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Hello Church! I Miss You.
Good Friday Simpsonwood,

Last week, we sent an invitation to reflect on how you can care and help out. The big need is for you to help us now identify those who need some help. Again here is the page on our web-site where we are doing that.

Yesterday I wrote a devotion reflecting on ways while at home you can 'do something' I hope you will take time to read. As you want, please forward to others. 

Two quick updates. First, you will receive an email  tomorrow  with the links either through Facebook or Youtube (whichever works best for you) for Sunday's worship service. The links will work at 10 AM when we worship together. Also, we are beta testing (one of our Grow Groups this Sunday) a platform to have online classes hopefully by next weekend. Staff tuned for more info to follow in the coming week. 

Lastly, please continue to support the church's ministry in two key ways.

1. I invite you to expand the reach of worship through your own contacts (send the Sat. link) out to friends, family and those who may not have online worship available to them.

2. I invite you to continue to support the work of the church through your continued generosity. Here is the way to do that from where you are at home. 

Have a great weekend church.  I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday at 10 online... you are loved in Christ!

John


Thursday's Phillip Endeavor Devotion below

Today's Reading: Galatians 6: 1-5

"Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are important when they aren’t, they’re fooling themselves." (Galatians 6: 2-3) 


I try to read now as many sources each day to understand what exactly is happening now during the Covid-19 crisis. This article came across a feed last night highlighting anecdotally what is happening on the front lines from nurses in New York. The situation has grown dire in days. I want to write this at the front. To be in Christ in this crisis means we carry the burdens of those who are weighed down. If your orders are to shelter in place, and that is what you are doing to be faithful, keep at it and add to that the Christian practice of 'bearing the burden' of those who have the weight of the world on them now. This is the job of those who wonder how we can do anything. Below is the reflections of three NY nurses.
If you are willing to bear the burden of those serving in healthcare, set aside time, enough that it is a burden to you to intercede in prayer daily for those serving in healthcare in this crisis. God ahead and write in response how you will be praying below so you have obligated yourself. The length of time is not as important as the practice. I will begin praying at 6AM and 6 PM praying for the shifts for our healthcare workers. (I know many serving in the crisis won't actually serve traditional shifts.)

Fast. Christian tradition has long maintained this as an appropriate response to those who are suffering. Fasting has oft taken the shape of a meal or a day. You decide. The purpose of the fast is to align one's self with God through a practice of self-denial. Christians have also done this in history to side with those who are suffering. We fast to make us aware, sensitive and to practice denial of one's self which is at the heart of living under the joy of Jesus' love.

Share. If you believe yourself these are practices that Christians around you should adopt, I invite you simply to like and share this with others…

The part of the article that is printed below comes from yesterday's New Yorker and highlights reflections from a nurse in NY city hospital.

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"In a “donning and doffing” class, in which nurses were shown how to put on personal protective equipment, an instructor introduced a new rule: store your used mask in a plastic bag, so you can reuse it later. Gonzalez pushed back. “I said, ‘What kind of infection control is this? Isn’t that just incubating germs?’ ” The instructor seemed embarrassed. “He said, ‘Listen, I’m only telling you what the hospital is recommending.’ And he added, kind of under his breath, ‘Doesn’t mean I agree with it.’ ”

Gonzalez was scared. “My manager told me, ‘Michelle, you’re fine—you’re thirty. You don’t have anything to worry about.’ But I live with my ninety-year-old grandmother, and my dad, who is sixty-two, diabetic, and immunocompromised. I want to be able to go home and sleep at night, knowing I didn’t give it to them.” She decided to take matters into her own hands, along with her fellow I.C.U. nurses. “I started organizing us early,” she said. They obtained a stash of N95 masks and devised a system of working in pairs, so that they could better conserve them. She began to acquire a reputation. “Medical doctors from different specialties, and my own doctors, keep coming by and asking me for protective gear, because they have nowhere else to get it.”

She was most concerned about colleagues in the emergency room, which was short-staffed even before the outbreak. “It’s always overpacked,” she said. “Nurses there have sixteen patients.” A new screening tent had been set up, and “suspected covid” patients were being shuffled to a waiting area along one wall, where they sat on stretchers, shivering and coughing into the open air. An E.R. nurse had told Gonzalez that she was still wearing a surgical mask. None of the hospital staff had been tested for the virus. They were supposed to be monitoring themselves for symptoms. “It’s almost like we’re desensitized to it,” Gonzalez said.

She told me that she’s a good nurse. “I love my job. I love when I clean a little eighty-year-old person and they tell me, ‘Thank you.’ I love providing care not just to a patient but to their family.” But, in the past week, she’s been having regrets about her choice of career. “I’m so in debt because of nursing,” she said. “I’ve paid thousands of dollars for my education, and I’ve felt abused throughout this whole pandemic. It’s like my life and my job—my well-being and my job—are in conflict.” She knew it was about to get worse. “Right now, it’s the calm before the storm. Just watch. (It's) really going to hit the fan…” ("The Growing Chaos Inside New York’s Hospitals, Lizzie Widdicombe, March 23, 2020)