Pastor's Note
A word from Reverend, Dr. Allison Byerley, Senior Pastor

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I have never had such pleasant weather for the end of August (haze not withstanding)! It's a reminder that fall is around the corner, and, for many of us, a return from travels and guests to a more regular routine, including returning to church.

It's so easy to get out of the habit of Sunday worship. I've known people who get so embarrassed that they stop coming entirely. How sad. We are poorer for their absence, and the odds are they don't find another place to worship, so everyone loses.

This year, the Council on Ministries and the Worship Committee are collaborating to host Back to Church Sunday on September 16th. This national program aims to provide a place for anyone and everyone who wants to go to church. Participating churches have access to materials and support to reach out.

Last Sunday, I shared 10 ways that inviting someone to church changes the church. I have included the article in this newsletter and I urge you to read it. We are used to the idea that church can change the person who is invited, but the thought that this can change the church itself is powerful.

The most effective inviter I ever met was in the church I served in Houston. I was amazed at her persistence and success. I asked her once why she invited so many people to church. She looked at me in surprise. "When you have something this good in your life, you want to share it with as many people as you can!" she said.

What about you? What is better than the love of God, the grace of our Savior, and the presence of the Holy Spirit? No, you don't have to come to church to experience these things, but, if you have spent any length of time away from the church (as I did when I was in my 20s), you know that it's hard-er to be faithful and disciplined without other pilgrims/disciples around you.

We have something wonderful here at Mariposa UMC! Reach out to someone and invite them to come and experience it too. The Open Hearts Blue Grass Band will be leading music on September 16th and I'm starting a new sermon series called “What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” that focuses on the basics of our faith.

And, if you've been away for a while, come back without fear or embarrassment. We've missed you!

Allison

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