The Pastor's Ponderings is a weekly note from one of the pastors that is sent to the congregation. If you would like to be included in the list of email subscribers to the Ponderings, you can subscribe here. Current subscribers wishing to unsubscribe can do that here as well.

Congrats Confirmands

Dear Glen Mar friends,

Pentecost is this Sunday, and it's the time when the Church celebrates the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is an unruly wind, a life-giver, a change-maker, that breathes new life into dry bones, and calls us forth to serve God and our neighbor in new ways. As part of worshipping together, we will hear Pastor Jen's "farewell" sermon to us after a decade of faithful service, as the Holy Spirit calls her to a new church. We will experience the Holy Spirit in song, and in scripture, and we will pray in the Spirit for our community and our church. And we will pray for and celebrate our new confirmation class.

These 8th-9th graders have completed many months of work learning about their Christian faith, and Methodism, worship and service, the Bible, and the foundations of our tradition, and about their own gifts and call to be a part of Christ's body here at Glen Mar. When they are confirmed (when we can gather safely), they will "confirm" and make for themselves the promises of the Christian faith:

  1. To renounce and reject evil and to repent of their sin
  2. To accept the freedom and power God gives them to resist evil, injustice and oppression
  3. To confess Jesus Christ as their Savior, put their whole trust in his grace and promise to serve him as their Lord, in union with the Church, which Christ has opened to all people
  4. To remain faithful members of the church and to serve as Christ's representatives in the world
  5. To serve Christ through our church and support it with their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.

 
There is no better witness to the continued presence and movement of the Holy Spirit than these confirmands, precious children of God: Cece, Paige, Maia, Lucy, Karina, Isabella, Sierra, Brianna, Zach, Jacob, Jonathan, Matthew, Austin, Isaac, Nathan L, Nathan P., Andy, Will, Keith, and Jake.

They are what the church is about, and they ARE the church, just like you and me. I'm grateful.

See you online,
Pastor Mandy


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Grateful

Dear Glen Mar friends,

I'm so grateful for our graduates and for the ability to celebrate them, albeit in an unusual way, last week. I'm grateful for prayer groups and Zoom calls, although I'm on too many Zoom calls. I'm thankful for long walks, and for the gift of our church's ministry that continues through this season. I'm grateful for our Task Force's initial work, as we continue to monitor applicable requirements, recommendations and guidelines. I don't yet have an anticipated "date" when we would "Re-gather," because it's important to do this work with care and not be rushed in our preparation, and because I don't want to give you one and be wrong. Just know that we are taking care, thinking creatively, and preparing as we can for a lot of possibilities. We are so grateful for the ways that online worship offers God's radical hospitality, often in a way that is more hospitable than worship with "restrictions." In the meantime, it's safe to say our main worship service will continue to be online for some time to come.

I pray that your Memorial Day weekend will include a chance to pray for the families and loved ones of those who have laid down their lives in service to our country, and a chance to pray for peace, and to give thanks for all the blessings God has planted in our lives. And we know, if we are blessed, we're blessed to be a blessing.

And speaking of blessings, this Sunday, we will be blessed by our Cherub Choir, who may be the cutest collection of Zoom faces I have ever seen, and we'll turn to the Book of Acts. I'll be preaching on Peter's healing of the beggar at the gate - as we wrap up our Ordinary Miracles series exploring how the church is called to be part of Ordinary Miracles for others.

See you online,
Pastor Mandy

PS Pastor Jen shared a lovely letter to the congregation in the most recent issue of The Messenger. You can read it here.


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Keep the Faith

Dear Glen Mar friends,

I continue to be in prayer for our community leaders as we navigate the waters of this season. Like many of you, I watched the Governor's press conference tonight (Wednesday), and heard a summary of our County Executive's conference. I just wanted to reach out to say, even if churches could technically be open as of 5 pm on Friday, we will not have worship in the building this weekend and will not "reopen" as a facility until we are ready to do so safely and in an intentional, well-thought-out way. We will keep things as they are until we have a plan in place, and the necessary supplies, to ensure safety, feasibility and reaching people in a meaningful and healthy way. When we "reopen" we will have to make adjustments to our way of being together that require planning and preparation, and I do not want to reopen until that work is done.

