Everything is New

Only two months ago, we all discovered that we had to close down the building and cancel all in-person meetings. Seems like so much longer! Here are some of the things we’ve been learning at church over that time:

  • How to put together a worship service, record it, edit it, and broadcast it, without even being in the same building
  • How to collaborate on making music when we can’t be together in the room
  • How to have a Zoom meeting
  • How to keep in touch with one another without being there
  • How to keep children engaged without having time together on Sundays
  • How important, committed, and gifted are our key leaders!

And on the personal side, we’ve been learning:

  • How to get our groceries and prescriptions without leaving home
  • How to get along with the people we live with when we have much more time together!
  • How to entertain ourselves without going out
  • The importance of good hand-washing!

I know that depression and anxiety will be very serious issues for a lot of folks, including many of you. The things we are doing together as a church are pushing in the right direction: keeping in touch by phone, experiencing worship, Bible study, prayer times together, and running errands for our more vulnerable members! A little group of us even went out on Easter afternoon and sang Easter hymns outside the homes of some of our members (trying to maintain appropriate distance from each other!) As a reminder, we are still present to you in lots of ways:

  • Regular text blasts to remind you of upcoming services and events
  • Regular emails
  • The Wednesday mid-week by email, which is also mailed out to those without email. If you know someone who needs to be receiving it, please let Wendy know at 231-638-7616 or wendy@communitychurchumc.org
  • Occasional mailings like this
  • Pastor Jeremy is still very available by phone, though not at the building! Jeremy’s number is 231-720-5422, and his email is pastorjeremywilliams@gmail.com
  • Sunday worship on Facebook (Community United Methodist North Muskegon), broadcasts at 9:30 but you can watch any time
  • A brief Tuesday Bible study at 3pm and a prayer time taking your prayer requests on Thursday at 3pm—all on Facebook
  • The worship services are also posted on YouTube following the service, accessible through communitychurchumc.org
  • Through team leaders, who are keeping in touch with you by phone. If you know someone who needs to be included, please let Wendy know.
  • Wendy is reaching out to children and their families with weekly contact and activities.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, but I celebrate that our worship attendance is up since we’re only online. It apparently helps when you don’t have to get dressed and out of the house in time! Giving has remained steady thanks to some of you stepping up. That gives a ton of encouragement to all your staff people that they’ll still have jobs when this is over. As a reminder, you can still mail in a check, and you can also give electronically. Go to communitychurchumc.org and click give on the top left to learn more.

We don’t yet know when we will be able to gather together in the sanctuary. I hope we will have the patience to wait long enough to be confident and safe. Some denominations have decided to stay out until July. There will likely be several weeks between the end of quarantine, and the time when we can all gather safely as a large group. Small group meetings will probably begin somewhat sooner. When we do come back, most likely we will not all show up at once, as the more vulnerable folks ought to keep distance for longer. We have a lot of details to figure out before then.

I just finished a four-week series on Paul. So I echo his words:

First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because the news about your faithfulness is being spread throughout the whole world. I serve God in my spirit by preaching the good news about God’s Son, and God is my witness that I continually mention you in all my prayers. I’m always asking that somehow, by God’s will, I might succeed in visiting you at last. (Romans 1:8-10, Common English Bible)

Blessings and joy to you all!

Pastor Jeremy