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Tuesday, December 8, 2020 . . . An Advent of Peace

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” ~~~ Isaiah 40:31

Hanging On To The Past

It is fun to reminisce about the past. We can fantasize about how things used to be (forgetting the problems) and wonder why things can’t be like that now.

This picture is a castle in Wales that belonged to one if my ancestors. It was destroyed after my ancestor killed the King (not a wise thing to do!).

I can think about what it would be like if we still owned a Welsh Castle. It’s located in a beautiful countryside and I can spend hours thinking about “what if…”. In reality those visions can interfere with the gifts of the present. God meets us in the now and invites us to live this day in God’s Presence.

The anticipation of Jesus’ birth reminds us to let go of the past, the joys and problems, and by the Grace of God grab hold of today and eagerly face the future that God is opening for us.

Prayer for Advent Peace (based on Joyce Rupp, O.S.M.): In my praying this day, I will think about the Messengers of Light in my life and write a note of gratitude to one of them. Amen.

Clyde V., Boulder Creek United Methodist Church

 

Politics is Not a Dirty Word (Usually)

“Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no.  Anything more than this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

I’ve always figured that politics was strictly taboo in a church setting, didn’t you?  We United Methodists are a free-thinking and definitely non-partisan denomination that welcomes just about everybody into the fold.  Our mission is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, and we’ve been working on it as a congregation here in Watsonville since we started on the banks of the Pajaro River back in 1852.  Unlike others, we’d never in a million years—at least in my lifetime—tell you how you must mark your ballot.

So, what does politics have to do with our faith, anyway?  A lot! 

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but here’s what historians say.  The people called Methodists have been actively involved in social and political matters from their founding in 18th century England.  Methodists were among the primary advocates for the abolition of slavery across the British Empire, the organization of labor unions to protect workers from dangerous working conditions, the ending of the debtors’ prison system, and the creation of new systems of care for poor children.  (umc.org)  Cool, huh!?

Given this heritage, we Methodists have continued to advocate for other social or political issues since that time – women’s suffrage (i.e. right to vote,) temperance (abstinence from alcohol,) civil rights, health care and care for the environment, to name a few.  In other words, believers like us have been stirring up political trouble for a long, long time!   And I believe that’s a good thing.   

As one preacher puts it, politics, (or política in Spanish,) is about people and the relationships between people or groups of people.  Life itself is political, and there is virtually no decision we can make, nothing we can say, no action that we take that does not have political consequences, for we do not live in isolation from other people.  When I sneeze, my neighbor catches cold.  Or the coronavirus.   

Honestly, the way I see it, there’s no part of our lives that isn’t concerned with politics, one way or the other.  And when I say politics, I don’t mean mud-slinging or other vicious rhetoric.  I mean exercising our democratic right and privilege to vote our conscience.  In my mind, it’s another version of asking ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”  (WWJD)  

And maybe, just maybe, with this approach we can make this whole presidential election season better than it is. 

Let’s keep in mind the advice that John Wesley (founder of the UMC) wrote in his journal on October 6, 1774 in reference to the British Parliamentary elections held in the fall of that year: “I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy: 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

Sounds like a plan to me! 

As Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, General Board of Church of Society of the United Methodist Church explains, “Voting is a matter of faith, citizenship and democracy.  It is a kind of prayer and faithful testament to the belief that every citizen bears a responsibility and equal right to determine the future of governance in society.” 

I think they’ve got it right.    

Shalom,

Pastora Robin 

Out of Many, We Are One: Love LGBTQ+ Online Gathering with Rev. Tino Cordova

I agree with one United Methodist preacher who said that the question is not whether most of us will be sexual at least some time in our lives, but whether we will be faithfully and joyfully so. Isn’t it funny that when we talk about sex, we get so nervous? Maybe it’s hard for us to admit that God created us as sexual creatures in the first place. Yet, we’re alive aren’t we? Someone somewhere had to make it happen, and that generally has something to do with, you know it, sex!

Here at our Online Gathering, maybe it’s time we got real about sexuality, and that means accepting people of all types, including specifically LGBTQ+ folks—the way God made ‘em. And whether we feel comfortable talking about it or not, the rest of the world does, so I guess we’d better learn more about it.

It’s like the mom who very nervously sat down with her fourth grade daughter, and said, “Hon, don’t you think it’s time we had a talk about sex?” The little girl said, “Sure, Mom, what do you want to know?”

A research project by the Barna Group discussed in the book, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith, by David Kinnaman, explores the reasons why regular church-going teenagers and young adults leave the church after age 15. And they do leave the church. The answers from the study are revealing. Reason #1, according to the kids, is that churches seem overprotective. Teenagers say Christianity feels stifling, fear-based and risk-averse. One-quarter of 18- to 29-year olds said, “Christians demonize everything outside of the church….”

