With November days becoming cooler and shorter, we realize it will soon be Thanksgiving. During this pandemic, as we prepare for this season, may we remember what we can be grateful for. I am thankful for the family of Lincoln Park United Methodist Church and for the privilege of serving as your pastor.
On September 7 we celebrate Labor Day, honoring and recognizing hardworking people and their contributions to the development and achievements in our country. Beginning in the late 19th century, as labor movements grew, a day was set aside to celebrate labor. It became a federal holiday in 1894. We thank God for the hard labor of millions in our country and around the world.
Normally, many schools in the US reopen after Labor Day. Due to Covid-19 in 2020, many school districts had to make difficult decisions about whether to reopen schools in-person or virtually. Whichever way the schools reopen, we ask for God’s blessings upon all students, teachers, staff, and administration.
Local church congregations are trying to discern when to reopen and gather for worship. At Lincoln Park, we’ve formed a Reopening Committee to pay close attention to our state officials as well as our Bishop and her cabinet regarding a reopening date.
Pastoral Care is an important aspect of any congregation. I’m glad that at Lincoln Park, at the start of Covid-19, our membership was divided into 19 small groups in order to keep members regularly in touch with one another to see how everyone is doing. I appreciate all those who have readily accepted the responsibility to be small group leaders. In addition, we have the Agape Women’s Circle, Grief Support Group, AA Group, Youth Group, Choir and Children’s Ministry leaders in touch with their members. Also, our church committees meet regularly over Zoom.
Something new we’ve experienced during this pandemic is the involvement of our members who live far away in our virtual services every Sunday. Also, I try to involve as many people as possible, especially our youth, to be part of our worship experiences.
Due to technical challenges, some of you have been unable to join the virtual services. I hope that this pandemic will end soon, and we can gather for worship and other activities and have our times of fellowship. The second Sunday of September would have been our big 75th anniversary celebration. We had great plans to make this event an extra special one. Unfortunately, we have to postpone that special event. We were, however, able to invite back our former pastors to join us and bring the message for this summer’s virtual services. We thank our former pastors for joining us during this 75th anniversary year.
These are challenging times. I think of you often and keep all of you in you in my prayers. Since we don’t know exactly how long the pandemic will last, I’ve been considering visiting our members by keeping social distancing and by wearing a mask. If you feel comfortable and would like me to visit, preferably staying outside the house, perhaps on a patio, please be in touch with me.
Due to the circumstances, a few of our members have decided to move closer to their children, which is understandable. Nancy Dettra, Kathleen Hogg and her son Tim, and Gloria Kotzer have already moved, and Hildamay Barton is also considering moving near her children. These are difficult decisions. We thank God for their valuable contributions to the life of our church and will greatly miss their presence among us. They’d like to keep their connection to our church family. One way we can stay in touch with them is to continue with the virtual services even beyond Covid-19.
In a few days it will be fall, and I hope you all get to drive around and enjoy the fall colors. May God be with you all!
Blessings and Prayers,