Loving starts small…

I know that I talk about love a lot! It is, in my mind, the center of the life of discipleship, that is, the life of following Jesus. The Great Commandment to love God and love neighbor is the core of my belief, the lens through which I read scripture, and I sincerely hope the goal of my life.

This morning, as a part of my morning devotional reading, I opened an email by Richard Rohr, a Jesuit priest and author whom I follow. This week he’s writing about unity and diversity, and in the midst of a devotion on love drawing us together, he writes the following:

When we are truly “in love,” we move out of our small, individual selves to unite with another, whether in companionship, friendship, marriage, or any other trustful relationship. Have you ever deliberately befriended a person standing alone at a party? Perhaps someone who was in no way attractive to you or with whom you shared no common interests? That would be a small but real example of divine love flowing. Don’t dismiss it as insignificant. That is how the flow starts, even if the encounter doesn’t change anyone’s life on the spot. To move beyond our small-minded uniformity, we have to extend ourselves outward, which our egos always find a threat, because it means giving up our separation, superiority, and control.

I highlight the phrase above about not dismissing these acts as insignificant because I fear that sometimes in the church we focus so much on the big sacrifices that we fail to acknowledge that the most simple gestures can be amazing and fulfilling gestures of love. What Rohr reminds us of is that love simply requires us to extend ourselves outward. Reaching out may or may not lead to great transformation, but that’s not our calling. We are simply called to love — quietly, simply, without pretense or expectation of the other. To only offer love with the expectation of something happening is not real love, but rather is a transactional relationship (I’ll give you mine if you give me yours). Agape (the love demonstrated by Jesus) always understands that love is given freely regardless of the willingness of the recipient to receive it.

How are you expressing God’s love today and throughout the whole of your life?

Madison Community Feast Update for 4/28/2019

The Community Feast of last Sunday was well attended by 47 hungry guests and prepared and served by 18 eager and loyal volunteers. The delicious meal was made up of a breaded pork chop, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, broccoli and a roll. Then came much desert and a drink. The food was enjoyed by all comers and most took a second meal home with them. Jay, Jim and Janet provided a wide range of musical entertainment during the meal to the delight of all present.

Thank you volunteers for setting up, cooking, serving, washing dishes, cleaning up and providing personal attention for each guest. You are special people. To God be the Glory!

Church Council Meeting on May 9, 2019

The Church Council of the City Road Chapel United Methodist Church will be holding their bi-monthly meeting. The focus for this meeting will be our programs in spiritual formation. These are the programs that help us to carry out our mission to grow in Christ.

The Church Council is the structure which provides leadership for all the ministries of our church. All are welcome to participate and learn about what is happening at City Road Chapel.

For more information on the Church Council please talk to Bobbie Garrett at bandbgarrett@gmail.com. 

Making Sense of the Bible Class Continues

One of the greatest struggles for many today is the place of the Bible in helping them live as disciples. We know that the Bible is the Word of God, but how we understand the words isn’t always clear. Where did the Bible come from anyway? How do we begin to understand it?  Pastor Jay Voorhees will be continuing the  study using Adam Hamilton’s book, “Making Sense of the Bible.” This study is good for folks new to the scriptures and old hands who need to see the Bible with new eyes. Get this on your calendar today! For more information visit www.cityroadchapel.org/makingsense.

Making Sense of the Bible – Reading the Bible with new eyes

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution that you were going to read through the Bible only to get confused about what you were reading? Have you experienced the Bible being used more as a weapon than as something helps you understand God? Are you trying to make sense of the paradoxes in scripture, wondering how we should read it in today’s world, and questioning if it has any relevance to your life?

You are certainly not the only person to have questions of the Bible, but far too often church folks and Sunday School classes don’t leave room for you to ask those questions, Making Sense of the Bible is a class designed to address those questions without judgment or worry. Our goal is to create a space for all people to think about the power of this ancient book and how we might use it in formulating our own understandings of faith.

