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New Year

This is a little late in coming, but Happy New Year!

The new year certainly has started off with a bang here in the Scottsville/Esmont area – two snowstorms within a couple of weeks! Now, I honestly love snow, and I enjoy seeing the beauty of the landscape covered with snow. But, I know that for many people in our area, the first snow was not a thing of beauty. I am grateful for the linemen and all of the crews who worked hard to clear the trees and restore power, and my prayers are with those still trying to recover from those many days without electricity.

I also am grateful that we have the ability to pre-record our worship services, so that even in bad weather, we can still worship together online. If you haven’t been able to participate in in-person worship the last few weeks, I encourage you to check out our YouTube channel – Southern Albemarle Charge (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-lZ2P33SFyNSWb12t40a-w).

As we begin this new year, we are making a push for small groups in our charge. Small groups are an excellent way to deepen our discipleship. They give us an opportunity to more deeply explore passages of the Bible and to ask questions and contemplate different interpretations of Scripture. They provide us with support as we walk as disciples of God. We are compiling results from a small group survey to figure out what groups would be best to offer and when. I hope everyone will find a way to engage in a small group.

Finally, I want to share a good devotional resource with you. For several years, I have received daily email devotions from the Henri Nouwen Society – https://henrinouwen.org/read-nouwen/free-daily-meditation/. These free devotions have greatly enriched my understanding of God and our life as disciples. Nouwen was an excellent thinker and theologian and was definitely filled with the Spirit of God.

If you use other daily devotions, let me know! I always enjoy checking out new material.

As we journey through this week, may the love of God fill us and strengthen us!

Prayers for School

Public schools started in August, but we are starting to hear reports of kids testing positive for Covid and close contacts having to quarantine. Our preschool here at Scottsville UMC is beginning this week. So, this is a good time for us to pause and say a prayer for the students and teachers and everyone working at our schools.

Let us prayer:

Holy Lord, thank you for this school year in Albemarle, in Fluvanna, in Buckingham, and at Scottsville UMC Preschool. Thank you for this time for the kids to grow and learn. Bless them in their learning. Bless them in their play. Through their work may they grow in wisdom and kindness. Thank you, too, for the teachers, the staff and administration, the custodial staff, nutrition services, bus drivers, and all who work to make school possible. Bless their work and strengthen them for their jobs. Ease any anxious hearts of parents. We pray, especially, for a safe and healthy school year. We pray for those who are sick with Covid, that they will be safely healed. We pray for those who are in quarantine. We pray for all who have to stay at home – for their health and that their learning will not be disrupted. Hear our prayers, O Lord. Amen.

Introduction Part III

Dear Friends in Christ,

Here are a few last things about myself using the story pages as inspiration:

My Favorite Christian Season: I love the Easter season! I also love Pentecost Sunday, because I don’t think we celebrate the Holy Spirit enough.

Most Memorable/Meaningful Thing: Baptizing my two daughters

One Surprising Blessing: How God has continually guided me to opportunities to grow in my faith and in my love of God, others, and myself.

Hobbies: Reading – I love to read! I also enjoy playing games with my family, and I am a fan of the Washington Nationals and Washington Capitals.

I look forward to getting to know each of you better. This month in ministry with you at Scottsville and Mount Zion has been wonderful. I am so excited about our future together and what God is calling us to do!

In Christ,

Laura

Introduction Part II

Dear Friends in Christ,

Here is hopefully some more interesting information about myself to help you get to know me better. 😊

My Favorite Potluck Dish: This is really hard to decide, and I am excited to taste your food. But one dish I enjoyed as a kid was scalloped potatoes, perhaps because potlucks would be the only time that I’d get to eat it!

My Fondest Church Memory: One of my fondest childhood memories in church is being the acolyte for Communion Sunday. At my home church, the acolyte helped the pastor serve Communion, and I always wanted to be assigned that Sunday. I have always loved Communion, and it was really special to me to be able to serve the church in that way.

Most Awkward Moment: I have had several. One that sticks out in my memory is when I wished everyone a “Merry Christmas” from the pulpit on Easter Sunday!

In Christ,

Pastor Laura

Our Journey Begins/Introduction Part I…

Dear Friends in Christ,

My family and I are so excited to be in Scottsville! Both Scottsville and Mount Zion UMCs have been extremely welcoming, and we are enjoying meeting everybody.

The town of Scottsville itself is really neat. The Fourth of July parade was so much fun, and then we ate our way through the Farmer’s Market. The kids have had fun playing on the playgrounds in Scottsville and Esmont and going to library. We know that we will love living here!

I thought that to kick things off on this blog, I’d share a little about myself.

My Church: My home church is Luray United Methodist Church in Luray, VA. I’ve also either attended or worked at several other churches – Williamsburg UMC, Pyatigorsk UMC, Bethesda UMC, Wesley UMC in Vienna, and Del Ray UMC. I then served Page UMC for 8 years as their pastor. I feel blessed I now get to add 2 more churches to this list!

My Favorite Hymn: I have too many favorites to choose from! A few that I love are It Is Well, O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, Hymn of Promise, Pass It On, Stand By Me, As the Deer, and Trading My Sorrows.

My Favorite Scripture Verse: John 13:34-35 – I had this verse shown when I was ordained.

I will share more in future posts. For now, may the peace of Christ fill you and sustain you.

In Christ,

Pastor Laura