Manchester United Methodist Church

Fellowship Group: Circle of Friends Chat Circle

Mom drinking coffee

Dates:  Mondays through Fridays
Times: 9:00 to 9:45 a.m.
Location:   Children’s Ministry Hallway | Manchester UMC

Description: Our parents from Circle of Friends Preschool are invited to sit, relax and get to know each other. This is an informal space where folks can sit and talk after drop off. Newcomers are always welcome! No registration needed.

For more information, please contact Tiffany Conway.

See Also:

An Open Door

Photo of an open door to illustrate how God invites us to follow Jesus.

One of my favorite memories from my ordination service was a line from Bishop Greg Palmer’s sermon. He pointed at those being ordained and announced to the congregation, “These people are being ordained today, but they are NOT being ordained to follow Jesus on your behalf!”

It was a memorable moment for many reasons, not the least of which is that it reflects excellent theology. Each of us is called to follow Jesus, uniquely and distinctly. Nobody follows Jesus for you; you follow Jesus as you. Or you don’t. Your call.

See, God doesn’t force anyone into it. God liberates. God provides opportunity. God opens doors.

You step through on your own. 

That’s what free will is all about. I love how C.S. Lewis puts it in The Problem of Pain. “For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John,” he writes. To me it says that God has a vision for what the world ought to be, and would be overjoyed if we would cooperate with the divine purpose of realizing the vision.

You are invited to follow Jesus. Nobody is forcing it on you. The door is open. Will you step through?


Sneakers with Soul

There are just two weekends left to donate to Sneakers with Soul. As of last Sunday, 250 pair had been donated for kids heading back to school this fall. Let’s make sure everyone has a new pair of shoes! Our goal is 1,000 sneakers. Bring your donation to any weekend service. For more information, or to make a financial donation, visit the Sneakers with Soul page.


Chancel Choir To Sing National Anthem

“Family Day at the Ballpark,” is coming August 24 and our Chancel Choir will be performing the national anthem. Let’s cheer them on! The Cards take on the Rockies that evening at 6:15. Tickets are $25 (regularly $46). Payment is due Aug. 1. Order forms and more info are on the website. This event is sponsored by the United Methodist Men.

Stroll and Cemetery

Aerial photo of Manchester UMC cemetery

I have served five congregations. One as Director of Music. One as Associate Pastor. One as the only Pastor. Two as the Lead Pastor. This is the first one out of the five to have a cemetery. 

I strolled through the grave markers a couple of times last week, and experienced a meaningful few minutes before going into the office. Did you know that at rest in our cemetery, among the others, is a woman named Elizabeth Duvall? Elizabeth was born on June 29, 1776. Yes, she was born five days BEFORE the Declaration of Independence was signed! Amazing.

In the sacred space of a cemetery, I inevitably begin to reflect on death and resurrection. What a source of hope and joy it is to know that existence in this world isn’t all there is; this isn’t the end of the story. Resurrection is such a powerfully countercultural idea — life is abundant, and eternal, and mysterious, and we receive it as an indescribable gift of God!

The life offered by Jesus is a resurrection life, and those who have said “Yes” to this life live without fear, knowing by faith that nothing in life or in death will ever be able to separate us from God’s great love in Christ. There are many ways God reaches into our lives to remind us of this truth, and this week I was reminded by a stroll through the cemetery.

Editor’s Note: Manchester UMC’s cemetery recently added an online search function. Search now and find Elizabeth Duvall!

Chancel Choir To Sing National Anthem

“Family Day at the Ballpark,” is coming August 24 and our Chancel Choir will be performing the national anthem. Let’s cheer them on! The Cards take on the Rockies that evening at 6:15. Tickets are $25 (regularly $46). Payment is due Aug. 1. Order forms and more info are on the website. This event is sponsored by the United Methodist Men.

What’s our Vision?

If someone stopped you in the store and randomly asked you, “Hey what’s your church’s vision?”…would you know?

Okay yes, so that scenario is highly unlikely. But still … work with me here.

Manchester’s vision, made known to all the world on our website, is this:

We are called to be an inclusive community of people who love Christ deeply, worship him passionately, and serve him boldly.

So now you know. For that random person in the store who asks, you will have a response (just in case that ever happens).

The Importance of a Vision

The vision is the motivator. All the work that we do as a congregation should be energized by those ideas. The church doesn’t do stuff just to do stuff. Vision gives purpose, and infuses our actions with meaning. Vision is a picture of what will be, a blueprint, the “how” that corresponds to the “what” of our mission.

In this season of new beginnings, it is as important as ever to affirm the vision, and let that motivate what we do and who we are, both individually and as the church.

Sneakers with Soul 2019 Underway

Sneakers with Soul kicked off this past weekend. This ministry’s ongoing mission is to ensure that no child goes back to school without a new pair of shoes. Since 2010, our church has donated 15,000+ pairs of new sneakers to underprivileged kids in the St. Louis area. Wow!

Donations for this year’s campaign will be accepted thru Aug. 4. Simply drop them off at the kiosk at any weekend service. If you’d like to volunteer for this ministry, get more details, or donate financially just visit our website.

Special Classes: Making Sense of the Bible

Making Sense of the Bible

Day:  Thursdays, starting Sept. 12 through Oct. 17, 2019
Time:  9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Location:  Room 222 | Manchester UMC
Leader:  Prudy Bertolino

Description:  As we read the Bible to learn more about God, Jesus and our faith journey, we often find portions that we have questions about…even wrestle with. We’re not alone.  Using Adam Hamilton’s book and video, Making Sense of the Bible, we will have non-judgmental class discussions, and address the perplexing, and/or disturbing themes in scripture, many of the questions frequently asked by Christians and non-Christians.  Book:  $11.

Childcare is available with advance registration.

Register below:

For enrollment assistance, please contact Tiffany Conway.

See Also:

Where To?

Photo of dirt road going off into infinity in the early morning mist.

“Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could.”

I’m sure Rodgers and Hammerstein were not trying to make a theological statement with this line from The Sound of Music, but it works. Especially when thinking about beginnings; the Bible is filled with beginnings.

Of course, there’s the beginning, where everything in fact does come from nothing. But, after that, every beginning arises from what is. Every Biblical beginning is a transition from one thing to another, and in every transition something is lost. What once was is no more, and there is only that which is.

As I begin my appointment as the Lead Pastor of Manchester UMC, I am mindful of the congregation’s full and rich history. Where Manchester is today did not come from nowhere. And at the same time, I have nineteen years of pastoral experience, plus seven years in music ministry before that. I am deeply grateful for those twenty-six years of ministry that made me the pastor I am today.

So yes, this a beginning. It feels fresh, new, ripe with possibility. It’s exciting. 

And at the same time, this moment arises from what has come before. It is important for us to remember, to honor, and to grieve what once was. 

On Sunday mornings in July, I’ll share a four-part sermon series titled “Where To?” We are going to think together about beginnings. We’ll think about liberation and resurrection and what it means to be called to follow Jesus.

I can’t wait to see you in worship!