Beauty is all around us...
Our own Stanly County
Reverend Bill Roberts (First UMC Norwood), Reverend Mary Hatley (Cedar Grove UMC), Reverend Julie Hill (First Presbyterian Norwood), Reverend David Lowe (Love's Chapel UMC), and Reverend Caitlin McAlhany (Porter-Randall UMC)
Week 3 of Lent
March 8, 2021
Led by Rev. Kaye Fry (Stony Hill UMC)
Scripture for the Week:
Mark 6:30-44 (NRSV)
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done
and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by
yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they
had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a
deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and
recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and
arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he
had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a
shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late,
his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour
is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the
surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to
eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said
to him, ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and
give it to them to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have
you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two
fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups
on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of
fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven,
and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set
before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all
ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken
pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five
(This story about Jesus feeding thousands with 2 fish and 5 loaves of
bread is found in all four gospels: Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke
9:10-17 and John 6:1-14. I encourage you to read and compare as you
study this story about Jesus feeding this week. There are some
differences between the gospels, but each helps shape our
understanding of Jesus, his compassion for humanity and an
understanding of the compassion we are called to have for one another,
friend, neighbor and stranger.)
Prayer for the Week:
Gracious God, send your Holy Spirit to open the eyes my heart so that I
see others with the compassion and generosity of your son, Jesus. Help
me to see that with you there is always enough and then some. Amen.
Monday March 8th: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irc5FC1ZPpw
Tuesday March 9th:
As you read this story, first in one Gospel and then another, who
do you identify with -Andrew, one of the disciples, someone in the
crowd, perhaps the boy with two fish and five loaves or Jesus?
o How does your place in the story change your perspective;
the way you hear the events in the story unfold?
As each of the witnesses to the events that day, for what do you
hunger and thirst?
Wednesday March 10th:
In this story there are several miracles. The obvious one is the
multiplying of the food. Take a moment to ponder the possibility of
other “miracles” in the story.
• What might these miracles be?
• What might they reveal to us about Jesus; about ourselves?
Thursday March 11th:
Do you wonder where all these people came from? Why were they
there? How did they end up so far from home? Did they realize how
far they had traveled or even that the day was drawing to a close and
mealtime was approaching? Were they so caught up in the teaching,
the healing, the excitement of the day that they were unaware of their
• Have you ever been so enthralled by worship that you lost track of
time? Sometimes we watch the clock when we’re in worship not wanting the
preacher to go “over”. This crowd followed Jesus, stood around
listening all day long-past lunch, right up to evening.
• Are you willing to miss a meal, sacrifice something-time, money,
anything, to be in the presence of God?
• If your health allows, perhaps you may consider a fast during your
Lenten journey focusing on scripture and prayer to feed your spirit.
Friday March 12th:
There seems to be an assumption in the story that this ‘Jesus’ will take
care of everything. Consider the difference between “letting go and
letting God” and willingly participating in God’s plan to meet needs.
• Are there times when you feel more like the disciples and want to
“send them away”? Do we trust that Jesus will “handle it”?
• When do we try to dump our opportunity to help feed (physically
and spiritually) others in Jesus’ lap?
Saturday March 13th:
• In the normal, mundane or routine activities of life,
where/when/how do you experience the Lord’s presence?
• Do you hunger for Jesus, the bread of life?
• How is your soul fed?
Sunday March 14th:
• How do you feel when confronted by those who hunger around
us? How can you feed those who are hungry, the multitude in our
o Offer a word of hope, encouragement.
o A helping hand.
o Donations to the food pantry
o Gift cards for someone who’s struggling.
• With prayerful consideration, I trust God will guide you to other
ways to help quench the physical and spiritual hunger of others!
Week 4 of Lent
March 15, 2021
Led by Rev. David Lowe (Love’s Chapel UMC)
Scripture for the Week: Isaiah 55 (NRSV)
Ho, everyone who thirsts come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy. Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace, the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Prayer for the Week: Daily Reflections:
Monday March 15th: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DocFMBIFF2M
Tuesday March 16th: Read verses 1-2
• What invitation does the Lord extend? • The people of Israel are returning home from their exile. Why do you think it was necessary for God to make such an invitation?
• Why don’t you need money to buy what God offers? What have you been wasting your own money on?
• In your life, have you been given such an invitation? If you have, how did you respond?
