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May 29, 2021

Beautiful Beloveds,

This Sunday we remember and give thanks.  In our virtual worship we celebrate a musical Sunday, featuring some of the musicians who share their gifts with us.  We cannot show them all, but we can thank them all!  Aren’t they wonderful?!  Through the gift of their voice, instrument, and song, they help us to connect with the Holy.  If one of our musical pieces has moved you, be sure to let the musician know.  If you don’t know how to contact them, reach out and I’ll help.  It is a vulnerable thing to sing or play alone for a phone or computer, and then share it with the world wide web.  Thanks be to God for their talent and their bravery to share it.

In our Drive-in style worship, we will take time to read the name of our loved ones who have died in the last year and give thanks for their lives and love.  We also will remember all who have died in service to our country.  If you would like me to add a name to our memorial roll to read aloud, there is a place on the registration form to add names.  Or you can email me before 10am on Sunday, May 30.

We remain, Together in Christ…. Committed to serve.

Peace,

Heather

 

Mark Your Calendars

Sunday, May 30

5:30 am Worship available on our YouTube channel

8:30 am:   Virtual Worship premier on Facebook:  A Musical Celebration

11:00 am: “Drive-In” style worshipful Engagement in our Parking Lot.

Memorial Day Celebration—Please register here**.

7:00 pm:  Youth Group (Zoom link below) Youth group will meet June 6.

 

Monday, May 31:  Memorial Day

9:00 am:     Lend-a-Hand

7:00 pm:    Men’s Study Group (via Zoom)

 

Tuesday, June 1:

12:00 pm: Deadline for “A Word on Wednesday,” AND Saturday Tidings

 

Wednesday, June 2:
SPRC—See Chair, MaryAnne Farley for Zoom link

Thursday, June 3:
10:00 am:    Zoom Bible Study— Zoom Link below.

6:30 pm COVID-19 Leadership Task Force

 

Friday, June 4:

 

Saturday, June 5:

9:00 am:  Seacoast District Conference

 

Sunday, June 6:

5:30am:    Worship available on our YouTube channel

8:30 am:    Virtual Worship premier on Facebook

11:00 am:  Drive in style worshipful Engagement in our Parking Lot.   Please register here

7:00 pm:    Youth Group meets via Zoom (link below)

 

**Why do we ask you register for worship?

·        Your registration lets us know how many people are coming and plan accordingly.  This will become increasingly important as we move to “Gather on the Green,” beginning June 13 and as we look ahead to re-entering our sanctuary.

·        If you sign up by email, on Sunday morning we will email you the scripture and songs of the day, including a YouTube playlist, so you can go back and find that song that really struck a chord.

·        It also allows us to track attendance more easily, which allows for contact tracing if the need arises.

 

Please register here for the our Memorial Day Worship.

Please register here  for worship in June.  You can sign up for the whole month, or register one Sunday at one time.

If you prefer not to register on-line, you can email pastorheather@umcchurches.org, or call the church office to let us know you’re coming.  “This is Susanna Wesley, I’ll be attending worship every Sunday in June with all 17 of my children.  We’ll bring our own chairs, and warmed hearts.”

 

Together in Christ—We worship, learn and grow

An Update from our COVID-19 Leadership Task Force on Safety Protocols
Our leadership team met Thursday night, and we will no longer be requiring everyone to wear masks outdoors on our church property.  We do ask everyone to continue to mask indoors.  We must each make our own decision whether or not to mask.  We want our church to be a place where both masked and unmasked feel their choice will be honored, without judgment or derision.

Whether we are masked or not, we ask everyone to please continue to practice physical distancing.  While we deeply desire to be close to one another, let us keep distance between us for everyone’s health and safety.  You may notice that sometimes the person you’re talking to will back away from you to maintain that distance.  This is not a sign of lack of affection or attention, but rather, a sign of our care for one another.  Let’s help remind one another to create space as a sign of our love.

We also ask that we practice deep respect for one another.  We cannot always know why someone has chosen to mask or not.  We can honor the choice they have made for themselves and their family.  Let us not see masked/unmasked as a source of division between us, but rather, a reminder of our shared desire for the health and safety of us all.

May 30 and June 6, we will continue to gather in the parking lot at 11am.  You are welcome to stay in your car, and listen on your radio.  Or you can bring a chair and an umbrella to create shade, or find a seat anywhere on the property you can find a bit of shade.  If you bring a radio with you, you can tune in to 91.5 and hear the worship from any shady spot within ¼ mile of the church.

9:30 am, Sunday, June 13th, our worship time and gathering spot will change.   At 9:30 am we’ll “Gather on the Green,” in front of the church by the flag pole and red cross.  There will still be space for those who want to stay in their car to do so, or scatter more widely on the property, and continue to tune in to 91.5.

I hope you’re noticing a theme.  Our leadership team is committed to reducing risk of transmission of COVID-19 and maintaining a space where all are welcome. We want all to feel welcome to make the choices you need to make for your health and safety.  And we hope to retain a culture of warm inclusion of all, supporting one another in whatever decisions we make.  It has been a hard season of difficult and sometimes painful choices.  May the church be a place where we model deep compassion for one another.  If that means staying in your car, wearing a mask, sitting in a chair, and/or lowering your mask, we are glad you have chosen to worship with us.   We welcome your questions, ideas, and suggestions.

