Each Fall, an all
church family retreat is held that provides an opportunity for
fellowship, quiet time, outdoor worship, adult and children’s programs,
the sharing of meals, recreation and fun. The program traditionally runs
over a weekend. Friday evening people gather around the campfire for
conversation and refreshments. Adult and children’s programs are held on
Saturday mornings, and teens may take a mountain hike or bike trip. The
2008 adult program, “Journey into Deeper Prayer” was well received by
all participants. Saturday afternoon includes time for swimming,
canoeing, kayaking, tennis, softball, golf, and socializing. Saturday
evening’s program can be anything from skits to a square dance to game
shows, to a campfire. Sunday worship is a lay-led service usually held
outdoors overlooking the lake. The retreat is an opportunity to welcome
newcomers to SUMC and to strengthen bonds among old and new friends.
community is divided into thirteen geographical neighborhoods with
between twenty and thirty family units for the purpose of providing
support and care to someone in the congregation who has a short-term
need. This has most often consisted of providing meals, rides,
babysitting, or grocery shopping when there is an illness in the family
or someone is grieving. Each network has a coordinator. At times the
networks are used for fellowship and planning. They are used to acquaint
people with a new pastor or, as in the Fall of 2007, to do some
strategic planning about the church’s mission, activities, and worship
in the years ahead.
The Christian Education Commission works with the Director of Christian
Education to oversee all aspects of Christian Education from infants to
adults. We also work closely with the Pastors and laity to develop and
implement ideas for dynamic and innovative formational programs for all
ages, including all Church School activities, Youth programming,
CornerStones (adult education programming), the SUMC Library, Advent and
Lenten workshops and the Christmas Pageant. Our volunteer Nursery and
teaching team have up-to-date CORI’s on file per our Safe Sanctuaries
Policy. The Christian Education Program page
contains a detailed description of all SUMC Christian Education
Church Growth Commission
The Church Growth
Commission seeks ways to attract and make welcome newcomers to the SUMC
congregation. They have initiated and staff an “Information and Welcome
Station” for visitors to the Sunday service. Commission members also
send postcards to and telephone newcomers. A quarterly reception on
Sunday morning after the service is organized to further acquaint
newcomers with the church. This is an opportunity to meet the pastors
and some lay people and to ask questions. In addition, developing public
awareness of SUMC in the community is carried out by this commission
through publicity in the newspapers, development of an attractive
website, and the production of cards and brochures about the church.
Broadly defined a Health Ministry is anything a faith community is
doing to promote the well-being of its membership and the community in
general. The purpose of the Health Ministry at SUMC is to help the
congregation care for one another. Through programs and activities, this
group helps to promote the spiritual, social, mental and physical
well-being of the individual, congregation, and community. Some of the
groups already doing this at SUMC are Stephen Ministry, the Caring
Network, and support groups.
ministry as a model and following the tradition of John Wesley, the
Health Ministry group at SUMC seeks to promote the wholistic well-being
of this community of faith. Issues of health are basic to all people. We
struggle with illness, stress, injuries, and loss.
There are many ways
to do health ministries. Each congregation is unique and has its own set
of resources and needs. Examples of health ministries include visitation
of the sick, worship and prayer, educational programs on specific health
issues, a food pantry, and help for the homeless. Congregations are
almost always already engaged in health ministry, whether they call it
that or not. The point of a health emphasis at SUMC is to make
explicitly the link between the commitments of a religious tradition,
the activities of the congregation, and the way this relates to people’s
This is a fairly
new group at SUMC. Recent activities sponsored by Health Ministry
include making Prayer Shawls to be given to those needing comfort and a
support group for those with or dealing with people with physical and
mental health issues. A walking club and programs on health issues are
being considered for the future.
importance of addressing the needs of the people to be served, the
Health Ministry group intends to distribute a questionnaire asking
congregation members to help identify their needs and concerns to help
guide them in developing appropriate activities and programs.
