I don’t like the masks. Wearing one fogs up my glasses. It’s hard to breathe. I’ve read plenty of articles that say they are worthless in protecting you from COVID 19. My loose-fitting cloth mask attests to that. Is it government overreach? A mask today, the mark of the Beast tomorrow. Where does it end?
Cathy and I visited family in Ohio last week. It was good to see them! We visited my Aunt in an Assisted Living facility and Cathy’s mom in one. We were required to wear a mask to be with them outside. It was hot out and the mask didn’t help. But I could tell by my Aunt’s words, me wearing that mask was very important to her.
That was eye opening for me. I wanted to see and talk to her. She wanted me to wear a mask. So, I did. That’s a solid reason for wearing one right now.
It reminded me of Paul’s reasoning in Romans 14. He’s talking about eating meat that was in the Pagan Temple’s butcher shop. Some of it was used in sacrificing and some was sold. Paul had no problem eating the sold meat. Some Christians did. So he said he wouldn’t eat meat if it caused his brother to stumble.
I don’t like the mask. I will wear one temporarily if it gives comfort to my brother or sister.
The congregation unanimously approved the sale of 4.53 acres to WEDG Acquisitions. We’ll be getting a Christian Brothers Automotive and a Dunkin Donuts in the future. Thank you for your support through this process.
Two young families and a few more older adults had lunch in the gym after church yesterday and the children played in a “cooler” place than outside. If you would like to do this, let Lisa know in the office to reserve it, and let me know so I can come back and set the alarm.
Cathy and I will be leaving Sunday to go to Canton and see my dad and aunt and Cathy’s mom and sister. It’s been six months since we’ve seen them. Then we’re traveling to Marysville to see three former church families, then on to Cincinnati to spend a few days with our son. After that, I’m taking Cathy to the CAP work project. I’ll be coming home that Monday afternoon. Remember to pray for our team.
Use your secret weapon of prayer today!
To our members who I am not seeing regularly, I miss you! I hope you are doing well and staying connected to church folks and the church service by Facebook Live or the church webpage. Use RightNow Media resources to keep you growing spiritually.
I encouraged everyone yesterday to reach out to your police department and write them an encouraging note.
We’re proud of our graduates! These 4 graduated from High School:
And Amber Hooper graduated from college. Our prayers are with you as God leads your steps.
I’m completing a nine-week preaching series on the Fruit of the Spirit by discussing Self-Control. Watch James Merritt’s Tasty series along with it. James’ 3 points from Galatians 5:
- Confront Yourself
- Crucify Yourself
- Control Yourself
We’ll be giving you suggestions for summer viewing and learning on RightNow Media. Stand tuned.
Click here to watch last night’s chat.
It’s supposed to be hot Sunday, so be prepared for that. You could sit in the picnic area by the playground fence. I’d imagine you could hear fine there. If it rains some Sunday at 9 am, we can’t have the drive-in service. We would only have the sanctuary service. Watch the weather if you come to the drive-in service and plan accordingly.
JoAnne Wharff’s brother, Tommy passed away yesterday. Please keep her family in prayer during this difficult time.
Also, Camp Wakefield’s Clean Up day is this Saturday. Contact Carl or Jodi for more details.
Ted, Harold, Carl and I had a good meeting today with our Realtor, Susan Jones and prospective buyer, Eric Liebowitz of Casto Company, land developers.
I was impressed with Eric and could see us reaching and agreement on our land in the future.
I also thought I would weigh in on what’s happening in America with the riots. You’ve read and heard a lot of opinions, so one more won’t kill you! I’ll be brief.
We were all horrified over George Floyd’s death by the Minneapolis police officer. No one would or should defend that. Most Americans are horrified over the senseless rioting and looting. This is a far cry from peacefully protesting police brutality or racial injustice which most American’s would agree on.
For me, I can’t answer how much “systemic racism” there is in America or in the human heart. I do know there is sin there. To me, it’s a sin issue. As a sin issue, there is only one solution – Jesus. Until someone surrenders his or her heart to Jesus, sin is going to raise up it’s ugly head in many forms.
