Bellport United Methodist Church
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
He who abides in love, abides in God.

The Back Pages


The Back Pages!


 “When all other doors in life are closed to us, Jesus will be for us the ever-open

  door. … To call any situation hopeless is to shut the door on God.”  

Anthony Coniaris  


Sunday School's Origins  

Sunday school began in England as early as 1751. Better known is Robert Raikes’ work in Gloucester 30 years later. Concerned about poor children who worked in factories six days a week and often turned to crime, he offered classes on the only day kids were free. Soon various organizations offered a loose network of such Sunday schools, which taught basic reading and writing, using the Bible as a text. 

Ten years later, Samuel Slater started the first U.S. Sunday school in his Rhode Island textile mills. By the mid-1800s, Sunday school attendance was an almost-universal childhood experience. As society became more secular and public education was mandated by the 1870s, Sunday schools focused on spiritual practices: prayers, hymns, catechism knowledge and Scripture memorization. 

Well into the 20th century, Sunday school served as the church’s main outreach tool. Many adults fondly remember their teachers and lessons, and Sunday school continues to play a significant part in faith development.


   The Pastor Is "IN"
Every Tuesday morning on New York City’s Upper East Side, Gregory Fryer sits in a Peanuts-style booth offering prayer and a listening ear to passersby. Initially the pastor wanted to draw attention to his church, but instead he ended up noticing all the “hungry hearts” in the neighborhood. Fryer has been pleasantly surprised by all the people who open up to him. “I think they like the idea of a pastor being on the sidewalk,” he says. 

Although a sign on the booth reads “Spiritual advice 5¢,” the pastor keeps a plate of nickels handy if people want to put one in his jar. Some people donate much more — and some even pray for Fryer. 

The pastor says he was inspired by Peanuts character Lucy van Pelt, who has the “audacity, the courage to brazenly sit there out in public and offer to deal with important matters.”

   The Log in Your Eye

This humorous illustration of how not to get along at college also demonstrates Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:3-5. 

A young man from Scotland went to study at an English university. A month into the school year, his mother visited and asked how he liked living in the dorm. “It’s awful!” he exclaimed. “The fellow in the room next door bangs his head on the wall constantly, and the one on the other side screams all day.” 

“How do you stand it?” his mother asked in amazement. 

“Oh, I ignore them,” her son replied. “I just sit here quietly, playing my bagpipes.”


     May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please but
      as the opportunity to do what is right.”   ~ Peter Marshall

 Christ's Hands

In World War II, bombs destroyed a church in Strasbourg, France. As parishioners cleared the rubble, they discovered a statue of Jesus that was now missing both hands. 

A visiting sculptor later offered to make repairs, but church members declined, saying Christ “has no hands to minister to the needy or feed the hungry or enrich the poor — except our hands. He inspires. We perform.” 

St. Teresa of Avila wrote: 

Christ has no body but yours; 

no hands, no feet on earth but yours. 

Yours are the eyes with which he looks 

compassion on this world. 

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. 

Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world. 

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, 

yours are the eyes, you are his body. 

Christ has no body now but yours.


Never question the truth of
what you fail to understand,
for the world is filled with wonders. 

     ~ L. Frank Baum, Rinkitink in Oz



Holiness 2.0 

For the Hebrews, who had experienced the anguish of slavery and exile, holiness had to do with separation. Adherence to sacred law [ensured] that they would not be absorbed into a foreign culture, a legitimate fear for them as a people. The Law was quite functional in preserving their Jewish identity. 

[But] Jesus turns this custom upside down. Rather than insist on separation, he preaches inclusion. Rather than remove himself from “sinners,” he joins with them in love. For Jesus, holiness is about connection, not separation. It is about putting aside the fear of our own alienation and annihilation while trusting in love to heal every breach.         Quantum Grace, Judy Cannato


this summer!