News­let­ter

2024

July 2024
News­let­ter July 2024

Dear friends in Christ,Greetings and peace to you all! In recent weeks, our church has been richly blessed by the faith witness of the lay members of ESUMC.At the UMC in Austria Annual Conference early last month, ESUMC Church Council chairperson Doreen Ighama (pictured below) gave a stirring sermon about the importance of helping one another grow in faith and love, as a response to God's good will for our lives.Here at ESUMC, our worship services were blessed by the inspired preaching of Tinu Aganga-Williams on Sunday 2 June and George Ackwonu on Sunday 9 June.And on Youth Sunday 23 June, Amelie Haslinger shared a moving reflection about how the loving and welcoming spirit of our congregation has supported her, and reflected God's love for her, even in moments of difficulty.These recent faith witnesses by our lay members reveal the truth that our congregation is blessed with an abundance of God-given spiritual gifts. As we give thanks to those who have shared these gifts in recent weeks, let us also prayerfully reflect on how God may be calling each one of us to share our spiritual gifts with others.This month's newsletter highlights the inauguration of a new Congregational Care Team. As you will read, the purpose of this team is to offer spiritual and practical support to church members who may need our assistance and care.Friends, we all have spiritual gifts to share. Let us follow the example of these recent witnesses, and offer ourselves in love and service to others.Yours in Christ, Pastor John

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John Calhoun

Pastor

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June 2024
News­let­ter June 2024

Dear friends in Christ,Grace and peace to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus, and greetings from Graz!This weekend, pastors and lay leaders from all United Methodist congregations in Austria have gathered here in Graz for the Annual Conference of the UMC in Austria. ESUMC is also represented at this event by Simone Viljoen, our lay delegate to the Annual Conference, and by Doreen Ighama, our Church Council chairperson and member of the UMC in Austria leadership council.It is a blessing for us to represent ESUMC at this national gathering of the United Methodist Church. In the coming weeks, Simone and I will be sharing news and highlights of the conference. We thank you for your prayerful support of this gathering.As you will see below, here at ESUMC in June there are a number of special worship and fellowship events planned, as we celebrate God's love for us and for all God's people. Please join us as we not only open the doors of our church to our community, but also look for ways to take the Spirit of God out of the sanctuary and offer Christian love and care to others who need our support.Finally, join us in worship on Sunday 23 June as we close the Sunday School year and celebrate our graduates. If you or a member of your household has recently graduated (or will soon graduate) from school, university, or other degree program, please contact me with the details. And may I remind our families to register your child(ren) for Vacation Bible School, to be held at church during 22-26 July; see the article below for registration details.May God's blessings and peace be with you all!Yours in Christ, Pastor John

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John Calhoun

Pastor

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May 2024
News­let­ter May 2024

Dear Friends in Christ,Greetings and peace to you! What a blessing it was to join together in worship this past Sunday to celebrate the music ministry of our congregation on Music Sunday!We give thanks to God for the members and directors of our choirs, our accompanists on the piano and organ, and all who lifted up their voices and spirits in praise and thanksgiving to God. Most especially, we give thanks to God for Marilyn, ESUMC's musical director, for designing and organizing our service of worship.It was also a blessing to see so many of our younger generation in church, taking part in Children's Time and adding their voices to our Sing Out Choir under Deborah's fine direction. We thank you, children and youth, for sharing your faith.As we have mentioned, due to the growing number of children in our Sunday School ministry, we are seeking volunteers to serve as teachers and classrooms assistants. To learn more or to volunteer, please speak with me or our Sunday School coordinator Shelley Brauneis. Thank you for supporting this vital ministry of our church.To the parents of our children and youth, please see the articles below regarding the closing of Sunday School and the celebration of our graduates in June, the dates of Vacation Bible School in July, and an invitation to take part in the UMC of Austria children's and youth week in August (for which the registration date has been extended).May God's blessings and peace be with you!Yours in Christ, Pastor John

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John Calhoun

Pastor

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April 2024
News­let­ter April 2024

Dear friends in Christ,Greetings in the name of our risen Lord Jesus Christ, and Happy Easter! I pray that your celebration of the resurrection has been a joyous time of thanksgiving.It was a great blessing to gather in our sanctuary these last few days, as together we commemorated the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. I express my gratitude to all our church members who helped to lead our services of worship, by offering special music or accompaniment, reading the Scripture lessons of the Passion, teaching our children, lifting up prayers, and providing for altar decorations and Holy Communion.With this newsletter we share information on upcoming events and worship services in the life of the community. I pray that our celebration of Easter will newly inspire you to engage in Christian worship and fellowship, and find ways to love and serve others in the name of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.Yours in Christ, Pastor John

