Words from the Pastor…
Some of you probably heard that Kathy and I bought a church pew last week for 50 bucks! Since the pandemic started, we have decided not to wear our shoes in-doors, partially because there was speculation that it was a way to transport COVID into our house. So that being the case, we needed some place to sit and put on our shoes. We looked at various benches and chairs. We decided to buy a church pew because it could have many other purposes beyond being a place for our shoes. It could be a confessional bench for our neighbors. Or a place to practice good social distancing (… it is 10 feet long!!!). And even a place for people to sit and hear me practice my preaching.
As I go outside and sit down on my pew to put my shoes on, it is a constant reminder of our church. Each week I am lucky enough to be in our sanctuary to tape our worship services. And each week there is this palpable sadness in not seeing all you fill those pews in our beautiful sanctuary. When I’m at church – which is usually once or twice a week – I half expect to see some of you around doing church-related things. Just today I was with a small group of our Wednesday Work Crew (… by the way, I can attest that they practiced good social distancing). Seeing these guys made my heart sing, but then I was so sad to leave them. There was almost a sense of normalcy in seeing them do their thing for our church.
What I have finally come to accept in this pandemic is that we will never really return to normal. The things we did for the church will never be the same. Last week I wrote to you about how we probably will never worship the same way again. That being said, we have been presented with new opportunities to carve new understandings on the way we do “church.”
We will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday on May 31st. This Sunday traditionally marks the birth of the Church. As I reflect on that first Pentecost, those gathered on that day in Jerusalem had their sense of normalcy taken away from them. For three years they followed this man called Jesus and they were witnessed to his actions and his words of hope. And then in a blink of an eye Jesus was gone, leaving the people with little hope for a future. What that day of Pentecost did for those followers was provide them with a new path and a new hope.
I hope that as we come closer to opening our church that we understand we have a new hope. One in which the Spirit is guiding us to new and exciting things in our church. And so I realize one more thing about my pew, each day I sit in it I realize the beauty and the wonder of seeing all of you in church again, expecting like me to go forward with a new energy to live a life of Love in the world.
Blessings… Pastor Colin
New Sermon Series Coming: From Fear to Hope…
During this pandemic we have lost many things. We may have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Others of us have lost jobs. And then on a more basic level, we have all lost pieces of our lives. We wear masks now to protect ourselves and others from the virus. Most of us venture out of our homes only when it is a necessity to do so. We have lost physical contact with our family and friends.
There is nothing normal about this time. We grieve the loss of what was and fear what the future might hold. Using the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), we will explore how we dispel our fears and travel to a place of hope.
Denial: Is this Really Happening?
Anger: I’m Mad and I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore!
Bargaining: Dealing with the “What If’s”
Depression: What’s the Point?
Acceptance: Looking Forward to a New Reality
Happening This Week…
Virtual Worship this Sunday, May 31st
Pastor Colin’s Sermon: The Strangest of Things Happened based on Acts 2, 1-21
You can access our worship services through linking to 1) our WCUMC website; or 2) WCUMC Facebook page; or 3) our WCUMC YouTube channel.
And if you would like a written summary of Pastor Colin’s sermon or DVD of the worship service, please call the church office at (925) 934-4208.
Virtual Coffee Hour, Sunday, May 31st, 11 am
Our Coffee Hours have been a great way to see one another in the “virtual” flesh. To be part of this Sunday’s time, please link here.
Adult Education Class, Sunday, May 31st, 1 pm
This class has been studying Catherine Keller’s On the Mystery for quite some time. If you are interested in joining this engaging class, please contact Johanna Meyer-Mitchell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark, Wednesday, June 3rd, 7 pm
Email Mark Charlton at email@example.com . He will send you a Zoom invitation to join the session. Please call 925-206-4876 if you have any questions.
Your Upper Rooms are Now Available…
For those of you that are interested, our Upper Room Devotional booklets are available once again through our Church Office. Our normal office hours during our shelter-in-place order are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 12 noon. Simply come by the office, pick one up, and say “hello” to our office manager, Randy Short!
Weeks and weeks of eating moms cooking, not seeing friends, hours of online schoolwork and now no summer camp, no SSP, no swimming and no graduation parties. We have been meeting weekly via ZOOM and I am happy to report that these youth are not just surviving, they are connecting and laughing and letting their lights shine. We have had 2 zoom sessions with our friends from SSP in Montana, a scavenger hunt watching kids running around their houses trying to find random objects including dust bunnies, flip phones and a spider (dead or alive). We have had “After Dark” with Greg hosting game night via Jack Box games for 2 hours of mayhem and laughter and offering a safe space each week for connection, sharing and support.
When I asked the youth about meeting on-line, I was afraid they would not want to wake up for normal UMYF time since, well we aren’t going to church. They ALL said yes, keep it the same as always. We all are looking for and missing our typical routines and I so appreciate that they are committed to our gatherings as much as I am. Seeing these faces on Sunday morning is a highlight of my week and for an hour or so our little youth family shines a whole lot of love and kindness on each other. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what we are called to do right now…..connect, connect, connect.
CONGRATULATIONS to our 3 high school graduates!
We continue to receive prayer requests to share during our “virtual” worship. So if you have a specific prayer to share during the service, please email those prayers to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 11am this Thursday, May 21st.
Please remember you can give to your church in the following ways: 1) by mailing your offering directly to the church office; 2) by giving online through our church website (please click here); or 3) by texting your donation to (877) 769-1961. Thank you for your continued support of your beloved church.