Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas has come!

"And the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us..." (John 1:14a, my translation)

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Christmas Week!

Don't forget about these events coming up this week:
Monday: A Service of Worship on the Longest Night of the Year, 7:00 p.m. at Bethel Church
Tuesday: An Old Fashioned Christmas, a music program with homemade refreshments, 6:00 p.m. at French Broad Church
Thursday: Christmas Eve Worship Services
3:00 p.m.: Huckleberry Springs Chapel, 1716 Huckleberry Springs Road, Knoxville
5:00 p.m.: Bethel Church, 9400 Kodak Road, Kodak
7:00 p.m.: French Broad Church, 7117 Kodak Road, Knoxville

Some Thoughts...
As busy as this week may be, with traveling or time with family and friends, or as quiet as it may be, depending on where you are in life right now, take some time to consider that as we worship a God who is turning the world around, we are invited into God's saving work in the world, just like Mary was. Though she was in a dangerous place--a young, unmarried girl who became pregnant--she said "Yes!" to God's invitation, with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. How can we do the same this Christmas?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Coming up next...

With Christmas actually getting here next week, there's a lot going on on The Circuit. In case you've been wondering about these upcoming events, here's a little more information...

Monday, December 21st: Even as the holiday season gears up into full swing, we know that there are places in our lives that are still difficult to deal with, parts of us that can't quite feel any holiday cheer. Many of us grieve over loved ones we've lost recently, or even not so recently; we've faced difficulties with jobs and money; we have experienced loss in relationships and other life transitions. So, we are taking some time on December 21st, the longest night of the year, the winter solstice, to acknowledge those broken and dark places in our lives, even as we wait for the light of Christ to shine in our darkness once again this year. This service, at 7:00 p.m. at Bethel Church, will be a service of remembrance and healing. We will have time to meditate and pray, as well as time to receive anointing, for those who wish it. I will share a few words of hope, a reminder of God's light even in our darkness. I hope you'll join us for this quiet time of worship and prayer.

Tuesday, December 22nd: All three of our church buildings have been churches for well over a hundred years, and we like to celebrate and reminisce about our heritage, from time to time. So, we will have our 9th annual Old Fashioned Christmas program at French Broad Church at 6:00 p.m. next Tuesday. We will have a few homemade treats available at the start of the program, and our friend Don Cassell will bring us some special music, along with some of his friends and our own Richard Baumgartner. We are excited for this holiday celebration, just like Christmas may have been celebrated in this church over one hundred years ago, and we hope you'll come along for the festivities!

Thursday, December 24th: Maybe it's only because I'm new to the ministry, but I thought it would be exciting for us to celebrate the coming of Christ in all three of our church buildings, on Christmas Eve! We will have a service of Lessons and Carols at Huckleberry Springs Administrative Center and Chapel at 3:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, with refreshments following in the Fellowship Hall. The services at 5:00 p.m. at Bethel and 7:00 p.m. at French Broad will also feature Lessons and Carols, but will have a celebration of Holy Communion, as well. Please come celebrate the birth of Christ and the beginning of the Christmas season with us on Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 31st: As we look forward to 2010, it's important to take time to give thanks for the ways God has worked in our lives in 2009. We will gather at each church on New Year's Eve for a time of thanksgiving and a time of prayer for the year ahead. Each service will be followed by a time of fellowship and refreshments, but we will conclude in time for people to get on with whatever plans they may have for the evening, whether that be partying, watching football, or just getting to bed. You can join us for these services at 6:00 p.m. at French Broad and at 8:00 p.m. at Bethel.

Of course, we'll have our usual Sunday schedule during this busy season, too. We'd be glad to see you at French Broad at 9:00 a.m. for Sunday School and 10:00 a.m. for worship, or at Bethel at 10:00 a.m. for Sunday School and 11:15 a.m. for worship. Wherever you worship during this season, though, may you have a blessed and peaceful Christmas, as you welcome the newborn King and seek after what it means to be his disciple.

Pastor Betzy

Monday, December 7, 2009

Then Suddenly, It Was December!

Well, I can't be accused of spending too much time blogging and not enough time doing the rest of my work, I guess! We made it through November, though, and Charge Conference and Thanksgiving, and here we are, bringing the the new church year with Advent. I hope you are all preparing your hearts for Christmas during this Advent season, even though the world around us tells us it's practically Christmas already. As I've mentioned the last couple of Sundays, in the church, we are always waiting...waiting for Jesus to come again, even while we wait for Christmas and the celebration of his birth.

I hope to post again soon, sharing some more thoughts with you about this whole waiting thing, but until then, here's a look at what's going on on the Circuit in the next few weeks...

Tues., Dec. 8: Parsonage Committee Meeting, 7:00 p.m. @ parsonage
Wed., Dec. 9: Bible Study, 7:00 p.m. @ Bethel Fellowship Hall

Sun., Dec. 13: Third Sunday of Advent
Tues., Dec. 15: Bethel N.O.W. Meeting, 7:00 p.m. @ Bethel Fellowship Hall
Wed., Dec. 16: Bible Study, 7:00 p.m. @ Bethel Fellowship Hall
Fri., Dec. 18: Deadline to have information put in the January newsletter. Contact Pastor Betzy if you have any story ideas, events, recipes, or other news for the January newsletter.

