As many of you know by now, we have suspended all activities at the church.
Our ministry to families with babies to 4 years old, The Learning Garden, is closed at this time. Also our Community Thrift is closed and not taking any donations at this time.
In my 32 years of being in ministry, I have never been in a situation where the church closed it doors especially on a Sunday. We struggled with this decision. Worship is a lifeline for so many – not just the singing and praying and the messages but being with others, their friends and spiritual family.
In times like these we need one another more than ever. But this decision was made in light of the concern for the safety and health of our members and our broader community. We believe we have a responsibility to do our part in helping to slow or minimize the spread of this virus. This is a step we felt we needed to take.
We intend to reevaluate every two weeks. I am experimenting with video as you see here. My plan is to either video or live stream the message on Facebook.
This week I have spent time calling many of our members to make sure their needs are being met. I will be available to help with food from our pantry on Fridays from 1-3pm. Please call either the church or my cell. Church 609-478-6163 and my cell is 609-442-9428. Also if you have some other needs please do not hesitate to call.
Many of us are avoiding large groups and maybe even working from home. There are still many opportunities to care for one another and demonstrate Christ’s love.
I would suggest a couple of ideas:
1. Pray for those affected by the virus – those who are ill and the medical professionals treating them. The scientists working on vaccines and cures, and the leaders making tough decisions to try and curb the spread of this virus.
Pray for those who feel lonely during this time…reach out to anyone you think might be feeling isolated over the next few weeks.
2. Educate yourself about this virus from credible sources such as the World Health Organization and the CDC. Know the symptoms and have a plan if you or a member of your family becomes sick.
3. Check in on your friends and neighbors. If you know someone who does not have access to the internet, give them a call. This is a time when technology can be very helpful.
4. Find ways to express kindness to those who put themselves in harms way. Doctors, nurses, first responders, those working in our pharmacies, supermarkets, banks and those who collect our trash each week.
5. Remember this is temporary. Our church continues to serve our congregation and this community. Continue to be apart of this ministry. Please also continue your financial support of the work of the church. You can mail a check to the church at South Seaville United Methodist Church, PO Box 158 South Seaville NJ 08246.
We have been thinking this year about FAITH. We have been praying, “Lord increase my faith.” We have been looking at example after example in scripture where people were afraid, yet acting in faith. Fear is meant to move us to action and to greater faith. I found a great acronym from a pastor in Oklahoma.
Face your fears with a bias of hope (choose to believe things will get better)
Examine your fears in the light of the facts
Attack your anxieties with action (fear is meant to lead us to act)
Release your cares to God
Over 100 times in the Bible we are told, “Don’t be afraid.”
In Psalm 27:1 David tells us why,
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold in my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
In Psalm 56:3-4, Davis tells us of his strategy for combatting fear,
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust, I am not afraid.”
Continue to worship, continue to grow, continue to share, continue to serve.
And we know God will continue to bless and help you.
I pray for those watching this video.
Be with them in these challenging times.
Give us strength and patience.
Increase our faith.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
111-115 Corson Tavern Rd. PO Box 158
South Seaville NJ 08246