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September 29th News and Notes

SMA Walk and Roll

Our SMA Walk and Roll is tomorrow.  Set-up begins at 9:00 and the walk will begin at 11:00.  There will be music, a bounce house, games, face painting, and food donated by local restaurants.  Plan to be there and donate here.

Bible Study

“TOO BUSY NOT TO PRAY,” AN ADULT CLASS for men and women will be offered on five Monday nights, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the church.  Classes will be held Oct. 23, 30, Nov. 6, 13, and 27.  Brenda Clyde will be teaching the class.  Please register on the clipboard on the narthex table. You do not need purchase the book.

Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treat will be October 21st from 4:00-6:00.  Make plans to come out, decorate your car and enjoy our community!

Board Meeting

The Board will meet October 10th at 7:00.

Greening of the Church

The Greening of the Church will be November 26th after church.  We will have a soup supper as well.



Two Week Outlook

Saturday, September 20th

  • SMA walk
  • Set-up, 9:00
  • Walk, 11:00

Sunday, October 1st

  • Worship, 10:00, World Communion Sunday
  • Sunday School, following worship

Wednesday, October 4th

  • Seeds, 6:00
  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:30

Friday, October 6th

  • Book Club, 7:00

Sunday, October 9th

  • Worship, 10:00, Dr. Rev. Karen Brown filling the pulpit
  • Sunday School, following worship

Tuesday, October 10th

  • Board Meeting, 7:00

Wednesday, October 11th

  • Seeds, 6:00
  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, October 12th

  • Mens Breakfast, 7:45, Nautilus Diner in Crofton

Looking Ahead

  • September 30th: SMA walk
  • October 21st: Trunk or Treat
  • November 26th: Hanging of the Green
  • December 17th:  Children’s Christmas Program
  • December 24th: Christmas Eve

September 27th E-votional

The SMA walk is this Saturday.  I hope everybody will be here to help support this event, raise some money to help find a cure, support Kyle, and represent UPB to the community.  As a reminder of how important this event is, I want to re-share the letter Kyle wrote when we started this event last year.

Dear United Parish of Bowie Members,

My name is Kyle Bickel, I’m eleven years old, and I have been a member of the United Parish of Bowie church since I was a baby.  I’m not sure if you know this, but in 2014 I was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA for short.  SMA is a genetic neuromuscular disorder.  It is considered the most common rare disease.  There are four types of SMA.  People with type 1 typically die when they are infants.  People with type 4 discover SMA when they are adults.  I am very fortunate that I have type three SMA. This allows me to be more active and I have an easier time doing regular tasks.

You might be wondering how this impacts my life.  This impacts my life by making it harder for me to move around, run, walk, and play outside.  My doctor said my leg muscles look like Swiss cheese and a regular day for me is like you carrying a 50-pound book bag everywhere you go.  I sometimes feel left out because I can’t play with my friends.  Since I’ve been diagnosed my family has done fundraisers to help cure SMA and it makes me happy to know people really care about me and others with SMA.

Recently Pastor Chris and Ms. Kennedy asked me if I would be ok with the church doing a walk for SMA and I said yes.  So Pastor Chris and Ms. Kennedy have been trying to get approval to do the walk.  I am very excited for this walk and I am thankful the church is considering it.  I can’t wait to see how much money the United Parish of Bowie will raise!


Kyle Bickel

September 14th E-votional

There is all sorts of wisdom and sayings out there that sound biblical but either are only partially biblical or not at all.  Sayings such as “the root of all evil is money” or “God helps those who help themselves.”  The first should be “the root of all evil is the love of money” and the second is from Ben Franklin.

Of these sayings, on of my least favorite is “God will not give you more than you can handle.”  This is usually said to somebody going through a hard time.  Not only is it only a partial interpretation of scripture, it implies that God is purposefully putting them through a difficult time, which could cause them to turn from God.  The closest scripture comes to this assertion is from 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”

When people learn that I grew up in Tennessee, one of the most common responses is, “you don’t have an accent.”  While I may not have much of a Southern accent, there are some words from the Southern dialect that I love.  First among those is “y’all.”  Y’all is the the abbreviated version of “you all” or plural for you.  I wish this was more common throughout our use of the English language.  Before you think I’ve gotten off track, I’m fixin’ to tell you how it relates to 1 Corinthians 10:13 (see what I did there?).

