A NOTE FROM PASTOR AILEEN – July 27, 2021
I was driving back from PA yesterday after a wonderful week of planning and then executing a surprise 60th Anniversary party for my parents with the joyful help of my siblings. As much of the weekend was reflective, that mood continued with me into the ride home.
It occurred to me that I was not present for our very last “Zoom only” worship. Beginning this week, we move to in person worship under the tent at both 10:00 and 5:00. We will certainly “Zoom” the 10:00 service for those of you who cannot be present with us. The reality though, is that I will have a live congregation in front of me in the morning—after a year of seeing only myself and the other worship participants reflected back in my computer screen. This is raising a number of emotions in me. Naturally, the first is joy. A year + of worshipping alone in my dining room has been exhausting. I love my people, the shuffling, the non-verbal feedback during a sermon, the children talking over me during the children’s sermon. Bring it on!! I can’t wait.
I’m also feeling a bit sad. I had adopted some new routines this year. It has been a joy and a delight to create a worshipful atmosphere out of ordinary space. This room is where I eat my holiday meals and for over a year it has been an altar to God, where we have celebrated the Eucharist. There has been something very meaningful to me and prayerful about setting up that altar each week, each season. The making of my own Advent Wreath was a labor of love, selecting flowers or cutting them to fill a vase, lighting a candle that my daughter made (which burned down and was replaced by one the youth group made) was very meaningful. Setting the communion table with glasses from Matt’s grandmother tied me to the communion of saints in a new way. I shall miss the routine of preparing our worship space this way.
The sadness extends to the many things that we were not able to do together; the deaths that were not attended to in familiar ways; the grief process that was not shared or was put on hold. I missed confirmation rites and sitting in classrooms, holding hands for the Lord’s Prayer, hugging to share the peace, taking communion to hospitals and nursing homes. The reality of the empty pews is only now becoming real to me.
Adding to the mix of emotions is pride. I am so proud of our congregation for the ways we’ve learned new technologies, worshipped with extended family from across the country. I’m proud of the ways we’ve kept one another safe and healthy. I’m proud that ministry has gone on. I’m proud that our grief group has met, that our Council has been incredibly adaptable and responsive to the needs of our faith community, that we feed the hungry and continue to build relationships with our neighbors. I’m proud of our silent rallies and the Ubuntu group that arose out of the pandemic.
Finally, there is some fear. Covid continues to claim lives, now through the Delta variant. I cannot help but fear that there is some danger in our gathering. And so, when I feel fear, I turn to scripture and find over and over again the words, “FEAR NOT!”
To keep me grounded I remember those words. I also remember that we all love one another and are a community committed to justice and peace and loving our neighbor. So, it is with confidence that I approach this Sunday and each to follow knowing that we will don our masks and continue to refrain from touching and will sing softly and will keep our distance.
All because we love one another as Christ loves us – sacrificially, unconditionally, and in a way that we will do whatever it takes to keep one another safe and healthy.
We move forward together into God’s future with a great mix of emotions. Accompanied by Jesus, our constant companion, we move forward in faith.
Hop, Skip and Jump VBS at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 28 Lincoln Ave, Pittsford. August 16-19, 9am-noon Outside as long as weather permits. If heavy rain or thunder, they will be inside with masks and windows open. For everyone’s safety: All volunteers must be vaccinated. Kids BYO snack and water bottle. There will be a shared snack time, but no shared food. Hands sanitized before and after every station. Volunteers are welcome. To register or volunteer, contact the church office at (585) 586-0580.
Outdoor communion worship at 10 am August 1 through Labor Day we will be worshipping at 10 am under the tent. Please bring your own chair and a mask (in case there are children under 12 present. If there are no children, masking is optional.) Worship will follow a simpler format, and we will share the wealth of liturgy with all participants. When you arrive for worship your bulletin may be marked in particular places. For instance, you may find the prayers or a reading highlighted on your copy. You will be asked to read that particular portion of the service. If this is something that makes you uncomfortable, you may choose an unmarked bulletin. As the word liturgy literally means “the work of the people,” this is a way for us all to participate and perhaps experiment to see if we wish to become more involved in leading worship in the future. The service will be available on Zoom for those who cannot be present in person. The connections are the same: us04web.zoom.us/j/573579627 If you do not have internet, 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 will be recorded and can accessed through Messiah’s Facebook page.
Zoom coffee hour will no longer be held. Thank you to Julie Gerstenberger for coordinating our coffee hour, and for all who participated.
Our 5 pm outdoor in person worship will follow the same guidelines as 10 am. Ushers are needed. If you are able to help, please contact Jim Taylor.
Mobile Directory Discontinued Due to the impact of COVID-19, Lifetouch Church Photography has permanently stopped operations. Unfortunately this means the Mobile Directory is no longer available. Changes to member addresses, emails and phone #s will continue to be published in the announcements.
Green Tip of the Week: Brighton Memorial Library and Colorbrightongreen present “The Need to GROW,” a documentary about 60 years of farmable soil left on Earth, decentralized solutions and cutting-edge technologies to heal our broken food system and regenerate our soils. Monday, July 26, 6:30 pm on-line movie screening, 8:15 discussion led by Kathleen Draper, local biochar expert. Register by contacting Deena Viviani at BML: 784-5342, or Deena.Viviani@libraryweb.org.
School is out for the summer and children are home all day. Wanting to be sure that the families we are serving with our Emergency Food Ministry have the additional food supplies and snack foods to provide for the children who previously received their lunches at school, we are preparing bags filled with lunch foods and some healthy snacks and treats to help meet their nutritional needs. There are several ways you could help out with this Summer Lunches and Snacks for Kids project. You could donate items to be included in our bags, attend one of the packing sessions to help prepare the bags, make a donation by cash, check or gift card, and, most importantly, support us with your prayers. The following is a list of some of the kinds of food items we are including: pasta meals, individual cups of mac & cheese, Lunchables, crackers with peanut butter or cheese, small bags of chips or pretzels, small packs of cookies, Capri Sun or other juice boxes, yogurt or gogurt, individual cups of jello or pudding, small cups of fruit or applesauce, fruit flavored gummie snacks, bags of fresh apples. We get together Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 6 pm and Saturdays from 10 am til noon to prepackage these lunch bags. Bring donations to the main door on distribution days. (2nd and 4th weeks of the month: Tuesdays 10 am - 12:00 pm, Thursdays 1 - 3:30 pm). To donate a gift card or check (“Summer Lunches” on memo line), mail it to church. If you have any questions regarding this Summer Lunches and Snacks for Kids project, I would be happy to discuss them with you. Tarri Mundt
Memorial Service for Ed Orlando: Sunday, August 1 at 1 pm (outside under the tent) Chairs will be set up, so no need to bring your own.
Messiah Altar Guild Update: As Messiah draws closer to resuming Sunday morning in person worship - in addition to the 5:00 pm in person service - the need for altar care also draws closer! If you served previously on Altar Guild and wish to continue, THANK YOU!! Please let me know. If you have not served in the past and would like to start, wonderful!! Just let me know that as well!! As new Chair of Altar Guild, there are many things we will be learning together! I ask for your help and your patience! Thanks to all!!! Sandy Moncrief
Food distribution needed items: Size 5 diapers, Personal products (deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, feminine hygiene etc.) Paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, tissues), and side dishes. DO NOT LEAVE OUTSIDE AT ANY TIME. Bring to the main door on distribution days. (2nd and 4th weeks of the month: Tuesdays 10 am - 12:00 pm, Thursdays 1 - 3:30 pm) To donate a gift card or check (“Food Distribution” on memo line), mail it to church.
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 Wednesday 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.