Mission News From Nan & Miguel
We give thanks for all of you and know that you pray for us regularly. We had a wonderful experience with a group from Camp Hill UMC, PA. This is the first of Nan and Miguel’s Covenant churches to come to Mexico. They had a 50-year age range and were open, loving and anxious to learn and share.
They worked on the home of Antonio who hauls material from the river with his burro and mule to make a living. He lost his little adobe home in the 2017 earthquake. They also helped build new troughs for the goats and sheep. And they sewed much-needed aprons. They participated in a dental hygiene work-shop with pre-schoolers and parents.
The first week of December we are looking forward to a group of 11 who come from four places – Spokane, WA, Pasadena, CA, Pennsylvania and Chapelwood, TX. We have two who have been here before and 9 for the first time. They will be doing much the same work as Camp Hill did.
We have lots of new baby goats and sheep. One was born with a deformity on its face so we have had to bottle-feed Lucky – named by Ashley from Camp Hill. Lucky is full of life! We have all enjoyed these babies SO much! They are darling! We also have a few baby chicks!
We also are anxious to host our friends from Virginia and Pennsylvania in January and February! In March we have the second course with Health Promotors. We could host a group of about six who would get to enjoy these wonderful women!
In getting to know the sheep and goats many Bible passages mean more now: 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks ... 9 An angel of God appeared to them, and the glory of God shone around them…. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”- Nan & Miguel, Clara, Catra and the GYTTE Staff
Isaiah 58: Season of Prayer & Fasting
As we approach General Conference held in May this year, our Bishop has asked us to prepare our hearts and minds for General Conference that it will be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and to prepare ourselves as vessels for God’s Holy will. We are a part of the Washington Region and our assigned month for prayer and fasting is March 15-April 14.
Fasting has been a part of Methodism from its early beginnings. John Wesley considered fasting an important part of a Christian’s life and he fasted weekly or twice weekly if he was undergoing a spiritual struggle. To Wesley, fasting was an important way to express sorrow for sin and penitence for overindulgence. He believed it allowed more time for prayer and was more meaningful if combined with giving to the poor.
A typical fast is to abstain from all solid food and to consume clear liquids only between sunrise and sunset.
If you have any health concerns, please consult a physician before beginning your fast.
I realize our assigned month of fasting come during Lent and includes three Fridays that fall on days of our Lenten Lunches (March 20, 27 and April 3). You may choose to fast only on Wednesdays during those weeks or fast between dinner on Thursday and lunch on Friday—breaking the fast on Friday after worship at noon.
See the guidelines below. I will be asking for commitments from those of you who feel called to engage in this spiritual discipline for one month.
Peace be with you,
PRAYER & FASTING THROUGH THE LENS OF ISAIAH 58:6-7
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
PRAY EACH DAY:
O God our deliverer: You led your people of old through the wilderness and brought them to the Promised Land. Guide now the people of your church, that, following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.
Personal Reflection, Petitioning and Listening:
This is a time for you to personally ask questions, make petitions and leave space for the Holy Spirit to speak to you.
God of Transformation,
We are not accountable for the environments into which we were born,
but we are accountable for the environments we create.
We are not accountable for the bigotry into which we were born,
but we are accountable for the bigotry that we birth.
We are not accountable for the lack of love that existed in the homes
into which we were born,
but we are accountable for the love that resides in the homes we create.
May the lessons of our pasts inform our present, and transform our future.
May we use the power of your Holy Spirit to create environments of holiness and healing. Amen.
~Prayer by Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling
How well do you know your fellow congregants? Do you feel like RUMC is your family? Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own lives, that we miss an opportunity to be a part of a community. For the next year or so we will be introducing you to each other through Member Spotlight! And we want to hear from you! Who do you want to learn more about! Send us your nominations and we’ll have you all knowing everyone in RUMC by next year!
The Sharp Family
HOW DID YOU MEET?
