My cousin recognized this as a Clematis. I think it is very pretty and showy, and grows in the backyard of the parsonage. It makes me smile to look at it, and that’s a good thing, in these days when we dance between anxiety and uncertainty.
I pray that you are able to look around you and see people and sights that bring calm to your soul. I hope you are all well, careful and wise. I hope you are staying home and washing your hands like crazy when you must go out.
This week, trepidation filled my heart as I listened to our governor declare that people could not gather in groups greater than 3 and that schools would be closed until the end of April. As a mom of 2 school aged kids, it is hard. They do their work, but they miss their friends. I miss my friends. I miss you.
Yesterday, the Rev. Tim Rogers, our district superintendent, sent an email that dripped with grief. Here is an excerpt:
“Governor McMaster has now issued an Executive Order directed at gatherings of more than three people, which includes this provision:
“C. I hereby authorize, order, and direct any and all law enforcement officers of the State, or any political subdivision thereof, in accordance with section 16-7-10 of the South Carolina Code of Laws and other applicable law, to prohibit or disperse any congregation or gathering of people, unless authorized or in their homes, in groups of three (3) or more people, if any such law enforcement official determines, in their discretion, that any such congregation or gathering of people poses, or could pose, a threat to public health.”
If you would like to read the entire order, you can access it here: https://www.governor.sc.gov/sites/default/files/Documents/Executive-Orders/2020-03-23%20eFILED%20Executive%20Order%20No.%202020-13%20-%20Authorizing%20Law%20Enforcement%20to%20Preserve%20Public%20Health.pdf
I ask that you continue to help your people understand that we are all part of the effort to control this virus as quickly as we can by complying with – and being leaders in – the efforts to keep a safe distance from others, practice good hygiene, and avoid being out unnecessarily. My expectation is that we will set an example for the community by complying in every possible way. Please remember that people can carry and transmit the virus even when they look and feel perfectly well.
You are in my prayers daily, and I am deeply grateful for all that you are doing to share the hope of Jesus Christ with a world in need.” Tim Rogers
Friends, as much as I miss you, and as much as I don’t want to, I think it is best if we continue to be closed for worship, activities and classes. We had already planned to worship online on March 29, and to suspend other activities into April. For now, we will not worship together on April 5 (Palm Sunday), April 9 (Maundy Thursday), or April 10 (Good Friday). Plans are in place now to create options for online and/or in home worship for all of those services. I am holding out for an Easter miracle, even as we begin to make alternate plans.
This I know: we will worship together again. And when we do, we will shout Hallelujah and we will sing the best hymns, and we will rejoice! Until then, we persevere.
There are so many questions: when will we have this and when can we do that. None of us has all the answers, and we are living into this day by day.
Some of you have asked about the rummage sale. This is a great time to be cleaning out your closets, cabinets and garages! We may have to reschedule the rummage sale, but your donations and participation will be a great joy for us all!
Picture from 2019
In the meantime, our bishop is leading us in daily prayer on the conference website. In his initial word to us, Bishop Holston said, “We cannot avoid uncertainty, but let’s respond with faith rather than fear.” Faith rather than fear.
For me, to respond with faith is to believe in better days, to rejoice in the simple pleasures around me, to reach out to my friends, family and neighbors, and do the best I can to show Christ’s love even when I am overwhelmed.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. I want to say thank you for your continued financial support of the church. Your financial faithfulness is a great witness and a true blessing to the present and future ministry of the church.
You may see the bishop’s address at www.umcsc.org