Dear Friends,

I looked up the word "saint" the other day, and here is what I found in the Oxford English Dictionary: "A very virtuous, kind or patient person."

Now sometimes we think of a saint as one who lived a devout and pious life who is now deceased. And sometimes we might think of the Catholic process of identifying specific people who lived extraordinary lives and recognizing them in a formal, official capacity as a saint. Think St. Joan of Arc or St. Teresa of Calcutta.

But I think that simple Oxford description of a virtuous, kind and patient person says it all. It's being a good person, in other words, gentle, compassionate, loving, forgiving. It's living a life that is a model for others. Being a saint then, is something we each can strive for and attain.

In chapters 11 and 12 of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, we are reminded of the faith of God's people in the early days, people like Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Joshua, David, and many more. We remember their faith and are encouraged as we are on our own journey of faith.

This week, November 1st, was All Saints Day. It is a time when we intentionally remember all people of faith who have gone to God's heavenly kingdom before us. During all worship services this week, we will especially remember those from our own local congregation who have entered God's heavenly kingdom in the past year. These are church members who have been virtuous, kind and patient people and have modeled these qualities for us.

Those from Southport United Methodist Church who have entered god's eternal kingdom this past year are:

Judith Wade
Clara Parsons
Mark Buck
Joe Gwinnup

In our worship services on Thursday, November 3rd and Sunday, November 6th, we will remember these precious people by naming them and lighting a candle for them. We will also be celebrating communion in those worship services, and communing not only with those present in worship, but communing in a sense with all the saints - of our church and of all time.

I invite you to pray for God's loving arms to surround the family and friends of those we have lost this past year with a comfort and peace only God can provide.

Grace and Hope to you,

Pastor Duane