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IN THIS ISSUE

Great Expectations

When faced with the reality of Christian sinners, Martin Luther is reported to have said, “Sin boldly. But believe even more boldly in Christ, and rejoice.” By this, Luther acknowledged that Christians were going to keep sinning but that they could count on the grace of Jesus Christ for their salvation regardless.

Martin Luther never really believed that people could be good enough to earn salvation on their own. He was also an Augustinian, who like that order’s namesake founder St. Augustine, had a fairly low estimation of a human being’s ability to live a moral life. 

That’s why when we read Jesus’ instructions in the Sermon on the Mount, we are inclined to think: he doesn’t really want us to do that, does he? That seems awfully unrealistic. And we’re not wrong: it is.

But that’s the whole point: Christian discipleship is not tribalism. We don’t get credit for just showing up and claiming the name of Jesus. It’s about how we follow in his footsteps, about how we are willing to aim higher than a lowest common denominator faith. It’s about what we United Methodists refer to as sanctification and moving on toward perfection in love.

It’s not easy. But a faith reared in the shadow of the cross has never been meant to be easy. But it is in striving toward that higher standard that we find ourselves in the midst of something truly powerful and transformative—a witness to a higher love that can change the world itself.


Rev. Mark Schaefer, Pastor

Ecclesiastica


SUNDAY’S WORSHIP SERVICES
Thanks to everyone who participated in worship services Sunday. Thanks to David Rawlings for leading us in worship and for reading our scripture lessons, and to Chiara Griffith for providing our beautiful music.
         Sermon: “A Higher Standard,” Rev. Mark Schaefer
         Sunday’s attendance: 35
         Collection: $ 2,518.31

NEXT SUNDAY SERVICES, FEBRUARY 23, 2020, 10:00 a.m.
TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY

Sermon: “What Happens on the Mountaintop…” Rev. Mark Schaefer
Scripture Lessons: Exodus 24:12-18; Matthew 17:1-9

Want to help out in worship? Use our online sign-up to be a greeter, usher, liturgist, lector, or communion server.

Community Events & Information



PASTOR’S WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY OFF THIS WEEK
Because of a clergy day apart with the Bishop, Rev. Schaefer will not be here on Tuesday for Bible study. The Bible study continues next week and every Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m.  We will be doing a deeper dive into the lectionary texts used on Sunday during worship. Everyone is welcome to attend. No prior experience required!
 
Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer, cumcpastormark@gmail.com
 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEETING
Tuesday, February 18, 6:30 p.m., County Administration Building, Upper Marlboro
This Tuesday evening, the Historical Society will be considering Cheltenham UMC’s application for a grant to preserve and restore our historic stained glass windows. The grant writing team asks that you keep this process in your prayers. If you are interested in attending the hearing, contact Crystal at the address below.
 
Contact: Crystal Reed, crystaldreed@verizon.net
 
PASTOR’S “OFFICE” HOURS—BRANDYWINE CROSSING STARBUCKS
Wednesday, February 19, 2–4 p.m.

Rev. Schaefer’s “office” hours in the community this week will be Wednesday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Starbucks at Brandywine Crossing (15810 Craine Hwy B, Brandywine, MD). Feel free to stop on by!
 
Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer, cumcpastormark@gmail.com
Link:  Google Map 

BOOK CLUB: GIVER OF STARS
Wednesday, February 19, 6 p.m.

The Book Club will be meeting this Wednesday at 6 p.m. to discuss Jojo Moyes’ book Giver of Stars. Everyone is welcome to attend, whether you've read the book or not!

Contact: Crystal Reed, crystaldreed@verizon.net

SHROVE TUESDAY PANCAKE DINNER—RSVP TODAY!
Tuesday, February 25, 6 p.m.

Next Tuesday, February 25, is Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras and it is a long-standing church tradition to consume pancakes on the day before Lent begins. We’ll be having a pancake dinner, Tuesday, February 25 at 6 p.m. in the Furgang Hall. In order to have a good count of the amount of pancakes we'll need, please RSVP to Lu Lawrence at the address below!

Contact: Lu Lawrence, lulaw711@verizon.net

COMING SOON: ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICES
Wednesday, February 26, 7 p.m.

Lent is soon upon us and will begin with our observance of Ash Wednesday, next Wednesday, February 26.  We will have a service of the word and imposition of the ashes at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. Everyone is welcome.

Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer, cumcpastormark@gmail.com
 
COMING SOON: LENTEN SERMON SERIES
“A JOURNEY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS”
A Joshua tree in the Arizona desertMarch 1–April 12, 2020

When you’re in the wilderness of want, fear, despair, tragedy, death and loss, or betrayal—where is God then? Beginning next month, we will be embarking on a Lenten Sermon series exploring the experience of journeying through the wildernesses of our lives. 
 
Contact: Rev. Mark Schaefer, cumcpastormark@gmail.com

Regular Weekly Calendar

  • Monday
    • Monday Methodists, 9 a.m.
    • Knitting Circle, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday
    • Cheltenham Academy, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • Pastor’s Bible Study, 9:30 a.m.—Canceled this week
    • Pastor’s Office Hours, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
    • AA and Al-Anon, 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday
    • SLOGGS Meeting, 11:30 a.m.
    • Pastor’s “Office” Hours, 2–4 p.m.
      • Starbucks, Brandywine Crossing
    • Book Club, 6 p.m.
    • Band, 6 p.m.
    • Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m.
  • Friday
    • Pastor’s Sabbath
  • Sunday
    • Sunday School, 9 a.m.
    • Sunday Worship, 10 a.m.
    • Fellowship, 11 a.m.

Prayer List


Becky Benton, going in for further testing
Bill, going in for a spinal procedure
Becky, recovering from a stroke and going through a difficult time
Jim, searching for a job
Clayton, going in for a stress test
Crystal’s friend, diagnosed with Parkinson's
Clark's friend Jeff, suffering from a difficult UTI
Logan, hospitalized and suffering complications with medication
Marlice, suffering heart problems
Alice Roberson, mourning the death of her son Jeff
Elsie and Chuck Taylor, in the hospital
Liane and all those returning to college for the semester
The friends and family of Ronnie Carroll, mourning his death
Joanne, going in for a heart stent test
Nancy, recovering from surgery
Melissa, recovering from a car accident
The Werner family, facing illnesses
Linda, recovering from a car accident
Traveling mercies for Sarah and Aiden
The people of Australia experiencing wildfires
Those in the armed services soon to be deployed abroad, and their families
The friends and family of Jennifer Creech, mourning her death
The Sawez family, mourning the death of their father Ehsan
Michael Kidwell, in need of surgery after a fall
Ellie, in need of a hip replacement
Marilyn, recovering from a heart attack
The family of baby Lindley, at St. Jude's
Yousef, in need of physical healing

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