Memorial Day Celebration!  May 30, 2021
Our virtual worship on May 30, will be a singing celebration, featuring the gifts of music we’ve heard in the last year.  In our Drive-in Style Worship at 11am, we’ll observe Memorial Day.  Part of this observance will be to read aloud the names of those who have died in the last year and remember them together prayerfully.

Graduation Celebration!  June 6, 2021
We will be sending Renee Van Leeweun off with a devotional Bible.  This year, we invite you to create a “Blessing Bookmark” that can put into the Bible.  Mail it to the church by June 1 or bring your bookmark to worship on Sunday, June 6.

Need help getting started?  Cut a bookmark from sturdy cardstock or heavy duty paper (2-3 inches x 6-8.5 inches).   Consider writing out your favorite scripture, or your own words of hope and encouragement for Renee.  Draw a picture to delight and encourage!  Share a memory of her time in our church, and in your life.

Pride Celebration!  June 13, 2021
June 13th both our virtual and in-person worship will center on a celebration of all God’s people and every beautiful expression of human sexuality.  We will be moving from Drive-in style worship to Gather on Green at 9:30am.  As part of our special celebration we will share Holy Communion together.  Wear your rainbows and most colorful expressions of God’s love!

Coming Out of the Wilderness:  A Homily by John Greene

How did you feel when you came out of the wilderness?
I felt like shouting when I came out of the wilderness!
I felt like clapping when I came out of the wilderness!
I felt like telling everybody when I came out of the wilderness!

How did Moses feel when he came out of the wilderness?  Having fled Egypt with the guilt of murder in his soul, he wandered through the Desert of Sin, across the Sinai peninsula to the land of Midian.  There, even though he thought of himself as a stranger in a strange land, he was welcomed and found a sheltering home.

How did the Israelites feel when they came out of the wilderness?  After forty years of wandering in the desert, after faltering in their faith, doubting God’s plan, they were finally ready to enter the land of Canaan.  Moses, their leader through the wilderness, had passed away and their new leader, Joshua, was requiring of them to declare where they stood.  Would they give up the gods of the land and choose to serve the Lord?

How did John feel as he came out of the wilderness?  After living a life  in the desert as an ascetic, wearing a coat of camel hair, subsisting on locust and wild honey, he came to the people proclaiming the coming of the Lord.  John would baptize with water, but the one coming would baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit.

How did Jesus feel coming out of the wilderness?  Sent to the desert to test his self-control, to see if he was strong enough to follow God’s plan, he would see if he could resist the temptation to take the easy route instead of the one requiring  obedience and faith. How did he feel as he was able to turn his back to Satan and walk away?

How will you feel when you come out of the Wilderness of Covid?  After being separated from the comfort of  the church building, after missing the presence of the congregation, after having to hide your smile behind a mask, how will you feel?  Those who were tested by the wilderness came out of it with a purpose.  They were asked to follow God’s plan for them, to not falter in their steps, to not complain just because what lay ahead was uncomfortable.

We all have a little wilderness to come out of.  Every day we can choose what to do with our time, our effort and our assets.  Every day we can measure ourselves as to how well we have directed our lives.  We can choose to stay in the shadows of  our wilderness or we can shout, and clap, and tell everyone of God’s love as we walk out of the wilderness and walk into the light.

Matthew 4:16  “ The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned.”
John Greene

United Methodist Women—A Day of Prayer 2021
On June 19th, the United Methodist Women at Shepherd of the Valley (604 Seven Mile Road, Hope RI) will open our church and labyrinth from 8A to 4P for the annual Day of Prayer and Self-Denial Celebration. Join us anytime during the day to take part in contemplative, reflective and interactive opportunities of prayer. We will come together around the theme She Leads: Empowering Women to Make a Difference. We welcome you to come pray, learn and offer your gifts that will make a real change in the lives of women, children and youth around the world.

· PRAY – As we unite in prayer, we prepare ourselves to listen.
· LEARN – As we learn about the impact of the Call to Prayer and Self-Denial, we also learn about the impact our giving has on the world.
· GIVE – As we generously give, we remember with confidence all that God has already done in and through us and all that God has yet for us to do.
Join together to bring justice and inspire change, living into United Methodist Women’s faith and action.

Please note that we are following all CDC Covid-19 protocols to protect the vulnerable around us and request that you and your party wear masks while in the church building.

For more information, please contact UMW President Barbara Walz (barbw146@verizon.net) or the SOV Church Office (401.821.8217 or office@sovumc.org).

Miracle Sightings!  A new feature in our Weekly Tidings
Did you know?  In the midst of a pandemic, our worship attendance (virtual and drive-in) is up!  Since Easter, we’ve had four new people join us in our Drive-in Style worship, desiring to connect with our community, and be a part of our church.
Where are you seeing God at work in and through our church?  Send us a story or a picture of “miracle sightings.”  Let’s remind one another of the good in the midst of challenge.

Committed to Serve—
We are making a difference

Food for Thought:

Check out our new banner, coming soon!