There will be a tree at the West Entrance the next time you come to the church building! And there will be leaves and fruit to add to it!
For the next month, “The Tree of Life” will be our theme at Manchester UMC. In the Bible, the Tree of Life symbolizes a rhythm of abundance, wisdom, and healing. This rhythm bookends the Scriptures – in Genesis, we read about the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden; in Revelation, we read about the Tree of Life beside the river in the holy city, the “New Jerusalem” of God’s reign on earth.
This series will focus on the seasonal rhythms and patterns in the community of the church, our ordo, the rhythm of work and sabbath, and how individual Christian identity is formed through our sacred communal practices. Even in the early church, there were cycles of festival and rest. The church continues those same patterns, generations later.
These communal rhythms are how we know ourselves; our identity is shaped largely by the order of our life together. Each week will focus on a different aspect of our common life – worship, baptism, communion, and the liturgical calendar.
And throughout the series, everyone is invited to add a leaf and/or a piece of fruit to the tree at the West Entrance. The leaves are responses to the question, “What does it mean to you to be a part of Manchester UMC?” The pieces of fruit are responses to the question, “How have you witnessed the ministry of Manchester UMC impacting our community?”
We start off this week thinking about the rhythm of worship, and how that rhythm informs all that we do as a church. I’m looking forward to this series, and to seeing y’all in church.
I have been asked some questions in recent days regarding Rev. Winter Hamilton, in response to last week’s announcement that she has resigned at the request of the Leadership Board. Thank you for your expressions of concern. In response, there are a few things I want to make sure everyone is aware of.
First of all, Pastor Winter is well. Many of you have expressed concerns about her health, and I want you to know that she is not ill. Secondly, Pastor Winter remains a fully ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church in good standing. Nothing has changed with regard to her ordination; her clergy status remains in place. Finally, Winter and her family are welcome to attend Manchester United Methodist Church at any time. Her children Iva and Milo remain active members of Manchester UMC’s many offerings for children, and Winter is looking forward to the day when she can be an active part of this community again.