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St. Paul's United Methodist Church  •  7740 Lackman, Lenexa KS  66217  •  913-268-9551
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In this issue:


LOVE

  • Message from Pastor Lora
  • Worship this Week
  • Praying for our Nation
  • NEXT Discipleship Sessions
  • Care Notes
  • Care Ministry

SEEK

  • 5th Sunday Forum this Sunday
  • District Antiracism News
  • New Small Group & Topics
  • Read the Bible Daily 

SERVE

  • Kansas City District Antiracism Opportunity
  • Super Bowl Sunday Food Drive: new updates!
  • Kids & Youth Service Opportunity

KIDS & YOUTH

  • Youth Programs
  • Kids' Connection


Message from Pastor Lora


I read an article this week about how the pandemic has erased entire categories of friendships.

Gulp.

It talked about how family and best friends have found ways to continue to be in relationship but the acquaintances and relationships of proximity have been held on pause and asked to hold on until we return to normalcy.

The article included a lot of data about how we were lonely people before pandemic and how we have the ability to have things be different when we return.

After I took stock of my own relationships and the people I miss, I thought about all of you. I often joke with you all when I see you at First Sunday Food Drives or in small groups I lead about how weird it is to have you see me each week and me not be able to see you. I think of those missing reciprocal moments and dream of the day when I will get to cheer on the Chiefs with all of you or see pictures of your new grandbaby or look into your eyes and be able to say, “It is so good to see you!”

But today I’m pondering the ways in which you miss each other.

Do you keep in touch with your church friends? Your pew buddies?

Or is “church friend” an entire category of friendship that has been erased for you.

Gulp.

Before we wonder about when the day will come that we can worship together again, I can promise you that Re-Entry Team continues to monitor the numbers. It is so encouraging to see the Johnson County numbers continue to fall and the vaccinations to continue to rise. We also know that we are a ways away from herd immunity and safety in large gatherings inside.

So if we know we have months to wait still before we are regularly running into our church friends, are we okay with those relationships  (or work friends or other whichever friends are erased) being those that have been erased? Do they have to be?

My challenge for us today is that we not let that be the case. Some of you know the value that your small group has given you to have those connections even over Zoom. Some of you see those friends on the ministry teams you serve on. How else can you connect?

Can Pastor Sandra and the Love Council help you find a way to volunteer to engage folks? Can you make it a point to make it to the First Sunday Food Drive Super Bowl Parade next week? Can you send a Facebook message to one of those church friends you haven’t checked in on in a while and see how things are going for them?

God has made us to be in relationship and if there is one thing Scripture shows us it is that God’s people are resilient and relational. My prayer today is that we add some effort in the midst of our boredom, zoomed-out-ness, and despair to stand up to the loneliness that plagued us long before the pandemic arrived. Let’s make it a great day to be the church together.

“See” You Sunday for a message about Creativity in the midst of a hard time,

Pastor Lora
 


Worship this Week


Join us this Sunday as we explore Creativity > Closemindedness in our series, Making it Through: Lessons from the Wilderness.

1 Kings 19:1-13
We'll explore God's provision, added strength, and an ability to see God in creative ways. How are we hearing and experiencing God in new places? How can we be? Through the arts? Poetry? Photography? Quiet? Play? Can't wait to "see" you!

Participate in the livestream on Facebook, Sundays at 10am. If you miss out you can always watch later on Facebook or YouTube.
 
Facebook
YouTube
Online Worship Guide & Bulletin

Praying for our Nation


Bishop Ruben Saenz of the Great Plains UMC Conference is calling for us to join him in praying every day for a smooth transition of power in our country. He asks that we set apart a sacred and regular time each day from now until Easter, 4/4/2021, to pray for our nation using a prayer from our own United Methodist Book of Worship, “A Prayer in a Time of National Crisis” (United Methodist Book of Worship, #517):
God of all the ages, in your sight nations rise and fall and pass through times of peril. Now when our land is troubled, be near to judge and save. May leaders be led by your wisdom; may they search your will and see it clearly. If we have turned from your way, reverse our ways and help us to repent. Give us your light and your truth, let them guide us; through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen.
St. Paul’s, let’s join Bishop Saenz in responding to this season of national crisis to renew our covenant relationship with God and to make a vital contribution that works toward the health and wholeness of our deeply divided and wounded nation. As Bishop Saenz reminds us, “God is summoning us to imagine a new thing and future with hope that is emerging before us. God summoned prophets in times of national crisis to warn and proclaim hope. They willfully responded to God summons with the words, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” I trust our response as disciples of Jesus Christ and United Methodists to God’s summons will be the same.”
 
