e-letter 8/3/18

Happy August, Suntree!

Growing up in Florida, I remember feeling like the air shifted in August as I prepared to head back to school. Maybe it was the days getting slightly shorter, or maybe it was the heat of the summer finally going to my head, but I always imagined that in August, things felt different. Even in my last few internships, when I was finishing my last Sunday in the first week of August, I felt like the air was different as I turned my eyes towards a busy fall semester of school. This year, without the rush of the academic schedule, I’ve felt a little lost, but never fear! Suntree UMC is here to keep all of us excited and busy as the fall takes off.

This week in worship we will be finishing up our sermon series, “Things We Wish Jesus Hadn’t Said.” It has felt like a baptism by fire to be walking with you through these tough texts in my first few weeks, getting to know the hard words of Jesus more intimately. As we turn our eyes towards the new academic year and the fall, we will be starting a new sermon series called, “Rooted.” This series will be all about growing deeper in spiritual disciplines: prayer, community, service, and intentional rest. I think these series segue so well together, as they remind us that the yoke of Jesus might be easy- but it is still a yoke! As followers of Christ, we are still called to a disciplined life of love and service, one that helps usher in the Kingdom all around us.

As a part of this Rooted series on Discipleship, we will host a fair called “Grow Deeper, Get Connected,” after services Aug. 19. Our community- and study-oriented opportunities will be available for registration in the Dining Room. If you have never been connected to a Life Group or a Journey, Oasis, or Sunday School class, now is the time to consider it! Community is incredibly important for our spiritual formation, and we are excited about all of the opportunities we are offering this fall.

Additionally, this week class brochures and registration links will “go live!” We are excited to offer many classes and opportunities for spiritual growth and formation through these wonderful ministries. We will also offer a few new Sunday School classes, so stay turned for more information.

I’m pleased to announce one of the ways we are already doing this work is a big success! Our Harbor City Elementary Backpack Challenge! Overall, we are filling about 350 backpacks! We raised $3,000, some of which went to filling the backpacks; anything left over will go to a Harbor City Elementary School fund for projects throughout the year. At the end of next week, we will have 50 empty backpacks – those will go with loose school supplies collected during Vacation Bible School for the school to give out at their discretion throughout the year. If you are still holding on to your backpack, DON’T FORGET TO BRING IT SUNDAY! Monday, we will deliver the last group of backpacks to Harbor City as they welcome back their students and teachers.
We have done amazing work! Please continue to pray for all of our children and youth, our Suntree UM preschool students and teachers, and the Harbor City Elementary students and teachers as they begin preparing to go back to school in just a week.

Maybe, you hated school and the way the fall limited your summer freedom. Or, maybe you’re like me, and you loved school and the fall feeling in the air. I confess I’ll be a little sad this year when I don’t get to fill my own backpack with supplies as I continue to get used to this new role as your associate pastor. While I may be shifting my perspective on fall, it still feels like a wonderful time to sharpen my proverbial pencil and rededicate myself to a disciplined walk with Christ. Maybe you feel the shift in the season, too? I invite you to prayerfully join me and all of our ministries at Suntree as we turn towards the fall and take new steps in our walk with Christ.

Rev. Allee Willcox