This week, I discovered something I had never caught about 1 Corinthians 10:13.  The “you” in it is plural, it should be “y’all”.  It should read “No testing has overtaken y’all that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let y’all be tested beyond y’alls strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that y’all may be able to endure it.”  Changing “you” to “y’all” changes everything.

This verse isn’t about personal perseverance, but how we persevere as a community.  It is about how when we are tested, when we are carrying a burden, we have a community to support us.  We don’t go through anything by ourselves, but instead we go through things as part of a community.  The Church is our community.  The Church is also the body of Christ and remember what Christ said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

This is especially important to remember this week.  As we reflect on the 16th anniversary of 9-11, we remember how we went through it as a community.  We remember how this country banded together as brothers and sisters to lift each other up through a difficult time.  As we watch as Texas and Florida begin the painful process of rebuilding, we think of the community providing aid, helping survivors, and reaching out to those in need.  As we think of the difficult times in our lives and the difficult times to come, we remember that we do not go through it alone.  We go through it with the community of believers, we go through it with the body of Christ, and that is a community and a body that can bear all things.

September 7th Weekly E-votional

While the people in Texas are still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma is approaching Florida and has already damaged some Caribbean Islands.  I have already began to hear stories of pastors anointing the hurricanes as “God’s Wraith” for some sin or another.  I will not even justify these pastors or these statements by naming them here.  We saw this Katrina, , after the earthquake in Haiti, after almost every natural disaster.

As a pastor, as a Christian, I want to say that I do not agree with these statements.  In fact, they outrage me!  People who subscribe to this type of theology point to the cities that God destroyed in the Bible, the most famous being Sodom and Gomorrah.  It is true; Genesis 18 tells us that God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because the people there were so wicked.  However, once God tells Abraham about this Abraham pleads for the people.  God says that the city will be spared if Abraham can find five righteous people living in the city.  God did not want to harm the innocent along with the wicked.

Then there is the story of Nineveh, from the book of Jonah.  Jonah was sent to Nineveh to announce that they were going to be destroyed because they were so wicked.  Once the people of Nineveh hear this, they repented and fasted and prayed.  God, having seen this, relented and Nineveh was not destroyed.  Again, God would not destroy the innocent.

To attribute the natural phenomena to the wraith of God is to presume to know the mind of God, something that we, as humans, are incapable of.   In John 9, the disciples saw a blind man and asked Jesus if his father’s sin made him blind or his own.  Jesus answered neither.

These statements also are counter to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The good news of Christ is a message of love, not one of hate or judgment.  John 3:16 says “”For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”  God loved the world and Christ was the embodiment of love.

In the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus says to the disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  Again, in the fifteenth chapter, he says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

When people are hurting and suffering, as Christians we are not called to judge or condemn.   We are called to be there as a shoulder to cry on, to lend aid, to help in whatever way is needed, and to love just as God loves us.

1 John 3:18: “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

September 6th News and Notes

Kick-Off Sunday

Kick-off Sunday is this Sunday, September 10th.  We will have a festival after church with hot dogs, face painting, karaoke, balloon twisting, and a bounce house!  There will be gifts for visitors, so invite friends and family!  If you can, please bring a dessert, such as cookies or brownies to sell.

 SMA Walk and Roll T-shirts

This Sunday is the last day to order t-shirts for the SMA walk this year.  You can order them on the form in the Narthex or through this link.  They are $15.00 each

SMA walk

The SMA walk will be September 30th.  If you have friends who would like to donate electronically, you can share this link with them.   Make plans to attend!

One Great Hour of Sharing

We will take up a special OGHS this week with proceeds going to the SMA walk.

Seeds Returns

Seeds will return on September 20th.

Sunday School

Sunday School starts back September 17th.  We have a pre-K/kindergarten class, an elementary class, a youth class, and an adult class.

Crisis Center Meal

The Crisis center meal for this month is September 17th.  Sign-up is in the Narthex.

