“I believe in the Holy Spirit”

michael 1

michael 1


“I believe in the Holy Spirit”

Not many words, but many, many meanings.  When we affirm our belief in the Spirit we affirm that God is present with us  as the Holy Spirit to comfort, console, guide, teach, lead, empower, enable, and change us; that our God is not a distant God who does not care but a God who will, if we allow it, shape our hearts and lives so that we are more and more like Christ.

In a time of crisis such as this one that we face, grieving the loss of Michael Stephenson, our Director of Children and Youth Ministries, even as we try to keep everything moving forward, I am grateful that none of us does that alone.  God IS with us.  The Spirit WILL comfort us, console us, and lead us through.

In fact the Spirit is already at work.  Please share with the children and youth in your families that the good folks of First UMC are hard at work to ensure that they are loved and cared for and treasured.  I list below some of the steps we have already taken to that effect:

  •  Our new associate, Rev David Harriss, will become the “point person” for the two youth mission trips in June and July.  This has been cleared by both District Superintendents and his current church.  He will begin driving up this week to figure out what needs to be done and to meet the adults and youth and provide a strong spiritual and administrative presence to support this important part of our youth program.  I have met with the Youth Council and key leaders and done enough checking to know that we are in good shape for this to move forward, thanks be to God!
  • The children’s council has met and assessed the immediate needs of our Sunday School program and made a plan to keep all key parts of the program in place over the next several months.
  • The youth council has met and made the following decisions:
    • Wednesday May 15 will be the last regular Christ Care meeting until fall.  Pastor Deborah will meet with the youth on that date.
    • The UMYF program will quiesce immediately, since May 19 is the celebration of Michael’s life.  Many of our youth will participate in that celebration.  The reception following will be “youth food!”
    • We will honor the major events Michael had already scheduled:  SunSplash in June and tubing in July.  As we get our feet on the ground we may be able to offer a few more “Meet me at the xxxx” events as Michael had hoped.
    • Volleyball will be a key part of our summer program for youth.  Encourage them to sign up NOW!  Darrin Orndorff is one of the coaches.  We still need at least one more.  Please let Darrin or Mary Vrana know if you are willing.
    • We are working to ensure that Sunday School teachers are in place and have curriculum they need
    • Confirmation will be held as scheduled on Saturday May 18 with Bishop Hoshibata preaching and presiding.  The confirmation team is hard at work to ensure all details are in place for this wonderful event.  Confirmands will be presented with Bibles Sunday May 19 at 8:15 and with name tags at 9:45 so the congregation has a chance to meet them.  They will move up to Junior High Sunday School May 23.  We are working to make this a festive morning to encourage their participation.
    • I am working to identify our key needs for coordination/communication and hope soon to be able to share with you how we plan to stay in touch over the summer

We will take our time to assess what our needs are before moving toward finding  someone to take Michael’s position.  Please stand ready to help if you are called.  This crisis is also an opportunity to deepen our commitment to the children and youth of the church by stepping up to help.

Thank you all for all you have already done.

God is with us!

See you Sunday, in red or orange, for the flames of the Spirit poured out on Pentecost.  It  is the birthday of the church.  Be there!


Pastor Deborah

Book your tickets