A NOTE FROM PASTOR AILEEN – March 2, 2021
This Sunday marks one year since we were gathered in the sanctuary at the corner of Mt. Read and English for corporate worship. I remember that day like it was yesterday. We were cautioned about sharing the peace and encouraged one another to not shake hands or hug. We knew there was a virus, we had no idea what it meant for us.
A week later the Bishop advised us to close our building for a brief time and an order of worship was emailed to each of you for use at home on Sunday morning. A week after that we recorded a simple worship service for you to view on facebook. The next week a musician joined in. After that we experimented with a new technology.
One year later here we are. Weekly worship is held on Zoom. Meetings are held on Zoom. Bible Studies are held on Zoom. A limited number of masked people hand out food from our fellowship hall four times a month. A few folks get the mail and we have established a new “normal” for our operations. We even held an ice cream social on…..wait for it…..Zoom!
A year ago, it seemed unimaginable that we would still be socially distanced. While there are many moments in my week where I feel lonely, and maybe you do as well, I am also cognizant of the blessings that have happened. We may be physically distant but we have had amazing opportunities this year. We have heard our Bishop preach on a few occasions. (Prior to this he could only get to a congregation once every three or four years to share in worship). Our musicians have been part of synodical and church-wide choirs. Our confirmation students have experienced the teaching of a variety of pastors and lay leaders from across the conference. We are able to join with the conference for mid-week Lenten services and experience a diversity of worship leadership, musical leadership and prayer practices. We have learned the importance of taking turns talking. When we meet, everyone is engaged in the same conversation which has expanded our understanding of one another. We have become a more visible presence in our neighborhood. The Greece churches have studied and learned and formed an ecumenical anti-racism task force.
All of this is to say, that we have been richly blessed by God in ways that we never imagined; at least in ways I had not imagined. I am grateful for the partnership in ministry that we have all shared over this year. God continues to work grace and mercy even in the most trying of times. We have seen the hand of the Holy Spirit at work among us this year and I am confident that we will continue to see amazing things unveiled in the days, weeks, months and years to come.
This Sunday, March 7 we will celebrate Holy Communion at our 10:00 am Zoom worship. Individual “loaves” of bread will be baked by Mary Johnson and will be available at the Handicap Entrance Friday and Saturday from 9 am – 7 pm. Take the amount you need for your family. If you are unable to pick up bread, please know that bread you have at home is perfectly acceptable. Also have enough wine or grape juice prepared for your family to use for the sacrament.
Our Lenten Midweek series, Created for Community continues Wednesdays at 7 pm via zoom. Drawing from the Sunday lectionary and stories from Mark’s Gospel, we will reflect on the various ways we are called to be community. We join in worship at 7 pm, then at 7:30, we offer an opportunity to grow deeper in community, either through conversation around the day’s text, or through exploring a prayer practice that expands upon the week’s theme. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83740220666?pwd=bmgzT0lFbGdpT0RCZnFZOG1kclZSUT09
Meeting ID: 837 4022 0666 Passcode: 802756 To join the service by phone, call 929-205-6099 and enter the meeting ID of 853 6624 2538# when prompted. Note that this is a toll call if you do not have free long distance calling. March 3: In Community with the Saints Led by: Pr. Amy Walter-Peterson, Pr. Debbie Johnson, Pr. Andrew Gookin Prayer practice: Praying the Psalms
Lent in a Bag and Devotional Booklets It’s not too late to get your Lent in a Bag and Devotional booklet. The bags contain tactile devotions for each week of Lent, and the “A Story To Tell” devotional booklet contains daily devotions through Easter. They are both available at the handicapped entrance.
Food distribution is the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays and Thursdays of the month. Needed items: Laundry detergent, paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, tissues), Easter candy, pull-ups. Donations may be brought to the main door on distribution days. To donate a gift card or check (with “Food Distribution” on the memo line), please mail it to church.
Thursday morning Bible Study at 10 am. All are welcome. Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/84124197592?pwd=RlU3Y3BpQnRjUWFtWkRnUVd3SGtDZz09 Meeting ID: 841 2419 7592 Passcode: 137975
Spiritual Growth Group meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 7 pm – 8:15 pm. To receive the lesson in advance, contact Julie Gerstenberger.
Zoom video: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/971654509 Meeting ID: 971-654-509
Audio only participation: (929) 205-6099 Meeting ID: 971-654-509#
Work out together with the Ripples Chair Yoga Group, every Wednesday at 10 am https://us04web.zoom.us/j/450243871 Zoom meeting ID: 450-243-871
Mindful Meditation Ripples of Wellness offers the opportunity to practice Mindful Meditation with Joyce Callen each Thursday after Chair Yoga from 10:45 am - 11:05. Come join us to learn how 20 minutes of meditation can bring composure and calmness to your life. Any questions, contact Joyce.
Sunday Worship continues to be available to everyone at 10 am. Join via Zoom using this link: us04web.zoom.us/j/573579627 If you do not have internet, you can listen to the service by dialing 270-2524. After the greeting, enter conference ID 291-1296 followed by the # key. At the prompt, state your name, and then press the # key again. The service is also recorded and can be accessed through Messiah’s Facebook page. Coffee hour is held after worship via zoom, using this link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/367670353