Greetings Louisburg UMC,
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I am feeling much better from having COVID-19. My symptoms are gone except for being tired. In talking with other people who have had COVID-19, it sounds like it will take a little longer to get over being tired. Because I get tired so easy, we are going to have only one service at 10:30 on Sunday. This Sunday is called Better Together! I hope that you will join us live at church or via the live stream as we lay out our goals and practices for 2021. 
Like all of you, I was stunned on Wednesday to witness the riots taking place at the capital. It will go down as one of the worst days in our country's history. I find myself struggling to find the words that fit my emotions: anger, shock, disbelief to name a few. I am praying for the families of the 5 people who lost their lives. 5 people will not be with their families ever again because of what happened on Wednesday. I am praying for law enforcement to bring the rioters to justice. But most of all, I am praying for the way forward. What we need more than ever is for our actions as Christian's to reflect the Lord's prayer: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." As God's people, let us listen to one another, extend grace, and be quick to forgive. 
I'd like to make sure each of you has an opportunity to join us in Jaunary (virtually) and am sending these opportunities again:


1) In November of last year, I was invited by the Great Plains Conference to go through some training in how to address difficult subjects in the church. The training was led by Dr. Leah Schade, seminary professor and author of the book "Preaching in the Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide." Within the training, Dr. Schade invited each of us to pick a topic from a set of discussion guides to use in our church. The idea of Dr. Schade's system is for the pastor to pick a topic, preach a sermon to introduce the topic, and then gather those interested in the topic to come together for a time of deliberative dialogue. On Sunday, January 17 I will be preaching the message about our topic, with an online deliberative dialogue planned for Monday, January 18 at 6:30 pm. The discussion guide topic will be "A House Divided: What Would We Have to Give Up to Get the Political System We Want?" Attached with this email is the discussion guide for you to read and review. I would encourage you to read the guide. The goal of this process is to open intentional space for dialogue (not to push an agenda), and to see where we as a church might find common ground. The deliberative dialogue will take place over zoom. Please sign up here.  The Zoom invite will be emailed to you the evening before the meeting.
2) The 2nd opportunity in January is a workshop on healthy relationships that will be led by Rev. Bill Selby. Rev. Selby has spent much of his career working with pastors and professionals to teach people how to be healthy and have healthy relationships. I would highly recommend this workshop that takes place online Wednesday, January 13 and Wednesday, January 20 at 6:30 pm. Attached with this email is the invitation that we received from the conference. You will need to follow this link to sign up for this online event which is hosted by 5Rivers & Parsons Districts.  
As always, M&M Club takes a winter break each year & will resume on February 17.  But, we have a special Winter Fun Night w/ Pizza scheduled for Wednesday, January 27 from 5:30-7:30pm!  Registration is required via this link.  Marilou has lots of fun activities planned and the kids will have a great time!
Pastor Brad