Methodist Thoughts

From the Desk of Bishop Mark J. Webb: COVID - 19 Advice

posted Mar 31, 2020, 6:04 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Editor’s Note: On Tuesday March 17, Upper New York (UNY) Area Resident Bishop, Mark J. Webb, sent the following letter to the UNY Conference with words of comfort during the COVID-19 epidemic.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ‐ Philippians 4.6‐7

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. God will not fail you or forsake you.” ‐ Deuteronomy 31.6 

Dear Friends in Christ, 

We are in the midst of days unlike any most of us have experienced before. The reality and on‐going threat of COVID‐19 has created anxiety in our lives and requires us to adapt what we consider normal. We join in prayer for the thousands of lives affected by this virus and pray for God’s sustaining grace for those who are mourning the death of loved ones. 

I give thanks to God for your ministry in the midst of these times and celebrate the creative ways in which you have already responded, as you continue to provide worship and support to members of our faith communities and offer the hope of Jesus Christ to those in our communities. 

I am grateful for the leadership of our District Superintendents and Conference staff who are working hard to offer information and resources that allow us to be the Church and even find new ways to live out our mission. They are working faithfully with us and on our behalf. Our Communications team continues to update resources regarding COVID‐19, which can be found here: They have also set up a COVID‐19 response hotline to help churches adjust to this challenging time though technology and new ideas. If you need any support with technical or creative needs such as online Bible studies/meetings, live streaming worship, or online giving please call (315) 898‐2012 or e‐ mail COVID‐ Simply share what support you are seeking and someone will promptly get back to you. 

With each new day, the recommendations coming from federal, state, and local authorities adjust as we seek together to navigate the COVID‐19 pandemic. Yesterday, the Trump administration offered national guidelines for the next 15 days that encourage the practice of social distancing. These guidelines include avoiding gathering in groups of more than 10 people. This comes in addition to the CDC recommendation that gatherings of 50 or more be postponed or cancelled for the next eight weeks. Why is this important? The latest studies indicate that people who have contracted COVID‐19 often are contagious for three to five days before they are symptomatic. 

While I know it goes against the nature of many to cancel worship and other activities for any reason, I want to urge and encourage you to suspend in‐person worship and other church gatherings for at least the remainder of March, if you have not already done so. 

The United Methodist Center in Liverpool has closed to the public through Monday, Apr. 13. During this time most staff will work remotely, but there should be little interruption in day‐to‐day services. In addition, following the most recent CDC guidelines, the United Methodist Center will not host gatherings of more than 50 individuals for the next eight weeks. We will begin to re‐view the options before us for the session of Annual Conference scheduled for late May in the beginning weeks of April.

As we live into this time, we want to support, encourage, and equip you in any way we can. Please do not hesitate to contact your District Superintendent or any of the Conference staff regarding questions or assistance we may offer. 

Whether we gather for worship on‐ line or hold our Bible studies and meetings on‐line, the call to be the Church of Jesus Christ continues. Let us continue to care deeply for one another and look out for the most vulnerable among us. Let us continue to engage our communities by being the hands and feet of Christ in whatever ways God leads. 

It is always in times like these that the Spirit of God breaks through and  accomplishes things we can only dream and imagine about. It has always been and will continue to be God’s plan to use God’s people as a vehicle for this work. This may be one of the greatest moments for the Church of Jesus Christ in a long time!

Be open to how God may desire to use you in the lives of others. What new opportunities to care for the elderly in your community may God offer? How might your congregation assist families with the unexpected need for child‐care? How might you engage in providing the basic needs of food and other supplies? What opportunities for prayer and sharing your faith in Christ with others may God provide? 

As we stay open to God’s invitations, I encourage each of us to be faithful in the giving of our tithes and offerings, whether through electronic giving or by mailing offering envelopes to our Church. It will ensure your local congregation is able to respond to the needs as they arise. The people of Upper New York have always been generous people who respond to the call of God and I know that will continue through this time. 

I am incredibly grateful for each of you and hold you deeply in prayer. Again, please let us know if there are ways in which we can partner with you, as together during these anxious times we offer the grace, peace, and promise that comes in the good news of Jesus Christ. May we trust in a new and deeper way the words of the Psalmist, found in Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea . . . The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” 

Thanks for being the Church! The Spirit of God is with us, in us and moving through us! 


Bishop Mark J. Webb                           

Volunteer Opportunities

posted Sep 30, 2019, 12:21 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Sep 30, 2019, 12:23 PM ]

Putting our faith into action

"Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't even have to make your subject and your verb agree... You only need a heart full of grace...a soul generated by love."

