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eNote from Rev. Tom Berlin for Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dear Floris Family,

As I write this I am at the North Carolina Annual Conference. I am speaking there with Dr. Lovett Weems, who co-authored Bearing Fruit with me. We are encouraging the pastors and laity to lead their churches to bear fruit for Christ. I am grateful for your prayers during this time and would ask you to pray for the pastors and laity of our sister churches in North Carolina this week.

Our college trip to Sierra Leone was a great success. Our time at the CRC and at Mercy Hospital was well-spent. We accomplished quite a few maintenance projects at Mercy and the CRC. We mixed concrete by hand, painted rooms and did other tasks. The main event, of course, was time with the children and the trips we took to better understand life in Sierra Leone. We were able to tour a college campus with Mohammed, who grew up at the CRC, as well as see another children’s home called SOS (Save Our Souls). The CRC children took us for a walking tour of Bo and one of the nearby schools to see the mascot, a crocodile, and told us about their town. Our days began with time to study the scripture and pray, included vespers with the children and evening devotions with our team. Those who participated said that a great deal of growth took place in their lives on many fronts. I am grateful for the community that is experienced when we go to other places in the world to meet Christians, share their lives and come to know God and each other in the process. You can read more about our trip on my blog.

By Your Request
More and more people carry an ID and a debit card in their wallet rather than checks or cash. Over the last year, I have been approached by these “card carrying members” of our church and asked if we could have a way to give to the church or pay for student or children’s events electronically while at Floris. While online giving addresses those who come regularly, it does not work for those who want to give once, are visiting as guests or would just like to give while here for worship. In January, I was listening to the keynote speaker at our Bi-District training event, Rev. Olu Brown. The church he serves in Atlanta has addressed this request by using giving kiosks. Since that time our Finance Committee has been investigating the idea of giving kiosks and recently decided to give it a try. We expect a kiosk to arrive in 4-6 weeks. It will be placed near the Connection Point Desk.

Melissa Ciavarella
After much prayerful discernment, Melissa has accepted a new role as a family pastor in an Anglican Church in Myrtle Beach, SC. She will be leaving her position as Children’s Ministry Director on June 28, 2013. Melissa has been an integral part of our staff here at Floris for the past two years. She will be with us until our largest VBS summer camp is completed, for which we are very grateful. We have now posted the position of Children’s Ministry Director on our website. Join me in thanking Melissa for her service and dedication to ministry here at Floris UMC as she and her family begin the process of relocation.

Congregational Care Update
We had more than 400 people sign up to volunteer for our Congregational Care Ministry. Thank you so much to all of you who responded. You should have been contacted by someone this past week. If you have not heard from someone here at the church, please contact Jeanette Debernardi.

Pray in May Concludes
We have concluded our Pray in May initiative and want to thank all of those who participated. Please remember to share your insights on where God may be calling our church in the months and years to come.

This Week in Worship
I am looking forward to being in worship with you on Sunday. I will be speaking about “Looking Forward by Looking Back” and will share some of our experiences on our recent trip to Sierra Leone, Africa.  Scripture: Joshua 4:1-9.

If you weren’t in church last Sunday, you may want to hear what our students shared about their faith journey at Floris UMC.

In Christ,
Tom

About Tom Berlin

Rev. Tom Berlin is the lead pastor of Floris UMC. Tom was raised in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and has lived in Virginia most of his life. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech and his Master of Divinity is from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He has co-authored three books and is the author of his own book and several small group studies. Tom and his wife, Karen, have four daughters.

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