From the Lay Leader’s Desk:
Holy Land Information Night
Little Utica United Methodist Church is holding a Holy Land Tour Information Night on Friday, April 19, 2014 at 7 pm. Educational Opportunities is sponsoring two tours, the “Holy land Classic Tour, which is 10 days or the “Journey through the Bible Tour,” which is 11 days. There is also a post tour, “The Wonders of Jordan & Petra” which is an additional three days.
These tours will be in February 2015. This meeting will provide detailed information for those interested in traveling to the Holy Land; walking the same land as Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jesus.
Reverend Caroline Simmons, Reverend Dennis Lawton and Donald Day are returning to the lands of the Bible. This is their third pilgrimage to Israel with Educational Opportunities Holy Land Tours.
Educational Opportunities offers a variety of Religious Guided Tours for the entire family. Their web site is www.eot.travel/find_trip.
If you have any questions, please contact me by phone at 315-598-6327 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am adding a few events for this spring.
** (1) Unbinding the Gospel Study: This is a rewarding class to take. It will help you in your everyday life and also help with the revitalization of our church. Classes will be Monday nights from 6: 30 to 8 pm at Little Utica starting February 4 through April 1. Our church will supply the books.
** (2) Lay Servant Ministries Basic Class: This 5-week class begins Sunday April 7 through May 5, 2 to 4:30 pm at Little Utica. Cost is $20…. Scholarships are available.
** (3) For the men in our church and district: As the UMM Prayer Advocate, I am holding classes on Learning to Pray. This will be 8-weeks, starting Thursday April 4 through May 23 from 7-8 pm. Bring your Bible, a votive-candle and holder.
Posted January 11, 2013
Posted: December 18, 2012
2012 has been an active year for Bible Study, Lay Servant Ministry classes, and Probe Staff Devotionals & Study. We have put a lot of time this year trying to discern the Word of God and how it will enrich our lives and enable us to evangelize to others. Always keeping in mind our mission as United Methodist is to make disciples and share the Good News.
Our Bible Study class, after 6 years, has finished its last lesson in the Old Testament. Our last class was on December 6th. We opened with prayer, song & scripture reading, then sat down for our celebration dinner of homemade pizza. After dinner, we finished our study of the Minor Prophets. What a fantastic journey it has been. We have taken our time to read, study and share the Word of God. Every member of the class has a new understanding of what God is saying to them.
The Probe Staff, consisting of members from Phoenix UMC, Warners UMC and Little Utica UMC, have been working together this past year. We under-took the study, “Unbinding the Gospel”, along with a 40-day prayer journey. This study was lead by Pastor Wade & Pastor Kim from Phoenix. A solid bond was formed by this devotional study between the three churches. More on this wonderful study in 2013… yes we will be offering this to all who want to take it.
Lay Servant Ministry: Little Utica has offered two lay speaking classes this year. A basic lay speaking course in the spring and an advanced course in the fall. Pastor Wade & I were so excited to start offering two courses every year at our church, this will continue as long as I am Lay Leader.
It was my great pleasure to work so very closely with Wade on this project. After his passing I finished teaching our class on Spiritual Gifts. The class will be presented with their Certificates during a morning service at Little Utica in January. I am very proud of them. It was hard to continue after Wade’s passing… but they did it.
Our next class will be early this spring, more information to follow in the next newsletter on dates & time.
So much has happened this year, wonderful enriching times as well as deep sadness. Our faith and devotion to God has brought us through. Honor Wade’s memory, “Love one another as God loves You”.
Don Day ~Lay Leader
Lands of The Bible Cruise
There is one question I am asked over and over. Are we safe in the Holy land? The answer is yes, please read on.
Let me share with you some of what we saw and where we went on this Life Changing Pilgrimage to the Holy land as we followed some of the Journey of Saint Paul.