As I shared in worship, we have a Glen Mar Task Force working on how to safely reenter and gather, and they will be helping in our planning. They work on behalf of our Leadership Board and will be working closely with our staff as well. Joining me on that task force, I'm grateful to have:

Sue Neal-Lyman, Leadership Board Chair
Dale Worley, Trustee Chair
Barb Julian, Minister for Operations
Paul Behrens, Lay Leader
Drs. Mark and Dianne Landrum (Infectious Disease and Pediatric doctors, respectively)
Lauren Bauer, ELC Board Chair
Nancy Berge, SPRC Chair
Pastor Anna, Pastor for Community Life
Harry Rowell, Tech Team

In addition, our Bishop has issued detailed guidelines and instructions on safety and "reopening," too, that we need to make sure we can follow. So, for this weekend, plan to proceed online as we have been and plan to do that going forward, as we work on how and when to safely gather as a church. We want to do this deliberately and well - that is what faithfulness looks like in this season.

Keep the faith, friends. God is with us.

See you online,
Mandy

P.S. This weekend we'll honor our graduates! You will not want to miss it!


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Life in the Good Shepherd’s Flock

Dear Glen Mar friends,

This weekend is Mother's Day, so I hope you'll join us, and invite family and friends, as we look at what it means for Jesus to be our "Good Shepherd" in times like these. We'll talk about life in the flock of this Shepherd, and ways that Jesus' leading and care is reflected in human love, and the "ordinary miracles" of life as one of Jesus' own.

I am so grateful for all the ways God is providing nourishment in this season of "wilderness/COVID" through Glen Mar church! We are certainly "Praising God" online each week, and I'm loving being able to say "good morning" to you! We are growing disciples - From Word on Wednesdays to daily morning prayer, to learning and connecting that's happening online with our 18 and under crowd...it's a season to give thanks. We have daily prayer each weekday morning, and Bible studies through the week, including a class called BASE (an introduction to scripture) that has 16 people in it. I'm so grateful. I'm grateful for the ways Glen Mar continues to serve the world! Check out our COVID-19 response page for more info on that.

Also, as you know, Pastor Jen is preparing to move to her next appointment as the pastor at Reisterstown UMC. Her last Sunday with us will be 5/31 (It's Pentecost and she's preaching! I'm sorry to see her go but I'm looking forward to hearing her preach and celebrating her amazing gifts and ministry). We wanted to give people a chance to touch base with her in all the ways we can in this strange season, so she has set up virtual "Office Hours." If you'd like to have some time with Pastor Jen, just email Kyara Kelley at office@glenmarumc.org or kyara.kelley@glenmarumc.org to make an appointment and to get a Zoom link.

Jen's "Office Hours"
Monday, May 11, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Monday, May 18, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 14, 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 21, 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 17, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

See you online,
Mandy


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More Than Enough

Dear Glen Mar friends,

This week we'll continue our series on Ordinary Miracles with another surprise appearance by Jesus. This time, Peter and the disciples have returned to their everyday work...fishing. They fish all night and catch nothing, when Jesus (who once again they don't recognize at first) tells them to put the net on the other side of the boat, and the catch of fish is so great they can barely carry the net. We'll explore ways that this season of COVID has helped us to "let go" of things we thought we couldn't live without, and the ways that "letting go" makes room for unexpected blessings. How does Jesus help us to labor for the things that truly matter? Our Jesus specializes in taking our ordinary gifts--fish and bread, work and rest--and making something miraculous out of them. When that happens, scarcity becomes enough for all, healing and wholeness appear, and things are never the same again.

See you "online,"
Pastor Mandy


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Glen Mar Church is still closed to the public. However, Glen Mar ELC has reopened. Online worship will continue on Sundays at 10 AM. Click for more information