Pam is unavailable, so he church office will be closed today.
COVID-19 is going to upend our Advent, but the Great Plains Conference has very helpfully developed a series of activities for children and their families (or for the young at heart). You can download it at: https://bit.ly/2J7hcUw.
Pope Francis has published a moving editorial about the pandemic in the New York Times. He writes of how moments of crisis like these reveal what is in our hearts. The best line: “If we are to come out of this crisis less selfish than when we went in, we have to let ourselves be touched by others’ pain.”
It’s not brief, it’s not entertaining, but I encourage you to take the time time to read it.
The following reflection is from Rev. Gary Beach who was my pastor when I was confirmed, and later my District Superintendent and friend. I wanted to share it with you:
Today I am thankful for medical personnel who, even this day, are risking health and their lives to care for the sick and comfort the dying in the absence of family and friends. Today I am thankful for scientists researching treatments to restore health and vaccines to prevent illness. Today I am thankful for persons who, whether out of choice or necessity, work in the public at risk to their own health to make it easier for persons like myself to more easily “shelter in place” just like the grocery store employee who shopped for our groceries and placed them in the trunk of our car yesterday. Today I mourn with the millions in our nation and around the world who grieve the loss of family members and friends who leave an empty seat at the table. And I am thankful for a God who is present with them to provide comfort, strength, and hope in the face of unimaginable grief made worse because of the fact that they were not able to be present with or hold the hand of the dying. And, more than ever, I am aware of just how much I have taken for granted every day of my life including family and friends like you. May each of you have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!
A friendly reminder that because of the Thanksgiving Holiday we will not be having Bible Study tonight, but we will be having communion at 6:00 p.m. Here are the details:
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Meeting ID: 937 0998 7388
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Meeting ID: 937 0998 7388
If you’ve missed hearing someone sing the hymns, know that you have been heard. Clark Williamson, our Director of Music Ministries will be back—on a recorded basis for safety reasons—leading hymns this Sunday.
Because I plan to keep my mask on while preaching this Sunday, I’ve made the sermon available online along with the bulletin. I’m doing this so that those who have trouble hearing can read along (since we don’t have closed captioning available). I should warn you that I often improvise, but I’ll do my best to stick with the text.
The Salina and Hutchinson Districts will have a joint district webinar for Church Conferences on Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. All members of churches in the two districts are invited to attend what is expected to be a short webinar (30-45 minutes) hosted by Dee Williamston. Below is a link to register for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
I’ve been asked what difference Dickinson County’s new mask mandate (Health Order #DK11-01) will make in our services this weekend. The only thing that has to be changed is that the signs requiring masks currently posted on our doors must be enlarged from 8″ x 8″ to 8.5″ x 11″. That’s it. Otherwise, we’re already compliant. A change that may be made will be for me to wear a mask even while preaching. (The order allows me to remove my mask for the sake of the hearing impaired, but I haven’t yet decided whether or not to do so. If I remain masked for the sermon, I have found a mask that better preserves the quality and clarity of my voice and I will publish my sermon notes online.)
I urge everyone who can watch online or listen on the radio instead of coming in-person to do so. I know that worship is important to many of you—it’s really important to me too. I understand that the experience of in-person worship is far superior to “virtual” worship. But, because of the increasing spread of COVID-19, Dr. Holmes, Bishop Saenz, and I all urge you to refrain from in-person worship for at least a month. That said, we will have services at 10:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, we have plenty of extra masks, and I do not intend to turn anyone away.* In our present situation, you are the person best able to weigh your spiritual needs against the risks of in-person attendance. All I know is that the potential danger of attending in-person is both real and dire.
* To comply with #DK11-01, I will reluctantly turn people away in the unlikely event that we have more than 30 people show up.
The video above, from Saturday, November 14, 2020, follows the same order of worship as the Sunday, November 15, 2020 service will. You can view this video and previous worship services on our Vimeo page at vimeo.com/abilenefirstumc.