Making Sense of the Bible will be facilitated by Jay Voorhees, the lead pastor of the City Road Chapel United Methodist Church. Jay has studied the Bible at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and enjoys helping people connect with the scriptures in real ways.

This class, which will meet on Sundays at 2 p.m. starting on April 28, 2019, will be using the book “Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today” by Adam Hamilton as a guide for our class. Rev. Hamilton is the Senior Pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City and is a gifted writer and teacher. This book is an easy read, and Adam will guide us in our questions and thinking about the Bible.

Be watching this page for a class schedule and resources for the journey.

If you would like to participate in this class, please complete the form below. If you have questions about the class please email Jay Voorhees at jvoorhees@cityroadchapel.org.


2019 Holy Week at City Road Chapel

This Sunday represents the beginning of the special week in the life of the church we call “Holy Week”. Holy Week is that special time between Palm to Passion Sunday and Easter in which we focus especially on the meaning of the cross in preparation for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. This year, City Road Chapel will be hosting the following Holy Week observances:

Sunday, April 14 – Palm to Passion Sunday (8 & 10 a.m.)

Palm to Passion Sunday is a worship service that tracks the story of  Jesus from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the crowds shouting “crucify him!” We start the service off with the waving of palm branches and journey with Jesus to Golgotha.

Wednesday, April 17 – Wesleyan Love Feast (6 p.m.)

For the past several years we have gathered in the Welcome Center on the Wednesday night of Holy Week for a love feast in the Wesleyan tradition. Bring a finger food to share as well as a story, poem, or song that connects you to the passion story.

Good Friday, April 19 – The Service of Nails (7 p.m.)

Good Friday is the night in which we remember the death of Jesus on the cross. Our service this night will focus on how we participate in Christ’s death through our own human sinfulness. This service will include scripture and music featuring our City Road singers and others.

Sunday, April 21 – The Celebration of Christ’s Resurrection

It’s Easter Sunday and we will gather in the sanctuary at 8 and 10 a.m. to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! This is always a meaningful service filled with music and joy. Don’t miss celebrating Easter at City Road Chapel!

Praying for the General Conference

This coming Saturday, February 23, 2019 representatives from all over the world will be gathering in St. Louis, MO for a special “called” General Conference to consider options for the church’s “way forward” in the light of our divisions regarding issues related to the place of homosexual persons in the life of the United Methodist Church. The delegates from each annual conference will be in conversation and deliberation until Tuesday, February 26.

The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church is encouraging intentional engagement by United Methodists worldwide by asking everyone to pause and pray each day from 2:23 through 2:26 a.m. or p.m. If this time is not convenient for you, choose to pray at another time!

We have produced a prayer guide, based on what we found at UMCprays.org, to help guide our congregation through these four pivotal days of conferencing. Please find time to pray for at least four minutes – or longer!

Saturday, February 23

Minute #1 Prayer of Adoration

Good and great God, we recognize and celebrate that you are loving, kind, and faithful. You are everywhere in this world and beyond. You are also as close to us as our next breath. With John Wesley we rejoice in knowing, “Best of all, you are with us.”

Minute #2 Prayer of Thanks

God of grace, we thank you that you hear us when we pray and are ever ready and able to act in ways beyond anything we could ask or imagine. Thank you for our brothers and sisters around the world, and especially for those who have offered to serve by attending the special-called General Conference. Thank you for ordering our steps and for preparing a way.

Minute #3 Prayer of Confession

Forgiving God, we confess that we have allowed fear and distrust to place distance between us and our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. Forgive us for making idols of our own thoughts, voices, and opinions. Thank you for forgiving us and for your perfect love that casts out all fear.

Minute #4 Prayer of Asking

God of peace and wisdom, from this time forward, may we walk with you in trust and peace, and with our brothers and sisters in the love and unity you desire. May we truly sing together in harmony a song of praise that draws all to you. Even now, may you bless those who are attending the special-called General Conference, assuring them of your love, filling them with your wisdom, preparing them with your peace. May they and we become more sensitive to the voice of your Holy Spirit, so that all we do will please you and bring you glory.

