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eNote from Rev. Tom Berlin Nov. 9, 2012

Dear Floris Family:

So many of you have reached out to me and other staff wanting to serve those who suffered during Hurricane Sandy that I want to say thank you and give you some information. In addition to taking an offering this past Sunday, we plan to work collaboratively with the Virginia Annual Conference and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) so that we are strategic in our service to communities that experienced this disaster. We will be collecting “cleaning buckets” (formerly flood buckets) at all services on Sunday, November 25. These buckets will be sent to areas hardest hit by the storm and are a great way for us to help at this early stage of the clean-up process.

If you’d like to donate a cleaning bucket, please view this list of supplies so you’ll know what you’ll need to purchase. Please use this list to prepare your bucket. You may also view a video on how to make a cleaning bucket. We need volunteers to assist with this effort. If you’d like to help, please contact Jake McGlothin. The pictures coming out of the regions impacted by Hurricane Sandy are sobering, and give us a great opportunity to show the unity of our country and the love of Christ to those who will be cleaning up for months and rebuilding for years. As I type, this same area is bracing for a Nor’easter which will bring more rain, wind and even snow. We are still processing online contributions at this time; however, the offering collected on Sunday totaled $21,508. You can still give to this offering online or by check this Sunday. If giving by check, please make your check out to Floris UMC and designate Hurricane Sandy Relief on the memo line.

Advent Giving
Can it be that I am writing the word Advent!!? Every year during the four weeks prior to Christmas, we find ways to be intentional about the celebration of the birth of Christ. You have asked us to provide you with meaningful opportunities for giving and serving during this season. On Sunday you will find the Fellowship Hall full of Christmas trees with ornaments that represent children and families in our community. The ornaments will list specific needs and other gifts for children and families in our community through partners such as Hutchison Elementary School, Reston Interfaith and Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter. These trees will be up through November 18. Your gifts will need to be back to the church on December 2. Why so early? This timeline is provided by our community partners who need to distribute these gifts to families in our area before Christmas. My hope is that you will make this more of a family experience in giving and less of a “one more thing to get done” before December 25. We will have holiday music and refreshments. Plan to take the time to make Advent giving a meaningful part of your Christmas preparation.

Return of Estimate of Giving Commitment Cards
If you have not turned in your estimate of giving card yet, I invite you to do so this week. If you have misplaced your card, additional cards will be available in the pews or at the Connection Desk. You may also complete your card online. My prayer is that you will use the card as a spiritual exercise to consider your stewardship, and experience the joy that comes from knowing your giving honors God and changes lives.

This Week in Worship
Last Sunday we began a new sermon series Psalms: The Language of Life. The writers of the Psalms show us despair and hope, sorrow and joy, anger and thanksgiving. This week we will look at Psalm 40 and how it encourages those who are feeling isolated or neglected to see the presence of the Lord. Come and hear an honest reflection on the complexities of life and faith and how we can learn to experience God in deeper and more meaningful ways. I hope you can join us for “A Word of Hope.” Scripture: Psalm 40:1-5.

If you are interested in further study, the following books may be of interest and can be found in Floris’ church library. For information on library hours or if you have questions visit our website.

Living the Psalms by Dunham
Psalms by Wilson
Psalms for Healing by Person
Psalms (audio book) by Jennings
A Thirst for God by Wirth
Where Your Treasure Is by Peterson
Psalms Alive DVD

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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