Centerport United Methodist Church
            The Pastors' messages comes from the May issue of our monthly church newsletter - The Focus.


Susannah Wesley often has been called “the mother of Methodism.” Though her sons John and Charles were the forces behind the Methodist movement in 18th Century England, Susannah taught them everything they knew. Literally.

She gave birth to nineteen children--ten of whom grew to adulthood—and home-schooled all of them, training them so well in Latin, Greek, religious studies and the classics that her boys were able to attend Oxford University at age sixteen.

Brilliant, devout, and practical, it was Susannah who put the method in Methodism. She ran her home like clockwork, putting her children to bed at exactly the same hour every evening, spending the fifth birthday of each child teaching them the entire alphabet and the next day beginning reading instruction with the first verse of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Susannah was more than a mother, though. During the long periods when her husband Samuel, an Anglican priest and scholar, was away from home, Susannah virtually ran the local parish in Epworth. Though she was not allowed to conduct services in the church—a role limited to men—she often held Bible studies and meetings in the parsonage, and made sure church affairs were in good order. She cared deeply about the welfare of her church family and the community around her. She would never let her children or her parish suffer. She would teach,

heal, and serve those in her midst.

This reminds me of many of our mothers in our church family. I have been talking with many of you who are working, helping your kids with online school, taking care of the house, and continuing to check in with those you love. I can imagine how tired you must be. But through it all, you get it done.

In fact, several women have been getting it done here at church that has blossomed into a new ministry and connection. Through an idea that Nish Najarian had, Robin and Dee approached me to see if we could accept food donations in a new way. You heard the idea...put a collection bin at the end of your driveway, and put a flyer in the mailboxes of those in your neighborhood. There are pictures of these efforts in this newsletter. What started with Dee Morrone, Robin Brennan, Sarah Zagaja, and Barbara Roiland, has grown to over a dozen families collecting food for those in need in the Huntington area. In fact, through our women, their efforts have now been connected with HACO (Harborfields Alliance for Community Outreach) through Maggie Boba. HACO lost their space at the Harborfields High School when the school closed. Maggie is now running the food collection in the downstairs classroom of our church, then personally delivering the food to those in need (with social distancing protocol). It is truly amazing how God works to connect us all as the hands and feet of Christ. 

Through the efforts of some very busy, amazing women, this new ministry has taken off like a rocket! I am so thankful for all those involved. From an idea that started with Nish, to a crystallization from Robin and Dee as to what to do, to a full ministry through the connections several have in the community, all in a few days. Thank you God!

Everyone plays an invaluable part of the Body of Christ. It takes all of us to make the Body whole. But at this time, I would like to say a special “Thank You” to all the women in our life who make hearts sing. May God continue to bless you as you listen and answer the call God has for you, inspiring the rest of us to do our part to Get It Done just like you.

Peace and Blessings during this Mother’s Day time and always.

Pastor Roy

My Beloved, we are in the midst of perhaps what will be known as the most challenging period in our history. We are experiencing a world- wide pandemic. And it no secret that when we are faced with challenges and find ourselves in difficult situations our natural reaction, as human beings is to turn internally for resolutions, looking to see what we can do on our own to find a way out, to discover solutions that bring a sense of comfort back to our lives and hearts.

Over the last six weeks, each day we continue to look around us, trying to uncover resources that will provide us with answers as we search for calm and eagerly yearn to recapture a sense of normalcy that is missing in our lives...we are living in difficult times. Lately, I have attempted to satisfy my personal quest for answers by devoting more time to the spiritual disciplines of prayer and reading the Word of God. As a Christian, my faith leads me to turn to God for answers, for wisdom, and for comfort.

While thumbing through some of my books, I came across a Bible study by Kay Arthur and Bob & Diane Vereen – titled “Living Victoriously in Difficult Times”. As you can probably imagine, I had to stop and open it up...for it seemed to be addressing exactly what we are now experiencing.

The following questions were raised in the introduction of the study and I share them with you as “food for thought”:

· “Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your circumstances, believing no one else has ever suffered in the same way? Did it seem as if no one could possibly understand your pain?

· Has God turned His back on His children who are suffering, or is there purpose in the pain?

· How can we face the injustices and suffering of this world while clinging to faith in an all-powerful God?”

As I thought about these questions...these Scripture verses entered my mind:

28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

                      Matthew 11:28-30 NRSV

The Lord reminds us, that in times of trial, such as now, my Beloved, we are called to humbly come to God, for this is where we can find the calm we need to navigate through the rough periods in our lives. I continued to skim through the Bible study and discovered this analogy: In ancient times, silversmiths used heat to refine and purify metals. While never leaving the fire, they would skim off the impurities that came to the surface, repeating this process until all impurities were removed. The process was considered complete when the silversmith could actually see their own image reflected in the silver. “So too, God refines His

precious children through a similar process. He cast people into the furnace of affliction, the refiner’s fire. God controls the intensity of the trial, knowing just how much heat is needed to bring our impurities to the surface. Never leaving or forsaking us, God stays with us, throughout the refining process, with the ultimate goal of refining and purifying us, so that we reflect God’s image.”                        Living Victoriously in Difficult Times by Kay Arthur, Bob & Diane Vereen

Beloved, I ask you these questions:

· In the midst of this current period of trial, what are you reflecting to those around you?

· Do others look at you and see the character of the Lord reflected in your life?

· Are you honoring God through this trial by being a person of faith?

While our nature is to look internally and to rely on our own means and abilities for solutions, perhaps now is the time for us to look externally rally together using our faith to bond us in unison as we place our trust in God instead of ourselves.

Now I know this is not an easy transition for us, but we have an example...Jesus Christ, who despite the suffering that he had to endure, never acted independently of God, he entrusted himself to God. Remember, nowhere in the Bible are we told that as believers we will never encounter suffering. We are called to view the trials we encounter as gifts from God, to rejoice in our sufferings, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” - Romans 5:3-4.

”God uses suffering to purify us and prove us faithful, so that we will reflect who God is to others. Our response to trials and difficulties should bring honor and glory to the Lord”. 

Living Victoriously in Difficult Times by Kay Arthur, Bob& Diane Vereen

My Beloved, lean on the Lord...give your burdens, your troubles, your concerns to God...and through your faith, hold on to the promises of God...let your actions always reflect the Lord.

“I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” - Psalms 118:13-14

My Beloved, Stay Safe and Be Prayerful,

Pastor Wayne