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Flower Field
 

Newsletter 

June 2022

 

St. Mary’s UCC Covid Protocols Update

 

Peace and good!  St. Mary’s leadership continues to be vigilant regarding the ongoing pandemic.  While we rejoice at the progress we’ve seen as a country, we are also reminded – by our own prayer list – that the pandemic continues to adversely affect our community.  To that end, we remain in constant conversation about the best way to respond from our faith by prioritizing the health and well-being of every worshipper who seeks to worship God with us.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” continues to be our guiding principle.

 

As of this writing in the early summer, the way we measure pandemic rates has changed.  Early in the pandemic, we were tracing numbers by “positivity rate.”  With the expansion of at-home testing, this metric no longer gives us our most reliable picture of the situation.  The most reliable metric we have at this time is “community transmission.”  The CDC defines this metric thus:

 

CDC looks at the combination of three metrics — new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days — to determine the COVID-19 community level.

Source:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/community-levels.html

 

Along with this metric, the CDC now has new classifications of “low,” “medium,” and “high” transmission. You can find these classifications at the source listed above.

 

At the time of this writing, Carroll County remains in the “low transmission” category, and so we are confident in our current Covid protocols.  However, with Memorial Day, graduations, etc. coming in short order, we are aware of the possibility for levels to change quickly.  If Carroll County should enter into a period of “high community transmission,” we would expect to return to mandatory masking inside the church building.  We certainly don’t want it to come to that, but as a public institution, we have a moral and civic responsibility to prioritize public health as a core principle of our mission to love one another.

 

Please ensure that you are dialed into our information platforms – newsletter, email, Facebook, and Sunday morning worship – to stay up to date with any changes in policy.  And please join us in prayer, that transmission would remain low for the health and well-being of our neighbors, and that our love for each other would ultimately overcome this wearisome pandemic.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Pastor Sam, or a member of consistory.

 

St. Mary’s Updated COVID Safety Measures (Updated 5/26/2022)

 

At St. Mary’s U.C.C. our singular focus throughout COVID has been to love our neighbor as ourselves, which compels us to prioritize the needs of the vulnerable.  Throughout the pandemic, we have done our very best to follow the best data and guidance we have from government, health, and religious entities as an expression of our faith in God and love of our neighbors.

 

Based on the latest guidance and evolution of the pandemic, Consistory has revised our St. Mary’s policy.  We believe this is the best balance between safety and comfort.  Additionally, though mask wearing will no longer be required for vaccinated individuals (except as noted below) we do encourage masking as a show of kindness and support for those who are most vulnerable (the immune-compromised and those ineligible to receive vaccinations, including children under 5). Remember that the risk tolerance level for individuals and families can vary drastically based on their individual needs and situation, as such please be respectful of “spacing” around other families when selecting a seat.

 

General Policy

  • Masks are optional but encouraged for individuals “fully vaccinated” as defined by the CDC.

    • Current CDC guidelines - In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

      • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines,

      • Or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

  • Unvaccinated individuals over the age of two are required to wear a mask unless eating or drinking.

  • Social distancing (every other row) will be provided in a section of the sanctuary.

  • Greeter checkpoints will remain stocked with masks, sanitizer, etc.

  • We will no longer maintain an attendance log for contact tracing purposes.

  • We will continue to receive offering at our entry points.

  • Communion will still be distributed at our entry points in individual packets.

 

Worship Ministry

 

All services are available in person or online via live stream at this link: 

https://www.facebook.com/stmarysunitedchurchofchrist 

We invite you to join us at however you are able.

WORSHIP NOTES

 

Communion will be held on the following weeks: 

June 5th 

July 3rd 

August 7th 

September 4th 

 

Other special dates: 

June 5th- Pentecost 

June 19th- Father’s Day 

September 11th- Faith Renewal Sunday 

 

Other worship events TBD, keep an eye out for announcements on social media and on the email distribution list. 

 

If you are interested in helping out with worship, feel free to send me a message to join our team!           -Alice 

Want to be part of St. Mary's Music Program?

Share your interest and talent by becoming a singer and/or ringer with St. Mary's choirs. 

