BEYOND THE GREEN DOORS
The newsletter of the
Peterborough United Methodist Church
43 Concord Street, Peterborough, NH
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
Sun Worship Service 10a
Sun Adult Bible Study 11:30a
Mon Confidential Meeting 6-8p
Wed Office Hours 9-12
Wed 24 Hours Bible Study (ends mid-Apr) 9:30a
Wed Choir Rehearsal 11a
Wed Covenant Discipleship Group 6:30p
Thu Office Hours 9-12
Thu Lenten Supper 5:30p
Mar 31 UMCOR Sunday Collection
Apr 2 SPRC Meeting 9a
Apr 2 UMW Meeting 6:30p
Apr 9 Church/Administrative Council 6:30p
Apr 13 Missions Dinner for MATS & SFTS
Apr 14 Free Community Breakfast 8a
Apr 14 Palm Sunday Worship 10a
Apr 18 Tenebrae Service 7p
Apr 19 Good Friday Open Sanctuary 12-6p
Apr 21 Easter Sunday Worship 10a
Apr 23 Newsletter submissions due
Apr 23 PUMC Book Group *location TBD 1p
Apr 23 Missions meeting 6:30p
Apr 26 Open Mic Night *special date 7p
Apr 27 Men’s & Womens Monthly Breakfast 7:30a
Apr 28 Free Community Breakfast 8a
May 18 Spring Work Day 9-12p
CHURCH FAMILY CELEBRATIONS
Arnie Johnson April 14
Staci Keenan April 28
Eno Ogo April 30
Katie French May 1
Greg Robidoux May 3
Don’t see your birthday? Just leave a note in the church office!
Chris and Julia Bartlett
Lucy Jane Benton
Greg & Christine Robidoux
We are switching to a new way to manage our membership. We are geared for growth, but we need your help! If you see something funny, particularly in your name or address, please let us know. Gremlins may have gotten into our data entry.
PUMC MISSIONS SERRV FUNDRAISER
Just in time for Easter, Shop & support PUMC Missions!
It’s never been easier to change a life for the better. Now thru April 14th, when you buy handmade gifts and home decor using the web link below, 20% of your purchase will be donated to PUMC Missions programs like Shelter from the Storm, MATS, New Life Home, Peterborough Food Bank, the River Center, and others.
You’ll do a world of good! I hope you’ll shop and share the web link today:
Dedicating to fighting poverty through fair trade since 1949, Serrv International works with nearly 8,000 artisans and farmers in 24 countries to bring you the world’s most beautiful handcrafts. #worldofgood
Thank you so much for your support!
✔ Fair wages
✔ Sustainable income
✔ Safe working conditions
JOINT MEETING OF UNITED METHODIST MEN AND UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
The UMM and UMW are planning a joint meeting on Saturday, April 27th, at 8 AM at the church. A delicious breakfast will be served. Our guest speaker will be announced soon. More details to follow.
Mark your calendars now! Everyone is invited!
Every month in the PUMC Newsletter there will be a section called THE RECYCLING CORNER. If you have something (or things) you would like to find a good home for, just email Melissa French before the newsletter monthly deadline (the last Tuesday of the month), let her know what you have and she will list it under “REUSABLES” along with your name.
IF you happen to need or are looking for a particular item(s), again email Melissa and she will list it under “REQUESTS” along with your name. Please don’t be bashful about using the RECYCLE CORNER because it is a Win-Win situation for everyone!
• 2 large glazed ceramic flower pots 12” high x 15” top diameter (Sue Norton Poplin)
• 39” tall wooden plant stand (Sue Norton Poplin)
• Camping equipment. Like, all of it. (Melissa French)
PREPARING FOR EASTER
EASTER LILY SALE
The chance to order an Easter lily for your Easter Sunday celebration is fast waning. Amy Clason-Gilmet would like all orders to be turned in by no later than April 4th. So please, find the order forms in the fellowship room on the table by the restroom entrance. There is a beautiful floral arrangement and an order form basket right near it to guide you! Simply make out your order, write a check to Woodman’s Florist and leave both in the manila envelope near the basket. Your lily will arrive at the church on Saturday, April 20th and be waiting for you on the altar on Easter morning! many thanks for helping to deck our sanctuary out for Easter!
