Saturday, March 28, 2020

Lenten Devotional for March 28

St. Ephraim the Syrian
“O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faintheartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.

“But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to your servant.

“Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sin and not to judge my brother, for You are blessed from all ages to all ages. Amen”

St. Ephraim the Syrian (306-373)

Friday, March 27, 2020

Mission response in our community

From the folk at Safe Access For Everyone:

We hope you and your congregation are staying safe in the pandemic. With COVID-19, homeless feeds have closed, so people on the streets are literally going hungry. The hoarding in stores has also contributed to basic sanitary items being unavailable to those who are most exposed.

We're reaching out to our friends in the faith community to coordinate efforts to gather and distribute supplies for the unhoused.

So far, we have set up several handwashing stations around town, and distributed almost forty care packages with food and essential supplies. We can expand these efforts so much more with your help.

1. Would you or your members be interested in coordinating efforts to make sure the most vulnerable in our community are safe?
2. We are currently soliciting donations for tentssleeping bags, and sleeping pads as the shelters are turning people away and we need people to stay safe during this crisis. If you could put the word out for any unused camping supplies, we would be happy to accept them and distribute them.
3. We have a fundraiser going to buy these supplies ourselves.

Donations may be brought to the parsonage.

COVID-19 update at St. Paul's UMC

We were informed yesterday that our cleaning service has suspended its operations in keeping with Boulder city/county and state of Colorado health orders. And so, in keeping with the latest health advisories and orders, and the guidance given yesterday by our bishop, the Trustees have determined that all in-person worship and other church activities are suspended until further notice. This will necessitate the closing of the building to all activities, including those of outside groups and the church office. Signs will be placed on the front and side doors with the closure information. I will be working from the parsonage and continue to be able to assist with requests for food pantry support and other pastoral needs..

From the bishop's letter"At this time, given the trajectory of the coronavirus in our region, I request the closure of our churches and the suspension of all in-person worship and other church activities until at least May 1. We need to do everything in our power to slow/stop the rate of transmission. I again urge you to stay connected to your regional public health departments for the latest updates on COVID-19 cases in your area." (see the bishop's letter here)

We will continue to utilize social media platforms including our blogwebsite, Facebook ( @boulderstpauls), YouTube, ZOOM, as well as phone calls, letters, and emails, to stay connected with each other and to the world around us during this challenging time. Each Sunday, the sermon will be available on our YouTube channel and blog posts will share the joys & concerns of the community and any announcements. Beginning on April 5, we will also offer a time together (via ZOOM) on Sunday mornings at 10:15 to share prayers, announcements, scriptures, and more. The blog, Facebook page, and church calendar will have links to join ZOOM meetings and worship gatherings. This is a unique opportunity for our congregation to be creative in how we are a church in the 21st century. This time will allow us to question both the how we "do church" as well as the why we do the activities we do as a church. 

If you know of someone in our congregation who doesn't have email, please let them know of this update. As you hear of other concerns or needs in the congregation or community, please be in touch with the pastor and the church office, and together we will get through this time as the people of God called for such a time as this. 

Lenten Devotional for March 27

Note: Each Friday during Lent, one of the Seven Penitential Psalms will be offered. The penitential designation of these Psalms dates from the seventh century.

Psalm 102 (NKJV)

Hear my prayer, O Lord, And let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; Incline Your ear to me; In the day that I call, answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, And my bones are burned like a hearth. My heart is stricken and withered like grass, So that I forget to eat my bread. Because of the sound of my groaning My bones cling to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. I lie awake, And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop. My enemies reproach me all day long; Those who deride me swear an oath against me. For I have eaten ashes like bread, And mingled my drink with weeping, Because of Your indignation and Your wrath; For You have lifted me up and cast me away. My days are like a shadow that lengthens, And I wither away like grass. But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, And the remembrance of Your name to all generations. You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come. For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, And show favor to her dust. So the nations shall fear the name of the Lord, And all the kings of the earth Your glory. For the Lord shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, And shall not despise their prayer.

This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord. For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the Lord viewed the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death, To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem, When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the Lord. He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days. I said, “O my God, Do not take me away in the midst of my days; Your years are throughout all generations. Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end. The children of Your servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before You.”

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bishop Oliveto Recommends Suspending In-Person Worship, Gatherings Through May 1

To the People Called United Methodist of the Mountain Sky Conference,

Grace to you and peace from God, our life-giver, Christ, our life-savior, and the Spirit, our life-connector.

First, I want to thank you all for the remarkable ways you have responded to ministry needs in the face of COVID-19. We are discovering together new ways to worship, new ways to do pastoral care, and new ways to respond to the needs of our communities. In spite of so much of ministry taking place virtually, we have remained deeply connected to one another and God, the Source of our Life.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise across our conference. While Colorado Gov. Polis has issued a “shelter-in-place” order for everyone in the state, most of us throughout our conference are voluntarily doing that as a way to slow down the rates of infection in our regions so as not to tax our health care systems.
Read the rest of Bishop Oliveto's letter at this link.

Supporting the church that supports you

Hello St. Paul's congregation. During this time of separation from each other, I would like you to know that I am hopeful, and encouraging you, to continue to send your pledges and donations to the church office.

Someone from the church office will put any checks that you send, in the safe in the office. The financial secretaries will be coming up to collect and deposit those funds on an every other week basis, with the next deposit being done on April 5. Martha B. will be sending out first quarter statements VIA EMAIL ONLY, this first quarter, on or after March 29. This is being done, as a courtesy, for this first quarter since we are a bit behind schedule on our giving, and we have had requests asking for this information. Please note that your financial statement will be coming from the new, Breeze Church Management System and will look a bit different than the statements of old.

We appreciate your willingness to keep the church in your list of "things to do" each month, and know how thankful we are to each of you for your steadfast stewardship and dedication to St. Paul's UMC. Feel free to reach out to Bob Muckle, Martha Batch, or Molly Nunnery if you have any questions or concerns.

An appeal for justice

Greetings from the Office of Economic and Environmental Justice of United Methodist Women.

As women of faith, we believe that it is a biblical imperative to care for all of God’s creation, particularly the most vulnerable. The impacts of the coronavirus national emergency  are threatening peoples’ access to basic services like electricity and water and fundamental livelihood. Hundreds of thousands of workers across the country have lost their jobs or had their wages cut, and 2.25 million more are estimated to lose their jobs in the next week as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We are asking you, as United Methodist Women  leaders and people of faith, to contact your senators and Congressperson and tell them to prioritize providing economic relief directly to people who are most vulnerable by doing two things:

First, implement an immediate moratorium on all electric and water utility shut-offs, waive late-payment charges, and reinstate disconnected services.

Second, provide federal relief and stimulus packages that uphold five principles: 

  1. Health is the top priority, for all people, with no exceptions 
  2. Economic relief must be provided directly to the people 
  3. Rescue workers and communities, not corporate executives 
  4. Make a down payment on a regenerative economy while preventing future crises 
  5. Protect our democratic process while protecting each other 

As we respond to this crisis, we have the opportunity to forge a just recovery that creates healthier, more equitable and more just communities that reflect God’s kin-dom. Please share this with your United Methodist Women members, friends, and on social media.