bible studies for 5th grade girls and boys, Faith Girls and God’s Guys return today. All COVID-19 protocols set forth by the MPUMC health advisory team will be followed, including limiting the number of children that can gather safely, mask-wearing, and social distancing. If you have questions about Faith Girls and God’s Guys, email Amy Jo Alspaugh at amyjo@mpumc.org.

Confirmation resumes today from 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. We will meet in two separate pre-assigned groups in Jubilee Hall. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Offered by Rev. Bill Roth and Parish Nurse Lauren Smith, Grief Support is a safe place for people looking to share, learn, and connect with others who are coping with loss. This group will meet on the second Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. beginning January 11. Join by Zoom here.

Offered by Rev. Bill Roth and Parish Nurse Lauren Smith. Learn to embody the present moment with compassionate awareness and discover the emotional, physical and spiritual benefits of meditative practices. Open to first-timers or those who wish to renew their mindful practice. Join by Zoom here.

On Wednesday, January 13, James will walk us through the early moments in Mark’s story of Jesus, and then be joined by special guests Hillel Kessler, James’s guide for his groups in the Holy Land, and Dr. Lisa Deam, an expert in medieval maps, to find Jesus on the map of Israel, our lives, and where we’re going. Join by Livestream or Facebook.

You are invited to this virtual retreat facilitated by Doug Warner and sponsored by the Labyrinth Ministry. We will explore how we can embrace the mysteries around us and in us, especially in these challenging and uncertain times, while building spiritual resiliency as we continue to journey together. The cost of $40 benefits UMAR and the South Tryon Prayer Garden. Scholarship assistance is available; email Rev. Taylor Pryde Barefoot at tbarefoot@mpumc.org. Find details and register online or email Christine Mull at cmull@mpumc.org for registration assistance.

Join Rev. Bill Roth and Parish Nurse Lauren Smith via Zoom for emotional support and care. We will share, connect, and explore how we can increase our well-being and resiliency. Join by Zoom here.

Now through January 31, we are collecting the following new items for Novant Health Presbyterian Hospital, specifically the patients of the Behavioral Health Unit, many of whom have nothing: men’s and women’s coats, men’s and women’s sneakers, cultural hair care products, composition books, fine point magic markers, and paperback books (we can also accept these in used condition). We are also collecting thank you notes for frontline workers. Please drop off items Monday-Thursday before noon under the portico.

The Women’s Retreat planning committee is excited to invite both men and women to this special event that will inspire us to reflect on how God is moving in our midst. This event will launch a season of small groups with a specially created curriculum open to the whole church. Registration opens January 17 at www.myersparkumc.org.

“We Speak: For Such a Time as This” Small Groups, February 15-March 22: We will offer both women’s and co-ed small groups with a special curriculum designed to help us respond in faith to everything that is happening in us and around us right now. Featuring a guest speaker each week, this small group study is an opportunity to speak with our words, our bodies, and our actions to declare that our lives are God’s and God is leading us in hope. Groups will meet online at various times throughout the week. Depending on conditions at the start, some groups may meet in person, distanced and masked. Registration opens January 17 at www.myersparkumc.org.

Check out our podcast! Beyond Baptism: Wisdom, Encouragement and Hope for Parents, created by Children’s Ministries and Youth Ministries, is intended for parents and adults invested in the young people of our church. Access all episodes here. Subscribe, rate, and review today!

As you prepare for worship on Sunday mornings, look for the link to the Children’s Worship bingo card along with the worship bulletin. Download and print the card or open it on a mobile device. Your children can then listen for words throughout the worship service and check them off on their bingo card. For details, email Amy Jo Alspaugh at amyjo@mpumc.org.

Yoga + Prayer on Zoom, Mondays and Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. and Thursdays, 8:00 p.m.: We may find ourselves more sedentary as a natural side effect of this season, but that should not be matched with guilt or fear of physical decline. One way you can join others in finding healthy movement opportunities is through Yoga + Prayer. Meredith Starling leads gentle yoga sessions on Mondays and Thursdays at 12:00 p.m. and a deep stretch yoga session on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Email Rev. Taylor Pryde Barefoot at tbarefoot@mpumc.org if you have any questions.

As a church with an intentional and strong commitment to mission and outreach, some thought the name of our giving fund was a little unclear. So, the Jubilee Plus! fund is now the Mission & Outreach Fund. Everything else continues to be the same. Every dollar of your generous contributions goes directly into our city and into our world to close the gaps between what is and what can be. Watch this short video to learn more.

Giving: Your ongoing generosity to our church Operating Fund and our Mission & Outreach Fund makes it possible for our church family to remain connected through virtual worship and support our most vulnerable neighbors near and far.

Make your offering today at www.myersparkumc.org/give or by mail to 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC 28207.

Questions about giving opportunities? Contact Jamie Yearwood, Director of Development, at jyearwood@mpumc.org or 704-295-4808.

Embracing Generosity Through Intentional Giving 2021: There is still time to submit your pledge for 2021. We invite you to prayerfully consider your intentional commitment to our church Operating Fund and Mission & Outreach Fund for the upcoming year. Return your pledge cards via mail to 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte NC 28207 or online at www.myersparkumc.org/give.

With care, we remember:

Robert Frank Lutz, father of Gene and Bobby Lutz, grandfather of Hanna, Abby and Michal Lutz, who died on December 15, 2020.

Roseanne Ebel, mother of Duffy Marie Bengel and wife of Dallas Ebel, who died December 22, 2020.

Ruth Bernice Jackson, mother of Jamie Pridgen, grandmother of Blake Pridgen, Laura Taylor and Jack Pridgen, great-grandmother of Piper Pridgen, and Oliver, Thorn & Hart Taylor, who died on December 22, 2020.

Mary Susan “Sue” Hayes Dunlevy, mother of Jim Dunlevy, who died on December 26, 2020.

Louis A. “Jerry” Schmitt, father of Allan Schmitt, grandfather of Barnes, Kennedy and Collins Schmitt, died on December 28, 2020.

Susan Allison Sayrs, wife of Jim Sayrs and mother of Stephen Sayrs, who died on January 1, 2021.

With joy, we celebrate the birth of Alexander “Grey” Gordon, son of Nikki and Kyle Gordon, grandson of Ron and Lisa Clontz and nephew of David Clontz, born December 2, 2020.

We are the body of Christ - growing and serving.