Aldersgate United Methodist Church Newsletter for April 2020
Sometimes there are no words. This is one of those times. As Pepper and I have taken our daily walk out near the Mendenhall Glacier these past weeks, my eyes are constantly drawn to the tops of the trees that are covered with several feet of snow. She and I have been walking around the treetops! Even with the deep snow, the rivers are already running. Very soon, we will be on the bare earth and will have to tip our heads back to be able to see the treetop cross in this photo. Spring will come to us again.
I hope this image gives you a sense of hope as we enter Holy Week together this Sunday. In the weeks ahead, some of us will experience devastating loss and mourning, or we will know of someone who has. Our love and prayers are with those who are sick, their families and friends and their medical teams. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for our First Responders, Medical Providers and Caregivers, Police, EMT's and Fire Fighters. We pray for their safety.
Even with great loss, we will emerge from this time of isolation, sickness, and suffering. We know we will be changed. We will never be the same after this. Now and in the months ahead our mission in service with our neighbors in this Valley is even more critical. We will rise to our calling.
Click Here to download the bulletin for Palm Sunday.
SPECIAL MEETING SUNDAY @5pm
David Means (Our Lay Leader) and I are calling a Special Combined Finance, Church Council, and Trustees meeting on ZOOM this SUNDAY at 5:00 pm to discuss, and if all are in agreement, to request a Small Business Administration Loan that we will not have to pay back, if we follow the requirements of the loan. You will receive the ZOOM meeting ID from your committee chairperson. The purpose of the loan is to be able to continue pay our employees during the Corona Virus Emergency that has suspended our in-person ministries and programs.
HOLY THURSDAY ONLINE WORSHIP
Our Holy Thursday Worship will be Thursday, April 9th at 6pm
We will be celebrating Communion online. If you wish to participate, you will need to have bread, or crackers and some juice available. If you have questions, email, text or call Pastor Karen.
Click Here to go to our Facebook Page to participate.
Special Easter Sunday Worship With The Greater Northwest Area and Bishop Elaine
Plans are underway for a Greater Northwest Area-wide celebration of Easter, and we are invited to participate! Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky will deliver an Easter message complemented by the musical and vocal gifts of people across the Area, including Alaska.
The full worship service will be available to view on Easter morning at 7 am Mountain Time, 6 am Pacific Time, and 5 am Alaska Time at the following locations:
Aldersgate will host a Watch Party so we can participate in this service alongside other members of our local church.
We are using this painting with permission from the artist, who is generously letting us use it free of charge. Thank you to Wendy Webster Good!
Adult Sunday School
The adult Sunday School class will continue its study of the Psalms. It is using the book, Invitation to the Psalms by Michael Jinkins. This short-term study is part of the Disciple Bible Series. The Disciple Bible series was started by Bishop Wilke about 30 years ago. It is the best study material that Abingdon Press has ever produced. The class will study the Psalms through Psalm Sunday. Future topics will be decided on.
The class will meet online during April, beginning at 11:00 AM. Call David Means (907-500-7973) if you are interested so that he can invite you to join the class.
APRIL Sunday Mornings:
Sunday ONLINE Worship 10:00am Click HereONLINE Sunday School/ at 11:00 (See Sunday School Announcement Below)
APRIL 5 ~ Palm Sunday ONLINE Worship 10am Click Here
APRIL 8 ~ Finance Meeting on ZOOM 6pm
APRIL 9 ~ Holy Thursday Worship 6pm Click Here
APRIL 12 ~ EASTER SUNDAY WORSHIP (See Details Below)
APRIL 15 ~ Church Council Meeting on ZOOM 6pm
APRIL 22 ~ Trustees Meeting on ZOOM 6pm
Please Keep These Folks in Your Prayers
Keith Palke's family on the death of his mother. Misty Savage, Susan Haight, Michael Jones, Bri Venables, Brenda Dammann, Mary Reeves, Michele Robert's family, & Lela Stevenson's family, and Pat Dobbins, Bev and Dan Wanders.
Aurora LightsChild Care Center
If you know someone looking for childcare, send them our way!