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

United Methodists have believed, from the beginning, that each of us is called to participate in the outreaching ministry of Jesus Christ. John Wesley called the early Methodists to live out their faith by “doing good of every possible sort, and, as far as possible, to all [people]” (The General Rules of the Methodist Church).

Putting our faith into action is at the very heart of our Christian calling. By volunteering to serve through programs such as United Methodist Volunteers in Mission or the Mission Volunteers program of The General Board of Global Ministries, every person in the church has the opportunity to serve and to live their calling more faithfully.

Volunteer Opportunities  (click on the links below to explore opportunities)

Volunteers embody Christian love in action by bringing their diverse talents to mission programs, local outreach ministries, and emergency response and recovery work around the world.

Chuck Knows Church Liturgical Colors

posted Jun 19, 2019, 4:49 AM by Bowmansville UMC

to download video...
Ever walk in to your Sunday morning worship service and realize the colors have changed around the sanctuary?

What is Ordinary Time?

posted Jun 5, 2019, 6:09 PM by Bowmansville UMC

The Christian year includes two central cycles focused on major events in the life of Christ: the Christmas cycle (Advent-Christmas-Epiphany) and Easter cycle (Lent-Easter-Pentecost).

Each of these seasons begins with a time of preparation and anticipation followed by a time of celebration. Ordinary Time follows each cycle.

The word "ordinary" here does not mean “routine” or “not special.” Instead, it refers to the "ordinal numbers" (first, second, third, etc.) used to name and count the Sundays (such as the Third Sunday after Epiphany). This term comes from the Latin ordinalis, meaning "numbered" or "ordered," and tempus ordinarium, “measured time.”

The first period of Ordinary Time, called the Season after Epiphany, begins on Epiphany Day and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent). The central theme of this season is the calling of disciples and the early ministry of Jesus.

For some congregations, this will mean a focus on evangelism, as found in the Old Testament and Gospel readings for each week. For others, the focus will be preparing to help others grow in their discipleship. The Epistle reading each week emphasizes this.

The second period of Ordinary Time, the Season after Pentecost, follows the Easter cycle. It begins the day after Pentecost and continues to Advent. The purpose of this season is to support new disciples and the whole congregation in living out the gifts and callings discerned during the Easter Season and commissioned on the Day of Pentecost.

Every year, Christians experience the contrast between the central seasons of Christmas and Easter, where we see God in the events around the coming of Christ, and the in-between times, where we see, speak about and join God’s ongoing work in the world.

We thus experience two regular cycles of preparation, celebration and action in ministry each year, with the Ordinary Times as the primary periods of action.

Have questions?......Find a pastor to talk with about church calendar years

Chuck Knows Church - Pentecost

posted May 30, 2019, 8:38 AM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated May 30, 2019, 8:41 AM ]

Chuck Knows Church

posted Apr 11, 2019, 11:55 AM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Apr 11, 2019, 11:58 AM ]

Chuck knows Church: Palm Sunday – The United Methodist Church

(Click on the text under the photo to view video)

Palm Sunday starts off Holy Week, setting the tone for the greatest time of the Christian year: the death and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Learn more about Palm Sunday in this video.

Chuck Knows Church: The Original Series aims to interpret the objects, symbols, and terms we often hear in church. Each video features “Chuck” who helps us learn more about our church while inviting us to have deeper conversation with our pastor.

New York United Methodist Bishops make statement on Reproductive Health Act

posted Feb 19, 2019, 5:40 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Feb 19, 2019, 5:43 PM ]


January 31, 2019 / By UNY Communications 

Editor’s Note: The following statement was released on January 31, 2019, by New York Area Resident Bishop, Thomas J. Bickerton, and Upper New York Area Resident Bishop, Mark J. Webb, about the Reproductive Health Act that was signed into New York State law in January.

Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ!

The conversation about abortion has dominated the media over the last few days. In January, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Reproductive Health Act, one of the most sweeping expansions of abortion rights since abortion was legalized in New York State in 1970. Some commend this action as a significant step toward securing women’s rights and health. Others fear the less restrictive provisions of the new law will lead to an increase in abortions and especially late-term abortions.

Although the number of abortions in New York State has declined in recent years (a trend mirrored across the country), New York has twice the number of abortions as any other state according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonpartisan research organization. 

