The Following is From our Friday, April 23rd Weekly Email:
First, let me offer some details for this Sunday’s service. First, we will be stepping off the lectionary a bit, and will be taking another route this Sunday. I will be talking about how we tell our stories as people of faith. We will step into conversations related to authenticity and relevance, and how that looks from a perspective of faith. We will talk about how learning to tell our story honestly, can work to change the trajectory of someone else’s life. It can also change our own. I will also be sharing a bit of my faith story too. Hopefully, you’ll join us in person or online for this gathering. For those of you who are still joining online, we celebrate that we can still be a part of your Sunday Sabbath. As always service starts at 10:00 (ish) and details on how to access our service can be found at https://chesterfieldumc.org/connect/
Additionally, I have added a moment to our worship, just prior to our final musical offering by Tracey, called “Recognizing God in our Midst” This will be a moment, where I will invite anyone in our congregation to share an experience of God that you might have found yourself in the last week. Obviously, we hope you will consider sharing during this time, but if there is no one that wants to share, we are good there. God is certainly all around us. Sparked and encouraged by Rick’s recent story about the crocus that reminded him of the power of God, we thought this would be a great way for you to work through your story, encourage others, and for our community to celebrate God at work around us. I am reminded of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s quote “Earth is crammed full with Heaven”. Maybe this can help us recognize that!
Second, I wanted to talk a little bit about the ad council meeting that was held last Sunday. Although these are not official minutes, it was exciting to talk about the future of the church. We spent some time talking about the physical needs of the building especially as we have been away for so long. We began to isolate some of the work projects for this summer which included the repair or rebuilding of our front porch, and some minor repairs in the sanctuary (a window pane that needs replacing, the fabric on the chancel, etc). From there we talked about the less fun task of paperwork due the district and the conference. We are Methodists and there is always some paperwork that needs completion. Don’t worry, as I will be sending a separate email on this today to the ad council! 😊
In addition to this, we talked at length about our ‘COVID Safe Sanctuary’ policies and how we would be taking this slow and learning along the way. We talked about learning along the way, and not falling down rabbit holes. We also faced down the 800lb gorilla in the room that whispered that some things seemed like overkill. That said, we celebrated that a continued safe return was part of our ministry. This week, the conference referenced an article that seemed really to hit home on this, and I have referenced in the below link.
We talked about a book study, that we are stepping into this spring/summer. We invite you to be a part of the study by Max Lucado “Anxious for Nothing; Finding Calm in a Chaotic World” The study uses the scripture Philippians 4:6-7 (The most underlined passage in the bible), to step into conversations about anxiety, worry, and the pursuit of calm. It challenges us to invite God to reframe the way we face our fears. My hope is that we can find a way to encourage both our online and in person attendees in this study, and later this spring (or early summer), have a moment, when we join together OUTSIDE, perhaps with picnic lunch, and talk about what we discover. In addition, I will be adding moments to our worship to help you consider what you are reading along the way. The book is available on Amazon, but should you have a financial situation that keeps you from buying the book, let me know (confidentially) and I will procure you one. We want you to be a part!
Finally, there was conversation and a vote on Sunday by the council to move the start of our worship from 10:00/10:15 to 10:30 starting July 3rd. This discussion resulted from the West Rindge addition to my appointment. The two churches reside 45 minutes apart, and this allows me to cover both churches on a Sunday in the event of coverage issues with the ministry team. More details will certainly come out in the future on this.