• What does this invitation tell you about God and His relationship to His creations?
Wednesday March 17th:
• In verses 3-5, what invitation is given to the people?
• According to Isaiah 55:3, how important is the Word of God in the life of a believer?
• If you listen to God, what are we promised (Hint: David’s relationship with God)?
• Is this invitation from the Lord limited to people in the Old Testament? How does this relate to you today?
Thursday March 18th:
Read verses 6-7
• What urgency do you find in the gracious command the Lord issues in Isaiah 55:6? 15
• During the season of Lent, you are called to repent. What two groups of people were called to repent?
• How does this call relate to the ministry of John the Baptist?
• How does this call relate to you and your faith journey?
Friday March 19th:
Read verses 7-9
• What encouragement does the Lord provide for those who fear their sins are too great for forgiveness?
• How far is the distance between God’s thoughts and yours? How does that relate to your perception of your relationship with God?
• Do the statements in Isaiah 8 & 9 discourage you from seeking God or encourage you to work harder to seek God?
Saturday March 20th:
Read verses 10-11
• How does Isaiah explain to the people that every Word from God produces fruit?
• From the text, what is the purpose of the Word of God?
• In verse 10, what does the Word of God bring forth?
• In verse 11, what does God want to accomplish in the lives of His people?
• What message do you receive as you read and meditate on these verses? How do you apply this to your life?
Sunday March 21st:
Read verses 12-13
• What was God’s message to the exiles? 16 • What is God’s message to you as you travel through life? • How will the message of Isaiah 55 help the people coming out of exile to restore their lives physically and spiritually? • How can you relate the message in Isaiah 55 as you witness to your neighbors?
John 7:37-39 (NRSV)
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Week 5 of Lent
March 22, 2021
Led by Rev. Bill Roberts (First UMC Norwood) Scripture for the Week: John 7:37-39 (NRSV) On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Prayer for the Week: Heavenly Father, fill us again with your Holy Spirit, that living waters might flow from our hearts. Amen.
Take a few moments to consider your own baptism. If you were older, you may remember it clearly. If you were an infant, you may only know that it happened and nothing more. Either way, the gift is a real and effective gift from God.
Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
In this passage, Paul gives us a list of gifts given to each believer by the Holy Spirit. This is not an exhaustive list. Other spiritual gifts are listed elsewhere in the New Testament.
Let’s be clear: spiritual gifts are not the same thing as talents. If someone sews well, that is a talent. If he or she gives away what they sew to help folks in need, that is the spiritual gift of generosity.
Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.
Here, Paul gives us the image of the Church as the body of Christ. An effective body needs all of its parts working together, each doing its part. If even the most overlooked part isn’t functioning, the whole body is diminished.
As we know too well, many are lost, many are suffering, many are alone, many are angry, many are addicted, and many feel unwanted and unloved. Together with others in your church, you have the Spiritual power to offer comfort, community, and hope to people just like these.
Read John 14:12-17.
Jesus makes it clear: we will not receive the Holy Spirit until after his departure. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we will do the works that Jesus has done. In fact, Jesus says, we “will do greater works that these.”
Think about all those that Jesus healed, that Jesus taught, that Jesus fed, that Jesus loved. Now, think about Jesus’ promise that, with the gift of the Holy Spirit, we would do greater works than these!
Once again, let’s read John 7:37-39.
It can all be overwhelming. It seems as if we can never do enough, and never be good enough. But our passage from John 7 begins with an invitation
Read Luke 19:28-40
By entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Jesus is entering the week which would conclude with his death on the cross, and three days later, his resurrection. In other words, Jesus was about to be glorified, fulfilling all that he foretold.
By shouting our praise to Jesus, just as his disciples did on that Sunday morning in Jerusalem, we are allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through us. That praise is a powerful flow of the living water from our hearts.
Prayer for the week
Heavenly Father, fill us again with your Holy Spirit, that living waters might flow from our hearts. Amen.
This year, Stony Hill is providing our ‘safer-at-home’ members with a special bag to make online Easter services more meaningful. Each bag will Include enough communion cups for the family.
Please call Kay Mills @ 704-982-9445 to “reserve” a bag with the correct number of cups for your family.
The bags will be delivered to you during Holy Week.
