Pastor's E-Letter

Pastor's E-Letter

Filter By:

Pastor E-Letter 5/15/20

“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

One of our members that I have seen the most since the coronavirus quarantine is Ernie Allen, pictured above. I took this picture of Ernie and his buddy, with their new “Ernie’s Army” shirts last week. For 20 years, Ernie and his army have been doing volunteer labor in the yards of their Spanish Cove neighbors. Since my gym has been closed during the quarantine, I’ve been forced back out on the streets for my exercise, and pretty much every day I’ve seen Ernie and his “army” out working somewhere. Now I know you are probably concerned that Ernie and his friend are close to one another. This gentleman and others are part of what I call, Ernie’s “quarantine family” – the close circle of folks that many of us share (for me it is the worship team and my immediate family) that we do see even as we shelter in place beyond that small group. These are the folks that work alongside us and continue to make life manageable during this time.

Seeing Ernie with his “army” shirt last week caused me to reflect on and give thanks for all of the ordinary folks in our church and community that continue to find ways to love and serve their neighbors during this crisis. I’ve talked to several folks who are still faithfully delivering meals on wheels to seniors who depend on this service for their daily hot nutrition. I know many of our folks have been busy making masks to share with individuals and organizations in need during this time. Many of you are checking on your neighbors or fellow church members and bringing them their groceries and other necessities during this time. Others are simply calling, texting, emailing, zooming to check in on one another to help alleviate the loneliness.

You will see information below that describes how those of us who are not in the high-risk category for the virus can help to meet the growing food insufficiency needs in our community due to unemployment. I hope if you feel able, you will consider signing up to serve at either Daily Bread or the Evans Center in Palm Bay. Both organizations use safe social distancing practices while still seeking to meet the needs of hungry folks right here in Melbourne.

My point in sharing all this is to say that these are just a few of the ways that we can continue to love and serve our neighbors and they are also the kinds of things that Paul in Philippians invites us to focus our thoughts and attention on. Things that are just, true, commendable, and worthy of praise. It the midst of so much fear and uncertainty, it is good to take Paul’s advice and look for the goodness, or as Allee mentioned in her E-Letter last week, quoting Mr. Rogers, “look for the helpers.” Today, I invite you to spend some time in prayer, giving thanks to God for the ordinary goodness of ordinary people all around us. And give thanks for the ways that God has been present and at work in you to help you stay focused on what God is doing in the world. If we stop and look, there is always something for which to give thanks!

This Sunday in worship we will continue to think about what it means to “Be the Church” by exploring Acts 10 and thinking about the ways that the Holy Spirit works in us to empower us to change course, think in new ways, and continue to welcome new people into the family of God. One of the characteristics of the early church was its ability to be flexible and constantly adapt, grow, and change in response to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, there is a word here for us in these challenging days about how we must continue to change and adapt and grow in the ways we share in ministry. So, I encourage you to read all of Acts 10 in preparation for worship.

In the meantime, be safe, wash your hands, and know you are missed and loved!

Grace and Peace,
Annette

Pastor's E-Letter 05/08/20

main image

Dear  Suntree Family,

 Many years ago, Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” After Pastor Annette’s sermon last Sunday, I have been thinking a lot about who our helpers are during this pandemic. The images that spring to mind, of course, are the front-line workers: healthcare workers, pharmacists, hospital employees (from surgeons to the maintenance staff), grocery store clerks and delivery drivers. The list goes on. If you are considered “essential” during this time, you are helping each of us move through an incredibly difficult season, and I’m grateful for you. It is no small thing to be a helper during these days.

This week in worship, we continue to get closer to the idea of “the helpers,” with Acts of Service. In Acts 6, in the frenzy of growth, the community has begun to neglect its obligation to care for widows and orphans. When they hear this complaint, the leaders gather everyone together to discuss the issue, and then appoint seven “to serve.” These individuals are selected for this service because of their deep wisdom, good standing, and connection to the Holy Spirit.

This model of service is offered to us as encouragement and a challenge. On the one hand, this is the picture of an incredibly healthy church. In it, we are encouraged that each voice is valued in the family of God, and each gift matters. This is why as United Methodists, we work by committee. But we also receive this word as a challenge. If we are all gifted, then we are all called to serve. This is why at Suntree we have invited all of our new members to fill out a “Called to Serve” survey. We believe you are called to use the gifts God has given you in service of our hurting world.

This is especially true during the Coronavirus Pandemic. In the serve section below is a call for us to work together to feed our neighbors. If this is within your ability, we encourage you to use your gifts in this way! But if it is not- serve within leadership, make masks, commit to prayer, and be a wise voice in your community. Of course, you all are already up to these things in our community. So many of you are serving in unique ways, giving of your time and talent to transform the world. You are those helpers Mr. Rogers talks about: mask makers, first responders, prayer warriors, and compassionate friends to those on the front lines. It is in watching you that I feel immense hope, even in great uncertainty.

This Sunday in worship, we will celebrate the ways we use this very process to elect our leadership and empower church members to serve and lead in our congregational community. We will also ask you to ponder: where are you being called to serve? How can you honor this apostolic tradition of service, wisdom, and Holy Spirit ministry? For the church to transform the world in the name of Jesus, we need all of our hands and feet on the move, loving our neighbors in extraordinary ways. 

Peace,

Pastor Allee

 PS: Today is Mary Estes' 100th Birthday! Happy Birthday, Mary! We're so grateful for your life and presence at Suntree. We also wanted to extend these celebratory greetings to anyone who has had a milestone birthday or anniversary during this time of social distancing!  

 

Posted by Allee Willcox with

12345678910 ... 2728