MAUNDY THURSDAY TENEBRAE SERVICE
The worship team is looking for folks who would like to be readers at this year’s Tenebrae Service. This is a solemn candle light service that will be held on the evening of Maundy Thursday, April 18th @ 7 PM. The service is centered on the Last Supper, and the Passion of Christ and is very powerful. Please contact Susan Lindquist if you would be willing to help with the service. Many thanks!
There will be no Community Breakfast on Easter Sunday. Instead, there will be a special fellowship hour. If you would like to help provide a small plate of sweet or savory items for the coffee hour, please contact a member of the worship team – Wendy Dunning, Susan Lindquist, Amy Clason-Gilmet, or Andy Wallenstein.
PUMC BOOK GROUP
PUMC Book Group’s next read is The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. This is the gritty story of King David. Well-researched and told from the point of view of Nathan, David’s close spiritual advisor, this story does not scrimp on the grit of conquest and the rawness of David’s relationships with the women in his life and the men in his army. There should be lively discussion. It is important to know that this is historical fiction and should be approached as such. Group members are encouraged to review the Books of 1 and 2 Samuel and the Book of Psalms.
The group will meet on Tuesday, April 23rd -1 PM @ Parker & Sons Coffeehouse. As an aside note, there has been some discussion of meeting in member’s homes on occasion. Stay tuned as we work things out on that front. Also, please know that everyone is welcome to join in the group. Simply grab a hard copy or an on-line download of the title, read it and come to the discussion!
PUMC QUILT GROUP – CHURN DASH PINWHEEL QUILT
The fabric has been cut! The sample blocks have been constructed and the instruction sheets are ready. This years Churn Dash Pinwheel is ready to go! If you are one of the folks who have said you would be a part of this year’s Holiday Stroll Auction Quilt Project, please see the link below. It will take you to a YouTube video that shows you exactly how to construct the block. It is meant to help you visualize each step in construction. Between the video (bookmark it for referral!), the instruction, and a sample block for you to have on hand, making the block should be a breeze!
A note: a rotary fabric cutter, cutting mat, and cutting ruler will be really helpful for this project! Another video that is helpful, shows you the exact way that the block is cut. The layout is different for our quilt, so see how it can be manipulated after the cut.
Bags will be available at church for you to pick up on April 4th. Take the time to look at the videos and form any questions you have so I can help you when you pick up your bag, okay? Thanks! Susan
COVENANT DISCIPLESHIP GROUP
Your Covenant Discipleship Group at Peterborough UMC
I want to share with you some of the goals and accomplishments this group strives to accomplish each week. We are modeling our group on the devotional objectives set down by John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement.
Our group meets each week for one hour. We meet to review the covenant, we developed, to check up on the commitments we made to each other to work toward becoming disciples of Christ. We discuss our efforts to comply with the covenant clauses. When problems arise, members offer ways and methods they have found to resolve similar issues.
The meeting itself flows as follows:
a) Each week a leader provides a devotional and opening prayer.
b) The leader reads the covenant once through completely.
c) Then each clause is read in sequence one at a time by each attendee and each one discusses how well or how difficult it may have been to compete that clause. Each person has time to discuss each clause. The other members try to relate their own experiences to any issue one might have and provide support to the other members. We commit ourselves to keep all individual issues confidential.
d) At the end of the session, the leader closes with a prayer and a leader is chosen for the following week.
The benefit of such a small group is to take a continuing look at our commitment to our faith journey, to receive support and accountability for our commitments, and to reap the benefits of having an on-going relationship with God as we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This relationship with the Heavenly Father guides us in our daily lives to be sensitive “to what Christ would have us do.”
We strive to set aside a part of each day to pray, to read and study the Scriptures, and to give the Scriptures time to speak to us in our devotional period. Over time as we submit ourselves to these practices, we begin to better understand what Christ is calling us to do.
Each covenant group should not have more than six or seven members. Currently our group has four members that meet each week at 6:30 PM on Wednesday evenings. If you are interested in joining our group or have any questions about a covenant discipleship group, you can contact me at any time. I invite you to call me.
