What an absolutely beautiful day! Hope you are able to soak up some sun for sure! It was good to worship with you all today from our outdoor chapel at the church! Its hard to believe that was our 10th time worshiping virtually! Hang in - our hope is that we have just one more next Sunday and then we will proceed with slowly gathering together after that. We have a session meeting tomorrow evening to finalize a plan that will consider everyones safety as we move forward. We ask for your prayers for the Spirit’s guidance and for your patience as we enter a new phase of being church together. I want to remind you and thank you for just how resilient you all are- we have all adjusted and found new ways to worship and communicate - I so truly appreciate that about Concord. I am confident that as we move ever onward we will do so in the same spirit.
I have a Pentecost video message I am attaching here from Rev Dr David Oyler, our Interim General Presbyter of the Beaver Butler Presbytery. I know David well and know his passion and prayers are always with the Church- all congregations, including Concord. I found this message encouraging so I am passing it on to you and hope it will be a reminder of the Spirit led people we are.
Have a great rest of this glorious day-
Always with you and for you-
LINK TO DR OYLERS MESSAGE:
Good Morning Everyone!
Hope you are well and holding up. I apologize that my emails to you were sparse this week- had some internet issues. But all is well now. I wanted to share with you this idea of responding in goodness when we feel helpless. You don’t have to have your tv on very long to hear or see the long lines at food banks, see the very scary unemployment numbers or the numbers of cases and victims of the covid 19, the list goes on and it is sad and long. It seems that just about everything is somehow different and affected by this pandemic. And as we sit in our homes we shake our heads, shed a tear and pray- and yet its still hard to shake the nagging sense that its all so much, so big that we aren;t able to make a difference. But friends we are not helpless. The Lord of abundant life is here with each of us and all of us together as the church. And so our response is not quantified by the amount of our gift or donations or how many people are helped with it- because with God it’s more about our willingness to respond and our willingness to be open to the Spirit’s leading. God really wants us to trust and do, be and respond...in any way we can. The idea that every little bit matters, is absolutely true in God’s economy. So we give what we can so others are fed, we share our time with calls and cards, we make masks and do what we can so others are encouraged and not forgotten…. in our willingness to respond no matter how big or small- God alone quantifies the offering. So no- we are not helpless. Each of us can do something- each part is needed and necessary part of God’s whole big picture. Its good to be reminded of that.
I mentioned in my email last Friday that I got a call saying they wanted "to do something"- (a calling that God is putting on all our hearts). And so being open to the the Spirit’s guiding - she found a way to lend a hand- get some extra groceries to help someone not be hungry. But again, in God’s economy- this one step in faith, a willing heart open to the Spirit- God made into even more. So the invite went out to the church to share as well. Your response was absolutely amazing- 3 carloads of food were delivered to the Ladle on Monday. In our response to do something- God showed us just what God can do in and through us when we step out in faith. It was an amazing lesson and reminder to all of us. I would encourage all of us to keep listening, and looking and when you respond -doing so trusting that God will use whatever we give in ways we cannot fathom. And as you respond let us feel free to invite others to join in…for we are the church - together for such a time as this. God’s presence and provision is abundantly here in and through us.
Keep up the good work of checking in with one another. Your care is so appreciated. As always I am here for you and with you. It has been great catching up with many over the phone and on zoom. And I look forward to a great celebration when we can worship together in person- in the mean time be patent and be encouraged- God is with us! See you at worship Sunday at 9am.
Its great to be sitting on my deck sending this email. It was a great spring day for sure! Hope you all got a chance to soak up a bit of sunshine. I also hope that each of you continues to be well. I saw some statistics that show that more we abide with social distancing the more those areas are leveling off spread- which means we are more likely to not overwhelm our hospitals- so while this is not easy- be encouraged- what we are doing is making a difference! We have a ways to go- but keep it up!