Educational Opportunities Tours allowed Rev. Dennis Lawton, pastor of the Harmonsburg Pa. UMC, Rev. Caroline Simmons, pastor of Saint Paul’s UMC Syracuse NY and me to take our group on a fantastic journey through lands we had only previously read about. We left Syracuse on November 9, 2012 for our overnight flight to Rome. We set sail on the Norwegian Jade on November 10 for Alanya, Turkey. We visited the Aspendos amphitheater and ventured to nearby Perge where Paul preached on his first journey. Alanya, Turkey has one of the most beautiful ports I have ever seen.
We cruised overnight to Cyprus, visiting Paphos, the first city Paul visited on his initial missionary journey. Barnabas and John Mark accompanied him on this part of his journey. We were able to have free time, shop from local craftsman and sample the local food.
We continued overnight to Israel and docked at the Port of Hiafa. There we stayed for two days. The Port of Ashod, Israel was closed due to the troubles that week. They had rockets being fired into that port, so we took long bus rides to tour the Holy land. No one cared…. Oh, what we saw and experienced. We traveled to Jerusalem where we were called home and once you see and visit Jerusalem you are truly Home. We sang at the Church of Saint Anne. We walked the entire Via Dolorosa ending up at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where we worshiped. We went to the Upper Room and prayed, stood on the Mount of Olives and wandered among the olive trees of the Garden of Gethsemane. What a day we had. Prayers were lifted, and tears flowed down most everyone’s face. We were home. Praise God! We ended our day of touring at the Western Wall, where so many of us placed prayers for those and ourselves we gathered from families & friends. We returned to our ship, changed our walking clothes for dinner and sat and talked about the day for hours…. no one was tired, just filled with excitement.
The following day we toured The Galilee. What a place! So much of what Jesus did in his lifetime was done here…same places we were standing, WOW! Mike Abu-Libdeh was our Israeli tour guide; no one describes the Bible in Living Color like Mike does. He is truly a gifted and spiritual man who serves our Lord & Savior so very well. We met Mike two years ago on our first trip and have stayed in touch with him ever since. These trips have changed me; Mike was a big part of that change.
We left Israel for our overnight cruise to Port Said, Egypt. We toured Cairo and the Great Pyramids at Giza. Took a camel ride and almost lost Dennis to two shady camel drivers, but we got him back. It was a good laugh that night on board ship… but scary as it was unfolding. Egypt has such wonders to see; you just have to be extra careful of your surroundings and people approaching you. We will be smarter next time around. The Cairo Museum was fabulous. This was my second time there and I was still in awe and wonder of all I saw.
The next day it was the Port of Alexandria and the tour of that beautiful city. We saw the site of the ancient library and lighthouse. Walked down into the catacombs of the old city. We walked down all 115 steps and yes back up… that took some time. It was back to our ship and the two-day cruise back to Italy. We all had a time for reflection, relaxing, fellowship and great lectures. Bishop Goodpaster was traveling with us. Wow, he is so gifted. We totally enjoyed every minute we spent in prayer and fellowship with him.
Day twelve we arrived back to Italy and had to say goodbye to many of our travel mates. It was a tearful parting. We shared so much together in those twelve days we truly bonded and saying goodbye was not easy. Rev. Caroline, Joan, Dorothy, Shirley, Richard, Gloria, Joyce and Donna from the Syracuse area all stayed and went on to Rome. We toured the old city and had the chance to visit, tour, pray and have Thanksgiving Dinner in the Vatican. The Vatican might be the Holy City for all Catholics, but for me it’s a Holy city for all Christians. The power and majesty of the area, you can feel the presence of God.
Well I hope I was able to share with you a little of what my group & I experienced. Rev. Dennis, Rev. Caroline & I are working now on our return trip to the Holy land for April 2015. We will Visit Turkey, Jordan & Israel with more free time and more time at Holy Sites. E.O. will work with us and allow us to customize our tour. I hope you will join us. Come to Jerusalem. You too will feel God has called you HOME. I hope you can see how much we enjoyed our tour in these few pictures.
Don Day, Lay leader Little Utica UMC