A weekly newsletter from United Methodist Church of Lenox
A NOTE FROM THE PASTOR
Based on: Luke 1:46b-1:48
Lord God we come to you this day rejoicing in you, knowing that you love us and bring us peace. The peace that allows us to let our souls magnify you.
Oh, God the days have become dark with the sun rising later and setting early. Keep us mindful
Keep us mindful that your light shines among us even in the darkest of days. We know that a little light, shines brighter in the dark. Help us to shine your light to those around us that may not know you. To those who are sitting in the darkness of despair. To those who need justice, peace, hope. Help us to let our souls magnify you and sing the praises of justice, peace, and hope. We know that the days will start getting longer. And through us your light will shine brighter. All this we ask in the name of Jesus who resides with us, always. Amen.
By: Catherine McNeill who serves Moodus and Oneco United Methodist Church, Seacoast
COVID-19 surge renews call for vigilance
A recent surge of COVID-19 in one of our churches in Penobscot County Maine (Katahdin District) is one example of the increase in positive cases we are seeing all over New England. It also highlights the need for even greater vigilance to halt the spread of the virus and continue to reduce everyone's risk.
During this spike in COVID-19 cases, the Conference Re-Entry Team reminds everyone across the Conference that it is best NOT to gather in person. If you DO, then these protocols MUST be in place – particularly the prohibition against singing.
The Team has been in contact with the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention (Maine CDC) to talk about the outbreak there.
They affirmed that Conference guidelines provide sound protocols for responding to COVID-19, but when areas are facing an increased number of cases, the Maine CDC offers some additional guidance:
The recommendations of 6 feet of separation and no more than 15 minutes of close contact are guidelines, not a guarantee that there will be no spread of the virus.
If you are meeting for worship in a closed room (no open windows or doors), the virus can spread. At our church in Penobscot County, all the positive cases were people who were sitting 6 feet apart (in family groups) on the same side of the sanctuary.
It is crucial to screen people at the door.
Screening should include reviewing the 12 specific symptoms, not simply asking “Have you had any symptoms?” Maine CDC investigators are finding someone will say "no" to the general question, but when asked specifically about a symptom — such as have you felt tired, had a sore throat, or a headache, they will realize and acknowledge that they do have symptoms.
It is VERY important to have a registration procedure in order to do proper contact tracing.
This ensures that everyone who has been in close contact with a person/s who have tested positive can be told in a timely way to isolate/quarantine, so the virus does not spread further.
You can find the guidelines and more at the link above. This information includes a section on what to do if someone in the congregation tests positive for COVID-19, including:
Closing the in-person worship service and ministryTemporarily and go back to ONLY ONLINE
The church council at the United Methodist Church of Lenox makes tough decisions again to keep all the congregation safe, especially around the Holidays.
We are going to close the in-person worship service temporarily until our area is categorized as a low-risk area and we can revisit the decision. We hope to see you all on Zoom this Sunday!!
Fourth Sunday of Advent
It’s the fourth Sunday of Advent, and the tug of war is over. Christmas now takes center stage. Families who have come home and may not join you for Christmas Eve services are expecting a Christmas message. It won’t do to keep to the Advent theme of anticipation of the second coming of Christ. We need to relive the first. We need to live into the first. We are on the threshold of a new world. Never mind the fact that we’ve been on this threshold for over two thousand years. We are standing on the brink. We need to proclaim what is on the other side. What does it mean for Christ to take up residence in our world? What did it mean then, and what does it mean now?
Pastor Nami will be preaching on Luke 2:25-38 with a title, Are you ready for Christmas? We’re ready for Christmas, not when we have all the gifts, but when we are ready for Christ—when we’re ready to give all of ourselves to Christ. So, are you ready for Christmas?
Join us for our Sunday services virtually at 10:00AM
If you visit the link below or dial this number by your phone, you can join the worship service
Blessing the hats, mittens along with the sheets and blankets for the donations
During the worship service This Sunday, the Pastor will bless the hats and mittens to give to the people in need for Christmas. And also last year the mission team of UMCL purchased 6 sheet sets to give to the new women Soldier-On (Katie Doherty Veterans Village) but everything stopped due to the pandemic. But we wanted to make a connection with the women at the new housing. so we purchased the remaining 8 sets that are needed for all 14 units. so next monday (21), we will drop 14 bad sheets and 14 blankets off at the Katie Doherty Veterans Village.
We are truly thankful for congregations who made the hats and mittens for the homeless people and also supported our fundraising event recently so your participation makes helping the women veterans possible.
Thank You Card from Berkshire County Kids' Place & Violence Prevention Center
Dear, United Methodist Church of Lenox and Mission Team
On behalf of the Berkshire County Kids' Place & Violence Prevention Center, I would like to thank you for the generous donation of three dozen Bombas Socks. Your thoughtfulness helps to provide comfort to children who are victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse in Berkshire County. Once again, Thank you for your generosity and for thinking of our kids. Wishing your parish a peaceful holiday season!
Weekly Church Calendar
* Wed morning (23rd) bible study at 10am
* Thursday(17th) at 6:30pm, Church Council Meeting
* Book study following the Sunday worship service at 11:15am
If you like to join us anything above, please visit the link or dial the number that you have for the worship service. you may find it above.
The Christmas Sing Along Worship Service on 27th viz Zoom.
please email your favorite Christmas Hymns to Tom Cairns!
Tom Cairns asks you to pick no more than 5 of your favorite christmas songs and email them to him so let him play it for you on 27th worship service. it doesn't need to come from the United Methodist Hymns. it can be any modern hymns that you would like to hear.
Also, John Allen will give us a testimony on Luke 2:22-35 and also utilize Psalm 148. Let's pray for Tom Cairns and John Allen who will prepare and lead the worship service.
Christmas Worship Service
1) Christmas Eve Worship Service at 6pm via Zoom
What are some great things to do for Christmas Eve? Open a gift? Watch a special Christmas movie? Why don’t you join our virtual worship service via Zoom? You will be able to enjoy these folks' great songs!! The messengers and Diane filmed a wonderful music video last night in the sanctuary!! Come and join us to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus!! Stay Tuned!!
we will enjoy it together via Zoom by lighting the candle together at our own places. If possible, I encourage you to wear the red outfit or accessories for the worship service.
*Cookbook is still available for Christmas Gift*
FROM THE HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE
If you're looking for a holiday gift for family or friends, we still have our "Salvation From Hunger" cookbooks for sale. The books can be purchased at the church, during office hours (Tues & Fri 11am - 2pm) or call the office (445-5918) and we can arrange to put them in the mail. The books are $16.50.
If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact Judy Upton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-394-8331.
Congregational Prayer Concern
* Richard Paul: Dick's today appointment with the surgeon is cancelled due to the impending snow storm. It is now scheduled for December 28th.
The procedures went well Monday but it was a very tiring day. He needs our continuing prayer!
* Betsy Burnell: Betsy is taking another eye surgery today. Let's pray for successful surgery and quick recovery!
* Doug and Judy Upton: Upton's last official Sunday will be January 3rd at our church. Let's pray for their moving process and farewell service.
Prayer for snow storm
Heavenly Father, we lift up everyone experiencing this snow storm along with the high winds. We pray for continuing warmth & especially remember the homeless and pray they have a safe, warm shelter today. We lift up our first responders and road crews working in these elements, utility workers, hospital staffs & TV engineering teams who keep sat dishes clear so we all can get important updates. We pray all of these workers & anyone traveling home be safe. Amen.