Newsletter – June/July

Pastor’s Letter from the June/July Visitor

Greetings from the desk of the Pastor! I pray this newsletter finds you well. It certainly has been a mixed bag of emotions these past few months. From sunny days to flooding in northern Michigan, from good news on the COVID-19 front to the political turmoil of an election year. Sometimes it almost feels like a roller coaster. May we never forget, even in the valley, that the mountain top is waiting for us just around the corner.

I do have a few exciting things to share with you all this month. First and foremost – we are re-opening the church! For the month of June we will be offering BOTH in-person worship AND online digital worship. I’ve expanded on this in a separate letter – but let me just reiterate: I highly encourage you to stay home and stay safe if you are not ready to rejoin us in person. We completely understand, and while we are eager to see people face to face, we are also patient so that our re-opening happens the right way, at the right pace. Particularly if you are a high risk category or display ANY of the symptoms – please join us digitally until the time is right for in person worship.

For the month of June, we will be opening for in-person worship ONLY. The office will still be closed, as well as coffee hour, bible studies and many other functions. As the summer progresses – we will continue to monitor updates from our government, the CDC and the WHO, as well as local authorities. If things continue to improve, we expect to open more and more parts of the church as we go!

Second, I wanted to take a quick second to update you on some things you may have forgotten about. Global pandemics have a way of re-orienting priorities. As you may remember, the highest authority in the United Methodist Church – called General Conference – was supposed to gather in early May to decide on the future of our denomination and vote on a possible split (commonly referred to as the Protocol). However, with international travel all but impossible and mass gatherings of several thousand people being slightly frowned upon – the Conference had to be postponed. They have tentatively rescheduled for late August, early September of 2021. The Protocol is still going to be voted upon, and things will move forward – but the political process of the church has been put on hold temporarily. As such, you may notice I’ve removed the “Diving Deeper into the Protocol” section from the newsletter, and have brought back the “Pastor’s Bookshelf” section. Our smaller gathering, called Annual Conference, which is just for the churches in Michigan – has also been postponed to the end of July. In an exciting development, our Annual Conference will meet entirely digitally. How are several thousand delegates from all over the state of Michigan going to meet digitally at the same time? Honestly – I’m not sure, but I’m excited to find out. We are breaking down all sorts of barriers with technology and innovation at this time.

The last thing I wanted to mention is the upcoming sermon series for the month of June. We are finally finishing up our 16 part sermon series through the book of Romans called “The Road To Rome.” For June we will be going through Part IV – chapters 13-16. It looks like this..

Road To Rome IV

06.07.2020                         Love VS Law                                       Romans 13

06.14.2020                           Disputable Matters                         Romans 14

06.21.2020                           Join Me In My Struggle                  Romans 15

06.28.2020                           Unity                                                     Romans 16

What I’m most excited about with this new sermon series is that the last part of Romans focuses almost completely on humanity and how we interact with one another. Person to person relationships, particularly between Christians in the church – is such a key topic for discussion right now! Paul gets into how we treat one another, how we support one another, challenge each other, and are united through our struggles – I’m really looking forward to breaking these chapters down throughout June.

 But until then, I’ll “see” you on Sunday.

Pastor JJ

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