"We are the church together"
When we sing that song, we may not have ever considered a time such as this..where being church "together" would mean being a church "virtually" Church in these first weeks of the pandemic has meant adjusting, adapting, and accepting things beyond our control.
But ultimately, isn't this what it has always meant to "walk in faith"? Christians across the ages have worshipped in caves, hidden in basements, attics.. and when free have boldly presented praises in the most glorious of gothic cathedrals.
Our adjustments and limits are nothing compared to theirs, but have proved to show that being the church looks different in every time and place. Facebook Live, Phone-in Sessions, the church drive-thrus, texts email, keep us together. The acceptance of limitation has made use more aware of the value of seeing each other freely - grateful for our interconnectedness. Jesus invited us to know God's love by loving others and being loved. Take heart that a great amount of kindness being spread despite it all.
As your pastor, I am humbled by God's wisdom that prepared us for this very moment. God gave the church of this age the technology to communicate in ways that our ancestors in the faith never had. We have the power of a love that binds us together and the tools to reach each other.Before these events, we felt that Love that covered all our differences - now we rely on that Love even more in this time of not seeing each other face to face.
Today the Bishop in cooperation with information and recommendations from the CDC and the Governor, has announced that we will not resume our Sunday Worship Services in the church building until May . This is new adjustment but we can accept what is before us with the certain knowledge that nothing can separate us and that the church is eternal.
The financial supported given to your church during this time is important - the reduction of worship services has meant that the usual opportunity to give to the life of the churches ministry and basic operation is no longer there. The offering you make via online, mail-in, or drive thru is critical. Below I have listed out our offerings received in the 2 Sundays past. It is amazing the outpouring that has still come in from these "alternative" means of giving. The first Sunday we were closed, we still were close to staying on track with our goal of $6,000 per Sunday. The offerings received for last Sunday will be coming in over the days ahead - but you can see we are about half way toward our weekly goal.
Another way to "give as you live" is to be sure to order through the AMAZONsmile link. Give for your church - each for Mt Harmony Lower Marlboro or Centenary Umc
There have been creative adjustments, the AA groups also have met via Zoom, our Kindergarten class has distance learning in place.
The ministry of the church is always and ever changing. The Holy Spirit is always drawing us into the next unknown, unchartered territory. We have nothing to fear as we have been given the eternal presence of God. We are the church together, sometimes the church is under a steeple and sometimes it is scattered.. but it is never shattered.