God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth is transformed and the mountains are toppled into the depths of the seas, though their waters roar and foam and the mountains quake in the surge (Psalm 46.1-2).
As Adam remarked to his bride Eve on the day of their creation, “My dear, we seem to be in a period of transition.” Indeed, we seem to be in a period of transition. Each morning when we pull ourselves out of bed, we find ourselves in yet another strange new world. Sometimes the scariest part of being scared is not knowing what to be scared of. It’s sometimes easier to face something if we just feel as though we understand what it is that we are facing. For the past couple months, and indeed for the next couple months, we have faced uncertainty itself.
Even as recently as this past Sunday morning, I confidently assured the congregation that we would continue to hold Sunday morning worship services. When I said that, I felt I was telling the truth. I have come to recognize that I was being unrealistic and selfish in that assurance. The church has an obligation to the world to exhibit leadership in the stewardship of our resources and to model community support. Therefore, it is my decision to cancel our worship services until further notice.
Bishop Julius Trimble has strongly recommended that all Indiana Conference congregations suspend services for the next four weeks (UNTIL APRIL 19, 2020). “I am requesting that all churches suspend their regular worship services where we gather in close quarters at least for the next four weeks paying attention to updates” (https://www.inumc.org/bishop/a-coronavirus-update-from-bishop-trimble/). I know I tease sometimes about the extra weight that a request from the Bishop carries – I want to make sure not to try and pass the buck and to make clear that this is my decision. It is painful for me because I love worshipping with you. But again, I believe we Christians carry a civic duty to model responsible behavior. The world is our parish, and right now the world needs our compassionate cooperation.
Our worship services will resume when we have better information to protect the health of our community. All other activities will continue until we decide otherwise. Our church office will remain open during regular office hours from 9-12 M/F.
We aren’t shutting God out, we are inviting God more deeply into our daily lives. This is a time when the church can truly shine – we can help calmly model God’s blessed assurance to the children, we can make sure our neighbors are cared for, we can remind one another of the wonder of faith in action. This is a time to show the world that faith is not about what happens in church, but what happens because of church. When faith is hard, I still believe.
Rev. Dan Ashton
Join us for Pastor Dan’s message on Sunday morning’s at 9am at ktumc.org or on Kentland Trinity UMC Facebook page!
Beginning Monday, March 23rd the church office will be open Mon., Wed., and Friday’s from 9am to Noon. Thank you for your understanding as we observe the current health protocols. Feel free to leave a message at the church (474-6225) and our secretary will return your call at her earliest convenience.