Notes from the pastor

Notes from the pastor

Author: Pastor Ray Warren (June 8, 2023)
Daniel Hyers, in my estimation, was a saint. He was a plain man. Probably about 5'11, 175 lbs., and bald. When I knew him best, he was in his late 50's, I would guess. His occupation was a traditional barber of the “Mayberry” era. He was also a mild man, better yet a humble man...(more)
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (May 11, 2023)
This is not a rhetorical question. I am not coming up with a witty or catchy title to an article to get you to read to the end (but hey if it works). This is a serious inquiry and I would love your input. In fact, on this question I would love for you to actually respond to it in one way or another...(more)
Author: Pastor Ray Warren (April 27, 2023)

It’s graduation time! This is such an exciting time of year! Too, it can be daunting! I remember my college graduation so very well, and not for good reasons. After all the graduation ceremonies, I went back to my room to finish packing up and cleaning up. As I worked, I remember thinking— (more)



Author: Pastor Ray Warren (April 13, 2023)
Several years ago we had a neighbor who was an artist. He was quite a good artist in my mind. He had great paintings and photographs as well. When you get to know Wally (not his real name), it was obvious that he was always on the lookout for the perfect view...(more)


Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (March 30, 2023)

I AM CHOOSING GRATITUDE! As I write this article that first sentence is something I’m telling myself more than I’m telling you. It’s something I’m aspiring to, because I’ve not actually accomplished it yet (but maybe by the end of this letter). I’m willing myself to choose (more)

Author: Pastor Ray Warren (March 16, 2023)
I do not like green peas. You know, those little round ones. I have never liked them, as a child or an adult.
I remember as a child that my mother would cook those stinking peas at least every-other-day (I think the older I got the more frequent the times mom cooked them). I hated...(more)
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (March 2, 2023)
Have you heard of this thing called “At The Table?” If not, have you been living under a rock?! (Read to the end for a special request!) At The Table is Front Street UMC’s weekly video series where we explore Christian faith in our daily lives. We see the alter...(more)
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (January 19, 2023)
Hey friends and family of Front Street UMC. This was told in a recent announcement at both our services, but in case you missed that: our longtime worship leader of Aldersgate contemporary worship, Clay Stevenson, is finishing his time at the end of this month. Clay has been a wonderful...(more)
Author: Pastor Ray Warren (January 5, 2023)
Growing up, my uncle and his family lived at a southern national nature preserve - we called it a swamp. I loved going there. However, there were many hazards associated with living in the South Georgia swamps. There were bugs - I mean BIG BUGS; mosquitoes, bees, and roaches. There are also...(more)

Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (December 8, 2022)

Brothers and Sisters of Front Street United Methodist Church, and friends and family connected to us, I want to take a moment to say thank you to each and every one of you! If you have participated in life with us, worshiped on Sundays (online and in person), helped build ramps...(more)


Author: Pastor Ray Warren (November 10, 2022)

Live Generously! I saw this “slogan” on a t-shirt recently. I wonder what the person believed his t-shirt meant? What does it mean to live generously? “Live” is an action verb; therefore, to live generously requires us to act. Scripture tells us faith without action is dead (James 2:17). (more)


Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (October 27, 2022)

Oh the lessons we can learn from children! They are born to be mighty philosophers, I think. The work that every little child does to figure out the great intricacies of our world would rival that of Plato and Aristotle. They seem innately capable of discerning great problems...(more



Author: Pastor Ray Warren (October 13, 2022)

My guess is as soon as you read the word “stewardship” your eyes glaze over and you move on to something else to read. Do me a huge favor, READ ON!  Typically, we talk about “stewardship” once a year and even then we do so in code. For instance, when we use the word...(more)



Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (September 29, 2022)

When you think of Front Street United Methodist Church, what comes to mind? Take a second to close your eyes and focus on the very first image (not project, but image) you come up with. Is it the green cross at the top of our newsletter? Is it the cross and flame of the Methodist...(more)

Author: Pastor Ray Warren (September 1, 2022)
A few weeks ago in worship, we looked at a guy named Zacchaeus. Even though he was well-known and wealthy, Zacchaeus was so eager to see Jesus that he climbed a tree to make up for his low stature. But because of his mission, Jesus was more eager to see Zacchaeus...(more)


Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (August 4, 2022)

What happened to the popular trend of learning new words? I remember about 10 years ago when many people around me were learning new words daily or weekly. It was fun to know who was trying to learn new words. I would spend time with them in conversation...(more)



Author: Pastor Ray Warren (July 7, 2022)

What a humbling honor to be appointed to serve as your Lead Pastor. I come knowing that many of you are grieving Pastor Ross Carter’s retirement and departure. It is difficult living into loss and transitions. Yet, I believe our Lord has much more Kingdom work...(more


