SundayServiceChurch Schedule and Ministry Update

June, 2020

We are continuing to produce our Sunday audio worship service into the summer, and will continue to do so even as conditions begin to permit limited forms of gathering in person.

A new Summer Worship Series will launch starting on May 31st, Pentecost Sunday. We are expanding our dialogue approach in this series to include Stevie Stibor, Director of Children’s Ministries, in addition to Pastor Don and Nate Gruber, for a three-way conversation. New music is being prepared by our worship team, who have been so faithful and so vital to our spiritual experience in online worship.

The new worship series is about relationships. During this prolonged period of social distancing we have become increasingly aware of how important and essential it is to have healthy human relationships. A time of “fasting” increases our awareness. It also and motivates us to make healthy changes. In his book, 11 Indispensable Relationships You Can’t Be Without, Dr. Leonard Sweet discusses the isolation and relationship famine (individualism) typical of modern life, and finds in scripture some models of human relationships that lead us to wholeness and wellbeing.

“Are you boldly going through life by yourself? We all need some friends for the journey, friends like Barnabas, Nathan, Rhoda, and Zacchaeus just to name a few. Without these people in your life, you’ll miss out on the person you could have been. And without you in their lives, they’ll miss out as well." With characteristic style and wit, Leonard Sweet deftly mines Scripture and culture for the 11 relationships you must have for a life beyond the ordinary.

Dr. Leonard Sweet was the director and lead instructor in my Doctor of Ministry program at Drew University several years ago, so my copy of this book is personally autographed by him. He is the author of numerous books on American culture and religion. Each week Nate, Stevie and I, will take on a chapter and Biblical character for discussion, starting with an introduction on Pentecost Sunday. Please join us for worship online at www.cedarburgcumc.org.

Pastor Don

 

SundayServiceChurch Schedule and Ministry Update

May, 2020

"I go into the church every day or two and work in my office, as some things are much easier to do from there. The building is still there. The lights are off. The heat is down. The structure silently waits for us, and although we are there in heart and mind, and long to be there in worship and community, in fact we are dispersed and learning to find God as we are where we are.

The people of God have been here before. It is part of the story of faith that runs like a bright red thread through the entire Bible. The pattern is named in theological terms as Exodus and Exile and Diaspora. The pattern is incorporated into the New Testament meaning of being Called and Sent into the world.

The church is not at home in its building. It is at home in the world, even a world that is hostile to it. When the people of Judah were forced into Babylonian captivity leaving their beautiful Temple behind, they had to learn how to be God’s people in new ways without the structure and routine that normally supported them. They remembered the Tabernacle in the wilderness, a portable Temple, and the way God moved with them in and through the desert of their experience. If God led the way in the Exodus from Egypt, then God will lead the way through the Exile too. The Hebrew people were so unique in their time because their God was portable and wanted to dwell with them no matter where they were.

The same bright red thread runs through the book of 2nd Samuel when King David wanted to build a “house” (Temple) for God, who had been dwelling in a tent (Tabernacle). God was not interested in being located or domesticated. “Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word . . . saying why have you not built me a house of cedar?” (2 Samuel 7:7)

The same bright red thread shows up again in the words of Jesus, who looked at the Temple and imagined a time when it would be destroyed. Here is the point; Jesus did not associate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem with the demise of God. Neither did he think of it as an assault on true faith or a problem to be overcome. He associated it with the freedom and power of God to be very much at home in the world in and through faithful people. The Church was to be widely dispersed. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . .” (Matthew 28:19) The pattern remains the same, from Temple to Tabernacle, from a faith associated with interior structure to a faith associated with exterior worldly movement.

Here we are. As much as we may want to go be in the church right now, the church is really within us. That is our faith. God is with us where we are. The bright red thread runs through us, here and now." 

Pastor Don

 

SundayServiceChurch Schedule and Ministry Update

April 16, 2020

Are We There Yet?

I remember asking this question repeatedly as a child while growing impatient with waiting in the back seat of the car. “Are we there yet?”  “How much longer?”  Obviously, my anxious asking did not shorten the trip or the wait, but it signaled a coping mechanism that I have not completely outgrown. Somehow it seems that measuring how far we are along the way, knowing the end point and progress toward it, seems to make a difference.

So here we are, in the middle of April, coming onto the 2nd Sunday of Easter, four weeks into the stay at home and public event suspension time of this pandemic. How soon until we come back? Are we almost there, half-way there, a third of the way there? It would help us wait a little longer if we knew.

I miss you all. I miss seeing you together as our wonderful faith community in worship on Sundays. But I know we will come back. It is still hard to know how soon, but I know we will come back. I am thinking that on that Sunday we will celebrate Easter together. Every Sunday is an Easter anyway, a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! That is why Christians do our worship services on Sundays instead of Sabbaths (Saturdays). When we come back, we will do Easter.

Meanwhile, we are adapting, along with the church everywhere. This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday of Easter, and we will be looking at the uniqueness of the resurrection story in the Gospel of Matthew in our audio virtual worship service.

Upper Room daily devotion booklets have arrived for May-June 2020. There are also some left for the March-April 2020 time period. I am putting these in a plastic container outside to the left of the main church entrance. Please drive by and pick one up at your convenience. The Upper Room devotions are short and easy to read, a wonderful way to spiritually connect daily.

Calendar item:  The Mom2Mom event in May is now cancelled.

From tomorrow (Friday’s) Upper Room devotional on the topic of Faith: Jesus told Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  Thought for the Day:  I will trust God with my future.”

 “Are we there yet?” “No, but we are moving along, and we will get there, and when we do it will be Easter.”

 

SundayService

Church Schedule and Ministry Update

April 1, 2020

We continue into April under a statewide stay at home order to mitigate the spread of the covid19 virus.  The federal government has extended stay at home orders through the month of April.  Consequently, the church remains closed to the public.  All face to face meetings and public worship remain cancelled.  Sunday worship services are being produced for each week through May 3 and will be linked as audio files for your listening on our website.  Prayer offerings and ministry updates are posted on the church Facebook group “Friends of Community United Methodist Church – Cedarburg.”  Our small groups are staying connected using zoom meetings, email exchanges and phone calls.

Our staff are working from home and through the internet to maintain relationships and ministries.  The church office hours remain the same, however all access is through calling the church telephone number (262) 377-3832. 

Our Congregational Care Team has organized and completed the first round of check-in phone calls with our members and friends.  A Congregational Care Response Team is now organized for identified needs to support those who are unable to go out at this time.  Please communicate any needs through the Congregation Care Team member who has called you, or by leaving a message on the pastor’s church phone voice mail (extension 2). 

There has been one member death this month.  Mary Tinder passed away on March 26th.   Her obituary can be found on the Eernisse Funeral Home web site

If possible for you, please maintain your generous giving to the church during this challenging time.  Finance Committee has offered guidance on alternative ways of giving in our April newsletter.