Grace and Peace
The United Methodist Women will meet on Tuesday, April 2nd, at 6:30 PM at the church. Please note this CHANGE IN TIME. The young adults from our church who went to City Reach Boston are coming to informally talk with us about their experiences. I am sure you will have many questions to ask them.
Phyllis Porter will lead devotions and a short business meeting will follow the program.
This is an opportunity for those who cannot join us at our daytime meetings to be able to attend UMW.
ALL women are invited.
Creation, Sin, Law, Grace, and Finally Repentance
By Kathleene Card
There has been a lot of talk about what United Methodist Doctrine really believes and I thought an article on some basics might be helpful. I am using the book, The Extreme Center, by Scott J. Jones as my inspiration.
According to Jones, the United Methodist Church holds four key concepts in tension. These concepts are deeply rooted in Scripture: creation, sin, grace and the law. The theory goes like this: even though God created humanity in God’s image, sin corrupted that image and no one can return to the image of God without God’s help. The dilemma we all face is being sinful, knowing we are sinful, but being unable to stop sinning on our own. The good news is that God does not leave us on our own, that God’s grace is given freely, and that through God’s grace we can “fulfill the law.” (145)
All God’s Creation is by God’s Grace
John Wesley believes the heart of UM doctrine is God’s saving grace. He describes it this way in one of his first sermons,
All the blessings which God hath bestowed upon man are of his mere grace, bounty, or favour: his free undeserved favour, favour altogether undeserved, man having no claim to the least of [God’s] mercies. It was free grace that ‘formed man of dust of the ground, and breathed into him a living soul,’ and stamped on that soul the image of God.
This affirmation of God’s creative intention is emphasized in Article I, Confession I and Our Social Creed. The question I ask is, “if we accept as Scriptural truth that God’s creations are always an act of grace, how does the way we treat God’s creations reflect that understanding?” Do we show respect for God creations?
Humanity Created in God’s Image
If humanity occupies a special place in this creation—a place that reflects God’s own image—what does this mean? Wesley sees the triune God creating us in God’s natural, political and moral image. The corresponding characteristics of God’s natural image is eternal life, God’s political image is the Good Steward, and moral image is to be created full of love. Jones believes UM doctrine sees the “moral image of God [as] foundational.” This points not to an external understanding of law-abiding observers but righteous people who have the “image of God stamped on their heart; the love of God and man accompanied with peace that passeth all understanding, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (148) We are hard-wired to receive God’s grace and live in the light of God’s love. When we accept God’s grace, we renew our moral image of God. If we understand that God intends for us to be sanctified and made whole, we will be open personally and socially to the rule of God’s love.
Sins: Original and Actual
Our doctrine affirms that humanity is created in God’s image—but it does not stop there. Wesley affirms the biblical principle that humanity at its deepest levels is corrupted by sin. Article VII traces the corruption to the Fall. Confession VII maintains that “apart from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” we are “destitute of holiness and inclined to evil.”(149) Scripturally this understanding is traced to Genesis 2:17 when Adam used his freedom to disobey God’s command. When Adam went against God, he moved from the freedom of love into the bondage of fear. 1 Corinthians 15:22 tells us that “in Adam all died.” So humanity is born unable to see the image of God, and quite able to see the image of pride and self-will. Thus, when Adam sinned, all of humanity was changed forever. Sin is what happens when we break our covenant with God leaving us unable to fix our own problems.
We really don’t like to hear that we cannot “do it ourselves.” Surely, we have the brains and the brawn, we think, to get it right. This is where I would advise thinking about how many times we know we should not do something, we even may pledge not to do it, but we find ourselves doing what we should not—even after we determined to avoid the action. Article VIII says “we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God.”
So what does our doctrine mean when it says: we are sinners—but God did not leave us in bondage to this sin? I believe it means that God placed God’s grace in us—and we call this grace prevenient or preventing grace—and it is there to counter the biological transmission theory of original sin.
Wesley describes humanity as unaware that this sin is distorting him or her. Now, Original sin is not easy to understand or explain, especially in a world that preaches self-sufficiency. But original sin is at the core of understanding orthodox Christianity. I also think it helps to explain the futility of trying to do this on our own.
