The First Reading: Mark 1:1-13

The First Reading is a five-minute (or less!) vlog that looks at the scripture and themes coming up in our worship together at Franklin United Methodist Church.

The reading for Sunday, January 10, 2021, comes from Mark 1:1-13.

We hope you’ll consider joining our worship together on Sunday, January 10, 2021, at 10am ET as we continue reflecting upon this text. To join the service using Google Meet, click here.

New Study: DREAM.ThinkDoBe

Join us Tuesdays at 7:30pm beginning January 5 (2021) as we begin a new video series entitled DreamThinkBeDo. This series provides an overview of progressive Christianity. The series is broken into four, five-week sessions. Each session is self-standing. Drop into the study as you are able from week to week. Here’s an extended overview of the entire 20-week study.

We will begin the first five-week session, “Dream,” on January 5. Here are the study themes:

January 5
Introduction(s)

January 12
“Faith as Journey”

January 19
“Stories of Creation”

January 26
“Reconciliation”

February 2
”Jesus”

February 9
“Risk”

Each session will begin with a 20-minute video. Videos and study-guides will be made available ahead of each session. Discussions will be based on the study guide and participant insights and questions.

This small group gathering and discussion will be facilitated virtually by Pastor Jacob. All are welcome to attend and participate. You can join our gathering using Google Meet by clicking this link (https://meet.google.com/zxe-kcbu-hxf) or by calling 661-527-2948, the PIN is 883 139 733#.

Service of Christmas Eve Light

Join us for a service of Christmas Eve light, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s love come to us, the light that shines in the darkness. God is with us. God is with you. May this good news bring you peace and joy.

Note: This service will premiere on YouTube (and here) at noon on Christmas Eve. It will premiere on Facebook at 7pm on Christmas Eve. Please share the links with your friends and family.

Merry Christmas!

An Unprecedented Year

Dear members and friends of the Franklin United Methodist Church,

We are about to wrap up an unprecedented year as a community of faith.  This year has been like no other.  We have had to learn and adapt as a community of faith in ways few of us could have expected; and, in the process, we have accomplished some amazing things together as the people of the Franklin United Methodist Church.

As of the writing of this letter, we have gathered for 38 worship services virtually—something we had not done before the pandemic began.  Our sanctuary has been outfitted with teleconferencing equipment that allows in-the-sanctuary and virtual worshippers to interact with one another.  Since mid-March, there have been nearly 70 opportunities to check-in and pray together during the week.  By year’s end, our virtual choir (which began in mid-July) will have co-created and sang over 60 songs—all of which are premiered in our worship together and made continually available for you to access via the church’s YouTube channel.  As part of our pandemic response, we helped distribute (March-June, 2020) 4,900 meals to families from the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School who receive free or reduced lunches. And, we started a community garden which yielded over 40 pounds of fresh vegetables to the Franklin Food Pantry.  To help us mature in the faith together, we now offer a free daily devotional resource (online and in print) for you to use individually, with your family, and/or in a small group.  And, our website has become a hub of information providing access to our virtual gatherings and detailing opportunities for you to volunteer and give.

Through this unprecedented year, we have continued to do much of what we have always done, but in new ways.   We worship and fellowship regularly (though, right now, primarily online).  We continue to supply the Franklin Food Pantry with Ensure (an item that the pantry cannot purchase through the regional Food Bank).  The Book Club continues to gather (virtually) to discuss a new book each month and fellowship together.  We have trained six in-person ushers so that when we’re ready to offer in-person worship again, we will have persons to guide us and remind us of safe gathering practices.  We’ve also trained four virtual ushers and five audio/video technicians to help monitor and create our virtual worship space.

2020 has been an unprecedented year.  We have done many new (unprecedented!) and amazing things together!  As these unprecedented times become normal, as Christmas approaches and a new year begins, you are encouraged to make a year-end contribution to support the worship, life, and work of the Franklin United Methodist Church.  It is only with your support that our ministry (unprecedented and otherwise) is possible.

Thank you for your support through these unprecedented times!  You can donate online (http://franklinumc.org/giving) or by sending your contribution via USPS (please put “Christmas Offering” on the memo line of the check and send to PO Box 313, Franklin MA 02038).

