March 26, 2020
To Our St. Paul’s Family,
I am certain none of us could have foreseen the scope and magnitude of COVID-19. We certainly did not anticipate it would bring life as we know and live it to a screeching halt.
Thus we find ourselves scrambling to reinvent a sense of normalcy, revising long standing routines and habits, and holding desperately to anything that provides a sense of comfort. Compounding matters is the fact that I wasn’t even able to communicate the changes we are currently experiencing in person. One moment we were moving forward toward gathering for worship, and in an instant we found ourselves unable to do so.
My spirit is grieved that we were not able to be together in person during this difficult time, and I do miss seeing you all.
In times like these, maintaining connection is as critically important as observing precautionary measures. Connection is tricky but not impossible. I encourage you to connect with each other through phone calls. For those who are tech savvy, Facetime, Google Hangouts, ZOOM, Free Conference Call, and other video chat services are all ways of connecting with family and friends online. Dropping cards or notes in the mail, especially to those who are already shut in, can be a welcome reminder that they are not forgotten.
Please remember to connect with us through worship. Until we are able to gather physically in the Sanctuary, we will offer a time of worship online with Scripture and sermon each Sunday. You can access our Worship at Home experience here or our Facebook page @stpaulskensington.
Youth Pastor Micah Smartt is curating daily content on Instagram @stpaulsk_youth, and clergy and staff are offering daily devotional videos on Facebook and Instragram.
Also please know that the staff and I have prepared an in-home worship guide, because worship isn’t just a Sunday experience. We’ll be mailing this out soon to the congregation. (Available for download HERE.) We encourage you to worship with others whenever possible, whether gathering those already in your home or joining together virtually.
Lastly, as we settle in and adjust I want you to be reminded that in this time your giving is especially important. Churches, like other organizations, face challenges when we cannot have people coming together. Yet so many things depend on your continued support!
- The Hunger Ministry and similar ministries depend on the funds you provide to feed and serve those in need. Your donations let us provide tangible assistance for people who have limited access to resources.
- Your support lets us uphold our commitment to the local and global community through established UMC channels like UMCOR, bringing aid to those whose recovery from disaster is now compounded by COVID19.
- Your gifts will enable us to respond quickly to aid those in our church whose livelihoods have been impacted by the current shutdown. Those who have seen their hours cut or lost their jobs will be in need of assistance, and we want St. Paul’s to be ready to address those needs.
- Continuing regular offerings helps provide for our clergy and staff. St. Paul’s is committed to paying our staff full wages, and they continue to work remotely, finding new and creative ways to care for our church community while supporting their own families.
So please, continue to give at whatever level you’re able. If you normally write a check, you can continue to do so and drop it in the mail, which we are processing regularly. If you normally give online, please continue to do so. If you have not previously used our secure online giving options, consider visiting stpaulsk.org/giving to learn more.
And if you are blessed to be able to increase your giving, now would be a wonderful time to do so. If you find yourself in a place where you are in need of assistance, please reach out to your pastors. We will do our best to connect you with resources than can help you through these trying times.
Pastoral care is available to all, for any reason, via phone, video messaging, email, or text. You can reach Pastor Pat at pallen [at] stpaulsk.org or Pastor Kate at kfulton [at] stpaulsk.org.
Beloved, this is not a time for hoarding, but holding. Not a time for running, but resting. Not a time for worrying, but waiting. The apostle Paul reminds us in the letter to the Romans that even in a time of social distancing, we are not distanced from God.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
Beloved, be well, be still, be at peace.