From the Pastor

(April 2020)

 

Peace and good in Christ!


Indeed, this has been an extraordinary chapter in the life of our congregation.
Certainly this is not what I envisioned when I sat down with the search committee for
an interview (and they can be forgiven for not asking me one question about how I
would handle quarantine!). But I cannot stress enough the joy and pride I feel as this
congregation has banded together to do all we can to love and support one another
and our community during this time. I’m also grateful for the patience and
encouragement you have shown me as I’ve tried to contribute in a positive way during
this remarkable moment.


To date, we are offering worship online (which, by the way, is more heavily attended
then our in-person gatherings), with music provided by Mary Ann Driscoll, as well as
daily prayer Monday – Saturday, with musical selections by Jane Sharpe. We
celebrate the work of our congregational volunteers:


- Sent $500 each to Together We Own It, For the Love of a Veteran, and Human
Services of Carroll County
- Maintained contact with congregation members just to check in and see if they
need anything picked up or delivered
- Established a weekly soup delivery to those who expressed an interest or are
self-quarantined
- Continued to keep in contact with Brenda Meadows to support Shepherd’s Staff
and the Silver Run Food Pantry
- Grocery shopped for congregational members self-quarantined

At every step, we have tried to be thoughtful and responsive to an ever-changing
situation. When the virus began spreading, we were among the very first who
committed to our community’s health by suspending in-person worship through the end
of March, and we remain committed to being proactive and decisive for as long as is
required to protect the safety and well-being of every person.


Therefore, given Governor Larry Hogan’s recent “stay at home” order, we will be
closing the building and suspending in-person worship until further notice.

Regrettably, this closure will extend beyond our Holy Week and Easter celebrations.
While no one is enthusiastic about this course of action, we are confident that it is the
appropriate step of faith as we love our neighbor by prioritizing their health and well-
being.


To that end, we are making plans for Holy Week and Easter.


Palm Sunday: we will host worship on Facebook Live, but we’d like you to be a part!
We want you (and whomever you are quarantined with) to video yourself with
vegetation in hand, saying, “”Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of
the Lord!” A bit cheesy? Maybe. But the opportunity to see and hear each other is too
much to pass up.


Maundy Thursday: We’re going to host our first online communion, as well as a
“dinner church” style worship. You’ll be sharing food around your tables, and worship
online with one another.


Good Friday: We’re putting together a visual presentation that will run on Facebook
and YouTube, intersecting the readings with artwork. We’re looking for readers – if
you’d like to record yourself reading a passage of Scripture, we’d love to have you!
Easter Vigil: We’re going to put together an Easter Vigil, where folks will spend an
hour in prayer, and then pass it off (electronically) to the next person. This way, the
congregation will be in constant prayer from Good Friday to Easter morning.
Easter: We’ll be hosting a sunrise service at 6:30 AM online, and regular online
worship at 10:30 AM.


We’ll be sending out email instructions, as well as posting opportunities on social
media and our webpage. Please do all you can to stay up to date, so you can
participate during Holy Week, and contribute towards the great work this congregation
continues to do.


As we well know, the church doesn’t close; it just relocates; the body of Christ never
stops being the body of Christ wherever we are. During this unique Holy Week and

Easter, we will support and love our neighbor. We’ll continue to be in prayer. And we’ll
learn whole new ways of thinking about and being the church, which is a gift of
extraordinary value.
It is a joy to be your pastor at this moment. Peace and good, my friends!

 

Pastor Sam

​​Call us:

410-346-7977 

Find us: 

St. Mary's United Church of Christ 

1441 East Mayberry Road 

Westminster, Maryland 21158

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