Methodism has always been an outside-the-box faith. When John Wesley wasn’t welcomed in churches, he preached at mines and on street corners. He gathered people in classes for spiritual support. He authorized lay people, including women, to preach. And when he saw that people in the American colonies weren’t being cared for, he charged Thomas Coke to ordain Francis Asbury, setting them both apart as superintendents of a new form of Christian connexion.
We are now at an unprecedented time in the modern church. When tragedies or obstacles have confronted us in the past we have drawn together in gathered community to pray and share our burdens together. This time we can’t do that. This time we have to remain physically apart from one another. This time, however, is an opportunity for us to remember who we are – an outside-the-box faith. We were made for such a time as this.
Newtonville will not be gathering in person for worship until further notice. We have closed the building to outside groups, and will not be holding any church meetings in person. This obviously creates some significant challenges. We will continue to offer a livestreamed worship on the internet for those with access. For those without, we’ll send reflections out in the mail. If church teams need to meet, we will use electronic meeting formats like Zoom.
We are also asking people to check in on each other. That means, of course, those who live alone, those who are at higher risk (the elderly, people with lower immunity, those with respiratory issues). I also invite you, however to check in on any and all members of our congregation. Parents with children at home, people who are out of work, those who work in healthcare, first responders, pastors – there are many who will be isolated and under stress.
If you are able to continue your financial commitment we encourage you to do so. For those who do not use electronic giving, please mail your contributions to the church office attn.: Kathy Franklin. If you would like to begin electronic giving please email the church office and we will put Kathy in touch with you. Also, office hours for now will change to mornings 9-12, and office days will continue to be Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The Good News is this – we are still the church, God is still God, and the Spirit is still at work in our world. We will be frightened, we will be frustrated, we will be confused. We will grieve, we will struggle, we will wait. Even when we don’t know what to pray, the Spirit prays for us and God knows our deepest needs. We can’t see it, maybe can’t imagine or even feel it. That, however, is our hope. Not our wish, but our deepest belief. God is with us.
Peace for the journey,