Singers: contact Jane - Bell Ringers: contact Alice

OUTREACH MINISTRY

As a cheer coach, I’d always tell my squads to “bring the awesome”.  In that regard St. Mary’s, give yourselves a hand; YOU BROUGHT THE AWESOME!  Through your kind donations, we were able to raise $1,565 – more than triple the original $500 goal – to support the efforts of the Montessori School of Westminster Ukraine aid fundraiser.  Our gifts were used to cover the considerable shipping costs to send the medical supplies, tactical gear, and infant/child necessities collected by the students and the community at large.

On Sunday May 1st, we were blessed by a presentation from Maryna Neiko representing MSW, Daria Bobri, and other volunteers from the Rusbid shipping company who prepped, packaged, and expedited the crucial supplies to those in need.  These Ukranian-born women have loved ones facing the horrors of war and aggression.  We thank them for sharing their stories and their hearts as well as providing hope to the suffering that there are people in the world who care, including our St Mary’s UCC family. 

In addition, we collected $480 for the One Great Hour of Sharing offering which will also support and aid refugees and disaster victims worldwide.  Our goal for each 5for5 UCC offering is $500, so again, great job! 

Well done, squad, well done!

Sabrina, Outreach chairperson

The Strengthen the Church (STC) Offering reflects the shared commitment of people across the United Church of Christ to cooperatively build up the UCC.  Conferences and the national setting equally share the gifts given by members and friends through their local congregations.  The funds raised support leadership development, new churches, youth ministry, and innovation in existing congregations. 

As God calls our congregations to be the church in new ways, your generosity will plant new churches, awaken new ideas in existing churches and develop the spiritual life in our youth and young adults.  By your generosity to this offering, you build up the Body of Christ.  We gratefully accept the STC offering on Pentecost, June 5, 2022.

 SPIRITUAL FORMATION MINISTRY

Yes, we're a little late.  And yes, it'll still be a ton of fun!

 

Join us to help plant our St. Mary's Vegetable and Flower Garden on Thursday, June 2, at 6:00 PM behind the church!  We'll be putting in all kinds of fun stuff, while enjoying a bit of good company along the way 😊. Bring some gloves and whatever tools you might have.

 

A reminder that just about everything we produce provides healthy, nutritious options for our friends at the Silver Run Food Pantry!  And kids can get service-learning hours if they so choose.

 

See you on June 2!

Vacation Bible School - Vacation Bible School is scheduled for the week of July 18th.  If you are interested in volunteering please contact Stacy Fourhman (april0409@comcast.net)

 

VBS Kick Off Ice Cream Social - You are cordially invited to an ice cream social to kick off VBS at 6:30pm on Sunday, July 17!  There will be a sign up to RSVP sent out closer to the event.  We look forward to seeing everyone there!

 

Email Updates - We will be sending out emails throughout the summer regarding events that are occurring in the fall and winter. We are excited about all of the great things happening at St. Mary’s and as events are confirmed, we will be sure to share with you so you can “Save The Date”!

Spiritual Life Ministry

Something Fun for Summer

 

I came across an article about 70’s music which Bob and I are very familiar with!  I thought with summer approaching, I would share some fun quotes from lyrics with you.

 

It’s really impossible to pin down ‘70’s music as any one particular thing.  Across the U.S. folk and protest songs evolved alongside rock, funk, R&B, pop, and soul, while genres such as punk, disco, electronic, and hip hop also arrived on the scene.  Air waves were flooded with new and exciting sounds, shuffling the top of the music charts on a weekly basis.  Hard rock got harder at the same time that jazz got smooth.  Horns and strings found their way into emerging dance music, and pop performances got more elaborate.

 

It was an eclectic decade and a handful of songs crossed genre boundaries, with lyrics that became embedded in the minds of listeners around the world for decades to come.  Even if you were born long after 1979, chances are the iconic lines of that time are familiar.  Here is a collection of some of the best lyrics of the 70’s, classics that cut to the core of human experience, exploring themes of love, family, and friendship.

See how many you remember and enjoy!!  Have a great summer!

