From the Pastor
“I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters,
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the LORD,
praise him! All you offspring of
Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he
did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him” (Psalm
and Brothers in Christ:
This season of Lent has been like nothing I have experienced before.
From the onset of my Shingles diagnosis, I have felt the love and
prayers of so many people. I
have also had moments of feeling isolated and feeling nothing more than the
affliction that goes with Shingles.
Yet in the whirlwind of emotions, as I read this text as part of my
devotions, I felt the comfort of God who loves me, and has made Himself
known to me as I cried out. “For
he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide
his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.”
Then added to my personal emotions;,
an unknown entity invaded our lives in the form of Covid-19
Coronavirus. Many have often
approached their journey in Lent as time in the wilderness.
But this now, is a time in the wilderness that is unfamiliar to all
of us. The season of Lent calls
us to reflect on God’s deep love and desire to restore relationships with
each of us. “For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the
afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.”
Through Lent, we journey with Jesus and his disciples as Jesus turns
his eyes toward Jerusalem and the cross.
Holding on to that promise, and given the circumstances that we now
live, this letter needs to take a different approach than any other letter I
We now need to adapt ourselves with the news and how our community may or
may not be changing. When I
first sat down to write this letter, it had a particular focus but within
the time span of a day, we began to see how being church needed to change
with our community. As soon as I
send this letter to be included in the newsletter for printing, I cannot
help but wonder how much the world will change overnight.
So how do we adapt or respond?
We respond In prayer with wisdom and with caution.
In a letter that pastors received from Bishop Gonia, he said: “This time of
social distancing – or better said, physical distancing – does NOT mean we
are suspending being the church! On the contrary, this means that we
become church in new ways. It is ironic but true that the best of who we are
as church has always flourished under adversity. How will this moment invite
us to reframe who and why and how we are as Christ’s body for the life of
Throughout history, Christianity has grown the most when times were darkest.
Our opportunity is this: people are social beings. We like getting together.
I have said MANY times over, God created us to be in relationship
with Him and then with each other.
As many public events are suspended, we are granted the perfect
opportunity to deepen our one-on-one relationship with God.
Spend more time in devotion and prayer.
First by yourself, then with someone you love. “For he did not
despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face
from me, but heard when I cried to him.”
Then, as long as we are safe and healthy, these next few weeks might be a
good time to invite a friend to play games, have a cup of coffee or just a
chat at your house. Just
curious? When was the last time
you invited someone over just to play a board game?
Jesse and I took the time this weekend doing just that.
I had forgotten how much I love the game of checkers.
This could be a wonderful time to build or deepen relationships with
family and friendships with your neighbors.
Bishop Gonia challenged pastors (I now challenge you) – to imagine new ways
to be church for the life of the world.
Every Sunday, right
before I send you with a blessing, I proclaim to you that “You are now being
Consider now, how is God calling you to be church in the community of those
who you hold dear in your life?
One last word if I may: Your
continued financial giving is VERY important.
Regular, Faithful. Please
don’t put it off until we are able to gather once again.
Everything that we do as Church and as All Saints depends on our
collective generosity. Please
consider mailing your tithe.
Moving forward, in the midst of it all, we will care for one another, we
will pray for one another and we will be Christ’s Church, better together!
Please know that I love you and I am praying with you and for you!
Servants together, Pr. Paul <><
p.s. Did you know??
We have set up our own “reverse call” system in order to better
communicate with you as a congregation.
Please don’t block or hang-up.
On behalf of the council, we will not abuse and overuse to become the
despised “robo-call” that we all dislike.
We will use it for times like this to let you know that worship has
been cancelled or to highlight a particular event in the congregation.
It is a wonderful tool to help us with communication for the sake of
the congregation. More on this
p.s.s. - Did you know that Luther said. . . . ???
“Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.”