As you read last week, I wrapped up my 2023 planning retreat in the southern Rockies and I came home with a solid plan for preaching and teaching for all next year — and found refreshment along the way. Thank you for your prayerful support. I look forward to sharing that plan with y’all as soon as the staff have had a chance to help me refine it.

I thought I’d take this space to share with you what is on the horizon for the rest of 2022.

This Sunday will wrap up the We Still Haven’t Found What We’re Looking For series with the sermon “With enough technology, we’ll be ok, right?” that focuses on how we tend to trust technology for our salvation instead of the Lord.

On October 9, Pastor Lisa invites folks to join her for a visit to Greenstone UMC in Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood to explore a partnership with our UM sibling congregation there. I’ll be preaching at UMCG on Ezra 3 in a sermon called “Mingled Tears” where I reflect on where UMCG has been and where we’re headed. Recognizing that the people of God have gone through cycles of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation before, I will speak to how sometimes, when God starts a new thing, it can move us to tears –mingled tears of joy and grief — and how both are a faithful response to God’s mercy in our lives.

Then starting on October 16 and continuing through November 13, I’ll start a new series, What Happens When We Die?, anchored in 1 Corinthians 15 as we explore a question that haunts the generations. Recognizing that the concepts of life, death, heaven and hell have been formed and shaped by a variety of sources, I’ll explore what the Bible says about these ever-important topics in a five-week series on our eternal hope as found in the scriptures.

 I’ll also offer a funeral planning workshop at 10am on November 1, for those who would like to gift their loved ones with some advance planning upon their death.

On November 20, we will hold a Gratitude Sunday to honor all who volunteer and serve UMCG with a gratitude-themed worship service and special coffee hour.

Advent begins on November 27 with a three-week series titled, Bearing Good News: Three Women Who Knew What God Was Doing Before Anyone Else. This Advent we will join Mary, Elizabeth, and Anna who will teach us by example to wait upon the Lord, to trust God with everything that matters to us, and to pray until our prayers are answered.

Our Christmas Choral Cantata “On Christmas Night by Bob Chilcott” will be celebrated on Sunday, December 18.

Candlelight Christmas Eve services we will be new this year. We start early on December 23 with a 7 pm service featuring big, bright, brass music and a service of lessons and carols while contrasting Silent Night by candlelight. At 4 pm on December 24 , we will feature Carols, Candlelight and Communion and at 10 pm on December 24, we will have our classic UMCG Christmas Eve with Chancel Choir and Candlelight. All three services welcome worshippers of all ages –the 4pm on December 24th features a special gift for children.

Christmas Day, December 25, is a Sunday this year and we will worship at 10 am with a casual Christmas Day service in Fellowship Hall, gathered around the manger and worshipping in the round by singing Christmas hymns of different countries and recognizing that amidst our different traditions, Jesus our newborn King, is the Light of the World for all.

I’m really excited for our worship this fall and early winter, especially our next series on what happens when we die and the new Christmas Eve line up. These are ideal opportunities to invite family and friends to share in worship together in-person or at genevaumc.org. I hope you’ll be praying on who to invite!

Blessings,