March 17th, 2020
Dear Church Family,
We are in the midst of an area of surprising challenges worldwide, and it now has short term consequences for how we live as a church family. I’m sharing information first followed by some spiritual reflection.
Bemidji United Methodist Church is responding to the need to slow transmission of the CORVID 19 Virus. Effective March 18 – April 1, 2020 the church will be closed to the public. Karen Thompson, our church secretary will be working from home. If you need to reach her, you can call her cell phone at 218-766-9700 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM Monday through Friday.
Worship Will be streamed live on Facebook on Sundays at 10:30 AM with the recorded service made available afterwards. Please continue to support the church financially by making an offering online or mailing your offering.
This also means that all meetings and public use of the building will be suspend during this time. Food preparation for distribution may occur, but we are also suspending Community Table meals.
This decision has not been easy for church leadership to make. I am especially concerned for people who are food challenged during this time. This is a challenging time for all of us, yet it also offers unique opportunities for us to grow as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
From our beginning as a Christian movement, Methodism has been a social religion. It started in the United States as frontier religion. People became Methodists through their deep yearnings for God’s love, and were drawn into community through there love for each other. We wouldn’t be a church if not for the yearning God created in those who went before us.
We are now entering a time of social isolation as we need to minimize face to face interactions. Thankfully, we are blessed with technologies that offer ways to communicate even when we are physically isolated from one another. I experience this use of technology as “not the same,” while also feeling grateful for the ability to interact with each other.
Even with communication technology, it’s likely that most of us will be spending more time alone. This presents an opportunity. Can we open ourselves to hear God’s yearning for us? If you haven’t opened the Bible in a while, this is a great time to dust it off and spend some time with the Word. I recommend the Gospels, Psalms, and the book of Acts for your Lenten devotional time. Spending this time will also lead to prayer. This is a primary way to be present with God.
This is also a great time for life review and reflection. I’ve done this myself for many years. You can begin by writing down the sequence of all the years from your birth to the present, then remember and write down the important events and spiritual insights for that year. If you can’t think of anything, it’s okay to leave it blank. After completing this, I find it helpful to find a trusted person with whom you can share your story. (You might even choose to share this with your pastor electronically, or at a later time in person.
Perhaps our Lenten devotion turned out to be different than what we planned. In giving up our “in person” meetings, perhaps God is giving us an opportunity to grow in trust and faith. I will miss seeing you in worship, and I am looking forward to the time when we can again gather together. Perhaps this time will also be a time of kindling our yearning for being the church with each other and our community.
As usual: you can reach Pastor Rob at 218-766-8744 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org