A Letter from Pastor Carolyn

Sunday, May 17
10:00 a.m.
  Book of James Series (5)

Luke 6:43-45
James 3:1-18

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May 14, 2020
"For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.'"
- Luke 6:45
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
This morning, a friend shared with me the opening verses of Psalm 84: "How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God" (Ps 84:1-2). That caught the longing in my heart. I think I have been grieving the loss of all of us gathering together to worship the Lord. It is amazing all the things we used to take for granted that now seem like precious jewels - hugs, handshakes, and heartfelt worship together in the sanctuary of the Lord.

I wanted to give you an update as we enter the Yellow phase in Allegheny County. The governor has asked gatherings to be limited to 25 people at this point, so it looks like we will not be able to gather for worship just yet. It will probably be the Green phase before we can finally join back together. It feels like we are with Noah in the ark - we have hit land, but we aren't allowed to get off the boat yet!

We are working on plans for small groups to be able to use the church for meetings during the Yellow phase. Our Usher/Greeter Safety Ministry and the Session will make a decision in the next week about how to handle that, and we will let you know.

Whenever we do open to small groups and eventually for worship, we will be requiring masks in the building. We will have cloth and disposable masks available if you do not have one. We are adapting our plans for worship and stepping up our cleaning protocols to keep everyone as safe as possible. In addition, we are increasing our live-streaming capability so whenever we do start worship in the building again, we will continue broadcasting for those who need to stay home.

Please keep praying for one another and for wisdom for the leadership team. None of us have ever managed a church in a pandemic before. We are studying a lot and, even more importantly, trusting the Lord to go before us and show us the way.

As we turn to our James study this week, we will be looking at all he has to say about taming our tongues. There is nothing quite like the fear and stress of a pandemic to bring out the worst in our speech. James laments, "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be" (James 3:10). This is our challenge: how do we as the Body of Christ speak words of peace, grace, and compassion to everyone, even those who disagree with us on politics, phases, and safety protocols? James encourages us to focus on speaking with godly wisdom, saying, "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere" (James 3:17). Trace back your words today. Did they meet that standard? It is not always easy, but with a big dose of grace and the Holy Spirit, we can encourage each other to grow in this area.

Small Groups: 
Are you plugged into a small group? We have groups meeting almost every day of the week, and we have groups for Tweeners, Middle School and High School, Young Adults, just women, just men, and coed groups. We would love to get you connected! And the Lamplighters Sunday School class just started meeting again as well. If you are interested in becoming part of one of these groups, please contact us at 412-531-3387 or info@mlepc.org.

Hour of Prayer (formerly known as Sundays at Seven):
A group of us are gathering on Zoom every Sunday at 7pm to pray together, and we would love to have you join us! Here is the Zoom link for a computer, tablet, or mobile phone:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92561964416. You can also call in from a regular phone - dial 1-646-558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID - 925 6196 4416. For more info, contact Pat Gaudio at t4two98@hotmail.com.

Again, please let us know if there is any way we can support you or connect with you during this season. We need to be here for each other now more than ever. The email,  info@mlepc.org , has been set up so you can send us any needs, prayer requests, or just updates on how you are doing. And you are always welcome to call us at 412-531-3387.

Many blessings,
Pastor Carolyn
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