Our Bishop and cabinet sent the following message to the clergy in the North Georgia Conference late yesterday afternoon: “As we do our best to do no harm, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the Conference Cabinet continue to urge churches not to gather through May 13, 2020. On Monday, April 27, the Bishop and the Cabinet will offer more guidelines on how to evaluate and plan for re-opening our church facilities when the time comes that we can safely do so. For now, know that you are appreciated and have been prayed for by your bishop and cabinet.”
Therefore, our building and property will remain closed through May 13.
As the weeks pass, we continue to find new ways to connect to each other, to keep home rituals and routines going, and to find some hope in uncertain and frightening times. During the past week, I’ve enjoyed some time to reflect on what is changing in my life and what opportunities for positive change that lie before us all. Some of the changes I am enjoying are the following:
• more time with my family
• more time spent reading
• regular walks in my neighborhood
• far less rushing around
• time and capacity to respond rather than react
These are things I hope will remain intact when we can safely resume a more publicly shared life again.
I would like to invite you to think about the opportunities to do things differently than you are experiencing. Are you able to assume a new daily routine that allows for more sleep and rest? Are you able to slow down enough to enjoy the people in your life more? I hope you are finding opportunities to pray, read your Bible, and connect with God personally or as a family. This week I invite you to consider joining in with other members of the congregation and community in small groups that can meet either via conference call or video call. I am putting together a list of studies and ideas that will be published in this weekend’s digital Weekly Source. If you are not on this list, I encourage you to join it and keep up with all the latest news from the church. You can join it by emailing the church office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the ideas we have already come up with are the following:
• reading the Bible and discussing it together,
• book studies/book clubs
• podcasts to listen to and discuss,
• other media we can use as a source for learning and discussion.
• shared interest groups, such as birdwatching, reading, tv binging, gardening—anything you are doing right now that you’d like to talk about with others
Groups we form through social media (telephones are social media!) can continue when we are able to gather in person. This could be the start to a new group for spiritual formation that could change your spiritual life forever!
Connecting to God and each other is so important. And you may know people in your neighborhood who are looking for something right now, maybe even for the first time. Invite them to consider a group with you. Start your own and invite them to participate! Get a small group from your Sunday school class to meet and purposefully invite a few other people who are not already part of Embry Hills UMC to join the conversation. You may be discovering a new way to share faith with friends and neighbors. We all need community right now. This faith community has so much to offer. Remember that we exist to welcome all into a nurturing community of faith, to serve others, and to grow in Christ.
Be on the lookout for new small group opportunities coming in the next edition of the Weekly Source and how to start or to get involved in one. Now could be the best time for you to make space in your life for a new community of friendship, support, and spiritual growth.
Lastly, we thank you for continuing to support the church financially. Right now we are ok, and we need your help to stay that way. As a reminder, we are including instructions below for how to give electronically. We could not get through this time without your support!
Have a good week, and I look forward to “seeing” you for worship on Sunday.