This past Sunday (Seventh Sunday of Easter) one of the lectionary readings was from Acts 1:6-14. The words of the disciples to Jesus resonate with many during these long pandemic days. "Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?" (Acts 1:6). The disciples longed for their lives and world to be restored like in the old days. That is a common theme for us all as we ask "Is this the time.....to reopen our church facilities safely for communal gatherings; to go back to living the way things were pre-pandemic; to get out in the world and gather with friends, families, etc." And yet, we know that our world changed post-911 in many ways. It seems that some things will become permanent changes for us all.
This coming Sunday, May 31st, is Pentecost Sunday, the birth of the church. The New Testament lectionary reading is Acts 2:1-21, a familiar story that we celebrate. These last few months churches have re-discovered some of the early church's focus on caring for each other and those beyond their community, redefining the concept of who one's neighbor is. As we worship this Pentecost Sunday, let us expect the Holy Spirit to show up in a new and bold way. Let us look for signs of new life and new things that God is calling us to do and be in our congregations, communities, and the world. May the example of those gathered that Pentecost day inspire us to go out into the world to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
PDMT, Memphis Theological Seminary and the Cumberland Presbyterian Women's Ministry are sponsoring a Clergywomen Reception 2020. This event is typically held at General Assembly. This year's reception will be held on June 9, 2020 at 7:30 PM (Central Time) via Zoom. The reception is for all clergywomen and those who love and support them. There will be conversation, laughter, stories, prayers, and giveaways as usual. Bring your own snacks. Registration is required. Click HERE to register.
More COVID-19 Resources to check out:
* "Legal and Liability Issues for Reopening the Church", a recorded webinar by Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton. This is a one-hour webinar with experts in the field of church law and tax discussing legal and liability issues to consider. A main take away from the webinar is the suggestion to communicate in writing to the church's insurance company a plan for re-opening the facility and ask for a written response. This week's HDI webinar is Friday, May 29 on the topic of "Safety Logistics for Church Reopening." You can register on their website.
* Thom Rainer and Church Answers are hosting a webinar Friday, May 29 on "Making Change Last: the next COVID19 Challenge.
Click HERE to register.
This will be the last weekly pastoral letter. Future letters will be distributed as appropriate for continued COVID19 information and other topics to communicate with the church. Check denominational websites and Facebook pages for resources of interest.
May the power and presence of the Holy Spirit fall upon you during this Pentecost season,