Let us join together in prayer for the healing and the wholeness of our nation.


NEXT Steps in Faith

Sundays, February 21 & 28  • 1:30-3:30pm

When you’ve decided that you belong at St. Paul’s UMC, what do you do next? 

You come to NEXT! This Zoom meeting in two parts gives you an overview of our mission and how we invite you to live that out every day. The second session concludes with you taking the vows of membership (to uphold St. Paul’s with your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness) making you a full member of St. Paul’s UMC.

Contact Pam Draper to learn more, or go ahead and sign up now at the link below. We’re excited for you to become a member of our congregation!
 
Sign up now for what's NEXT!

Writing Care Notes


In a time when safe community outreach is logistically difficult and at the same time desperately needed, volunteers through Love Council at St. Paul’s have used Care Notes to reach folks in our community in need of support.

In September, a team of volunteers encouraged administration, teachers, and staff at Mill Creek Elementary School as they started their school year, and in December we thanked our firefighters and first responders at the Lenexa Fire Department for going above and beyond in their work amid COVID-9. Altogether, 15 volunteers reached over 150 of our neighbors and their families with blessings from St. Paul’s.

If you’re interested in volunteering with this ministry in the future, reach out to Luke Miltz, our Community Engagement Coordinator, for more information.

New Care Ministry Begins


We are excited about a new ministry that debuts in this new year that we believe will greatly enhance our ability to respond to the care needs of our church family. Modeled after a similar ministry launched at the Church of the Resurrection by Rev. Karen Lampe (a St. Paul’s native!), it is based on a team of volunteers called Congregational Care Ministers (or CCMs for short). Working closely with Pastor Sandra, this team will multiply our ability to be in touch with you when you need support or encouragement or prayer.

CCMs will begin with their natural gifts of care and compassion. And then they will receive training in how to reach out to folks in need of contact and share together in a time of prayer. They will meet regularly as a team to receive assignments from Pastor Sandra, as she becomes aware of needs in the congregation.

Are you excited yet? Are you wondering how you can support this ministry? Well, we ask you to pray. PRAY! And then PRAY some more. Pray and ask yourself, “Is God calling me to this ministry?” We are looking for folks who are good listeners, empathetic, and who enjoy encouraging others.

Could that be you?

If you are intrigued, if you are feeling a nudge that God might be leading you to share your gifts in this ministry, please contact Pastor Sandra. She would be happy to talk to you about how you might become a Congregational Care Minister at St. Paul’s.
 


5th Sunday Forums Return 

This Sunday, January 31  11:30am

In 2021 we'll be using our 5th Sunday Forums as a chance to continue our discipleship pathway and SEEK Justice! For the month of January, Marcus Winn of More2 (Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity) will be hosting a webinar presentation followed by a Q&A forum. Questions you'd like to send in advance? Send them to us here! Zoom link available here. We hope to see you on January 31st at 11:30!

District Antiracism News


The Kansas City District of the Great Plains UMC is fortunate to have the leadership of the District Antiracism Team (which includes our own Pastor Lora Andrews!). In their most recent newsletter, they have assembled for us opportunities for worship and education here in Kansas City to continue in our antiracism journey. There are a wide range of opportunities to hear from important voices like Isabel Wilkerson and Ibram Kendi. Or to experience a worship service from the St. James UMC in KCMO led by Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Cleaver III.
There will also be opportunities for you to debrief with other St. Paul’s folks after some of these events. Stay tuned!

PS: Check the Serve section of this newsletter for details on how to sign up for one of the opportunities.
Join a small group

 

Being part of a small group working through questions about faith and life is an important part of spiritual growth. If you aren’t already part of a small group, this is your time! Our small groups are currently meeting via Zoom.

