Good Afternoon Church!
We’ve hit the middle of January, and have yet to experience a stretch of real cold. Having lived in the North Country for a few years, I can think back on one time that it got down to -38 degrees Fahrenheit. That has been my coldest North Country experience, but I wonder about yours?! What’s the coldest day you’ve felt on record? Do you have any good stories to share about your experiences in plunging temps, of what might very well be becoming a by-gone era? I’d love to hear! 🙂
Last night, Session met over zoom to put together the proposed budget for 2021, which we will present for your consideration at our upcoming congregational meeting on January 31. This was a challenging task, given the unknowns of how long the pandemic will last into 2021.
Consequently, I need to tell you what a bang-up job this Session is doing right now. Trying to keep our congregation, the building, and its many users safe and healthy has been a Herculean effort, but the folks on Session have stepped up to the plate as dedicated, thoughtful leaders. They have offered their time, money, researching skills, encouragement, and decision-making abilities on a weekly, and sometimes even, a daily basis. The next time you see Sue Waters, Terry de la Vega, Renee Stauffer, or Alicia Newcombe, please let them know how much their pastor appreciates them!
As for details of our church’s first-ever Zoom Congregational Meeting, here is the plan: Sometime in the week leading up to the meeting, you will receive an email from me with the packet of information you will need for the meeting– our annual reports, the 2021 budget, and the pastor’s terms of call. (For those of you who do not have email, we will send the packet to you in the regular mail.) In that email you will also receive a link to join our zoom meeting.
At 11:30am on January 31, click that link, and it will take you to the Zoom website, where we will all be gathering together. *For those of you who don’t have internet access, there is an option to call into the meeting from a telephone, as well.
If you have never zoom-ed before (that’s becoming a common verb in our lexicon, isn’t it?!), or if you’re not very adept at navigating into the world of Zoom, we can schedule a mock-run of the meeting sometime the week prior. Please just reply back to me and let me know if this is something you’d like to be able to practice beforehand. We can definitely make a practice run available!
If you’re over 65 and/or have certain health conditions, you may qualify to receive the new COVID vaccine soon. Dave Wells sent me an email saying that he had just signed both Jane and himself up to be vaccinated at Maxcy Hall at SUNY Potsdam. To get the vaccine, you have to register at the web link below.
Dave did say that the website is experiencing high volume right now, so it is functioning slowly, but if you are patient, you should be able to register.
The Web link is: https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/
A Word of Encouragement
Friends, if you are feeling down in the doldrums right now, and perhaps your pants are too tight (because, like me, you find yourself eating all of the chocolate in the house), I want you to know that you are not alone. If you find yourself feeling short on patience and long on your list of complaints about the world, you are not alone. If you are overwhelmed by politics and slip easily into a state of anger these days, you are not alone. If you are frustrated with and irritated by those you live with, you are not alone.
What we are doing is hard. It is not easy to live in the middle of a pandemic. It is not easy to be an American right now. It is not easy to stay healthy and whole at this time.
Near the end of our Bibles is a tiny letter, the Second Letter written to Timothy. At one point, Timothy was struggling mightily with the world, and the author had these encouraging words to offer to him specifically–
“I am thankful to God, whom I have served with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I remember you in my prayers as I do constantly night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I recall your sincere faith that was alive first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am sure is in you. Because of this, I remind you to rekindle God’s gift that you possess… For God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.— 2Timothy 1:3-7
Friends, those of you with deep faith–whose mothers and grandmothers have gone through hard times before you with their own faith intact– let me remind you of the gifts of God that you possess. Do not lose sight of the goodness, and the strength, and the faithfulness that lives inside of you. Lean into those gifts. For “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.”
We can do this. We can.
Holding the faith line,