Sunday, February 24, 2013

*Sneak Peek*

Mrs. Mona Blackburn, who recently generously donated property to Girdwood Chapel, will be our guest this coming Sunday morning between services.  (By the way, this will be the re-start of our first-Sunday-of-the-month breakfast potlucks.)

Among the thank-you gifts that she will receive is a small twenty-page photo history book of Girdwood Chapel.  We only made ONE copy of the book because we are in the process of gathering more photographs, anecdotes, and church information.  Hopefully, a more substantial photo history will be produced by spring.

In the meantime, here is a "sneak peek" of the book that Mrs. Blackburn will be receiving.  (Please double-click on a "page" to open it):

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Build Your Kingdom Here

About a dozen people stayed after church today (3/17) for a potluck meal and to look at our first (of five) "tasks" we have as a congregation during this six-month transition period.  Task #1 asks the church to review its history, evaluate where it stands currently, and to consider any short- or long-term goals.

Most who attend Girdwood Chapel now have little knowledge of our early years as a community church.  Old photos (and memories) are being collected and put into a Girdwood Chapel history book.  (Your help in collecting photos and written recollections are MOST welcome.)

Some of the photos have been put into a music video.  You can find the video on the "About Us" page of this website.  Meanwhile, here are the challenging/uplifting lyrics to the song, as performed by the UK Christian group "Rend Collective."

Rend Experiment – Build Your Kingdom

Come set Your rule and reign
In our hearts again
Increase in us we pray
Unveil why we're made
Come set our hearts ablaze with hope
Like wildfire in our very souls
Holy Spirit come invade us now
We are Your Church
We need Your power
In us

We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
Refuse to waste our lives
For You're our joy and prize
To see the captive hearts released
The hurt; the sick; the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven's cause
We are Your church
We pray revive
This Earth

Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We pray

Unleash Your kingdom's power
Reaching the near and far
No force of hell can stop
Your beauty changing hearts
You made us for much more than this
Awake the kingdom seed in us
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ
We are Your church
We are the hope 
On Earth

Saturday, February 16, 2013

First Sunday of Lent - Potluck

February 17, 2013 
Events at Girdwood Chapel UMC

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Lent and we hope you will come to worship (8:30/10:00am) as we begin our journey towards the cross and the Easter resurrection!

You are invited to bring a box of muffin mix to go along with the Scripture for the day (Luke 4:1-13) where Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by the devil.  Please see the announcement below.

After the 10:00am worship service, we will have a potluck and work on one of the tasks for this Interim time.  Everyone’s input is important to this process!

Task #1. Coming to Terms with History

It is important for congregations to know their history so that they can appreciate their heritage and at the same time be aware of the issues and concerns that need to be resolved in order to move freely into the future.

Linda Jean P. Myers
Interim Pastor

Food for Girdwood Chapel Food Pantry

The children will be collecting the food items from the congregation during the Children’s time.  Bring your donation each Sunday and hold on to it until a children retreives it.  We hope to make a huge pile by Palm Sunday (March 24).  Each of the 5 Sundays during Lent will have a different emphasis related to the Scripture reading for that day.  All together they will make a meal.  (P.S. Other food items will gladly be accepted!)

February 17     Muffin Mix (Luke 4:1-13)

Jesus tempted in the wilderness by the devil with bread

February 24    Can of Chicken Soup  (Luke 13:31-35)

Hen gathering her brood

March 3          Can of Fruit (Luke 13:1-9)

 parable of the fig tree.

March  10       Can of Beef Stew (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32)

parable of the Prodigal Son – beef stew if for the “fatted calf”

March  17       Cake Mix (John 12:1-8)

 Mary anoints Jesus – luxury

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Supt. Beckett Visits Girdwood Chapel

Superintendent Dave Beckett spent time with us last Sunday (3/10/13) at Girdwood Chapel.  He met with us after the 10 a.m. service to discuss the recent gift of property to our chapel.  The chapel leadership and Supt. Beckett agree that the money we receive from the sale of the property will go entirely to paying down the personal notes we hold.

Supt. Beckett chats with Girdwood Chapel kids
during "Children's Time"
He also delivered an important message to us at both services.   His message was appropriate not only for the start of the Lenten season, but for our church as we continue to "transition" from one pastor to another.  

In case you missed it, here are some key parts of his message to us:

Purpose-Centered or Preference-Driven Church? 
Colossians 2:16-3:4 
David Beckett, D.Min. 

"Last winter I was in a cabinet meeting with our bishop and the superintendents of the Pacific Northwest Conference in Seattle. They are very gracious to include me whenever I can get there. It can get a bit lonely being a cabinet of one here in Alaska. 

We spent the better part of a day listening to a presentation by Rev. Doug Anderson about why the United Methodist Church is in decline. What he said at the very beginning grabbed me. He said only 10% of United Methodist churches are growing in size. That means that 90% are either on a plateau or in decline. Why?

