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The Connection

A weekly newsletter from United Methodist Church of Lenox
A NOTE FROM THE PASTOR

                            Today’s prayer


                        
 

God of miracles
You called on a young woman to rise above her own expectations
to rise above the expectations of her society
to rise above doubt and fear.
She said yes.
Answering your call was the right thing to do.
Answering your call is the right thing to do.
We say yes.
Amen

 

Luke 1:26-38
By Beth DiCocco, Director of Communications

A message from Bishop Devadhar: Shootings in Atlanta

 

Beloved in Christ,

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We grieve the loss of eight persons killed by a gunman in Atlanta last evening. We continue to cry out in the face of gun violence and hatred as we work toward justice for all beloved children of God.

A man named Robert Aaron Long has confessed to the killings, and NPR reports that he claims race did not play a role in his decision to target the workplaces of the six Asian women killed. Nevertheless, this disturbing event comes at a time when our country is experiencing a remarkable increase in hatred directed toward and crimes perpetrated against Asians and Asian Americans. 

Two days ago, I joined with the Asian and Asian American Bishops, leaders, and theologians of The United Methodist Church in supporting this statement, written by the Asian American Language Ministries (AALM), condemning the violence and issuing a call to action to all United Methodists. 

I was pleased to find that our own Conference Commission on Religion and Race also issued a statement and share it here for your reading.  Additionally, there is a letter forthcoming from the Asian and Pacific Islander Commission for which I am also grateful.

Will you kindly join me in prayer for all the victims of racial injustice, hatred, and violence? 

And will you join me in remembering and practicing our values of mercy, justice, equity, and inclusion, so we may be an example to a hurting world. 

Let us remember the commitments we have made together in Resolution #3422, the Charter for Racial Justice, and our Northeastern Jurisdiction’s Call to Action. I implore you to read each one and prayerfully consider your role in transforming our world with love.

As one of the signatories of the statement, I offer my own commitment to listening to those who are hurting and to joining with everyone who is seeking justice for all people.  

Additionally, let us keep in mind the words of Paul to the Romans: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35), and reach out to our Asian American neighbors, friends, and co-workers with love and support. As Theologian Paul Tillich reminds us, “the first duty of love is to listen.” 

If you have experienced hatred and/or violence, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am always here to listen and pray with you as we continuously strive for justice and peace. 

In Christ’s Love,


 
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar

 

A message from Bishop Devadhar: Boulder shooting

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? 
How long will you hide your face from me? 
How long must I bear pain in my soul, 
and have sorrow in my heart all day long? 
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God! 
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”; 
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken. 

But I trusted in your steadfast love; 
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 
I will sing to the Lord, 
because he has dealt bountifully with me. – Psalm 13 

Beloved in Christ, 

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Another day opens with unanswered questions about a mass shooting in an ordinary place in an ordinary town that brings extraordinary pain and devastation. 

How long, we wonder, will we suffer the unbearable pain of racism, a pandemic that continues to threaten life and our way of life, hatred and violence that takes precious life and strikes fear in us? 

I am reminded that we are coming to the 22nd anniversary of the day young shooters killed 12 peers and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, about 30 miles from Boulder where the shooting happened yesterday. How long, O Lord, will our enemies prevail? 

The realization that this could be any of us in any place strikes fear; the ripple effects, the triggers of trauma, are real. 

It has only been a week since another young man killed eight in Atlanta. Since then, we have shared and heard so many stories of abuse, hatred, and violence fueled by xenophobia and racism. We are shaken. 

And while all this is happening, we are reminded of children traveling alone on a treacherous journey from places of danger toward the hope of welcome and a better life in the U.S. How long will they wait for a place to lay their head down and call home? 

In times like these, especially, I lean on my faith, the powerful words of scripture, and my trust in the one whose love will not let us go.  

It is good to sing with the psalmist … crying “how long?” But let us also remember that God does not leave us alone in our pain. God answers our cry, shines light on us, and offers bountiful love. 

How do we as baptized Christians respond out of both our pain and our faith?  

May we seek to understand our neighbors, to know them by name, to build relationships of respect, to honor them by treating them as we seek to be treated.

Let us pray for all those who live in fear and those who are re-traumatized with each act of terror that makes the news. Let us also pray for those whose stories are never told but who silently live in fear each day. 