Lenten Suppers and Worship/Program
in Lent, the church Commissions take turns preparing and serving
delicious soups and bread for a simple supper held at the church and
followed by a worship service or other appropriate program, often
This is a group of
people age 55 and above who meet monthly for lunch and a program. The
Minister of Visitation is a mentor to this group, but lay people plan
the programs with feedback from the group and help with the lunch.
Activities include speakers, short videos, singing, sharing of travel,
Membership and Community Life Commission
The purpose of the
Membership and Community Life Commission is to develop programs and
provide fellowship opportunities to integrate new members into the
church and to nurture those who attend the church regularly. The
Commission members oversee aspects of the church’s life which have to do
with greeting and hospitality such as Coffee Hour, arranging for Sunday
greeters, and providing support for new member classes. The Commission
organizes an annual Fellowship dinner for groups of 8 to 10 people in
member homes. Ideas for other fellowship events are discussed and
welcomed. The Membership and Community Life Commission also publishes
the members’ Photo Directory.
operate separately but are under the umbrella of the Membership and
Community Life Commission are the Annual Church Retreat, Caring
Networks, and Magic Years.
Outreach Commission supports the mission work of the church. Decisions
on which programs to endorse are guided by the three F’s:
Focus – What
is the project’s purpose and need?
Fishers – Will
the project help others to help themselves?
Face – Is
there a personal connection with members of our church?
projects on a global, regional and local basis. Support for
organizations that fight hunger and homelessness represent approximately
two thirds of the budget.
In 2008, SUMC
became closely involved with the preparation and building of a Habitant
for Humanity home in Sudbury. As in past years, the church collected
food for Greenwood UMC’s Thanksgiving baskets. We also purchased
Christmas wreaths from the Maine Economic Ministry, giving all proceeds
for their sales back to that organization. At Christmas the church
provided gifts to children in local shelters. The church’s biggest
mission project of the year was the Youth Group’s trip to Dominica to
build a wall around the school. MORE
SUMC also has
on-going monthly projects. The Outreach Commission sponsors “Muffins for
Mission” and sells bran muffins during Coffee Hour. All income goes
directly to mission programs. A group from the church takes a lasagna
dinner with salad and dessert into Rosie’s Place, a woman’s shelter in
Boston, one day a month. The third Sunday of every month church members
prepare and serve dinner for Crossroads, a local Men’s shelter in
addresses global needs by supporting a missionary couple, David and Lori
Persons, in the Congo, Africa as well as a Nicaraguan children’s charity
effort, NITCA, and missionary work in Nicaragua by Belinda Forbes. The
church also contributes to disaster relief and world hunger through
UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Its mission is to
alleviate human suffering, whether by war, conflict or natural
disasters, with open minds and hearts to all people.
regionally, the church endorses Habitat for Humanity, Maine Economic
Ministry, Greenwood UMC, Crossroads, Sudbury/Marlboro/Hudson Food
Pantry, Preacher’s Aid Society and other organizations.
Commission aids the work teams the church sends out. Each year the youth
go on a work team. In 2006, they went to the Rosebud Indian Reservation
in South Dakota to repair homes and in 2007 to the Neighbors Helping
Neighbors project of the Down East Maine Missions in East Machias, Maine
to roof and paint homes and build a handicap ramp. During 2008, they
took their second trip to Dominica to continue the relationship that was
established with their first trip in 2005.
Social Justice Commission seeks to bring to all believers an awareness
of public issues that impede the dignity of some of God’s children. The
group advocates for “the least of these” by encouraging all to examine
their faith and asks themselves “what would Jesus do?” The purpose of
this group is to help others become aware of injustices faced by others
and become emboldened to help change happen.
mission of our Social Justice Commission is difficult and challenging.
We have continued with our advocacy for Bread for the World and an end
to homelessness. World AIDS day focused on a need to support the Orphans
of AIDS Ministry in Sierra Leone. Through the generous donations of
members of the congregation, SUMC provided the amount needed for
Reverend Brima to purchase the land to build a new orphanage.
SUMC will be
celebrating the 5th anniversary of becoming a Welcoming and Reconciling
congregation with a special speaker and program.
