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The Connection

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

                         Today's Prayer

A Prayerful Reflection based on Psalm 28:6-7

Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard the sound of my pleadings.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Creator God, we come to you with; adoration
Our hearts are full of love for You;
We lift up our voices in praise to You;
Your divine goodness and unconditional love is all we need.

Forgiving God, we come to you; repentant
For the times we wandered from You;
For the times we doubted You;
For the times we have not loved others as You love us.

Gracious and loving God, we come to you; grateful
For the faith You have bestowed within each of us;
For the promises You keep;
For the assurance that You hear our prayers.

Generous and Merciful God, we come to you; seeking
Wholeness, which we find only in You
Mercy and grace, which You bestow upon all of creation
Peace; which You so freely give and we so dearly need.

All this we pray to You, our God, our rock and our redeemer, in the name of Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

Prayer by Rev. Patricia Marsden, Newmarket Community Church, Newmarket, NH, (UCC, UMC, ABC), Granite District

 

A Thanksgiving message from Bishop Devadhar

               

Nov. 23, 2020 

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

As we approach Thanksgiving in this year of the pandemic and its consequences, political unrest and increased natural disasters, it may appear that there are fewer things for which to be thankful. 

We rejoice that a vaccination for COVID-19 is around the corner. At the same time our prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones to the virus, all those who are currently infected, and all those who cannot join loved ones for Thanksgiving due to the situation we are in as a nation and world. Our thoughts and prayers are also with those whose lives have been altered through pain and challenge, directly or indirectly, by the virus. 
 
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by natural disasters and calamities, both in the United States and other parts of the world. Yet we are thankful for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and all the relief efforts through UMCOR. 

In the midst of pain and suffering, we hear Jesus’ words in this past Sunday's gospel passage, “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:31-46). 

Reading this passage closely, even in the midst of all our challenges and pain, feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, providing space for the homeless, clothing the naked and shivering, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and doing any other works of mercy are the primary responsibilities of a follower of Jesus Christ. The founder of Methodism, Rev. John Wesley said, "Earn all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.” 

Friends, as we celebrate Thanksgiving and prepare to celebrate Christmas in keeping with pandemic mitigation efforts, may we also take time to pause and reflect on Matthew 25:31-46. Let us not forget that there are persons struggling with life and its challenges in many of our New England Conference churches, in our local communities, and across the globe.  
 
I always remind myself that participating in worldwide missions is not taxing or burdensome, but a privilege as we fulfill the mandate of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Needless to say, I am proud of all of you for your continued participation in the worldwide ministries of our Church and how you responded to the special needs emerging out of the COVID-19 crisis this year, particularly through your generous participation in the Zarephath Emergency Relief Fund

May I prayerfully request that we continue to do what Christ expects of us in relation to this Sunday's gospel passage. As we strive to fulfill 100% participation in connectional missions through mission shares, may we not forget additional responsibilities to help the poor, hungry, homeless, sick, and marginalized in our churches and communities.  
 
Therefore, may I prayerfully request all who are able to give more to donate generously to your local churches by clearly labeling it "Special Mission 2020.” May I also request all pastors and local church leaders to split whatever monies come in for "Special Mission 2020" 50/50 between your church’s local missions for those who in need and your shared ministries and mission to reach 100% of your mission shares. If you receive more than you need to pay your mission shares, you may either pay more than 100% or retain it to help the poor and needy in your local churches and communities. 

Some of you may sacrifice things, such as an extra cup of coffee or a meal, now through December 31 and divert your savings to "Special Mission 2020." Those who are in Extension Ministries or not a part of any local church may mail your check directly to the New England Annual Conference.  Your contributions will be divided equally between the worldwide mission shares and the Zarephath fund. 
 
Thank you in advance for your consideration! I believe if we all give what we can to help others, we will indeed find many reasons to be thankful this year. 
 
May you all have a blessed and prayerful Thanksgiving! 
 
In Christ's love,


Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar

 

Closing the in-person worship service this week

The church council at the United Methodist Church of Lenox makes tough decision again to keep all the congregation safe, especially after Thanksgiving.
We are going to close the in-person worship service temporarily and after a few weeks incubation period we will see if infection rates increase or stabilize in the local area, and we can revisit the decision. We hope to see you all on Zoom this Sunday!!

 

First Sunday of Advent - Contemporary Worship service

What excitement this season brings! Certainly, you’ve done it many times before; the rituals may be set in stone, the expectations ripe, and the patterns already unrolling. But there is something about the season of Advent that brings forth the kid in us, and we all lean into the hope. So, let the excitement grow; let the buzz be felt.

Advent is also a penitential season, which means that we aren’t just preparing our external space to receive the Guest and our guests. We are also preparing our internal space for that reception. Worship, therefore, needs to include both times of reflection and acts of repentance.  We begin the season of Advent by singing along with Tom Cairns at our home via Zoom.

