Church #57, South Bethlehem United Methodist Church

Date: 5/25/14

Church name/type: South Bethlehem Church, UMC

Pastor: Mark Ledbetter

Style of worship: Formulaic but very friendly; probably a lot of room for creativity within the segments of service

Useful takeaways:
Children’s Moment: This was delivered by a layperson (or maybe a deacon or Deacon equivalent?) named Paul. He talked about parties and invitations He said heaven is going to be like a party. There may be people we don’t expect, but God loves us all and he’s the one sending the invitations. It was kind of a nice reminder that we need to be good to everyone, not just those we like or those we’d invite to a party.

The sermon was titled ‘We are not alone’ – that is, of course to say we always have God. This idea is a bit of a cliche and pastor didn’t delve too deeply into it except as something of a reminder. A more interesting bit to the sermon was an emphasis on allowing the world to see Christ in us every day in what we do. Pastor kind of spring-boarded off the children’s time message that we need to remember to show others goodness and qualities like: justice, kindness, compassion. He pointed out that there is no room in our lives for: bullying, racism, homophobic jokes, and slurs. And sometimes we must show love by saying hard things to loved ones when they make such hurtful remarks.
I have to say I really appreciate the depth of such a message. It is hard to teach others tolerance, just as it’s hard to hear it from others that we have been intolerant. I am actually kind of inspired hearing this message. It’s hard to explain why, but I guess as someone whose views have changed, I feel hopeful. Hopeful for myself and others, that we can continue to be shown new better ideas and accept them.

More along the lines of an item for awareness, this church is only a couple of turns off 9W, but it still manages to feel tucked away from everything; it has sudden rurality. The road I took to get to it has one sharp sharp turn, one steepish hill, and is narrow enough to be a candidate for one way if it was in the city. This is nothing the church could fix of course, but might be good info if you went say at Christmas in a snowstorm.

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