Pray for our leaders as they strive to find solutions to gun violence and global migration. 

And, may we commit our lives to shining the light of God’s love everywhere. 

The Lenten journey takes us from challenges to grief to salvation. May we look to the day we can all sing to the Lord who has dealt bountifully with us all. 

In Christ’s Love, 

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar 

Palm / Passion Sunday on March 28th

UMC of Lenox will resume the in-person worship service at Palm Sunday.   As always with this strange season we find ourselves in, this plan may always be altered or pushed back in the event of a resurgence or spike in COVID cases.

We'd like to open the church building not for everyone, but only for those who feel comfortable to come to church, prefer to have the in-person worship service or are unable to have an on-line worship service at their place.
Zoom worship service will continue to conduct after reopening the sanctuary. In-person worship service will live on Zoom at 10am every sunday. So whether you stay home or not, you will be able to join the worship service.
We won't force you to come to the church building if you are not ready for it. Please feel free to stay at home and don't feel judged or guilty for it. There is no right or wrong decision. Also, if you are not healthy enough to take this risk in attending the in-person worship, you should stay at home. We offer the practical guidelines and rules for you via email or mail that you should follow to enter the sanctuary in the safe way. We will do our best to protect each other inthe reopening process.  

If you are not able to join any worship services neither online nor in-person, we will continue to send out the church stuff by mail.

We have about 30 seats available in the sanctuary with social distancing. Three people will sit in the one pew except for the family.

if we have more than 30 people on Sunday, we are going to put the chair in the fellowship hall and if so, 20-25 seats will be more available in addition to 30 seats in the sanctuary. we may ask all attendees of in-person worship, their names and contact information at the entry to track you in case. Thanks for your cooperation.

 

If you dial this number by your phone, you can join the worship service at 10am. please come early so we can start the worship at 10.

 

*Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/5827712073
 

Meeting ID: 582 771 2073
Password: 298223

*Dial by your location
        +1 646 558 8656 US 

Meeting ID: 582 771 2073 

 

PROTOCOL FOR CHURCH RE-OPENING

DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

 

I.    WORSHIP SERVICE

Prior to Opening

·       Prior to the church re-opening the sanctuary pews will be designated (marked) to accomplish social distancing.

·       All pew cushions and tissue containers will be removed and stored.  

·       The fellowship hall will be arranged with chairs following social distancing guidelines, as needed.

·       Face masks and hand sanitizer will be purchased and be available at entrance to church.

Traffic Flow

·       Entering and seating - Traffic cones will be arranged at the entrance to the church to direct people to the sanctuary. There will also be a designated person to direct attendees into the sanctuary.  When the sanctuary is full then the doors to the sanctuary will be closed and the traffic cones be will arranged to direct people to the fellowship hall.

·       Close of service - At the close of service a procedure will be followed to exit the church in a manner which will minimize contact.

o   The fellowship hall will exit first starting with the row closest to the sanctuary and ending with the row at the back of the hall.

o   The sanctuary will then exit beginning with the last row and ending with the frontmost row.

Worship Service

·       Hand Sanitizer – Hand sanitizer will be dispensed at the entrance.

·       Temperature Checks -Temperatures will be taken of all entering the church.

·       Face masks – Face masks will be required and worn in order to attend service.  Masks will be available for attendees if needed.

·       Social distancing – Social distancing will also be required. 

o   There will be no hand shaking or hugging.

o   Social distancing must also be maintained in the altar area between pastor, the pianist, and any others participating in the worship service. The lecterns will have transparent face shields.

·       Worship service program - All those seated in the sanctuary and fellowship hall can follow the worship service program via the overhead projection. 

·       Offering – The offering will not be collected during worship service, instead, an offering plate will be placed on the table outside the sanctuary into which offerings may be made. Those tallying the offering must wear face masks and gloves.

·       Children’s time – There will be no children’s time nor Sunday school.

·       Music -To maintain social distancing in the altar area with the pastor, organist, liturgist, and audio/visual person there will be no choir in the initial re-opening.

Special music can be part of the service if it is performed by a single person who comes to the altar only to perform.  There must a minimum of 17 feet between the performer and the first row of congregation.

Congregational singing is not encouraged per guidelines.

·       Liturgist and reader - The liturgist will also be the reader.

·       Communion – There will be no communion during the initial re-opening.

