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eNote from Rev. Tom Berlin – November 20, 2012

Dear Floris Family,

I am sending the eNote early in the hopes that you will not check your email at all on Thursday, when it would typically arrive. I hope that day will be reserved for gatherings with family and friends. Some of you have shared that your Thanksgiving will include some act of service that will bless others and for that I am grateful. My family’s custom is to gather the week of Thanksgiving at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We have been doing this for over 25 years and it is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It is a time to catch up with my parents, brothers, nieces and nephews and meet new members of the family who have joined the tradition through marriage or birth. The other thing that I look forward to each year is a real time of Thanksgiving. Some years I have simply sat alone on the beach and taken time to think over the ways I have seen God present in the past year. I have also spent time journaling and writing as a way to express my gratitude to God. Sometimes I write letters of appreciation to people who have been a blessing in my life. Finding ways to be thankful, reading the scripture and having some time in prayer on Thanksgiving Day always leaves me with a sense that I have truly honored the intent of the day as our ancestors established it, to show God our appreciation for the provision that has been given in the year past. I invite you to join me in spending some time in thanksgiving on Thanksgiving, and making this week a time to express our appreciation to the Creator and Sustainer of life.

2013 Estimate of Giving Update
Many thanks to those of you who have returned your 2013 estimate of giving card in support of the 2013 operating budget. As of today, we have received 462 cards and hope to receive over 600 cards in total. The average pledge is $5,696. Your estimates help us plan ministry for the coming year. Our financial resources are used to support ministries that help us grow in our discipleship, change lives, transform communities and care for one another. If you have not had an opportunity to return your estimate of giving card, I encourage you to take that faithful step in the coming days. An electronic version of the estimate of giving card is available if it would assist you.

Hurricane Sandy Donations
Thanks to those of you who so generously responded to the special offering for storm relief. As of today we have collected more than $26,500 that will be sent to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). I want to also remind you that this Sunday we will be collecting cleaning buckets which will be sent to UMCOR to aid in the clean-up effort. Visit our website for information about our Hurricane Sandy response and details about how to assemble a cleaning bucket.

Feed a Child Update
As the Feed a Child Campaign comes to a close I want to thank you for supporting Floris’ students. The students raised more than $25,000 through several fundraisers including Floris Date Night and Bald for Bo. With the matching challenge grant, the total raised is more than $45,000 which will help feed children in Sierra Leone at the CRC and Mercy Hospital.

Charge Conference
Please join Floris’ church leadership and our Interim District Superintendent, Rev. Tony Layman, for our annual Charge Conference on Tuesday, December 5 at 7:30 PM. This is a chance for you to hear a recap of the highlights of 2012 and the focus for 2013 including the 2013 budget. All are welcome and I hope to see you there.

This Week in Worship
Have you ever noticed that the Book of Psalms is all over the map emotionally? Some Psalms are almost desperate in their wording while others are full of joy and excitement. Why is this? Why would God give us this book full of contrasting voices? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that we are beings full of contrast; one day life is all good and the next day or week we find ourselves in a pit. Join us in worship as we look at why God longs to hear from us regardless of the state of our emotions. Scripture: Psalm 30.

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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