Note from Pastor Jana 1 I shared that I would be talking about our vows in the newsletter for the next view months. Just a reminder that the vows we take when we join the church are: We vow to faithfully participate in the life and ministries of our local congregation through our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Last month, I invited you to be in prayer for our church. I hope you have been doing this. Our vows take us one step further by being present. What does it mean to have a presence in the UMC? Ken Sloane shared his viewpoint on this vow. "The vow of presence, I thought, was always the easiest. You just have to show up, right? OK, no problem -- once a week I can make an appearance: potluck suppers, good people doing good things, worship, fun times and fellowship -- presence is a breeze! I don't have to worry about living up to that promise. As the years have progressed, I've realized that my promise of supporting the church with my presence is about more than showing up. The main question asked is if you will "faithfully participate in its ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service and your witness." While potluck supper and fun activities fall in that category, there are times when offering presence is more challenging. When someone has lost a loved one (a parent, a spouse, child, or sibling), words seem so inadequate; but we can give the gift of presence. When violence or dishonesty has shattered a family, we can give the gift of presence. When natural disasters have ripped through a community, whether it is a flood 10 miles away, or a tornado 1000 miles away, or a typhoon 5000 miles away; we can give the gift of presence.” Presence is more than showing up (though that is just as important). It is reminding people that they are not alone. It is about acknowledging others in their struggles, their joys, their everyday lives. The gift of presence is going above and beyond without being asked. It’s showing up AND DOING. I have seen that in the life of this church. Showing up to provide meals for grieving families, showing up to care for the building and grounds, showing up to run AV, showing up to lead music - choir, piano, organ, showing up to teach Sunday school, showing up to take care of the finances, showing up for our mission programs, showing up to help one another without asking, honestly the list could go on, and most importantly simply showing up and being the church. Honestly, when you see the life of the church giving the gift of presence, you can’t help but to joyfully show up. Let’s make this vow together to give each other the gift of presence. In Christ, Pastor Jana

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