salem: whole, complete, safe; peace
Welcome to Salem United Methodist Church!
We are located at 7509 Windsor Mill Road at the corner of North Rolling Road, Windsor Mill, MD 21244.
Our phone number is 410-655-4063;
All are welcome to experience the peace of Christ and the grace of our community of faith.
Salem United Methodist Church is an inclusive community of faith. Our mission is to proclaim the Gospel by sharing Christ's love with all. We glorify God by serving the needs of others and by making disciples of Jesus Christ through worship, prayer, service, and fellowship.
We worship on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. We celebrate Holy Communion on the first Sunday of each month.
During worship we sing a variety of songs accompanied by our Praise Band and we include prayers, the reading of the Scriptures, and a sermon each week by our pastor, Rev. LaTaska M. Nelson. Our worship is informal and spirit-filled. Come and enjoy a time of fellowship after the service with coffee and light refreshments.
“Christ has no hands but our hands.”
The hands in the photo above are the hands of a friend of mine. She is eighty-nine years old and in this photograph she is wearing her Usher Board uniform. Nellie has been a member of her church all her life, and, in fact, her relatives established her church generations ago. She is devoted to her church. She is unable physically to do the things she used to do, but she still participates in the annual Usher Day celebrations and is especially helpful when the church has a fund-raising campaign. Nellie has lots of friends, so she gets on the phone and makes calls asking people to help support her church.
Our invisible, infinite, eternal God is beyond our human comprehension, but we see the hands of God all around us. Nellie’s hands. My hands. Your hands. We see the hands of volunteers who help feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, tutor children, play music during worship, clean up after the fellowship hour and make sure the campuses of our churches are in good working order. Hands behind the scenes. Hands visible to many. Loving hands. Working hands.
We also see hands held together in prayer. Prayer is what shores us up, gives us strength and comfort, guides us, imbues us with grace and helps us to begin another day with hope. Prayer connects us with God.
While we are busy using our hands for God’s work, God’s hands are upon us. God’s hands guide us. God’s hands make our paths straight, and smooth out the bumps in our lives. With God’s help we can envision a door opening, the healing of a relationship, or walk more easily on our life’s journey. The hands of God are everywhere, holding hands with us.
Mustard Seeds and Mountains
Jesus taught his apostles some challenging concepts about forgiveness. Listening to him teach, they felt a bit overwhelmed, so they earnestly cried out to Jesus, “Increase our faith!” If Jesus could pump up their faith like pumping air into a flat tire, they might be able to handle the requirements of faith - or so they thought.
Jesus, as usual, surprised them with just the opposite. In Luke 17:5-6, Jesus said, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would obey you!” Jesus also said, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed you could move a mountain from here to there!”
Jesus is not asking us to literally move mountains or mulberry trees. His point is that it doesn’t take a great faith to produce great results. Why? Because the results do not depend on us, they depend on God.
Have you ever seen a mustard seed? Check out the spice aisle in the grocery store. Mustard seeds are TINY! Some of them are no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. But when the mustard seed is planted in fertile soil, it grows into a huge bush that spreads out like kudzu!
The teaching about the mustard seed was part of the Kingdom parables. Jesus used hyperbole (exaggerated speech) and everyday images to teach people about the power of the Kingdom and how, through just a little bit of faith, the Kingdom of God would grow and flourish. Imagine if all of us together put our mustard seed faith towards a particular intercession – peace in the world, the healing of relationships, the welcoming of the stranger, the curing of disease, the forgiveness of the “unforgivable” – indeed, mountains would move from here to there!
We all have mountains in our lives – we have health issues, we struggle with our finances, we have a tough time looking for a job, and our relationships sour, so we feel lonely and estranged. Faith is more than a set of church doctrines and more than the sum of its parts. In Hebrews 11:1, we hear, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Someone wise once said, “To have faith is to walk along a path without a map and to believe that Almighty God knows the way and walks with us. Having faith is an act of will, not of emotion, when we hand over the control of our lives to the only One who will neither become lost nor lose us.”
Evidence to substantiate faith is never definitive, and if we wait for conclusive proofs, we will never begin the journey. But, we do have blessed assurance. The good news is that it is not the quantity of our faith, but its quality that God values.
Faith also is about action. Jesus tells us that first we must act, and then we will discover the truth. Christians through the ages have affirmed this. Trust and obedience come first, and knowledge comes later. In other words, we get to know God only by doing his will. How to ramp up your faith journey? As the Nike commercial says, “Just Do It!!”
Saying Goodbye to Those We Love
I do not like to say good-bye. I tend to bear it stoically when the time comes - stiff upper lip, broad shoulders, make the best of it, but a piece of me dies when I say farewell. Imagine my body filled with hundreds of votive candles in different colors: red, blue, pink, green, orange, gold. Each time I say good-bye, one of them goes out.
When my father died, I could not believe such a strong intelligent man had vanished into thin air. No second chances. No bargaining. No grace. His life was over. My Dad was gone. Shortly after he died, I instinctively reached for the phone to call him. I remember my astonishment when I realized he would never gain be at the other end.
Losing a loved one hurts to the marrow. This place of pain has no borders, no name, no sense of decency. It is a wild and melancholy place. Yet, as I grow older I realize that life is a series of losses. I used to shrivel up and mourn alone, turning away from others, carrying my sorrow like a block of concrete around my heart. As I grew older I knew I needed to share my grief, the anguish was too great for my heart to bear along. My friends helped my by listening to my stories and surround me with love and casseroles. They taught me to extend the human experience into community - God's territory. There, I more easily let God get his foot in the door to my sorrow. God is a good one to be with when death comes. God doesn't make our favorite casseroles, but he does bring us people who can. Even though we cannot see God, we can trust that he understands our grief, for this is no ordinary God. This God, in loving us, remembers when His only Son died, shouting for his Father. This God knows how to sit Shiva.