PASTORAL MESSAGE, May 19, 2020
This past week I was reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul: “There is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” (my paraphrase of Romans 8.30b)
It has been eight weeks since we were advised to close the doors of the church building. In two weeks time we moved from receiving an email order of service to a videotaped worship to hosting Zoom worship and in just another two weeks we added a coffee hour. That is amazing to me. We are an adaptable people. We are determined to be the Body of Christ, to worship together, no matter what circumstances might dictate. There is nothing in all of creation that can stop us from worshiping together!
Then last week the Zoom platform experienced difficulties. Did that stop us? NO! We moved ahead with worship and, although many could not see, we hung in there as a community and worshiped together. There is nothing that can stop us from being the Body of Christ in the world. I thank you for your tenacity and your commitment to nurturing your faith and the faith of your brothers and sisters in Christ! You are an inspiration to me!
One of the things, though, that we are missing, is the Eucharist. While we acknowledge that the Gospel is proclaimed both in Word and Sacrament, for some of you there is a longing to receive Christ in this tangible way. I hear you and I feel your longing, as well.
This is a conversation that is ongoing across our Synod. Especially now, knowing that churches fall into Phases 4 of New York’s Reopening Strategy. And also knowing that just because we fall into that phase, we will not be able to resume worship as “normal” for the foreseeable future. And so the Bishop is asking us, as Pastors, to ask some questions of you. We are to compile these answers and send them forward to our Dean, Pr. Jonathan Deibler. The Deans will be meeting with the Bishop to form some helpful instructions and suggestions as we move into a hopeful future, whatever that might look like.
I invite you to send me an email or a note or give me a call with your answers to these following questions:
1. While we are not sharing in the Eucharists, what is missing for you? What is not missing for you?
2. How has your relationship with Scripture changed during these times when we have withheld receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion? Has scripture taken on any new meaning?
3. What do you really appreciate about the way we are worshipping now?
I, and Bishop Macholz, appreciate you taking the time to be part of this important conversation about our worship life. I look forward to hearing from all of you!
Please see the remainder of this email for links for Bible Studies and news of other events happening!
Thursday Morning Bible Study at 10:00 Join us for a study of Paul’s encouraging letter to the Galatians.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 816 4524 9128
New Study Opportunity
After surviving three years in concentration camps, psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning” based on his observations that those who were able to hold on to faith and hope in spite of the death and dying all around them, had better chances for survival.
In the hopes that we might learn from Dr. Frankl’s observations, Pr. Hans is offering an opportunity for us to read his book together with guided conversation. We will meet from 7 pm- – 8 pm Sunday May 17 through July 12 (with the exception of June 21 and July 5). Because of the Pandemic, it would be best to order our own books and have them delivered to our homes. They can be purchased from Amazon starting at $8.39 and at Barnes and Noble, starting at $11.99. If you need assistance ordering a book, please contact Cathy Coe.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 886 6365 8291
Don’t forget, Sunday worship continues to be available to everyone at 10 am through the Internet or the phone. The links are the same for each week. If you have an internet connection, join via Zoom on your device using this link: us04web.zoom.us/j/573579627 If you do not have internet access, you can listen to the service by dialing this local Rochester number: 270-2524. After the greeting, enter the conference ID of 291-1296 followed by the # key. At the prompt, state your name, and then press the # key again. If you are not able to join worship at 10 am, the service will be recorded and can be accessed through Messiah’s Facebook page. Coffee hour will also be held after worship via zoom, using the following link https://us04web.zoom.us/j/367670353
The Spiritual Growth Group’s next meeting will be May 26 at 7 pm. If you wish to receive the lesson in advance, contact Julie Gerstenberger.
o Zoom video:
§ Meeting ID: 971-654-509
o Audio only participation:
§ (929) 205-6099
§ Meeting ID: 971-654-509#
Free food is distributed from the church parking lot by appointment Tuesday mornings from 10 am – 12 pm. and Thursday afternoons from 1 pm – 3 pm. If you or someone you know is in need of food, please call the church office at 865-1866 x 2 to set up a time.
Although we are getting food from Foodlink, some items are not available through them. We have placed a bin at the handicap entrance of the church for donations. If you wish to pick up some needed items, you may drop them off any time, although Tuesdays9 am -12 and Thursdays 12 pm -2 are best. Please use the bin – even if you see someone at church, do not enter the building.
Currently we need peanut butter, mac &cheese, baked beans, and side dishes. Also, we may need freezer space to store some of the Foodlink frozen product. If you have space at home and are available on Friday afternoons please contact the church office (865-1866). You can either pick-up or we can deliver.
We are also requesting gas cards to be given to those in need. They may be placed in an envelope in the donation bin, or mailed to the church. Please keep the volunteers and our clients in your prayers this week. Thank-you to all who are supporting this ministry.
Ways to Stay Connected
M – F Noon devotional reflections by Pr. Aileen and Willie on Face Book Live. They are recorded to be watched anytime after they appear.
Devotional Reflections on the Church Face Book page written by Sybil Reisch.
Don’t forget to keep calling your friends to stay in touch!
Send pictures of your home altars to Pr. Aileen to be used as part of our intro loop for worship on Sundays!