The new law now permits abortion after the 24th week of pregnancy in cases where a woman’s life or health are threatened or when an unborn child is deemed not viable and unable to survive outside its mother’s womb. It also allows health care providers to determine what constitutes a health threat to a pregnant woman and expands authorized health care providers to include not only physicians, but licensed nurse practitioners, physician assistants and licensed midwives.

As United Methodists, we are clear about several things related to abortion. Our Social Principles state, “The beginning of human life and ending of life are the God-given boundaries of human existence. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born.”Our Social Principles also state that, “We are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child. We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers . . . We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics. We oppose the use of late term abortion known as dilation and extraction (partial-birth abortion) and call for the end of this practice except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available, or in the case of severe fetal anomalies incompatible with life.” (Social Principles, ¶161K)

Our Social Principles challenge us to work for the “diminishment of high abortion rates” by “encourage[ing] ministries to reduce unintended pregnancies such as comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education, advocacy in regard to contraception, and support for initiatives that enhance the quality of life for all women and girls around the globe.”  We urge you to talk with other leaders about how your church might engage in these kinds of ministries.

We are supportive of our church’s current stance on abortion as expressed in our denomination’s Social Principles and encourage you to use these principles as a basis of education and conversation on this sensitive issue in particular.

We know passions run high on all sides of the abortion debate and in the midst of those conversations we know God calls us to a future where the value of every human life – including every woman and every unborn child - is honored and protected. The way to that future will not be found through finger pointing, legislating, or even church programs, but only by walking the path of Jesus with one another. 

Grace and Peace,

Thomas J. Bickerton                                               Mark J. Webb
Resident Bishop, New York Area                        Resident Bishop, Upper New York Area

Celebrating What Makes Us United Methodists

posted Feb 18, 2019, 9:43 AM by Bowmansville UMC

Why do you love your United Methodist church? Are you passionate about volunteering for global missions, or in a sewing ministry or a food pantry? Do you like the idea of being connected to millions of church members around the world? In this video, church members talk about why they choose to be part of the movement known as United Methodism

(Copy and paste the link below in your browser to open the YouTube video)

Music: “Our God is able, more than able, to do more than we can ask or imagine.”

James Tealy, Songwriter “So the song was meant to just be a celebration of all the work the church can do when they work together.” (Song Celebrates United Methodists, Malaria Fight)  

Reba Smith Poole, Tindley Temple United Methodist Church: “We are known for three things: good music, good preaching and good food.” (Tindley Temple: A Highlight of Methodist History)

Sam, Christ United Methodist Church: “Every Sunday I do come to church here because God has put me here because he wants me to make a really big difference for this church.” (Church Special Needs Prom Brings Joy

Ruth Cruz, Apex United Methodist Church Member: "I have been a United Methodist my whole life, and one of the things I always tell people is everyone is included." (Las Posadas: Welcoming Jesus

Anne Connolly, Bryson City United Methodist Church: We are church people, kayakers and rafters. The river is our church. But it sure is nice to have someone to pray with once you are out there.” (Blessings Flow at River Church

Pastor Moses M.K. Sandy, Kortihun United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone: (voice of interpreter) “When the congregation started growing beyond the capacity of the home where were worshipping, the idea of putting up a new church came on our mind.” (Nets Draw New People to Church in Sierra Leone

The Rev. Keith McLaughlin, Northampton United Methodist Church: “We’re going out into the community and doing stuff for people who may never walk in the walls of this church, I think it speaks to our heritage and who we are as United Methodists in great measure.” (Kids' Capes of Courage

The Rev. Rachel Cornwell, Silver Spring United Methodist Church: “There are lots of social service agencies that are feeding people, clothing people, teaching people English. We’re not a social service agency. We’re a church. We’re followers of Jesus.” (English Circle Builds Church Community

Ralph Jordan, Alpharetta First United Methodist: “You never know when a prayer is going to have an impact. You never know where that’s going to land or who that person is going to be.” (Church Collects Tons of Cookies for Troops

The Rev. Romeo del Rosario, Missionary from The Philippines: “I’m proud to be a United Methodist because of what life has been for me as a United Methodist. It’s given me the joy of fellowship. We all have our calling and this has been mine.” (Missionary’s Global Calling

The Rev. Nancy Folsom Lane: “As a United Methodist pastor, I’m very proud that people that come here experience grace. They may have been told some things that have really have broken their spirit, but when they come through our doors, they get love! And they get acceptance.” (Church Renews Faith for Job Seekers

Music: “Our God is able, more than able, to do more than we can ask or imagine.”

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN and was
first posted on February 5, 2019.

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