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Newsletter May 2, 2016 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 3, ISSUE 24

You hear the term "evangelicals" frequently during this political season as probably representing some kind of voting block. Few people know exacty what the term means and even fewer know that it is traceable back to English Methodism and to the Moravian Church and German Lutheran Pietism. It mostly amounts to declaring the good news of the Gospel. He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." Mark 16:15. Declaring the good news of God's salvation through Jesus Christ offered freely to all who wish to receive it is at the very heart of who we are as United Methodists.

You can be "born again"with a new life in Jesus. But for Methodists, the experience is somewhat different in that we understand this conversion to be a life long process. For John Wesley, conversion is the beginning. Per Wesley, prior to this gracious act of God in our lives, we cannot see God, we do not breathe the air of the Spirit, we do not hear deeply God's gracious word of forgiveness and God's call to holiness, and we have little ability to feel the work and movement of the Holy Spirit. But after being born again, the very Being of God opens up to us, and we begin a journey into holiness (sanctification) that changes everything about our relationship to God and our neighbors.

Maybe the name "Methodist" fits in this experience. There is a procedure, a gradual process, a "method" to it. It involves a consistent application of individual study, study with fellow Christians, prayer and formal worship. And service to Christ through serving others. If your "evangelizing"is ever going to produce fruit, know that you will be seen as representing the Christian faith and Jesus. You can't read it from a note card or put it on a pamphlet. You must live it. "Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words." St. Francis of Assisi.

From the Pastor

Pastor Sandra had surgery on her foot on April 26. The surgery went well and she is recovering nicely at home. She will be going for a post - op checkup this Wednesday. She wishes to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this time. She is especially grateful to the menbers for carrying on the work of the church. She hopes to be back with us in a month or so.

Pastor Kermit Shrawder will be with us for the month of May while Sandra is recovering. He currently serves as pastor for the Bethel and Cattle Creek churches, coming out of retirement to follow the call to serve them. Prior to his retirement, he was Director of Pastoral services for The Oaks from 1999 to 2010. His father and grandfather were preachers as was his wife Mary's father. We welcome him and Mary to New Hope and look forward to Pastor Shrawder bringing us the Word. If there are pastoral concerns, he can be reached at 803-347-6778 or shrawderk@yahoo.com

Summer Celebrations

On June 26, New Hope will have a hymn singing and scripture reading service followed by a dinner in the Fellowship Hall. If you have attended these before, you know it is a great time to visit with old friends and even make some new ones. And catch up on what's happening at New Hope church. This will be a particulary special occasion since it will mark the first get together since the window repairs were completed. Please make plans to join us.

On July 31, we will be treated to a musical program by members of the choir at Buncombe Street UMC in Greenville. see website. We have been privilged to get to know some of Buncombe's members in recent months and are excited about their interest in New Hope. Several of them contributed generously to the Windows Repair Fund. We will be finalizing details of the even in the coming weeks and will keep you informed in this letter and on our website. This promised to be a special Sunday for us, so save this date and join us. The service will be followed by a dinner, most likely at the Community Center.

Window Repairs Completed

The final phase of the windows repair project was completed on April 28. This consisted of replacing the plexiglass covers which had become damaged and discolored over the years. The first phase was to repair some of the stained glass windows inside the church. The outside of the church has seen several changes over the past few years (a metal roof, landscaping, awnings and painting) but perhaps none have had the dramatic effect of the these new covers.

The total cost of the project exceeded $20,000, which was higher than anticipated as we decided to let the contractor perform the installation of the covers. We anticipate that additional contributions will be received as some are still coming in. We are not a church of significant proportions. Yet we received contributions to this campaign of over $11,000. Many of you who receive this newsletter contributed generously. We are excited and at the same time humbled by this expression of love for God and his church. We anticipate that additional contributions will be received as some are still coming in.

Church Calendar

•  Sunday, May 8. Mother's Day.
•  Sunday, June 26. Hymn Singing Service followed by Fellowhip Dinner. 11:15 a.m.
•  Sunday, July 31. Music Program presented by Buncombe Street UMC, Greenville. Followed by Fellowship Dinner: 11:15 a.m.