Word of Encouragement

Word of Encouragement

Hello Wesley Family,
As I look into the future through a dark glass, I see only blurred images of what might be. Melville called this “glimpses of a mortally intolerable truth.” I see dimly things that that I hope to see more clearly soon. Perhaps Wesley may feel a little of this right now. Without a firm foundation, these blurry thoughts can create anxiety. None of us really knows what tomorrow holds.

So here is what I am doing and perhaps it will help you.
I “take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12 I have absolute certainty that Jesus has a hold on me and it is that certainty that will bring clarity into the tomorrow He alone can see and a day He holds firmly for me, and for you. Paul continues, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” Phil. 3:13 I have chosen to believe, “to press on” as Paul says. Wesley too will press on. We will each new day continue to take hold of the future we do not yet see clearly. We press on firmly believing God alone holds our tomorrow. For me, pressing on takes the form of getting out of bed each day. I make my bed every morning so that I know I accomplished something early. I stay in my devotions, pray for my family and friends, learn from the word, take a walk, meet a
few people and offer encouragement and hope, piddle in the yard, spend time with my family, prepare a word for my church family. None of that has really changed.

I encourage you: PRESS ON.

I love being your pastor,
Ernie

SOUL PAINTING

WHAT IS SOUL PAINTING?

Soul painting is a spiritual journey which uses the painting process to help you listen to your inner voice and make a connection to your Creator.  Think of soul painting as the evolution of a visual prayer offered to God.  By being intentional  in your focus on God while painting you will often hear the prompting of God from your soul.  Music plays an integral part as God will lead your hand much like a conductor in an orchestra.

The painting process begins with a selected bible verse and prayer asking God to pour His Spirit into your soul. All soul paintings begin with random placement of color and mark making techniques. After many layers of paint, God will often reveal objects in the graffiti and can give you a direction for the rest of the painting.

Everyone, of all ages, can do soul painting. You do not need to be an artist to reap the soul enriching rewards.  It is an intuitive process of a variety of techniques with no thought of the final result.  In addition to creating a connection with yourself and God, the creative process is  healing  for illness, grief, and depression.

This year Bridges Preschool and Wesley will be putting together an interactive advent booklet utilizing group and individual participation in creating soul paintings to coordinate with each day of advent. Families and individuals will be invited to complete each painting with a scripture, thought and prayer. Each family will be given their personal copy of the Advent Booklet and we will be printing extra so you can share with family and friends.

Below is a mockup of a sample page.

We will start working on this project as early as September and it will be open to anyone in the community who would like to participate.  The first phase of this project will start with a large roll of heavy paper rolled out on tables where we will work in unity on one or two large pieces filling it with scripture, prayer, color, and mark making, creating several layers.  There will be music and food.

The second phase of the project will be using cut out open frames to discover our favorite compositions and then cutting out  8 x 10 pieces that can be worked on individually.  24 of these pieces will be photographed to use in the advent pamphlet and the original pieces will be used to create a advent calendar display in the back of the sanctuary.

We have several upcoming sessions scheduled and you are invited to join one or more of the dates. We have moved the first three sessions to Fellowship Hall in the FLC from 11am – 2pm on Sat., Sept. 9 , Sept. 23 , and Sat., Oct. 14. Oct. 21 we will move to the Courtyard behind the sanctuary when the weather is cooler. This is an event geared for persons of all ages and the whole family within the community. On the third Saturdays , Sept. 23 and Oct. 21, Bridges Preschool will be sponsoring other games and activities planned for the whole family. On Sat., Oct. 21, Wesley will also be having their Annual Craft Fair in the Fellowship Hall from 9am -4pm.

RSVP is appreciated to help plan for lunch but not required. You can register here for the dates you would like to attend. You will need to register separately for each date you plan to attend.

You can take a peek into the process of creating the soul art used for the advent mock up here. These activities will be geared toward all age levels and skill levels. You can do it!

Also, see another example as a group activity with the grandkids Here!

With the smaller left over pieces of our larger art creation, we will be creating cards to be given out during Advent.

You can also see a modified version of this project here that we did at Habana Health Care.

Below is a simplified example of how you can start your soul painting. There are many ways you can start a soul painting. This is just one example.

Things we learn from Soul Painting that relates to our Spiritual Journey with God:

1. Do not worry about the outcome.  This is hard for some, even professional artists, to learn to let go and just allow what happens to happen.  It correlates with our spiritual journey in learning how to trust God for the outcome without trying to control things in our own strength.

2. Do not worry about what other people are doing. Stay focused on God and ask him to pour out His Spirit into your soul and guide your hand and your thoughts.  We are all on our own spiritual journey and at different points in our life.  God will guide us just where we are at.

3. There may be a point in our painting where you think your painting looks ugly. This is a common stage in most paintings. Stop and take some deep breaths, spend a moment being still or take a walk if you need. Talk to God. If you are physically tired, take a rest. But don’t walk away and not return to move ahead with your painting. There are often points in our life that are uncomfortable and disappointing and we do not understand what God is doing. But it is important to keep pressing forward.

4. Conversely, there may be a part of your painting you really like and want to resist covering it up with another layer.  Close your eyes and paint another layer.  The magic of soul painting is found in the depth of many layers of paint. Trust that some of what you like now will end up in the final painting or maybe something even better.  You may be at a point of your spiritual journey where you like where you are at. God does not want you to stay there and miss an opportunity for a deeper relationship with Him.

5 Try to stay focused on your painting and not carry on conversations with others around you. If you speak, please keep the tone soft. Be respectful of others.  When we are reaching out to God, it requires us to be focused and not be distracted with other things.

6. There will be guides to help encourage you and help you with your next step. God sends people to walk along with us in our spiritual journey to encourage us and to hold us accountable.

