Pastor’s Message

God is good! All the time!

CANDLELIGHT –APRIL 2020

Wow! What a difference a month makes and as we have seen, sometimes changes happen as quickly as a day or hour. We are smack dab in the middle of the unknown, a virtual wilderness. Who knows what is going to happen next? Who can we trust to give us the straight facts? Who will we be able to rely on to help get us through this mess?

Well there is one thing I know with absolute assurance; God is with us every step of the way! We can question everything except God. We mere mortals will do our best but God is working through all of this to lead us, guide us, love us, hold us, comfort us, and sustain us! And as a church, as the body of Christ, we are called to be a part of sharing God’s love. I read a piece of someone lamenting over the empty streets of our cities and towns and they expressing their sadness in seeing the no one around. The response that was then shared was one that I know of as an attitude adjustment, a shift of perspective. One that we all need from time to time and these days, many times in a single day. So instead of seeing emptiness, let’s see the quiet streets as a great act of love for each other. A way that we are showing care and concern for our whole community and beyond.

There are negative consequences to all that is happening around us. Many folks are losing their economic means which is dreadfully scary. I pray that our community, especially our church will continue to look out for those in need and help in ways that we each can. I pray that our neighbors can feel God’s love through us and can have some sense of reassurance that they will not be left to suffer, there are people who care. It is so much clearer to understand the idea that if one is suffering we all suffer, if one is oppressed we are all oppressed, if one is hungry we are all hungry.

Please share your ideas and thoughts on ways we can extend God’s love. Please continue to reach out to those who are isolated and alone, scared and feeling hopeless. I encourage you to contact me for some folks to call within our church family as well. We need each other! Some of us may be busy with the demands that this virus places on our time and lives yet some of us are now out of work and stuck home. We all need support. I believe we need to strengthen the interconnected web between us all so that it becomes a safety net. Email me and let me know if you would like to participate. Pastor@nfcongregational.org

And then, what about Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter!?!? We will be celebrating Palm Sunday via Zoom. I will send the bulletin and log on information hopefully by Friday. We intend to have a Maundy Thursday Service at 7pm on April 9th and celebrate Easter Sunday at 10am. Yesterday we were working on plans for a Drive-in Easter Service and but the circumstances are CONSTANTLY changing and we do not know what will end up being the best for our congregation. Please stay tuned, keep your expectations for worship low and your expectations for God’s presence HIGH! No matter what happens God is with us!

We are Christians because Jesus in God’s son and rose from the dead on Easter morning. It is through this act that we have come to believe in Jesus Christ, our savior, redeemer, teacher, and guide. Jesus Christ is Lord. We will celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday and when we finally return to worship together in our sanctuary, because that is who we are, an Easter people. God bless us all.

Blessing and peace, Pastor Liz

Moderator’s Report

So all the “regular” messages that everyone was preparing for the April Candlelight have all been tossed out the window! Well, not really as many of those items are all still being dealt with by the various Teams and the Church as a whole. And as I write this, we are not exactly sure on the timing of getting out the Candlelight, so some items mentioned may have already occurred. We are still having Sunday and Holy Week Services, including plans for a drive-in Easter in listening to the message right from your car radio! How cool is that! And you get to wave to all your friends as we are all going thru our Fellowship Coffee hour withdrawal . Sorry, But no curbside chicken salad sandwich service is planned at this time. Aaauuww.

You will have heard about (and see if you drive by the church as how can you miss them!) the Pods we brought in to assist with the Towns Food pantry program. The only building usage we have allowed is to the Red Cross Blood bank, along with AA meetings. The Trustees are still paying the bills. CE Team is connecting with families on packages and Zoom meetings and hope to have an adult education class running soon. Leadership Teams continue to meet…perhaps more often now than ever. The Executive Committee is meeting weekly while this is ongoing to make sure we are all up to date and together on the changing situation. The Life of our Church continues, almost stronger and more active now, than ever before.

However, we will be looking for volunteers for specific tasks and items, with some items able to be done from home. Our two daily employees of Gina & Ron are not in for the time being in helping them stay protected and safe. Pastor Liz will be periodically putting out those requests, so if you and your family can help, please respond. The gardens will all need weeding if you want some outside time. Food needs to be collected and distributed at the pods. Members need check-in calls. Web Pages, Facebook and social media all need to be kept updated. There are many other tasks that are not being mentioned. Pastor Liz cannot do it all by herself, and she needs to be available for the continuing and ongoing life issues affecting our members.

Some of the “Techy” initiatives such as Zoom Broadcasts are likely to continue after we are back and we will be looking for volunteers to assist us on getting and keeping those going. Maybe a High Schooler with an IT interest that we can provide credit for? How great is it for someone in Florida to be able to join us on Sunday Mornings via Zoom. Or from a Nursing Home, or from….well, pretty much anywhere. Below is my original Candlelight message. Don’t think I need to change a thing!

With Easter arriving right on the heels of this Candlelight issue, we arrive at one of the basic underlying beliefs of our faith. The crucifixion and then resurrection of Jesus. There are many ways for you and your entire family to take part in celebrating this miracle and I invite you to read through this issue and join us in any, some, or all of them…even if you have not been to church in a while. Of particular note is the Mundy Thursday Service…It’s a pretty special time if you can attend! YOU! will be welcomed at our Church, no matter who you are, or where you are on your personal life’s journey!

Jerry Gay, Moderator