Dear Members and Friends of First UMC, Pete Seeger wrote the

Dear Members and Friends of First UMC,
Pete Seeger wrote the lyrics. The Byrds made it a hit song. And the opening verses of
Ecclesiastes 3 became written into the heart of a generation: For everything – turn, turn, turn –
there is a season – turn, turn, turn …
The writer of Ecclesiastes then goes on to say:
What do workers gain from all their hard work? 10 I have observed the task that God has
given human beings. 11 God has made everything fitting in its time, but has also placed
eternity in their hearts, without enabling them to discover what God has done from beginning
to end. 12 I know that there’s nothing better for them but to enjoy themselves and do what’s
good while they live. 13 Moreover, this is the gift of God: that all people should eat, drink, and
enjoy the results of their hard work. 14 I know that whatever God does will last forever; it’s
impossible to add to it or take away from it. God has done this so that people are reverent
before him. 15 Whatever happens has already happened, and whatever will happen has
already happened before. – Eccl 3:9-15a, CEB
Much hard work has brought architectural plans to be ready for the production of bid
documents. Much hard work has laid the groundwork for the public launch of the capital fund
campaign. And much prayer has covered this work, seeking to be faithful individually and
corporately, to God’s will for us and God’s work among us.
A spiritual mentor once suggested that God often answers prayer with a “Yes”, a “No”, or a “Not
Yet.” Through the course of campaign meetings over the last week, the recommendation has
come from the leadership of the Renewal Campaign, and received support from the Leadership
Board, to extend the timeline of the Renewal Campaign and delay the public launch to raise
capital funds. Our collective prayers have discerned “Not Yet”. We have agreed to reassess
our readiness in January.
This means that the capital fundraising campaign and vote will not be completed this fall. The
sanctuary renewal project continues, but with an extended timeline. I am meeting with our
Leadership Board and staff, and reaching out to resources from the Consultation Initiative Team
and district and conference leadership.
What does this mean to you? Please continue the 40-day prayer journey we launched last
Sunday, using the 40 Day Prayer Guide for Oct 1 – Nov 9. (They are available in the sanctuary,
chapel, and church office.) Please make plans to participate in one of the Lifestyle Stewardship
study groups, as we continue to grow in our understanding of what it means to be a steward of
all that God has entrusted to us. Please make plans to join us on November 23, Thanksgiving
Sunday, as we celebrate the harvest of our annual stewardship commitments and share in a
Thanksgiving potluck.
And, please, join me in continuing to pray “God, what do you want to do through me – to bring
your kingdom to earth as it is in heaven, to make disciples of your Son, my Savior?” And be
ready to enjoy the work that God has prepared for you!
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Wendy S. Lybarger
Pastor, First UMC - Athens