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (June 9, 2022)

As you have probably heard, I will be retiring as of Annual Conference this June. First, I want to thank everyone who has responded with such kind words. After 5 years of living in community with you, we have grown to love everyone. We will also miss you as we move into this next...(more)
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (May 26, 2022)
The Israelites began their time as slaves in Egypt because Joseph (of the coat of many colors) brought them all there during a famine. In the book of Numbers there is a talking donkey. The lineage of Jesus includes a prostitute. There are psalms that include cursing your enemies...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (May 12, 2022)

He lay in bed one night thinking of how off-track his life had gotten. She sat at the stoplight one day and wondered why she didn’t feel as close to God as she used to feel. It happens that they are both lifelong Christians; but over time they have drifted from God...(more)
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (April 2, 2022)
There was a man named Philip journeying through a wilderness road from Jerusalem to Gaza. On the way he met an unnamed person who held a high position in the courts of Queen Candace of Ethiopia. The unnamed person was reading an old text and seemed to be having...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (April 14, 2022)

Situated between the crushing weight of Good Friday, and the miraculous joy of that weight being lifted on Easter Sunday, is the burden of Holy Saturday. Holy Saturday is a day we don’t think about very much. Maybe we don’t know what to do with it, so we just skip over it...(more
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (March 31, 2022)
I was chatting with a great friend recently and we discussed Lenten practices. My practice has been a more robust prayer time in the mornings. That’s something I’ve been better about in certain life stages, and worse about in others. I haven’t been perfect about it...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (March 17, 2022)

A word that we use a lot in the church is discipleship. But what is discipleship really? Well, from the scriptures above we are reminded that God is the first mover in this spiritual relationship between God and humankind. God initiates a relationship with you, and your positive response...(more
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (March 3, 2022)
It’s Lent! This new season of the church has begun. Have you begun your practice of it? Yes, there are practices! Lent is the season of the church where we attempt to journey even more closely to the ministry of Jesus. Many people will practice this by giving up something...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (February 17, 2022)

It won’t be long before the season of Lent will be upon us. As always, we will begin with an Ash Wednesday Service (March 2 @ 7 p.m.); and, we will continue our observance through Holy Week. Lent is partly a time of self-reflection – a time to take stock...(more


Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (February 3, 2022)

If you are reading this on Friday, February 4th, it’s my birthday! I thank God for another year of life, and ask for blessings over this next new year in creation. I’m also thankful for those who will celebrate with me, and I want to invite you to celebrate as well. Now, I don’t necessarily...(more)

Author: Pastor Ross Carter (January 6, 2022)
Is life something that happens to you, or are you actively engaged in giving direction to your life’s path? If I’m not careful a great part of my life can take on the shape of the next crisis or issue that pops up. Now don’t get me wrong, those types of issues need attention; however, they should not....(more)
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (December 9, 2021)
Advent is an invitation. For many, it is the invitation to get into that Christmas spirit, to count down the days to the grand celebration, and let the holiday transform everything around us. But there is a deeper and more profound invitation being offered in the season of Advent...(more)
Author: Pastor Ross Carter (November 25, 2021)
From the moment we put the big bird in the oven till the last of the turkey sandwiches are gone, the focus of Thanksgiving is usually food. To be honest I’m a big fan of the turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce sandwich…with white bread and a slather of Duke’s mayo. So, enjoy the food...(more)
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (November 11, 2021)
We are in the midst of stewardship! What is the first thing you think of when you think of stewardship? Maybe, “oh no, the church is asking for me to give all my money away again.” Part of this is true. No, the church doesn’t want all of your money, but it is a time for each of us to commit to...(more)
Author: Pastor Ross Carter (October 28, 2021)
I want to begin by thanking everyone who has supported the mission and ministry of Front Street this year with your financial gifts. The wonderful ministry that is done out of our church could not be accomplished without us all contributing our resources. We are truly stronger together...(more)
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (October 14, 2021)
Tis the season! For what, you ask? Could I be talking about the fall season, where we prepare for change of weather? Time to get out the sweaters at the back of the closet and dust off the cookbook with your favorite soups. Maybe I mean one of the upcoming holidays...(more)
Author: Chris Huneycutt (October 12, 2021)

Greetings Front Street Family!  Here’s a surprise entry in this week’s "Happenings" email. I was talking with Ross this past Sunday morning about an idea/article/thought that has been percolating in my mind and heart and wanted to take a stab at presenting it to you, so bear with me...(more)

