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Sanctuary Service: 8:45 & 10 A.M.
Open Door Service: 11:15 A.M.
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Just a Thought or Two: Tell Us a Story

Join us for worship at First Methodist!

Sunday – April 23rd, 2017

8:45 AM  | Classic Worship
10:00 AM | Classic Worship
in the Sanctuary at First Methodist

11:15 AM | Contemporary Worship
The Open Door at Buskirk-Chumley Theater


That’s what my granddaughters say: “Tell us a story.” Usually, the stories are made up princess stories. But, sometimes the stories are about our family. They especially like to hear stories about their daddy and his brothers growing up. They also like my stories of Alaska, Africa, and college.

Made-up stories are fun but real-life stories are often better!

Cheated by untold stories

Some of the best stories go untold. Each and every family has an amazing story. If these stories are not told they are forgotten. Just this week, there were stories in the news about emancipated slaves who worked to reunite their families. This kind of story is powerful and far better than anything by a Hollywood screenwriter.

Our 4-month grandson, Grant Edwin, is named after his Mother’s paternal grandfather. Edwin was an African-American and a United States Marine. He belonged to one of the first African-American units of the Marines. Edwin and these men served their country even though they were stung by injustice and racism and segregated from the Anglo Marines who were stationed at nearby Camp Lejeune. They loved their country even if their country treated them unjustly in many ways.

It’s not unusual for me to sit with families and have their stories come tumbling out — Daddy was a crop duster, Mom rode motorcycles, Uncle George was a Prisoner of War. So many stories, like the one about the co-worker who kicked an addiction because he stumbled into a traveling evangelist’s “tent sanctuary”, or the short, painful marriage we survived, the summer we bought a rail pass and traveled all over Europe on less than $500. These are stories of courage and love, stories of determination in the face of storms or betrayals, stories of us. When our stories are finally told, family and friends see a whole new picture of who has been living or working right by their side!

To really know us; you need to know our stories. For example, until you know I grew up in a beautiful Arctic Native American village surrounded by amazing people, but also surrounded by grinding poverty, alcoholism, and racism, you don’t really know me. You won’t understand me until you hear the story about how I stood in a sleet storm at Memorial Stadium, shortly after being released from the hospital with viral pneumonia, and watched IU lose a football game to Northwestern. Our stories explain who we are…or who we have been afraid to be.

Blessed by the told stories

One story I never knew about my maternal grandparents until late in their lives, was that they had eloped as young lovers. They went from Vincennes to a neighborhood county, at the instigation of some friends, and were married by a judge. They never told their parents but continued to “date” for a period of months. She lived with her parents and he lived with his parents. Until, one night in a rain storm, my Grandfather said, “Zenith, we’re married. It’s time for you to move in with me on the farm.”

What stories are you carrying around that need to be told?

We’re about to begin telling family stories…

The collection of 66 books we call the Bible is full, from front to back, of remarkable stories. You’re going to meet some surprising men and women, from Noah to Mary, Esther to Paul. We’re going to talk about travelers, princesses, kings and shipwrecked lawyers. There is a good chance we are going to see the story of our life in a new light!

And, behind all these stories is God. In our 31-week series of messages called THE STORY, we will get to know God more completely. We believe that in knowing God better, by knowing God’s stories better, your relationship with the God who Creates, Redeems and Sustains will deepen and become more alive.

We invite you, along with your friends, to join us for THE STORY. We’re going to be sharing some incredible stories!

If you don’t yet have your own copy of THE STORY, you can purchase one from the church office for $10 or order online here.  If you’re interested in going deeper, the Adult Companion Guide is also available.


Where are we with the Easter Offering to raise $20,000 for the replacement of the Korean UMC parsonage? We are thrilled to report we are at $15,000 and still counting. It will be even more thrilling when we go past our goal! If you have not yet given, please send your checks to First Methodist at 219 East 4th Street, Bloomington, IN 47408 or bring your gift to worship this Sunday. Don’t forget to write Korean UMC on the memo line if you write a check.

Our congregation is blessed with many young families and more children than we have had in years! Look at the information about Vacation Bible School and begin praying.

Please continue to be in prayer as we go through major staff transitions. We are searching for outstanding people to lead our Youth and Jubilee College Ministries. Read more about our current job openings here.

We also continue to work with our Bishop and the Cabinet (the District Superintendents) for the appointment of a strong Associate Pastor. God is good, and God will provide!

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who helped with the services of Holy Week and Easter. It was a wonderful season of fellowship and worship! God is so good!

Grace and peace,
Pastor Mark



First Methodist