April 5, 2020
This morning we miss the joyful tradition of being encouraged to wave palm branches with vigor. This morning we miss the gift of intergenerational worship…
And yet, while these worship podcasts may be a “weak substitute,” there are encouraging reports of families gathering, lighting a candle, listening together, doing the children’s worship sheets, and singing along with Miss Marjie. We’ve heard of friends calling at 9:55 AM on Sunday morning because that’s when they would typically greet one another. There are videos of the children of Deacons passing collection plates while parents listen to the podcast. We know that some folks listen while they walk, some gather promptly at 10:00 AM with a cup of coffee, and some sing along. There is no right way to use these resources; we pray they build resistance and nurture hope.
It is hard (impossible…) to capture the joy of being together in worship. We hammered out these little podcasts over the last few weeks with a team of three (Erin, Schuyler, and me). The Elders will meet this week by Zoom. This will be the first chance for formal evaluation and direction. Please reach out with ideas, critique, creative spin, and anything else that would be helpful for you and those you love.
Thanks for listening. Pass these links along if you’re encouraged by them. And one fine day we will gather again in such joy that we won’t need instructions about how to wave palms.
Peace to you,
March 29, 2020
When my friend Dr. Sandie Kinsinger passed away last summer, she was leading a research project entitled “Walking in Two Worlds: Exploring Resilience and Hope in High Risk Native American Mothers through Lakato Talking Circles.” It was a continuation of her life’s work: How do we help build resilience and nurture hope in one another?
Build resilience and nurture hope. I love that line. It is our deep prayer that these worship podcasts will help build resilience and nurture hope. Through music, scripture, sermon, prayer, and blessing we are trying to offer resources to navigate these difficult days – days that call for resilient spirits and a hope rooted in God’s love expressed in Jesus Christ.
To that end, this week we’ve included the voices of two young women of Hope. Mia Starkenburg, an 8th grader, joins Erin Pacheco for a duet, and Frances Boerman-Cornell, a 10th grader, adds violin. The gifts they offer are lovely and encouraging.
If these podcasts are helpful, we hope you’ll forward this letter and links to others. There are all sorts of ways that churches are trying to navigate this new reality. We had the technology to do podcasts that seem to fit Hope’s particular and peculiar culture, but we want them passed along if they’re helpful and can serve a broader community.
Thanks for your support of this podcast project. We miss being with you. We hope you will continue to find ways to help build resilience and nurture hope in others.
March 22, 2020
We’re trying to find our footing with podcast worship, flattening the curve, social distancing, and sheltering in place – while still being Hope. We didn’t even know some of those phrases a few weeks ago. So, you will find links below to a podcast worship service, an order of worship, a sermon manuscript (if you like that sort of thing), a printable children’s worship packet, and a YouTube link for Marjie Coleman telling a “Children in Worship” story. Our deepest prayer is that you will be encouraged, and the gospel will be proclaimed through these resources.
We’re learning as we go. Your feedback helped us shape what we’re offering today. I hope you will continue to let us know what would be helpful for you and your people. I am again profoundly grateful for Erin Pacheco, Schuyler Roozeboom, and Marjie Coleman sharing their gifts in service to Christ and his church.
Peace to you,
March 17, 2020
I heard it said that this is not a coronavirus snow-day but a coronavirus winter. This won’t pass in a day or two, or a week or two, but we need to think about it as a season. That’s a helpful, albeit sobering, analogy. And in these last few days it seems fitting. As we get new information and new instructions, it seems like we’re in for a long haul with some substantive changes.
Therefore, until further notice, worship and all meetings and ministries that gather at Hope are suspended. I don’t know if we’re supposed to limit meetings to groups of under 50 or under 10, but it seems prudent to step back, hunker down, develop our home-schooling gifts, and wait for clarity to emerge. We’re holding out hope for Easter…
In the meantime, we’ll try to provide meaningful worship via podcast. Our plan this week is to record on Saturday and have it posted on Sunday morning. We hope you’ll make use of that resource.
It should also be noted that Hope and other ministries that we support have ongoing needs. The office is open to receive checks by mail, and if you want to get out for a drive and drop off a check, we’d be happy to see you. We’ll keep appropriate social distance. Even as we try to expedite access to online giving, it is worth noting that most banks will help you setup a one-time or recurring payment through their online checking system. Quite a few of you make use of this service.
I’ve been particularly grateful for the wisdom, encouragement, and good cheer of Hope’s Elders and Deacons. As we’ve tried to navigate how best to proceed, they’ve been thoughtful and prayerful and wonderful. We’ve got good hands on the plow. Thanks be to God.
Stay home. Stay healthy. Stay safe.
We’ll keep you updated about all things full of Hope.
March 15, 2020
While we’re not able to gather in worship, we will try to provide virtual worship. Some of the Hope Church staff gathered in the sanctuary this morning (Sunday, March 15) to record a worship podcast. The link below will get you to music, scripture, meditation, and prayer. It is our prayer that you will be encouraged, God will be honored, and good news will be shared even in this format.
Early this week, we’ll send out a “News & Notes” email with updates on what’s cancelled and what’s rescheduled. Our hope is that you will continue to reach toward one another with calls and notes and expressions of kindness. You can make a difference for someone else today. The church office will be open as usual this week….
I want to thank Erin Pacheco and Schuyler Roozeboom for their help and leadership in this little podcast project. I couldn’t be more grateful for their friendship and partnership.
March 13, 2020
After continued consultation with Hope’s Council and Hope’s doctors, after considering the guidelines offered by the state and the CDC, and after prayer and reflection we’re going to suspend gathering for worship at Hope for the next two weeks, March 15 and 22. While an inadequate substitute for being together, we will post something online for those Sundays, and we will explore other ways to care for and encourage one another. We will continue to send email updates and provide updates on this page as the situation progresses.
I was reminded this morning of a passage in Jeremiah, “…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you…” Spoken to God’s people while in exile, they were called to pray for and pursue the common good. It seems fitting and faithful that in these anxious days we do the same. We need to do our part to help stop the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID‑19). We need to be mindful of the most vulnerable among us.
I don’t know how this will shake out over the coming weeks, but may we find, even in this, ways to love God and love neighbor, to serve God and serve neighbor. As Erick Erickson puts it:
“Now is the time to show your community what loving your neighbors is all about. It is about more than an hour on Saturday or Sunday. It is about seeking the welfare of your neighbors — the saved and the lost, the believer and the unbeliever. Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time to serve. Run toward the ill, not away from them. You may not be able to meet on Sunday, but you can drop off meals and check on people, if only at the other side of the doors through which you talk. Seek the welfare of the cities in which you are in exile. Pray for your cities. Because there you will find your welfare.”
Peace to you,
On behalf of Hope CRC Council