Author: Pastor Ross Carter (September 30, 2021)
I, like you, am a Christian disciple. It’s important for me to participate in worship and the rest of church life. And it’s important for you, too. Why should we keep regular company with other people who profess to believe as we do? Why can’t we just stay home and watch... (more)
Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (September 17, 2021)
Just a few weeks ago we talked about the importance of learning in the discipleship.  Certainly we are to learn more and more of what it means to be a disciple, but sometimes that goal can weigh us down.  How can we learn to be a disciple?  Who is the best model?  Is there a degree for this?...(more)
Author: Pastor Ross Carter (September 2, 2021)
As we began our Alive Again sermon series, in the traditional service we closed worship by singing, “Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart, in my heart; Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart.” To many of you that may sound like a very simplistic thought for a congregation...(more)


Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (August 5, 2021)

Friends and family, brothers and sisters, guests and longtime members. We are moving more and more into a new era where health and safety are less at threat due to COVID -19. You have been patient and kind with our church staff and leadership team as we all have learned to live...(more)



Author: Pastor Stephan Margeson (July 8, 2021)

The beginning our new adventure in Christian ministry is finally here. When I say ‘our’ I do mean my family, but I also include you. I’m hoping and praying that this new chapter in both our lives will include continued health and safety for us all. Know that I have been praying for you...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (May 13, 2021)

A church affected by COVID requires a different approach. Like every other church, the ministries of Front Street have been affected as a result of over a year with COVID. Some ministries, like some of the Sunday School classes, have persevered using new technologies. Even the music...(more)

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (May 27, 2021)
As I sit down to write this, I realize this will be my last newsletter article to you, Front Street United Methodist Church. And I wonder, how do I begin to account for the ways God has been so good to us these last six years? To be honest, I’m unsure that any language...(more)
Author: Pastor Ross Carter (May 13, 2021)
Worship is something we do together. Over the past year, as a worshipping congregation we have had to create a make-do online worship experience. Luckily we already had the technological means to stream worship. We had been doing it for a while for the benefit of those in our congregation...(more)
Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (April 29, 2021)

This verse has haunted me (in a good way) for years now. Here Paul recalls how he and those ministering with him fell into relationship with the various people who together became the church in the ancient city of Thessalonica. Paul and his companions preached the Gospel...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (April 15, 2021)

Do you ever feel as if everyone else is receiving blessing from God and you are left out? The truth is God is faithful to His promises, and He wants to pour blessing into your life. Many times receiving blessing is a result (or consequence) of obedience...(more)

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (April 1, 2021)
Change has been about the only certainty for us in the last year. But not all of the changes we’ve experienced have been bad. With the rollout of vaccines and (hopefully) the continued adherence to pandemic guidelines, we will slowly change back into a pattern of normalcy...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (March 18, 2021)

In the passage above, the Apostle Paul is saying that neither he, nor his fellow workers for the cause of Christ, will lose heart.  They continued to experience all kinds of suffering as a result of their Kingdom work, but they had something that kept them going.  They had a hope ...(more)
Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (March 4, 2021)

Of everything that Jesus voices from the cross, this question shatters our illusions that Jesus can save us by any other way than his suffering, rejection, and death. His cry isnt the request for forgiveness or the promise of paradise and community; this is horror. Jesus the Christ...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (February 18, 2021)

What? Another article having to do with the pandemic?! Yep. Kind of.  In March 2020, I thought this COVID-19 thing would be gone by the end of flu season. Boy, was I wrong. It’s now 2021. There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel since people are now being vaccinated. However...(more)

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (February 4, 2021)
“The Church is in God’s keeping.  We do not have the right to be anxious about it.  We have our Lord’s word that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  The crux of the matter is that we have been chosen to be the bearers of good news for the whole world.”  Lesslie Newbigin...(more)




As we move further into this new year of 2021, I think about all of you, and about my family and me. I have no idea what this year ahead holds for any of us. (I learned that from thinking I knew what 2020 held as it began.) For most of us, this past year was a mixed bag...(more)
Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (January 7, 2021)
Here we are, having turned over into 2021.  For many of us the dawning of new year signals the setting aside of what from the previous year we hope to leave behind, and the taking up of newer and healthier practices.  We brim with anticipation at what a new 365-day span of time...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (December 10, 2020)

I’ve heard it said, “It’s not the destination; it’s the journey.” As we move into the seasons of Advent and Christmas, I would suggest the real joy is found in the journey. The Lord says, “Shout and rejoice, O Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you.” (Zech 2:10) In those words....(more)

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (November 26, 2020)
As Christians we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves as an expression of our love for God. If we hope to live these commandments that Jesus named as the “greatest,” then we cannot approach the time in which we are living with preconceptions, presumptions, and conspiracies...(more)
Author: Pastor Ross Carter (November 12, 2020)
Can you believe it?!  It seems like we do this every year.  That’s because we do.  (LOL)  Some folks don’t like stewardship campaigns as a means to drum up support for the church budget, but I think it’s a good practice.  It’s a good exercise for Christian disciples to...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (October 29, 2020)

