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February 2021 Newsletter

Greetings from the desk of the Pastor! What a year we have had and it has only just begun. One thing is very clear – the world will continue to need the witness and work of the church in 2021.

First things first, I did want to say a few words on the COVID-19 numbers and the reopening of our church. I am SO excited to see that, after an unfortunate increase over the holidays, the numbers of cases have been trending downwards, so much so that even restaurants are preparing to open once more. Further, news of the effective vaccine distribution has increased optimism for a lot of people. We are seeing children in person for worship once more, and our nursery is expanding volunteer training as their numbers increase. These are wonderful things, and we should celebrate them. But I have a word of caution. The numbers are still very high, and we do not want to move backwards. I ask for your continued patience as the church leadership evaluates the proper pace for re-opening activities and church functions. We will bring everything back as we are able, but not before it is safe and smart to do so. I’d rather open slowly and stay open, than open too many things too quickly and have to shut down again as a result. You, as a church, have done SO WELL during this pandemic and I am so proud. But I ask for a little more patience – it will all come to pass in time.

On that note, I did want to mention that Ash Wednesday will be on February 17th and there WILL be imposition of ashes offered. The particular method is still being brainstormed, but we are committed to providing a worship experience that is both safe AND in person for those who wish it. (It will also be livestreamed).

Further, I wanted to mention two new collaborations we are working on with other United Methodist Churches in the Flint area. First, there is going to be an “Anti-racism Book Study” led by Pastor Jeremy Peters (Court Street UMC) and Pastor Greg Timmons (Calvary UMC) on Wednesdays in lent. It will begin February 24th (the first Wednesday after Lent begins), and the time is still to be determined. It will be a 9-10 week study, and they will be reading Latasha Morrison’s book, “Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation.” It will be a digital book study, held over zoom, with members from all 7 Flint area churches welcome to participate. I think this is a fantastic way to open our eyes to new perspectives and participate in the healing work of racial reconciliation, which our world needs so much.

Second, during Lent there will be an inspirational series of messages from the Pastors of the Flint Mission Zone churches. Some of the churches will be using these messages as the sermons on Sunday morning. However, since our church already has a plan in place for Sunday morning sermons – we will post the videos on Monday mornings throughout lent. The series is called Anointed: A sermon series about hearing God’s voice and answering God’s call. During this series you will hear different call stories from different pastors with different backgrounds – but the common thread is God working through each of us. Even though we’re not using these messages on Sunday morning – I didn’t want you to miss out on hearing these amazing stories.

2021 promises to be an interesting year full of challenges, but I am confident that if we keep our focus on the work God is doing in our midst, we will not only weather the storm, but thrive in the midst of it. But until then, I’ll “see” you on Sunday.

Pastor JJ


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