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Creativity Crisis

I’m still relatively new to Northern Virginia, but in my year of living here, one thing stands out far more than the horrific traffic, the well-educated population and even some of the social and political crises we face on a regular basis. Our busyness requires so much attention for the things we have to do that we have squelched our creative capacities for thinking about the people and communities we could become. Of course, bright lights of imagination and innovation pop up around us all the time. But I think ... Read More »

Seeing God in Vizag, India

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28: 19-20 I saw God quite unexpectedly during a recent work trip to India. As a South Asia specialist at a Washington D.C.-based think tank, I travel to India fairly frequently—at least once or twice per year. The preparation ... Read More »

What Even is a Fellows Program Anyway?

I don’t like to admit it, but it’s true. I don’t always enjoy explaining what I do. Don’t get me wrong, I love working with Wesley Fellows at Floris United Methodist Church. The main reason I don’t like explaining what I do is the same reason I’m so excited to serve in this capacity: fellows programs fill a major gap in the church-at-large’s ministry. People assume churches don’t have ministries geared toward young women and men soon after they finish college. They assume this not because they’re ignorant, but because it’s ... Read More »

When God Reminds You Why You are Serving on a Mission Trip at a Kitchen Table

Note from the editor: In October 2016, a team of nine people traveled to Tappahannock and Montross, Virginia on a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Tornado Recovery Mission Trip. This post comes from one of the volunteers, J. Scott Nicholls. When disaster hits, even though it may take a long time, buildings, homes and businesses that were damaged or destroyed by nature can ultimately be rebuilt. Personal belongings can be replaced, though keepsakes cannot. It is hard to see the devastating impact these events have on the “individuals,” both ... Read More »

Hold Hands and Pray

Some of the best moments of my life have been marked by the decision to hold hands and pray. One of the places where I have learned the most about holding hands and praying is The Lamb Center, a day shelter for homeless and poor individuals in Fairfax. Many of the guests that spend the night at our church when we host the Floris Guest House each year spend their days as guests of The Lamb Center. At The Lamb Center, we hold hands and pray at least six times a ... Read More »

Islam: A Question of Faith

The Muslim observance of Ramadan chanced to fall during the 2014 FIFA Men’s World Cup (June 28-July 28, 2014). As a sport scientist I knew that fasting or even skipping meals was not a recommended nutritional practice for sports participants, so fasting from sun up to sun down? That couldn’t go well. Wouldn’t this put observant Muslim athletes at a disadvantage? What a terrific angle to pursue for my sports blog! Unfortunately, I knew very little about Islam or the Muslim observance of Ramadan, but I knew someone who did. An ... Read More »

Sanctuary

Several years ago I woke up one morning to the sound of a chicken clucking. This seemed odd as I lived in a residential neighborhood, and as far as I knew, there were no chickens living near us. I decided I must have been dreaming. We did live near Frying Pan Farm Park but not that close. As I was getting breakfast I heard it again, very faint and kind of pathetic. But again I dismissed it. Still later that morning one of my children came to me and said, ... Read More »

Growing Up Catholic

I grew up in Long Island, New York in a Catholic household. For the most part, I have very good memories growing up as a Catholic. Every Sunday we went to Mass. During the week, we went to confession. Saturday mornings, we went to confraternity. I spent many Saturday afternoons at the church with my Mom, who routinely volunteered at the book fairs, bake sales and other charity events. One of my earliest childhood memories is that of my Mom praying the rosary in her bedroom, in the dark, on ... Read More »

My Roman Catholic Family

Growing up I understood two things about my friends who were Roman Catholic: they could not skip church on Sunday morning, and they could not eat meat on Friday. The first prohibition made me sad for them—and for me when I spent the night at their house on a Saturday night. The second rule made me happy because I had choices like grilled cheese and pizza for my school lunch on Fridays. After college, I met and became engaged to Jerry who was not only Roman Catholic, but he also ... Read More »

I Wonder as I Wander

Christmas is a season of giving as Christians celebrate God’s most wondrous gift, Jesus Christ—God with us, born in a manger, a Savior for all the world. In response to what God has given, Floris United Methodist Church (Floris UMC) has a tradition that celebrates Christmas through giving. Using themes such as “Blessed to be a Blessing,” or “It’s Not Your Birthday,” those attending Christmas Eve services at Floris UMC are invited to give generously to an offering that is dispersed locally, domestically and abroad to both do good and ... Read More »

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