March 16, 2020
  • Due to the COVID-19 virus, we will not have worship service at church this Sunday, March 22.
  • Preschool and Childcare are closed until futher notice.
  • New church office hours 9 am-2 pm (subject to change if needed).
  • All activities, events, and meetings scheduled for March 15-28 are cancelled.
  • Session will meet virtually on March 23 to determine next steps over the next weeks.
Weekly Message
Rev. Dr. Cathie Smith
Bright Lights

This quote from Mr. Rogers became particularly well known following the tragedies of 9/11 and has come back to our awareness time after time when there have been natural disasters, mass shootings, and other events that have brought fear and anxiety and a sense of helplessness to our lives. We bring it back to our awareness because there is great wisdom in it. In times like this as we face the questions and unknowns of this pandemic, it is so easy to feel like we need to glue ourselves to the news and join the panic and let the fear and anxiety overwhelm us and take over us. But Mr. Rogers, in his wisdom, knew that children and adults alike need to turn attention away from the bad news to the good news that can still be found in these times. Because in these times, the goodness and kindness in people does come out in strong and powerful ways.

Did you know that Broadway performers are reaching out to high school students whose spring musicals have been cancelled, asking them to send video of them singing and dancing to them so that they will have an audience and get to share the hard work they put in? Have you seen the video of people in Italy sharing a moment of community and solidarity as they sing from their balconies? (if not, the video is below) Did you know that many performing artists are recording or going live with mini concerts from their homes, putting music out into the world for free during this time? Did you know that at Artis Senior Living, the activities leaders are helping the residents make FaceTime calls with their families who are not allowed to visit in person? Did you know that our community has been amazing , bringing generous donations of food to Meals on Wheels to keep our senior residents fed and cared for in this time of isolation? There are bright lights all around!

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. Isaiah 9:2

Yes, this is a dark and uncertain time, but there are helpers, there are bright lights, there is goodness and kindness and joy to be found and to be spread, even in this time. So keep informed and keep safe- but do not get lost in the bad news, do not dwell in the fear- ask yourself- "how can I be a bright light in this darkness?" It may not be as big and dramatic as putting on a concert on YouTube, but there is something we all can do to share hope and kindness and joy and light in this time.

I wanted to share this poem with you. It was written by Irish Capuchin Franciscan Brother Richard Hendrick and is titled, "Lockdown." He shared this poem in a Facebook post last Friday, the 13th.

Lockdown by Brother Richard: 
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

My friends, know you are loved and missed in this time. Please reach out if you find yourself in need or unwell.


You are loved,
Pastor Cathie


Sing and Pray as You Wash the Germs Away...

We are reminded in this time to wash our hands for a full 20 seconds. While Happy Birthday and the Alphabet Song are good ways to help monitor that amount of time, we also have the opportunity to use that time in praise and prayer. Each of these songs or prayers take about 20-30 seconds to sing or say. After all, cleanliness is next to Godliness!

Holy, Holy, Holy (one verse)
Amazing Grace (one verse)
This Little Light of Mine
The Lord's Prayer
The Doxology
Worship and Learn at Home

Though we may not be together in person during these weeks, we can still learn and worship along with one another. Here are resources to help us in this new adventure in discipleship...

  1. Worship: Here is the video for online worship for Sunday, March 15th.
  2. Lent Discussion: Here is a modified activity for the Lenten Lunch discussion we would have shared on the 15th that you can do on your own or with others at home, or even over the phone with a friend!
  3. Kids Activities: Here is a packet with a Bible lesson and activities for the children that speaks directly to the confidence we can have in God's care in this time.
  4. Parent Resource: Here is helpful article on talking to children about the coronavirus and all that is happening in their world.

I will be updating and adding to these links as the weeks go by- let me know if you have any you have discovered to share!
Many of you expressed how helpful it was to have the Spotify playlist I put together for Advent. So, I created a Lent playlist for you- filled with songs that speak to our humility and dependence on God's care and guidance on Christ's grace. I hope theses songs speak to your heart in these days of Lent as they have been speaking to mine as I have been finding them for you!