The Book of Esther tells one of the most remarkable stories in the Bible, a story of intrigue, subterfuge, and ultimately salvation.  Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the least read stories in the Bible.  God is never mentioned, not once, even though traces of God’s grace...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (October 15, 2020)

It’s easy to get swept us in the hoopla surrounding elections isn’t it?  We live in a fast paced society that is characterized by 10 second sound bites and partial truths (which we don’t recognize as borderline lies because we move so quickly that we don’t have time to figure...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (October 2, 2020)

By the grace of the living God, everyone has a gift — something they alone give to the world and express through the communion of Christ’s church. And because everyone has a gift we can surmise that everyone in and of themselves is a gift. Without your being all in, without...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (September 17, 2020)

The passage from John 13 tells about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. That passage always amazes me. The Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, gets down on the floor and debases himself as he attempts (once more) to demonstrate humility and service...(more)


Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (September 4, 2020)

One of the most remarkable scenes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes at the movie’s end, when the few surviving Resistance fighters board their ship and escape the devastation brought down on them by the evil First Order. In the cabin of the ship the trilogy’s protagonist, Rey...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (August 6, 2020)

In some ways, this whole COVID mess has separated us from one another. In other settings, it has brought us closer together; and, by closer together I mean in proximity, not necessarily relationally. Some of you have been thrown together inside the house with your spouse, your child...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (July 9, 2020)

More times than I can count, I have witnessed or held conversations in which it was clear that someone was not listening to the person with whom they were speaking, but rather waiting impatiently to voice what they planned to say all along, as if presuming to know... (more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (June 11, 2020)

Wow!  Who knew when we decided to not have in-person worship for the 3 remaining Sundays in March that we would be away this long!  But things like viruses have a way of affecting our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined.  Many years from now, this time...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (May 28, 2020)

Agency describes the amount of power and control we are capable of exerting in a given situation.  It is our ability to act. Culturally we put forward the idea that we have nearly unlimited agency—i.e., we can act to effect change and bring about our desired future because we have... (more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (May 14, 2020)

In the latter part of the year 1739, some new persons to the faith came to John Wesley to see if he would mentor them in their spiritual life. Over time, the number of people seeking guidance grew, and Wesley formed them into small groups. He gave structure to the...(more)


Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (April 30, 2020)

These last weeks, living under the shelter-in-place order and wrestling with my anxieties, I’ve begun to reflect on what this difficult season is teaching me.  When we emerge on the other side of this pandemic, we will have a choice either to take what we have learned in this crisis...(more)


 Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (April 2, 2020)

I know many of you may be feeling that you lack the ability to do anything grace-filled in this time of social distancing and quarantine.  While it is true that we are keeping to ourselves and caring for one another by being apart, we are neither helpless, hopeless, or alone...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (March 20, 2020)

I’ve never counted myself, but I’ve heard it said that the phrase “Fear not” occurs 365 times in the Bible. How interesting that it occurs once for every day of the year. No matter what’s happening, we are encouraged to be not afraid. Why is that do you think? I think it’s for a couple of reasons...(more)


 Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (March 5, 2020)

One of my favorite songs by The Avett Brothers is “Shame.” The chorus goes something like this: “Shame, boatloads of shame / Day after day, more of the same. / Blame, please lift it off / Please take it off, please make it stop.” When I listen to this song, it calls to my mind...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (February 20, 2020)

I enjoyed the following story recently in a devotional book, and thought I’d share it with you:


I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas....(more)


 Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (February 6, 2020)

I wonder if you’ve ever spent time reading and studying Ecclesiastes? Aside from the oft-quoted passage that begins, “There is a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens,” I bet you’d have a hard time recalling any of what it says, but maybe not...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (January 23, 2020)

As I was rummaging through a drawer a few months ago, I ran across a New Year Blessing that was given to me by my grandmother, Mama Tip.  Mama Tip died a number of years ago at the age of 101; but, isn’t it wonderful when we run across a little gift that we had forgotten about...(more


 Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (January 9, 2020)

I wonder what people said about you when you were born. Does your family have stories about what people thought or said the first time they saw you? Unfortunately, Scripture doesn’t give us cute memories of Jesus as a baby, though I’m sure there were those. Among the...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (December 12, 2019)

I was thinking recently that I need to do things differently this year.  Over the past couple of years Christmas has seemed to me to be a short breather between times of great busy-ness.  It has become little more than a holiday speed bump.  I long for the days when the anticipation...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (November 14, 2019)