7. For many, this may be your first experience with soul painting and our goal of listening to God may confuse you.  Hearing God does not often happen instantaneously and develops over time. Sometimes he will whisper to you later at an unexpected time.  God will show up when we earnestly seek Him.

We hope you will return to paint with us some more as well as spending some private time setting up your own Soul Painting experience at home, It is God’s desire to pour His Spirit into your soul.

Please register here!

Q & A with Pastor Ernie

Q & A with Pastor Ernie
UMC DISCERNMENT

Hello Wesley,

We have been hearing in church that our district superintendent, Emily Hotho, will be here June 4 at 11:15 (one service this day) to share with us from the pulpit and afterward have a dialogue concerning the state of the United Methodist Church and the process for a church to disaffiliate should it desire to do so. I thought I would give a brief explanation of what is happening.  In 2019 the General Conference of the United Methodist Church met and there was a motion passed that allowed churches to leave the denomination.  The issue that pushed this to happen was the decades long debate about human sexuality and in particular whether homosexual weddings should be allowed to take place in the church and whether or not homosexuals should be ordained as pastors.  There was a great divide.  Some churches have already left the denomination, some 2,000 of the 32,000 United Methodist Churches in America.  The paragraph that allows for disaffiliation has a sunset clause that expires December 31 of this year.  Leadership has been looking at whether or not Wesley wants to disaffiliate.  Emily is coming to help us all understand why we should stay with the United Methodist Church and will field questions we may have.

The following Wednesday, June 7, I will be available for further Q and A.  We can meet at 7 pm in the fellowship hall.  There will be a second Q and A on July 9 after church, again in the fellowship hall.  I will also be available to groups already meeting to come and help us navigate this journey.  Should leadership discern that it is best to have the church vote on this, we will have the DS set a date for the vote and there would need to be a majority of 66.67% (two thirds) to leave the denomination.  If this comes to a vote, only members will be allowed to vote.  It is important we help folks by giving them every opportunity to join so we will have two new member classes in June after church, June 11 and June 25.  There will be a number of ways to check on your membership.  Someone will be in the back of the church with a list after church services and we will make the list available digitally so you can check.

Be in prayer for the church,

Ernie

You can find all updates on the UMC Discernment Process here!

NEW MEMBER CLASSES

NEW MEMBER CLASSES

We are so happy there have been some new attenders
express an interest in joining the church!
We also have some long term attenders very active in the church
who never officially joined the church .

When a vote comes up for important issues, it is important to know
that only official members are allowed to vote.
So if you would like to vote on a issue in the coming months
that will affect the future of our church,
please be sure to check your membership status.
There will be a number of ways to check your membership.
Someone will be in the back of the church with a list after church services
and there will soon be a list available digitally so you can check.

You can find all updates on the UMC Discernment Process here!

COMBINED SERVICE WITH REV. EMILY HOTHO

COMBINED SERVICE WITH REV. EMILY HOTHO

Mark your calendars now for a very important day to be here!

Leadership is in the discernment phase for exploring disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church and we have invited Emily Hotho, our district superintendent to be with us on Sunday, June 4 and to share a message from the pulpit. We will have one service at 11:15 and then have a potluck luncheon where Emily will present for the United Methodist Church, and she has agreed to field questions. This is an important meeting so please make every effort to attend.

Leaders will continue discerning what God wants from Wesley Church so please stay in prayer.
Your leadership team:
Chair of the Board, Connie Pruitt
Trustees, Marci Blaney
Council on Ministries, Amanda Olson
Finance, Steve Olson
Staff Parish, Linda Mills
School Board, FLC, Leslie Berlin
Lay Leader, James Pearson
Church Financial secretary, Vickey Paggio (no vote because she is on staff)

You can find all updates on the UMC Discernment Process here!

SUMMER BIBLE STUDY

Do you feel overwhelmed? Insufficient? Too old? Too young? Too afraid?
This study is about Gideon’s victory over his own weaknesses
and the God who transformed his story into a triumph.
Gideon found that his weakness was his gift!

 This 7 week Sumer Study, Pricilla Shirer’s Gideon,
is on Wednesdays starting on May 10. 
Classes are at 10:00 am and 6:30 pm
both in person and online.  

If you are interested, please contact
Leslie Berlin
813-494-9063
 [email protected]

SPANISH CLASS AVAILABLE!
Spanish classes on Gideon will be held on
Thursday evenings 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Starting May 11
in the home of Renee Kincaid (close to church).
if you are interested, please contact
Renee Kincaid
813-885-5674
 [email protected]

WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT

This week I am preparing a lesson on the Apostle John. I have always been struck by how completely different his remembering is from Matthew and the others. John’s gospel is almost completely new from Matthew, Mark and Luke. It’s not that their theology is any different, but their perspective is. Mark just rushes from one event to another. “and then…’ is repeated many, many times. Matthew is written for Jewish people and so is filled with Old Testament illustrations and quotes. Luke has a
Gentile audience and has stories and events specific to Gentiles, The good Samaritan, the lost son, healing stories, the Centurion. John seems like he read these other accounts and simply kept remembering something they forgot.

I have begun wondering just how different we can be from one another and still be citizens of the same kingdom. John seems more interested in the relationships Jesus had with people and so his recollection of an event goes into way more detail and even has some emotional context. He really does see things from a different perspective.

When we realize how important those different perspectives are to God, it allows us clarity to love people who see things differently from us.

 My children are very different. Their perspectives on things rarely match. Yet they are both believers and part of my family.  Oddly, I never once considered one of them as outside the family, even though I may have disagreed with their perspective. Perhaps we can learn something from this rag tag group of disciples who rarely all saw things the same way,

~ Grace and Peace ~
Pastor Ernie