May 10, 2020
A Word from the Pastor
You say to us, "Do not let your hearts be troubled."
I guess our hearts are troubled, or you would not need to say it.
You say to us, "Believe ..."
I guess we struggle to believe, or you would not need to remind us.
Tell us again that you go to prepare a place for us.
Tell us again.
Tell us you will take us to yourself —
that you will be with us no matter what,
that we get to be with you,
that your way will be made plain before our faces.
Love us the way you loved Thomas
who so often gave voice to everyone's doubts.
Love us the way you loved Philip
who needed to be shown again and again.
Dwell in us so that we can be about your greater work
-of finding your way,
-of speaking your truth,
-of honoring your gift of life,
even now …
We ask all of this the way you teach us to ask — in your name,
believing that you will make it so.
By Rev. Jill Colley Robinson, Vermont District Superintendent
Inspired by and quoting John 14.1-14, and in honor of our Loving, Mothering Christ
The 14th chapter of the Gospel of John, like Psalm 23, is most often associated in people's minds with funerals, memorial services, and other occasions when we celebrate the lives of those who have died. Truth be told though, Jesus spoke these words, not to prepare his disciples to die, but to enable them to live more fully, especially in his absence. Since Jesus would no longer be a physical presence in the lives of his followers he spoke words of comfort and assurance that would empower them to live fruitful lives of service in his name. In fact, Jesus assured them that those who believe in him will do "greater works" than he himself had done "because I go to the Father".
As we continue to live into this most challenging of times it is my hope and prayer that we will hear these words of Jesus in new and meaningful ways. May we know that we are not alone, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. May we be aware of the power that is within us through the Holy Spirit who has taken up residence in us as advocate and companion. And as we prepare for that day when life will take on a new sense of normalcy may we know the confidence that comes through faith that we will be ok. May we be open to new opportunities for worship, fellowship, service, and prayer. Some things will change but our mission will still be relevant.
5/10 The Fifth Sunday of Easter/ The Eighth Sunday in Exile/Mother's Day
Special Music: Levitical Levites
Scripture: First Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14
Theme: Building God's Big House. In this era of "tiny" houses both Jesus and the author of First Peter provide a different perspective as they each speak of God's house as having "many dwelling places" and as a house made of many living stones. What does all of this mean for us?
BLANKET SUNDAY TO BE CELEBRATED ON Sunday MAY 10TH
Although we will not be able to worship in person on Sunday we will still have the opportunity to remember or honor those important women in our lives whether they be our biological mothers or surrogate mothers. You will be invited during the live streamed service to note the name of your mother or other individuals in the chat section on facebook. Donations can either be made directly to the church through electronic giving or by mailing it into the church. You may also make a donation directly to Church World Service by clicking on this link https://cwsbestgift.org/gift/a-cws-blanket/ Each blanket costs $10.00, but you can include a name whether you make a donation or not. Thank you in advance for your gift if you do choose to make one.
ARE YOU IN NEED OF A FACE MASK?
As we increasingly look forward to the day when we can begin to get out more and hopefully even gather for worship in our sanctuary we are faced with a new reality- that of wearing face masks anytime we are in public places. In order to do this we will all need to have more than one cloth face mask available to us and we have a group of church folks who are gearing up to make some to have available both at church and to give out. If you would like to have a couple of the masks please call the church office at 882-3361 or e-mail the church office at email@example.com and your name will be added to the list. Once they are available we will be in touch with you and arrange to get the masks to you.
UNITED METHODIST MEN'S NEWS: It is with sincere regret that the annual United Methodist Men's Golf Tournament held in June each year will have to be postponed. It is hoped that it can be rescheduled for September so please stay tuned for more information.
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.
Please note that Pastor Rich is also live steaming a Wednesday morning devotional reflection each week as well. Just follow the directions above to watch it live or any time afterwards.
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.
AN INVITATION TO MEET VIRTUALLY
As many of you are aware we have the ability to meet virtually using "Google Meets" which is similar to ZOOM. We have met in this way for Church Council meetings, Finance meetings, and other meetings as well. Any group can have a meeting scheduled through Google Meets- UMW, UMM, choirs, church committees, or just social groups of any make up.
This coming Sunday we will be providing the links during the Facebook Live worship service that will allow us to have a virtual fellowship time right after the service. So, please plan to join in by clicking on one of the links (vestry, kitchen or lobby) once the service is over (you may want to get a cup of coffee first though).
If you would like to set up another meeting just be in touch with Jerry Harrow or Pastor Rich with the day, time, and names of those who you would like to meet with. An invitation with the details will be sent out and your meeting can commence at the appointed time.
In this unusual time of "sheltering in place" let us take advantage of the opportunities provided to us to stay connected as a congregation.
HARD COPIES OF THE UPPER ROOM NOW AVAILABLE: Would you like to receive a hard copy of the June/July issue of the Upper Room? Then you are in luck since they have finally arrived. To arrange pick up or have one mailed to you please be in touch with the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-3361. Please leave a voice mail message.
UPPER ROOM AVAILABLE AS A FREE DOWNLOAD: NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Since churches are unable to meet and gather safely in their buildings during the coronavirus pandemic, The Upper Room is offering the May/June 2020 issue, both in English and Spanish, as a free, downloadable PDF. The Upper Room also has created a web page featuring resources to help create and maintain spiritual wellness during anxious times.
Please note that if you have any trouble downloading a copy of the May-June Issue of the Upper Room please e-mail the church office or Pastor Rich and we can send it to you electronically in pdf form.
FAMILY PROMISE/ANN MARIE HOUSE ANNOUNCEMENT
Just a few short weeks ago I wrote the original version of this letter, happily announcing that Family Promise had found a new home for Southern New Hampshire families experiencing homelessness. That letter thanked you, our community of faith supporters, for your prayers and guidance during the months since we had learned that we would have to leave Anne Marie House. We felt our prayers were answered and that this new home would begin a new chapter for Family Promise. But now, the world has changed.
While we are in the early days of understanding the impacts that this pandemic will wreck upon families, what is very clear is that those with the least ability to withstand this emergency, will be those who are most devastated. We have long talked about the inability of most families to withstand a crisis, let alone more than one. We have talked about how job loss, housing crisis, health issues, or marital failure can leave families homeless. This pandemic is creating a perfect storm of these impacts for local families. It is for that very reason that our new home will be needed more than ever before.
We have entered a partnership with St. John XIII parish to convert the former Infant Jesus School into a new facility for Family Promise of Southern New Hampshire. This new building will allow us to double the number of families that we serve. Under the current construction schedule, we will be ready to house families in the fall, just as emergency orders that are keeping families in their homes for now are lifted.
While this is a tremendous opportunity, it does not come without cost. We are now embarking upon the largest fundraising effort in our history, as we must complete numerous renovations to transform the building from a school into a family residence. This capital campaign, Building Home Building Hope, starts now…..with you, our faith community. Enclosed you will find more information about this campaign, as well as, ways that your community can make a significant contribution, including naming rights, to this new home for families.
Our faith communities have always been our strongest supporters. We call on you now as together, we face something beyond any of our experience. You know that Family Promise has been serving local families for 17 years, that this program works to end family homelessness permanently, and that the need for our program will be greater than ever before. With your help, we will be ready to weather the storm.
Pamela T. Wellman Executive Director