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John Calhoun

Pastor

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March 2024
News­let­ter March 2024

Dear friends in Christ,In this season of Lenten prayer and repentance, I pray that you and your loved ones are well and blessed.As you will note in this newsletter, the month of March is filled with a number of special worship services and congregational events.In worship on Sunday 10 March, we will hear the word of God preached by our District Superintendent, Pastor Stefan Schröckenfuchs of the Fünfhaus Gemeinde. Following worship, Pastor Stefan will lead us in our Charge Conference, the annual meeting of the congregation, to which all are invited.The following Sunday, 17 March at 10:30, we will celebrate a special joint worship service with our fellow Christians from the Fünfhaus Gemeinde. Joining us for worship shall be members of the UMC Central Conference Executive Committee who will be meeting in our building during the week. Our guest preacher shall be Bishop Stefan Zürcher, the newly elected bishop for our episcopal area. We ask ESUMC members and friends to bring a finger food to share during the fellowship hour after worship.On Saturday 23 March, all are invited to participate in "Growing Together: A Study of First Corinthians," a spiritual retreat to bless our Lenten journey, to be led by the Revd Dr. Robert Kinney and sponsored by the ecumenical English-speaking community in Vienna. ESUMC is the host for this event; details can be found below.Following the celebration of Palm Sunday on 24 March, the month concludes with Holy Week: solemn services of worship on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, culminating in the celebration of Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday 31 March.I warmly invite you to participate in these worship services and events throughout the month. In the meantime, may God bless you and your loved ones as you continue your Lenten journey. I pray that your spiritual disciplines in this season--fasting, Scripture reading, prayer--shall bring you closer into communion with God, who has pledged to be with us and never forsake us. May this truth give us assurance and hope, and the courage to confess our sins and receive God's great gifts of forgiveness and salvation.Yours in Christ, Pastor John

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John Calhoun

Pastor

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February 2024
News­let­ter February 2024

Dear friends in Christ,Greetings from Bogota, Colombia! As a missionary of our United Methodist Church, over the past few years I have had the reponsibility and blessing of helping to organize and lead gatherings of my fellow missionaries serving in different regions around the world.In 2023, two such gatherings were held, in Mozambique and Cambodia. In recent days, missionaries serving in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East have gathered in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, for a week of worship, fellowship, renewal, and small group discussion. We give thanks to God for the 36 missionaries, plus their family members, who have come together for this time of spiritual growth. Please keep me and my fellow missionaires in your prayers.We give thanks to God for Jerry Barton, who will preach and lead worship at ESUMC on Sunday 4 February. I will return to Vienna on Saturday 10 February, just in time for our congregational Talent Show! (See below for more information, please bring a finger food to share, and be in touch with Marilyn if you wish to share a talent during the evening.) As a reminder, Holy Commuion will be celebrated on Sunday 11 February. Our observation of Lent begins with a service of worship on Ash Wednesday 14 February at 18:30.Below please find articles and highlights about upcoming worship and fellowship events. I pray God's blessings on you and your loved ones, and look forward to seeing you upon my return to Vienna.Yours in Christ, Pastor John

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John Calhoun

Pastor

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January 2024
News­let­ter January 2024

Dear friends in Christ,I wish you a happy and blessed new year! It has been a joy to gather with you in the last weeks as we have prepared for and celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to all who made our Advent and Christmas services such a blessed time of worship.And I pray that the start of the new year finds you and your loved ones in good health and Christian spirit. May God continue to bless you in this new year, as together we recommit ourselves to a new year of loving and serving God and others.In this month's newsletter, you will find articles about ongoing and new ministry programs in the community, including ways in which we shall strive to fulfill our commitment to Creation Care. We thank you for your support of these initiatives, and your feedback and encouragement is always welcome.Lastly, we give thanks to all who have pledged your financial, volunteer, and prayerful support for our ministry in 2024. As of the start of January, a total of 24 Estimate of Giving forms have been received from members and friends of ESUMC. We thank you all for your continued support of our ministry. Based on your levels of giving, our Finance Committee shall draw up a church budget for 2024.If you have not yet submitted your Estimate of Giving for 2024, you may pick up a form in the fellowship area in church, or make your statement of support online via this dedicated link:ESUMC 2024 Estimate of Giving FormMay God's blessings and peace be upon you all in this new year of worship, praise, and service!Yours in Christ, Pastor John

Image from John Calhoun
John Calhoun

Pastor

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