Pastor E-Letter 5/22/20
In May of 2015, I graduated from Indiana University with my bachelor's degree. To be honest, I graduated from Indiana University South East in New Albany, IN not the Bloomington Campus. Either way, I get to say I graduated from Indiana University and have claimed to be a Hoosier for life. I thought with the degree they would officially give me the backstory to what a Hoosier is, and they didn't. Mary who lived in South Bend, IN for 20 years doesn't have the official story. So I still don't know what it is.
What I can tell you is how much I loved going to IU schools. I attended the South Bend, IN campus first and that is where I met Mary when we were in the theatre department together. I have a lot of pride in IU and the work that they do between their MBA program and amazing teaching hospital in Indianapolis. I have spent time at IU Hospital in downtown Indy with my family over the years as they received care. IU Hospital has an amazing heart center and cancer research team. The care that my family has received has been so loving and full of amazing work by the people there. It is a teaching hospital and they have plenty of wonderful students learning from this great team.
What struck me as I walked through the main entrance one day were these pictures at the main entrance:
You see, IU Hospital in Indianapolis is the IU Methodist Hospital. Founded 121 years ago to serve the sick, wounded and injured. I was awestruck how many people would pass through this metro-downtown hospital and read these words from John Wesley, known as "John Wesley's Rule." How many people have been served, and cared for in the name of God by the people known as Methodist?
I was talking to Annette this week about UM Hospitals and we talked about Emory Hospital in Atlanta, another Methodist hospital. Emory was at the front of the line in caring for Ebola patients and developing a vaccine for that outbreak and today they are working diligently to research and develop a vaccine for the coronavirus. The Methodist church has a long history of showing up when there are people in need. This work is no stranger to Suntree UMC people. During hurricane season we are known for handing out coolers of ice and helping our neighbor. We fill trucks and buckets and send them to disaster areas all over the country. Suntree UMC seeks to live into our mission statement of "Loving Our Neighbors in Extraordinary ways".
The question for us now is how do we live into the heritage of being Methodist people? Wesley was clear about doing good. Wesley did not count acts of service as more important than faith, however, he claimed that it is because of our faith we will be compelled to care for the poor, the sick, the needy. We would do it by this rule "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."
Some have begun that work in our community:
We have partnered with Daily Bread, The Evans Center, Interfaith Alliance of Brevard, and others to help during this extraordinary time. There are many ways to serve in accordance with your comfort level and ability. All sites that we have partnered with take social distancing very seriously and seek to make sure our volunteers are safe and well cared for while also respecting the dignity and need of our neighbors.
While we understand that there is a real concern for many to not engage any "in-person" activities, even with social distancing measures, there is still a great need for supplies and supplemental food. We care for you deeply and want you to be safe. We also want you to know that there are ways for you to support our partners during this time. Our foster parents still need diapers and wipes. Daily Bread needs supplies for the hygiene program that provides clean undergarments and socks. The food programs in the area need supplemental food. And all our partners need financial support.
One thing I'd like to keep at the front of our minds: this is not a one-time need. We will continue to engage our partners as the lasting effects of this virus will be felt for a long time. The financial stability of so many families will continue to struggle and many who have little to no savings will find themselves in a serious financial crisis in the coming months. We will continue to engage the needs of our neighbors and we hope you will join us.
How can we live into this amazing heritage of the people known as Methodists? How can we live into the heritage of Suntree UMC that loves their neighbors in extraordinary ways? I hope you'll ask that question with me and I hope we can find ways for you to engage the many layers of the needs in our community. No matter your abilities, we have all been blessed by God and because of that, we seek to do all the good that we can, as much as we can, to as many people as we can, for as long as we can.
With Grace & Peace on this journey together,