God created every human being. He loves every one of them. They have equal worth and dignity and should be treated fairly, justly and in love and kindness (Romans 12:9-10). If people would do that, the world would be a better place. As a Christian, I can do that now by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside me. You can, too!
Preach the gospel rather than politics. Encourage a heart change which can lead to a head change. Then perspectives, viewpoints, opinions can change.
The 8th Fruit of the Spirit I will be speaking on Sunday is gentleness. Listen to the Tasty video this week by James Merritt.
He begins with this: “Trusting God in every circumstance and treating people like you do is gentleness.” Boy, how it is needed now!
- We should emulate gentleness
- We should cultivate gentleness
- We should demonstrate gentleness
Perhaps close your time in this video by singing “I Surrender All.”
It was great to be back in the sanctuary Sunday! I also am really enjoying the drive-in service. If you aren’t ready yet for either of those gatherings, watch the service on our Facebook page. Keep up-to-date on our webpage.
We are reopening the sanctuary this Sunday! I for one am excited about that! Last Sunday was the remembrance of Pentecost 1,990 years ago. The church was born that day. The Church Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against. The Church when gathered, Jesus promised to be in their midst. The Church in which we are the body and Christ is the head. That’s us! So, I’m excited we are reopening the sanctuary for worship. The Church is essential.
Even though we closed the sanctuary for three months we didn’t stop being the church. Commissions still met. After three weeks we met outside in our cars for worship. Food Ministry continued and became a drive-in food ministry. We stayed the church through Zoom prayer meetings and Zoom Life Group meetings, and Facebook Live services and YouTube virtual chats. Those means of connecting weren’t the best, but were the best we had.
Our new, temporary schedule for Sunday morning is 9 am Drive-in Service, 10 am Adult Sunday School, and 11 am Worship Service in the sanctuary.
Even through we closed the sanctuary temporarily, we were never governed by fear of the danger but faith in God. We submitted to governing authorities (Romans 13), but were obedient to God. We were humble recognizing we don’t know everything about this coronavirus. And we were motivated by love for our neighbor.
But now we plan to regather, knowing some of our church family are not quite ready yet to come back to the church building. That’s why we are still offering our service on Facebook Live and our webpage and doing the Drive-in service at 9 am where someone can feel more comfortable in their car. But for those planning to attend Sunday School and the 11 am worship service, here is what you can expect.
- We will sanitize all main surfaces before you arrive.
- We will leave the two main entrance doors open so you won’t have to handle the door knobs. The doors will be closed and locked once everyone is inside. The sanctuary doors will also be open.
- You will be able to pick up a bulletin on a table and the prepackaged communion elements when we serve communion on Father’s Day.
- We will tape off sections of the sanctuary which encourages spacing between you and others.
- We will have hand sanitizer around.
- You’re welcome to wear a mask into the building when around others. I will say more on that later in this email.
- If you bring your children, we are offering a children’s program on the patio by the youth room and on the playground. Jeff Reynolds and Casey Rot are leading this! They will escort your children at 11 am.
In order to minimize close contact (☹) we have made some changes in our worship service in addition to seating.
- Bibles, hymnals, papers and pencils have been removed.
- We won’t pass the plate, but will provide baskets for you to place your tithes and offerings in on your way out or into the sanctuary.
- Seating is limited and you may not be able to sit in your favorite pew. Try a new place. Live a little!
- There won’t be a meet and greet time. Please visit with each other outside after the service.
- We’ll dismiss by sections at the end of the service. That will keep our narrow foyer from getting too congested.
Some may find these changes unnecessary and frustrating. I do, too. For the short term, we feel it is best practices.
We are asking if you come inside for Sunday School or church you take the following precautions out of love and respect for others.
- Please stay home if you have a temperature of 100.4 or higher, have a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of taste or smell or unexplained muscle soreness.
- Please stay home if you have been in contact with someone who has recently been sick.
- Please wash your hands well before coming.
- Please try and maintain 6 feet of distance between you and others. I know many are comfortable with much less, while others aren’t.
- If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 within 10 days of attending a service, please let me know.
- Feel free to wear a mask and gloves in the service if you wish to.