In the spring we
will once again celebrate Earth Day with ideas on how to be better
stewards of God’s creation.
Staff Parish Relations Committee
This group of nine
members provides a structure of support to the clergy and staff of the
church. Each member of the committee is a liaison with one member of the
staff to provide support, serve as a sounding board, and be a
participant in the evaluation progress. The committee developed an
Employee Handbook which includes job descriptions and a formal
evaluation process for non-appointed staff.
Stephen Ministers are lay people who have taken 50 hours of special
training to prepare them to provide one to one caring, Christian
ministry to those going through a time of need. Stephen Ministers are
assigned by the pastors to be that “supportive presence” and “listening
ear” for those going through difficult times or crises in their lives.
Such situations might include illness, divorce, death of a loved one,
troubled relationships with a child or spouse, aging parents, or loss of
a job. Sudbury United Methodist Church has been a
Congregation since 1992.
and Finance Commission
This Commission plans and carries out the annual pledge campaign to
raise income for the church budget each Fall. Members work with the
other church commissions in December to prepare a balanced operating
budget for the next year, one that is in line with expected income. The
financial secretaries, church treasurer, audit committee, and counters
fall under the umbrella of the Stewardship and Finance Commission.
Sunny Hill is a non-profit
preschool sponsored by the Sudbury United Methodist Church. A
committee comprised of church members works with the Director to oversee
the school operations. While the church sponsors the school, religion is
not part of the school’s curriculum. Sunny Hill is licensed by the
Department of Early Education and Care and accredited by the National
Academy of Early Childhood Programs of the NAEYC. Sunny Hill teaches
“academics through purposeful play”. Experienced, educated teachers
offer a play-based program that combines preparation for kindergarten
with an emphasis on a child’s social and emotional development.
The nine members of the Board of Trustees
are concerned with the maintenance of the church’s total physical plant
and holding to the budget voted by the church council for doing so. This
work includes both keeping things operating today and planning for
facility needs for tomorrow. With the sanctuary complex and two
residential parsonages, there is always plenty to do. Whenever feasible,
the trustees seek to have work done by volunteers; but outside
contractors are routinely required for skilled jobs. Projects come in
all scopes from major renovations to touch-up painting and the routine
spring and fall clean-ups.
& Music Commission
The Worship and Music Commission works
with, assists, and supports the pastors and the professional music staff
(Director of Music and Organist, the Choir Director) to ensure that
Sudbury United Methodist Church provides worship opportunities and music
that meet the spiritual development of the congregation both as
individuals and as a community of faith. These activities may vary from
time to time as needs of the congregation change. Under the umbrella of
this Commission are the Ushers, Flower Committee, and Communion
Recently the Commission has exercised
its responsibilities in the following ways:
Helping Staff Parish write job
descriptions and recruit and screen applicants for the professional
Working with the pastoral and
music staff to provide feedback about the weekly worship services.
Recruiting and training lay liturgists.
Ensuring an adequate supply of
hymnals and Bibles in the pews.
Working with the pastors and music
staff to initiate and develop new opportunities for worship (e.g., a
Saturday evening service)
Working with the pastors and music
staff to arrange and coordinate special worship and music
opportunities such as the Barn Sing during Advent; Lenten Soup
Suppers and Worship; summer picnics and worship; choir concerts and
hymn sings; joint worship with Greenwood Memorial UMC in Dorchester;
and cluster, district or Conference Worship Events.
Providing snacks and refreshments
for the Choir and ministerial staff at special worship services on
Christmas Eve and Easter.
Working with the professional
music staff to organize and maintain the church’s music library and
working with the Ushers to maintain the Tape Ministry that provides
audio tapes of the weekly Sunday worship.
Ensuring that the choir robes are
cleaned periodically and in good condition.
Supporting the music staff with
maintenance of the church’s organs, pianos, and other church-owned
Working with Trustees to develop
the sound amplification and recording system in the sanctuary.
Planning and implementing new ways
to extend SUMC worship and music activities in the congregation and