Thursday, April 9, 2020
Thanks to those who joined us for the noon Maundy Thursday service. If you missed it, the same service will be livestreamed at 6 PM and is designed to be viewed before eating a meal.
Come together to reflect on your experiences during this unique time of Lent.

WEEKLY FRAMEWORK:
At different points in our lives, many of us wonder why a good God would allow bad things to happen. And without a clear response, that dilemma could cause us to question God's existence altogether. The Gospel writer John documented an occasion where Jesus not only brought his friend Lazarus back to life but also demonstrated how God can exist in the midst of a world of evil and suffering.

Thursday's Devotional
Based on Pastor Eric's daily study guide
We find ourselves in a time of anxiety. Of anticipation. Of waiting.
Normally students aren't all that excited about going to school. Today, with the news that schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year, many students are likely mourning.
Our world is upside-down.
While we await the return of a semblance of normal life, we are reminded by Paul that for all of our present suffering, there is glory that awaits. We will be set free from pain, from disease, from sickness, from despair, from emptiness. Our hope isn't in what's broken around us; our hope is in the things unseen.
Friends, we have great pain right now. There is no avoiding that pain. We mourn the loss of school years, of celebrations of life events, of a retreat to a beloved vacation spot, of a trip to the grocery store without a concern about being exposed.
Please remember: it's ok to not be ok.
But while it sounds trite in times like these, our broken present will easily be forgotten when we're home in the eternal future that waits ahead of us.
Mourn the present, allow yourself to wrestle with all the emotions that you're feeling, but hang on to the hope in what remains unseen.
For Reflection:
"Paul is not expressing a...superficial optimism that everything tends to everybody's good in the end." (Stott, The Message of Romans)
Verse 28 does not say (as some think) that "everything" is good, but that God works for our good in everything. Do you have a personal example of when something that was tragic helped strengthen your faith?
Asbury will be helping Salem UMC by delivering needed food items to their Food Bank on April 18. Donations are being collected from 4:00 - 6:00 PM on Thursday and Friday April 16 & 17.  Please drop off your non-perishable donations at the upper level entrance at Asbury. Volunteers will be practicing proper social distancing during the collection period. Please help our center city friends by generously giving!



Sarah Circle will meet at 7:00PM (please note the time change) on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. The meeting will be held via a ZOOM set up by Peg French. Discussion will be on Guideposts 7 and 8 of the study book The Gifts of Imperfection by BrenĂ© Brown with a subtitle of "Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are - Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life". Debbie Holt will facilitate.  Interested in joining? Please contact Deb McCleary (djmccleary76@msn.com) for details as to how to connect. All women are cordially invited to join!
Father, comfort those who are mourning and grieving.
We are experiencing heavy emotion as we navigate this unprecedented time; yet we remember the hope that we have because of the actions You took as you, too, experienced deeply human emotions while beginning the journey to the cross.
Heal those who are sick, come alongside the broken, and breathe life into us as we celebrate what you have done for us.
Amen.

A note on prayers: to respect confidentiality, we will not be sharing specific prayer requests via email; however our prayer team is still actively praying for every request that they receive. If you have a prayer request, send it to the prayer team at prayer@asburylv.org.


For SPARK (3-4yr olds)
Download this week's Parent Cue

For BLAST (PreK- 5th grades)
The Story of Easter (The Last Supper)
The Story of Easter (The Last Supper)


Missed the video lessons shared yesterday?

Asbury's building is now closed indefinitely. When the time comes to re-open, rest assured we will send that communication as far in advance as possible (and very ready to celebrate gathering again!).



For the safety of all, and to keep Asbury's building virus-free, access to the building is now limited to office and custodial staff only. All other key cards have been deactivated. Should you need to gain access to the building, please contact Israel Olivieri, Business Manager, at  iolivieri@asburylv.org.



A special Charge Conference is being held Friday, April 10, at 3 PM through Zoom to formally approve a vote being taken by Church Council to attempt to secure a loan through the  CARES Act. Learn more at  asburylv.org/specialchargeconference.



Summer Camping registration is underway! Camps realize that the future is full of uncertainties and are considering alternative plans, including some offering full refunds if camps are cancelled. Visit the individual camp sites to learn more about their camps and their policies related to COVID-19:
Gretna Glen: Main Site | COVID-19 Response  
Pocono Plateau: Main Site | COVID-19 Response
Camp Innabah: Main Site | COVID-19 Response



Catch up on past announcements, devotionals, and resources at  asburylv.org/coronavirus.

All updates regarding Asbury's response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will also be shared at that page; as well as via email blast and on our social media feeds ( Facebook and  Twitter).



Please know that during the time that the office is closed, all calls to Asbury are being received by our answering service, as there is no one available in the office to take your call. Any messages you leave with the answering service are forwarded to us and we will relay your message to the appropriate staff member to respond to you as soon as possible.



Asbury is  now a drop-off site for home-sewn masks for Lehigh Valley Health Network. The collection bin is located at the doors by the upper entrance to the building. If you're able to sew masks, but not able to deliver them,  email Pastor Barbara to get connected with a helper. We do not have supplies available to offer; but could help coordinate a pickup for an order you place at a local fabric or craft store that's offering curbside pickup.

Instructions:



St. Luke's is also collecting personal protective equipment (PPE). Learn more about the items they're accepting and their drop-off locations (their Care Now urgent care locations in Allentown, Whitehall, Bethlehem, and more)  on their website.



Cancelled/Postponed Events
Include, but not limited to:
Jubilation Ringers Spring Concerts (cancelled)
April Blood Drive (cancelled) -  please consider giving at one of their physical locations (Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Reading) in this critical time of need.
Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
Reschedule dates (if applicable) will be communicated when available.
No physical meetings are being held at Asbury or off-site; but please check with your group/Circle leader to see if there are plans for your group to connect online.
If you are experiencing loneliness, or spiritual and emotional distress during these challenging days, you are not alone. Your pastors are praying for you.  Please reach out to Pastor Barbara at  blee@asburylv.org. She has been making calls for encouragement, counsel and prayer. If you are aware of someone in the congregation you are concerned about, please ask that individual's permission and then pass along your concern to Pastor Barbara.



We want to encourage you during this time to continue to stay connected with others, particularly those who might need help - not just Asbury congregants, but neighbors and homebound friends. A phone call, email, or text is always a safe way to connect! Always be aware of your own safety and the safety of those you're helping!



We know that these stressful times have and will cause hardships for some in our community. The following groups, recommended by Asbury in Mission (AIM), have resources available for assistance if you or someone you know has a need:

Kingdom Life Family Center Food Bank
4333 Lime Kiln Rd, Orefield, PA 18069
1401 Linden Street, Allentown, PA 18102

AIM also reminds us that while volunteer opportunities are few due to the current crisis, our mission partners can still be supported financially. Learn more about all of our AIM mission partners at  asburylv.org/aim.

If you are in a position to donate to the food banks, please be aware of the following information about donations:
Kingdom Life Family Center in Orefield wants people to make an appointment to drop off food on a Tuesday morning.  Call 610-398-0111
Salem United Methodist Church in Allentown, Food bank can take donations in the morning by appointment only.  Call Rev. Navin Satyarvata 610-432-2577



Our Keep in Touch team is still striving to connect with those in our congregation who are sick or hospitalized, even in the  absence of physical visits.  Members known to be hospitalized and/or sick and members who are visited monthly will be "visited" by phone. Say a special prayer of thanks for these individuals who help care for those among us who are ill!
Connect with us online
www.asburylv.org