Are you going squirrelly yet with this social distancing? It has certainly thrown me off my routine, and it’s taking some getting used to. For me, chalk this up to another one of those things they didn’t teach us in seminary!
I’ve been in touch with some of our folks, especially those less likely to be venturing out too much. For the most part, people seem to be coping well. Thank God for family and good neighbours! Please, if there is any way I or the church can help you through this, please let us know.
I’m writing today for three reasons:
- Just to keep in touch.
- To encourage you to continue to support the church financially, as you are able.
- Provide some faith resources that you might find interesting when you’ve had enough of 24/7 cable news coverage of the crisis.
It feels a little self-serving of me to ask you to continue your financial support of the church through your offerings. None-the-less, our expenses remain fairly constant during this time and your support will continue to be necessary. Most people make their offering through our envelop system and the offering plates. Without worship right now, that makes things tricky. Here are a few options you might consider:
Option 1: This period of crisis will end and we will gather for worship together again, hopefully soon. In the meantime, continue to fill your offering envelop as usual, and then just bring your two or three weeks of envelopes with you when church starts up again.
Option 2: Mail your offering into the church (please do not mail cash). Alternatively, you could drop it off yourself in our mailbox (which is located near the bottom of the steps by the Church Street side entrance).
Option 3: Pre-Authorized Remittance (PAR). You can arrange with Judy in the church office to have your offering withdrawn automatically from your bank-account on a monthly basis. (This is what I do.) If you choose this option, but still want to put something on the offering plate during worship each Sunday, then make your smaller envelop-offering something directed towards one of our dedicated funds, such as CLWR, Youth, or Synod Benevolence. The beauty of PAR is two-fold. 1. It helps ensure a steady and predictable income for the congregation and, 2. You can easily change the amount any time you want by just letting Judy know.
Option 4: E-Transfer. Online banking gives us the option of making payments online through e-transfers. The church accepts e-transfers via our admin email address, which is: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you choose this very convenient route of making an offering, please call Judy in the office first so that: 1. She knows to look out for this in her email, and 2. You can agree on the secret question/answer without sharing it in an email.
Enough about the money.
Here are a couple of interesting websites for you to do your own faith-based continuing education while shut-in at home.
- The Bible Project: The people at The Bible Project have created a large compilation of animations to help us learn about various aspects of the bible. Make no mistake, these are not bible story cartoons. Rather, they do a wonderful job of introducing us to the historical context of each book of the bible in ways that are accessible to everyone. Go here: https://bibleproject.com/ and just start clicking on videos. You won’t regret it!
- Church History with Dr. Ryan M. Reeves: Dr. Reeves was a professor of historical theology, but now spends his full-time making YouTube videos so that everyone can learn about Church History. The videos are about 30 minutes each, and very accessible. For his videos on Ancient and Medieval Church history, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzStS_NSs-s&list=PLRgREWf4NFWZEd86aVEpQ7B3YxXPhUEf- For a list of his other video series, go to: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI5U0R293u9uveijefKyAA/playlists Enjoy!
Finally, the Worship Committee is meeting “virtually” via email as we speak (weird, eh!). Dorothy Emmerson found the following prayer online, which we are using as our ‘closing prayer’ of the meeting. I hope you find it as powerful as I have.
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children or grandchildren when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbour.
Cameron Wiggins Bellm (aka Krug the Thinker)