Give thanks to the LORD for God is good, and God's steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1)
I wanted to send out a quick "Thanksgiving" update. First, I am thankful that after today I will be enjoying some vacation until Sunday, November 29. With the pandemic we are not going anywhere but just looking forward to some reading and relaxing. I am also thankful for the Rev. David Long-Higgins, our Transitional Interim Heartland Conference Minister, who will be leading worship on Facebook Live on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 10am. I hope you will join him!
We also have much to be thankful for as a church. I know these past nine months have been challenging for us all, and it has been a challenge here in the church, too. At the same time the ministry of the church has never been more vital and alive. Here a few things we can all be thankful for.
Worship has reached a whole new audience through our livestream. And not just my family and friends, but some of your family and friends and former members and people who moved away.
Our Facebook kids page and Sunday school is a real blessing. With weekly online lessons and Children's Time we are reaching more kids than most Sunday mornings in person. And we just had a really awesome Zoom meeting where all the kids got to see one another.
Pastoral care is also ongoing. If you are on the prayer chain you have seen a lot of requests lately, unfortunately. We have many members and friends going through trying times right now and I try to be present on behalf of the whole church. Plus I continue to reach out to our shut-ins. It may only be a phone call or a text or a note rather than face-to-face, and I always wish there was more I could do, but the prayers and support do make a difference.
We have had several new givers come on board through our Paypal account. I cannot tell you how excited I am when I get notice of someone supporting the ministry for the first time!
Over the past months we have given to support Church camp, Neighbors in Need offering, Cancer Services, and the Norwalk Area Food Bank. The Non-Food Bank keeps going strong and making a difference - yesterday the people who came were SO grateful! Last week I sat in my office and watched a young girl skip (yes, literally skip!) over to the Little Free Library to check out the books. Glad I just put some new children's books out there.
And Advent is about to start! I am putting together what I hope will be a meaningful series of sermons on hope. Whatever Christmas may bring this crazy year, let us remember the birth of Christ IS the birth of hope in our world!
The pandemic has certainly had an effect on our church. And I am concerned about our finances - not worried, just concerned because I know this has affected you and what you are able to give. But the church is far from falling apart before our eyes. As I have said for over 27 years, I believe as long as we are doing meaningful ministry the money will follow and the church will survive. I am thankful for the ministry of our church and I am thankful for every one of you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! Peace, Pastor Wayne