DS Rev. Tracy Bass, with inmate

‘I was in prison and you visited me.’

Cabinet emulates Matthew 25:36 The terrible human cost of high incarceration rates–among the highest in the world–became a critical concern in 2015 for U.S. politicians, the media and other social… Read more

Solid Rock UMC Christmas Play and Candlelight Service

Celebrating Advent, Christmas in so many ways

The many events leading up to–or rather, preparing the way for–the humble but awesome birth of Jesus Christ might be described as God’s second act of Creation. So many moving… Read more

Women in Professional Ministry Advent Retreat with Bishop Johnson

Clergywomen retreat for soul-care

Hosting the Eastern PA Conference’s Women in Professional Ministry (WiPM) for its annual “Advent Morning Apart” Dec. 9, Bishop Peggy Johnson closed with a devotion about Christmas and culture, and… Read more

Syrian girl, refugee in Budabest

Welcoming the stranger: The refugee crisis in Europe

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:35 The number of refugees entering Europe in 2015 has presented United Methodist congregations with many occasions for service. “We, who… Read more

Jesus - Something About That Name

There’s Something About that Name

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of… Read more

His Name is John

To everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.   (Luke 1:63-64)

Did you ever think about what December would be like if Christ had never come?

We could easily get side-tracked by the cold and gray often found in our December days. We would have the New Year to look forward to, or maybe not. There would be snow in the future, or ice and a cold, cold rain. No time off from school or work, no reason to gather with family and friends, no gifts or cards, no thoughtful words.  Read more

God is faithful

Serve Him in Holiness  

You are redeemed! Serve the Lord without fear, in holiness all your days (Luke 1:74-75)

Before we look at Zacharias’s song, let me ask you a question. If you had not been able to talk for nearly a year, what would you say when you finally could speak again?

One can’t help thinking that the mind and heart of Zacharias during those nine months had been filling with this song. And now it bursts out, the first words out of his mouth after nine months of silence, with praises for God and prophecies about the future.  Read more

Word Made Flesh

Christ, the word made flesh, is born among us as one of us! Rejoice! (John 1:1-18) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become… Read more

But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Philippians 2:25-26

2016: The Year of Epaphroditis

As I ponder the events of 2015 and look forward to 2016 I give thanks to God for each one of you. Thank you for your faithful service to the… Read more

With three Syrian refugee families standing behind her, Nora Basha, with the Syrian American Council of Indiana, speaks during a press conference before a Dec. 11 rally and candlelight vigil in support of Syrian refugee families. The event was held by the council at Epworth UMC in Indianapolis. Dan Gangler photo, UMNS

‘Open wide your hearts!’
Called to welcome suffering sojourners

This Friday, Dec. 18, many people will recognize International Migrants Day. And on Thursday, Dec. 10, many observed International Human Rights Day. These observances, although barely known to most, are significant and timely… Read more