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Peace.
Pastor Jacob

This correspondence was sent out to members and friends of the Franklin United Methodist Church via USPS on December 10, 2020 (the letter was dated December 8) and emailed on December 15 using the church database. If you have not created or linked to your profile in the church database (so that you can update your contact information, access our virtual directory, and monitor your giving), then click here to learn more and get setup.

Longest Night Service //December 21, 2020

2020 has been a rough year. On the longest night of the year, December 21 at 7:30pm, we gather to acknowledge our grief and anxiety looking with hope to the coming of the light. This service is open to the public and will happen exclusively online.

You can join this service using Google Meet. Click this link (https://meet.google.com/mgv-jbnf-ssg) or call (+1 832-821-6469,‬ the PIN is ‪745 127 542‬#)

If you are able, please bring an unlit candle with you into the virtual service. You will be invited to light the candle as a sign of hope and in remembrance of those you remember on this longest night of the year.

#GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 to promote generosity and goodwill. Following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday reminds us that a better world is realized when we work together and give for the sake of others. This is an intrinsic idea to the Christian faith.

On this day of giving, you’re invited to make a contribution to support the work of Christ through the Franklin United Methodist Church. Our worship, life, and work together is made possible through your generosity—the giving of your financial resources, time, and talents. 

To make a one-time or recurring financial contribution online
in support of our worship, life, and work together, click here.

To volunteer and contribute your time and talent
in support of our worship, life, and work together, click here.

We believe that everyone has something they can give and that every gift, however large or small, makes a difference.

Thank you for your generosity–on this day and every day.

Advent Study: Practicing the Presence of God

Join us Tuesdays at 7:30pm during Advent as we discuss the book The Practice of the Presence of God: The Best Rule of Holy Life by Brother Lawrence.  Brother Lawrence was a 17th century Carmelite monk in Paris.  He entered the monastery as a lay person where he worked in the kitchen as a cobbler.  He is best known for his ability to see God in every aspect of his life.  In this short, Christian classic, Lawrence shares what it means to constantly be in God’s presence. Each week we will read and discuss a new section of the book.

December 1
“Establishing Ourselves in God’s Presence”
(Read Conversation 1 & Letters 1-3)

December 8
“Resigning Ourselves to God”
(Read Conversation 2 & Letters 4-7)

December 15
“Beyond ‘Penances and Particular Exercises”
(Read Conversation 3 & Letters 8-11)

December 22
”Continual Conversation with God”
(Read Conversation 4 & Letters 12-15)

You can download a free PDF copy of Practicing the Presence of God here. You can find FREE Kindle, iBook, ePub, audio book and other formats at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

This small group gathering and discussion will be facilitated virtually by Pastor Jacob. All are welcome to attend and participate. You can join our gathering using Google Meet by clicking this link (https://meet.google.com/ocn-nihz-ufa) or by calling 254-881-9237, PIN: 747 139 789 #.

Taking Faith Home: What is it?

Taking Faith Home is a new weekly faith formation resource to help you, your household, and/or small group grow in love with God and neighbor. Here are a few key features:

  • Based on the Revised Common Lectionary–a three-year cycle of scripture readings that are used to varying degrees by most mainline Protestant churches.
  • Gives examples of four key faith practices (caring conversations, devotions, service, and rituals and traditions) based upon the weekly theme.
  • Includes a weekly prayer, Bible verse, mealtime prayer, and blessing.
  • Offers suggested (short) daily Bible readings and a Hymn for the week.

This resource is meant to be malleable. You don’t have to do it all. Depending upon your personal preferences or the makeup of your household or small group, you may find certain parts more meaningful that others. Pick and choose what works for you, your household, and/or your small group.

“Taking Faith Home” will be included in the weekly “Life Together” post. You can see and download this week’s “Taking Faith Home” below. If you would like to receive a paper copy of “Taking Faith Home,” please contact the Church Office.

Ensure Collection

The Franklin United Methodist Church is a proud supporter of the Franklin Food Pantry. Each month, we solicit donations to supply the pantry with Ensure. This provides the pantry with something that it does not receive from the regional food bank.

We try to give the pantry four (4) cases each month. Each case costs approximately $30. If you would like to make a financial contribution to support this mission, please make a designated gift to the “Mission Fund.” You can mail a check (write “Mission Fund” on the memo line) or make a donation online by clicking the link below. When making your donation online, make sure to click “Use this donation for Mission Fund.”

If you would like to purchase Ensure (instead of making a financial contribution), please contact the Church Office to arrange a time to drop it off at the church.