A Congregational Update, April 6, 2020
Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Guide to Love and Salvation! I am writing this as I’ve just arrived to the office from my commute – from the living room to the dining room. I trust that you all are holding up and accepting that this is our new normal… at least through the end of the month. As I write this, I am looking out my front window at our stormy day and trying to be thankful for the rain. Even though it is gloomy and cold, I realize that the rain is part of the natural cycle of life.
Connected to this natural cycle of life is our shelter-in-place. For in this time of isolation, we see signs of the renewal of our earth. Examples abound! I read the other day that the water in the canals in Venice, Italy, has a clarity not seen in decades because there are no gondolas out on the waterways. I saw a picture of the skyline of Los Angeles and the air was pristinely clear. And here is the last, and perhaps most “nerdy example: because of so many of us staying at home and not driving or using public transportation, scientists are now able to more accurately measure the earth’s natural vibrations in order to study seismic phenomenon. So, I would say in these most difficult of times, our earth has had a chance to catch its breath and renew itself!
And now to the news of our congregation…
Sunday Worship. Our worship service for Palm Sunday has been posted on our website and our WCUMC Facebook page. But if you do not have access to either of those platforms, you can see the service by clicking here.
One of the things I’ve realized as a preacher in this crisis is that I did not sign up to be a video producer. I wanted to thank Bill Ray for his time in videotaping and putting our service together. I also wanted to thank Corrie Binker, Tessique Houston, and Natalie Ning for their invaluable contributions to our service this past Sunday. In sum, this is a group effort. Our videos may not be the best you see among churches, but be assured that we are learning and growing in this process and know that what is presented is our best effort to convey the Word to you.
Holy Week. Obviously, our regular Holy Week activities have been severely curtailed. Rest assured next Sunday we will have our Easter Worship service taped and ready to be viewed. But this coming Holy Week I wanted to lift up several other worship possibilities for you…
- Our Bishop Minerva Carcaño is offering daily Devotions during Holy Week. The devotions will be audio recordings and will be distributed at 8:30 each morning and continuing through Thursday April 9thas well as on Saturday April 12. To access her words of hope and inspiration, click here.
- Additionally, Bishop Carcaño will be joined by Conference Lay Leader Micheal Pope in leading a Good Friday Memorial Service at noon on Friday April 10. The service will last 30 minutes and commemorate the passing of those who have succumbed to complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. It can be accessed by going to the California-Nevada Facebook page.
- Easter Sunrise Service. Our own Zayne Matthias will be hosting a Facebook Live Easter
Sunrise Service at 5:30 am on Easter Sunday, April 12th. You can access this service through our church Facebook page.
- Finally, our own Easter Service will be ready for viewing by Sunday morning, April 12th. Remember there are a variety of ways to access the service, primary among them are our website and our church Facebook page.
Giving. I wanted to thank all of you for your continuing offerings and pledges. Please remember you have several different options to give to your church: 1) simply mail your donation to the church office; 2) donating online by clicking here; or 3) by texting your donation to (877) 769-1961 and following the directions.
As we go through this holiest of weeks, I would encourage you to focus on the meaning of this week. Just as Jesus walked through that week in Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago, we can still feel his angst and his sorrow today. In the story of the Passion, Jesus experienced times of great joy and times of great anguish, pain, and loneliness. Let us remember during this time of hardship that our stories do not end in pain and loneliness. Through the Easter story, we are taught that in the cycle of life that faith, hope and love always abound. Amen.
Blessings… Pastor Colin