“Singing & S’Mores” Summer Events...

The United Methodists in the Skagit Valley are hosting the 5th Annual “Singing & S’Mores” summer event series!  We will gather near the picnic shelter on the beach (day use area) of Bay View State Park for fellowship, singing a variety of fun and spiritual songs, and toasting marshmallows.  These events are fun for the whole family, and ALL are invited! All are welcome — You don’t need to have a connection to Central UMC, or ANY Church, to join us for a fun evening in the midst of God’s creation.  Everything you need will be provided; just bring yourself and you’re welcome to bring a lawn chair and/or blanket if you’d like. 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of July and August at 6:30pm.  Discover Pass is required, carpooling offered as needed from Bay View UMC (the Bay View church is just a half mile from the State Park; there is also some free parking on the shoulder of Bayview-Edison Road just beyond the entrance to the State...

Easter at Central UMC

It was just one day out of 365, just one Sunday out of 53 (yep, 2017 will have one extra…!). Just one day…but so significant. Easter just kind of launches us into tomorrow and beyond, with its emphasis on living in hope, in joy—embracing life in the light of God’s endless grace. And there’s something about expressing this in worship TOGETHER that imprints it our hearts. In our Call to Worship—together—we said, “RUN from fear and darkness! HOPE is on the move!” In our Hymn—together—we sang, “Soar we now where Christ has led! Thus to sing, and thus to love!” In our Prayer—together—we asked that we may, “With shouts of joy, proclaim your steadfast, liberating love to all people, everywhere. Amen.” Together, we heard the ancient story in John 20: 1-18….Jesus said: “Mary”…and Mary’s response: ”Teacher”…Yes, our Teacher still today, now and always. We heard Pastor Dan tell us that Easter means we may have life…Christ is risen among us, God’s presence always with us. And—together—we celebrated Holy Communion… And then, yes, we joined in the wonderful hymn, with such perfect expression: As we gather at your table, As we listen to your word, Help us know, O God, your presence; Let our hearts and minds be stirred.  Turn our worship into witness In the sacrament of life; Send us forth to love and serve you, Bringing peace where there is strife. Give us, Christ, your great compassion to forgive as you forgave…. And we had some old-fashioned fun together, too…  Our men cooked their usual terrific breakfast, which we and our fellow Episcopalian congregation shared along with  guests:    Our children enjoyed the traditional Easter Egg Hunt:   The envious too-old-to-hunt Easter Egg Hunt Wannabes watched from the sidelines: The Skagit Valley yellow tulips on the altar, given by the Verner family in memory of Cole, spoke to us of spring, the beauty of our creation—God’s gift to us—and the wonders of our Valley—surely one of the most beautiful places...

Reminding Ourselves of our Social Principles...

On Sunday, Jan 15, we heard read this wonderfully appropriate sermon by Martin Luther King, based on Matthew 10:16-23. Read it! You’ll be amazed!! A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart So, our week started with the sermon. Then on Monday we celebrated Martin Luther King Day and his wisdom and leadership during a crucial period in our nation’s history. And then the week closed with the inauguration of a new President… …and culminated with the participation of many of our members in the “Women’s March” in downtown Mount Vernon on Saturday, Jan 21. And then on Sunday we heard a call…what does it really mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? What is this adventure to which we are called really about? Where to go? What to DO?? Whew!! What a week!! One thing for sure, as United Methodists, we are called to take a stand for the rights of all women. Women’s rights include immigrants rights, civil rights, worker’s rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, disabilities rights, and rights of the aging. These are among the things that our United Methodist Social Principles call on all of us as United Methodists to take a stand for.   So, maybe this is a good time to remind ourselves as to what those Social Principles actually say!! United Methodist Social Principles And, if you’d like to pursue this conversation further, Pastor Cody would love to talk with you…a cup of coffee, a friendly...

What Happened to the Poplar Trees?