I want to begin by thanking everyone who has supported the mission and ministry of Front Street in 2019 with your financial gifts.  The wonderful ministry that is done out of our church could not be accomplished without us all contributing our resources...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (October 31, 2019)

Giving is part of the character of God, and when we give we live in a way that reflects our Creator.  Financial giving is a spiritual practice, as it reminds us that all we have originates with God and belongs to God.  We are just the caretakers of God’s property; and, as we give out of what...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (October 17, 2019)

As we are created in the image of God – the imago dei – each one of us bears evidence of the divine within us. Who we are, in some way, is formed by that image of God within us.   However, there has been the longstanding debate over which is more important in determining...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (October 3, 2019)

The season of fall is upon us. For me, it’s a time to witness great beauty as I watch the trees dress themselves in reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. At the same time, fall brings something that I have never really gotten comfortable with, change. It’s a time of transition...(more)
Author: Pastor Ross Carter (September 19, 2019)
It’s so hard to keep from doing it. But it’s so easy to fall into it. After all, it seems to be a favorite pastime of people in our society – inside and outside of the church. Yet, as I reflect on it, I can’t help but think that it’s one of the things that causes the most conflict amongst people...(more



 Author: Pastor Ross Carter (September 5, 2019)

If there is one thing in this world that can rob you of the peace that Jesus means for you to have, it’s finances! However, restoration of that peace can be helped tremendously by learning how to handle your finances biblically. After all, God is the source of all we have...(more)



 Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (August 8, 2019)

Have you ever heard someone say, I’ll sleep when I’m dead? We jokingly offer sayings like this to indicate how busy our schedules are and how tired we feel because of them. All of our joking, however, betrays an unfortunate truth about how we live with calendars that are so full...(more)



 Author: Pastor Ross Carter (June 13, 2019)

Summer may sound like a great time for a vacation, and it is. Lots of people think that summer is a slow time around Front Street, but it’s not. Actually, for some of our ministries it is peak season – and the most expensive. Consider these important ministries that will happen this summer...(more)



 Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (May 30, 2019)

What comes first in your life?  For many of us, that question seems easy enough to answer.  Reflexively, we might say family, children, education, working hard, helping people, or if any of us feels particularly churchy, we might answer, “God!” However, I’m willing to bet that the more deeply you think... (more)


 Author: Pastor Ross Carter (May 16, 2019)

Have you ever wondered if what you are feeling called to do is of God?  Sometimes it’s really hard to tell.  I recently read a short article by Ron Edmondson on the subject.  I have shared some of it below, because he offers some thought-provoking ways to answer the question.  I hope...(more)


Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (May 2, 2019)
“The person who does not love remains in death.”  These words mean exactly what they say: whoever does not love stays dead.  John offers this challenge to his community of believers as they struggle to care for one another and stick together.  If you read the letter we call 1 John at length, you pick up...(more)
Author: Pastor Ross Carter (April 19, 2019)

A member of the church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going.  After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.  It was a chilly evening.  The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.  Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit...(more)


Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (April 4, 2019)

St. Francis of Assisi, who many of us know from his storied love of creation and of animals, began his life in a wealthy family before an experience with a naked and homeless stranger transformed his life into one of intense devotion as a follower of Jesus.  One particularly powerful story from his incredible life...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (March 7, 2019)

“For you are all one in Christ Jesus,” Paul declares, “And if you are in Christ, you are a descendent of Abraham, heirs according to the promise.”  Paul says that we are inheritors of a promise. And what is that promise?  It is that God will not abandon the world, least of all humankind.  The Galatian Christians...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (February 7, 2019)

The Rev. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Whenever God determines to do a great work, he first sets his people to pray.”  That is what I’m asking you to do.  Later this month (February 23-26), delegates from all over the world will gather in St Louis for a called General Conference of The United Methodist Church...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (February 7, 2019)

I want to take this moment to thank the members of our congregation for your faithfulness as you supported the mission and ministry of Front Street in 2018.  It takes all of us to accomplish the work of the Kingdom.  Below are some bullets containing areas of celebration related to our financial stewardship that I wanted...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (January 24, 2019)
God has designed us to be in relationship. Participation is how we share in the goodness God has gifted to us in Christ and the Holy Spirit.  There are a lot of definitions we could use, but participation in our context as the Church means we are called to build up “the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of faith and...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (January 10, 2019)
 Is life something that happens to you, or are you actively engaged in giving direction to your life’s path?  If I’m not careful a great part of my life can take on the shape of the next crisis or issue that pops up.  Now don’t get me wrong, those types of issues need attention, however, they should not be what gives direction to my life...(more)
Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (December 13, 2018)
Psalm 126 voices Israel’s thirst for God to redeem thAuthor: Pastor Ross Carter (November 29, 2018)eir circumstances in the way that the rains refresh and nourish the great watercourses of their native Negev Desert. The people of Israel remember how God rescued them from exile and returned them to the land. They confess, “When the LORD changed Zion’s circumstances for the better...(more)