Following Service

·       Fellowship time – There will be no coffee service or fellowship time following worship service during the initial re-opening.

·       Offering Deposit – The offering collection will be counted in the fellowship hall.  Two 8’ banquet tables will be placed in the fellowship hall on the windowed side. The tables will be 10’ apart and each table will have 1 chair at either end to maintain social distancing.

General Information

·       Cleaning and disinfecting - All public restrooms will be disinfected following the service. All pews will be disinfected following the service. 

·       Space usage - To minimize the potential for contamination throughout the church and to minimize the cleaning and disinfecting process, only the sanctuary, fellowship hall, and restrooms will be available for use on Sundays. It is recommended that any space should be used only once per day if possible. If  it is necessary to use a space twice in the same day then a period of 4 hours between meetings should be maintained to provide sufficient time for disinfecting as needed.

·       On-Line services – Worship services will continue to be offered on-line for those who choose not to attend in person.

 

II.   Use of Ancillary Spaces 

Ancillary spaces include the choir room, youth room, library, classrooms, nursery, and kitchen.

To minimize the need for special cleaning and disinfecting during the covid-19 pandemic the use of ancillary spaces will be limited. 

The only gatherings that will be allowed at this time are internal committee meetings and bible studies.  Until further notice the fellowship hall will be the only space used for the meetings and bible studies.

·       Attendance – Attendance is limited to no more than 25 people.

·       Face coverings – Face coverings must be worn at all times.

·       Social distancing – Social distancing is mandatory.

·       Cleaning and disinfecting – It is the responsibility of the meeting coordinator to assure that all areas and surfaces that have been used and all touch points, ie door knobs, etc. will be disinfected after each meeting and before leaving the building.  This includes the entry and foyer area.  Cleaning products will be available within the hall. 

·       Scheduling – It is the responsibility of the activity coordinator to assure there is no more than one gathering scheduled at a time and that there is adequate time between meetings for the area to be disinfected.

 

III. Church Offices

Cleaning products will be placed in the pastor’s office and the administrative assistant’s office for disinfecting following the use of the offices.

 

IV.  Food Pantry

This community effort will continue to function on Saturdays from 10am – 11am.  We encourage minimal foot traffic within the building.

·       Face coverings – Face coverings must be worn at all times.

·       Social distancing – Social distancing is mandatory.

·       Cleaning and disinfecting – The foyer area, entry, and restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected after the food pantry is closed each Saturday.

We discourage any use or entry into the church any time after the Saturday cleaning and disinfecting as it has been readied for Sunday morning worship service.

 

Church Re-opening

Due to the Corona Virus we are changing how in-person services will be conducted.  These are being called the Covid Commandments.

COVID Commandments

1)    Thou shall wear a mask while on church grounds and inside church.  Only exception will be people in the altar area.

2)   Thou shall have a temperature check before entering church for service.  Anyone with elevated temp greater than 100.4 will be sent home.

3)    Thou shall maintain social distancing while entering/exiting and during service.  Minimum 6ft apart from others.

4)    Thou shall be provided hand sanitizer upon entry to church.

5)    Thou shall sit where the usher escorts you to. Social distancing can be maintained by sitting in marked spots.

6)    Thou shall not sing but enjoy the person at altar singing.

7)    No communion will be performed until the pandemic is over.

8)    The offertory will be set up to collect contributions when entering/exiting church.

9)     There will be no children’s moment, Sunday school, or babysitting.

10)        Thou shall not shake hands or hug our brothers/sisters in Christ.  

 

These safety measures are required to keep everyone safe at church.  Hopefully we can return to normal sometime in the future but we thank you for your cooperation during this time. People not comfortable attending in person will be able to continue to partake in on-line services currently offered.


       

. Pastor Nami working from home ( Tue-Fri, 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm) - available to reach out phone call (442-6314) or email ( lenoxumc@gmail.com)

 

.Kathy, Administration Assistant working in the church office Tue (11am – 2pm) and Fri (9am – 12pm) Hours are flexible so please call church office (445-5918) or email (umcl@verizon.net) to make sure she is working



.Church Council Meeting: Thursday (25th)  at 6:30pm via zoom

Easter Bags for our children at church and children in the shelter

 

There are two different ways that you can help spread the love and joy of Easter morning.

1). Send money or check to the church and identify “EasterBags” in the memo or with a note.  Please notify Shirley (442-4738) so the Mission Team knows how much money is being donated.    