Sun., Dec. 20: Fourth Sunday of Advent
Mon., Dec. 21: Service of the Longest Night, 7:00 p.m. @ Bethel Church
Tues., Dec. 22: Old Fashioned Christmas, 6:00 p.m. @ French Broad Church
Thurs., Dec. 24: Christmas Eve
3:00 p.m.: Christmas Eve Worship at Huckleberry Springs
5:00 p.m.: Christmas Eve Worship at Bethel UMC
7:00 p.m.: Christmas Eve Worship at French Broad UMC
Fri., Dec. 25: CHRISTMAS DAY!

Sun., Dec. 27: First Sunday after Christmas
Thurs., Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve: Watch Night Services
6:00 p.m. at French Broad UMC
8:00 p.m. at Bethel UMC

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Welcome, November! Where did October go?!

Whew! It's been a while since I've gotten a minute to sit down and write a few words here!

The November newsletter is in the mail, so if you'd like a copy and don't receive one in the mail, just contact the office and I'll get one right out to you. It's full of all kinds of information about mission projects we have coming up, and it looks ahead to the coming season of Advent. It'll be here before we know it!

I'm off to the Holston Conference Women in Ministry retreat later today, and I'll return Tuesday afternoon, but I hope to update this blog soon and let you know about everything that's going on. One great piece of news, though, is that despite the rain, we had a fun time at our Trunk 'n' Treat, etc., at Bethel Church last night. Quite a few families and children braved the bad weather (and missed watching some of the UT football game!) to come for candy, chili and hot dogs, a costume contest, some games, and a whole lot of fellowship. I enjoyed my first Trunk 'n' Treat, and I look forward to it again next year!

Today in worship, we remembered the saints of the Church, and it was a great moment to hear the names of saints remembered aloud and to see folks come up and light candles in memory of those who have made a difference in their faith lives. I hope that we take time more than once a year to remember those who have helped bring us to Christ, and if they're still with us in the life, to write a little note of thanks.

Well, that's all for now. Get outside and enjoy the fall weather before it gets too cool outside, and remember: though the seasons change, God remains the same forever.

-Pastor Betzy

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Homecoming at Bethel

Come one, come all, for homecoming at Bethel UMC! We will have one service on the Circuit this Sunday, and it will be Bethel's 10:45 a.m. homecoming service. There will be special music by Joe Newman and Katie Russell, and maybe even from yours truly! We'll have a potluck lunch to follow, and then, if the weather's good, everyone is invited to head out to Oakes Farm Corn Maze, for some good fall fun!

I hope to see everyone Sunday!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Homecoming is coming up--and lots of fall fun!

This Sunday, we'll celebrate homecoming at Huckleberry Springs Chapel. We'll worship at 10:45 a.m., celebrating World Communion Sunday, and having special music from Ed Stiner and the Lost Creek Boys. You'll want to stay after church for our potluck lunch, to enjoy some great food and fellowship!

Don't forget that we'll have homecoming at Bethel Church in just two more weeks, too! On October 18th, we'll have a combined service at Bethel at 10:45 a.m., with special music from members of the Circuit. Lunch will follow this service, as well.

Join us for both of these special services, along with these other special events:
October 9: Chili and Tamale Dinner at Huckleberry Springs: 5:00-8:00 p.m., $5/person, children under 5 free
October 10: Rummage and Bake Sale at Bethel Church, Clothing Sale at Huckleberry Springs, to raise money for the Parsonage Fund
October 31: Trunk 'n' Treat at Bethel Church, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

If I've forgotten any other upcoming events, I'll post again soon! Send me an email if you'd like a copy of our October newsletter!

Pastor Betzy

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sermon Series: "The Anatomy of a Christian"

This is the third week of our sermon series I'm calling "The Anatomy of Christian." Two weeks ago, we looked at the heart: a Christian's heart should be generous, open, and pure. We considered James 2:1-17 and Mark 7:24-37 during that sermon. Last week, we talked about having a wise mind and a discerning mouth, and our focus was on Psalm 19, James 3:1-12, and Mark 8:27-33. Tomorrow we will talk about the spleen as part of our Christian anatomy, as weird as that sounds, and our scriptures will be Proverbs 31: 10-31, Psalm 1, and James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a. The spleen has been understood to be the seat of a number of different emotions across many cultures, most of them having to do with the attitude or the humor of an individual, and we know that being a Christian involves having a certain kind of attitude. However, we'll look closely at what the spleen actually does: it filters the blood and supports the immune system. How does the wisdom of God act like a filtration system for our thoughts, words, and actions, when we grow in our discipleship and become formed by the Word? I'll try to figure out how to post sermon notes now...look for them soon!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Shack discussion group

Tomorrow evening, at 7:15 p.m., we will have our first small group meeting to discuss William Paul Young's novel The Shack. I look forward to this meeting at Vicki Baumgartner's house (call 865-525-5743 for directions), following the Thursday evening yoga class at 6:00 p.m. (all are invited to that, too!). We'll be looking at the first five chapters of the book, along with the Foreword, and we'll talk about what we expect to learn from this book and our discussion, along with some conversation about Young's portrayal of the Triune God, as we see it in chapter 5. It should be an interesting time, with some fellowship and maybe even some snacks, too! Come, join us!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hello, blogging world!

I've never done any blogging before, but this seems like a great way to keep church folks and friends of the church updated on what's happening at the churches of the French Broad Circuit. Look for more information coming soon, as I get accustomed to how this blogging stuff works. I'll try to post upcoming events, church announcements, prayer requests, and sermon notes online each week (or so), so you web-savvy folks can be in touch with the church. I'll write again soon!