I wanted to be sure that each of you knows that you will be receiving an invite to a zoom meeting at 3:00 tomorrow afternoon (Friday 27th). I promise it is not difficult. Simply click on the connection and follow the prompts. This is a way that we can see and talk together. Thought I would give you folks who have been reading the book a chance to talk about chapters 3,4 and into 5. I know you all were really enjoying your small groups and thought this way we could at least extend the conversation. But all are welcome even if you are not reading the book. Watch your email for the invite!
Also just a reminder that we are doing Facebook live for worship at 9am this Sunday morning. If you have FB great- be sure to like the Concord Presbyterian Church page. And if you don;t have a Facebook page- you have some time to work on that before Sunday. I will also include a phone dial in so you can hear the service (its through zoom- you won;t see but you can hear!) just in case you don;t want to use Facebook live connection. This is new for all of us so we will give our selves a bit of grace as we learn something new. Ideally I hope we can simply worship. So you have many options to do so. At anytime if I can help or clarify- please don;t hesitate to call.
I have been seeing and hearing a lot of good coming from this challenging time. The Rochester School teachers did a parade around town to let students know they care and are missed. Lots of folks stepping up to help others. I hope that in this challenging time when we are all making sacrifices your eyes and hearts are open to see what God is doing in and through us and our neighbors. As these weeks go on- please keep up the great work you are all doing in checking in on folks. My heart is lightened knowing Concord Cares! Rest well, be well. Watch for your zoom invite for discussion time with me tomorrow afternoon.
I Pray that each of you is not only well but enduring the challenges of social isolation! These are indeed unprecedented times. Want to just check in and say hello. Jeff and I are well. Again I appreciate how well you all are doing in keeping in touch with each other. Very grateful that everyone is doing well at this time. Yea God! I would ask for your continued prayers for the Sloppy’s - Rosemary did not come home today as planned but hopefully will come home tomorrow. Jamie Himes is doing well and gaining strength each day.
Today I was thinking that while I am extremely grateful for health and all I the blessings I know, I could not help but at the same time acknowledge that my heart is heavy. Heavy with all the difficulties folks are enduring and will endure. From our students and the disappointments with cancelled events etc, to all the cancelled and changes in all our lives and the more dire loss of employment and financial hardships that are now a reality for many and of course the suffering, death and grief many in our world are experiencing. This interesting mix of emotions serves as a reminder for me and for all of us of the HOPE that is ours in Christ. Hope that is beyond simple platitudes but enduring hope that Paul speaks of in Romans 8- Hope born of the truth that nothing in this world (including corona virus) can separate us from the love that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord. WITH Christ, we can endure whatever comes our way…we are His, we are loved and nothing in life nor death can change that. And as we really embrace that hope- I think we can see glimpses of it all around us- we see it and experience it in the generosity of others who are sharing, caring and helping others in need. We live into that hope when we see beyond our own situations and reach out to others in theirs. I hope that you are reminded of the hope that is yours- and perhaps tonight you can pause and take in a deep breath of hope and love that is ours in Christ and exhale the anxiety and disappointments and fears. Letting Go and letting God be God with us, in us and through us. Grasping the hope anchored in God’s love for each of us.
Know that my love and prayers are with each of you. I am always available by phone and welcome your calls! Stay tuned for plans for us to join together in worship- not in the sanctuary but together in the our hearts in our own homes, for our great God deserves our worship! So watch your email for those plans to come- ALSO- don’t forget that THIS FRIDAY MARCH 20th is final day for Anderson Easter Candy orders. You can drop of tomorrow (Thurs.) to the office 10-3, or you can call and give Tina your order over the phone and then mail in your check to the church OR we can come pick it up from you home - please call and let us know how we can help.
Lastly let us be mindful that while we are not gathering on Sundays we all still need to be sure that we are keeping up with our tithes and offerings. Thank you for being a part of the compassionate church God has gifted us to be! Again - simply mail them to the church or while it is good for us to stay home as much as possible, you can also leave your offering at the church office if you are out. Thank you!
Take Care and Rest Well-