Then he offered this answer. Every congregation is somewhere on this continuum. On one side is PURPOSE-CENTERED. On the other is PREFERENCE-DRIVEN. Take a guess as to which side are the growing churches? The PURPOSE-CENTERED side. The converse is true. Declining churches are on the PREFERENCE-DRIVEN SIDE. 

It would appear that when a church loses sight of its purpose, its mission, and pays a lot of attention to the preferences of its people, that it is destined to decline. Membership and worship attendance in our 29 Alaska United Methodist churches is trending downward so I am very interested in this issue. If there is a correlation between decline and a slide from purpose to preference, then we should face this reality and do something about it. 

Our actions to reverse this trend should not be done purely out of institutional survival. Rather, what we do in Church needs to be motivated more by our purpose to reach others than the preferences of our members.
I have met with several Alaska Staff Parish Relations Committees about the appointment of a new pastor. I said to each of them, “Don’t tell me what your congregation wants in a new pastor. Tell me what you need to help you reach your mission to grow disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.” 

So let’s talk a bit about what it means to focus on our purpose as a church of Christ. What does a purpose-centered church look like? The amazing thing is that many Christian leaders from a variety of denominations agree on the answer to this question. 

The answer is not about developing new and better programs. It’s not about trying to attract new people. It’s not even about getting more people at our services. A purpose-centered church is about developing spiritual leaders. It is about developing leaders who believe passionately that the mission of God is more important than their own comfort or preferences when it comes to just about anything done in the life of the church.

Let me go from preaching to meddling and make this personal. Where are you individually on the continuum between purpose and preference when it comes to your spiritual journey? When have you placed more emphasis on what will make you comfortable than what will help you grow as a disciple of Jesus?

I know I have. Many years ago after I had served as pastor of St. John for a year or two the bishop sat me down and asked how it was going. The first word out of my mouth and one I immediately regretted was, “Comfortable.” What was I thinking? That my goal is serving as pastor was their comfort and my comfort?

The United Methodist Church was the fastest growing Protestant church in America in the 19th century. Today there are still more UM churches than post offices, although both of these institutions are declining. Why did we grow so quickly? It was our purpose. The mission of our church back then was crystal clear: "to spread scriptural holiness across the land.” 

It was a great mission statement. But something changed along the way. The problem was that the mission shifted from spiritual transformation of peoples’ lives to geography! Wherever people lived without this life-giving gospel became our focus. We experienced a subtle shift from people to places. So we planted churches where there were no churches. 

And what do you think happened when we ran out of real estate? The United Methodist Church started to decline in the late 1800’s mostly due to the fact that we lost sight of our original purpose. What tends to stop leaders from focusing on their mission is their own preferences.

The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that God’s mission in the world can move forward with passion and new energy. It will take people who are willing to focus less on rules and more on purpose. It will take people who are willing to give up some of their cherished preferences to create new places for new people to walk with Christ.... May God help us to pay attention to what really matters." 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Scout Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Did you know that this coming Sunday (February 10th) is observed by United Methodists as "Scout Sunday?"  I didn't, as this was NOT previously announced in our e-mail correspondence nor on our website nor in last week's bulletin.  Not sure how we "dropped the ball" on this, but please attend the 10 a.m. service to honor those young people in our congregation who are part of the Scouting tradition.

Also, don't forget to attend the important after-church meeting with Superintendent Beckett regarding the disposal of the property that we have been given.  If you cannot attend, please submit your comment/opinion to the church e-mail address:

Thank you!!

P.S. Here's a link to the Boy Scout website regarding the significance of "Scout Sunday"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Two Special Sundays!

Every Sunday is special at Girdwood Chapel; however, there are two VERY important events coming up that we need as many of you as possible to attend.  Both meetings concern the recent historic donation of a parcel of land here in Girdwood to Girdwood Chapel.  (If you have not yet read the story, it follows this article.)  

*1.  This coming Sunday (February 10th).*

Lenore Yaeger writes:

"Sunday Feb. 10 after the 10 a.m. service we will have a meeting with Supt. Dave Beckett regarding the disposal of the land we were given.  We have different ideas on the table and I think it is very important that as many people as possible attend so that your ideas can be heard.

This was a tremendous gift to our church and we need to handle the funds we get from selling it in the best possible manner.

I would also say that anyone interested (whether you are on the Steering Committee or not) is welcome to attend. This is information for us all.

Please attend.


If you cannot attend, but wish to have a statement read and/or given to Supt. Beckett, please send it to the church e-mail address before Sunday:
*2.  Sunday, March 3rd (three Sundays from now)*

Mrs. Mona Blackburn (who donated the Girdwood parcel to our chapel) will be visiting us.  We will have a breakfast potluck between the two morning services.  (NOTE: We will begin holding these first-of-the-month breakfast get-togethers starting on this date.)  This will be your chance to thank Mrs. Blackburn personally for her significant gift to our chapel.

See you Sunday!