Greetings New McKendree Church family!
What a strange couple of months it's been, to say the least. Although it's been only a couple of months, our lives prior to the coronavirus seem like a distant memory of the good old days. We grieve the many thousands of lives that have been lost as a result of the virus. We also grieve for the way of life the virus has taken. Even though our Missouri Governor has given the go-ahead to ease back into normalcy beginning May 4th, we all know that the normal we’ll be easing into will be much different than the normal we left behind just two months ago. So, what are we to make of this? How do we keep moving forward into a future that seems to look nothing like the past?
For us Christians, the answer is faith...faith in our God who promises never to leave us or forsake us...faith in our God who promises abundant life...faith in our God who offers us peace; out-of-this-world peace...faith in our Savior’s promise to walk with us to the ends of the age.
So, while it's normal to mourn the loss of the way things used to be, we can do so while confidently moving forward into a hopeful future trusting our God to resurrect new life out of death and new joy out of mourning.
And speaking of moving ahead…during our time apart we've also been looking ahead toward new ministry opportunities. One in particular is the Care Portal. Care Portal is an online ministry that connects families in need with those desiring to meet that need with Christian love. In other words, Care Portal is a “love your neighbor tool.” Here’s how it works: The Care Portal Connects churches with our local Child Welfare Social Workers. Allow me to illustrate how it works by way of a Care Portal notification that came through just yesterday. A family in Jackson is in need of a washing machine. They notified their case worker who in turn posted the need on the Care Portal. Those signed up to receive Care Portal notifications were immediately made aware of the need. If able to meet the need, a response is sent back through Care Portal to the family’s case worker. The washing machine is then delivered and, in the process, a new meaningful connection with a neighbor is made. And that’s just an appliance example. It could be food that’s needed, a mattress, baby clothes, diapers, you name it.
Our Church Staff and Susan LaPierre, our Primary Care Portal Point Person, have spent the last couple months establishing NMUMC as a Care Portal Church. All we need now are members of our church family who are willing to receive Care Portal notifications. Signing up to receive notifications in no way obligates you to respond to every need and you’ll only be notified of needs in our local Jackson, Cape Girardeau area. To learn more and/or to get signed up to receive Care Portal notifications, click the link below or give the church office a call. Again, Jesus commands us to love our neighbors. Care Portal is a practical tool for doing just that.
One last thing. As I’m sure you’re all well aware, along with allowing businesses to once again open their doors, the Governor has also given churches throughout Missouri the option of gathering for worship as long as the social distancing precautions are maintained. As much as I’m chomping at the bit to get us all back to driving to church rather than just logging into church, we will not be jumping back into gathering for worship on May 10th. After much prayerful consideration I and our church leadership team and staff have opted to continue what we’ve been doing for near future. While getting us back together is a priority, the safety and health of each and every one of our church family members is a higher priority. With the goal of safely getting us back together for worship, we’ve put together a task force consisting of members of our church council and ministry staff to put in place the necessary processes and procedures that will allow us to gather safely for worship. Again, the health and well-being of each and every member of our church family is my number one priority and the number one priority of our church leadership team. Until we are able to safely gather, we will continue to offer worship as we’ve been doing these past six weeks. And, my plan is to continue with the morning devotions. Additionally, in an effort to keep our dedicated church staff safe, in the short-term our office will remain closed. Although we’ll still be responding to messages left on the office phone, staff members will continue to work from home.
Folks, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We will be back to gather soon…it’ll probably be a little different…but we’ll be back. And, when we do get back we’ll have the opportunity to worship our God who brought us through this and made us stronger in the process. Like I’ve mentioned a time of two before…God’s got this, so hang in there, keep on looking up, and keep loving one another.
Your brother in Christ,