“For 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)
Nothing spreads faster than fear. Fear stresses our bodies … our hearts and our souls. Fear stresses our relationships and our communities. But only if we allow that to happen.
This is an unprecedented event. We do not have training for this. There is not seminary course in global pandemics. (Although, there will be now.) We do not have a wealth of shared experience to guide us. We are learning as we go.
We will do this together. We will follow guidelines that will ensure our health and safety. We may have to make short term sacrifices to ensure long term success. We will resist fear by following the facts. We will resist panic by following recommended precautions.
Health officials around the world recommend that we practice social distancing in order to “flatten the curve” … to curb transmission. And it has been successful. We will begin that practice as well. However, I prefer to call it PHYSICAL distancing.
During this time, we NEED social closeness. We NEED connection and community. We NEED care and compassion.
During this time, we can use technology and social media for the best possible purposes… to remain connected to one another. During this time, those who are already in danger of social isolation may experience social abandonment. We need to follow precautions AND we also must find safe ways to connect with our neighbors.
During this time, ministry will look and feel different, but we must continue to serve our neighbors.
During this time of stress and anxiety, we can share the gift of peace.
During this time of fear, we can offer the gift of love.
During this time of hoarding, we can share the gift of generosity.
In Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he wrote that “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Jesus.” I would add to that, “Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in one another.”
Giving to the Church and Social Distancing
During this unprecedented time, we cannot physically gather together with our families and friends. We cannot gather for worship or coffee hour. We miss one our families and friends. We cannot gather for worship or coffee hour. We miss one another dearly and we look forward to that time when we can worship and celebrate another dearly and we look forward to that time when we can worship and celebrate together!
In the meantime, many of you have asked how you can give and support the church. If you are able, there are three ways that you can send your pledges and church. If you are able, there are three ways that you can send your pledges and offerings:
First, you can mail checks to the church, 12 Beach Street. Please know that they may not get processed right away, since our counters are also practicing physical they may not get processed right away, since our counters are also practicing physical distancing.
Second, there is an offering function on the church website. On the front page click on the “Offering & Services,” and then on the “Online Offering” button. You can then fill out the secure form to make your donation or offering.
Third, you can sign up for e giving through your bank. There is a simple form that you complete, and your offering or pledge will be made electronically directly from your bank. The e giving form is attached to this edition of the Messenger, or you can find it on the church website.
We appreciate all of your support during this unusual and difficult time. We know that many people in our community are struggling financially. If you are unable to pay your pledge at this time, please know that we understand. Please do not be embarrassed by your circumstances. You are not alone.
If you are experiencing financial difficulties and could use some help or support from your church family, please let us know. We have the Discretionary Fund available to offer assistance, and all disbursements are confidential . Please call. That is what families do, we help one another.
We will get through this. May God bless you all.
Grace and Peace,
Congregational ChurchUCC, SACO MAINE12 BEACH STREET | SACO, ME 04072