If you are on Facebook, click on this link to the Aurora Lights Childcare Center page. Like it, and share it with your Facebook friends! Help spread the word!
Book ReviewBy David Means FOR YOUR LIBRARY Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner's Guide to Holy Week by Amy-Jill Levine (Abingdon Press, 2018)
This is a well-written book by an eminent New Testament scholar about Jesus' last week. It covers the time from when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey to His arrest. Professor Levine tells the story of Holy Week from all four Gospels noting they all have different variations of the story. She often explains the story as first-century readers would have understood the story. The author has a unique perspective on them.
This book is written for people who have not studied the events of Holy Week in depth. At the same time she pointed out many new meanings for mature Christians, such as me.
Dear United Methodist Clergy, Members and Friends:
DO NO HARM. DO GOOD. STAY IN LOVE WITH GOD.
John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules, adapted
Day by day we are learning more about COVID-19, or the Coronavirus. We know that as many as 14 days may pass between when a person is exposed to the virus, and when symptoms begin. This means that, as in King and Snohomish Counties in Washington State, the virus can go undetected for some time before it is identified. During that time, the person infected with the virus is exposing others to infection without even knowing it. We also know the virus is highly contagious but that cautious measures can slow down the rate of its spread. Slowing the spread flattens the curve of the peak of an epidemic like this. If there are too many cases needing medical attention at the same time, they can swamp our hospitals and clinics, making it impossible for all the critical COVID-19 cases, as well as other unrelated medical emergencies to receive timely and proper treatment.
Consistent with the directives and recommendations issued by Oregon Governor Brown and Washington Governor Inslee and recognizing that persons over 60 or who have compromising health conditions are advised not to attend gatherings of more than 10 people, I am directing the local churches of any size and other ministries in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to suspend in-person worship and other gatherings of more than 10 people for the next two weeks, starting today. Your conference leaders and I will assess unfolding events and update this directive as appropriate, but no later than March 24, before Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
Some people wonder if this strong action is warranted in Alaska, where the first case was just confirmed and Idaho, where COVID-19 has not been detected yet. I am asking you to adopt this discipline as a courageous act of prevention. It is likely that the virus is present, though undetected, as it has been in so many places. We don’t want to risk anyone contracting or spreading this virus in church!
I am also asking conference staff to suspend unnecessary air travel and advising clergy to do the same until further notice.
The Oregon Health Authority reminds us that “Together, we can minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our most vulnerable community members”. United Methodists strive to live in ways that promote the well-being of others. In this season of spreading disease, I appeal to “extend hospitality to strangers:”
“Contribute to the needs of the saints,” by continuing to support your local church and other vital ministries by your prayers, presence (in spirit and online), gifts (including financial support), service, and witness so that ministries of compassion and justice are uninterrupted. Oregon-Idaho Conference emergency preparedness info, PNW Conference preparedness info, Alaska Conference preparedness info.
In order for ministries serving vulnerable populations to remain open – like childcare, feeding programs, homeless services, AA – strict adherence to safety measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control or other public health agencies for cleaning, social distancing and health screening guidelines is mandatory.
In times of uncertainty and vulnerability, human contact and spiritual connection are important. I encourage you to find creative ways to keep in contact with your colleagues and your parishioners during this time. Social media is great, but it’s no substitute for a phone call or face time.
Even as we are encouraged to stay at home, avoid social contact, and worship online, churches and social service agencies need unfailing community support to continue their crucial work of justice and compassion. I hope you will experiment with offering online worship, donations and meetings during this pause. There is great news for churches about Zoom and CCLI licenses.
Finally, in times of crisis fear gives way to hate. People of Asian descent, or those who have traveled abroad report that they have been harassed and stigmatized on the assumption that they brought the virus here. Individuals are not responsible for the virus, and any of us could be carriers. Only perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). As people of faith, let your words and actions cultivate love all God’s people.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Romans 12:12-13
Please take precautions to keep yourself, loved ones, strangers, congregations, and communities safe.
With gratitude for you and your leadership, and with confidence in the steadfast love and grace of Jesus Christ,
Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky