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Lenten Devotion: April 15
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Sharing Shop
Read Matthew 25:40


The Sharing Shop, a mission of CSUMC United Methodist Women, is thriving and continues to be engaged: forming relationships, meeting basic human needs and sharing God's love and message that all people have worth and value. This mission of UMW is one that has evolved and has meant more than we could have ever imagined. When people engage in mission, whatever that mission might be, there is transformation for all involved.

A member of the Susanna Wesley Circle shared with me something that she witnessed during a recent worship service. She watched someone whose daily existence differs greatly from most of our membership's, place a Sharing Shop voucher in the offering plate. (Vouchers "substitute" for money in the SS) This man placed something of value to him in that plate, and I recognize this act of generosity as his way of sharing, of giving what he perceived as valuable to others. That simple act has more meaning than I can even begin to explain. And it reminds me that our Sharing Shop is worth every minute we give to it.

United Methodist Women believes that service is at the heart of who we are as women of faith. As Christians, we are called to be in ministry with the poor and the disenfranchised. In our world today, we are needed more than ever, and there are many, many ways we can serve. The Sharing Shop is love in action and is only one way of engaging in mission and being in service to our brothers and sisters.

Mission work comes in all shapes and sizes and can have such an impact on the life of others as well as your own. I hope during this Lenten season you will reach out and discover the many ways you can be in service with others and for others. It will add joy and meaning to your life and you will be changed forever.

Prayer: Lord, please help us to reach out to others in small ways and in big ways. Keep us centered in the knowledge that in serving others, we are serving you. Amen.
-Pat Bellingrath

This devotion is from the 2014 Church Street Lenten Devotion Book.

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Posted: April 15, 2014 08:00 AM
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Lenten Devotion: April 14
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Carriers of Grace
Read Mark 15: 43-46


While driving to work on I-40 one Friday in November 2012, a long parade of semi-trucks hauling power generators passed me. Just days prior in Northeastern states, Superstorm Sandy had claimed more than 80 lives, demolished entire neighborhoods, cut off electricity for millions of people, crippled hospitals, reshaped shorelines, and rendered the region functionless.

Assuming those trucks were headed to the disaster areas, they were stark reminders of the people suffering. Yet I also realized the trucks and cargo were results of actions by people whose hands and hearts halted their normal routines - who likely volunteered their time and opted to forego normal selling of their equipment and services - and instead dispatched the generators to places where victims' basic needs could be met.

The generators were just useless things, of course, while strapped to the trailer beds. But a couple of days later, they would bring light, warmth and opportunities to rebuild lives.

On another Friday about 2,000 years ago, for comfort for people who had followed Jesus and endured the agony of His crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea hauled a lifeless corpse to a tomb he owned. He had no expectation of anything in return. It just seemed to be the kind and right thing to do.

But a couple of days later, Light which the world had never seen brought a new hope and promise for all God's people.

Opportunities abound around us to respond to God's call by helping others. Sometimes these surface quickly, yet are clearly obvious. Like Joseph, and like generator makers, we all should be ready to act.

Prayer: God, open our eyes and hearts like you did for Joseph, so we may see and respond to opportunities to be carriers of your grace to others in need.
-Steve Richardson

This devotion is from the 2014 Church Street Lenten Devotion Book.

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Posted: April 14, 2014 08:12 AM
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Lenten Devotion: April 13
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Growing in Service
Read Romans 12:6-8


I remember first walking by the Hunger Helper Market quite a few years ago. Although I was a bit interested, I didn't visit the market because I didn't know who was working and I wasn't familiar with what they were doing. Fortunately I overcame that hurdle, and my husband and I now both enjoy the Hunger Helper Market. My involvement with the market was instigated through my passion for gardening, growing and distributing produce. However, the market is far more than that; it is really a market of Giving, Sharing, and Connecting.

This year our Giving helped the Wesley House as they moved to a building that allowed them to expand and serve more children. In spite of the rainy 2013 spring and summer, CSUMC members were able to grow and bake and buy enough goods to raise $5,000. The Global Missions Committee matched this gift for a total of $10,000 to the Wesley House.

The people who plant, grow, clean, bake, haul, sell, and buy at the market are certainly sharing their time and resources. It is important to be able to give back, pass it on, and pay it forward, for those less fortunate in our community. A little bit of help from a lot of Church Street members has made a big difference.

A wonderful representation of Connecting occurred when the Wesley House staff called to say the children wanted to contribute to the market. The children not only made items to sell, but also came and participated in the market. This was truly a gift of Giving and Sharing and Connection. I mentioned that gardening is a passion of mine and it's very interesting how God is aware of our gifts and gives us opportunities to put them to good use. I never guessed that my interest in gardening would be something beneficial for others, other than sharing leftovers with neighbors. It is a reminder that we all have our unique gifts, and that God has amazing ways to guide us in developing these gifts for serving others. Listening to God's voice may include following our interests and this can lead us to what we do best and where we have most to give. That doesn't mean we have the skills intact; recognizing and developing our gifts is surely part of God's plan. I am thankful to Church Street for this opportunity to give back.

Prayer: Holy God, help us to listen to your voice and follow where you lead so that we might better serve those around us. Amen.
-Kathy Ernschwender

This devotion is from the 2014 Church Street Lenten Devotion Book.

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Posted: April 13, 2014 06:59 PM
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Four Course Fellowship
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The next four month rotation of Four Course Fellowship will begin in May. In this dinner club, groups will be established and locations, appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts will rotate monthly within the group.

Here's how it works: You sign up (with a spouse, relative or friend) and are placed in an eight-person group to share a meal and fellowship. Your group gets together once a month for four months. The days and times of the meals are determined by your group to be convenient for all eight persons. The host pair provides meat, beverages and home; the second pair provides appetizer and vegetable; the third pair provides salad and bread; and the fourth pair provides dessert. Each month a different team in the group becomes the host.

Here's how to sign up: Visit the Welcome Center on Sundays, April 13 and 20 to sign up. You may also contact Kathy Alexander at kr_alexander@att.net by Friday, April 25.

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Posted: April 11, 2014 10:09 AM
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Season of Service: Why I Serve
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During Lent we are focusing on A Season of Service. Each week on the blog several Church Street members will share why they serve in a particular area of ministry and how you can get involved. Today's post comes from Allison Ensor.

One of the ways that I have found to serve at Church Street is as a pianist for the Monday night community worship.

Many of you are aware that every Monday night from 6-6:30, a service is held in the chapel. Everyone is welcome, especially the homeless and sheltered members of this neighborhood. Usually Pastor Darryll is in charge.

The informal service includes the singing of hymns, a ure reading, prayer, and a short sermon. A meal is served afterwards in the Parish Hall. Usually a particular Sunday school class assists with the serving, and a number of you have participated in that. Volunteers are certainly welcome.

One of the aspects of the service that those attending seem to enjoy particularly is getting to choose the hymns. They can call out the number of any hymn they like, and the group will sing one stanza. Among the regular favorites are "Amazing Grace," "Blessed Assurance," "The Old Rugged Cross," "In the Garden," "How Great Thou Art," and "Victory in Jesus."

Pastor Darryll would be capable of leading the singing, playing the piano, and preaching the sermon, but part of the idea of service is that we should not expect the staff to do everything, and so it is customary that someone else should play the piano. There are several of us who do this, and it would be good to have more volunteers. Usually, I play one night a month, something I have been doing since the time that these services began, over twenty years ago. I really don't know now how it came about that I started playing, but there was a need for someone, and I could help meet that need, and so I did.

When I have mentioned my playing to others and they look a little dubious, I have often explained, "You don't have to be too good." This is fortunate. When it comes to service, a person doesn?t have to be the very best or anywhere near it. There's a lot to be said for availability, willingness, and commitment. Of course there are others who could do it better. But I do enjoy playing, and I am happy to add my contribution to a service that many have found meaningful.



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Posted: April 10, 2014 09:48 AM
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Season of Service: Why I Serve
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During Lent we are focusing on A Season of Service. Each week on the blog several Church Street members will share why they serve in a particular area of ministry and how you can get involved. Today's post comes from Mary Cartwright.

What did you have for lunch on Thursday? Can you remember? If it were the best meal you ate all week or perhaps one of the best meals ever, you would remember. If you were one of the people who ate at the Church Street Soup Kitchen on Thursday, you would remember. It was one of the best meals in town. Homemade meatloaf, mashed Yukon gold potatoes, pinto beans with country ham, corn bread, slaw, and a donut - all washed down with milk or tea. All made from scratch. All served on a tray. All served with a huge amount of love, acceptance and trust.

I'd love to tell all the rags-to-riches stories from the Soup Kitchen's thousands of guests over the last 30 years but I can't. We don't have as many of those as we'd like. We don't solve many of our guests' problems. But we do serve love on a tray. And that love, along with amazing food, provides a few hours of comfort each and every Thursday morning.

I don't know many of our guests' names. I know them by their smiles and their words of thanks and blessing. The obvious service is the great food and love we share with our appreciative guest and sometimes not-so-lovable guests. But I really found my place of service on the other side of the serving line with the wonderful volunteers. Being a Soup Kitchen volunteer is hard work. Imagine having a dinner party in your home every Thursday. Think about shopping. Think about making everything from scratch. Think about having 200 guests or more! And think about not knowing how many guests you will have until the last one is served.

My Soup Kitchen co-workers are my church family. It is a loving, laughing, supportive group. My place is among the dozens of volunteers who plan, shop, store, peel vegetables, pour milk and wipe tables. I can't possibly mention all the volunteers who make Soup Kitchen possible. But I'd be remiss if I didn't thank the congregation for your contributions designated for Soup Kitchen. Your donations keep us going. Thank you. From the volunteers and from our honored guests - Thank You.


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Posted: April 08, 2014 12:41 PM
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Van Drivers Needed
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Calling all volunteers! We need van drivers to help with our Monday night Community Worship service. It is a great blessing to help our guests who have no other means of transportation get to church each week. You will need to be available from 5:15 until 8 p.m. one Monday each month but the monthly schedule is flexible. Please e-mail Pastor Darryll at drasnake@churchstreetumc.org if you can help.

Posted: April 07, 2014 09:52 AM
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Lenten Devotion: April 6
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You Can Run, But...
Read Galatians 5:13


A recent lesson in Disciple 3 was the story of the prophet Jonah, how he tried to run from God because He told Jonah to warn the wicked city of Nineveh to repent or be destroyed. It was more than onerous to him. Jonah didn't love the people of Nineveh - they were Gentiles and enemies of the Israelites. But there were many innocents there and God felt sorry for them. You know the story - how Jonah reconsidered his position when he found himself inside a large fish.

It is doubtful we will ever have such an experience for God to get our attention, but it is a certainty we are all on His radar. Much of ure deals with His condemnation of those who mistreat the unfortunate.

Here in Knoxville, opportunities for service exist with an interfaith organization, Family Promise, committed to helping families who are homeless through no fault of their own. They are provided shelter, meals, and support services to help get them back on their feet. It takes an army of volunteers to cover all the bases, to love the disenfranchised enough to give of their time to help make another's life a little more pleasant. One should not serve expecting rewards, but it is rare to return home without having been warmed by encouraging words of faith, determination and gratefulness from the ones served. There are memorable people, the ones remembered long after. We all can be a person whose service creates a special remembrance for someone else.

"Marks of an Obedient Community" is a section at the end of each Disciple lesson. The last thought-provoking question was "If you were Jonah and went to the 'Nineveh' within a twenty-minute drive from your church building, where would you go?"

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to opportunities for service. Give me a compassionate and encouraging heart I pray. In the name of Jesus, whose places of rest were often provided by strangers. Amen.

-Linda Henderson

This devotion is from the 2014 Church Street Lenten Devotion Book.

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Posted: April 06, 2014 02:11 PM
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Master Arts Concert: April 6
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Join us for the next Master Arts Series performance on Sunday, April 6, at 3 p.m. in the Nave. Organist Alvin Blount, assisted by Terri Ward, soprano, will perform works by David Ashley White, Gerald Near, Charles-Marie Widor and Calvin Taylor. Alvin is Director of Music and Worship at St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church in Augusta, Georgia. There is no charge for admission and all are welcome.

Posted: April 03, 2014 07:35 PM
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UMW Bible Study
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Please join us for a single-session UMW Bible Study on Tuesday, April 8, at 11 a.m. in Parish Hall. Our speaker will be Amy Morehous, Deacon and Director of Christian Formation at Knoxville's Episcopal Church of the Ascension. Rev. Morehous will lead us in a session entitled "My Three Favorite Women of the Bible."

Our Bible Study will be followed by lunch in Parish Hall at noon. Lunch cost is $7 per person, and reservations may be made through the church office through Friday, April 4.

We are pleased to welcome Rev. Morehous (who also happens to be the daughter of UMW member Nancy Staub) to Church Street and hope that many of you will join us. As always, this event is open to everyone - you do not need to be a member of UMW to attend.

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Posted: April 02, 2014 10:57 AM
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