A COVENANT PRAYER IN THE WESLEYAN TRADITION
I am not longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what Thou wilt,
rank me with whom Thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by Thee or laid aside for Thee,
exalted for Thee or brought low for Thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to Thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son , and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am Thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Dear Stony hill Family,
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
I am writing this letter to you on Ash Wednesday and pondering what these forty days of Lent will look like for us this year. Then I realized that it has been more than 40 weeks, almost one year, since we last gathered inside our sanctuary for worship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty represents “a long time” in the scriptures (Israelites wander in the wilderness, (Numbers 14) Jesus’ temptation (Matt. 4) and well, it has been a ‘long time’ since we were together in the sanctuary for worship.
This year has been difficult as we have faced one challenge after another individually, corporately and communally. Yet, as I think about it, I guess I should say this year has brought us one opportunity after another. Despite the difficulties we have continued to worship, and to be in mission and ministry to the community and the world. We have sought and continue to seek God’s guidance and grace as we ‘do and be’ church differently in this season that we find ourselves in. We have much to praise God for and to celebrate as the body of faith, Christ’s holy church.
In June 2020, I formed a Task Force to help me make the best decisions for church as one body during the pandemic. The team consists of persons in leadership at Stony Hill and is diverse in age, gender, and work/life experience. The task force’s objective is to help me (the pastor) make the best and most informed decisions for Stony Hill. We have used the three General Rules of the UMC to undergird our decision making:
1) Do no harm, 2) Do good, and 3) Keep the ordinances of God.
I share with the task force communications and guidelines that I receive from the Conference, and the NCDHHS as well as Stanly County Health and Human Services. We meet periodically via ZOOM to review the COVID-19 data available, discuss what other churches are doing for worship and to assess when and how we can safely resume worship. The task force ensures that we evaluate the situation from various perspectives and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance to make the hard decisions about gathering that impact each of you spiritually and physically. This team of folks has helped me navigate the rough waters of the Covid-19 pandemic over these many months.
We have developed a plan to reopen the sanctuary for worship for those who are comfortable with gathering inside the sanctuary. A copy of the plan is enclosed. We will have limited capacity of 44 people to maintain safe distancing and masks must be worn at all times. Hopefully, this plan will be implemented soon (tentative date is 2/28). When the decision is confirmed to reopen, I will use our OneCall system to announce it as well as post it on Facebook and the Stony Hill UMC website.
We understand that not everyone feels safe gathering inside for worship so we will continue to offer drive-in worship via the FM transmitter and post the service on our website and Facebook page.
I am thankful for those who have prayed without ceasing for our church and for me over these 40 plus weeks of COVID shut down. I long for the day when we can resume some of our traditions. Please know that the task force and I continue to develop best practices and seek out new ways of doing and being the church in the present.
*Please see the Re-opening Guidelines below*
A huge thank you to everyone that is donating your time, your effort and your prayers in helping to keep our church going during the pandemic; and helping to get our services moved back into the church building. This also includes everyone that is attending our drive-in services and our virtual services.
Parking for those entering church for worship is on the cemetery side of the church.
Parking for drive-in worship is on the fellowship hall side of the church.
· Practice 3 W’s
o Wear Mask
o Wash/use sanitizer
o Wait/maintain 6 ft distance from anyone not in your household.
· Enter from church through the narthex (vestibule). If you cannot navigate the steps, you may use the ramp entrance.
· Table in the entry area will have sanitizer, thermometer (for usher’s use), signage, communion elements (if the Lord’s Supper will be part of the service), offering basket, any other information for distribution.
· Pews/seating is marked/blocked to designate safe distance seating. Please do not remove or change the designated seating areas. Enter pews from outside aisles and fill pews front to back, side to side.
· Once you are seated, we ask that you remain seated and do not move around the sanctuary. Bathrooms are available, if needed.
· Usher/Greeter outside will:
o Help you find a parking space.
o Distribute communion elements and other information.
o Maintain the offering receptacle (put in the trunk until service ends so it can be counted.
· Usher/Greeter inside will:
o Check temperature.
o Provide mask, if necessary. Mask must be worn inside the church at all times.
o Keep record of attendees (for contact tracing, if needed)
o Track the number of attendees. Cannot exceed our maximum number of 45 (including volunteers assisting with service). If we exceed that number, please ask them to return to their vehicles and participate via FM transmission.
o Guide/direct you to seating. We will alternate sides and seat front to back.
o Sit with members of your household. Singles and/or couples may share a pew with one-on-one end of the pew and another on the other end of the pew as long as 6 feet distance can be maintained between the different households.
o Release row by row for exiting the sanctuary (back to front and side to side)
o Please maintain 6 feet distance as you exit.