- Please do not remain in the aisles or stand in the foyer. If you wish to talk, do so outside in the fresh air.
It’s hard to write these words. Let us be humble, putting the needs and feelings of others before our own. This is a chance to show love to another even if we do not feel the need to protect ourselves to this extent.
While we will be having a drive-in service and sanctuary service, that doesn’t mean that everyone will be there. Each of us will need to make the decision of when to return on their own. We’re not all in the same situation or have the same needs. Some have health concerns that make them far more vulnerable or have family members who are which impacts their decision. Let us lovingly respect their decision not to return yet and continue to reach out to them. Let’s be the Church!
I hope we stay open and all returns to normal. We don’t know the future. It may not. We’ll keep seeking the Lord and praying. Please pray! Pray for the sick, the lonely, the discouraged, those financially impacted and pray for our nation to heal.
Let me say something more about wearing a mask. I do not like them. I’ve never met anyone who likes them. The CDC has contradicted themselves on if they are really necessary. I’ve read compelling reasons for them and against them. Let me say, I don’t know their effectiveness in preventing someone from getting COVID-19.
With the Governor’s mandate last Friday that you must wear a mask if inside public places and I am being honest here, I’m torn. Romans 13 speaks of obeying governmental authorities for they have been placed there by God. I also believe that we Americans have been blessed to live in a country with a Constitution that recognizes our liberties come from God, not government. When governments exceed their authority and order your business to close and you go out of business that, to me, violates my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The same is true with masks.
So, I asked the Lord to give me a word on masks. Two passages came to mind. Romans 14 about eating meat sacrificed to idols. Paul’s conscience allowed him to but he realized other Christians were offended by that. So, he gave up his right for the sake of others.
The other passage was Exodus 34:33-36 which spoke of Moses wearing a veil when he spoke with the people, but not wearing one when he was in the tabernacle speaking with God.
So, this is what I plan on doing Sunday for the 11 am service. I will be wearing a mask to greet you as you enter. Once at my seat I plan to remove it. I will not be preaching in one. If I move around in common areas, I will wear one. Of course, if you have trouble breathing remove it. That’s my game plan and you will have yours. I trust this will not be a divisive issue for any church, especially ours because we are offering a drive-in service and online options.
I also want to let you know, Yearly Meeting in Canton has been cancelled. They are offering a one-day virtual meeting with voting, so we still need delegates. If you are interested, please contact me or Ted Blanco, our Presiding Elder.
Also, Carolyn Zinzner is having a second cataract procedure Wednesday. Please pray that it goes well.
The “Tasty” teaching this week is on goodness and it’s excellent. Check it out on RightNow Media. Goodness isn’t looking good, feeling good, or even doing good. It is being good. Only God is good. Micah 6:8 describes being good: goodness is loving the right ways and living the right way.
- Goodness is an action that helps others.
- Goodness is an affection that cares for others.
- Goodness is an attitude that inspires others.
Sharing Life will be held at the Vinson’s Sunday at 6:30. We will meet outside on our patio and talk about what God has been teaching us.
I want to talk a little more about our temporary schedule change for Sunday mornings. I say temporary because I don’t know how long it will be in effect.
Beginning June 7th, the drive-in service will start at 9 am. I wanted to keep this service in case any aren’t quite ready to meet inside the building yet. If you aren’t, it’s ok.
We will offer the adult Sunday School classes at 10 am. We are not offering teen and children’s classes yet. Talk with your SS teacher to make sure your class is meeting.
I’m excited to meet again inside the building in our sanctuary at 11 am! Next week, in my pastor’s email, I will spell out the details of what you can expect. There will be staggered seating as we try to maintain social distancing. Things will be different, but it will be good to see each other!
We are discussing offering something for children, though we won’t have a nursery yet. Our Education Commission desires to have volunteers supervise children playing on the playground or gym if it rains. Again, I’ll provide more details in next week’s pastor’s email.
Our worship service will continue to be online on Facebook Live, our webpage, and our YouTube channel. You can stay connected there. We’re definitely missing each other, but stay safe, stay strong, stay in the Word and prayer!