And that includes them.

But that’s not all. Young Christians find church experiences related to sexuality simplistic and judgmental. As the researchers put it, “With unfettered access to digital pornography and immersed in a culture that values hyper-sexuality over wholeness, teen and twentysomething Christians are struggling with how to live meaningful lives in terms of sex and sexuality.” To become a genuinely welcoming congregation means we’ve got to do more than just sit on our laurels. It’s not just being open, but affirming. We need to share our faith and welcome folks in new, innovative and Christ-like ways. Plus, it’s not just them we’re talking about; it’s us too. Our church friends and members are more diverse and interesting than most of us even know.

Join us as we explore “Out of Many, We Are One: Love LGBTQ+” at our Online Gathering online at our YouTube and Facebook pages. This message is a discussion with my friend and colleague Rev. Floren“Tino” C. Cordova, Pastor, Iao United Church of Christ, Wailuku, Hawaii on the issue of love and LGBTQ+. I know you won’t want to miss it!

The Celebration Continues! Join us for our Earth Day Sunday Online Gathering

Dear Ones:

Writer Robert Frost once said, “The people I am most afraid of are the people who are scared.”  We know what happens when people act from a place of fear.  Just look at the world today—it’s scary!  Admittedly, there’s more than enough to be afraid of.  In a pandemic, anything can happen.  

The question is, how do we cope?  How can we keep on going when so many things we’ve always relied on seem to be falling apart before our very eyes?  To put it another way, how can believers like us face our fears?  How can we move towards peace and healing even in times like this?  And where oh where is our courage? 

That of course is where God comes in.  Whatever way you want to describe it—a Higher Power, Creator of the Universe, mysterious and Almighty Yahweh, or Holy Spirit—we believers know that the buck doesn’t stop with us.  We know deep in our hearts where we belong, and that is together.   That’s the only way I know to face our fears.

And you know what else?  Even now, we trust that God is here.  

This Sunday, our celebration continues!  Join us for our Earth Day Sunday Online Gathering on April 19th, premiering at 10:00 am.  You won’t want to miss it.  As always, it can be viewed later on our Facebook or YouTube pages–just search the name of the church: Watsonville First United Methodist.  To make it easier to find, just go to our website.  One click and you’re there!  

Plus, there’s one more “first” for us.  Our talented website developer has added a “Donate” button to our website.  When it’s time to give your tithes and offerings, we’re here to help.  Check it out online at our church website, below.  And see you soon!

Yours in Christ,

Pastora Robin

 

Flodberg Park Neighborhood Watch Meeting // Reunión de Vigilancia del Vecindario del Parque Flodberg

Merry Christmas! 2016 // ¡Feliz Navidad! 2016

Experience it in a new way at
Watsonville First United Methodist Church
// Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida de Watsonville
Sunday Worship 10:00 am, Christmas Eve 5:00 pm

El Día de los Muertos 2016 // Day of the Dead 2016

Join us in worship as we celebrate All Saints’ Day & El Día de los Muertos // Day of the Dead.

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This year, we have again created an altar to honor those who have gone before us in the faith.  Based on the traditional Mexican holiday, we will incorporate your photographs, flowers and mementos into our display.  Let us remember our family, and friends, who were important to us in our faith journey.

Please drop off your mementos to display this week or during worship.

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April 20th Easter Sunday 2014 // 20 de abril domingo de pascua 2014

watsy first united 3x4 (2) (Large)

Community Forum // Foro de la comunidad

 City of Watsonville

Parks and Community Services Department Neighborhood Services Division

Council Member Coffman-Gomez cordially invites you to a 

Community Forum

Thursday, September 12, 2013

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Watsonville First United Methodist Church

Council Member Coffman-Gomez and City personnel will provide updates on the following and will welcome questions and comments.

  •  City Budget & Revenue Measure
  •  Downtown Revitalization and Relinquishment of Highway 152

 Light refreshments will be served. Spanish interpretation will be provided.  For more information, call Neighborhood Services at 768-3289.  

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

// Ciudad de Watsonville //

Departamento de Parques y Servicios a la Comunidad División de Servicios al Vecindario

La concejal Coffman-Gomez cordialmente les invita a un

Foro de la comunidad

Jueves, Septiembre 12 de 2013

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida de Watsonville

La concejal Coffman-Gomez y personal de la ciudad proveerán actualizaciones en los siguientes temas y aceptaran preguntas y comentarios.

  • Presupuesto de la ciudad y la propuesta de ingresos
  • Revitalización del centro de la Ciudad y la entrega de juridiccion a la Ciudad de la carretera 152

Se servirán ligeros refrigerios. También habrá interpretación al español.                                               Para más información comuníquese con Servicios al Vecindario al 768-3289.