“’Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”
Lenten Challenge: Cards For Kids
A few area churches are partnering to raise funds for grocery gift cards for children and their families in the Dennis/Yarmouth School District. Our congregation, along with Northside United Methodist Church, the Dennis Union Church, and the First Congregational Church of Yarmouth are setting aside a month to invite members and friends to make a financial donation toward purchasing gift cards for families of children in our local schools.
Based on information recently shared with us, food insecurity is on the rise in our nation and in Massachusetts. It continues to be a major and growing concern even here on the Cape, with 1 in 6 school aged students facing food insecurity issues. Within two of DY schools, there is a 42% poverty rate. At one school 60% of the students rely on both the free breakfast and lunch program for their main source of reliable food.
Studies have shown that the impact of food insecurity on students and families produces other health and learning issues like anemia, asthma, depression and anxiety, cognitive and behavioral problems, and abuse issues of various forms. With COVID-19 there are many additional relevant issues including how to keep online learning a priority when hunger is a primary need.
The Cards for Kids initiative hopes to raise funds to purchase Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) Stop and Shop cards for distribution by school district social workers from a list of most needy families and students.
Dr. Thomas Kerr, a lay leader from the Northside UMC, has met with the Superintendent of Schools and her leadership team. They are supportive and appreciative of this effort. Dr. Kerr will be joining with us for worship on Sunday, March 7th to share some additional information about this initiative.
If you would like to participate in this Lenten challenge, simply write a check out to the “South Yarmouth United Methodist Church,” but on the memo line put “DYECH/Cards for Kids.” When our month-long campaign has ended, we will write one check for the entire amount. Cards will be purchased and social workers at our local schools will distribute them to families in need. As a further incentive, the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund will match every dollar up to the first $1000 we raise! So, if you donate $20 it will be doubled and $40 will go to Cards for Kids! Please prayerfully consider participating in this opportunity to support our local children and their families.
In the season of Lent, we usually focus on some important moments in Jesus’ life. We realize that as we do, these stories continue to challenge us, teach us, and inform us. This year, I thought it would be interesting to set aside time to reflect upon some of the stories from our own lives and then be willing to share them with each other.
There are a few reasons why I have decided to offer this different study. First, one of the priorities to come from our House Meeting Campaign was a desire to have members of the congregation get to know one another better. This study, I hope, will help us do this. In addition, living with this pandemic for about a year now has made connecting with one another more difficult. Gathering in a small group to share some memories and stories can help us get to know one another better and connect more meaningfully.
Another reason is because during Lent, Christians often practice certain spiritual disciplines, like fasting, praying, serving, and giving to others. A valuable spiritual discipline that people have also turned to over the years with great benefit is journaling. One of the founders of Methodism, John Wesley, was known for doing this and kept many journals about his life and ministry. I personally have found journaling to be a valuable practice, as I have tried to explore the spiritual interior of my life.
So, this Lent I will not be offering a typical Bible study, but a class where participants will receive weekly “prompts.” Each of us will be invited to pick one or two of the prompts to reflect upon before the next class. During the week prior to each class participants will be encouraged to set some time aside to jot down their thoughts or write a little about what comes for mind. Each week will have a different focus on a period or aspect of our lives, for example, a memory from childhood, our young adult years, our work experience, relationships, turning points in our lives, and religion. When we gather, after a brief devotion, participants who would like will share what they have written and we will all listen to each other.
As we do this, we will not only get to know each other better, but my hope is we will also grow in our appreciation for the sacredness of each person’s story and journey.
Classes will begin on Tuesday, March 2nd and be offered in-person at 12:30 PM as well as online at 6:30 PM. They will be held for six weeks. Please let me know if you are interested in participating so you can receive the writing “prompts” for the first session. I look forward to sharing in this experience with you all. – Pastor John
“If there is anything worth calling theology, it is listening to people’s stories, listening to them and cherishing them.” (Mary Pellauer)
SYUMC’s next community hike will be held on Saturday, March 20th. Joy, Bailey, and Pastor John will plan to meet all who are interested at our church’s parking lot at 10 AM. This time we will be traveling to Cliff Pond at Nickerson State Park in Brewster. This hike is a fairly gentle, 3.0 mile loop around the pond. All ages are welcome and again, feel free to invite a friend.
Don’t miss the Easter Egg Hunt at the home of Pastor John, Joy and Bailey! All are invited, so bring your parents or grandparents, an Easter basket or bag, maybe a friend, and meet at Pastor John and Joy’s house, 3 Center Street, South Dennis, (Located at the corner of Trotting Park Road and Center Street) at 10:00 AM. Feel free to park in the Ezra H. Baker Elementary School’s parking lot or across the street at the small, unpaved parking lot of the Jericho House and Museum. Hundreds and hundreds of eggs need to be found!! Be sure to join in the fun.
Palm Sunday Service – Sunday March 28th at 10 AM in the Sanctuary- Palms available for all.
Tuesday, March 30th – 12:30 PM and 6:30 PM – “Sharing Our
Stories Sharing Our Lives.”
Friday, April 2nd – Good Friday Service – 6 PM
Worship service either outside on the front lawn (weather permitting) or inside in the sanctuary.
Holy Saturday, April 3rd – 10 AM Easter Egg Hunt at the home of Pastor John and Joy
(3 Center Street, South Dennis, MA)
Easter Sunday, April 4th– Sunrise Service at
Smuggler’s Beach – (6:00 AM!)
10 AM Service of the either outside (weather permitting) or inside in the sanctuary – TBD)
Our Thrift Shop and Furniture Barn are now open for a new season. If you would like to be part of this ministry of our congregation, please speak with either Connie Swedlund or Penny Bach. New volunteers are always welcome. In addition to providing high quality clothing, household items, and furniture at very reasonable prices for people in our community, all proceeds go to support the ministry and mission or our church.
The food pantry is experiencing a strong need this winter and has asked if members of area churches would consider donating the following items: baked beans, crackers or cookies, cereal, pasta (they have plenty of spaghetti), pasta sauce, white tuna, beef stew or Manwich, granola bars and kid snacks, Hamburger Helper, Rice a Roni or Pasta Roni, Chef Boy R Dee and pancake mix.
Donations are gratefully accepted Monday and Friday from 10 – 3 or Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 1-3 PM. Or call to make other arrangements. The Hands of Hope Pantry is located at 49, Route 28, PO Box 387 West Harwich, MA 02671. 508-432-1312.
Our congregation is looking to hire someone to watch over and care for the youngest members of our community. This person will work in the nursery during our worship service on Sunday mornings. They would need to be ready by 9:45 AM and can finish up by 11:15 AM. This is a paid position. If you or someone you know loves little children, would like to be part of our growing Church school program, and might be interested in this position, please contact the church office.