See below for a new group forming now and new topics for a couple of existing groups. All are open and ready to welcome you in your faith journey. If you have questions about getting started, contact Pastor Sandra Cox

New group starts February 1
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent
Mondays  (2/1, 2/15, 2/22, 3/1) from 7:00-8:30pm

Pastor Lora will lead a zoom book study on Isabel Wilkerson's Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent on Mondays  (2/1, 2/15, 2/22, 3/1) from 7:00-8:30pm. This book examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. Wilkerson then points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Fair warning: this study will include 100+ pages of reading each week. It's a long one! Additionally, Wilkerson is doing a Zoom book conversation (2/17) through the KCK Public Library that you will be invited to register for as well. Contact Pastor Lora with questions or to sign up for our meetings and she will give you the reading assignments to begin.
Updates for existing groups
Micah Class | Sundays 8:45-9:45am
Five Means of Grace: Experience God’s Love the Wesleyan Way by Elaine A. Heath
Hosts: Matt and Barbara Campbell; Sandy Finney
This study explores the five means of grace that John Wesley called “instituted,” meaning these are spiritual practices in which Jesus himself participated and which he encouraged his followers to do. They are: Prayer; Searching Scripture; Receiving the Lord’s Supper; Fasting; and Conferencing (communion, fellowship).  We will consider how each of the five means of grace help us as communities of faith to pray more deeply and live more missionally as followers of Jesus Christ. Contact Sandy Finney to join.
 
 

The Seekers | Thursdays 6pm

For the next several weeks, this group will read and reflect on articles from Sojourners, an online resource of faith based explorations of current events. The mission of Sojourners is to “ inspire hope and build a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world.”  Explore faith based responses to the events in our world. Contact Sharry Lockhart to join.
Find a small group and sign up today!
Visit the website for daily Bible readings, questions for reflection, and discussion.
 


Kansas City District Antiracism Opportunity


Kansas Inter Faith Action (KIFA) presents
“America’s Original Sin:
A program on racism and antiracism for people of faith in Kansas”

Tuesdays, February 16 - March 23 7-8:30pm

White people of faith in Kansas may be concerned about racial injustice, especially after dramatic events or periods of social unrest. But the moment passes. And it’s hard to know what to do -- what actions to take -- to help address the issue. They may also never have been taught the historical background and cultural issues surrounding America’s racial history. This six-session series will give Kansans of faith both historical knowledge of the racial history of the US and of Kansas, as well as specific tools and strategies that can be used to further this conversation, both within their faith community and in the public square. Each session will include opportunities for discussion in breakout rooms, as well as supplemental materials to shape self-awareness as participants confront deeply-embedded and -embodied racialized bias.

Registration
Contact Janet Podoll to sign up. Cost: $35/person or $20/person if 5 in one church sign up; registration will be paid by St. Paul's upon request.
 


Super Bowl Sunday Food Drive

February 7, 11:30am - 12:30pm

February’s First Sunday Food Drive lands on Super Bowl Sunday! Accordingly, you are invited to parade through the parking lot in your car wearing your Chiefs Red in a pre-emptive championship parade.

Drive through and drop off your items on February 7, 11:30-12:30, before you settle in to watch the big game! During the Food Drive, you’ll also have the opportunity to pick up a St. Paul’s face mask from our Love Council volunteers if you don’t already have one.

The Hub Argentine is asking for 15 oz. cans of tomatoes (diced, crushed, sauce stewed, rotel).

Update on needs for JoCo Multi-Service Center: the Center has an immediate need for laundry soap, liquid dish soap, and personal hygiene items such as deodorant, toothpaste, liquid hand soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Other items that are appreciated: flour, sugar, cake mixes, pancake mix, ketchup, mustard, and salad dressing. 

Thanks for your commitment to Serve God by Serving Others!
Kids & Youth Service
Sign up now
Contact Jamie
Kids & Youth


Youth: Middle School/High School


Check out our activities for youth and join us any time! Programs are open to all youth grades 7-12. Contact Allison for Zoom links, and be sure to join our Facebook group for updates.

Sunday School
Meets Sundays 11–12pm
Topic: Faith & Justice 
 Open to all youth grade levels.  

The Gospel According to Harry Potter
Meets Sundays 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. 
Open to all youth grade levels  

Confirmation Class 
Meets Thursdays 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Open to Freshmen in High School 
 

Youth Groups and Activities
Youth Facebook Group
Contact Allison Marcus

Kids' Connection: PreK - Grade 6

 

Check out our multimedia opportunities for kids to connect with God and each other! There's a place for you here.

Kids' Connection & KIDS456 weekly meetups
Join us! Contact Jamie for the Zoom links.
  • Kids' Connection: 11am Sundays
  • KIDS456: 6pm Sundays
Learn more & get this week's Parent Guide
Join Kids' Connection Facebook Group
Contact Jamie Turk
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