A weekly newsletter from United Methodist Church of Lenox
A NOTE FROM THE PASTOR
… you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol… Exodus 20.3-4a
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19.14
May the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you …
Ouch God! This week’s lectionary is hard!
O how I wanted a sweet make-me-feel-good passage,
something to cheer me up.
It seems like it’s been Lent for a year.
Is this what the exiled ones felt like?
taunted by “Sing us one of the songs of Zion?”
We’ve hung our harps,
unplugged our keyboards,
not touched the organ,
silenced our choirs,
been away from our sanctuaries.
Here by the waters of Babylon,
When can we return?
Or are we more like the Israelites
finally released from captivity
but all we can think is
we were better off in Egypt
at least there we had food and drink
and things we were used to
and took for granted
What is it you ask of us, God,
To return to you?
not “return to your buildings”
not “return to your old ways”
not “return to all the clutter”
not “return to what was”
but to return to you?
re-turn to you?
With all our hearts?
no attachments, no idols?
and it seems like it’s been Lent for a year.
May the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Amen
Pastor Evie Doyon, Green Mountain District Administrative Assistant and pastor at Northfield United Methodist Parish, VT.
March 1, 2021
Beloved in Christ:
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Our lives, priorities, and perspectives have changed drastically over the last year due to COVID-19. More than 2.5 million lives have been lost; a half million in the United States alone. Children are missing out on education and small businesses have been stressed to the breaking point. May we also remember to pray for all people throughout our world who are grieving loved ones.
In the midst of this heartbreaking tragedy, we are grateful to all the frontline workers: medical professionals and staff, researchers working on vaccines, and courageous and innovative leaders and administrators who are helping us navigate this nightmare.
As we look back at the past year, one of the things we have emphasized as a faith community here in the New England Conference is practicing one of the Wesleyan means of grace – PRAYER.
March 22, marks one year of writing daily COVID-19 prayers related to the lectionary readings for the following Sunday. We are thankful to everyone – NEAC clergy and laity and seminary faculty, staff and students – who contributed these penetrating, moving, inspiring, and challenging prayers.
Prayer was the bedrock of Jesus' earthly ministry. No wonder, the disciples who lived and worked with Jesus asked him, "Lord, teach us to pray …" (Luke 11:1). This great prayer Jesus composed does not name Jesus and is still today a universal prayer, one that may be prayed by people of all faiths.
Prayer played a vital role in the lives of Church parents, reformers, evangelists, and missionaries through the centuries. As we look at some of them and their risk-taking ministries and missions, we see they led for the glory of God, filled with the love of Christ and moved by the Holy Spirit. We may wonder how they did what they did, but a closer look at their personal lives shows that they were prayerful people of deep faith.
As I have said time and again in different contexts, one of those persons who carried out daring risk-taking ministries and whose ministry and mission were embraced by people of all faiths was St.Teresa of Calcutta.
I had the privilege, along with others from the United States, of visiting the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity, headquarters of her organization in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, meeting with her, participating in the chapel service with her, and working as a volunteer in her home for a few hours. One thing was very clear: Mother Teresa was a person of deep prayer. Her prayer life was a ray of hope to those who witnessed her ministry and mission in action.
Her willingness to touch a person with leprosy or pick up a person who was dying on the street did not go unnoticed. News reporters, not necessarily Christians, recognized her as the "Saint of the Gutters." All that she did happened only because of her utter dependence on God through prayer and prayerful action.
Friends, as we look at the lives of Martin Luther, John and Charles Wesley, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bishop Leontine Kelly, Archbishop Óscar Romero, and others, we recognize they were indeed people of deep prayer!
Being deeply rooted in God through prayer also enabled them to rise and fly with passion to do the liberating work of God among the marginalized, victimized, powerless, and voiceless. Their lives remind us, as disciples of Jesus Christ, that our prayers are truly meaningful only when we are willing to act on the words we utter in our day-to-day lives as Christians.
On the 14th of this month, we celebrate UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) Sunday, which is popularly known as One Great Hour of Sharing. One hundred percent of what we share that day is directed to the liberation and justice ministries of UMCOR.
Growing up in India, my love and respect for UMCOR started bubbling up when I witnessed their work through its ecumenical partners there. In my humble opinion, sharing our resources with others as part of our own response to our prayers is a prayerful act.
Beloved in Christ, as we continue our journey through this Lenten season and approach Holy Week, may we never forget Jesus' utter dependence on prayer and demonstration of faith using the words of his own prayer, even as he called for the forgiveness of his enemies as he was dying on the cross. He said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).
May God grant us the grace and power to look at our own lives and to call for a self-examination of our prayer lives.
What priority do we place on prayer in our own lives? How much time do we spend communicating with God during the day?
Where in our priorities does family prayer fall? How often do we pray together as a family?
What priority do we give to prayer as we gather together for meetings through Zoom, conference call or in person? Do we start and close our meetings with meaningful, relevant prayer?