Two Week Outlook

Wednesday, Sep 9th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:30

Friday, Sep 8th

  • Ladies Luncheon, 11:30, First Watch

Sunday, Sep 10th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Kick-off Sunday

Tuesday, Sep 12th

  • Board Meeting, 7:00

Wednesday, Sep 13th

  • Board Meeting, 7:00

Thursday Sep 14th

  • Men’s Breakfast, 7:45am, Nautilus Diner

Sunday, Sep 17th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Sunday School following worship
  • Crisis Center Meal

Wednesday, Sep 20th

  • Seeds, 5:45
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Looking Ahead

  • September 10th: Kick-Off Sunday
  • September 20th: Seeds begins
  • September 30th: SMA walk
  • November 26th: Hanging of the Green
  • December 17th:  Children’s Christmas Program
  • December 24th: Christmas Eve

August 31st E-votional

By now, you have no doubt read countless stories and seen dozens of pictures of the devastating flooding in Texas due to Harvey.  I hope you have kept everyone down there in your prayers.  Thousands have been forced from their homes, many people have lost everything, and the death toll will only continue to rise.  The news is heartbreaking and scary.  When I see news like this, I think of Mr. Rogers.  Did you know Mr. Rogers was ordained Presbyterian pastor?  He once said, “When he was a boy and would see scary things on the news: ‘My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

Look for the helpers.  Look for people like Houston Police Sgt. Steve Perez, who was so determined to get to work to help people earlier this week, that he lost his life when his car was overcome by water.  Look for people like Jim McIngvale, known as “Mattress Mack,” who owns two furniture stores in Houston.  With water rising and more people being driven from their homes, he opened his stores so that people would have somewhere dry to stay and have furniture to sleep on.  Look for people like the unnamed pastor  who put his life at risk to go into a flooded roadway to check cars for people trapped in them.  These are the people who give us hope, these are the people that shine a light in the darkness.

While our first instinct should be to look for the helpers, we shouldn’t stop there.  We should follow up by looking for ways to help.  Ways to become the helpers.  We should find ways to lend support to people in need.  Because we are followers of Christ, we have hope, so we should be the people that bring hope.  Christ commands us to love others as he loves us.  Christ brought us hope and love and grace, when we had none.  We should be the people spreading hope and love and grace.  We should look for the helpers and then look for ways to join with the helpers.  We should look to be the helpers, whether it is during a hurricane, snow storm, or just every day life.  We should look to be the light in someone’s darkness.

Matthew 5:14-15: “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.

August 23rd e-votional

Recently, Heather and I stumbled upon Penzeys, a spice company (I know, we lead exciting lives).  In our first order were two things that grabbed my attention.  The first was a booklet on soul.  It included the following quote, “Cooking is an amazing thing.  It both protects us against, and heals us from much of what would otherwise leave us broken.”  The other thing they included was a bumper sticker that said, “Love People, Cook Them Tasty Food”.  We liked this so much that we now have kitchen towels that say it too!

As I reflected on this, I thought that while we can say that cooking brings people together, more often it is the eating that brings people together!  That is one of the many reasons why I think celebrating Communion is so important to our faith.  When people gather around the table, they are nourished.  When people gather around a table together, they are prepared to share with one another.   When people gather around the table, they do so, united, with a common purpose.  When people gather around the table they talk with one another.  Finally, when people gather around a the table nobody goes hungry and everyone has enough to eat.

It should be the same with our faith.  When we gather in faith, we should be nourished, prepared to share with each other, united with a common purpose, entering into fellowship with one another, and making sure nobody is in need.  I believe that is part of why, at the last supper, Christ took the ordinary and made it holy.  In doing so, her reminds us that when we do these things, we remember him and he is present.

The “soul” booklet from Penzeys ends, by saying, “Cooking is fun and tasty, too. Plus it brings added richness to life. Each of these blends continues the ripples of lives lived spend in kitchens and around dinner tables sharing goodness. Each tells a story that, at its heart, is on of kind souls making the effort of combining flavors just right to bring smiles to those they cook for.  When you cook, you really are connected to a whole lot of goodness. Do what you can to keep that goodness alive.”

When we gather around the Lord’s table together, we really are connected to the love of God as shown in Jesus Christ.  We are fed by that love.  That love gives us a common purpose.  God’s love calls us into fellowship with one another.  We are called to do what we can to share that love.

1 Corinthians 10:17 “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”