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Welcome - From PAstor Brian

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about Grottoes United Methodist Church,
and why we would love for you to join us as we live out our faith committed to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
At Grottoes United Methodist Church,
we embrace the motto of the United Methodist Church “Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors”.  
We are a gathering of Christians who come from many different walks of life, who carry a variety of life experiences, and faith experiences.  
Among us are those who are curious about what church is and there are those who have begun to develop a maturing faith in Jesus Christ.  
We live, learn, and grow together as we develop and deepen our faith.
At Grottoes United Methodist Church we understand that people learn and grow their faith by a variety of means.  
That is why we try to offer diverse opportunities to experience God at work in our lives through Worship, Christian Education, and Spiritual Development.  
You can join us in worship, be a part of a small group study or Sunday School class to engage with as you develop relationships within the church community.
We are a community that believes in “loving God and loving our neighbor”.  
You can join us as we engage in mission opportunities and outreach to our community and around the world.
Churches are made up of human beings who are not perfect,
but God takes our imperfect lives and uses us in glorious ways,
when we choose to give ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ and become living sacrifices to the glory of God.  
I hope you will take the time to check us out on Sunday mornings, in person or on our Live Stream,
and I look forward to getting to know you.
I want to invite you to join us as we live out our mission:
“To Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.”  
So come as you are, from where ever you are, and just be who you are.  Hope to see you soon!

Redeem your story

Here at Grottoes United Methodist Church, we know that everyone has a story. The beauty of the gospel is that no matter what your life's story is, Jesus has come to redeem it and give it another ending. That's why we proclaim that we can not stop speaking about what we have seen and heard!

Why Ashes on Wednesday?

This month on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, we will observe Ash Wednesday in a worship service at 7:30p.m.  It seems that many may not really know much about the importance of Ash Wednesday or why we observe is during the course of our Christian Calendar year. Therefore it tends to be a seldom attended worship service. Despite the powerful call for us to repent and prepare our hearts for the high holy season of Easter.
Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. Although Ash Wednesday has ancient roots, it does not appear in the rituals of The United Methodist Church or our predecessor denominations until the 20th century.
Ash Wednesday emphasizes two themes: our sinfulness before God and our human mortality. The service focuses on both themes, helping us realize that both have been triumphed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Ashes are an ancient symbol. In Genesis, we read that God formed human beings out of the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). After expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the first human beings are told by God, “you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19 NRSV). The Hebrew word translated dust, is occasionally translated ashes elsewhere. Throughout scripture, ashes are part of rituals when people seek forgiveness and mourn their sin (see Numbers 19:9, 17; Hebrews 9:13; Jonah 3:6; Matthew 11:21, and Luke 10:13, among others).
The imposition of ashes on the heads of Christians to mark the beginning of Lent can be traced at least to the 10th century.
Marking the forehead with the sign of the cross is a more recent adaptation.
In earlier centuries, ashes were used to mark those who had been separated from the church because of serious sins and were seeking to be re-admitted to the fellowship of the church. In effect, they were redoing the process of final preparation for church membership along with those doing it for the first time. They were sprinkled with ashes and given rough garments to wear as a sign of sorrow for their sins and their commitment to seek renewal in Christian life through this season.
Since the tenth century, the observance of Ash Wednesday has become a general rite for all in the Western church. United Methodists first adopted an official ritual for Ash Wednesday that involves the use of ashes in the 1992 Book of Worship. Prior to that time, Methodists either had no official service at all for this day (through 1964) or an “ash-less” Ash Wednesday Service (1965 Book of Worship). Ashes are an "accessory" that demonstrates an awareness of mortality and an intent to repent. The actual awareness and the corporate and personal acts of repentance are the substance of services for the first day of Lent. In many churches the ashes are made by burning the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday.
As the ashes are placed on the forehead, words such as these are spoken: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return," recalling God's words to Adam in Genesis 3:19, or “Repent, and believe the gospel” recalling the message of both John the Baptist and Jesus (Mark 1:15).
Through the service of ashes on the first day of Lent, we come before God recognizing our humanity, repenting of our sin, and remembering who we are and who we can be.

Adapted from:   https://www.umc.org/en/content/ask-the-umc-when-did-ash-wed-begin-and-why-do-we-celebrate-it

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