All of these prayers we offer in the name of the Risen Christ. Amen.

Sunday, February 24

Minute #1 Prayer of Adoration

God of all people and all places, we rejoice in you and recognize your greatness and your glory. You are present in all people and we love you in and through them. We also acknowledge how great and all-knowing you are, in the face of how limited our knowledge and understanding can be.

Minute #2 Prayer of Thanks

God of mercy and love, we thank you for the work that you have already done in our lives, through your Holy Spirit. We thank you for the miracles that you have wrought in us, and that we are able to work in others – only through your power. Thank you for loving us and knowing us, even better than we know ourselves.

Minute #3 Prayer of Confession

Merciful God, we confess that we have not always been the people that you created us to be. We have allowed strife and division to enter our hearts and our churches. We humbly ask for your forgiveness, as we remember that Jesus Christ desired unity among his followers. We know that your grace is promised to us each day anew, and we thank you for that grace.

Minute #4 Prayer of Asking

God of love, we ask that that your Spirit be especially present and powerful amongst the delegates who are now gathered in the special-called General Conference in St. Louis. Let the words that flow from their lips be bathed in your grace and lovingkindness. Let the thoughts that enter their minds be appointed by your Spirit for the hour. May they be ever-aware of the movements of your Holy Spirit, leading and guiding them.

All of these prayers we offer in the name of the Risen Christ. Amen.

Sunday, February 25

Minute #1 Prayer of Adoration

God of all creation, we praise you as we look around us and see your handiwork everywhere. You are ever-creative, ever-generating, and ever-blessing. You are in everyone and everything. You are King of the universe, and yet you also number the hairs on our heads.

Minute #2 Prayer of Thanks

God who brought the people out of the land of Egypt, we thank you for providing for us. You have always given us what we need (if not always what we want). We thank you for the United Methodist Church you have blessed us with. It is not perfect, but it is one of your vessels for reaching people for Christ in the world.

Minute #3 Prayer of Confession

Gracious God, we ask for your mercy on us, as we are all sinners, standing in the need of Christ’s saving grace. We have not always been people who extended that same grace to others. Melt our hearts and allow us to offer the same love that we have been given.

Minute #4 Praying of Asking

God of knowledge and understanding, we pray today for those who are gathered in the special-called General Conference in St. Louis. Give them that assurance and knowledge that surpasses human ability. Give them that grace and resourcefulness that only you can give. Allow them to see a way forward that is faithful to your plan for this Church.

All of these prayers we offer in the name of the Risen Christ. Amen.

Monday, February 26

Minute #1 Prayer of Adoration

God of all time, we give you praise and glory for your action in our human world. When the time was right, you entered into this world in Jesus Christ, and we have never been the same. We glorify you for who you are – for you are good.

Minute #2 Prayer of Thanks

Loving God, we thank you for all that you have done for us, and all that is yet in store. Help us to be aware of the ways that you are blessing us even now. Thank you for the hard work of pruning us, which you do with such grace and mercy. Allow us to be teachable and moldable, so that you can work in us.

Minute #3 Prayer of Confession

God of grace, we confess that we have not always been people who have allowed our spirits to surrender to you. Give us that freedom now, that we no longer have to carry our own burdens. Relieve us of the weight of the sin that we carry, so that we can be free to be about your work in your world.

Minute #4 Prayer of Asking

God of our church, we pray for the well-being of the delegates at the special-called General Conference in St. Louis. As they finish your business and depart in their many directions home, we ask for your guidance for our church as we move forward. We ask for your grace to be in our conversations and our actions, for your love to be in our intentions, and your honesty to be present in the directions that we take. We love you and desire to be your people.

All of these prayers we offer in the name of the Risen Christ. Amen.