Dear Friends and First UMC Family: Over these past few months, our schedules have been busy and our plates have been full of activities leading up to a big celebration this coming Sunday. So we’d like to give a reminder, a Thank You and a word of encouragement. First, please remember that this coming Sunday is when we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the ministries of First United Methodist in Dyersburg and Dyer County. We hope you’ll join us for worship at 10:00 a.m. as we welcome Bishop McAlilly, as both our Episcopal leader and preacher for the day. Immediately after worship, we’ll enjoy an old-fashioned Methodist potluck lunch.

Now a “Thank You” to God for so many whose busy schedules and full plates have helped so much: for all who’ve taken care of needs and filled in gaps; those who have answered phones, opened doors, given directions, cleaned floors and doors, windows and flower beds; who have handed a bulletin or offered a smile and word of welcome; for all who have helped fold, stack, paste, label and mail letters or newsletters to all of us; and especially for all who have been the ongoing help for our 175 th Anniversary Team with new Bibles, ornaments, a great luncheon, worship, and who helped tell our story through bulletin boards or videos. We must not forget to give thanks for all who serve in ongoing ministries like Sunday School, Salt & Light, or help start another season of Upward Basketball and Cheer. Thanks to our leadership in Ministry Teams that offer the love of Christ to our congregation and community with Monday Meals, communion, prayer or outreach efforts from Scouts to Men’s Prayer Breakfast. Finally, thanks to our Resource Teams that support our Staff (especially the new members), and offer a great campus, buildings and space that help us not only celebrate the past but enjoy the present and embrace the future of Christ’s Church here.

As we’re thankful for everyone’s hard work, we also encourage you to pause, take a deep breath and reflect. We are grateful for everyone bringing food for Sunday’s luncheon, and we understand that some may need to miss their Sunday School class this week to focus on their “covered dish.” If your class doesn’t plan to meet, please let your members know and have someone there Sunday to usher folks to a class next door that is meeting. Also, we encourage you to take pictures this week — if you capture some Kodak Moments, send them to our offices for a special 175 th Anniversary Recap in our newsletter on Oct. 25th. We are giving our Newsletter crew the day off next Wednesday the 18th — if you have announcements, send them for the 25th.

One final word of encouragement: after the 175th Anniversary, we have many meaningful ministries in the coming weeks. Watch for Upward Basketball and Cheer, Youth retreats, stewardship moments, community events, mission projects, special worship service and before we know it, the holidays are here. May we enter the coming days celebrating a rich history which has brought us thus far. Then knowing we’ve all been warmed by fires we didn’t build and drank from wells we did not dig, may we embrace God’s future and be Christ’s Church for generations today and tomorrow.

Gladly serving this great God alongside you: Ed, Lea and the First UMC Family.