“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
– Colossians 3:17
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I have some hard news to share with you all. Because of the exponential increase of Covid-19 cases in Allegheny County and the new stay-at-home advisory, the elders on the session of MLEPC voted this morning to return to online only worship. This will definitely be for the next two Sundays, Nov. 22 and 29. We will reevaluate the situation at our Dec. 1 session meeting.
With hospitalizations rising and more than 90% of ICU beds full in Allegheny County, our leaders believe that the best way we can love you and our neighbors is to abide by the county’s advisory. We will keep praying and keep you posted about when we can gather again.
We will continue to offer worship live on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at 10am each Sunday (links on mlepc.org ). We encourage all our small groups to return to online gatherings as well.
For now, we will continue to host Kingdom Kids, Jubilee, and our Learning Support Pod. These are much smaller than the 150 people we have been hosting for worship. We will reevaluate these at the December 1 meeting. We will also allow AA and NA to meet because session believes this is an urgent medical/mental health need, especially heading into the increasingly difficult holiday season.
As I have been praying about these decisions, I have at the same time been struggling with how to talk about the third lesson in our gratitude series, Garments of Gratitude. It is hard to feel grateful when our situation gets harder and harder by the day.
As session talked this morning, we clung to the things we can be thankful for, including these:
First and foremost, God is in control. He is with us, even as we walk through the valley of the shadow.
We are thankful that there is an end in sight. The Lord has guided the hands of researchers toward vaccines that are highly effective.
We are thankful for technology that allows us to continue to worship. Just imagine Paul in prison and not able to gather with other believers for worship for years at a time. He is the one who challenged us to be content in all circumstances, even those.
We are thankful for you all and the ways you have prayed and loved and served one another and our community during this difficult year.
As we head into winter and these new restrictions, it is more important than ever to practice the discipline of giving thanks. If we focus on negative things, we can easily spiral into despair. By focusing on the things for which we can thank God, our hearts are lifted by the reminders of all the ways He has walked with us through this season. Our thankfulness is an act of worship, whether we are in the sanctuary, stuck at home, or interacting with others.
Our scripture focus this week is Colossians 3:12-17. Paul from prison encourages us to sing songs of gratitude, and in everything we do, “whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and trust that even as he has been with us in the past, He is with us now, and He does promise us a future and a hope. For this, we are eternally grateful.
Christmas Giving Trees:
We have just a few tags left for the Giving Tree, which represent kids and families in need in our community. If you would like to help one of these families, please call the church office at 412-531-3387 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also still accepting gift requests, so let us know if you have a friend, neighbor, or family member in need. Gifts should be unwrapped and should be returned by Dec. 6. You can drop them off at the church between 8am and 4pm, or if you prefer, someone can come to your house to pick them up.
Food Pantry Donations:
The Brookline food pantry needs donations for an increasing number of clients. Boxes of pasta, as well as items like cranberry sauce, stuffing, and canned vegetables are needed. Items can be dropped off at the church on weekdays between 8am and 4pm.
We are moving back online for Sunday School. Pastor Steve and the Lamplighter class will continue with their offering for any adults who are interested. This is the link to log in at 11:15 - https://duq.zoom.us/j/97403542430 If you would like to be on the email list for the adult class, please let us know at email@example.com The Youth and Children’s classes will return online as well, so email us if you would like information about how to connect with those groups.
In addition to these Sunday School offerings, we have several small groups meeting online almost every day of the week, and we have groups for Tweeners, Middle School and High School, Young Adults, Women, Men, and coed groups. If you are interested in becoming part of one of these groups, please contact us at 412-531-3387 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Church Office Schedule:
Our church office will remain open from 8am-4pm for the time being. We will be closed for Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving week. If you have pastoral care emergency, you can leave a message with Pastor Linda at 412-531-3387, ext 207, and she will promptly return your call.
Hour of Prayer:
A group of us gather on Zoom every Sunday at 7pm to pray together, and we would love to have you join us! Use this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92561964416?pwd=NmZoNDV3dDNqSVFubW82TEx0bll0Zz09 for a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. You can also call in from a regular phone – dial 1-646-558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID - 925 6196 4416 and now add the password 798565. For more info, contact Pat Gaudio at email@example.com.
As always, please let us know if there is any way we can support you or connect with you during this season. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with any needs, prayer requests, or just updates on how you are doing. And you are always welcome to call us at 412-531-3387.