Dear fellow Sedro-Woolley-ites, trail walkers, quilters, Episcopalians who share our sanctuary, Community Kitchen workers, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and even Cub Scouts—yes, we hear you…!!! We know you are wondering… What happened to the poplars???? Tall, stately, lovely in every season, especially enjoyed by the trail walkers as started their hike right across from our campus. OK, here’s the story. Yes, the poplar trees were beautiful, stately, totally impressive…They will be missed…glorious Creation, and all of that! BUT,  these trees along the eastern perimeter have been causing us more roof and grounds maintenance than we could manage. And, more and more substantial debris was created in recent storms…not only messy, but possibly, given a really serious storm, downright dangerous. So, it had to happen. And, removing the trees will help us to be a better neighbor. Thanks to Janicki Logging who helped us—whew! Quite a task. This will most likely be our last major project for quite some time, and although we know we created quite a lot of unwelcome noise and visual disturbance, and we apologize for that, we think this is it for now. We love the natural beauty of our campus, and yes, this was a tough decision for us. Very sad. Thank you for your patience and...

What Wonderful Worship for 2nd Advent Sunday!!...

Advent is always such a special time in the life of Central United Methodist Church. This past Saturday, energetic folks decorated the sanctuary with greens, candles… What a lovely greeting when we arrived yesterday for worship. We light an advent candle each Advent Sunday to remind ourselves…             Peace…                                Hope…                                                      Joy…                                                                        Love… What better themes could we carry home in our hearts into the following weeks? And the Children’s Sermon takes on a special meaning. Pastor Cody, father of a young son himself, is especially gifted at talking to kids in their own context. It is, after all, the “season of expectation”, and what child isn’t in high expectation at Christmas time?     We heard once again the words of the Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 11, coming from such a distance past, but still so perfectly expressing metaphorically the hope we keep alive: The wolf will live with the lamb,    the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together;      and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear,      their young will lie down together,      and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den,      and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.  Yesterday, the 2nd Sunday in Advent, as our “sermon”, Crystal Natland role-played Mary, the mother of Jesus. She captured Mary’s confusion, and her ultimate joy, perfectly. It was emotionally moving. And who among us, especially women, have not had such conflicting emotions?     And in our modest church in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, we felt joined with all people worldwide, when we sang this prayer… Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind In one the hearts of all mankind; Oh, bid our sad divisions cease, And be yourself our King of Peace. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel! Oh come, oh come Emmanuel…...

Toward Unity and Justice — A Pastoral Letter from Pastor Cody Natland...

Dear members and friends of Central United Methodist Church, Over these past many months of the presidential campaign, it has become abundantly clear that there are deep divisions between people in our nation.  I don’t believe that these divisions are new, but rather have been revealed and brought to the forefront during the campaign and in these days after the election.  While disagreement isn’t itself a bad thing, the way that disagreement has been expressed in many attitudes and actions is deeply troubling.  It is my prayer that we will be able to move forward as a community and a nation, bridging the divides between us and working together in unity toward a better America. As your Pastor, I feel the responsibility of speaking to the pain, division, and uncertainty that has been expressed over the past week.  I know that throughout our country there are millions of people today who are uncertain, who are scared, who are hurting.  I also realize that there are millions who would have been feeling those exact same things if the outcome of the election had been different.  Honestly, I cannot imagine a scenario in which the results of this election would have brought about an end to the deep divisions among us. I invite you to join me in praying for all of our leaders, those who continue in their positions as well as those, including President-elect Donald Trump, who were elected to new positions last Tuesday.  But my hope for bridging the divisions between people in our nation rests not in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or any government or political party.  Rather, my hope for unity is firmly rooted in the good news of Jesus Christ, who calls us as his followers to be people of compassion and mercy, of hope and promise, of justice and love.  We have our work cut out for us as we strive to be the Church that God has called us to be, as we seek to understand one another, to live in the beauty of human diversity, and affirm the sacredness of all human life. And so, as we seek unity, understanding, and dialogue, we must also re-affirm our commitment to justice, equality, and abundant life for all of God’s people. Jesus reminded his disciples regularly to be mindful of “the least among us,” that is, the people who are the least empowered to speak out for justice, and who also have the most to lose.  As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to be advocates and allies for the marginalized.  I am proud to serve as the Pastor of a congregation that has taken a strong and public stance on this.  Every Sunday morning, I call attention to the yellow card that bears the text of our congregation’s “Welcoming Statement.”  That statement reads, in part: We are committed to creating a community of grace where all feel completely welcome, regardless of age, status, economic condition, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or mental abilities.  We find all people to be of sacred worth and welcome everyone who comes here seeking the love of God. Central United Methodist Church will continue to proclaim our commitment to the full inclusion of all people.  In the coming days, weeks, months, and years we will have much work to do as we live into the commitments that we have made.  We will continue doing our best to reflect God’s light and love with all those...