Newsletter - October 2022

Newsletter – October, 2022

Greetings from the desk of the Pastor! Despite the gloomy weather, in our hearts and around our homes – fall is often one of my absolute favorite seasons. From apple picking to wearing layers, pumpkin spiced treats and yes – even those ridiculous Halloween decorations that perhaps show up a little too early – it’s a very festive time of year.

In light of the recent town hall meeting, the survey that went with it and the resulting plan of action for our church – I think the greatest question on a lot of our hearts and minds is “Okay, so what now?” (If you missed the memo – the town hall survey revealed that we did not have the super majority required to successfully disaffiliate, and so we will remain a traditional leaning United Methodist Church). So many of us are asking – what’s next? To begin to answer this question it is important that we admit that we are all hurting. In every family, there have been disagreements since the beginning of time. Just as no family is immune from this reality – neither is a church family. Now is the time for Flushing UMC to begin the healing process and come together – no matter if your survey said “traditionalist” or “affirming” or if you specifically avoided filling one out. For healing to truly begin – it will take all of us!

Every church has to make this decision – and I am so very proud of how you all have handled yourselves. There is always a temptation to go on the attack – to smear those who disagree and to take on a “stop at nothing” mentality to ensure the results we want win the day. But that is not what happened. We conducted ourselves with honor, we told the truth and expressed ourselves with respect. No pastor could ask for more from his people. Many churches have suppressed this conversation, and many have gone about it in hurtful and divisive ways. But here at Flushing United Methodist Church, even with a result that is not what I personally had hoped for – we can hold our heads high knowing that we did an amazing thing. We managed to have a large scale, difficult conversation about a hot cultural topic and in the end there was still love to be shared even amongst those who disagree.

Whatever you are feeling as we process the things that have happened and the things that are coming – please know that you are not alone. Please know that my office is open and I’m more than willing to meet with anyone who would like to discuss these matters further. We have been through something painful – and now is a time for healing. If you’ve ever had surgery you know – a good recovery process is essential for sustained health. I’ve said it a few times, and I will probably say it a lot more – our strength as a congregation does not come from our sameness. Our strength comes from the fact that whatever differences we might hold – we are willing to put all things aside to worship and serve Jesus Christ in this place. That is what made this church strong 180 years ago on it’s founding, it’s what made the church strong yesterday and it is what will carry us forward into tomorrow. Keeping our eyes on Jesus.

October is a very busy month, and so I recommend you keep your eyes open for announcements for Special Sundays and upcoming events. Here are a few upcoming fall events… Blessing of the Animals!! October 9, 3pm Bring your pets and be blessed! There will be doggie treats provided by a few local animal loving businesses and we will gather for socializing and pray a prayer of blessing over each pet.

180th Anniversary Party! October 16th, both services

Our historian Jim Thomas will give a brief overview of some of our incredible history as a church and we will celebrate ANOTHER big anniversary. I’m guessing there will probably be some cake. UWF Sunday! October 23rd, both services

Despite my best efforts to constantly forget the correct letters – we are going to CELEBRATE the ministry of the women of this church on United Women of Faith Sunday!! Come and be blessed!

There’s a lot going on, both in our hearts and on our calendars – but we will make it through this yet. And until then – I am looking forward to the future. Pastor JJ