e-letter 7/21/18

As I write this, I can’t help thinking about all the amazing ministry experiences Suntree UMC has experienced this summer and it’s only July 20! Our children and youth ministries have really outdone themselves this summer with incredible opportunities for children, youth, and families to grow closer to Jesus and serve in his name.

This week, about 210 children have been led by 75 adult and youth leaders in having a blast while learning about the adventure of faith that God invites them to enjoy. Next week, a small group of our children will be heading to our Warren Willis United Methodist Children’s Camp in Leesburg. I’m so excited for these children to have this opportunity. One of my favorite memories from my teens is from the summer I attended a week at the same camp (though the cabins were a bit primitive then – no AC!) and each of my three sons attended this camp every summer for years. They loved it as I did, and it was a major part of their faith formation and spiritual development. Earlier in the summer, our Children’s Ministry also hosted the largest Music, Art, Drama and Dance Camp we’ve had in years. All of that is on top of the great children’s ministry that we provide every Sunday.

Of course, our Youth Ministry has been just as active. As already shared on Mission Trip Sunday, our youth and adult volunteers served in the Upper Keys, Key West, and Puerto Rico. Then they served a whole host of community ministries -including a week helping out at Harbor City Elementary School – right here in Brevard during Brevard Mission Week. This summer another group of youth also attended Student Life Camp in Daytona.

Of course, summer is not just for kids. I ran into the Oasis summer women’s study today as they shared a closing lunch at a local restaurant after completing their book study of “Present Over Perfect.” While lots of groups take time off from formal meetings during the summer, many Life Groups are still meeting and other groups, like the Grief Journey Support Group, meet with friends to share fellowship over meals during the summer.

The point is that just because it is summer, and many folks are taking a much-needed break, the ministry of this church continues in engaging and exciting ways. I am so very thankful for all those who serve in all these ministries throughout the summer! Suntree is blessed to be filled with loving, Christ-centered and servant leaders. None of this would be possible without you, so thanks to all of those who are making these summer ministries possible!

Of course, summer is not over and there is more ministry to accomplish. The next big challenge before us is our Harbor City Backpack Challenge. Earlier this week you should have received an email explaining the challenge. If you missed it, have no fear! You can read about it in the information below and you will hear more about it this Sunday. But in short, we are going to fill 300 backpacks with school supplies for the children at Harbor City Elementary School! For parents of students at Harbor City, as for many parents in Brevard County, the cost of purchasing school supplies for their children can be a hardship. So, we want to love our neighbors in extraordinary ways by easing this burden and helping these children get off on the right foot for the new school year. On Sunday you will be able to pick up a backpack with a list of the specific supplies needed for that grade backpack. Or you can donate and one of our amazing volunteers will fill the backpack with supplies. Again, you will hear more about this on Sunday in worship.

It’s a big goal – 300 backpacks. But I know Suntree Church and the generosity and love of this congregation. I also know the power of God to move us to action. With all that going for us – 300 backpacks are no problem!

This Sunday in worship we are continuing in our summer message series, “Things We Wish Jesus Hadn’t Said” by reflecting on Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:16-26 where he said, “Go, sell all of your possessions and give the money to the poor.” If you are like me, you have probably always squirmed a bit in your chair whenever this story was read. This week we will seek to unpack what Jesus’ words might mean for us today. But like all the topics in this series, there is no getting around the challenges that Jesus laid before us. They are not easy. And we sometimes feel like the disciples in this week’s scripture when they said to Jesus, “Then who can be saved?” But, we are not alone in seeking to live into these challenges. Our God, and the power of Christ’s Spirit is at work in us to spur us to grow, to serve, to love, to give in extraordinary ways. As Jesus said to the disciples in response to their question, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” We can be more than we imagine because we can count on God!

See you in worship this weekend as we continue to count of God together!

Grace and Peace,