Prayer is one of the means of grace and a part of our Methodist DNA! May we celebrate it! May we say and/or write our own prayers with an intended action plan for our own spiritual growth and benefit to others. May our prayer be:
O Holy and Powerful God, our Creator,
in this holy season we sing prayerfully
Isaac Watts’ hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,
on which the prince of Glory died ...”
May our prayerful survey of the cross
lead us to passionate action of not just surveying,
but feeling the weight of the cross on our shoulders
through our self-giving love, suffering for the sake of others,
and forgiveness and reconciliation ...
May we be constantly nudged by the Holy Spirit to do so!
In the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
In Christ's love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
Third Sunday in Lent
The apostle Paul saw those gaps in Ephesian Christians’ lives. They became true Christians, and yet they were still living in their former patterns, following the world’s ways of life with selfishness, greed, and impurity. Then, what is the cure for this spiritual imbalance? Come and join us to explore how to live with our brokenness and wounds.
Are you missing time with your UMC of Lenox community where you can chat and catch-up with them? We are too! That is why we are starting a Virtual Coffee Hour on Sundays at 9:30am and 11:00am through Zoom Video/Audio Conferencing!
Before and after the worship service, you can join the virtual coffee hour via zoom to check in folks from church. Let’s catch up with newcomers and friends. Bring your coffee for time to chat and check-in!!
From this room, people will be grouped into smaller groups, if we have many folks at once. Let's stay connected!! you may find the zoom link above which is the same one with worship service.
* Bible Study - Wed 10am ( Gospel of the Mark )
* Office Hours
. Pastor Nami working from home ( Tue-Fri, 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm) - available to reach out phone call (442-6314) or email ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
.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 (email@example.com) to make sure she is working
Lenten Book Study
The book is called "why easter matters", it has 4 sessions, video and group discussion. Please sign up if you like to participate and let Pastor or Jill Wehry know and the church will offer the book for you. It will be held via Zoom on Tuesday night at 6:30pm-7:30pm. If you want to join this group, a zoom link will be sent to you for that day! Next Gathering will be on Mar 9, we will read chapter 3.
Small Group Ministry
In the church council, we started talking about having a small group in our church to be connected to each other well.
The Pastor is looking for the people who may have an interest in or commit to small group ministry as a participant. Before extending this group to the entire congregation, we want to create one small group (5-6 people) to discuss the purpose of our small groups and how that might define how we operate them. small groups should be a chance to get to know a smaller group of folks on a more personal level and be involved in praying for them, sharing our spiritual journeys, and discussion of how to be more faithful in our daily lives. This group will be different with the bible study or book study group. so there will be no typical form for this gathering and we want to make it a casual/social group. The main purpose of this group will be a fellowship by building a relationship together.
Depending on the participants, we will discuss the schedule of this gathering. If you like to join this small group, Please let Pastor know. So far, 4 people have signed up for this ministry. We need at least 5-6. It’s not training. We want you to bring your own idea or expectation for a small group so we can build it up together.
Phone call ministry:
There is a group of people that are making phone calls to check in with others and let them know they are thought of. They started last month and made phone calls especially to home bounds, shut in, lonely people and those who couldn’t join Zoom. Now we have 5 volunteers, (Sharon, Diane, Lois, Betty and Shirley) working hard. Please support them with your prayer and if you like to join this ministry, please let Pastor Know
Mission Team Ministry
The Mission Team at UMCL is going to invite you to join the Easter Bag ministry for the children for our church and for the shelter. They will give you the details soon.
Next Sunday Service (Mar 14th)
UMCOR Sunday provides provides major support for immediate assistance in the wake of natural and human-caused disasters and helps support ongoing ministries of food, shelter, health and peace. UMCOR Sunday giving allows 100 percent of designated gifts to be used for the specified disaster response or other ministry. If you want to support this special offering, you may send the offering for UMCOR to the church and we will send them together or you can go to the link below to donate it directly.
Our Beloved Brother in Christ, Dick Paul, passed away peacefully last week. Pastor has talked to the family and she will officiate at Dick’s funeral at the Funeral Home on Saturday morning at 10am. Unfortunately, it's only for the family due to the covid rule limiting gatherings to about 40 people. Pastor encourages you to pray for Dick’s family during this time and she will keep you updated as to whether there will be a memorial service at another time. Dick celebrated his 95th birthday this past August. He became ill and his health deteriorated but his family believes he is now resting in peace in the arms of God. Please keep them all in your prayers. https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/berkshire/obituary.aspx?n=richard-monroe-paul-dick&pid=197919921&fhid=4874
Congregational prayer concerns and celebrations
*Carl Olson: Carl noticed in Berkshire Eagle the passing of Beverly Myers, the wife of the old Dave Myers you did not meet who passed away before. He was the cousin of Laurie (Myers) Sturma. Carl thinks Beverly was Catholic church, we did not see her too much. Anyway we can pray for her soul and her family!
*David H. Myers: David was falling backward and broke the wrist. so he has a cast on it. please pray for his quick recovery.
*Betty Clemons: Betty was not feeling well last wed morning. she couldn't see well and had lots of dizziness. so she went to hospital and she is taking a new medication and hopefully it would be working well for her.