Dear Friends in Christ,
Fall is upon us! Fall has a glory all its own as God delights us over and over again; the autumnal leaves are delicate, but their colors are so bright they almost shine. The final harvest produce is being gathered in, and the cold winter days are approaching as the leaves fade and fall. Soon we will be turning on the heating or lighting fires to keep ourselves warm. And at the end of this month, the trick-or-treaters will come calling on All Hallows’ Eve, or the eve of All Saints Day.
What wonderful saints have gone before us from this congregation. Several years ago, one of those saints, Jim, left a legacy to the church, that enabled us to setup an Endowment Fund. That fund has grown significantly and at a special Church Conference in June, you voted to use that growth to make the final payments on our mortgage, about 3 years ahead of schedule. So, this fall our congregation is celebrating that we have paid off our church mortgage and that we are now debt-free. Historically, there is a twentieth century American custom of holding a celebratory ritual burning of the paid-off document (or a copy!) known as a mortgage burning. Our District Superintendent, Rev. Blake Busick, is coming to preach at our worship service on Sunday October 28, as we celebrate together and thank God for the faithful generosity of Jim and so many other members and saints over the past 20 plus years.
In the United States, fall is also election time, and as Nevada County now uses only vote-by-mail ballots, most of us will be completing our ballots later this month. The United Methodist Social Principles in Paragraph 164.B of our 2016 Book of Discipline state, “The strength of a political system depends upon the full and willing participation of its citizens. The church should continually exert a strong ethical influence upon the state, supporting policies and programs deemed to be just and opposing policies and programs that are unjust.” As a United Methodist, I use my vote to try to “do good” and “do no harm” and to stand with those whom society treats in unjust ways and those who have no voice. The United Methodist Church does hold positions on dozens of social justice issues that you can explore at www.umcjustice.org. So many people in the past have fought for our right to vote, so let us value and honor their legacy and use our votes as a force for good.
— Pastor Joan