- 9:30am: Prayer for our Church
- 9:45am: Sunday School
- 10:55am: Worship
- 3:00pm: After-School Tutoring
- 5:30pm: Wednesday Night Dinner
- 6:15pm: Wednesday Night Program
- 7:00pm: Choir Practice
Missy Buchanon has written several books on faith and aging for the Upper Room. She was featured this morning on Good Morning America and I think the story is worth reviewing by both folks who are getting up in years, and those of us caring for aging family. Enjoy...
As is normal for our area, the weather people are all of the map in predicting snow for tomorrow, but given that the Tennessean said that it's possible that we may wake up with snow on the ground, it's a good time to review the inclement weather policy for OHUMC.
1) The basic policy is that when Metro Nashville Schools are closed, all meetings and activities at the church are cancelled, UNLESS you receive notification otherwise. It will be up to the committee chairs or program leaders to make a final decision about meeting, and to contact their participants if they want to meet.
2) As long as the pastor can make it to the church building, we will have Sunday morning worship. HOWEVER, the pastor strongly encouraged folks to use their own judgment about trying to make it to the church. If you don't feel safe, don't come -- simple as that -- without guilt or misgivings. I trust your judgment regarding your ability to travel in the snow and ice.
3) Decisions about Sunday School classes will be made by the individual teachers and class leaders. The building will be opened by 9:30 if classes decide to meet, but teachers and leaders should be in touch with their members about whether to meet.
4) Saturday and Sunday evening events are trickier, for we don't have Metro Schools to follow. The decision to cancel these events will be made on a case by case basis. We will make notification about cancellation via e-mail, our church website, and our Facebook page. If you have questions about whether the event is happening, please check these three places. We will be working to add an announcement only voice message to our phone system for those without Internet access, but don't currently have that capability.
That pretty well covers it. For tomorrow, we WILL have worship. Sunday School is up to the individual teachers, and we will make a decision about Youth and the Potluck / Celebration of Gifts in the morning after we see an updated weather forecast.
So, where are the best sledding hills in Old Hickory?
See you soon,
For those of us who have been around Old Hickory for a while, there can be a tendency toward thinking that our congregation reflects our community. After all, we think we know who are neighbors are . . . and in many cases we do. But I find that looking at the most recent demographic information for a community often surprises us.
In example, did you realize that the Old Hickory area (and by that I am including all of the 37138 zip code) has grown in population by 14% since the year 2000, and is projected to grow another 8% in the next five years? There are almost 10,000 additional residents in the area than were here in 1990, all of whom need to know the love of Christ and are looking for communities of belonging.
Looking around our church on Sunday mornings, it would be easy to assume that the largest generational group in the area is retirees, senior adults over the age of 67. However the latest census data says that this group only makes up 9% of the total population of Old Hickory, with over a third of the population consisting of folks under 30, and over half of the population in their adult working years. The average age by the way is 38 years old.
Our community is one where some two-thirds of the population is married, with divorce rates at or below national averages and over half have attended college at some level. The average annual household income is above the U.S. national average, at some $75,000 per year and some 86% of us identify Christianity as an important influence in our lives, even if we don't regularly attend church.
All of this points to the fact that Old Hickory is a very cool place in which to work, live, and play . . . and I believe a great place in which to experience the love of God through the ministry of Christ's church as well. We live in a community that is ripe for the harvest, but only if we engage with our neighbors around us and welcome them into our midst.
This Sunday, look around our sanctuary and then remember these numbers. As you leave worship, begin thinking about how you can help our church more clearly reflect the nature of the community that surrounds us.
We’re quickly coming up on the Advent season here at Old Hickory UMC, and I confess that it is one of my favorite times of the year. It isn’t so much the Christmas thing (my family will be happy to tell you that I can be a Grinch when it comes to Christmas festivities). No, my feelings about Advent are connected to what a crazy and miraculous story we celebrate – that the hope and light of the world was born to a teenager in the country in the most humble of circumstances. In this story we believe that God come to walk on earth, not in some sort of might display of splendor, but in a feeding trough in a barn yard. Christmas is, I think, another in a long line of stories in the Bible that remind us that God more often than not is found in the unlikely places, among the unlikeliest of people, and usually not in the middle of pomp and circumstance.
The cool thing about Advent is that we spend four weeks preparing for and anticipating something big – the coming of Christ into the world – only to find as the wise men did that it is (to quote Steve Earle) “…nothing but a child.” God was revealed not in a grand ritual, but in the sweat and tears of childbirth and the cries of a cold baby boy. And yet, even in the midst of humble circumstances, the fact remains that the hope of the world has come, and we fall on our knees rejoicing in this birth.
Advent is all about preparation. Certainly we are preparing for Christmas. But historically this is also a season of repentance and reflection in preparation for the return of Christ at the end of time. The scriptures tell us that we should live our lives as if Christ will return any moment, and Advent is a reminder that we need to slow down and be ready for the one who has come and will coming again.
Yes, Advent is a season when many of us are busy with parties and decorations and celebrations. However I want to suggest that it is best experienced when we take time to slow down, to relax, to enjoy one another’s company, and to spend time with God reflecting on the meaning of life. This is a time for contemplation – simple sitting in silence before God allowing God to speak to our hearts and give us
guidance for the future. Advent provides an opportunity in the midst of our busy lives to slow down and take note of what God has in store for us.
Last but not least, Advent and Christmas are times when our friends and neighbors are receptive to the message of the gospel and our church. This is a wonderful time to invite persons to join us as we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world. I hope that you will find the chance to encourage folks that you know to join us as we praise God for the Light of the World together.
The Light is coming! Love came down!
Let’s spend the next four weeks making Advent a reality in our hearts, and in the lives of our neighbors.
See you soon,
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