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On this Memorial Day weekend, we gather not only to flip pancakes, sell plants and serve coffee, we gather to remember and honor the brave persons who have sacrificed their lives for our country. It is a solemn occasion that allows us to reflect on the values of freedom, justice, and peace that these individuals fought to protect. As we honor their memory, it is also a time to reaffirm our commitment to these values within our church. We must be careful in our celebrations because sometimes our Christian identity can get confused or consumed by White Christian Nationalism. White Christian Nationalism often promotes theRead More →

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This past Sunday we celebrated confirmation. In keeping with the series on Making a Methodist, I preached about the means of grace, the outward and tangible signs of God’s inward love in our lives. These means of grace are conduits in which we can experience and share in God’s unconditional love for us. Confirmation is one of these means of grace. Along with our two sacraments baptism and communion, John Wesley identified several other means of grace: prayer, scripture reading and study, fellowship, fasting, worship and serving others. The whole service on Sunday was filled with means of grace. This little two-year-old often hangs outRead More →

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About the time that this is published on Friday, I’ll be in the dentist’s chair getting my regular cleaning. About a month ago, I got an email that kind of looked like the graphic above asking me to click to confirm or call to reschedule. Then last Friday, I got another one. I appreciate these reminders. I thought my appointment was the week prior and that I had missed it! We’re celebrating confirmation with three of our students this Sunday – Liv Cahill, Jaclyn Eakins, and Charlie Popplewell – along with students from Baker Memorial, Batavia, and Wesley Aurora United Methodist Churches. Confirmation is muchRead More →

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Back in May of 1768, John Wesley gave a sermon titled, ‘The Good Steward.’ In this sermon he focuses on the text from Luke: “Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. (16:2).” In this sermon, Wesley has four main points: I. In what respects are we now God’s stewards? II. When he requires our souls of us, we “can be no longer stewards.” III. We will need to “give an account of our stewardship.” IV. There is no employment of our time, no action or conversation, that is purely indifferent and we can never do more than our duty.Read More →

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After spending days looking at forecasts and plotting courses that would avoid traffic jams this past Monday, my family and I loaded up the car and headed to southern Illinois to try and catch the total solar eclipse. And wow! We are so glad we did! On our long drive back to Geneva, the whole experience had me reflecting on how celestial events like eclipses have taken on spiritual significance and meaning over the course of human history. As Christians, these rare events hold significant theological and symbolic meanings, deeply rooted in the biblical narratives that guide our faith. At the same time, we knowRead More →

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In the innocence of childhood, where markers dance on paper and imagination knows no bounds, a child’s drawing can unveil profound truths. At our Maundy Thursday dinner and communion, one of our children proudly handed me this rendering of Jesus, resurrected and radiant. She was so proud to share it with me, addressed to the whole church, and I am honored to have received it on our behalf. Unbeknownst to our young artist, the simplicity of her sketch held a weighty message: death always precedes resurrection. I think this poignant truth about life, death, and new life echoes through many an Easter sermon, searching forRead More →

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That was the question around our dinner table earlier this month.  No pun intended… that is a good question.  Sometimes as Christians we think of what Jesus went through on that fateful Friday – the mockery, flagellation, the carrying of the cross, the crown of thorns and the nails in his wrists and feet – as some utilitarian means to an end. Jesus had to suffer so we could have eternal life. Jesus’s suffering was redeemed by God to free us from sin and death through resurrection. In that way Good Friday has some goodness in it, but not the betrayal and suffering. Let’s moveRead More →

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To see a video of Pastor Rob sharing this information, click here. Friends of the United Methodist Church of Geneva,           It is an honor to be your pastor and to share the good news about what God is doing in and through us as a church, alongside some data that sometimes interrupts my sleep. Like the national address, I want to speak broadly about trends and what I see as your leader while also casting vision for the year and years ahead.           In this address, I want to start with some statistics our Bishop Schwerin has shared recently that makes me anxious. ForRead More →

One of the many favorite advent decorations in our church is the Chrismon Tree. That’s right — it is a Chrismon Tree, not a Christmas Tree. What is the difference you might ask? I recently discovered a delightful guide to our Chrismon written from 1975, when our Chrismon tree was dedicated. Here is what our dedication booklet says: “The word “Chrismon” is a combination of the Greek letters, Chi and Rho, the monogram for Christ. These monograms were discovered in many places—some on jewelry or utensils, others on doors or buildings, and still more on the walls of the catacombs in Rome. Early Christians usedRead More →