"Welcome to worship at Calvary United Methodist Church this morning!

It's one of my most favorite places to be on a Sunday morning."  As I begin worship with this greeting, some of you nod, some of you grin, and a few of you chuckle.  My goal is to get more of you saying those words yourself as the fall approaches.  Why?

1.  It's always good to take some time to intentionally leave the world outside and focus in on all God has been doing in our lives and to give God thanks and praise.  It restores our spirits and gives purpose, direction, and meaning to what we are about.

2.  It is even better to worship in the midst of people who can share in singing, prayer, and wrestling with the scripture and how to make it relevant in our daily living.  There's more energy, creativity, accountability, and support in community.

3.  The Calvary UMC congregation is a grace-filled people, intentionally trying to create a welcoming and caring environment for people on Sunday morning and throughout the week.  Who wouldn't be thrilled to be here?  Where else can you find folks willing to listen, to help you bear your burdens, and to join with you in celebrating your joys?

Many of us feel like there is something missing in our lives and we don't know exactly what it is.  Many of us have found that "something" at Calvary UMC.  Many of us feel that we need an invitation before we show up at places we've never been before - like a worship service in an unfamiliar church.  You don't need a special invitation at Calvary.  It is our desire to provide an encounter with a friendly face when you walk through our doors.  Many of us think that we might wear the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, or do the wrong thing in an unfamiliar setting.  At Calvary, we're pretty informal and we're pretty good at "going with the flow."  Life is not always pre-programmed or perfect.  Our dress code is "come as you are comfortable."  Our service is "user-friendly."  Our theology ranges from conservative to liberal, but most of us consider ourselves to be still in the "learning stage."

One of the things we do take seriously, however, is our belief in God's grace - God's unconditional forgiveness, acceptance, and love - and God's command for us to love God and to love our neighbors with God's help to the best of our ability.  So, for those of you who have been around Calvary for a while, please take some time to pray for those people who need to find a church home, those people that God is asking you to reach out and share with, those folks who haven't been here for a while, and those of us who have.  To those who have never been to Calvary before, or only been here rarely, or haven't been here for a while, we've been praying for you!!  You are invited to join us some Sunday morning.  Maybe this just might turn out to be your most favorite place to be on Sundays, too!

Blessings!

Pastor Char