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Happy Birthday, John Wesley

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A UMNS Commentary by the Rev. Robert J. Williams

As John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, grew older, he frequently commented on his birthday how he was still in good health and this was largely due to the way God had blessed him.Wesley was born on June 17, 1703, while England was still using the Julian calendar. England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 and thus Wesley’s birth date became June 28.His birthday reflections give us a glimpse into how he viewed his life, health and ministry. On June 28, 1770, he wrote:

I can hardly believe that I am this entered into the sixty-eighth year of my age! How marvelous are the ways of God! How has he kept me, even from a child! From ten to thirteen or fourteen, I had little but bread to eat, and not great plenty of that. I believe this was so far from hurting me that it laid the foundation to lasting health. When I grew up, in consequence of reading Dr. Cheyne, I chose to eat sparingly and drink water. This was another great means of continuing my health, till I was about seven and twenty…; (He then speaks of various ailments.); Since that time, I have known neither pain nor sickness, and am now healthier than I was forty years ago! This hath God wrought!

He started to set a pattern for indicating his age and his good health. One year later, he wrote:

This day I entered the sixty-ninth year of my age. I am still a wonder to myself. My voice and strength are the same as at nine and twenty. This also hath God wrought.

In 1774, he wrote:

This being my birthday, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering. How is this, that I find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago? That my sight is considerably better now and my nerves firmer than there were then? That I have none of the infirmities of old age and have lost several I had in my youth? The grand cause is the good pleasure of God, who doth whatsoever pleaseth him. The chief means are: (1) My constantly rising at four, for about fifty years. (2) My generally preaching at five in the morning, one of the most healthy exercises in the world. (3) My never travelling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five hundred miles in a year.

In the intervening 10 years, he repeated these sentiments numerous times, and even in 1784, he wrote:

Today I entered on my eighty-second year and found myself just as strong to labour, and as fit for any exercise of body or mind, as I was forty years ago. I do not impute this to second causes, but to the sovereign Lord of all…; I am as strong at eighty-one, as I was at twenty-one, but abundantly more healthy, being a stranger to the head-ache, tooth-ache, and other bodily disorders which attended me in my youth. We can only say ‘The Lord reigneth’ While we live, let us live to him!

In 1788, after praising God “for a thousand spiritual blessings,” Wesley listed as questions what may be some of the “inferior means” for achieving such good health into old age.

To my constant exercise and change of air? To my never having lost a night’s sleep, sick or well at land or at sea, since I was born? To my having sleep at command, so that whenever I feel myself almost worn out, I call it and it comes, day or night? To my having constantly, for above sixty years, risen at four in the morning? To my constant preaching at five in the morning for above fifty years? To my having had so little pain in my life and so little sorrow or anxious care?

Finally, on June 28, 1790, less than a year before his death, he wrote:

This day I enter into my eighty-eighth year. For above eighty-six years, I found none of the infirmities of old age: my eyes did not wax dim, neither was my natural strength abated. But last August, I found almost a sudden change. My eyes were so dim that no glasses would help me. My strength likewise now quite forsook me and probably will not return in this world. But I feel no pain from head to foot, only it seems nature is exhausted and, humanly speaking, will sink more and more, till ‘The weary springs of life stand still at last.’

As this remarkable man aged, he reflected on God’s blessings and how his lifestyle contributed to his good health. This is but a brief glimpse into his humanity and can call on us to do likewise on our birthdays.

Editor’s Note: This story was first published on June 25, 2012.

*Williams is the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History in Madison, N.J.

From http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/marking-john-wesleys-birthday-in-his-words

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2019 in Holidays, Posts of Interest

 

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Common Ground Setlist for June 16, 2019

 

 

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June 16 is Trinity Sunday

 

Trinity Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost, reminding us of the three different ways we experience the one God whom we worship. We worship God the Creator; we worship Jesus who experienced the life of a human; and we worship the way that God works within us – the Holy Spirit.

Join Pender in celebrating this special Sunday.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2019 in Holidays, Pender UMC, Posts of Interest

 

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Father’s Day

 

Turn your Father’s Day shopping into a force for good. Shop at smile.amazon.com/ch/54-0856924 and Amazon donates to Pender United Methodist Church.

 

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Children’s Musical Sunday at 10

 

Please join us for worship on June 2 as Pender’s Wesley Choir presents the musical “Elijah!” The children will act out and sing about several scenes from 1 Kings Chapters 17 and 18, including Elijah fed by the ravens, the Widow at Zarepath, and Elijah on Mt. Carmel with those pesky prophets of Baal!

The musical will be presented as part of our one and only worship service on June 2, starting at 10am.
Following the musical, our worship will continue with communion.
 
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Posted by on May 31, 2019 in Posts of Interest

 

Memorial Day 2019

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A UMNS Report by Barbara Dunlap-Berg*

From sea to shining sea, United Methodists are finding special ways to observe Memorial Day in the United States. Here is a sampling of ideas.

