Weekly memo: when the ball keeps moving
These past few weeks have felt like someone keeps moving the ball. Do you know what I mean? From the time we started adjusting our lives to slow the spread of the virus, we have taken one step, almost gotten used to it, and then were required to take another step. It’s the changing nature of our lives now.
I’m exceptionally grateful for a conversation I had on Monday where Eric Peterson and I moved quickly in anticipation of this next “ball move” and have been recording as much as we can as quickly as we can. He’s a saint and I know you all have appreciated him and all of the others who are making our online worship experience a reality.
On Tuesday our Bishop announced that he is asking congregations to suspend in-person worship until at least May 10. That’s another “ball move” for us, but at least one we had anticipated. Bear with us as we make plans to celebrate Easter from our couches. It will be unforgettable in the sense we’ve never done it this way before. But we will celebrate Easter none-the-less. Nothing stopped Jesus from rising from that grave and changing our world forever. Easter will not be cancelled. Jesus is still risen from the dead, and we will celebrate his resurrection on Easter Sunday. We will just be doing that from our own homes, connected together even as we are physically apart.
Which reminds me of the truth about “ball moves” and Lucys in our world. No matter what changes around us, there is one constant in our lives. The Psalmist says it this way: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. (Psalm 46:1-3) No matter what changes in our lives, no matter how many Lucys are moving balls in front of us, no matter which sort of restrictions on our movements are necessary, no matter what the nature of the stock market, no matter if you were an adequate “home-schooling” parent this week or not, one thing never changes: God is our refuge and strength, our help in trouble! I pray you find ways to lean on God’s strength in these “stay at home” days we are in.
Pastor Becky Jo
Top things you need to know this week
For now, in-person worship is suspended. We will worship together via various media on our website (http://www.prairiechurch.org/). Each Sunday you will discover a new video worship service and a new video children’s message. Each Wednesday a new audio recording of a meditative worship experience will be available on the website (in keeping with our mid-week Lent Worship Experiences).
Rachel, Jody and Kay are offering various Sunday School lessons and ministries through a private Facebook page. Contact Rachel (email@example.com) to get connected.
Youth Group meetings resumed via Zoom last night. If you didn’t get connected and want to, contact Terri (firstname.lastname@example.org).
So many of our live experiences with each other will be delivered via Zoom. I would encourage you to download the app on your device with a camera and microphone (computer, phone or tablet) to be ready to participate. I’ll be hosting a practice Zoom session this Saturday morning from 10 – 11 a.m. for anyone who wants to test the technology before participating in a group. Follow this link to join: https://zoom.us/j/4455694215
Growing in Faith
Opportunities to grow in your faith are available virtually. Email your interest in participating as indicated below and we will connect you to the growth experience.
- Monday evening Bible Study with Pastor Becky Jo – you only need to bring your Bible and join in the Zoom conversation at 7 p.m. Email Pastor Becky Jo (email@example.com) to register and get a Zoom invitation (or instructions to call in, or a print copy).
- Tuesday Afternoon at 3 p.m. Lectio Divina with Gwen Pickering – Lectio Divina is a spiritual practice of reading, meditating and praying the scriptures. You don’t have to know anything about it to join in. Gwen will lead you through the practice together. Please email Gwen your interest in participating firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wednesday Simple Worship audio recording can be found on our website. We continue to focus on the theme of Reconnecting with an Unhurried God. If you would like the audio file emailed to you instead of locating it on our website, email your request to Becky (email@example.com)
- Thursday Evening Prayers at 9 p.m. on Facebook with Pastor Becky Jo. Just look for it on our church Facebook page at 9 p.m. on Thursdays. I picked this time because I am hoping it’s a good time for parents of little ones who may have put their children to bed by this time and can offer themselves a dedicated time of prayer. I won’t be “live” tonight (recording worship at that time) but hope to be live every Thursday night at 9 p.m. after tonight.
- Friday Gratitude Conversation at 10 a.m. – It’s so easy to focus on all the things we have to do without, rather than all the ways we are being blessed in this season. Join Gwen Pickering for a conversation via Zoom to remind us of all the things for which we have to be grateful. Email Gwen your interest in participating at firstname.lastname@example.org
Giving to the ministries of EPUMC and our partners
As you can see, our staff are working adaptively to be in ministry with you in new and innovative ways. In addition, we are continuing to serve various ministry partners like Pride Institute, PROP, Sheridan Story, UMCOR and Simpson Shelter in new and changing ways. Please continue your generous support of the ministries of the church and our ministry partners. You do not have to be in the building to give. You can find online giving opportunities on our website (http://www.prairiechurch.org/) or use the Give+ App we talked about a few weeks ago (again, information is on our website).