March 31, 2020
It has now been a couple of weeks since we have been able to gather together for worship or other usual church activities although many groups have continued to meet "virtually" through ZOOM and Google or through the live streaming of our Sunday morning worship service. Our current situation is forcing us to learn new ways to be church in the 21st century. We are learning how to stay connected as members of the body of Christ when we cannot "see" each other in the normal way or "touch" each other with handshakes, hugs, and high fives. While I regret all of this I am nonetheless grateful for the technology that is available to us today, but was not available all that long ago. We have the ability to stay connected in meaningful ways because of this technology. Thanks be to God for this incredible gift!
Starting today we are moving from a weekly e-mail "blast" to a bi-weekly e-mail "blast" so that we can share with each other. Besides hearing from me, I would love to hear from you as well. If you have a prayer, short reading, or reflection that you would like to share with the wider community, please e-mail it to me and it will be added to the blast. It would especially be good to hear how you are maintaining your own sense of equilibrium during a time when everything that we have normally depended on has been shifting day to day. How are you caring for your soul? What is sustaining you?
The New England Conference each day has been sharing a "prayer for the day" written by the bishop or one of the members of the extended cabinet. If you would like to receive this daily e-mail please sign up by going to the conference website neumc.org I would like to share with you one of the prayers from the past week that is based on the reading from the Hebrew for this past Sunday:
God of compassion,
as we stand alone on this vast plain
surrounded by dry bones
we recall the prophecy:
"When I put breath in you, and you come to life,
you will know that I am the Lord."
Your breath brings life;
breathe on us so that we can
wait out this season in hope, even as we struggle
feel your presence, even in our fear
open our hearts in love, even as our doors are closed
hear your wisdom, even as so many voices surround us
dance, even if it feels like our bones are dry and our souls are weary,
and be restored by the joy of your salvation. Amen
By Beth DiCocco, Conference Director of Communications
Scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-14
I look forward to staying in touch with each of you during this time of "staying at home" and trust that we will each experience God's presence in new and unexpected ways as we are exiled from one another.
With Love and Affection,
Phone calling: Volunteers have been reaching out to our membership by making phone calls. To date just about everyone whose last names begin with "A-P" have been called. I am still looking for other volunteers so that everyone is called during this time. We are finding though that so many of the land line numbers that we have in our church data base are no longer in use. If you no longer have a land line but would still like your number to be in our data base please provide your cell phone number to our Administrative Assistant, Debra Zagaeski and she will add it. Thank you for your assistance.
Pastoral Care Needs: While we are checking the church voice mail boxes daily please do not hesitate to call Pastor Rich on his cell phone if there is a need for pastoral care during this time. His cell phone number is 207-577-7915.
Wednesday live stream: Beginning on Wednesday, April 1st Pastor Rich will be sharing a brief (20 minute) live streamed devotional. It will be live at 10:30am but will also be posted to our facebook page and website home page for later viewing.
Sunday live stream: Although we are no longer able to do the live streaming of our worship service from the sanctuary, Pastor Rich is live streaming a service from home which is available on-demand on Facebook shortly after the service. You can use the Facebook app on a smartphone, or a web browser on a computer. "Like" our page and you will be notified when we go live each Sunday.
If you choose to not use a Facebook login, you can still access the live stream during the service time from our web site home page by going to the box to the right (you may need to refresh the page if you arrive early). Previous worship services are available by scrolling down through the postings.
Giving During This Uncertain Time
Although we are scaling back most of our church activities which will reduce our expenses during this time, we still have staff who will be working- cleaning the church thoroughly; providing office assistance from home; offering music for our "virtual" worship services; providing pastoral care remotely, etc.- so we will still be incurring expenses that will need to be covered as best we can. To the extent that you are able please maintain your financial pledge or give regularly. Contributions can either be mailed in to the church or you can utilize our on-line giving options by going to the following web address:
Thank you for your on-going support, for your prayers, and for your faithfulness to God and one another.