· Sanctuary will be sanitized after the worship service.
· We offer drive-in worship for those who do not feel safe worshiping inside yet. Inside worship is offered for those who are comfortable and feel safe worshiping in this manner. Each person must make this choice for themselves and honor the choices of others.
Volunteers needed each Sunday: Usher/Greeter -2 inside, 1 outside
Musician/ Special music
Camera/phone-start and stop FB Live
Trustee to spray sanitizing mister
Sunday services are at 10:30 am, inside the sanctuary, and for our drive-in service as well. Each Sunday service will be post our Facebook page as soon as possible but no later than the following Monday morning. We do apologize but our internet service capability will not allow us to stream from inside the sanctuary.
Drive-in service is on frequency 104.9 FM. We are now able to bring chairs and sit with our own families in accordance with the COVID 19 guidelines.
Wherever you are and go, please remember to wash your hands and/or use sanitizer frequently, wear masks and continue to maintain the "safe distance". Remember we do these safety measures because of love and concern for others.
Prayer isn’t a ritual that depends on closing our eyes and putting on holy faces. We don’t have to kneel or sit. We can pray while walking, driving, or working. God responds to a two word cry for help in the middle of a busy afternoon, just like He does to a focused prayer time after reading Scripture in the morning. Praying doesn’t have to be complicated. God delights in any simple words we offer Him.
With your loving tithes and offerings our church can continue through this very trying time. You have a few options as to how to donate:
WNCCUMC.org: A giving portal is now available through the conference to submit tithes and offerings to any United Methodist Church within the Western North Carolina to make a donation or submit your tithe to Stony Hill UMC, simply use the DONATE ONLINE HERE button below:
Complete the form on the link, with “Stony Hill UMC” as the church, pastor as “‘Kaye Fry”, the amount you wish to donate, and the bank account or card information for payment. It will also ask you to designate the church fund ( such as General Fund, Missions, etc. ) Once a month, the conference will remit the donations to the specified church, minus the 2.9% convenience fees (unless you choose to add the amount of the fees to your donation). The 2.9% Convenience fees are charged by the credit card companies. No fee is being charged by the Conference, and there are no additional fees or service costs for the churches. This is a free resource from the Conference to our churches. We thank you for your generosity and look forward to the day we can worship together in our sanctuary! If you have an immediate need the church can help with, please let us know!
STONY HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Pastor: Kaye Fry
Ministers: The Whole Congregation
28996 Stony Hill Rd. Albemarle, NC 28001
Church Phone: 704.982.7211. See below for all of Pastor Kays contact numbers
Dear Congregation of Stony Hill:
Our hope is that by not gathering in large groups we can change the course of Covid-19 virus and prevent more cases.
If these are typically the Sundays that you contribute your tithe to the church, you can mail your check to the church address at 28996 Stony Hill Road, Albemarle, NC 28001."
Please be in prayer for all who are impacted by this virus in ways that we may not yet even understand. I trust that God is with us and we can hold onto his words of comfort from Isaiah 41:10 "do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."
Please call and forward this to others so that we can make sure the word gets out to everyone.
If you need to reach Pastor Kaye, please call or text her cell at 336-596-3667. You may also call the parsonage number 704-982-2605. Pastor Kaye’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you Facebook, send her a request.
Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter! Check them for upcoming worship experiences and activities at the Church.
Our State and Nation, Community Schools, Pastor Kaye, Pat & David Mills, Ophelia Riggins, Ophelia Blalock, Bryan Booth, Bryan Starnes, Carolyn Terry, Kenneth Stoker, The Mills family, Bonnie Russell, Francis Furr, The Matheney family,
Shut-ins: Mary Ellen Aldridge, Ron & Loretta Allred, Gene Helms,
Gene Watkins, Zelma Johnson, Carolyn Terry, Kenneth Stoker.
***If you have a prayer concern that you would like added or deleted from the list, please call or email Pastor at the parsonage or church office.
Taking care of our neighbors and ourselves makes for a stronger community. Looking out for one another ensures a safer and happier neighborhood. If you are concerned about a church family member give them a wellness check call.
When we all do a little, we can do so much!