 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

                
*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 

 

 

An Advent Invitation from Pastor Nami to your Family

               

 

In just a few short days, we begin the season of Advent, a time of preparation and a time of reflection and a time open our hearts and our lives to the movement of God’s love. So I want to encourage you to join us at here United Methodist Church of Lenox starting Sunday November 29thand I want to encourage you joining us this practice of lighting the Candle for each Sunday of the Advent Season. Pastor will lead us in a prayer each Sunday during worship and we will be lighting the candle from our own home. So we encourage you to be prepared by creating your own Advent candle and wreath. You will need five candles: 4 purple or blue and 1 white. You can include candles and a variety of items you find meaningful for you and your family. It’s a great time to be creative and to think about what will GUIDE you in this season of preparation so you are ready to receive the good news of great joy that is for all people. We pray and reflect together as one body of Christ no matter where we are. As you gather with your family across the miles or as you gather in home or be a technology, let’s pray together by lighting this candle. May God’s love will be made real in us and through us as we share the good news of great joy. Have a blessed Advent Season and we hope you join us each Sunday of Advent via Zoom or via your phone as we light another candle and celebrate the light of Christ in our world. Amen.

For  Advent Daily Devotion, We encourage you to read one chapter of the Gospel of Luke each night, beginning on December 1. By Christmas Eve you will have read the story of Jesus' life beginning to end. 

 

Let's work together to make Thanksgiving Safer!

More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days.

As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.



*Lower risk activities
 
  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home


*Moderate risk activities
  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
  • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place

*Higher risk activities
 

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs that may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.

Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service is cancelled this year for everyone's safety

 

 Lenox Clergy Group discussed the hoped-for Thanksgiving gathering in Lilac Park next Thursday, and we decided it’s wisest to cancel that. 

With COVID numbers up and the CDC urging people to lay low this Thanksgiving, we figured it sent a mixed message if we were to try to gather this way. It would probably be ineffective at what such a service aims to do anyway—evoke in people a sense of thanks and praise. It might be cold and depressing, which is really not what we want!
So, we’ll look forward to next year and will meanwhile, We hope you all stay safe & well. 

ures.

Book Study following Sunday Service at 11:15am Via Zoom

Due to the closing of in-person worship service temporarily, Book study will be held via zoom following the worship service. This Sunday we will discuss chapter 6.

THANK YOU from the Hospitality Committee


                       

 The Hospitality Committee wants to thank everyone that helped make our Thanksgiving Bake Sale a success.

We sold 51 pies and 28 cookie platters and made over $1400!  Whether you were a baker or a buyer, THANK YOU all for your contributions!!

The Hospitality Committee wants to wish everyone a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.

 Arts and Faith: Virtual Advent Gathering for 4 weeks of December
                       

During the four weeks of Advent, we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth through prayer and reflection. We contemplate the First Coming of Jesus as Savior, and anticipate his promised Second Coming. And amid the flurry of Christmas preparations, we look for practical ways to observe the holiness of the season in our everyday lives.

Ignatian contemplation and reflective prayer encourage us in the season of Advent. 
We will Enjoy video commentary about works of art inspired by the Sunday Scriptures of Advent. Use videos to take a new look at this season of preparation through the lens of sacred art. Accompanying reflections on using the art as a means of Ignatian prayer and we will share our own reflections together.


If you are an artistic person who likes  to appreciate artwork, you will love this group!

1) The video and prayer the First Week of Advent, Cycle B, is based on Mark 13:33–37. The art is William Holman Hunt’s The Light of the World.

2) The video and prayer for the Second Week of Advent, Cycle B, is based on Mark 1:1–8. The art is Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s St. John the Baptist Preaching.

3) The video and prayer for the Third Week of Advent, Cycle B, is based on John 1:6–8, 19–28. The art is Saint John the Baptist Preaching by Anton Raphael Mengs.

4) The video and prayer for the Fourth Week of Advent, Cycle B, are based on Luke 1:26–38. The art is John Collier’s The Annunciation.

This group will begin on Dec 1st, Tuesday evening at 6:30pm. If participants prefer to gather another day or time, group schedule can be changed.

You will join us via Zoom and you may use the same dial number used for the worship service. If you like to join this 4 weeks session, please Contact the pastor.
(442-6314 / lenoxumc@gmail.com)

                       Urgent Prayer Request

* Ann Tricca: I wanted to let you know that Angelo is in the hospital again.  He had his surgery yesterday (Monday) and came home.  Late Monday night I had to call the ambulance for him.  It appears he has a biliary obstruction.  They did tests yesterday to figure out what has to be done for Angelo. and they are not sure if Angelo is strong enough to take another surgery again. so maybe we need to pray for Angelo's strength to endure this process. Please pray for Ann and Angelo. They need our prayer!

   

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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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