This Sunday is Pentecost - a day that commemorates what many consider the Birth of the Church, when the small group of Jesus' uncertain followers were unexpectedly filled with the Holy Spirit. That gift of the Spirit, and the assurance of the continued presence of Christ with them, moved them to step beyond their closed doors into the world. They stepped forward in caring warmth, to speak with courage and compassion to skeptical listeners, and to become a growing band of people committed to meeting the needs of others in Jesus' name. That does sound like what we still envision ourselves being as the Church!

Not only will we celebrate Pentecost in worship on Sunday, but another "birthday" as well - the birthday of the United Methodist Church. On April 23, 1968, Bishops from the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church shook hands to symbolize their denominations becoming one. United Methodists will be noting that special day on Sunday, which is also "Heritage Sunday" - and this year, it's a 50th "Jubilee" anniversary of our existence as a denomination.

May the transforming, stirring power of the Spirit continue to move us into the future as God's people!

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