You can access the playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3CmIRCzYFsSFIqPjNPjsgq

This year, as a church family, we are focusing on how we can engage in our life of faith in new and fresh ways. One of the ways I encourage all of us to focus on our spiritual growth is to spend intentional and consistent time in God's Word. I'd like to invite you to join me this year in reading through the Bible- all of it!- in 2020. A helpful and refreshing way to read the Bible is chronologically- which in some cases will be in the way it is ordered in our Bibles, and in other cases will be a "little here, little there" order. To help us with this challenge, I'll put together a packet for each week with the readings that will move us chronologically through scripture at a pace that will get us through the- whole Bible in a year. I"ll post the packet on my Midweek Message and on the website each week. I'll also have a couple of hard copies available at the church. I'm excited about this challenge and hope you will join me!

The most current reading packets are below (all packets are available on the website). You can attack them however works best for you- either a little each day, or big chunks on one or two days.
Let me know if you are joining the challenge!

May God bless unto us the reading of His Holy Word!







Support Our Youth Group!
PLEASE NOTE:
The deadline for the MARCH order is March 15 .
We are excited to roll out an easy way to help support our youth group as they prepare to attend the Montreat Youth Conference and the Inter-generational Mission Trip this summer!

Through our partnership with SCRIP, church members, family members, and friends can purchase gift cards from over 750 different stores, online retailers, hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, cruise lines and more.

Each gift card is purchased at face value, but a percentage of the amount comes back to the youth group from the company. So for example, say you buy a $25 gift card to Eat n' Park. You pay $25, you get a $25 gift card, and the youth group receives $2.25.

You can get gift cards to use for your weekly and regular shopping and use them instead of cash or debit card. For example, if you bought $150 in gift cards from Giant Eagle and used it for your groceries and gas for the week, the youth group would receive $6. Or you can get cards to give as gifts or for your vacations or date nights or all kinds of special occasions- even your trip to Disney!

Here's all you need to do...

  • If you prefer to do your shopping for cards online: Go to shopwithscrip.com and create an account. You'll need our enrollment code (5911E89D65629). You will be asked child's name and group- you can ignore these questions unless you are a parent of one of our youth group members. . Once you are enrolled, your account will be verified and ready to begin ordering. If you go to shopwithscrip.com on your phone, you will receive a prompt that allows you to place a link on your home screen like an app for quick access and ordering.

  • If you prefer to fill out a paper order and let us order the cards for you: Get an order form from the church office, fill it out and return it to the office.

A group order will be placed by the 20th of each month combining all online and paper orders received by the 15th, and we'll have the cards in the office ready for up just a few days later!

This is an exciting and so easy way that we can all help support our youth group! First orders are due October 15! Thank you for your support!
Sponsor a Hymnal (or a few)
Our new hymnals will soon be in use! You can help provide for these great new additions to our worship by sponsoring one or more hymnals in honor or in memory of someone who has been special in your life. Print the sponsorship form by clicking on the image to the left and return it to the church office.

A nameplate will be included in they hymnals you sponsor honoring those you honor with your donation. You can indicate how you would like the nameplate to be worded on the sponsorship form.

Did you miss a sermon?
Past sermons are now available to listen to on our website!!  
Recordings include music, prayers and other parts of the worship service, too!

This Week
at Bethel Presbyterian
All activities, meetings, and programs are cancelled this week. Pray for a quick return to learning, serving, and worshiping together in person!

as of now, but may change...


4/9 Maundy Thursday

4/10 Good Friday

4/12 Easter Sunday







MARCH  

16  Carrie Virgin
16  Jacob Daschbach
19  Richard Vandevander
21  Kim Schaff                               
22  Rebecca Long
22  Sara Heidenreich
23  Kimberly Reed
24  Carl Bonnani
25  Nate Lavezoli
27  Emily Doring
30  Thomas Reed
31  Melanie Ericson
31  Ashley Burford


              

412-835-0405    www.bethelpresby.org