April 3, 2020

Greetings to All in the Name of Christ Jesus

I hope this letter finds you safe and staying connected to each other through your phone calls, cards, emails, Facebook and much more.  I appreciate you keeping in connection with me also. 

Let us begin in prayer.  Dear God, our one and only Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.  Thank you for water, for running water, for fresh clean drinking water.  Thank you for sunshine, for electricity, for heat and for the air we breathe.  Thank you for farms, for gardens, for stores to buy food and the necessities for our sustenance.  We pray fervently for the safety and security of our first responders and all who are working to keep our lives on track, and those who have been and are at risk of being infected with the COVID-19 virus.  We lift up to those who have lost loved ones during this time that they may find peace and comfort knowing that you were with their loved one as you received them into your loving arms embracing them so as to not be alone. We pray for all to remember your promise to provide and deliver us from this and all which threatens your creation.  Let us hear your words of assurance from Isaiah 41:10, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Amen.

On Sunday, March 29th 2020 we shared together our first Zoom on-line worship.  We had a joyous time together with many joining in from different places and stations.  It was our first time ever so we will continue to work on sound and lighting to improve our experience.  One of the most connected moments was signing together We Are the Church in various keys, timing, voices and words as it came across due to the time lag in technology. John Wesley didn’t have to contend with technology in 1761, but here is one of his directions for singing in our hymnal which rang true, “Sing lustily and with good courage.  Beware of singing as if your half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength.”  There was not a worry in the world that each us, alone together, lifted our voice in praise to the Lord our God when we sang this song.

Today, I invite you to join with us for the month of April in worship.  You may find the date, scripture, message title and summary below for each week.

4/5/2020 The Right-and-the Left-Side of Power     Matthew 26: 14-27:66   NRSV   Palm Sunday

Jesus invites us to use what power and privilege we have to say “no” to dominant and oppressive systems.

4/12/20 Easter Through Two Sets of Eyes   John 20: 1-18     NRSV    Easter

Peter and the beloved disciple both see the same empty tomb, but they seem to have different responses. The beloved disciple believes, but the Gospel of John does not say that Peter does. In the same way, some who come to Easter service believe and others don’t. Peter serves as an example of those who do not yet believe, but who continue on the path to believe nonetheless.

4/19/20 From Frightened Disciples to World Changers   John 20:  19-31    NRSV

Jesus appears to his disciples, and later to Thomas, but there are questions: Why didn’t the disciples go looking for Jesus? Why did they lock themselves in this room? How did this band of frightened disciples change the world?

4/26/20 Handling Great Sorrow      Luke 24:13–35    NRSV

Losing by death a dear relative or good friend is cause for great sorrow. The two men who were disciples of Christ walking on the road to Emmaus were “looking sad.” They had lost their best friend, Jesus. The hopes and dreams seemed to be crushed. They did three things that helped: They took action, they shared their grief and they invited Jesus to stay with them.

Please join in by telephone using the member ID below, or by clicking on the link below.  These are the same ones we used on March 29th 2020, and they will be used for the entire month of April.  Remember to invite friends, family and strangers to join in.

Pastor Donna Sperry is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Worship Service from our Living Room with George Sperry and Chris Moore from his home.  On Sunday, April 5th, we welcome special music by Greg and Val VanderMark and Cory Smith.

Date/Time: Sundays – April 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th, 2020 @ 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 482 619 745

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Here are some announcements to keep us up to date and share with others. 

Belding United Methodist Church.  No community dinner April 14th.  Community dinners will resume May 12th.   Cal’s place remains open as a non-profit organization providing the necessities of life including but not limited to food and clothing to the economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals. 

Turk Lake United Methodist Church. April’s mission giving is for the No More Malaria campaign.  We are hoping be able to give our Easter boxes to the children at Eight Cap as a May Day gift.  Along with grass and candy, perhaps each person could buy one or two cans of play dough. Children always like to play with it, and they can play together with their family. Remember, to save a can of food for the local food pantry.

Easton United Methodist Church.  1st Sunday mission speaker scheduled for April 5th, Tammy McCracken, from RAVE (Relief from Violent Encounters) is rescheduled for May 5th.   If you become aware of someone who is unable to procure toilet paper or hand soap, please call the office at (616) 527-6529. 

Everyone is encouraged to reach out to a friend you have not heard from in a while, call someone you know who lives out of state, write a note, send a card or check in on Facebook.  As always, please let us know of any and all prayer requests.  Let’s stay together, caring for the world, loving one another with the vim and vigor in which He first loved us.

As we join together united in Christ Jesus.  Looking forward to seeing or hearing you soon, and for your continued support.

Pastor Donna Sperry