Jones develops three corollaries from the doctrine of original sin. First, he reminds us that Wesley says the doctrine of original sin as the foundation of the whole way of salvation. Our understanding of salvation depends upon our acceptance of original sin. Second, the doctrine of original sin is an essential Christian understanding. It is not that we are born without enough wisdom—it is that we are born, because of the Fall, with a heart for evil. (152) Now I have to tell you, I don’t want to believe that we are “filled with all manner of evil.” But when I toured the concentration camps in Poland, and when I saw the remnants of the horror of mass murder, I could not reconcile that everyone who allowed this to continue was ignorant of what they were doing. It was there that I realized the ability to do evil sits in us all. If we fail to understand this, we leave ourselves open to all manner of evil. Third, when we see original sin as the loss of the image of God, we acknowledge the inherent disease of humanity’s condition. Wesley calls it therapy of the soul, or therapeia psyches. To understand original sin is “to renew our hearts in the image of God, to repair that total loss of righteousness and true holiness.” (153)
While original sin is healed when we accept God’s prevenient grace, Wesley cautions that we still have the ability to walk away from God’s grace and to enter into occasions of actual sins [that will] come “from our human tempers or the habitual disposition of the heart.” (153) He divides actual sins into two categories: there are either sins of commission—which are inward or outward—or sins of omission. 1 John 2:16 shows a threefold characterization of sin as “desire of the flesh or desire of the eye or the pride of life.” All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God—and no one is exempt. Even though preventing or prevenient grace is freely given to all, and is the way of salvation: we are not home free.
Structural Social Sin
Contemporary statements of UM doctrine link love of God with love of neighbor, passion for justice and renewal of in the life of the world. While contemporary statements do not make reference to the fall, Adam, or original sin they do mention humanities “violation of God’s laws and separation form the relationship God Intended.” Jones argues that Wesley’s description of involuntary sin leaves room for a broadening understanding of sin—where humanity sins despite our best intentions. If a company in whom we invest is unjust or corrupt, we may not be aware of the transgression, but Jones would argue, we cannot walk away without guilt. So what are we to do?
Ah, the only good news for us is that we do not have to live without “grace upon grace” which is prevenient, justifying and sanctifying.
Prevenient, Justifying and Sanctifying Grace
God’s preventing grace is proof that God actively loves all of humanity. So why is this important? Well, in the year 529 the Council of Orange affirmed that while the work of the Holy Spirit is resistible—that of the Father is not. That means we do not choose whether we have prevenient grace or not—we just have it. Theologian Randy Maddox points out that Wesley’s belief in humanity’s proclivity to do evil is partially restored with preventing grace that allows us to reject or accept saving grace. The choice is ours. God will not coerce us. Listen to Wesley’s understanding: “But if we do not love him who first loved us; if we do not harken to his voice; if we turn our eye away from him, and will not attend to the light which he pours upon us: his Spirit will not always strive; he will gradually withdraw, and leave us to the darkness of our own hearts.”
United Methodist doctrine teaches universal redemption—not universal salvation. While Christ died for everyone—not just a chosen few, tragically some refuse Christ’s redemption.
Grace, it seems is not just a nice warm feeling of a safe eternal life, it is also the force which convicts us of our sins and helps us to repent. When we accept God’s prevenient grace, God’s justifying grace pardons us and restores us to a right relationship with God. When this happens sanctifying grace “breaks the power of canceled sin and sets the prisoner free.” (159)
UM doctrine distinguishes between different parts of the Old testament commandments: Article VI says”
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for in both the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ . . . Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites doth not bind Christians, nor ought civil precepts thereof necessity be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral. (BOD p. 61.)
Wesley’s Sermons and Notes have a deep assumption that any reference to “the law” is to the “moral law” which is the only one binding on Christians. (160) I believe this is what Jones calls the “extreme center.” Jones seems to be saying, and I agree, that “Wesley is charting a middle course between two extremes. On the one hand we should not follow the law to look good, and on the other hand we should not avoid the law because we cannot earn our salvation. Either way we would be motivated by the end result. I am good to earn the approval of others or even God, or I am good to assure myself of my salvation. We ultimately follow the law because the law is part of God’s creation—created for us to give us freedom not restrictions. Wesley calls the law the “face of God” unveiled.