In his work, The Long View, Don Underwood writes, “The disciples had been sitting around Jerusalem for three days. The crucifixion had wiped out all their hopes and dreams. In their understanding, Jesus was dead and buried, sealed forever in a tomb. It’s not that they were struggling to find some thin sliver of hope...(more)
Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (November 15, 2018)
The stewardship of our bodies, our relationships, and our resources play pivotal roles in whether we care for or neglect the larger world that God has gifted to us as our home.  “God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good,” (Genesis 1:31).  The world, from its beginning, has had the potential to display God’s...(more)



Author: Pastor Ross Carter (November 1, 2018)

From the moment we put the big bird in the oven till the last of the turkey sandwiches are gone, the focus of Thanksgiving is usually food.  To be honest I’m a big fan of the turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce sandwich…with white bread and a slather of Duke’s mayo.   The Bible tells us to give thanks to the Lord...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (October 18, 2018)
Thank you to the folks who have faithfully participated in the new Greeter Ministry at Front Street.  Your presence at the doors of the church has meant so much.  The feedback I have received from those who are greeting is that they have enjoyed interacting with the folks who walk through the doors of the church...(more)


Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (October 4, 2018)

 "The person who does not love remains in death.” John offers this challenge to his community of believers as they struggle to care for one another and stick together.  If you read the letter we call 1 John at length, you pick up on the fact that he’s writing to a church he deeply cares about, but that is also deeply flawed...(more)


Author: Pastor Ross Carter (September 20, 2018)
Invitation to New Member Gathering with Sarah & Ross
Would you like to ask some questions about joining the membership of Front Street?  Have you joined the church in the past year, and would like to learn more about how to get plugged in?  On October 21, at 7:00 p.m., my wife, Sarah, and I would like to invite those who have joined the church during the past year, and those who are...(more)


Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (September 6, 2018)
If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”   – James Baldwin
James Baldwin was one of our greatest novelists, social critics, and leader for the promotion of civil rights in the United States.  He made quite a stir in his life with his outspokenness in the pursuit of social justice and racial reconciliation, coming through most clearly in his written works like...(more)



Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (August 9, 2018)

 As I look around at worship I am delighted by all of the faces who are a part of the Front Street UMC worshipping congregation.  It’s uplifting to be with people who are here to praise God!  I also know that there are some faces that have disappeared or have become irregular in...(more)



Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (July 12, 2018)

As you have no doubt already heard, we have a new Youth Minister at Front Street.  As we began the search, we shortly realized we already had the perfect person right here inside the church.  Chris Huneycutt officially began his duties on July 1, and I’ve asked him to share a bit about himself so that...(more)



Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (June 14, 2018)

X-Treme sports! Super Blu-ray 3D movies! Action packed video games! Faster cars on the racing circuits! We have become part of a society that craves excitement…power…16 million colors…faster performance.  We want to be like the fellow in the commercial a few years ago who sat in a chair in front of his television . . . .  (more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (May 25, 2018)

When the day of Pentecost arrives the disciples of Jesus have been waiting and praying some days for the Spirit to come, just as Jesus commanded them before he ascended into heaven. They waited and they prayed, but nothing could have prepared them for this. The Holy Spirit bursts forth unbridled in power like a rushing wind turning these reflective, waiting disciples outward to their new mission: to be joined to their neighbors and their enemies through the common goods of food, prayer, language, and mutual respect and submission ... (more)


Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (May 10, 2018)
In the year 479BC a Jewish woman named Esther becomes queen in Persia.  As a result of some devious plotting by the Prime Minister, the king issues an edict that all Jews are to be killed.  At that point, Esther has to decide if she will stand quietly in the wings, or will she step up and do something to prevent this atrocity...(more)
Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (April 26, 2018)
Words create worlds. They affect us when people speak well of us, and sometimes even more so when people speak ill of us. God’s words, conversely, have created the world we inhabit, all that we see and don’t see. And brilliantly, we have been fashioned in God’s image and likeness, as Genesis tells us. That means...(more)
Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (April 12, 2018)
Imagine with me.  You’ve decided it’s time to find a church.  You’ve been putting it off because you find it a little intimidating to go into a new place full of people you’ve never met.  But, this Sunday you’ve worked up your courage to do just that.  You drive up and find a place to park.  You pick a door and walk inside.  The people...(more)
Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (March 29, 2018)
The movie Hotel Rwanda tells the story of Paul Rusesabagina, whose courage saved the lives of over 1,200 Hutu and Tutsi refugees during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. As the story unfolds, terrorism, political corruption, death threats, and the horror of genocide play out as Paul’s family struggles with his decision...(more)
Author: Pastor Ross Carter (February 15, 2018) 

