Musical devotions: Hearing familiar hymns with new ears

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Charles Wesley wrote more than 6,000 hymns that were sung by the early Methodists. Through these lyrics they learned about God, Jesus, discipleship, love, and so much more.

This is still true for United Methodists today. Spending time with the hymns of Charles Wesley, both those in the United Methodist Hymnal and others, can help us grow in our faith.


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Local Church
The God’s Flock children’s choir from Belmont United Methodist Church sings “Away in a Manger” during an outdoor service in 2021 at Rose Park in Nashville, Tenn. In this second Advent season during the COVID-19 pandemic, the church held two Christmas Eve services, one of them outdoors. United Methodist congregations are making adjustments to keep parishioners safe as the omicron variant surges. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Churches face another test with omicron

Some United Methodist congregations in the U.S. return to online-only gatherings as case numbers mount.
Local Church
Members of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Tenn., enact the Nativity in 2020. The church plans to hold its Christmas Eve service outside in front of the stable and manger this year. Churches continue to be creative in finding ways to celebrate Christ’s birth and keep people safe during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of St. Paul United Methodist Church.

Reviving Christmas cheer in dark times

In this second year of the pandemic, United Methodist churches are getting creative in helping people experience Christ’s birth and love’s pure light.
Mission and Ministry
The Rev. Ruth Marsh (right) comforts Angi Rogers, a guest in the day shelter at Trinity United Methodist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Rogers had not been feeling well and Marsh settled her in a Sunday school classroom to get some rest. “Everybody here takes care of me and each other,” Rogers said. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Churches see lots of need this Advent

Many congregations and affiliated nonprofits in the U.S. are stepping up efforts to help low-income people squeezed by inflation and affordable housing shortages.