Thursday, March 26 2020 by Matt Horan
This article may seem premature, but it’s important to clarify the decision making process we will use when the date nears for us to restart on campus activities at Heritage United Methodist long before we begin to speculate about it.
Just as there has been debate–oddly enough along political party lines, of all things–over how bad the COVID-19 Coronavirus really is, I anticipate that there will also be debate about how quickly life should “return to normal.” I assure you, there will be disagreement on the pace of reopening.
Business owners–and their laid-off employees–will want restrictions lifted quickly. Kids want their lives to return to normal soon–as do their parents! Summer camps will want to open, tourist destinations will want people to start travelling, restaurants will want people to start ordering food, and incumbent politicians of either political party will surely want life to be better so that a nation of miserable voters with change on their minds is not what heads into the voting booth this November. cat=-79
Monday, March 23 2020 by Matt Horan
As is often the case when large scale disasters take place, a variety of people have claimed to have supernatural insights into the reasons why the COVID-19 Coronavirus is spreading around the world.
Of course, you’ve probably heard by now that this is a plague fortelling the Biblical end of the world. The book sales made possible by pointing out contemporary events and matching them up to elements in Daniel or Revelation are nothing to sneeze at. It’s good work if you can get it. Just ask the guys who wrote those Left Behind books. Cha-ching.
Of course, there are a couple problems you’ll run into if you choose to go this route. For one, with apologies to R.E.M., the big star of the “end of the world as we know it” is the “Antichrist,” who was a Roman Emperor back in the first century. That is, back when it only took two numbers to note what year it was. His future is, well, not in the future. cat=-79
Thursday, March 12 2020 by Matt Horan
Dear Members and Friends of Heritage United Methodist,
As you know, your lay and staff leaders are monitoring the situation regarding the spread of COVID-19, or “coronavirus” in the Tampa Bay Area. I’m writing to you to convey some information we’ve received from the Florida Conference Office, and to inform you about steps we’re taking at Heritage to maintain an environment in which we can all stay as healthy as possible. cat=-79
Monday, January 27 2020 by Matt Horan
Dear Members and Friends of Heritage United Methodist,
I’ve been trying to think about how to characterize 2019. It’s been difficult to pick the headline–the key moment or moments that would define this year of the church. Thankfully, it’s not difficult because you didn’t accomplish much! It’s difficult because you did!
Is it increases in our weekly worship attendance? Is it increased generosity by our congregation over last year? Is it increases in attendance at our Arts & Crafts Fair, Fall Festival, Drive-Thru Nativity, and Christmas Tree Lighting by hundreds over last year? Is it the increase in attendance on Christmas Eve by over 200 from last year? Is it over 300 people per week watching our worship services online? Is it the innovations in our Women’s Tea event, our website, our smartphone app, or our worship technology? Is it the increase in professions of faith? Is it the addition of fantastic new staff members leading our worship and student ministries? Is it a 20% increase in small group participation over 2018? Is it the Foster to Foster ministry that has grown to take over the entire C building to serve foster families housing children removed from their homes? Is it the homeless and poor who are fed by our Street Ministry team, or the 43 missionaries sent out on trips by our student ministry this year? Is it the completion of the SLI Vision process and the adoption of an exciting new vision for 2020 and beyond at Heritage? I think any of these would be a worthy headline–praise God that they’re all real results of your service and generosity in 2019!
On top of these, your generosity made college education possible for promising students in Africa through Africa University. You funded new church starts and new ministries spreading the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ across our district, and continued to fund ministries to college students at college campuses around the conference. (Jenna says thank you for funding the Wesley Foundation at the University of North Florida!) You funded missionaries planting churches of Jesus Christ and mission agencies providing for the needs of at-risk populations around the world; and provided hospital, military, and first responder chaplains for thousands of servants and families in need of spiritual care.
You funded the work of our United Methodist colleges in the Florida Conference, and provided scholarships to students to attend, Florida Southern College and Bethune-Cookman University. You helped to fund the formative youth camps around the Conference, including Warren Willis Camp in Fruitland Park and Centenary Camp in the Panhandle, among others. You provided funding for promising future church leaders to attend seminary and helped to fund the work of seminaries around the world. You funded disaster relief teams working with victims of hurricanes and earthquakes across the American Southeast and the Caribbean when you responded to the Bishop’s call to adopt Puerto Rico and the Bahamas as a part of the Florida Conference during their time of desperate need.
You could say that, in 2019, Heritage United Methodist made disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. That’s a headline I’m glad to read anytime.