“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing,
God hastens and chastens God’s will to make known…”
These lines are from the hymn, “We Gather Together,” traditionally sung in November around Thanksgiving time. Originally from the Netherlands, the hymn was first sung in Dutch churches when brought to the United States, and began to gain popularity during World War I. Then in 1935 when it was included in the newly published Methodist Hymnal, it got its “big break!”
The Catholic version of the hymn substitutes “invoke” for “ask” and I admit I like this better, because “invoke” suggests we know the blessing is ready, present and forthcoming, surrounding us if we would only turn toward it.
The blessings of abundance have been apparent at Epworth this year, and we’ll celebrate those blessings at two significant events this month. First, the Harvest of Gifts fundraiser sharing of treasures and fellowship will be November 17th after worship. And on Wednesday, November 20, we’ll lift up the ministries of Epworth at our annual Charge Conference. District Superintendent Staci Current will preside. It begins at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall. I hope you’ll put these events on your calendar and plan to be there.
This month’s newsletter focuses on food insecurity and how we are responding. In the midst of the blessings surrounding us, we know that there are many who are struggling. There are a number of ways to get involved in invoking God’s blessings for all in our midst. Locally, we partner with the Berkeley Food Network, Berkeley Food and Housing Project, the Alameda County Community Food Bank and other community organizations in direct service and in our giving. Conference-wide, nationally and internationally, our tithes and special gifts combine with other giving in the United Methodist Church to address many dimensions of poverty, of which food and housing insecurity is a part. If you would like to get involved in any of the ministries detailed in this newsletter, or have another idea to address food or housing insecurity, please talk to our Pastoral Intern, Akesa Fakava.
Finally, Deep gratitude to all who have made a commitment to Epworth's Courageous Vision for 2020! As of October 24, 80 commitments for 2020 have been received, which includes eight new families or individuals. Your response has been phenomenal! I am so excited about the ministry your financial support will enable next year as we follow where God is leading us.
Currently, we are just about 11% short of our goal of $340,000. If you have not made a commitment for 2020, you can sign up for recurring donations at epworthberkeley.org/donate or can pick up a pledge card from the ushers or in the church office. Thank you!!