2). Purchase items 

·      Pick the square that you want to shop for.  

·      Inform Shirley (442-4738) of the square you picked.  Identify the name or the letter in the upper right corner of the square.  Note: each child has two squares with different items in each square so your items will be combine with the other square.   

·      These items need to be dropped off at the church by March 30th WITH identifying the name or the letter in the upper right hand corner of the square. 

·      The mission team will put the bags together for each child and distribute them. 

The Mission Team appreciates anything and everything you can do to help with the success of this project.  We are thinking that each square would be under $15. 

 

Natalie – 5 yrs. Old

Easy puzzle

Game

Bubbles

Stickers

Eva – 8 yrs. Old

Brain Puzzles

Puzzle Books

Card Games

Jump rope/Frisbee

Stickers 

Adelyn – 5 months

Pampers Swaddler size 3

Book 

Kwame – 10 yrs. Old

Sensory Toys

Textured books

 

Taken

Matching fame

 

Natalie -  5 yrs. Old

Stuffed Animal

Books

Hair ribbons 

Eva – 8 yrs. Old

Stuffed Animal

Books

Headbands

Adelyn – 5 months

Teething Ring

Binky 

Baby toy

Bath toy

Kwame – 10 yrs. Old

Crayola Color Wonder

Stuffed Animal

 

 
 

Taken

 

 

 

 

Georgina – 7 yrs. Old

Coloring Book

Puzzle Books

Card Games

Girl – 1 yr. old

Diapers – Size 3

Books

Stickers

Girl – 1 yr. old

Diapers – Size 3

Books

Stickers

Boy – 1 yr. old

Diapers – Size 4

Books

Stickers

Georgina – 7 yrs. Old

Stuffed Animal

Books

Hair scrunchies

Stickers

Girl – 1 yr. old

Teething Ring

Bath toy/ Baby Toy

 

 
 

Taken

 

 

 

 

B Girl – 1 yr. old

Teething Ring

Bath toy

Baby toy

C Boy – 1 yr. old

Teething Ring

Bath toy

Baby toy

D Girl -2 yrs. old 

Diapers – Size 4

Books

Small stuffed animal

E Boy – 2 yrs. Old

Diapers – Size 5

Books

Small stuffed animal

F Girl – 5 yrs. Old

Easy puzzle

Game

Bubbles

G Boy – 5 yrs. Old

Comic books

Easy puzzle

frisbee

D Girl -2 yrs. Old

Teething Ring

Bath toy

Baby toy

Stickers

E Boy – 2 yrs. Old

Teething Ring

Bath toy

Baby toy

Stickers

F Girl – 5 yrs. Old

Stuffed Animal

Books

Hair ribbons

Stickers

G Boy – 5 yrs. Old

Stuffed Animal

Books

Stickers

 

H Girl – 6 yrs. Old

Coloring Books

Easy puzzle

Bubbles

I Girl – 8 yrs. Old

Brain Puzzles

Puzzle Books

Card Games

Jump rope/Frisbee

J Boy – 12 yrs. Old

Brain Puzzles

Puzzle Books

Card Games

Frisbee

K Girl – 12 yrs. Old

Brain Puzzles

Puzzle Books

Card Games

Frisbee/jump rope

H Girl – 6 yrs. Old

Stuffed Animal

Books

Hair ribbons

Stickers

I Girl – 8 yrs. Old

Stuffed Animal

Books

Stickers

Hair ribbons

J Boy – 12 yrs. Old

Whiffle ball set

Books

 

K Girl – 12 yrs. Old

Puzzle

Books

Hair ribbons/scrunchy

 

L Boy – 15 yrs. Old

Brain Puzzles

Board Games

Comic Books

L Boy – 15 yrs. Old

Puzzle

Books

M – Newborn

Pampers Swaddler size 1

Book

 

– Newborn

Teething Ring

 

8. The Holy Week and Easter Worship Service

 

The Holy Week Service such as Good Friday will be announced later via email or mail. The next Sunday will be the outdoor  sun rise service at 6:30am (if weather permitting) and Easter service at 10:00am. 

 

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United Methodist Church of Lenox, 6 Holmes Road, Lenox, MA 01240, 413-445-5918
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United Methodist Church of Lenox · 6 Holmes Road · Lenox, MA 01240 · USA

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