Letter from Pastor Carolyn

Sunday, Sept. 13
10:00 am
Carolyn Poteet
"A Letter from Lockdown"
Psalm 95:1-7
Philippians 1:1-11
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September 10, 2020

"He who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus"
- Philippians 1:6

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Please join us to celebrate Communion this Sunday, Sept. 13. We will offer it in person, and we also welcome you to partake if you are joining us online. For those of you joining us in the sanctuary, we will be using pre-packaged communion cups and wafers. You will be able to pick them up as you enter the sanctuary, so that everyone can maintain social distancing as we celebrate communion later in the service.

We apologize for the technical difficulties we have had with our live stream the last two Sundays! The first Sunday was an internet issue, and we were able to fix that. Then this past Sunday, we had an issue with our streaming service - for some reason it would only broadcast seven minutes at a time. We are making more changes this week so we should not have these problems again.

Thank you for your prayers and support for our Learning Support Pod. It has been going very well. One parent told the team that last week their kids were miserable trying to study online. This week, after they spent the day doing school at MLEPC, they were bubbling with excitement and told their parents they couldn't wait to come back. Several parents expressed their gratitude with how much of a difference this has made for them. We are reading Bible stories to them at lunch every day and sharing the love of Christ. Please keep praying that God would use this in a powerful way in these families' lives! We do still have a few spots open, so if you know anyone who needs help with this, feel free to spread the word.

This Sunday, we are starting one of the most encouraging books of the Bible - Paul's letter to the Philippians. It has many quotable verses, like "He who began a good work in you" (1:6), "Do not be anxious about anything..." (4:6), and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (4:13). It also has some of the richest theology about Christ in the New Testament. The "Christ Hymn" in Phil 2:5-11 presents a powerful message of God the Son who willingly humbled himself even unto death on the cross and who will be exalted before all nations in the end.

Paul uses the word Joy in this letter more often than any other letter, which is especially striking when you consider that Paul wrote this letter from prison. Paul even declares "Because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear" (1:14). What courage!

A letter written from prison seems especially appropriate to study right now as we are locked down in a pandemic. What does Paul have to teach us about finding joy in the struggles? How can we learn be united in the mind of Christ? How can we learn from Christ's humility? What does it look like to "share in the fellowship of [Christ's] sufferings"? How can we be content in all things? We have much to learn from Paul's instructions to the Philippians that impacts how we live and love and serve here.
As we prepare for this study, I challenge you to take a few minutes to read straight through Philippians. It is only four chapters long. You can also listen to it on a Bible app; on  Bible Gateway , it will take you just fifteen minutes to hear the whole book. Then go to Acts 16 and read the story about the founding of the church in Philippi and the people and miracles involved in its beginning days. That will help you have a context to dive into the study.
May God fill us with His strength and Spirit through these difficult days, so that we can be content in our circumstances and truly trust that the One who began a good work in us will bring it to completion, to the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord! 


Small Groups: Now is a great time to join a small group! As I mentioned, we are starting a new study on Philippians this week. We have small groups meeting online 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, as well as the Lamplighters Sunday School class. 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: A group of us gather on Zoom every Sunday at 7pm to pray together, and we would love to have you join us! Zoom is now requiring a password for our meetings, so please use this new 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 t4two98@hotmail.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 info@mlepc.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.

Many blessings,
Pastor Carolyn

As we plan to gather on-site again for Sunday worship, here's what you can expect with our Covid-19 Safety Precautions:
  • We will be following the now familiar practice of social distancing and wearing face masks. 
  • We will be holding a single service at 10:00 a.m. with a blended worship style, to eliminate the need to clean between services.
  • We will continue to livestream the service on Facebook and YouTube and through the Streamspot player on our website. If you are not feeling well, please worship with us online. If you are in one of the highly vulnerable categories, we encourage you to follow CDC guidelines and consider worshipping online as well.
  • Please aim to arrive by 9:45am so that you have time to check in and get settled before we start the livestream. Doors will open at 9:15am. We will have greeters to check you in, in case we need to do contact tracing. We will also be taking a couple of photographs of those in attendance, which will only be used if we need to see where you were sitting for contact tracing.
  • To reduce the amount of time indoors together, we will be using the side Narthex doors (by Washington Rd.) as the primary entrances to the Sanctuary. The Drive-thru entrance will be open only for those who need the elevator.
  • When you enter the building, we will ask you to use hand sanitizer. We will have face masks available at the entrances if you do not have one. Masks are required for anyone over 2 yrs old.
  • Ushers will help to seat you when you arrive, using every other pew.
  • We will not be passing the Offering Plates during the service but will have them available at the exits to accept your contributions. You can also donate online at mlepc.org.
  • Our ushers will dismiss you by rows following the benediction. Visiting with people outside is much safer than lingering inside, so please head outdoors if you would like to talk.
  • It is going to be hot in the sanctuary, especially with masks on! You may want to bring a water bottle with you, since the water fountains will not be available. The restrooms near the sanctuary will be open.
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