Wesley argues for three uses for the law: First, it convinces the world of its sins. Second, once convinced of sin the law redeems us by driving us to love. And thirdly, the law is a guide that keeps us alive. When God grace works in us, as God intended it to work, we keep the law because the desire to keep the law now lives in us. The fruit of all this is that we hunger and thirst for good. Sin does not reign.
A simple reminder of how to make grace-filled choices that honor the law is located in the General Rules–do no harm, do good always, attend to all the ordinances of God.
This double role of obligation and promise is possible “because the lawgiver and the enabler of its fulfillment are the same person.” (164)
When all is said and done—repentance takes two forms. One is legal repentance, which happens when we acknowledge our own sins. The other is called evangelical repentance, which happens when our heart changes from wanting to rebel into seeking wholeness that leads to holiness. Jones calls this “knowing one’s own spiritual state.” (165) In legal repentance, we are restored or “justified” through God’s grace-filled pardon. We do nothing; we simply accept the pardon free of cost. In evangelical repentance, although we can still see sin and guilt and we acknowledge our dependence upon God. As we come top know ourselves in this way, we can also see that we are loved and accepted by God in our sinful state. Awareness of sin and guilt is conjoined to God’s love and acceptance. We awake to our guilt, our need for God, and our inability to change alone. God is there providing the cure, but God will not coerce us. The table is set, all is prepared, but will we partake of God’s greatest gift to us?
whose blessed Son our Savior gave His body to be whipped
and His face to be spit upon:
Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time,
confident of the glory that shall be revealed;
through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord. [Book of Common Prayer]
Thank you to everyone who helped make the CityReach trip for our youth a possibility!
PUMC LIFE GROUPS
Have you had a chance to examine the book, A Spiritual Formation Workbook, which we will be using in the Life Group class? There is a copy on the small table just outside the sanctuary, right next to the sign-up list!
Dallas Willard describes Spiritual Formation as the process through which ordinary people “are inwardly transformed in such a way that the personality and deeds of Jesus Christ naturally flow out from them…wherever they are. In other words, it can be understood as the process by which true Christlikeness is established in the very depths of our being.”
Even though Jesus said, “whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do” [John 14:12], this doesn’t just happen the minute one becomes a Christian. Our own experience confirms this! Successful performance at a moment of crisis is the result of character which has been developed over time. The goal of a Life Group is to develop this character through the practice of spiritual disciplines.
Jesus also said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 ) For Simon and Andrew, James and John, it was clear what this meant. They left what they were doing and literally followed Jesus. They lived with Him and learned from Him. In a Life Group class, you will learn how to practice the same spiritual disciplines Jesus modeled for his disciples.
Are you content with your walk with Christ? Or do you, like me, live with the nagging sense that you are shortchanging God, not giving your all? Ask yourself, am I just a believer or am I a follower? Do I live as Jesus lived?
I encourage you to sign up for the nine-week introductory course. This will teach you the disciplines that Jesus incorporated in His life. At the conclusion of the course, participants will have the option of being part of an ongoing Life Group. Each continuing group will decide upon the frequency of meetings, which do not have to be weekly.
For more details, please see the companion article in the March newsletter. If you have questions, please give me a call!
BEYOND THE GREEN DOORS
Everyone is invited to contribute to the newsletter! Send in your thank yous, birthdays, photos, events, testimonials, prayer submissions…
Please submit all materials for the next newsletter (May) to our editors by the LAST TUESDAY, April 30. This is the newsletter that will be released May 5 and cover until Sunday June 2. Send to Melissa French at 924-4294 or email info@PeterboroughUMC.org, with the subject “Newsletter submission.” Thanks!
PETERBOROUGH UMC COMMUNICATIONS
In addition to “Beyond the Green Doors,” Peterborough UMC offers the following ways you can keep in touch.
We are at the church. Come visit us, Sunday at 10 am!
We are on the web: http://www.PeterboroughUMC.org
We are on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/peterboroughunitedmethodist/
This newsletter was compiled by Melissa French. Any concerns with content can be addressed with Reverend Card.