  1. Pray for all who have given their lives for our freedom. “The major emphasis of the Memorial Day worship time,” said the Rev. Alan Brown, Hayes Memorial United Methodist Church, Fremont, Ohio, “is not on a secular observance; rather, it is the message of the gospels and the sacraments of the church.”
  2. Read the names of fallen veterans, and toll a bell after each name is read. The Rev. Walter L. Graves encourages people to read the names when they see a war memorial. “Remember,” said the pastor of Reelsboro United Methodist Church, New Bern, N.C., “that was a person who had… dreams and desires.”
  3. Provide special worship music with a PowerPoint presentation. “My church has a slide show of friends and family, living and dead, who have served in the military,” reported Leslie Haggs, lay leader at Angelica United Methodist Church in New York.
  4. Offer a candlelight service. Bishop James Swanson of the Holston Annual (regional) Conference will preach at joint services of three congregations — Mount Wesley and New Victory, Telford, Tenn., and Mayberry, Jonesborough, Tenn. A candlelight service for those interred in the church cemetery will be part of worship.
  5. Wave a flag. Youth of First United Methodist Church, Koppel, Pa., raised money to buy an American flag for all 225 residences in the little town. “I’m a flag-waver,” admitted the Rev. Donald A. Anderson. Quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he expressed hope that the flags would “bring Koppel a sense of pride in participating in this great holiday honoring those who fought to protect our freedoms.”

    At Arlington (Va.) National Cemetary, flags decorate the tombs of those who died in the service of their country. Photo courtesy of Arlington National Cemetery.

    At Arlington (Va.) National Cemetary, flags decorate the tombs of those who died in the service of their country. Photo courtesy of Arlington National Cemetery.

  6. Lay a wreath. In Illinois, Malta United Methodist Church will have a special worship service. The congregation invites veterans of the community to pay tribute to fellow soldiers by marching as a unit from the church to the township library, where a wreath will be dedicated.
  7. Decorate veterans’ graves. “After Sunday service,” said the Rev. Charlie Johnson Jr., a local pastor serving three congregations in the Lynchburg, Va., area, “we go into the church cemetery, remove the old flags placed on the graves of veterans last Memorial Day and replace them with new ones…We remember our active-duty military every Sunday during prayer.”
  8. Do a project for active troops. In Maine, the North Searsport United Methodist Church is recruiting the community to join parishioners in a mission project to benefit soldiers going overseas. Participants will sew small pillows for military personnel. The project is in response to recent articles about soldiers having to pay for pillows on their flights.
  9. Make military care packages.  The congregation of First United Methodist Church, Alice, Texas, brought items for military care packages to mail to troops serving overseas. “Many of us have loved ones who are serving in the military,” member Stefany Simmons explained. “Each of us signed cards to include for the troops.”
  10. Be part of a community-service day. Manatee United Methodist Church is one of two Bradenton, Fla., locations for the Journey of Remembrance, an annual community-service day honoring U.S. military veterans and their families for their care and sacrifice.

    Parades are one way to honor those who sacrifice daily for our freedom. A web-only photo by Dee Dee Cobb.

    Parades are one way to honor those who sacrifice daily for our freedom. A web-only photo by Dee Dee Cobb.

  11. Learn about issues affecting veterans. At Christ United Methodist Church, Troy, N.Y., a guest speaker will focus on the history and social justice issues related to military mental illness. “At Christ Church,” said the Rev. Nina Nichols in the Bennington Banner, “we honor those who serve their country, who served with the hope of bringing justice on behalf of our nation. But as a people of faith, we must not fail to call for a better way to peace than war. This Memorial Day we pray for peace for the war-weary.”
  12. Glorify Jesus as the Prince of Peace and reach out to those whom others may forget. On Memorial Day – as he does throughout the year – John Alexander, a member of East Lake United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Ala., will be involved with Kairos Prison Ministries. A Christian, lay-led, ecumenical, volunteer, international prison ministry, Kairos brings Christ’s love and forgiveness to incarcerated individuals and their families.

*Dunlap-Berg is internal content editor for United Methodist Communications.

News media contact: Barbara Dunlap-Berg, Nashville, Tenn., 615-742-5470 ornewsdesk@umcom.org.

From http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/twelve-ways-to-observe-memorial-day

 

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Charles Wesley

 

Charles Wesley was an English leader of the Methodist movement, most widely known for writing more than 6,000 hymns. Wesley was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, the son of Anglican cleric and poet Samuel Wesley and his wife Susanna.

In the course of his career, Charles Wesley published the words of over six thousand hymns, many of which are still popular. These include:

  • “Arise my soul arise”
  • “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?”
  • “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”

  • “Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies”
  • “Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown”
  • “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”
  • “Depth of Mercy, Can it Be”
  • “Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee”
  • “Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise”
  • “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
  • “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”

  • “Jesus, The Name High Over All”
  • “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending”
  • “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”

  • “O for a Heart to Praise My God”
  • “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”

  • “Rejoice, the Lord is King”
  • “Soldiers of Christ, Arise”
  • “Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose”
  • “Ye Servants of God”

 

Some 150 of his hymns are in the Methodist hymn book Hymns and Psalms, including “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, and “The Church Hymn Book” (In New York and Chicago, US, 1872) where “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” is published. Many of his hymns are translated into other languages and form the foundation for Methodist hymnals, as well as the Swedish Metodist-Episkopal-Kyrkans Psalmbok printed in Stockholm in 1892.

Born: December 18, 1707, Epworth, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Died: March 29, 1788, London, United Kingdom
 
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Posted by on May 23, 2019 in Posts of Interest

 

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