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Worship Preview: 5.12.24 7th Sunday of Easter. Susanna Wesley: "the Mother of Methodism"

First United Methodist Church         

        

This Sunday: 10:30am – 7th Sunday of Easter: “The Mother of Methodism” Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching. Scriptures: Romans 16:1-7, Psalm 71:1-7; 15-21 and Philippians 4:1-9.

 

Join us Sunday at 10:30am as we celebrate the 7th Sunday of Easter, honor Mother's Day, and look ahead to Pentecost. In response to the recent United Methodist General Conference and questions from members, Pastor Christopher will begin a new series on the history, structure, and bright future of The United Methodist Church with a look at the faith and perseverance of Susanna Wesley and her lasting influence as "the Mother of Methodism." To begin to introduce this remarkable woman, here is an excerpt from

Leaving a Legacy of Prayer” by Jackie Green and Lauren Green-Mcafee:  

 

“If a passing stranger walking through the rural village of Epworth, England, on any given day between 1700 and 1720 had peered through the window of the home of the rector of the local Anglican church, he might have caught sight of something quite strange. Depending on the time of day, this observer might have seen a woman sitting in a chair with her kitchen apron pulled up over her head while ten children read, studied, or played all around her. Two of those ten children would have been little boys — John and Charles — who would grow up to shape the course of Christian history and thus change the world. The woman under the apron would have been Susanna Wesley, who assumed this odd posture for two hours almost every day…”

 

“Early in her life, she vowed that she would never spend more time in leisure entertainment than she did in prayer and Bible study. Even amid the most complex and busy years of her life as a mother (she gave birth to 19 children, 10 of whom lived into adulthood and her husband Samuel was a poor manager of money and often absent from the home), she still scheduled two hours each day for fellowship with God and time in His Word, and she adhered to that schedule faithfully. The challenge was finding a place of privacy in a house filled to overflowing with children. Mother Wesley’s solution to this was to bring her Bible to her favorite chair and throw her long apron up over her head, forming a sort of tent. This became something akin to the “tent of meeting,” the tabernacle in the days of Moses in the Old Testament. Every person in the household, from the smallest toddler to the oldest domestic helpers, knew well to respect this signal. When Susanna was under the apron, she was with God and was not to be disturbed except in the case of the direst emergency. There in the privacy of her little tent, she interceded for her husband and children and plumbed the deep mysteries of God in the Scriptures. This holy discipline equipped her with a thorough and profound knowledge of the Bible.”

 

From this lifetime of devotion and study, Susanna Wesley became a major influence on her family and community. She nurtured John and Charles, as well as her other children, inspired her neighbors, and stood up to her husband – Anglican priest Samuel Wesley’s attempts to stop her from leading Bible studies in his absence.

 

The above introduction of Susanna Wesley helps us to acknowledge the complexity of Mother’s Day as well. Some of us have wonderful mothers, some miss their mothers dearly. Some of our mothers fell short or even did harm, and relationships and memories can be hard. Then we turn to the next generation. Some women delight in their children, others long to be mothers but for one reason or another are unable to.

And then there are those who nurture us, and those we in turn nurture, forms of “mothering” regardless of bloodlines or gender. This day, through our scriptures and stories of Susanna’s life and ministry, we will seek space to acknowledge all that complexity and move towards a more nurturing world for all.

 

Whatever your relationship with Mother’s Day and wherever you are on your journey of faith, we invite you to bring both your joys and sorrows to worship together at First United Methodist, where we gather with open hearts, open minds, and open arms.  Blessings on your journey.

 

Upcoming Events: 

 

Wednesday, May 15th, 5:30–6:30pm: Feeding Families in His Name – this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. A reminder: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you. If you would like to support this ministry, you can make donations online at www.firstumcfortscott.org/onlinegiving

 

Friday, May 24th, 1-4pm  Shepherd’s Center / Adventures in Learning

Our next session is Friday, May 24th from 1-4pm in First United Methodist’s Fellowship Hall (301 S National, enter off 3rd street). We will feature an aviation and service theme. Ron Wood will share the story of his service and surviving a helicopter crash, Ralph Carlson will share about his time as an Air Force pilot and Lynette Emerson will share information on her love of skydiving! It will be a great time of fellowship and learning! Intended for retired adults to encourage fellowship and lifelong learning, our programs are free and open to anyone who would like to attend. Refreshments provided. Mark your calendar for June 28, July 26, August 23, and September 27th as well! – and invite a friend!

 

June 17th – 21st, We are hosting VBS this year. We continue to partner with our friends at First Presbyterian but will host Vacation Bible School in our building this time. Mark your calendar for June 17th – 21st 5:30-8pm. Registration will open soon! Plan to bring your kids or grandkids for a great week of faith and fun rooted in Scripture and then celebrate with us at a combined worship service 10:30am, Sunday, June 23rdwith a potluck to follow!

 

 

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