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.
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!