Rockwood UMC not Closing its Doors.

Have You Heard the Rumor?

Rockwood  United Methodist Church is closing….

It is not True!

 

There are great changes coming to Rockwood but Rockwood UMC will continue to worship here at 17805 SE Stark Street.  On Sunday Jan. 29th Rockwood will host our district Superintendent, Erin Martin at a Special Charge Conference.  During this conference we will “officially” vote to give the title of the building over to the Rockwood Center Board.  In the simplest terms this means that Rockwood UMC goes from building owner to tenant.

There are a lot of technical details to work out. The transition team is handling those. For most of us, change will begin with the construction phase. Construction will not happen till the early spring as

Rockwood Center is still in the early stages of getting the permits that they need to start.

Shawnie’s office will continue to be housed here in the Rockwood building until July.  In July the construction should be far enough along that it will take over the office wing.  So Cherry Park, who share Shawnie and office expenses (besides Pastor Ted) have offered to open office space at Cherry Park UMC for the joint Cherry Park and Rockwood office.  At that time Rockwood’s official mailing address will be at Cherry Park.  But Rockwood will continue to worship on Sundays at 17805 SE Stark Street.

You may be wondering where we will meet during construction.  Once construction starts we will use the Fellowship Hall on Sunday morning.  We will use the small altar from the narthex.  We will store in the storage room in the Fellowship Hall, our candles and altar cross. We will set them up before service and store them again after service.   It will be a more informal setting but God will be with us. We will still need people to be ushers to help hand out bulletins, light the candles and pass the offering plates.  Liturgists will still help by reading the scriptures, the call to worship and generally being the morning MC.

Coffee Hour… we still want time to talk and catch up on our week after the service so we will continue to do coffee hour. Right there in the same room so we will ask the people doing coffee hour (thank you, thank you) to come a little early so it can be set up by the time service starts at 11 am.

Rockwood UMC is not going anywhere.  We will continue to worship in Rockwood but we are letting the building grow and change for God’s people.

 

A Special Message from your Pastor

You are set Free

 

In Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia he uses an odd phrase, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”  Paul knew that God’s act of forgiveness was essential for his story.  The saving act of Jesus Christ, became central to Paul’s new understanding of God’s mercy and Grace.  Paul, prior to his life changing encounter with Christ’s Spirit, was a persecutor of the Christian Church.  God’s mercy, God’s love, God’s Grace set Paul free from guilt, blindness, and the shadow of death which was once his life.

Paul reminds the Church that the story of Jesus Christ is a story of freedom.  But it is also a freedom constrained by sacrificial service for God’s Realm.  This was deeply at odds, even contradictory to individualistic notions of freedom.  During the month of July, we will be exploring in worship how this freedom  plays out in our life of faith, through Prayer, meditation,  the study of Scripture, service, and generosity.

 

We will be looking at Paul’s guidance in three parts:

First moral libertinism.  Paul taught a freedom from moral libertinism.  A libertine is one who teaches moral or sexual restraints, especially one who ignores accepted morals and forms of behavior sanctified by  society. Paul urged the gentile Christians in Galatia to resist “enslavement” to certain applications of the Torah—like the rules for food or requirements of circumcision as being necessary for salvation.  This had caused a rift in Antioch (Galatians 3).  These liberating lessons from Paul inform us about the nature of God’s Grace.   However, Paul’s teaching on freedom was misinterpreted by some.  Christians in Corinth who concluded that “we have the right to do anything.”   They were saying that “We can sin all that we want, because God will forgive us all the more.”   Paul said about people who misrepresent the gospel in this way that: “Their condemnation is deserved!” (Romans 3:8).  God’s Grace, forgiveness sets us free so that we can be servants, even slaves, for God’s Realm, We were not set free to commit all the sin or harm that we want.

 

Secondly, Paul taught that God’s Grace sets us free from self-interest.  Though we were “slaves of sin” (6:20), through baptism we are set “free from sin”.  Freedom from self-interest allows us to be “slaves of righteousness” (6:18, 6:20, 6:22).   The greatest commandments are that we love God with all our heart, and love our neighbor as our self.    This is not about personal salvation.  We are not moved by, nor obligated to, observation the law for these reasons.  We know that the law is fulfilled through the Spirit, who brings alive our chance to become a servant for God’s love.

 

And finally, Paul reminds us of our Enslavement to one another.  We are called to serve one another.  We are the body of Christ.   Paul corrected the moral chaos he encountered in Corinth.  Over and over again, the Corinthian Christians interpreted their freedom in Christ individualistically, without regard to the health of the Christian community.  Christian community is our salvation.

 

Paul’s odd statement that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” is defined as he clarifies his understanding of the relationship between salvation and how we live it out (ethics) in his Epistles.  Join us in the coming month as we explore what it mean to be “set free.”

Ted

Internal Guidance

First Lesson: Jeremiah 31:27-34

    27 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. 28 And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the LORD. 29 In those days they shall no longer say:  “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”  30 But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge. Continue Reading →

Authentic Gratitude

First Lesson: Jeremiah 29: 1, 4-7

1 These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.   Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; Plant gardens and eat what they produce. Continue Reading →