On February 14 we will have joined together for the Ash Wednesday service as we intentionally enter into the holy season of Lent.  Lent is a time to prepare for Easter.  It is a necessary prelude.  The death and resurrection of Christ are true whether or not I prepare.  However, without my heart and life being ready...(more)

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (February 1, 2018)

A few years ago God gave us a dream of beloved community like we see in the New Testament.  The journey began when sisters and brothers from our partner church in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Iglesia Metodista “La Resurrección,” spent two weeks serving alongside of us in July of 2015.  During those two weeks...(more)

Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (January 18, 2018)
Front Street has been worshipping God and making disciples of Jesus Christ for a long, long time in Burlington. It would be interesting to know how many people have been able to attribute their Christian walk to this church over the past 130 years. It’s a tradition, and a work, that we want to continue for...(more)
Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (September 21, 2017)
He lay in bed one night thinking of how off-track his life had gotten.  She sat at the stoplight one day and wondered why she didn’t feel as close to God as she used to feel.  It happens that they are both lifelong Christians; but over time they have drifted from God.  How did it happen?  Well, they could blame it on the...(more)
Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (September 7, 2017)

You know the story.  Peter, called out by a water-walking Jesus, finds himself in real danger on the storm-churned waters of the Galilean Sea and needs the rescuing hand of Christ. Water of the sort Matthew describes always represents chaos in the Bible’s language, but it is also understood as a kind of womb for new life...(more)

Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (August 15, 2017)
In the wake of the activities like those that took place this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, we may tend to struggle for handles on the situation.  I don’t think I need to insult your intelligence by telling you that what took place was wrong.  You already know that.  Hate in any form is shameful; and...(more)



Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (August 10, 2017)

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.  So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.  Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear...(more)  



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (June 8, 2017)

In Colossians, Paul argues, “Live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught.” Or, to use The Message’s paraphrase, “Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him.” Live him. What a brilliant understanding...(more)


Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (May 4, 2017)

Two of the hardest days in the life of a United Methodist minister’s family, is the day they first arrive and the day they leave to move to a new appointment.  What makes this year’s move so unique is that I will not be taking a new appointment but will instead enter retirement.  Diana and I will begin a new and very different adventure...(more)



Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (April 20, 2017)

According to Greek mythology, there is a figure named Sisyphus, a man who was doomed by the god Zeus forever to roll a large stone up a hill in Hades.  Just before the stone reached the top, it would roll backwards, against every effort of Sisyphus.  Forever straining at pushing this mighty stone, Sisyphus would spend eternity...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (April 6, 2017)

“From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  And about three o’clock, Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”  Of the words Jesus voices from the cross, this question from Matthew’s Gospel shatters our illusions that Jesus can save us by any other way... (more)



Author: Pastor Ray Wittman  (March 23, 2017)

Membership has its privileges when you join a local gym or golf club, or you buy season tickets for your favorite basketball team, Duke, State or Carolina, but not in the local church.  People sometimes get a little confused when they join the local church.  They think now that they are members, they should get special perks like...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (March 9, 2017)

One of my favorite songs by The Avett Brothers is “Shame.”  The chorus goes something like this:  “Shame, boatloads of shame / Day after day, more of the same. / Blame, please lift it off / Please take it off, please make it stop.” When I listen to this song, it calls to my mind the impact that shame has on people and relationships...(more)


Author: Pastor Ray Wittman  (February 23, 2017)

As we make our journey through Lent to Easter, I am reminded of an expression my father used when I was growing up.  Whenever he could see that I was discouraged, or when I confided in him that I was losing hope, my dad would ask, “Where is your faith?”  Now, if this came from anyone other than my father...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (January 12, 2017)

Baptism marks our entrance into this shared life of grace, love, and service to others we call the Church.  In baptism, we recognize the gracious action of God to seek us out when we’re lost in ourselves, trapped in the dark of trying to figure out who we are.  The sacrament of water and Spirit reminds us who and whose we are... (more)  



Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (December 6, 2016)

Waiting has never been one of my strong suits.  Even as a child I had a hard time waiting for Christmas.  Learning that Advent was a season of holy waiting in preparation for the coming of Jesus didn’t at first make it any easier.  But now that I have grown older, and hopefully wiser, I have discovered the importance of lingering...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (November 17, 2016)

The opening of most of Paul’s letters provides these wonderful portraits of life in the earliest Christian communities.  With the exception of Galatians, Paul always includes a celebratory account of the good work that was taking place in these early church communities.  Almost always, there is brief mention... (more)



Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (November 3, 2016)

