Enter your text here
Office Hours Monday-Friday 9:00am-12:00pm
Greetings and peace to you in the name of our Emmanuel, Jesus Christ. Happy New Year! Like many of you, I rejoiced when we put 2020 in the rear view mirror. This has been a year of pain, uncertainty, and brokenness. Most of us have never seen anything like this. The pandemic, that we’re still living through, has interrupted our lives. Some have suffered the premature death of loved ones, while others live through and with severe pain and suffering. People have the fear of losing their jobs. Many of us have been placed under orders not to leave our homes and limit our contact with family and friends. We’ve longed for each other’s touch, and we certainly have missed the fellowship of worshipping together. Yes, this has been hard for all of us. But, I am glad to say that the struggles of the past year weren't our defining story.
As your pastor, I want to bear witness to acts of profound faithfulness, kindness, and creative ingenuity that remind us of the better angels within us. I’ve witnessed our people prove themselves to be incredibly adaptable as orders to stay at home have not ended our collective need, even in times like these, to give our thanks to God. Though we have been socially distant from one another we have never stopped from being in ministry and community.
What’s been amazing is that we have adapted to new ways of being gathered in a digital community. I have heard stories of whole families and friends spread across the country, being able to gather together for the same on-line worship service. That is such a meaningful gift the church has to offer in a season such as this.
I grieve deeply with you for the losses that we are all living with; but we also celebrate as the body of Christ that we can adapt quickly to meet the emerging need.
As we enter the New Year, it is my hope and prayer that what we are learning about ourselves – about our capacity for grace, for hope, for change, and for love beyond our walls – will enrich us long after this pandemic ends. Then we can start getting back to the new normal, whatever that will look like.
Many of you are curious when we can start opening up the 1st UMC again for in-person worship. I am just as anxious as all of you to be in fellowship with one another. Our ultimate concern is that all of you stay safe and healthy. The Dream Team (Administrative Board) will be gathering this month to discuss the process of slowly reopening the church for in-person worship and community outreach. We will keep you posted. Until then we ask that you stay connected with us through our website www.fumcrhinelander.com. We ask for your prayers and patience as we move to make the doors of our church open for all people.
Let us be hopeful as we enter this New Year. Wishing you God’s richest blessing.