A Word from the Pastors | Coronavirus Message 10-15-2020

Greetings in the strong and tender name of Jesus! We are praying that each of you is experiencing the peace and humility of God’s forgiving grace… the joyful presence and power of Christ’s love in your life… and the guiding courage and sustaining hope that the Holy Spirit bestows! Because of life’s troubles and the world’s temptations, it has probably been difficult in every time and place throughout history – including our own “here and now” moment of international pandemic and corresponding economic hardship, national systemic racism, a very strange President and very divided politics, devastating storms and climatic catastrophes over the face of the earth, unrestrained violence and greed in city, nation, and world – to live faithfully and to love fervently. And sometimes the hardest victory is the victory over self. May you keep the faith for this day, this week, and a lifetime! But don’t keep it to yourself. Reinvest your faith in others. Someone somewhere is in need of the good news of God’s love. And you may be just the right person to show and tell in a particular situation.

35th Annual Women’s Day: “I Am a Survivor”

In spite of COVID-19 restrictions and concerns that kept us from being physically present together and unable to eat a meal and share the Holy Communion meal in community, unable to touch and hug one another, last weekend was truly another annual blessing! We thank our Women’s Ministry planning group, “I Am a Survivor” Temple Talk speakers over several weeks, worship leaders, singers, readers, preacher, and prayer leaders. Sisters joined together with sisters to create an opportunity for the Spirit to bless us. We are grateful! We are inspired! Both the Women’s Day Breakfast on Saturday morning (30 households) and the Women’s Day Worship on Sunday morning (78 households) were “virtual” events but genuine experiences. We are finding ways to walk together through the shadowed valleys that COVID-19 has brought.

A great line from Juanita Williams’ poem: “Bitter days tend to come more than better days…” And a great refrain throughout her poem, “Your day of becoming a survivor is on the way.” And a stirring challenge from our gifted preacher, Bishop Patricia Ann Curtis Davenport: “Don’t just mark time… make a difference!”

As in past years, we are receiving a Women’s Day Offering. This offering is a special annual gift received each Women’s Day in celebration and support of God’s grace active in our lives and world. Our prayer, praise, and worship reach fulfillment in our response of generous giving and fervent loving.

Last year’s Women’s Day Offering (and some from the previous year) helped us remove and replace asbestos tile in a classroom and in a classroom closet. This year’s offering will help us replace an old and dysfunctional sink in a women’s bathroom. Some contributions totaling several hundred dollars have already been mailed or dropped at the door, or negotiated online. Please designate your gift as “Women’s Day” in some way.

Sunday School?

On Sunday, October 18 immediately following Zoom worship, Pastor Gwen would like to invite any persons to remain online for a Sunday School interest discussion. As pandemic restrictions, guidelines, and safety concerns continue into autumn and perhaps beyond, she would like to gage interest and discuss possibilities for teaching, building, and guiding Christian faith.

Guest Preacher

Pastor David Maddox II, “son” and friend of our St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church family, was with us twice in August… what a marvelous blessing! He will also be our 10:00AM Zoom preacher on the Sundays of October 24, November 22, and December 27. Tune in.

COVID-19 “Safety First!”

When Pastor Neil was growing up, there were three plants in wooded or marshy areas that were to be watched for and avoided – poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. They weren’t technically poisonous; they triggered an allergic reaction. Each of those plants had a sticky, long-lasting oil that caused an itchy, blistering rash on skin contact. Even the slightest contact, like merely brushing up against the leaves with your clothing, would leave the oil behind and place you in potential danger. We were taught to recognize and watch out for the leaves, stay away from the plants, and certainly not to scratch the rash if we got it, because it would spread and get worse.

Once there was a boy in a group of boys that included Pastor Neil who identified some poison sumac, grabbed some of the plant and leaves up with his exposed hands and rubbed it over his hands and arms and even his face, eagerly boasting to the rest of us that he was immune, that he “couldn’t get it”. The rest of us took him at his word. And poison ivy was far more common to our personal experience; we didn’t really know too much about what kind of allergic reaction and rash poison sumac.

However, the boy later went to the hospital. He had the rash on his hands, his arms, his chest, his face. His eyes were in pain, his mouth was in pain. And if memory serves, he had some sort of rash, some sort of irritation, some sort of pain inside – can’t remember if it was in his throat on down to the lining of his stomach… or breathing difficulty that was related to his lungs. It was truly good that the boy who “couldn’t get it” recovered. To be honest, though, most of us boys saw some ironic humor in his illness. He had bragged so proudly.

How did you react when President Donald Trump and so many other deniers and “personal freedom” warriors all became infected with COVID-19? He and they were so sure that they “couldn’t get it”, didn’t practice much preventive care, and even promoted the idea that there was little or nothing to get. Instead, they became participants in a “super spreader event” which perhaps is greater than what has been revealed. Was anyone humbled? Did anybody get a better understanding of the danger of the pandemic… become grateful for surviving… feel more compassionate for those who are still struggling and suffering… become more mournful for those who encountered death… change personal behavior?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, continues to lift up five basic measures for preventing COVID -19 infections:

  1. Universal wearing of masks.
  2. Maintaining physical distance.
  3. Avoiding congregate settings or crowds.
  4. Doing more outdoors as opposed to indoors.
  5. Washing hands frequently.

Folks are pandemic weary. No one really wants to wear a mask, stay so sheltered and distant from others, and experience all the other negative challenges and changes to our daily living. We did not choose COVID-19 to dominate our lives and our world in 2020…it has come to us. But we have to be wise, careful, and loving as we deal with its reality.

Pastor Neil & Pastor Gwen

Upcoming Events

Jun
19
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jun 19 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jun
23
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jun
30
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
3
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 3 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jul
5
Fri
2024
8:30 am Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Jul 5 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Check out the Senior Food Program’s page for more information.