The season of Thanksgiving is upon us and soon Advent and Christmas will follow.  Although our culture may undervalue Thanksgiving as compared to Halloween and Christmas, nevertheless for many of us it still remains one of the wonderful highlights of the year.  For me it has come to signify... (more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (October 9, 2016)

Discipleship doesn’t mean following an idea about Jesus or a set of moral values.  Neither is it another activity to add to our already-busy lives.  Discipleship means following Jesus on a lifelong journey of transformation, in which our lives increasingly take on the shape of Jesus’s life...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (October 9, 2016)

In the opening decades of the twentieth century, my Great-Grandpa Tilley was a businessman, and a well-to-do one at that. He and his brothers had made their bones as butchers, owning the corner market on Front Street in downtown Wilmington. Life was good for my great-grandparents and their seven...(more)



Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (October 6, 2016)

 John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, observed that the Methodist people had become prosperous as a result of their discipline, frugality, and diligence.  Although this was not a bad thing, he saw the potential that one day such wealth would lead us to become “a dead sect, having the form of religion...(more)


Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (September 22, 2016)

We hear this one word, and immediately our minds jump to capital campaigns, managing our finances, and the discipline of tithing.  Indeed, there are few things in the church that people fear more than conversation and preaching that concerns “stewardship.”  
I get it.  The word and the idea seem to conceal an agenda bent on getting ...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (August 4, 2016)

Normally, we hear Jesus’s words in John 14 read and preached at funerals because it strikes us first as a future promise.  However, I’ve come to read this passage also as the triune God’s gracious promise of love for us in the present. Jesus tells his disciples to trust in God because the Father’s household...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (July 7, 2016)

Your generosity and deep love have lifted us in the weeks since my mother’s sudden and unexpected death.  The overwhelming grief we feel has been softened by calls, texts, emails, gifts, food, and visits, the kind of hospitality that shows us the face of Christ.  It is impossible for us to express our gratitude...(more)




Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (May 26, 2016)

 From the earliest time I can remember, we as a family have stood on cue in worship to recite the Apostles’ Creed.  “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.”  In the churches I attended, it was always done in unison, thoughtlessly by some, or with some intensity by others.  I witnessed the most bold and exhilarating confession...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (May 12, 2016)

We often use Jesus’s statement in Matthew 18 as his promise to be present whenever only a few of us (two or three) can gather and agree on something, I guess to help us feel better if the sanctuary is empty on Sunday morning, or if folks don’t take discipleship seriously enough.  It’s an affirming understanding: Jesus will use whoever makes...(more)



Author: Pastor Ray Wittman ( April 28, 2016)
By now some of you are aware that I will be taking a short Sabbatical/Study leave this summer following Annual Conference.  I want to take this opportunity to explain what this means and why this is important to me.
Ministry is very challenging and very time consuming, and often stressful...(more



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (April 14, 2016)

What interesting words from Paul! Here in the middle of Galatians, Paul lays down the core of his message: we are liberated by the grace of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to participate in his resurrection life. Notice the italicized phrase. Many scholars over the years have pointed out that...(more)



Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (March 31, 2016)

The Christian philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards.”  These words ring true especially for those of us who have journeyed beyond the midpoint of life.  At some point you are suddenly made aware that you have been sold a short bill of goods...(more)



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (March 17, 2016)

In this season of elections, partisan politics, and outright vitriol, the story of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem speaks into our moment. Men and women rise and fall based on whether or not they win the admiration of the public. Some such figures, enamored by the attention, become .... (more)



Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (March 3, 2016)

It never ceases to amaze me at how candid the scriptures are when it comes to the telling of the resurrection story.  Whereas the Christmas story seems rehearsed and fine tuned for its theological purpose, the resurrection narratives are what you come to expect when something just happens out of the... (more



Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (Februatry 18, 2016)

The Lent and Easter cycle is a revelation of God’s desire to use all of life for our wholeness and our healing. Lent points us to the revelation that God will pull life from death through the life of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So why Lent? What makes it so important for our life together? (More)



Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (February 4, 2016)

Now and again, something happens in your life that becomes a defining moment.  It can result from a simple drive to the grocery store.  A child darts out in front of you and you don’t react in time.  It can be a chance encounter with a stranger who becomes a friend.  It can happen in the most unlikely places.  Regardless, your life...(more)



Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (January 21, 2016)

With the season of Lent approaching it is difficult to avoid contemplating the meaning of human suffering.  Biblical texts, such as that from the prophet Isaiah, remind us that suffering is part of human life.  Try as we may to deny its reality, there is always some tragedy that reminds us that this world is not perfect, and we are not...(more












Last Published: June 2, 2023 8:29 PM
Empowered by Extend, a church software solution from