Steve and I have been married for almost 27 years. Steve and I met right after college when Steve, visiting my roommate with another friend, recognized me from elementary school days. He said, “I know you. You’re Joy. The only Joy I have ever met. Your father came into kindergarten and sang and played “Little Bunny Foo Foo on the guitar.” Long story short, even though I had moved to Baltimore City and lived there through school, I ended up marrying the boy next door, so to speak. My father, Bill Boyer, was a United Methodist minister and sometimes Steve’s family attended our church, Sandymount UMC. Steve grew up in a house down the road from the parsonage where I lived. Steve’s mother even remembered me in diapers!
We currently live in Derwood, Maryland and recently transferred our membership to Rockville UMC from Mill Creek UMC.
We both grew up in Carroll County Maryland, near Westminster. Steve works for IBM helping the U.S. government through using technology. He graduated from Towson University and earned an M.B.A. from Loyola. Joy works for FDA, currently a policy analyst in the Office of Food Policy and Response, located within the Commissioner’s Office. She graduated from the Johns Hopkins University and from the University of Maryland Law School.
I completed a B.S. in nursing at the University of Maryland and a master of nursing education at Emory University. I was able to teach nursing at several institutions. I had a variety of nursing positions over the 50 plus years of working. I admit that my passion is actually patient education and was able to become a certified diabetes educator (CDE) for about 20 years. I earned another credential for faith based nursing late in my career and was able to apply much of what I learned when volunteering at RUMC.
TELL US ABOUT THE FAMILY
Will (20 years old on February 3) is a sophomore at College Park where he is majoring in computer science. He also has an internship with the University of Maryland’s athletics department’s marketing group, working women and men’s sports events. Will enjoys watching sports and listening to classic 70s-to-present pop and rock music. When he visits home, he plays ping-pong with his brother with whom he is pretty evenly matched.
Charlie (16 years old) is a junior at Magruder High School. Currently, Charlie is working on getting his driver’s license, attending a two-week course which meets every week night from 6:15-9-30 PM. Charlie enjoys reading and playing ping-pong. If anybody is interested in playing ping-pong, let him know! Charlie also enjoys chess, video games, D&D, board games, and origami.
Will and Charlie attended St. Patrick Catholic School until Will finished 8th grade, at which point we transferred them both to public school.
HOW DO YOU HOPE TO SERVE THE CHURCH?
I would like to serve the church by playing the piano for events, anthems, etc. Steve recently signed up to read the liturgy. The boys are still members at our previous church, Mill Creek UMC, which used to have a super youth group.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WINTER?
Steve loves his John Deere tractor, and the plow for it, in particular. He waits for snow! He and the boys enjoy playing in the snow, and I enjoy playing the piano and watching them play in the snow through the window.
ANY FUN HOBBIES?
Steve reads a great deal and now also enjoys audio books during commutes. His biggest past-time is working in our yard (his beloved tractor, again) and around the house. We have a large (around 2 acres) yard which he manicures. I play the piano a lot. I also play for the nursing home, Alfred House, every other Saturday in the facility known as “Symphony house.” I am looking for an efficient way to find and print lyric sheets for songs from the older musicals which they have requested, such as ”My Fair Lady,” “The King and I,” “Carousel,” “Oklahoma,” et al.
ANYTHING FUN YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH THE CHURCH?
Steve suggested I submit this one: State clearly that “Our household is run by Steve and only Steve, if you want to speak with anyone in the family it must go through him. Otherwise the boys and I are subject to a minor beating with oranges in a sock”.
Another Fun Tidbit: We lived in Arkansas for a brief time, many years ago now, when the boys were pretty young (about 4 and 7 years old). Wal-Mart hired Joy as an in-house lawyer and relocated the family to Bentonville. It is a beautiful area of the country (and a great company, too!) where people are super friendly and where we joined a wonderful church, Rogers United Methodist, in the neighboring town of Rogers, Arkansas.
BE SURE TO CONGRATULATE THE SHARPS ON BECOMING NEW MEMBERS OF RUMC!