News and Announcements for the Week of April 6

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which began on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.  Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.”  The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan.  Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection.  In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism.  Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.  Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter” and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

During our worship services in Lent, our children will be collecting change to give to Change for Children, one of our Holston Conference ministries.  Each year, churches give loose change to benefit children’s ministries in our Holston Conference region and in Africa.   And each year, several groups receive that pocket change in the form of grants.  Change for Children grants support new and existing ministries with economically disadvantaged children, from birth to age 12, and their families.  Holston churches and related United Methodist agencies are eligible for these funds.

30 Pieces of Silver.  During Lent, you are invited to set aside your silver coins in a bag, jar, or whatever container you wish, and then bring the container full of silver coins to the altar during worship on Easter Sunday, April 20.  You generosity will support the missions of our congregation.

Life Groups are coming!  They are small groups that invite us in to life together, helping us grow as disciples of Jesus, care for one another more deeply, and serve God and other’s in Jesus’ name.  We will launch them church-wide after Easter.  We hope that each person will be involved in a Life Group.  We will have sign-up opportunities for you.

CHILDREN’S EASTER CELEBRATION will be held Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 11:30 am to 2pm.  Please donate non-chocolate and peanut-free candy.  There is a box at the Wesley Center and one in the Communication Center for candy collecting. If you would prefer to give a monetary donation and attend Early Service, please give any cash donations to Lydia Thompson.  Both Services—if giving by check, please mark “Easter” in the memo line.  11:00 Service, if giving cash, please give to Elaine Good.  Deadline for collecting both monetary donations and candy is Sunday, April 13 as candy bags have to be filled on Wednesday, April 16.

We hope you have noticed the beautiful new flooring in the Wesley Center and the Christian Life Center entrance, which is part of our Hospitality – Inward, Outward & Upward campaign to become a more welcoming congregation.  As part of this effort, our Church Council decided to rename the Education Building to Christian Life Center.  We think this new name sounds more inviting and better represents a more holistic approach to spiritual growth, i.e., that growth toward spiritual maturity is broader than education.  Thanks to the many people who have put in hours and hours of volunteer work into renewing our facilities!  And thanks to all who have contributed financially to our campaign. Our next phase of the Hospitality campaign is to replace the old marquee outside of the Sanctuary with a new electronic marquee.  Please consider your contributions to helping us improve our facilities to become a more welcoming congregation.  You can make a check payable to the church and mark “Hospitality Campaign” in the memo line.

At our March 24 Church Conference, our congregation members affirmed the February 16 Church Council decision to pursue purchase of the neighboring Cowan property, 476 Cedar St., Bluff City.  We will be discussing purchase options with the Cowan family and considering the best financing option available for the congregation.  We expect to move forward with a capital campaign asking each person in our congregation to give generously and sacrificially to enable the purchase.  We hope you will pray about your participation in securing this needed property so that our ministries for Christ may continue to grow and expand.

There will be an Youth Assembly registration meeting on Wednesday, April 23, at 6:45 p.m. in the Youth Room.  This is for youth interested in going to Assembly at Emory & Henry College in June.  In order to register, parents must be

Sunday, April 13, is Invite A Friend Sunday.  We would like each person who regularly attends worship to be praying specifically for someone and to invite them to come to worship that Sunday.  We will celebrate Invite A Friend Sunday the second Sunday of each month.  Of course, you can invite a friend to come any time, but we hope you will make a special effort for Invite A Friend Sundays.

Hands-On Mission Project for Zimbabwe—Food buckets  – Goal : 300

1 bag sugar (4-5 lb)
1 bag corn mean (4-5 lb)
1 bag self-rising flour (4-5 lb)
1 bag rice (2 lb)
1 bag dried beans (2 lb)
1 powdered  milk (10 oz or less)
1 box old-fashioned oats (18 oz. or less) (NOT instant oatmeal packets)
1 bottle cooking oil (48 oz or less)
1 box Splenda/sucralose packets (50 ct. or less)

Pack all in NEW, FOOD GRADE, 5-gallon bucket with lid. (Lowe’s )

Please DO NOT seal lids.

Include $5.00 donation for packing and shipping—DO NOT PUT IN BUCKET

Church Treasurer will write one check to cover all buckets.

Have buckets completed and in Library by Sunday, May 25.

Have you felt led to be part of a Czech Mission Team? Space is still available on the following teams that will travel to Czech this summer:

June 20 – 30 – Plzen Maranatha Vacation Bible School
July 4 – 14 – Brno VBS and English Camp
July 4 – 14 – Slany Basketball and English Camp
(all dates are approximate)

If you feel God is calling you to be a part of this outreach to our friends in the Czech Republic, plan to attend the orientation meeting:

Sunday, March 30
3:00 pm
Cherokee UMC

We will share:

  •  Information on the teams that will travel this year,
  •  Important deadlines for paying your deposit and balance,
  •  Fundraising opportunities,
  •  Scholarship information, and
  •  General information on how to prepare for your trip.

If you are interested in one of the trips but cannot attend the meeting on Sunday, please let the office know which trip you are interested in.


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