 

  • Don’t it always seem to go / That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone? – “Big Yellow Taxi, “ written by Joni Mitchell, 1970

  • If not for you, my sky would fall / Rain would gather, too / Without your love, I’d be nowhere at all / I’d be lost, if not for you – “If Not for You,” by Bob Dylan, 1970

  • Oh it’s such a perfect day / I’m glad I spent it with you – “Perfect Day,” by Lou Reed, 1972

  • Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose – “Me and Bobby McGee,” by Fred Foster and Kris Kristofferson,  performed by Janis Joplin

  • Your time has come to shine / All your dreams are on their way – “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” by Paul Simon, 1970

  • Well I wouldn’t trade my life for diamonds or jewels / I never was one of them money-hungry fools / I’d rather have my fiddle and my farmin’ tools / Thank God I’m a country boy – “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” by John Martin Sommers, 1974

  • We are family / I got all my sisters with me / We are family / Get up everybody and sing – “We Are Family,” by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, 1979

  • When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me / Speaking words of wisdom, let it be – by Paul McCartney, 1970

 

I hope you enjoyed a walk down memory lane or maybe were introduced to a new tune!  See you in September!!

Grace and Peace,

Belinda

Finance Ministry

FINANCE REPORT, April 2022:

 Below is a summary of church finances and other related items for the end of April:

General Fund:                                   Budget %

Total Income:    $      56,331.87          30.78%    (approximately 25% of the budget is GF carryover from 2021)

Expenses:           $      67,050.01          27.63%   

                           $   - 10,718.14   

      

Wider Church Giving:

OCWM:

Total Income:  $        4,484.00

Expenses:         $        4,166.56

                        $           317.44

 

During April, we received donations for the Silver Run Food Pantry of $254.00 and year to date we have received $1,072.00.  We also received $90.00 for the Digital Fund and year to date we have received $345.00.   

Additionally, we donated $70.00 to “One Great Hour of Sharing ” making our total donations $ 480.00.     

 

Through the first quarter of the year we have received $5,000 less in donations then budgeted. Fortunately, our expenses are currently $13,700 less than budgeted.                                          

 

Our members and friends of the church continue to care for those in need.  We even reach those in need overseas.  Last month, I mentioned that a local organization asked us if we could help raise $500 for shipping medical supplies to Ukraine and that we were able to raise another $1,000.  As of April 30th, we received a total of $1,565 to help Ukraine citizens. Thank you for your support to the Ukrainian people!

 

Thank you for your continued support to St. Mary’s and to our outreach activities. We are blessed to have members and friends of the church contribute in so many ways to help those who are less fortunate.

 

Bob, Finance Ministry Chairman

Church and Ministry

As everyone is aware, we took steps to protect our staff during COVID by limiting in person time in the office.  The pandemic caused us to shift from working in person to staggering the hours our office staff worked to assigned days and hours of the week.  This gave everyone an opportunity to complete their assigned duties on a specific schedule without more than one person in the office at a time.   This schedule also limited the amount of hours the office was open during the week.

 

Thankfully, with the technology upgrades that were implemented, virtual work was a great alternative for most of the staff over the past 2 years.  Lisa Kilmartin, our Administrative Assistant, has handled the workload and schedule changes in an admirable and professional manner.  However, we now find that both our needs and hers have changed as we return to some sense of normalcy. 

 

With that said, I want to announce that we will begin to actively recruit for an Administrative Assistant for the church office beginning in June.  Lisa has graciously offered to stay on through the hiring process so there is a seamless transition once we identify a qualified candidate for the position.  We appreciate this offer and are very grateful for her assistance in this matter.  We are also appreciative of her willingness to provide guidance, training, and support to the new staff member.

 

Thank you, Lisa, for all you’ve done and continue to do for St. Mary’s as we move through this transition in staffing.

 

If anyone has any questions, please contact Rob Brown or Debbie Hahn.

On-Line Giving

 

We’d like to remind you that we offer electronic giving as a way to automate your regular offering.  Electronic giving offers convenience and consistency and has been proven secure.  You may choose direct debit giving from your bank account or use a credit or debit card.  The plan is flexible; ranging from a 1-time gift to a regularly recurring transaction at your discretion.  Online giving allows you to access our church website – www.stmarysucc.org – at any time to set up a donation plan, change an existing plan, make a 1-time donation or view your donation history.  As you contemplate future contributions, please consider electronic giving.  Additional information is available by contacting Sabrina, financial secretary.