Pastor's E-Letter

Pastor's E-Letter

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Pastor E-Letter 3/20/20

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I’m sure your week has been full of questions and concerns, anxiety and fear. The same has been true for our household. This Monday was the first day of spring break and, as of last Friday, was the beginning of a long absence from school for our kids. All four of our kids attend school either here at the church or Suntree Elementary. This was the beginning of a long break from school and a lot of questions about how we were going to deal with childcare and making sure our kids continued getting a good education at home. Like many of you, this is just one aspect of questions surrounding our jobs, our families, our world and even our worship here at church. To say this has been a stressful week, would be an understatement.

When I get to that point of stress and anxiety, I usually try to find a project to keep myself occupied. Monday afternoon I decided I would work on the sprinkler system at the house. The system has been off for a few months. One of our sprinkler heads had been broken and the line buried. I thought I would just dig it out by hand and find the water coming out, but instead just found rocks and dry sand. I got some tools and started digging the hole deeper and found the line with a broken piece on the end. I removed the broken piece and prepared myself for the gushing water and…nothing. The line was dry, I didn’t understand. Then about 6 to 7 inches of mud came pushing out of the line and burst through, right into my face and all over me. I was able to use this new gusher to wash my face off and take off all the mud and dirt and when I did all I saw was four beautiful faces laughing and running through the water. My kids thought it was the greatest thing ever. They laughed and played in the water and helped me put on a new sprinkler head. I was blind with stress and anxiety and then I could see the beauty of the blessings in my life.

Our scripture this week from John 9:1-41 reminds us of a blind man and how Jesus used mud to heal him. As I spent time in the scripture today, I laughed thinking about my kids' faces and the squeals of delight and joy they had. I was so blind to the world that I couldn’t see the blessings that continue to fill me with Joy. It’s so easy to be blind to what God is doing around us right now. It would be easier to follow the never-ending newsfeed of anxiety and fear. Sometimes it might take a bit of a surprise by the spirit to burst forth and show us the light of God all around. I believe as disciples we have that healing balm in Jesus to know the good news of who loves us. To know that in the toughest moments full of all that is wrong in the world, God still desires for us to see the beauty all around. That is the kind of healing I think we could all use.

I hope for all of us to find a moment when we can remove the mud from our eyes and see the beauty around us. As tough as it may be right now, I promise you it is there. It is definitely there.

This week we are offering an online worship experience through our website (suntreeumc.org/live) and through our Facebook page at facebook.com/suntreeumc. Though we may not be in each other’s physical presence, we are together in the spirit. Praise God for the ability to stay connected through this time!

This week we will also be closing the Church Office for normal business hours. If you need to reach someone, we will be able to answer calls to the main church phone line as well as emails to .

With Grace & Peace,

Rev. Augie Allen
Pastor of Outreach
Suntree United Methodist Church

Posted by Augie Allen with

COVID-19 Update - 03/13/20

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Dear Suntree Family,
 
On Wednesday of this past week, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a “pandemic.” While there are (as of this writing) still no confirmed cases of the “coronavirus,” in Brevard County, we at Suntree UMC know that this has been an anxious time for so many of you as we follow the news updates and listen to local authorities. We have been, and will continue to, carefully monitor the coronavirus through the Brevard County Health Department and Florida Department of Health and provide further guidance for everyone as we walk through this uncertain time.
 
To begin, we wanted to let you know that there are still no plans to cancel services at this time. Should this become necessary, we will communicate this change.
 
I encourage you to go back and read our previous pastoral letter on this subject, here, but wanted to remind you of a few resources that you can look at for ongoing updates from national, state, and local authorities. These are the sources we are following as well, and we encourage you to keep yourself informed.
 
http://brevard.floridahealth.gov/
http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
 
In the meantime, we wanted to let you know of a few precautions we are taking as leadership, staff, and worship volunteers to keep you safe. This is in addition to the previous precautions taken, including keeping “social distance,” leaving out hand sanitizer, and posting hand washing instructions.
 
If you are sick, or if you are worried for your own health, we do not want to shame or pressure you into coming to worship. Starting 3/15, we will post videos of our sermons online and on our Facebook page. We hope to begin live streaming soon as well.
Starting on 3/15, we will not pass the offering plate or welcome books in order to protect you further from hand-to-hand contact. We will have offering baskets in the back of our worship spaces in order to collect the offering and will take a headcount instead for worship attendance.
We encourage you to follow up with those who normally sit around you, attend your Sunday School classes, and are a part of your Life Groups, as without specific attendance, we will not be able to follow up as closely as we were previously. Offer Christ’s love by being a good neighbor and keeping track of the most vulnerable among us.
We will continue to avoid close or hand-to-hand contact in worship by not hugging or shaking hands. Please respect your neighbor’s distance- and if you’re looking for a roomier service, our 8am would love to see you!
Our Guest Services team will wear gloves and be the single point of contact with doors, bulletins, and we have revised our refreshment offerings. Please respect their work in this!
 
In addition to Sunday morning precautions, we have received questions about events at Suntree. We wanted you to be aware of the following updates. As things are rescheduled or canceled any further, we will let you know.
 
Journey Dinner will be canceled for the rest of the semester out of an abundance of caution. We will still have Bible Study at 6:30pm on Wednesdays through April 1st.
The TNT Senior Adult lunch will be canceled this Friday.
We will follow local, state, and national authorities in regard to other events and endeavor to keep you updated about them in any way that we can.
 
We know how easy it is to feel overwhelmed by the amount of events being canceled and precautions being taken all over the world. We feel that, too! But scripture invites us in 1 Peter 5:7 to, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” Our God has so loved each of us that God desires relationship and to hear all of our worries. God also desires that we love our neighbors as ourselves. Our charge here at Suntree is to continue that work of loving ourselves and others in extraordinary ways through prayer, and also taking precautions.
 
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and we hope to see you Sunday. Please keep on the lookout for further updates and be safe!
 
Peace,
Pastors Annette, Allee, and Augie

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