April 2018  
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Pastor

Jim Altman

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"That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We share this to make our joy complete." (I John 1:1-4 NIV).

The twenty-first century is often referred to as "the information age." Sadly, though, much of that information is not what we see with our own eyes, or touch with our own hands. Much of the information of the information age is delivered by LED screens, via the Internet. And if there is anything that characterizes twenty-first century life, it is the sense of a lack of fulfillment, an incomplete joy, a hole in the souls of many people. The genius of the Methodist societies of the 18th century was in bringing people together in intimate fellowship with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ and with each other. Small intimate groups held each other's hands and shared what was meaningful in their lives. They were able to fill the holes in their souls. The same process can work for us in the new millennium.

Methodists hold Scripture, Tradition, and Reason in high regard, but the real stuff of Methodism is direct personal experience. At Sussex United Methodist Church, we invite each other into direct personal experience with God, with Christ, and with ourselves. We uphold as foremost the formula, "J-O-Y: Jesus-Others-You." We are very much about what we see with our own eyes and touch with our own hands and hear with our own ears, from our worship and fellowship on Sunday morning to our direct participation in projects of mission: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, welcoming the tired and the poor of spirit. Every Sunday, I invite all to reach out and take the hand of someone nearby, adding, "Holding your own hand doesn't count." Our goal is always for each of us who are a part of our fellowship to experience a personal joy that is complete.

We are small, intimate fellowship of believers, dedicated to the Truth we can see and hear and touch with our hands. To paraphrase Job 19:25 and 27, "I know that my redeemer lives, and . . . I see him with my own eyes—I, and not another's. How my heart yearns within me!" As pastor of the Sussex United Methodist Church my heart "yearns" to share this vision, this personal and collective experience with others like you. This is how my J-O-Y is made complete.

Pastor Jim