REFLECTIONS FROM PASTOR AMY JO
Growing Forward: The Healthy Church Initiative
During 2018, St. Paul’s UMC has been participating in the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI). Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) is an all congregation strategic process, helping already healthy congregations move toward increased vitality and increased growth. We began this process by praying for the life and health of the Church. I encourage you to continue praying the breakthrough prayer with which we began, and using your 3- minute timer to remind you to take a break and pause to pray daily.
God of new life, pour out your Holy Spirit on us and do a new thing at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church. Breakthrough our human limitations and lead us into a new season of faithfulness and fruitfulness. Transform us into your image, so that new people will come to know you through us. Open our hearts to new inspiration. Open our lips to sing your praise. Open our eyes to see your image in our neighbors and new visions of justice, peace, and hope in our community. Open our hands to go, serve and share. Open our minds to your wisdom and guidance. Open our doors to receive new people in your love. Amen.
During the next part of the HCI process, St. Paul’s HCI leadership team participated in training workshops to provide us with more information on prayer, reaching out to others, church leadership, and hospitality. We also have completed a detailed self-study of the community of Mendota Heights and our congregation, to help us understand who we are as a church community and who we are serving in Mendota Heights. Our final steps in the HCI process will be for the HCI leadership team, Church Council, and a small focus group from the congregation to have a preparation meeting with the consultants.
Then, we completed our process with the HCI consultation weekend on November 9th-11th. The HCI consultation weekend was key to helping St. Paul’s UMC in Growing Forward.
On Friday, November 9, the consultants interviewed a group of staff and leaders from the congregation. On Saturday morning, November 10, there was an all-church meeting with the consultants to discuss God’s dream for our congregation, and on Sunday, November 11, the consultants worshiped with us and delivered their report of five strengths of our congregation and five prescriptions for healthy change.
I believe that God has an amazing plan for the health and growth of the Church universal and St. Paul’s UMC specifically. Keep on praying!
Kid’s Breakthrough Prayer:
Bless our church in a new way
Help us be like Jesus every day.
Open our minds and hearts to learn
Open our lips to praise, and our hands to serve
Open our eyes to see the people you love
And welcome them in, to be here with us.
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)
The United Methodist Committee on Relief provides immediate response and relief in the wake of natural disasters throughout the world. UMCOR is currently at work in many places, including (but not limited to) in response to Hurricane Michael in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia; in response to Hurricane Florence in North Carolina and South Carolina; in response to earthquakes and a tsunami in Indonesia; and in response to Typhoon Magkhut in the Philippines. With millions of United Methodists across the globe, we have many hands to reach out and help.
When natural disasters occur, people of faith respond by caring for all those effected, reaching out with Christ’s love, providing for their immediate needs and helping to rebuild and recover. On November 11, our Kidz 2gether worship service will focus on the work of helping others through disaster relief, and the children will put together hygiene kits, which are often used during the first response to natural disasters. The recent hurricanes in the United States have used many of the hygiene kits and flood buckets kept in our UMCOR warehouses, so our kits will restock the shelves in preparation for future needs. All Advance Special offerings given to UMCOR during times of natural disaster go 100% to immediate disaster
relief, with 0% administrative costs. The United Methodist Church supports all administrative costs through our UMCOR Sunday giving (previously known as One Great Hour of Sharing) and denominational giving. We thank you for the way that the people of Saint Paul’s UMC generously support the worldwide caring work of UMCOR. Your generosity makes a big difference to those in need!