SEPTEMBER 5, 2020 4:30PM
DRIVE THRU BAR-B-QUE
From the Desk of Pastor Kim
Greetings Friends and Family of Branchport UMC~
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I consider this Bible verse as we look back over the past several months. Sometimes it is hard to know what to pray for- or at least where do we begin! When we are told to stay at home, keep our distance from friends and family and our “normal” routine is cancelled it leaves us with a lot of time. We as individuals get to choose what we do with that time. For some, it is catching up on sleep, others have cleaned out basements and garages, some have turned their sewing hobby into a pile of homemade masks to bless others. For myself, I have tried to find balance in my days of seeking resources to guide my congregations and responding to the emergency needs in the community, along with finding moments to still myself and listen for God. Some days are better than others. Some moments are harder than others.
Our church has carried on its ministry even when distance keeps us apart. Invitations are still being extended to join us in worship and it has been such a joy to be able to worship with those who we have not been able to see in so long. We still seek ways to reach out to our community and we have even installed a “Blessing Cupboard” in our yard to offer staples that may help others from going without. We continue to support The Living Well Mission and have helped provide lunch for people to Grab and take home. How can we continue to make connections and care for the sick, the hungry, and those in need, spiritually and emotionally?
The Administrative Council has been in discussion about fundraising events like the BBQ’s and Red, White and Blue 5k. Though we had to cancel our Memorial Day Weekend BBQ we are hopeful that will be safe to hold it on Labor Day weekend. The 5k race has been postponed as well and we ask for prayers that September 5th will bring safer conditions to celebrate with family and friends as we have for the past 8 years. We know that the small businesses that we rely on as sponsors face their own concerns so it is uncertain how much support they will be able to offer. Please keep an eye on our website as we post updates regarding registration. These fundraisers assist in maintaining our building and enable us to carry out our Ministry at Branchport United Methodist Church. I ask for your continued prayers and support in the upcoming months.
Moving forward, we are also in discussion on how we safely can reopen our doors and come together in person for worship. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Department have issued specific guidelines for us to follow as well as guidance from the Upper New York Conference of the United Methodist Church. Though several churches are resuming worship within their buildings, we will be waiting a bit longer. This will allow us time to put in place what is necessary to ensure we are doing our best to protect everyone. Things will not be the same! Some of the guidelines include wearing masks, sitting 6 feet apart (unless members of the same household), no use of Bibles and hymnals for the time being (to best prevent contamination), one-way traffic flow and documenting who is in attendance each week. This is just a portion of what we are taking into consideration. The leadership team is also seeking ways to ensure internet access so that we may continue to hold ZOOM Worship to allow the participation of those who cannot join us in person because of distance or for their own safety precautions.
As your Pastor I desire to do all I can to guide you all in the best way I am able. For myself, this includes keeping you safe. I am missing all of you and cannot wait to return to worship in the building, but I would rather continue as we have been for a while longer as numbers of those diagnosed with COVID-19 are still being monitored through the continued re-opening phases. So, Church, what can we do in the meantime? My hope for you is that you continue to find quiet time with God, that you invite Him into conversation and seek out His guidance. For many of us, we have wondered what we are supposed to do? Well, we begin with Prayer.
An acronym for pray is; Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield. Rejoice, without ceasing for all that God is doing throughout this pandemic. People are using their skills to make masks to offer to people, families are spending more time together, the sun is shining down upon us as summer has arrived. As children of God, can you hear the birds singing? Can you witness the tireless work of healthcare workers? Can we celebrate that because of technology we are still able to connect each week? Praise God from whom all Blessings flow! We have all had our moments of weakness. Moments of frustration, perhaps anger at the situation or maybe moments of missed opportunities to help another. That is okay. Turn to God, offer up your apologies for feelings of doubt and set aside the weaknesses of yesterday and today so that you may do better tomorrow. Repent. Ask God for His Guidance as you go about your day. Ask for His help, His love and His understanding so that we move beyond our own selfish desires. Yield - as I first read this word I pictured the yellow of a traffic light. Slow down, proceed with caution. But, as I looked up the definition and read “produce or provide”, I have to consider the responsibility that we accept when we become Christians, to be disciples that produce good works. To provide for those in need, to offer Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him. Whatever the yield, may we do so with the awareness that we have never been abandoned. We are in the care of the one who has created the universe, and nothing is impossible with our God! Hallelujah!!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. May you feel God’s love surrounding you always and continue to lift up Branchport United Methodist Church in your prayers, as well as your fellow family of faith. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any needs, concerns or would like a prayer partner! I would be honored to pray with you.
God Bless you all,