March 6, 2019


In dark smudgy crosses on our brow, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. We feel the dark crosses that proclaim our mortality and our sinfulness. We do not have to say, “I am a sinner,” the whole world can see it etched upon us. The hard, brutal truth: “Dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” stuns our optimism and secret beliefs that if we try hard enough, find the right medicine, undergo the right treatment, say the right words, pray the right prayer, we can overcome anything.  But we cannot. We will die.

Yet the smudge is in the shape of the cross. We cannot overcome death, we, by ourselves, cannot blot out our sins, but the cross on our heads says that, by God’s gracious love, neither our sin nor our death can take us from the eternity that is offered in Christ’s Resurrection.  

We will worship together at 6:30 PM in the Sanctuary.

For Lent this year, we will be making a couple of small changes in worship. In all 3 services, we will use attendance pads during worship. This will help us keep up with each other! We will also be changing the order just a little bit in the traditional service so that the choir can process down the center aisle during the prelude.  

Image result for general conference 2019 umcEarlier this week, I emailed you about the results of the Special Session of the General Conference. On Thursday night, our Church Council met to talk about what this means for us at Surfside UMC. It was a sacred conversation. I shared with the council some of the information that I had received from our district superintendent, Rev. Tim Rogers earlier on Thursday.  Rev. Rogers was one of our delegates, and I mean no disrespect or harm when I say that I could see the exhaustion on him as he led our regular clergy meeting. Those days in St. Louis were long and hard.

Yes, the General Conference voted for the Traditionalist Plan. It will take effect on January 1, 2020. It does not change the current restrictions on churches and clergy regarding performing marriages of same sex couples or on the ordination of “self avowed, practicing homosexuals.”  Rather, consequences are added. It is important to note though, that we still affirm that all people are of sacred worth.

The General Conference also voted on some measures that would allow churches to exit from the denomination gracefully; however, some of that language has been referred to the Judicial Council as it may be contradictory to the Constitution of the UMC.  

Yes, this result brings great joy for some and great anguish for others.  As has been said, we do not know each other’s stories or where we are in our faith journeys, and these days call for sensitivity and kindness. The fruits of the Spirit include gentleness and kindness; let us seek these things.

And may we be about the business of Christ: telling the world that we have a Savior.


Pastor Scarlett