March 2012 Newsletter

Call to Action: Developing Vital Congregations Update

Fishkill United Methodist Church continues its process in response to the United Methodist Church's CALL TO ACTION.  In order to revitalize local congregations, all U.M. Churches have been challenged to set goals and plan strategies for becoming more vital congregations.  Fishkill UMC has already set goals for growth in worship attendance, small group participation, giving to and engagement in missions, financial stewardship and making disciples.  We are now planning strategies for achieving these goals.  Please join us on Sunday, March 4, in Fellowship Hall following the worship service for sharing, planning, and working together to become more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

Friends, as we move forward in this process may we also give God thanks and praise for all the good things that are already happening in our midst.

1) The District has begun offering special training for clergy to equip us for the task of revitalization.  The pastor will spend 8 days between February and June being prepared for the work ahead.

2) With the beginning of Lent, rich opportunities for spiritual growth and reflection abound.  Once again this year Wednesday noon time services will be offered followed by a light lunch.  The sanctuary will be open from 11 a.m. - noon for personal prayer.  We celebrate our Worship Committee and our lay speakers for providing vital leadership for this ministry.

3) Our small, youthful, revitalized Stewardship Committee is coordinating special Lenten moments in Sunday worship with witness and sharing by folks of all ages.

4) A small group bible study is available in Lent on Wednesday nights from 7- 9 p.m. in addition to our usual Friday morning option.

5) A new small group is being formed as of April 21 to offer a quarterly Book Club.  This will be an opportunity for those who can't participate in the monthly Monday group to read, discuss and share fellowship with others.  See Pam W. for more information.

6) The bulletin board outside Fellowship Hall has been spruced up with special words of challenge for Lent.  Thanks, Jane!

7) One of our members is currently taking the Advanced Lay Speaking Course in Sermon Planning as he prepares to become a Certified Lay Speaker.

8) Recently some of our Starbucks abundance was shared with a family or two who are part of the AA ministry in our church.

9) One of our Christmas Food Basket recipients calls regularly to discuss what he's reading in the new Bible that he received with this year's basket.  May all of us be so faithful in reading our Bibles.

10) On the mission front, quite a few folks responded to the invitation to let the church know how they are in ministry for Jesus Christ throughout the week.  Our church members and friends reported volunteering at Castlepoint Veterans Hospital and Elant Nursing Home, serving meals at the Salvation Army in Beacon and at the Lunch Box in Poughkeepsie, helping out at the Fishkill Food Pantry at The First Reformed Church and assisting with shopping and delivering food to needy families through our own Fishkill U.M.C. Food Ministry.  Other individuals reported coordinating and taking meals to the sick, helping an older friend do her errands, delivering Meals-on-Wheels, participating in the Souper Bowl of Caring and the Annual Valentine Cookie Bake.  Our Sunday School little ones made Valentines for veterans recently.  One of our members is in a sewing group to make blankets and caps to share with people in special need.  Thanks be to God, one of our members reported sharing his faith with a friend and providing Christian reading material to encourage someone to learn about Jesus.  The broadcast of our worship on public access T.V. really does reach people in the community.  Our current collection  for Heifer Project to provide "Chicks for Lent", our participation in the Care Net Pregnancy Center Banquet, and our affiliation with the Methodists and Friends Build through Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh are all opportunities for us to engage in mission for the transformation of the world.  Surely we want to grow in our outreach but we are already in mission for Jesus Christ.

May all of us be encouraged as a church by what God is doing in our midst and may we press on to live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ in the world, touching others with Jesus' grace and love.

Yours in Christ's Service

Rev. Peggy Ann Sauerhoff