THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA
CARBONEAR PASTORAL CHARGE: Bethany United Church
COVID-19 PASTORAL LETTER 2
August 24, 2020
A Call for Brave Faith, Resilience and Innovation
Dear Carbonear Pastoral Charge at Bethany United and Beyond
Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The pandemic reminds us of the unusual experience faced by the Israelites in Babylon. The Exiles resigned from their songs of praise as recorded by Psalm 137: 4
“How could we sing to the Lord in a foreign land?”
For the first time in a lifetime, we could not gather to celebrate the most significant event in our faith because of the threat posed by the pandemic. We missed the Easter event, the Sacraments, our sanctuary and each other. We missed the roles we played in the life of the Church and of one another. Yet God was and is with us.
Paul’s epistle to the Church at Rome asks; “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Romans 8: 35a. Not even death itself. The pandemic could not stop God’s love, the gospel and fellowship. Through virtual gatherings Online and Teleconference, we have continued to share the good news and encourage each other. With brave faith, resilience and innovation, we remained “the Church” by offering pastoral and mutual care to the community and to each other. Thanks to the leaders and volunteers for creativity. Thank you all for your gifts and participation.
Now that we have an opportunity to gather again, worship together, and offer the ministry of presence, let us embrace it with diligence, brave faith and innovation. In-person worship has proven to be more than a privilege, but sacred. The doors of Bethany United are scheduled to open for regular worship on September 13th of 2020, at 11 am. This will come with new protocols as prescribed by public health that require us to take maximum precautions.
Let us continue to hold on to our faith, serve God by serving others and be the answer to somebody else’s prayer. Keep the hurting in your prayers, praying for the pandemic and that professionals find the vaccine. With brave faith, resilience and innovation, let us face the future.
Thank you to all Frontline Workers, Volunteers and Leaders.
Grace and Peace be with you all
THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA, CARBONEAR PASTORAL CHARGE. PASTORAL LETTERS FROM THE MINISTER’S DESK
June 10, 2020
HAPPY 95TH ANNIVERSARY
In the middle of the pandemic, the United Church of Canada turns 95. CONGRATULATIONS! Let us celebrate this heritage, perpetuate the legacy and set a new and great precedence for generations to come.
Hebrews 1:1 (“In the past, God spoke in various ways, but now God speaks differently than before”); paraphrased.
While the systems, the structures and the environment have changed, God’s Mission and Purpose hasn’t. In my reflection this morning, I have been asking myself this question; “How can we as Bethany United Church, continue to be part of God’s Greater and Broader Mission today?” I extend the challenge to you as well. Let us take time to pray for direction, decide on what is best for God’s people and take appropriate Action. May we be agents of the good news of Christ, peace and love of God! May God help us to continue seeking justice and resisting evil! We might be facing challenges but do not forget, “We are not Alone.” God is with us. Thanks be to God!
Peace and love to you all!
March 27, 2020
Dear Bethany United Church Family.
SUBJECT: COVID-19 PASTORAL CHECK-IN 1
May the Peace of Christ be with you all!
Fellow friends in Christ, I write this letter as a concerned “Shepherd” of a flock that is scattered all over the place. I understand the magnitude of the wave that is sweeping across our Land and the evil consequences it brings to our doorsteps. The Covid-19 Pandemic comes with a lot more other challenges. The fear of sickness and death, the uncertainties we face, loss of income, loss of social connection and relationships, family hood and security. The effects of self-isolation and or quarantine may have devastating consequences in our lives and families. I want you to know that I am holding you in my prayers and want to assure you that we are not alone. Jesus said; “Lo, I will be with you to the end of the earth.” Matthew 28:20. The world may feel threatened, confused and hopeless, but we believe in God Almighty. We confess that; “God is with us… We are not alone. Thanks be to God.” You might be alone but never be lonely. Stay connected with God.
I know that this pandemic comes to us amidst a plethora of other family experiences and challenges. We always plan important events most of which have been disrupted. Our businesses, our jobs, planned events like weddings, graduations and many others. Cancelling or postponing all these have brought a cloud of sadness upon many of you. It is my hope that we will take these losses and disruptions as part of life to be endured. I also recognize the challenge of having to lose our loved ones in days like these. As your minister, I will do my best to give you the support you need. I continue to encourage families to hold on to your faith despite the pain we go through. There might be no usual family support and that of our friends, but remember, God is with us. Psalm 23:4a reminds us that “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me.” Therefore, do not be afraid. Find your comfort in the Lord.
I also write to remind you that in the darkest hour of our generation, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14a. I call upon all of you to be the light, to shine, to show others the way. The way of love, to give direction and be the living example the world would want to see. Let us face this monster together, with the tenacity never witnessed before. Bound together by love, let us stand bravely knowing that in life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.
May we suffer together, endure together, heal together and overcome this together. Let us reach out to each other in whatever ways we can, those close by and those in far places. May we love and protect everyone by choosing to be responsible and observe the advice of professionals. May we hold all frontline workers, first responders and leaders in our prayers! Let us take good care
of ourselves, our families and friends in all manner that is necessary and appropriate. Stay connected with God and others. Stay safe, share love, promote peace and cherish family time.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit, keep you and sustain you in this season, give you hope and renew your faith; now and forever; amen!
My prayers for you shall remain.
March 17, 2020
In keeping with the orders of Public Health Bethany United Church services as well as all scheduled events will be cancelled until further notice. Rev. Simba will continue to provide Pastoral Care. As well he will be providing a meditation on Sunday mornings. He will advise of times that these can be viewed.
Anyone needing Pastoral Care please contact the church office at 596-6754 or the Manse at 596-6137.
Even though our church services are cancelled we still have to continue with the work of the church and your weekly contributions are still needed. Please continue to give by either dropping your envelop at the church office, by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org or contacting your bank and having it automatically deducted from your account. Office hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 9-1 and Thursday and Friday.
Thank you for helping us in these difficult times
As of today, March 17, 2020, the Council Executive in conjunction with First Dawn Eastern Edge Region has decided to cancel all services and events in our Church until March 30th. Further decisions will be made at that time.
This includes our Take Out supper scheduled for March 28th.
The Church Office will remain open and contributions can be dropped off into the box provided. We still need your financial support to continue.